90 Days with Jesus, Day 66: John 14:1-14: Jesus the Way

John 14:1-14 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 66)

1″Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

I mentioned in a post a day or two ago that I have been reading an older book by J. I. Packer titled Beyond the Battle for the Bible. The chapter I am currently reading, Inerrancy in Current Debate, centers around the idea that the Bible is, in fact, inerrant. I wholly agree with this conclusion. Inerrancy entails some very specific ideas concerning how we approach the Bible text. Packer proposes necessary entailments of inerrancy. I shall note only two.

First, he says that since the Bible is inerrant (and infallible) we should ‘see both words as safeguarding a particular procedure in interpretation.’ So he writes,

What are these words for? it is asked. What is their function? The immediate answer is: to declare that we accept as true what Scripture says. This is certainly part of the job they do. But the deeper answer to the question will surely be that we use them to declare our commitment to a way of interpreting the Bible which expresses faith in the truthfulness of the God who speaks to us in and through what it says and who requires us to heed every word that proceeds from his mouth.(51)

Second, he says that since the Bible is inerrant (and infallible) we should ‘recognize that the words have confessional significance and a self-involving logic.’ Thus,

Let it be understood that for me to confess that Scripture is infallible and inerrant is to bind myself in advance to follow the method of harmonizing and integrating all that Scripture declares, without remainder, and taking it as from God to me, however little I may like it and whatever change of present beliefs, ways and commitments it may require. (53)

Now if I apply these two statements to my interpretation of John 14:1-14 what conclusions will I come to and how will they affect my understanding of these verses? This is important because the current way of doing things, the popular way, is really to deny that Scripture is infallible and inerrant, and so somehow many have managed to create their own version of Christian faith which is really no Christian faith at all. In other words, we don’t change Scripture to conform to our experience, but we conform our experience to Scripture. It is quite dangerous that we should all create our own experiential religion. This also means that we accept the words of Scripture as implicitly true words that proceed from the mouth of God. For the Christian then, while it is conceivable that some may be led astray by errant teachers and fallible guides, it is inconceivable that it is because something in Scripture is not true. Again, when we begin with this premise, Scripture binds us and sets us free.

What can we then conclude from John 14:1-14 with this inerrancy and infallibility serving as the foundation upon which we build?

First, we can conclude that we are going to have reasons for being troubled in this world. No doubt. But, we can also conclude that Jesus who ‘went away’ to ‘prepare a place for’ us will come back for us. We accept this implicitly. It’s not a matter of if Jesus will come back any more than it is a matter of if he will be vindicated. No, Jesus said he will come back. He will not abandon us or leave us as orphans. We can have every reason for confidence that Jesus will indeed come back to this planet and rescue his people.

Second, we can conclude that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that ‘no one comes to the Father except through’ him. Now many in this world are convinced of a couple of different things. On the one hand some are convinced that there is no God for us to ‘come to’ and thus Jesus’ words are meaningless drivel. On the other hand, it is taught in many places that there are plenty of different ways to the Father. I’ve even heard popular preacher Joel Osteen make a comment to this effect in an interview with Larry King. If the Word of God is inerrant and infallible then we accept that Jesus is the Only Way to the Father—There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. Period. But this also means that there is a Father for us to ‘go to.’ It makes no difference how many people deny it or mock it or ridicule it. If the Bible is the Word of God then this is what we believe and this is the way God has arranged salvation to happen: Through Jesus and Jesus alone. There is no Buddhist way, no Hindu way, no Muslim way, no Judaism way. There is only Jesus Messiah.

Third, we can conclude that Jesus if we want to now God the Father, if we want to see him, we have to know Jesus. This is tied tightly to the above paragraph. What is simply amazing is that Jesus here is thoroughly identifying himself with God. In other words, Jesus is saying, “I am God.” This is amazing and profound. If we begin with our premise of inerrancy and infallibility, the testimony of Scripture to itself, then the implications of this statement are more than I can write in this space. He carries this on through verse 11. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him. The Words he speaks are not just his words, they are the words of the Father. The miracles He does are from the Father. If we want to ‘see’ the Father, we must look to Jesus. There is no other way to see God. Only through Jesus can we behold the Almighty God of Creation, of the Universe.

Fourth, we can conclude that Jesus will ‘do whatever we ask in his name to bring glory to the Father.’ We can conclude that Jesus is the proper object of our faith. We can conclude, in short, that Jesus’ will is to bring glory to the Father and nothing will prevent that from happening. We can have confidence that what Jesus spoke, he meant. And what he meant he will bring to fruition. And what he brings to fruition will bring glory to the Father. What we learn here is that the Will of the Father and the Will of the Son are in complete harmony with one another. There is no ‘competition’ or ‘struggle of the will.’ Jesus ‘always does what pleases the Father.’

I think what we see taking place in the American church today is that many feel like they have to skirt the issue of infallibility and inerrancy because they are afraid of being ridiculed by those who won’t believe. So what happens is that these preachers create a cross-less Gospel which involves believing in whatever you want to believe about the Scripture so long as Jesus is in there somewhere and so long as it has something to do with something vaguely referred to as church. But how can we believe this promises of Jesus if the Bible isn’t true at all points? How can I believe that Jesus is coming back to take us to the Father if in fact Jesus was really real, or if Jesus wasn’t really God, or if Jesus wasn’t really authorized to make such statements? If Jesus was not God then Jesus had no real authority to make such statements and we can rightfully ignore him.

When it gets down to the nitty-gritty, those who doubt the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scripture ultimately doubt Jesus. Scripture, from first to last, is a testimony to Jesus Christ (Luke 14, John 5). If Scripture’s testimony isn’t true can we reasonably assume that we are being told the truth about Jesus? There is great danger in reducing the Word of God from its God-breathed inerrancy to a collection of mere man-myths.

But if Jesus is God, and if the Scripture is inerrant and infallible, then Jesus does have the authority and the power to make such statements and to bring them to fruition. Many think that Jesus needs some help along the way. They think they are making God to be greater by ‘broadening’ the road and being more ‘tolerant’ and ‘inclusive’. Jesus didn’t think that was the way to bring honor to the Father. The way to honor the Father is by having confidence and faith in the Words that Jesus spoke, the Words that He means to bring to fulfillment when the ages have reached their conclusion.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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