Updated: Jun 1, 2021
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: John 14:1-6
Transitions provoke change, and change, of any kind, is not something that many of us particularly enjoy. It serves as a constant reminder of the world that we live in, one that is constantly changing in some regard or many. One of the main reasons transition is often times resisted rather than embraced is because it can threaten some form of security and stability in our lives. The majority of people desire both security and stability, and anything that threatens to disrupt either of the two or both, regardless of whether it is an it or a who, can be seen as an enemy of progress.
In today’s passage, we find Jesus and the disciples also in the midst of a major transition. In Chapter 13, Jesus acknowledges that the time has come for Him to depart from this world and return to His Father in Heaven. Consider the incredible impact Jesus had on His disciples! He called these men to leave their former occupations to join Him in His earthly ministry! Through His preaching and teaching, Jesus invested invaluable direction, guidance, and wisdom into the disciples’ lives. Now, the disciples’ beloved Teacher and companion was preparing to leave them to die on a cross for the sins of the world the following day! As the disciples prepare to transition into a new season, one without Jesus’ physical presence, Jesus encourages and reassures them with three major keepsakes.
A stern command. In verse 1, Jesus commands His disciples with a two-fold command saying, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus’ command was a direct response to the announcement of His departure, as well as the revelation that one of the disciples would betray Him and that Peter would deny Him three times (cf. John 13:21, 33-38). In light of all this despairing news, Jesus commanded the disciples not to let or allow their hearts to be troubled! Consider the many times the commands “do not fear”, “do not be afraid”, or “do not let your heart be troubled” appear throughout Scripture. When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations, He instructed him saying, “Do not be afraid of them…” (cf. Jeremiah 1:9). When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water, they cried out in fear, but Jesus commanded them saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (cf. Matthew 14:27). When Jesus reassured the disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things and bring His words back to their memory, He commanded them saying, “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (cf. John 14:27).
Rather than fear, God instructs us to believe in Him, which is exactly what Jesus instructed the disciples to do as well. He commanded the disciples to place their faith securely in Him and entrust their very lives to Him, even though their spirits were filled with sorrow and despair over all the news that He had just shared with them. In John 12:44, Jesus declares that “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.” By believing in Jesus, God the Son, the disciples were ultimately placing their faith in God the Father because God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son, are one (cf. John 17:21).
A special promise. Following His two-fold command, Jesus gives the disciples a two-fold promise: “…for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.” Jesus gives the disciples a depiction of Heaven, which He calls “my Father’s house”. He tells them that His Father’s house has many dwelling places, also referred to as rooms or mansions. Jesus assures them that if this was not the case, He would have told them; therefore, the disciples can trust His words to them! Jesus informs the disciples that He is going ahead of them, not to leave them for the sake of leaving, but to prepare rooms in Heaven for them, so that the rooms will be ready for when they finally arrive! Not only this, but Jesus promises to return and receive the disciples to Himself so that they can reside with Him forever! By departing Earth through His death on the cross and later ascending into Heaven, Jesus made it possible to fulfill His promise to return and receive the disciples to Himself so that they could be where He was!
This is a special promise because it applies to a select group of people: it is not for everybody! This promise only applies to those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, which includes the Twelve disciples (all but one), and those of us who are now believers as well! Because of our faith in Jesus, we can be assured that He has gone ahead of us to prepare rooms for us in His Father’s house! In the same enthusiastic manner, we can also anticipate Jesus’ return to Earth to receive all of us to Himself so that we can always reside with Him where He is!
A significant declaration. In verse 4, Jesus assures the disciples saying, “And you know the way [to] where I am going.” In response, Thomas addresses Jesus saying, “Lord we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”. For some reason, Thomas and the other disciples did not recognize Jesus’ reference to His Father’s house as Heaven nor did they comprehend that Jesus was going there to prepare a place for them. Essentially, Thomas was asking Jesus how it was possible for him and the disciples to know the way to where He was going if they did not know where He was going in the first place. When Jesus told the disciples that they knew the way to where He was going, He was assuring them that because they knew Him, they knew the way to where He was going because He is the way!
Jesus personifies Himself as the road or path that leads directly to God the Father, more specifically the only way! Jesus did not say “I am one of many ways”; He boldly declared “I am the way”, emphasizing that there is no other man or woman, method, route, path, exit, or detour that leads to God the Father, except Himself. If you want to get to God the Father, you have to go through Jesus first! Jesus gives the disciples further assurance of His deity when He declares that He is the truth, the Living Word of God (cf. John 1:1, Revelation 19:13), and the life, for anyone who believes in Him and accepts Him as their Savior and Lord possesses eternal life (cf. John 3:14-15). The gift of salvation is available to all men, but the source of salvation is one man: Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
As you venture throughout this week, obey Jesus's command to the disciples, especially if you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ, and do not allow your heart to be troubled! Believe in God, believe also in the Son! He has gone ahead of us to prepare rooms for us in His Father’s house so that when all is said and done, we will be able to rule, reign, and reside with Him for eternity!