In John 14 Jesus and his disciples are still in the upper room, Judas has left to seek out the Jewish leaders to betray Jesus, to deliver him for trial and execution. Jesus has announced again that he will be leaving them to return to the Father and He has also told Peter that Peter will deny that he knows Jesus three times before morning. The disciples are upset and confused, they have been told one of them will betray Jesus, and then Judas leaves, they are told that Peter will deny Jesus, what in the world is going on? After the disturbing news, Jesus comforts his disciples. Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” Their hearts are noticeably troubled, Jesus says trust me and trust God!
Jesus returns to the topic of his impending departure, He tells them they cannot go with him but He will return and take them with him sometime in the future. He is going to the Father’s house where he is preparing a place for them. We can sense the disciples increasing confusion, Jesus the Messiah is speaking of another “coming”, a return of the Messiah. Jesus concludes these statements with, “You know the way to the place I am going”.
At this point honest Thomas speaks up, “Lord we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?” For all of Peter’s bold speaking, John’s insight and close relationship – it is Thomas who speaks up with their honest confusion.
Jesus responds clearly, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus clearly states the absolute truth; He is not one way among many ways, but the only way. This concept is offensive to our current culture; but understand and know that these are the very words of Jesus who is the absolute truth.
Obviously still confused, Philip speaks up and says, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” This has been the repeated request of so many, the crowd and the Pharisees; just show us in some dramatic way and we will be convinced. What a temptation for Jesus to despair, three and a half years and still they don’t get it. But Jesus responds in love, “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Jesus reveals a deep theological truth, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves”. Jesus stresses the deep intimate connection between the Father and himself, it is the Father residing in Jesus that performs His miraculous deeds. All through John Jesus has spoken the words of God to men then confirmed the clear message with miraculous deeds and signs.
They have seen the Son and experienced the Father at work now Jesus promises his disciples the Holy Spirit. “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” That same connection and power that the Father has with Jesus will be available between the disciples and Jesus; “You may ask for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
“In my name” is NOT some magical incantation to get whatever you want if you simply conclude with Jesus’ name. Jesus’ name means continuing with the work of Jesus, in the plan of the Father with the help of the Holy Spirit. If we pray in this way, Jesus himself will answer our hearts desire; the same power that worked through Jesus from the Father is available to us through Jesus. Jesus says, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”
Sadly the disciples are still confused, this time Judas asks why Jesus won’t show himself to the world, by this he means in the manner of a dramatic Messianic expectation. Jesus is speaking of loving and obeying inner heart work, but the disciples are stuck on an outward sign. Jesus cuts through the confusion with a clear statement, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”. Jesus repeats this concept that love and obedience is linked three times in this chapter alone, we need to get it! He also repeats the close relationship He has with the Father, and that we will have that same close relationship with Jesus and the Father by way of the Holy Spirit who will remind us of Jesus’ teachings, empower us to do God’s will and convict our hearts when we go astray.
Jesus concludes his evening in the upper room by blessing the disciples saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The best the world can offer us is the absence of trouble temporarily; we know that more trouble will soon arrive because we live in a troubled world. God promises us the ultimate peace, peace between God and my soul. I can persevere through a troubled world because of Christ in me, because He fills me with His spirit, He draws me to Him and reveals Himself to me. Praise God for this amazing gift!
Finally, Jesus wraps it all up with, “I am going away and I am coming back to you; I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe”. Then he says, “Come now; let us leave”.