John 14:1-7 I Am the Way … to the Father

 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

I Am the Way … to the Father

Jesus says that he is the way to the place that he prepares for us.  We often take the verse out of context, but we still assume that he is taking us to Heaven.  In context, that would appear to be the case.  Jesus takes us to the place that he has prepared, so it must be quite a place.  This is where our consumerism really tends to kick in for those of us raised in the West.  We can imagine big-screen T.V.’s, large yards, and maybe a limo or a Porsche in the driveway.  Of course it’s immaculate and well manicured, like a house belonging to a celebrity living in Los Angeles or San Francisco.  Look at the lyrics of Big House by Audio Adrenaline:

I don’t know where you lay your head
Or where you call your home
I don’t know where you eat your meals
Or where you talk on the phone

I don’t know if you got a cook
A butler or a maid
I don’t know if you got a yard
With a hammock in the shade

I don’t know if you got some shelter
Say a place to hide
I don’t know if you live with friends
In whom you can confide

I don’t know if you got a family
Say a mom or dad
I don’t know if you feel love at all
But I bet you wish you had

Come and go with me
To my fathers house
Come and go with me
To my fathers house

It’s a big, big house with lots and lots a room
A big, big table with lots and lots of food
A big, big yard where we can play football
A big, big house it’s my fathers house

All I know is a big ol’ house
With rooms for everyone
All I know is lots a land
Where we can play and run

All I know is you need love
And I’ve got a family
All I know is your all alone
So why not come with me?

Come and go with me
To my fathers house
Come and go with me
To my fathers house

It’s a big, big house with lots and lots a room
A big, big table with lots and lots of food
A big, big yard where we can play football
A big, big house it’s my fathers house

It’s a big, big house with lots and lots a room
A big, big table with lots and lots of food
A big, big yard where we can play football
A big, big house it’s my fathers house
My fathers house

Come and go with me
To my fathers house
Come and go with me
To my fathers house

It’s a big, big house with lots and lots a room
A big, big table with lots and lots of food
A big, big yard where we can play football
A big, big house it’s my fathers house

It’s a big, big house with lots and lots a room
A big, big table with lots and lots of food
A big, big yard where we can play football
A big, big house it’s my fathers house

I can’t speak for the motives or the vision of the song-writers, but the emphasis seems to be on what I will get out of it.  There is a relational component in the song but it is minimal.  Now notice what Jesus says at the end of the passage above.  It is interesting that he does not say, “No-one comes to the Mansion except by me.”  He states that non-one gets to the Father except through him.  In other words, The Father is the destination.  The emphasis is not on what the Father has in terms of a yard or food.  Of course there is good food and there are good rooms.  However, the emphasis is on the relationship with the Father.  Jesus is about to leave the disciples but he provides a way into the presence of the Father he serves.

I think if most Christians understood the implications of this, they’d be a little disappointed.  Their desire to follow God is not for God’s sake.  Their desire to follow God is for the rewards that he provides.  The ultimate reward is a place in the sun called Heaven.  Even if Heaven is dull, it sounds better than Hell.  For many Christians the end of life is not about the person it’s about the place.  We are like children who like visiting Grandma’s house because she gives us ice-cream, but when we have to kiss her good-bye we go running for the car in order to get home and play with our toys.

https://i2.wp.com/farm5.staticflickr.com/4071/4507631809_c64edf5c13_z.jpg

Prayer

Father, give us a vision of you where you are someone we want to come home to.

Questions

  1. Why do the disciples need to be comforted?
  2. What was the Jewish view of God?
  3. What is the relationship between God the Father, Jesus and Heaven in this passage?
  4. How do you view Heaven?
  5. How do you think other people you know view Heaven and how we got there?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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20 Responses to John 14:1-7 I Am the Way … to the Father

  1. karas says:

    This is pretty deep… Do we want the Father? Or do we just want what He can give us? I think the more I learn about God, the more I am starting to want Him and not just what He gives. I’m not sure how to get others to do that, though, or as a teacher how to communicate that to my kids except to start this conversation.

  2. Ed says:

    Just did a study on Heaven by Dr. David Jeremiah and it was very good. I didn’t get that part that we go to God which was right in front of us, must have been day dreaming. My biggest take away that there will be truth all the time and work for the glory of God. The disciples thought Jesus was leaving for good. Through Christ to God in Heaven.

  3. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus has told them that He’s leaving and going to die!
    2. I don’t think that the Old Testament Jews had much of an idea of God as a loving father – He was YHWH, the LORD.
    3. Jesus goes to His Father to prepare a place for us, that we may come and be with the Father as well.
    4. When I was little I definitely had the idea of sitting on clouds with harps, or a city made of clouds and gold. Since I’ve gotten older and read more Scripture, I’m still not sure what Heaven will look like, but I know that worshipping God will be a huge part of our eternal existence!
    5. I think a lot of nonbelievers (and even many Christians) view heaven the way I did as a child, and I’m sure many nonbelievers view the way to get there as having your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds.

  4. Kathleen says:

    This post really made me stop and think, especially because I remember singing the song Big House when I was little in church. I think the topic of heaven and hell draw many people to become interested in the faith. As we grow in our faith, I believe we become excited to go to heaven for the person. I think the way culture portrays heaven contributes to people viewing heaven for the place in a consumeristic way.

  5. Janice says:

    1. Jesus is comforting the disciples because He is about to leave them.
    2. The Jewish view of God is as YHWH, their covenant God. God promises to bless them if they keep His commandments.
    3. Jesus is the way to the Father and His Father’s house. Through Jesus we can know the Father.
    4. I view Heaven as a restored world where we will be face-to-face with God.
    5. Some of my friends view Heaven as a perfect place without suffering and believe they can get there by being “a good person.” Some view Heaven as an imaginary construct humans created to cope with death.

  6. What is the relationship between God the Father, Jesus and Heaven in this passage?
    How do you view Heaven?
    How do you think other people you know view Heaven and how we got there?
    “In this passage, heaven in the place where God the Father abides and Jesus is the one mediator between God and man, He is God-with-us. Jesus is through whom we may experience the Triune life and love of God. I view “heaven” as when we are with God for eternity in the new heavens and new earth. I have heard the common view from many that heaven is where we will be forever once we die and that we get there mostly by being good.”

  7. ashleypdye says:

    1. The disciples were troubled because Jesus was “leaving” them.
    2. The Jewish view of God is that he is far-off and distant.
    3. Jesus is the way to the Father and Heaven. Heaven is Heaven, though, because of God.
    4. I used to want to go to Heaven because it’s not hell. Now I long for it because I will be in the full presence of God all the time without sin or pain or confusion keeping me from him.

  8. Lacy says:

    1. They are being told that Jesus is leaving them but don’t understand how or why.
    2. I think that it was much less relational, more of a ruler than a father, more emphasis on power than on love.
    3. Jesus is the way to heaven, where the Father is; therefore, Jesus is the way to the Father.
    4. I’ve heard so many explanations of heaven that I have later suspected to be flawed, that right now honestly I try not to think about the details too much. I’m not sure what to think of them. All I know is that sin will be absent and we will be in the presence of God, which sounds good enough for me!
    5. Oh, I think there are countless views of heaven out there. Most people think of it as what they imagine the perfect life would be like, I think, so they all have a slightly different idea. Outside of believers, everybody has a different opinion of how you get there too, usually focusing on some type of virtue: kindness, reverence, honesty, etc.

  9. Dominic Shortridge says:

    The moreI learn about life and its whole existence, the less and less I feel like I know what heaven is. I used to think heaven was the bright, golden, cloudy picture that I watched in cartoon movies. Having been taught that the Spiritual is very much not what Disney has shown us, I feel like my conception of what heaven is like is more and more grounded in a holistic and satisfying communion with God. What that communion looks like or feels like, I do not know, hopefully Sys Theo 2 can clear that up for me.

  10. Beth Coale says:

    First of all, the more I study the Bible and learn here at Moody, the more horrified I get at what songs & activities we do with kids! At a neighborhood after-school program back home, we sing that song pretty much every week! Ah! It’s really hard to know how to respond to things like this when at events/ programs. When I lead, I want to thoughtfully chose how to do things from what I’ve learned, but when I’m not leading them, I don’t want to contradict anybody or be critical.

    1. because Jesus was leaving them! (or that’s what it truly felt like to them)
    2. I think back to the many names God had. He was many things to them – the God who freed them from Egypt, listens, provides, rewards those who faithfully seek Him, brings justice. I think of the many feasts/ traditions God also gave them to observe to teach them many things about mourning, celebrating, and remembering.
    3. Jesus is the way to the Father, and being with the Father is the beauty of heaven. “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
    4. The most wonderful thing to me about heaven has always been the idea of absence of pain, not just for me but for other people – in this world, I feel like there’s always a bit of guilt at ever feeling happy because there’s so much pain. It would be nice to not have that burden.
    5. Probably as described in the post, in a selfish way – it’s our tendency to think about our survival and then what’s in it for us so I would say that we would think that until we asked God to help us think the way He wants us to.

  11. Amy McCashen says:

    1. They need to be comforted because their teacher is leaving them.
    2. They believe that they are still under the law of the Old Testament. They thought God was a lot less relational.
    3. Jesus and the Father are both identified as God. Jesus is the creator of Heaven and he is going to prepare a place for us.
    4. I view it as a real place.
    5. I think some people view heaven as a mystical, spiritual bliss. I think those people think they get there by good works.

  12. sjcavitt says:

    1) The disciples are being comforted by Jesus, because they know that He is about to leave them.
    2) The Jews were often deeply devout people who did not have a personal relationship with God.
    3) One must believe in God to go to heaven, and God is known through Jesus.
    4) I view heaven as eternity spent with my Creator and with all the other believers. It will be a place of no sorrow or troubles but a place of joy and worship.
    5) I thought it was interesting how you mentioned that many people believe heaven will essentially be a place fulfilling all of their consumerist desires. I believe that is true! There are countless views of how people will get to heaven, but it is clear in this passage and throughout the Bible that Jesus is the only way!

  13. Rachel says:

    A common conception of Heaven is just what this song describes: a great big place where we can party! However, the Biblical description of Heaven is a place where the Bride of Christ will finally be united to the Son of God. This is somewhat disconcerting. It is far easier for me to imagine all my worldly pleasures to the max than to imagine being completely immersed in the presence of God and eternally united to his Son.

  14. Mary says:

    I agree with Beth…the songs we sang in Sunday school growing up, as I reflect back at the lyrics, are not very biblical, and it horrifies me. Before I came to Moody I didn’t notice them either. I am thankful that Moody has helped me to turn off my autopilot button and start engaging my critical thinking skills. It is scary to think how many of us are running on autopilot…Yuk! Lord come quickly! I am afraid we have to think critically about everything we say and do, in order to make sure we do not make the same mistakes our parents did, and propagate the same beliefs in our future children. I wish to be a change-agent and point people to the Truth, but it sure is exhausting work. How can I not, now that I have the Truth? Something I still struggle with today…Is it wrong for me to be resentful toward those who offered me Heaven rather than offering me Jesus? It still causes me great sorrow that I did not come to know Him intimately sooner, and that other people are being prevented that same joy today at the hands of well-meaning believers.

  15. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. Why do the disciples need to be comforted?
    Because Jesus is leaving them to assend to the Father after his death
    2. What was the Jewish view of God?
    Not a father, but a holy, righteous and awe-inspiring God.
    3. What is the relationship between God the Father, Jesus and Heaven in this passage?
    If we know Christ, we know God. Amd we will be gathered together in His dwelling place, in heaven.
    4. How do you view Heaven?
    My view shifted more in my Biblical Theology of Jerusalem class. Heaven will be the most beautiful city, full of things that, now, sound confusing to us, but indeed are glorious beyond our imagination.
    5. How do you think other people you know view Heaven and how we got there?
    Most answers I hear is that because so and so is a descent person, they will go to heaven.

  16. nataliaria says:

    Jesus offers the disciples comfort because many heavy topics, such as his impending betrayal and death, have come up in recent conversations with them.

    I believe that the Jewish view of God was of the great I AM, YHWH, who was set apart in His holiness, with whom the idea of a personal relationship probably seemed rather intimidating, if not downright terrifying.

    In this passage, Jesus connects God the Father, Himself, and Heaven in that Heaven is not merely a great place to be, but the place where God is, and where believers will have true fellowship with Him. This fellowship, however, is only attained through relationship with Jesus Christ.

    I had not realized it until I read the above, but I think my understanding of Heaven had been primarily fueled by what was going to be there instead of who is going to be there- God the Father. I have not yet had the kind of close brush with the death of a loved one that often leads to deeper reflection upon Heaven, but regardless, I strive to think of my eternity there as a wonderful and completely healed relationship with God, and not simply a time when I will play football in the big, big yard.

    I think the predominant view of Heaven and how we get there is the secular view depicted in modern comics, movies, and art, in which Heaven is place with clouds and angels and harps, and enough good things will get one there, but at the same time, the media seems to indicate, Heaven might be kind of boring…. and without God there, I believe it would be.

  17. zacbodine says:

    LATE/ THIS WAS ANOTHER ONE I DID ON TIME BUT WAS AFRAID TO BE THE FIRST COMMENT and therefore did not post and then forgot to post later.
    This text is one of the coolest because not only does it express that we are important enough to God that he wants us to live with him but it contains the verse 7. From now on you do know and see. How cool is that? I don’t want “a big big house with lots and lots of room” I want a place where I am known fully. I can be wholly and fully human; fully and holy and whole. In heaven sitting with my Father composing a novel next to him talking about punk music that’s the house I’m going to live in. That is exciting and all of it is only possible because of, through, and for Jesus.

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