by Mike Ratliff
λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι᾽ ἐμοῦ. (John 14:6 NA27)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and life; no one come to the Father except through Me.” (a personal translation of John 14:6 from the NA27 Greek text)
We continue with the time our Lord spent with His disciples in preparation for His separation for them as He was arrested, tried, crucified, died, and laid in a tomb. In John 13 He has told them that He is about to be betrayed by one of their number and that Peter this very night will deny that he ever knew the Lord at all. All of these are extreme jolts and tests of their faith therefore our Lord encourages them greatly. In this post we will look how He begins this by exegeting John 14:1-14.
Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία· πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεὸν καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε. ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου μοναὶ πολλαί εἰσιν· εἰ δὲ μή, εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ὅτι πορεύομαι ἑτοιμάσαι τόπον ὑμῖν; καὶ ἐὰν πορευθῶ καὶ ἑτοιμάσω τόπον ὑμῖν, πάλιν ἔρχομαι καὶ παραλήμψομαι ὑμᾶς πρὸς ἐμαυτόν, ἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἦτε. καὶ ὅπου [ἐγὼ] ὑπάγω οἴδατε τὴν ὁδόν. Λέγει αὐτῷ Θωμᾶς· κύριε, οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ὑπάγεις· πῶς δυνάμεθα τὴν ὁδὸν εἰδέναι; λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι᾽ ἐμοῦ. εἰ ἐγνώκατέ με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου γνώσεσθε. καὶ ἀπ᾽ ἄρτι γινώσκετε αὐτὸν καὶ ἑωράκατε αὐτόν. (John 14:1-7 NA27)
“Let not your heart be troubled; you 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 am coming again and will receive you to myself that where I am you may be also. And where I go you know the way.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord we do not know where you go, how are we able to know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one come to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you know My Father also and from now on, you know Him and have seen Him.” (a personal translation of John 14:1-7 from the NA27 Greek text)
What is troubling the disciples? It is our Lord’s continual reference to His imminent departure. This belief in v1 implies trust doesn’t it? Notice in v2 our Lord’s reference to his going to prepare a place for His people in His Father’s house. The Father’s house is Heaven and these “rooms” translates μοναὶ the nominative, plural of μονή or monē, “dwelling places.” These are believers “eternal dwellings” in Heaven. Notice also that since that is true then our Lord promises to return and receive believers to Himself to be with Him forever. What is the way in order for us to follow the Lord to be with Him forever where He is? It is to know Jesus as the way, the truth and life by coming to the Father through the Son by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Jesus is the one and only way to the Father, which fulfills the Old Testament teachings that show the exclusiveness of God’s claims such as the curtain (Exodus 26:33) barring access to God’s presence from all except the High Priest, the rejection of human inventions as means to approach God (Leviticus 10:2), and the choice of Aaron alone to represent Israel before God in His sanctuary (Numbers 17:5). Jesus is the only “way” to God and He alone can provide access to God.
Jesus is the truth fulfills the teaching of the Old Testament (John 1:17) and reveals the true God (John 1:14, 17; 5:33; 18:37; 8:40, 45-46; 14:9).
Jesus alone is the life who fulfills the Old Testament promises of life given by God (John 11:25-26), having life in himself (1:4; 5:26), and He is thus able to confer eternal life to all those who believe in Him (e.g. 3:16). This is another “I am” saying that makes a claim to deity”
Λέγει αὐτῷ Φίλιππος· κύριε, δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἀρκεῖ ἡμῖν. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωκάς με, Φίλιππε; ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑώρακεν τὸν πατέρα· πῶς σὺ λέγεις· δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα; οὐ πιστεύεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί ἐστιν; τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀπ᾽ ἐμαυτοῦ οὐ λαλῶ, ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ. πιστεύετέ μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί· εἰ δὲ μή, διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ πιστεύετε. (John 14:8-11 NA27)
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “So long a time I am with you Philip and you have not known Me? The one having seen Me has seen the Father. How do you say, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words which I speak to you I do not speak from my own authority, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, but if not, believe because of the works themselves.” (a personal translation of John 14:8-11 from the NA27 Greek text)
In response to Philip’s request to see the Father, much like Moses’ request in Exodus, our Lord makes it clear that His ministry is an even greater fulfillment of what Moses saw. He also makes it clear that those who have seen Him have seen the Father making it clear that He most certainly did claim deity. Philip, like most of the other disciples did not fully understand the point of Jesus’ coming, which was to reveal the Father (John 1:14, 18).
In v10 we have a clear reference to the Trinity. The Father and the Son are distinct persons within the Trinity as is the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14) yet all three of them constitute only one being in three persons.
In v11 we have something that many believers struggle with yet with which I have finally come to terms. As I have done so, it has been incredibly freeing. This faith, Christianity is not about feelings. It is not about mystical stuff or getting your attitude right, et cetera. Nope, it is about belief and the evidence we are to believe is clear, historical proof as our Lord says in this verse. Look at his works and believe. Look at the fact that He lived, was crucified on our behalf, died, and was resurrected and all those things were proven true by multitudes of witnesses. Christianity is the only “religion” that is like this. We believe the truth and in doing so, God sets us free. This is true because when we believe the truth, we are believing in the Son as our Lord and Saviour, turning to Him in repentance. This is the way we come to Father through the Son.
Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ κἀκεῖνος ποιήσει καὶ μείζονα τούτων ποιήσει, ὅτι ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα πορεύομαι· καὶ ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου τοῦτο ποιήσω, ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ. ἐάν τι αἰτήσητέ με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐγὼ ποιήσω. (John 14:12-14 NA27)
“Amen, amen I say to you, the one believing in Me will also do my works which I do and greater than these he will do because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (a personal translation of John 14:12-14 from the NA27 Greek text)
What does it mean that believers will do greater works because Jesus is going to the Father? Who comes to the Church because Jesus is going to the Father? It is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who enables us to pray and do and abide and obey. The works the Church does are greater in scope than what Jesus did because they are worldwide, not greater in magnitude.
Soli Deo Gloria!