with Alan Bailey
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
This part of John’s Gospel deals with the last hours Jesus spent with his followers before His death on the cross. It is a time of learning for these men and a time of surprises as we will see in this study. Jesus surprised them by washing their feet (earlier in this chapter) and by telling them that He was about to be betrayed. It is a dramatic development which will be followed by much more drama within a few days.
Verse 1 ‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.’
All through this Gospel, Jesus shows His inseparable bond with the Father. He stands before them as a man, yet He is to be understood and accepted as equal with God His Father. Therefore, there should be no hesitation on their part to accept what Jesus is teaching them. It comes with the highest possible authority. Their hearts and minds should rest in this.
Verse 2 ‘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.’
This is said as further reassurance regarding their future. Jesus wants them to understand that provision is being made for them to follow Him, right up to the Father’s house.
The word ‘mansions’ is not meant to be taken as luxurious homes but rather as rooms in readiness for occupation. The Master goes on ahead and prepares a place for all who know and love Him. How good is that?? He will prepare them well, will He not?
Verse 3 ‘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.’
There need be no doubt about what Jesus is saying. It is plain and straightforward. He is shortly to leave this scene. He will prepare the way for His followers to join Him. He is not referring to their death in this verse but refers to His return to earth. In many places in the New Testament the second coming of Jesus is mentioned. It is a promise, and God’s promises will always be fulfilled. Believers are taught that their destiny is to be with God, to dwell in His house forever.
Verse 4 ‘And where I go you know, and the way you know.’
Yes, He had told them in many ways on many occasions. He had plainly said that He was going back to the Father. He had also taught that the way to the Father was through faith in Himself. His spoken word always had personal trust in Himself as the bottom line. His message was ‘Come to Me.’
Verse 5 Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?’
This disciple was thinking in terms of time and space. He thought it was a literal journey to an unknown destination. But Jesus had in mind knowing God, being accepted by Him, and eventually going to dwell with Him.
Verse 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’
This is a foundational text for the whole Bible. It says so much. Jesus is Himself the way to God the Father. He lays down His life as a sacrifice, opening the door for sinners to be forgiven and made fit for heaven. No one else has done that--or ever could. Jesus is the embodiment of truth. All about Him is utterly reliable. Among the many voices we may hear in this world, none has the perfection of Jesus. He is also life itself. Life as it was meant to be. Outside of Christ this life is unobtainable.
Many people cry out that there are many ways to God, not just one. They think it makes more sense, or is more just. This is seriously wrong. A holy God will not have many ways to peace with Himself. He cannot compromise, or accept something as ‘near enough.’ His nature demands total righteousness, and this is only found in Himself. Hence the Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus, stands alone as the way to harmony with the Almighty. All religious founders and teachers are mere sinful men who can never match the Lord Jesus.
Verse 7 ‘If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you have known Him and have seen Him.’
Jesus first refers to their past. He is saying that if in the past they had been acquainted with Jesus they would have known both Him and the Father. But now, without any room for doubt, they are acquainted, because Jesus is the visible representative of the Father.
Verse 8 Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient for us.’
This request shows either slowness to learn or simple unbelief. It is almost the same as the cry of the atheist who says that he will believe if we show him God. We all are inclined the same way. We need to see before we believe. Jesus shows next why Philip, and indeed all of us, have good reason to believe.
Verses 9 & 10 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father.’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does the works.
Philip has to learn that the presence of Jesus is sufficient. He has the very character of the Father. Father and Son are inseparably related, to the point that all that Jesus says and does originates in the Father. This is the answer to all unbelief about God. Jesus has given us all the evidence we need to see the reality of God and His nature.
Verse 11 ‘Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.’
The words of Jesus, telling of His relationship with the Father are there to be believed, but otherwise, the works of Jesus, that is the miracles He performed, are enough to convince the observer of His credentials.
Verse 12 ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to my Father.
Not only does the Father do great works through Jesus, but he intends to give that privilege to the followers of Jesus. These works are always acts of grace whereby the sick are healed, troubled and afflicted people are delivered, even the dead are raised. The Book of Acts, following John in the New Testament, records how these men were used by God to do things similar to those of Jesus. But He said there would also be greater things done. In adding ‘because I go to My Father’, He was indicating that after His death and resurrection, the disciples would go far and wide with the message, seeing thousands come to faith, and in due course changing the course of history. The things they were to do were not greater in their nature, but wider in their scope.
Verses 13 & 14 ‘And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. ‘ If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’
Without doubt these followers of Jesus will need to depend on God for strength and for all they need in order to live for Christ. They will need to pray at all times, looking to the Lord to provide all they need to serve Him. Here, as in a number of places, a promise is given concerning prayer. In no place are we told that we will receive anything and everything that we ask for. There are always conditions. God will not simply grant to us all we could wish. It would be bad for us to have every selfish desire satisfied. In the verse before us, prayer requests must be ‘in His Name’. This means that we present to the Father in prayer all that Jesus is and has done for us. So such requests will be according to the plan and purpose of God, not just what appeals to us. But God does answer prayer.
The teaching of Jesus in the Upper Room (John, chapters13 to 16) is meant for us as well as for those who were present at the time. His words are timeless and His promises are reliable. Constantly, we see how Jesus makes a difference between those who believe in Him and know Him, and those who don’t. There is a gulf between and there always will be. Which makes us ask ourselves the question: ‘Am I truly one of His? Is He Lord in my life? Will I eventually be with Him as He has promised? The answer we give is all-important