I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE Trinity
John 14:4-7 05.11.23
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon says “he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (1:18). We could paraphrase it “The more you know, the more it hurts”.
• The more you know about the war between Israel and Gaza, the more you realise a simple solution is elusive.
• The more you learn about bad things that happen to good people, the more you may wonder about justice, and even if God is always good.
• The more you see the failings of friends, family members, church leaders and others, the greater the hurt, not less.
• The more you see your own wobbles and evils, the less you trust yourself, your honesty and sincerity.
The more you know, the more it hurts. No wonder some people shut their minds to knowing more, close the News, get off the grid and pull back from others.
Ross showed us last Sunday how the disciples with Jesus are in pain, are “troubled”. When they thought they were too important to kneel on the floor and wash the feet of the others, and Jesus did that, they are so pained, I doubt they could look him in the eye.
Now he tells them that one of them is a traitor. Are they now suspicious of one another, or second-guessing themselves? Not Peter, it seems. There is too much ignorant bravado in him for that. Then Jesus tells him that by this time tomorrow he will want nothing to do with Jesus. Ouch! Of course, they are all troubled.
The more Jesus shows them what they are really like, and tells them what is coming, they were learning that Solomon was right: “The more you know, the more it hurts.”
It’s even worse than that. He is telling them other things they just don’t get. He has said he is going somewhere, and that later they shall be with him. Where will he be? If they don’t know the address, how can they get there? “We don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (verse 5)
Into their confusion, uncertainty, doubt and trouble, Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth and the life” (v6). How is that a set of directions through the mess and trouble?
1. IN A WORLD OF UNCERTAINTY, STICK WITH JESUS
God says he cares for all his children and always provides for them in the best way, but you don’t have what your heart longs for – and maybe not what others have.
God says he rules the world in mercy, but the daily news cycle seems to say he doesn’t.
Plans get spoilt, prayers go unanswered, evil seems to win, and your efforts produce so little.
Where once there was simple certainty, now there is doubt and confusion.
Worse, it is the nature of doubt to spread. If I am not sure about this, then maybe I can’t be sure all my sins are forgiven, or that Jesus is even real, or that I haven’t been fooling myself.
If that isn’t you, you can bet it’s true for people sitting around you this morning. They look all together, but maybe they just have not told you about their uncertainty.
One of the killers with uncertainty is that we are prone to treat it as the only thing that is certain. John Piper got it right when he urged us to “doubt the certainty of despair”.
Thomas doesn’t know the way to get to where Jesus is going to be, but he doesn’t need to. All he needs to know is that Jesus knows. When Jesus says, “I am the way the truth, the life” … he is saying to “Stick with me Thomas, and you’ll get there.”
You know I am not saying it’s okay to be lazy in your understanding or not worry about trying to sort out what Jesus is saying. It is true that sometimes there is a depth in what he is saying that is beyond us … and that there are things in us, and that happen to us and in our world that seem not to fit with what he says.
Why should you stick with Jesus?
Has any other man spoken truth like he has? The judges who condemn him do not like what he says, but they can’t fault it.
Has any other man known what makes people tick like he does?
Has any other man loved bad, little, helpless people, like he has?
Has any other man shown the nature of God himself like he has?
Three years of evidence is all on the table. We read in verse 7 “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.” What makes the Father God is what makes the Son God.
You may not be sure about a pile of things. Jesus knows that. His call or you to follow him is based on his certainty, not yours.
He knows where he is going … He WILL get there, and he WILL bring every child of God to be with him.
1. In a world of uncertainty, stick with Jesus.
2. IN A WORLD OF ALTERNATIVES, STICK WITH JESUS
When we moved to Tamworth in 1978, there were two television stations. There are now 350, and millions of internet channels available 24 hours a day in our pocket. We are spoilt for choice.
In 1978 there were no McDonalds stores. Now there are 4, 2 Red Roosters, 2 KFC’s, 1 Oporto, 1 Taco Bell, 1 Hungry Jack’s and dozens of cafes and restaurants. Though we are now spoilt for choice I understand some people still can’t find the perfect coffee.
When it comes to what you put at the centre of your life, again there are so many alternatives also on offer:
religions like Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, now all respectable
Jesus-lite alternatives in mainstream churches and cults
non-religious religions like materialism, wokeism, or any brand of you-do-you-as-long-as-you-are-sincere.
or good old idols like sex, money, stuff, or family.
Look at the alternatives, and ask some hard questions:
• Which of them has something to say from outside this uncertain, confusing world, rather than only from out of the confusion in it?
• Which of them has a way of dealing with guilt and sin so that you can hold your head up when you face a perfectly holy God?
• Which of them has a big enough final answer to evil, suffering and death itself?
• Which of them can assure you that there is a God who personally stands behind the mess, in a way that is wise and full of mercy and goodness, not just in impersonal or blind Fate, like Allah?
Jesus has given us plenty of wise men and women who can tell us insightful and enriching things. Whether they are Christians or not, they got their insight and understanding from Jesus whom John says is the light that “enlightens everyone” (Jn 1:9). All truth is from him.
Jesus himself is not A truth, one among many … he not only SPEAKS the truth, though he does. He says that he IS truth. There is nothing about what he thinks, says or does that is anything but true.
How different that is from Satan, the enemy of Jesus, and our enemy. Jesus says that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character” (John 8:44).
- When he whispers to you that Jesus can’t be real or true or loving, truth or lie?
- When he tells you that what he wants for you is good for you, truth or lie?
- When he says that Jesus is no better a choice than all the other alternatives, truth or lie?
- And when he suggests that it is arrogant, intolerant, and unloving to say this is true and not that, truth or lie?
In a world of alternatives, Jesus could not be clearer … “I am the truth”. The others at their root are a lie.
1. In a world of uncertainty, stick with Jesus.
2. In a world of alternatives, stick with Jesus.
3. IN A WORLD LOOKING FOR MEANING, STICK WITH JESUS
Just because people say they find meaning for life in false religion or the works of their hands or the pleasures of their bodies, that doesn’t mean that they are not really looking for meaning. They are. In all sorts of ways, people are asking:
• Do I matter? Why do I matter? Or do I have no more value than a pet dog or maybe less?
• Does what I do matter, or does it all fade when I fade?
• What is big enough to get me through my suffering and my dying?
• How long must the bad guys get away with murder?
If you think playing in the puddles of work and wealth and sex and sport is going to answer all these questions about life, either you don’t get the questions, or you are too easily satisfied.
When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, he was saying not only that he changes lives, or gets us through life, but also that he alone explains life and makes sense of it like no one else does.
I don’t mean that he explains everything now, but he tells us enough now that we can honestly say that we live in this kind of world with answers that touch us in the core of our being.
What he SAYS and DOES is enough to take you out of this world to his Father’s right hand where, we are told there are only “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11), where no question remains unanswered, and no uncertainty unresolved.
He IS enough that when we know him, and belong to him, we HAVE the life that he made us to have. Life that is so different from anything here, that he calls it ETERNAL LIFE.
How many times do we need to hear about great people in this world – rich men, successful women, famous people – who get to the end of their lives and by their words or actions say, “Is this all there is?” No, Jesus says there is more, much more.
Next Tuesday 24 horses will run in the race that is said to stop the nation. If it takes a horse race to do that, and if we will bet more than a quarter of a billion dollars on the race, you’d have to wonder about our national and personal priorities, wouldn’t you?
You would have to wonder about our good sense. Why use good money on a bet when any of 24 horses might win?
I’m talking about something much, much safer than that this morning.
>> When it comes to finding true meaning to life, it’s a one-horse race. >> When it comes to finding true truth, again, it is one horse race.
>> When it comes to someone who know enough to get you through on an uncertain and doubting world, there is only one horse on the track.
Isn’t that why for real Christians, Jesus is never just a hobby, never just one valid choice among many?
Isn’t that why we know we are not wasting our time in teaching our children about him, or following him ourselves with a passion, and not being ever ashamed of him in our families, at work or school or anywhere for that matter? Isn’t that why we resolve not to bet on horses that don’t even make it onto the track?
>>>> Jesus says I am the way … in your ignorance and your certainty, stick with me and I’ll get you there.
>>>> Jesus says I am truth in a world of weak, false and shallow alternatives … stick with me for what you really need to know.
>>>> Jesus says I am the life – in a world where people are longing for meaning, you’ll find it in me like nowhere else. Stick with me.