A Voice in the
"..you believe in God, believe also in Me...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...I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me...He who has seen Me has seen the Father...I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me.." (~vs1-11)
Everyone speaks of "god". Something extraordinary happens, and the first typical thing out of mouths is, "Oh my god!" or "Good god!" And if they are angry they pronounce, "God d--- it/you!"
When the world waxes philosophically eternal, what is their concept of things? As this is being written, this past week-end a rerun of one of the final episodes of TV's "Earth Final Conflict" was preaching man's doctrine. The world's doctrines are based on "doctrines of demons" (1Tm4:1) taught by their "deceiving spirits". The spirit (core energy) of a Tailon was proclaiming that all three of the evil/powerful alien beings man had been in contact with (Duridians, Tailon, Ativus) were "all in it together", and that they were part of man's development for his greater destiny, of something "greater than mankind". Of a "reaching for the stars". Something greater "out there". They pretty much understand that man's earthly life is not the end of existence. But man's future is a matter of reaching one's greater, fuller potential. Becoming something that is more god-like. Teasing man with satan's dream that "I will be like the Most High". (Is14:14)
Now, those who claim to be "Christian" are often not much better. We speak of "Heaven and Hell". And the next thought is, "where" is Heaven? Well, Heaven is "up", pointing the finger sky-ward. Trouble is, for somebody on the opposite side of the earth, that "up" -here- is "down" -there-.
There are many who look only earthward. Their minds/hearts only think that heaven is "what you make of it". They are trying to create their own "heaven-on-earth". Those with this mentality, who also claim to know the Most High, and His Son, Jesus Christ, are busy trying to clean up this world... make the world "christian" so that eventually, "christ" can come and rule on this earth; an earth that -they- have prepared for Him.
This passage in John ch14 may quite possibly be THE -KEY- to Saving Faith. It is certainly key to a proper understanding of the Christian's destiny.
Jesus starts out by saying, "you believe in God". (vs1) These Jews in the upper room with Jesus certainly considered themselves to be believers in Yahweh, the Most High God. Jews today speak of "G-d". As we began this discussion...everybody claims to believe in some sort of "god". Even atheists, when crises come along, will be heard unwittingly uttering "god" with their lips. If the matter is pointed out to them, they will often be embarrassed by their own duplicity.
Believing in the concept of -a- "god" is not enough. -What- god does one acknowledge? Mythology has many deities, most of whom are promiscuous wrathful entities that must be appeased. Others, knowing that deity is not visible, concoct deities of their own devisings in their own spirits, and become demon-possessed.
Jesus says, "you believe in God...believe also in Me.." Now, to a Jew, is such a concept blasphemous? The Law opens with, "Jehovah our God, Jehovah is One" (Deu6:4) Who is/was Jesus? The Jews had their prophets. Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, Daniel, etc. Many viewed Jesus as just another prophet. (Jn6:14, 7:40) But did any of the O.T. prophets ask their hearers to "believe in" them? In fact, when people asked John as to his identity, he would take abolutely no credit for himself, but said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness" (Jn1:23) If "Jehovah is One", why is Jesus saying, "believe -also- in Me"?
Well, first of all, Jesus makes an incredible claim. He claims that He is going to leave for awhile, and then come to receive His followers. Notice that He does not say that His followers must develop their own inner consciousness to some higher plain, and go 'out-there' someplace to "find their destiny". As if to take a blind person to a strange place, with no bearings, and give them a little nudge and say, "OK, now, find your own way...just keep going...you can do it."
Many calling themselves "Christian" worry themselves as to "where" Heaven is. But we don't need to worry about that. Jesus said, "..where I am, there you may be also.." (vs3) Where is Jesus? We don't yet know. The apostle Paul got a glimpse, and he wasn't sure whether he was out-of-body when he saw the "third heaven", caught up to "Paradise" and found the experience unspeakable. (2Cor12:2-4) But wherever it is, it will be 'where' Jesus is. And how will we get there? Jesus will come to "receive" us to Himself. (vs3) We don't have to strike out blindly, 'hoping' we find it; He is going to come and fetch us there.
On what occasion is this? The Resurrection and Rapture. Remember that Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life". (Jn11:25) The "dead in Christ" will rise, and those alive at that moment will be caught up together to meet Christ in the air. (1Th4:16-17) Notice Paul uses the same words, "And thus we shall always be with the Lord" as Jesus says, "..where I am, there you may be also."
Now, we speak of not knowing 'where' Heaven might be, and Jesus says, "where I go you know, and the way you know". Is this a contradiction? Thomas thinks so, "we do not know where You go, and how can we know the way?" It is of a totally different dimension. Science fiction plays with this concept often by depicting identical existences in different dimensional realities by shifting a temporal (time) vortex, or imagining a matter/antimatter relationship, etc. as their minds conceive of it.
But we do know there are different dimensions. There is a physical earthly dimension, and there is at least also a spiritual one. We understand this from a couple of incidents recorded in Scripture. In one case Balaam is riding his donkey to meet Balak, and the "Angel of Jehovah" stations Himself and makes Himself visible to Balaam's donkey, but not to Balaam. (Num22) Then, after Balaam has been beating on his donkey a few times, God reveals Himself to Balaam, too. On another occasion, when the town Elisha is in is surrounded by the Syrian army, Elisha prays to God to let his servant see the heavenly armies surrounding the Syrian army. (2Kg6:15-17) Indeed, there was an account told (I don't know if it's true) about during the 1967 war, that an Arab contingent suddenly went retreating at one point (I forget now, on the Golan Heights?), because they 'saw' an overwhelming number of soldiers facing them. And upon later investigation, apparently at the time, Israel had nobody stationed at that location.
So... "where" do we go? What is the "way" to get there? Well, it is not so much "where" or "way", but -WHOM-.
Jesus says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (vs6)
Paul expresses it, "..flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God.." (1cor15:50) Jesus was always speaking of "My kingdom" (Lk22:30), the "kingdom of Heaven" (Mt4:17,etc) When on trial Jesus says, "My kingdom is not of this world". (Jn18:36) The Kingdom of Heaven is not a 'place' a person can drive to, or get in a space ship and shoot-off to. If I am remembering correctly, back when the Russians were first to successfully sent a man into space, supporting the atheist communist party-line, the cosmonaut is reported to have said something like, "I don't see God up here anywhere". Well, Jesus said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, See here! or See there! For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (Lk17:20-21)
Where the Believer goes, is to be with Christ. Where/what is that? Paul found the vision unspeakable. He says, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it dawned upon the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1Cor2:9) It is "with" Christ. What is the nature of that? We get a glimpse from the "new heavens and earth". It says of the New Jerusalem, "And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it; and the Lamb is its light." (Rev21:23) "..for the Lord God gives them light.." (Rev22:5)
So, Philip asks, "Lord, show us the Father.." (vs8) Jesus had said that they believe in the Father, to also believe in Him. But God is "One". The disciples haven't yet quite got it. Jesus explains, essentially, 'why' they should believe in Him; because, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father.." (vs9) Remember, He had proclaimed, "before Abraham came to be, I AM" (Jn8:58) Jesus -is- God. As the writer of Hebrews explains to the Jews, the God that they had been worshiping and sacrificing to all those centuries? Jesus is the "express image of His essence" (Heb1:3) God the Father cannot be seen my sinful man, "for no man shall see Me and live" (Ex33:20) We are corrupted. Flesh and blood cannot approach God's glory. Thus, Jesus came "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom8:3), "sharing in" the partaking of "flesh and blood" (Heb2:14)
Thus, the reason why this passage is the primary 'key' to gaining access to God and Heaven.
When a person comes to (let's call it) Heavenly Faith, the first object of faith is the fact that God exists. (Heb11:6) Part-and-parcel with that is the fact that God came in human likeness, and came "in the flesh". (1Jn4:2-3) But they are not "two gods". God is "One". Christ is "in the Father and the Father is in [Christ]" (vs11) The "Word was -with- God", but the Word also -WAS- God. (Jn1:1) Not as some have distorted to say that the Word was -a- god. No! Jesus is -VERY- Deity.
One of the early confessions of faith was voiced by the Ethiopian, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Ac8:37)
But mere academic assent to Christ's Deity, alone, will not save. The demons also believe and "shudder". (Jacob2:19) Problem was that satan wanted Jesus to "do homage" to him. (Mt4:9) He was not content being the "anointed cherub that covers" (Ezek28:14), but wanted God's place for himself, as the "Most High". (Is14:14)
To get to the Kingdom of God, one must not search out for one's "own destiny", but to be "in Christ" (2Cor5:17). Redemption is 'in Christ'. (Rom3:24) We are alive to God 'in Christ'. (Rom6:11) We have eternal life 'in Christ'. (Rom6:23) When we are 'in Christ' we have no condemnation. (Rom8:1) We are given the Spirit of Life 'in Christ'. (Rom8:2) We have the love of God 'in Christ'. (Rom8:39) Thus, we become one body 'in Christ'. (Rom12:5) We are workers 'in Christ'. (Rom16:9) We are approved 'in Christ'. (Rom16:10) We are sanctified 'in Christ' (1Cor1:2)
Now, if we fall asleep (die physically) 'in Christ' (1Cor15:18) we also have hope 'in Christ' (1Cor15:19) that 'in Christ' we will be made alive. (1Cor15:22) We have victory and triumph 'in Christ'. (2Cor2:14)
Is it sinking in? The way to Heaven and the Father is "in Christ". That is why True Believers are called CHRIST-ians. Just because satan and his "ministers of righteousness" 2Cor11:15 have usurped the title, does not diminish the fact that we are CHRIST-tians. Just as a bride typically takes on the name of her husband, so, too, the bride of Christ has taken on His name, "CHRIST-ian". (Acts11:26)
But what about all these other ways? Are the Duridians, Tailons and Ativus all "in this together" to help man evolve to his greater destiny? Does man hug some trees, do some humming, have a meditative spiritual experience to elevate 'himself' to a higher plain of consciousness and spirituality?
Notice Jesus is quite certain, "NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER -except- through Me." (vs6b) That is the "narrow way" which only a "few" are finding. (Mt7:13-14) Yes, there is only "one way". There is one "only way". And yes...all others are wrong. The broad all-inclusive way, that the "many" are following, leads to "destruction". (Mt7:13) Those who proclaim those other ways Jesus calls "false prophets". (Mt7:15) Anyone bringing some "other" gospel, even if it is an "angel from heaven", is "accursed". (Gal1:8) Remember: satan is a fallen angel. He used to be the "anointed cherub that covers". That's why his demons are so convincing. Do not be fooled by them!
Yes, there is only -one- "right" way. All others are wrong. But the thing that gives us confidence in this truth is that this doctrine is not "my" doctrine. It is not what "I think". It is not "-my- opinion".
IT IS WHAT JESUS SAID.
It is not that "I think I'm right, and everybody else is wrong". No. It is that I "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts16:31), and -HE- said it. Thus, I believe it. So now, the burden of proof is on Jesus Christ.
Thus, the characteristic of Faith is, "Do we believe what Jesus said?" It is -JESUS- who has the "words of eternal life"! (Jn6:68) He is the -only- Way!