The FISHERS Magazine (Issue 232)

Looking Upward and Forward

Christian Living


““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.””
(John 14:1-7)

In this passage, we are privileged to listen to the great incarnate God speaking to His disciples. Jesus has stopped speaking to the world; He has just dismissed Judas Iscariot; He now spends time comforting His disciples in the upper room. In this farewell discourse which is more like a table talk, He addresses the questions of His disciples.

A Real Danger
First, our Lord speaks about a real danger as seen in v. 1a “Let not your heart be troubled.” Our Lord can see what is happening to them. Facial expressions don’t always tell what is happening inside us, but the Lord of glory looks right down into our hearts. He looks right into our character, right down into our very hidden motives. We may be beset with sorrows quite hidden from others, but it is not hidden from God. He sees not only our troubles but also how we react to them.

The disciples are very troubled because Jesus is going to be betrayed. They are terribly troubled because one of them is going to betray Him. They are troubled because the Lord has told them that He is going to leave them, and He is going to leave them by way of suffering. And then our Lord has told Peter that he is going to deny Him that very night three times. If you know that the strongest Christian in church is going to deny Christ three times before the day is out, your heart will certainly be troubled too. Thus, for all these reasons, the disciples are troubled.

So, Jesus says to them, “Don’t be indifferent to these events but don’t let them put your hearts into waves and knots.” It is alright to feel sorrowful but don’t let your emotions be in turmoil. We are not to lose our peace. There should not be storms inside, however great the storms are outside. The Lord is urging that our hearts not be affected even though there is real danger coming. That is why our Lord starts by urging them, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

Looking Upward
In vv. 1 to 4, the second point that the Lord speaks to them about is how to avoid that danger. This is one of the most precious passages in the Word of God. Christians often refer to this passage in time of bereavement. In order to avoid this great danger of losing our peace, we are first to look up as seen in v. 1b, “You believe in God, believe also in me”. The Lord is challenging us to think through several issues in this very succinct verse.

You believe in God who rules everything; you believe in God whose hands you are in; you believe in God who is good, pure, holy, wise and just; you believe that God loves you. Yes, you believe in God who does all of these; yet you question whether He will rule with you in mind. You question whether He will work all things for good out of love for you. You question whether He is dealing with you wisely or that His power is going to work in your circumstances and your troubles.

“You believe in God”, says the Lord Jesus Christ, “believe also in me.” When our faith is in Christ, we are in covenant with God. God is over all things but He is over all things for His Church. God rules the world and He rules it for the benefit of those who are in Christ. God loves me and the proof that He loves me is that I am in Christ. Everything that happens is an expression of the love of God to me if I am in Christ. So, if I believe in God, I am to believe in Christ. “Put your faith in Me!” says the Lord Jesus Christ. And then you may have the heart which is without storm inside it.

Looking Forward
Third, we are to look forward. This is found in vv. 2 to 4, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

The old Puritans used to say that the remedy for all troubles is to accept that we are passing through this world. Our true home is in Heaven; it is the Father’s home and believers are children of the Family. The home is very large with many dwellings. The Greek word connotes a durable dwelling and not a temporary tent. When we go there, we will stay there forever. In Heaven, there are countless number of rooms with our names on them; and Christ is preparing them for His people. The reality of Heaven cannot be put more strongly than the assurance of Christ’s words.

You can put up with the troubles of life because of Heaven. You can walk into a dark tunnel and not be frightened if you can see the daylight at the end of the tunnel. This is what our Lord is saying here. Moreover, His going away should not grieve the disciples because besides preparing the place, He is coming to receive them to Himself.

There will be many buffetings which are inevitable in this fallen world. They are part of your training. One day the training will be over; the pilgrimage will be over; and what will take you home is death or the Second Coming of Christ, whichever is earlier. These assurances will see the disciples through the days and years; and they will be for all who are in Christ.

Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life
The fourth point the Lord Jesus addresses arises because Thomas asks a question. In vv. 5 to 7, Thomas interrupts respectfully with a question and the Lord gives a most comprehensive answer. In v. 5, “Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’”

Thomas and the other disciples are still very earthbound. They know Jesus is the Messiah but they still have earthbound ideas about His Kingdom. They are wondering which will be the capital city when He sets up His Kingdom over Israel and when the Romans will be chased away. Moreover, to which city is Jesus going? So, Thomas declares his ignorance of the way.

Jesus gives him a full answer in v. 6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Christdeclares that He is the Way; only Jesus is fully God and fully man in one Person. So, there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. By definition there is no other way to God because there is nobody else who is God and man in one person. Moreover, only the Lord Jesus Christ made the perfect, sufficient and final sacrifice for our sins. His infinite Person bears an infinite punishment in a moment. Also, only Christ has risen from the dead to be the ever-living Saviour with the power of an endless life.

Christ declares that He is the Truth. The Jews and those poor disciples have been living in a world of shadows with sacrifices, the priesthood, ceremonies and rites. But now here is the substance in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are surrounded with errors, liars and false Christs but only Jesus Christ is the Truth.

Christ declares that He is the Life. Only Christ can give them spiritual life because He is Life and He gives Himself to those who place their trust in Him.

Our Lord is making it so clear and yet many professing Christians have not understood it. In thinking about the word “way”, they have forgotten that Christ is not only the beginning but the middle and the end of the Christian life. He is always the way. In considering the word “truth”, they forget that He is the one who stops us from going off the path because He Himself is the guide. He is “life” because we get all our power and energy from Him.

So, Christ is our life as we walk His way, follow His guide (truth) and draw from His power.

Christ answers Thomas’ query about the destination in v. 6b, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to bring us to the Father. He came into the world to bring us the knowledge of God. We are saved by the knowledge of God and faith in Christ. Eternal life is the life of God. It is only knowing God (being in a deep and intimate relationship with Him) that you have life. The destination is the Father. Heaven is nothing in and of itself; it is because it is the dwelling place of God that it is Heaven. It is because we will be with God that makes it Heaven.

Finally, our Lord declares in v. 7, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” The disciples have known Christ and yet they have never really known Him. But now they do! And they have seen the Father. Do you really know Jesus Christ and hence see the Father?

Conclusion
We round off this passage with this great truth that you need nothing more than Christ. For you not to sink in your troubles, you need nothing more than Christ. If you want to know the way forward as a Christian, the way is Christ. You read the Scriptures to hear Christ. You pray to meet Christ. You come to the Lord’s Table to worship and feed on Christ.

If you want to know what truth is, go to Christ. If you need life as you feel jaded in your spiritual life, you need to come to Christ. Therefore, converted men and women need to come to Christ. Unconverted people need to do the same. The way to continue is never different from the way it started. It is always coming to Christ who is all sufficient.


Chua Eu Jin
- Chua Eu Jin is an elder of The 'Fisherman of Christ' Fellowship.

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