[Nov 28]—Comfort and Confrontation

            Once again we come to some of the best-known and well-loved verses in the Bible, and I have to comment on them. I feel so. . . .inadequate when touching on passages like this. What am I going to say to add to it? Oh well, here goes. . .
            Please keep in mind our Lord’s purpose here. He only has a little more time with them before he faces the cross and all that entails. His disciples are confused by his words and the finality of the atmosphere. The Passover is supposed to be a celebration, and Jesus is talking like this is the last time he’s going to see them alive. They need comfort and encouragement for the hours ahead. Of course, considering what’s in store for him, they should be comforting him instead of the other way around, but that’s the type of Savior we have.
            So he gives them what they need, as he always does. Now, there's some debate about how to translate verse 1: You could render it as "You already believe in God, so I want you to also believe in me," or you could interpret it as "I want you to believe in God and also to believe in me." Either way could be justified by the Greek, but from the context and the background of the disciples, I’d go with the first one. There’s no reason they were struggling with believing in God per se. In fact, most people in history have believed in God or gods or something to that effect. Most people in America claim to believe in God. That’s no great stretch. But Jesus here is linking belief in God with belief with himself: “You trust in God. You believe that he exists. So trust in me in the same way.” That’s what makes the difference between salvation and condemnation. The demons "believe in God" in some sense, but they certainly aren't in a right relationship with him. 
            And what’s the benefit of believing in Jesus? If you do, he has a place reserved for you. It’s got your name on it.
            Now, there are a lot of things which Jesus didn’t talk about. He didn’t indulge our idle curiosity by outlining everything we’d like to know about the afterlife.  But he specifically tells us that if he wasn’t coming back, and if there wasn’t plenty of room in his Father’s house for us, he’d tell us so.
            In vss. 4-6, once again, we see John’s motif of pointing out a place where Jesus says something about the spiritual realm and the listeners misinterpret it to mean something in the physical realm. He tells them that they know the “way” to where he’s going, and they’re thinking about a physical road.
            And here we come to one of the most famous verses in the Bible--verse 6--and it’s something believers have been using to show the lost that Jesus is not one of many ways to God. He’s not option #6 on a list of ways to make it to a good afterlife and restore our broken relationship with the Almighty. There’s only one way into God’s benevolent presence, and he’s it.
            Does this mean that the nice Buddhist/Muslim/Jew I know isn’t going to make it? Well, you tell me—how else do you interpret this? People have gone from Dallas to Fort Worth by way of Houston to try to prove that this verse doesn’t mean what it plainly says. I’ve heard their arguments, and I can’t get around what it tells us.
            The good news is that although Jesus is the only way to God, there are many paths to Jesus. And if someone is really seeking him, they’ll find him.
            And he’s not just a source of truth, like Moses or Isaiah or Malachi. He is Truth Incarnate. The Truth took on human flesh and got a name.
            And he’s not just a source of life, like the sun or the air we breathe. He is Life Incarnate. The Life took on a human body and poured out himself for us. We feed on him, and his life enters us and fills us to overflowing.
            So what do we take from this as believers, aside from the obvious use as a witnessing tool? If he is the Way, then am I careful to keep in close relationship with him? He's the Path I need to take, and as long as I stick close to him, I’ll never go astray. And if he is the Truth, then does my life reflect that as his follower? And if he is the Life, then am I trying to find life in another source? That’s not just sinful and rebellious—it’s goofy. It’s foolish in the extreme, and I know better.

Yes, Lord, I do know better. So why do I try to find Life in any source besides you? And could you please help me to correct that?

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