Read: John 14:1-14
Consider: When reading the Bible it is sometimes easy to forget that each passage has a context, with something happening before and after what we are reading. Today’s passage (John 14:1-14) starts with Jesus comforting his disciples and this should cause us to ask why they needed to be comforted. To answer this we need to look back to John 12 and 13. John 12:20-36 tells us that Jesus predicted his death, in John 13:18-30 he predicted his betrayal and in John 13:31-38 he predicted Peter’s denial. It is clear that John 14:1-4 is the result of the disciples being disturbed by what they heard what was to happen in the future. It is very telling that at a time when Jesus himself would have been acutely aware of what awaited him on the cross, he took time to comfort his disciples. The message for us is that God is never too busy to provide comfort to those who are hurting. I have read it said somewhere that ‘Jesus comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable’.
The second part of today’s reading concerns Jesus making the very bold statement: I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). How does this relate to what we’ve discussed previously? There has been much controversy and heated debate about Jesus’ claim that he is the only way to the Father. This disturbs those who are comfortable thinking that all religions has a seed of truth in them and it is arrogant for Jesus (and Christians) to make this claim. This is not something new, as the early church would have faced the same criticism.
I have a very straightforward view on this. We need always to keep in mind that it is Jesus himself who is saying this. If we think about it, if Jesus said it he would have either been telling the truth or telling lies. Would Jesus have said this if he knew it to be untrue? If he knew it was untrue and still said it, would this not lead us to turn away from him knowing that Christianity was a sham? The early believers had such confidence in the truth of Jesus’ statement that they were willing to suffer persecution for their faith and some ultimately to die at the hands of their persecutors. Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God still disturbs people today. Only when the disturbed bring their discomfort to Jesus, can they know his comfort.
Pray: Father, we pray for your comfort when we are disturbed by what we see happening in the world. We ask that the truth of who Jesus is would disturb those who ignore his claims to be the only way to God. Amen