JOHN:The Book Of Heartfelt Belief
Having A Friend In High Places
Jerry A. Collins
There are those moments for us when we are faced with our fears about the future. For instance, Irene and her immediate family has struggled with distress about her future and what changes that will mean for her and them. How are we going to handle our aging parents? What is it going to be like with all of the children out of the home? How are we going to handle that new mortgage payment? These and issue like these can bring with them certain fears about the future. Jesus anticipated these fears about the future in our lives when he addressed the disciples own fears about their immediate future without him in John 14.
By this time the disciples seem to become completely bewildered and discouraged, confusion and sadness since Jesus had said He was going away (7:34; 8:21; 12:8, 35: 13:33). He also told them He would die, 12:32-33, that one of them was a traitor 13:21, that Peter would disown Him three times 13:38, that Satan was at work against them Luke 22:31-32, that all of the disciples would fall away Matt 26:31 and the cumulative weight of these revelations took its toll on them. Jesus attempts to comfort them with some commands and promises. We will learn how we too can be comforted from the words of Jesus at this time.
1. THE ANSWER TO OUR FEARS ABOUT THE FUTURE IS FAITH IN GODS FUTURE FOR US 1-2
The idea here is to stop being fearful or distressed, stirred up or agitated. So it was already happening. The uncertainties about the future must not produce fear in our lives Jesus says. Donít live that way. What can give troubled hearts relief He goes on to tell us is faith. Particularly faith in God the Father and in God the Son. Godís prescription for fear is faith. The disciples had troubled hearts because of their lack of understanding of the necessity of Jesus need to be a suffering servant. They had not yet grasped the need for the cross. Jesus tells them they will eventually know all about this when it happens vs 4 it just has not taken place yet. Part of our problem is that we cannot figure out Gods plan until it transpires. We are not omniscient. As that plan unfolds Jesus says have faith in me and the Father. Of course, the disciples had Jesus words and teaching and we have Gods Word today that teaches us. We should believe that just like the disciples were to believe what Jesus had been teaching them. Without faith it is impossible to please but God we learn from Hebrews but in Romans we learn that faith comes by hearing and that hearing is by the Word of God. It is our faith in Gods Word that is to dictate and guide us in life. Jesus words included truth about Gods future for all of us vs 2-3. Jesus departure, though produces diminishing hope in the disciples, has a greater purpose than they are able to see. First, Jesus assures us of the final outcome of events in these verses. For the disciples that meant considering the final chapter of history before drawing hasty conclusions from events in the immediate future. Jesus final destination will not be a cross or a tomb but His fathers house, that is heaven. The ultimate outcome is His preparation of a place for us there with Him. He will go but He will also return to take us there forever. Second, heaven already exists with more than adequate accommodations for all believers. There are many dwelling places. When Jesus says He must go there it is not so far as the physical preparation of heaven is concerned. There is already plenty of room for us to dwell and stay in. Third, it was necessary for heaven to be prepared for man. In Hebrews 9:23-28 the high priestly work of Christ involved entering into heaven to cleanse it. The death of Christ prepared us for heaven. Since everyone is born in rebellion got God and doomed to eternal separation from God, Jesus death redeemed us from this by removing our condemnation once and for all and uniting us again with the Father. Fourth, Jesus will be returning for us. The disciples may have been viewing Jesus departure as a permanent separation but in reality it will be temporary. Jesus is referring to His return for His people at the rapture of His people. We are to live in light of the imminent, at any moment, coming of the Lord when we are caught up in the air with the Lord 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thess 1:10. Though Jesus departure was not a pleasant prospect, though it was going to be painful and confusing, it has a greater purpose and will produce greater profit. In the meantime, believers know the way there and so our faith in our ultimate future must overcome our fears about the immediate future because our God working all things together according to the good pleasure of His will. We have a worthy object of our faith.
2. WE HAVE A FUTURE WITH THE FATHER BECAUSE JESUS MAKES THAT POSSIBLE 5-7
Thomas question makes it clear that the disciples needed to develop a deeper understanding of Jesus the Savior. Now Mary had a deeper awareness of Jesus as suffering Savior when she anointed His with as preparation for His death and what the disciples needed was a knowledge in the sense of intimacy and deeper spiritual perception a more mature faith would bring them vs 7. Salvation is only obtainable thru Christ. There is only one way not many ways! He is also Truth in that He discloses the way to eternal life. Truth is the way things actually are. He is the life and life eternal exists in and through Him. There are no alternatives. Jesus is narrow-minded and intolerant. The disciples faith will mature as they see the events surrounding Jesus death unfold vs 7b. New things are about to happen and that newness will motivate these disciples to grow. What are these new things? We grow thru newness.
3. OUR FUTURE REQUIRES BELIEVING THEN SEEING AND SO TOO OUR FAITH HERE 8-14
For Philip the future looked threatening and bleak so he requested a spectacular confirmation of Jesus words to see the Father. But the Father has already been seen in the Sonís character vs 9, the Sonís words vs 10 and the Sonís works. The Father has already confirmed Jesus authority for these. The high road is to simply believe Jesus and the lower road is to believe Him because of the miracles He has done vs 11. First, believing will amplify the work of Christ vs 12. Our work (ministry) will be greater in extent and effect. Second believing will make our prayers effective with God as He works out His plan for our lives James 5:16.