Summary: For many years now there has been a great deal of controversy over the Scripture we are looking at today.
“One Way Only”
We see them everywhere we go. Road signs. They’re designed to assist us when we are traveling. They usually help but only if we pay attention to them. Kids have been known to get carried away and sometimes move them to another location. So a road that is a one-way road; sign could be moved to the other side of the road causing traffic to suddenly travel in the wrong direction.
20 years ago in Tampa young man named Kevin Farr was driving his car and breezed right through an intersection and into the path of an eight ton truck... He and two passengers were killed. Sometime before that night as a prank, three teenagers had removed the stop sign from that intersection.
For many years now there has been a great deal of controversy over the Scripture I have read this morning. The setting is this. Jesus is preparing his disciples for the end of his earthly ministry. They had just enjoyed a meal together. Jesus got up from the meal and wrapped a towel around his waist. He then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet. He then dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Jesus then predicts that Judas will betray him and then predicts that Peter will deny him. And what all of this tells us is that Jesus was attempting to relate to the disciples the fact that His death was coming soon; the cross was not far away. He begins with some words of comfort.
These words were offered by Jesus for the purpose of comforting the disciples. They had just spent three years with him learning from him, watching him as he healed the sick, raise the dead, fed the hungry and calmed the sea. Their lives had been changed completely. And now he was telling them he was about to leave. The strange thing is every time he told him and as many times as he told them, they never understood.
How does that happen? Have you ever had someone give you some news it was so overwhelming that you just couldn’t believe it? Perhaps you received news of the death of a loved one the first words out of your mouth were something like...
• You must be kidding
• that can’t be true... I just saw them yesterday.
There are five stages of grief we go through and the first stage is denial. We simply cannot accept what we have been told and our mind chooses not to believe it. This was likely the case with the disciples. They were troubled so Jesus said do not let your hearts be troubled. Just trust. He says in my father’s house are many rooms-your Bible may say mansions-the correct translation is actually rooms. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t look like a mansion-but it says rooms. He is saying there’s plenty of room for you and if it wasn’t the truth, I wouldn’t have told you. I’m not making this up... This is the way it is. And since I’m going to prepare this place for you is another thing you need to know -I’m going to come back and get you.
This is the event the Scripture refers to as the rapture. The word in Greek is harpazo; is an old verb meaning to seize. To snatch up. Christ is going to snatch us up-don’t be caught wearing a collarless shirt that day-you don’t want to miss this! This is when Jesus takes us to the home he has been building for us to live with him forever.
Then it’s like Jesus says oh by the way, you know the way to this place already. Now you can imagine perhaps what they were thinking.
• We’ve never been there
• we’ve never seen it
• we don’t even know anyone who has ever seen it
And so Thomas, known as the doubters says Lord we don’t know where you’re going so how you expect us to know how to get there?
Billy Graham tells the story of the time when he was speaking in the city out West. We arrived in town he wanted to mail a letter so he left his hotel to go to the post office. He saw a young boy standing on the corner so he ask him for directions to the post office. The boy gave explicit directions. Dr. Graham thanked him and said Sunday you know who I am? And the voice it actually know... I don’t. He said well, my name is Billy Graham and I’m here to speak at one of the churches downtown. Then he said to the boy if you will come tonight I will tell you how to get to heaven. The boy said no thank you... How can you tell me how to get to heaven when you don’t even know how to get to the post office?