By Tyson Thorne

September 17, 2019

John 42 Large

Dinner is over, Judas and Satan had left to go and betray Jesus, and only those who were destined to remain are now present. Jesus has just dropped the news that one of them would betray him, and that Peter would deny knowing Jesus before sunrise. It is natural for the disciples to start feeling defeated even before their individual failings. Sensing the difficulty his followers were experiencing taking in the truth about their nature, Jesus offers them comfort in the form of still more future prophecy. "Do not be distressed," the Savior says. Words we all need to hear sometimes.

“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me." Jesus issues this command at the start of the upper room discourse. Believing in Jesus is, of course, the way to Heaven where Jesus is going to prepare a dwelling place for them and all believers. While Jesus will one day return to take them to this home, they have the knowledge that will get them there — belief in the Messiah. Thomas isn't one of the more popular disciples, being nick-named "doubting Thomas" and all, but he has one thing going for him: he says what everyone else is thinking. "Lord," he interjects, "we do not know where you are going, and therefore cannot know the way." Jesus make's himself as clear as possible, stating, "I am the way." Then, "No one comes to the Father except through me." The Father obviously resides in Heaven, so Jesus is stating he is going home to the Father, and they too will follow him there one day because they have faith in him.

It is a popular belief that there are many paths to God, but that is only true if your god is the devil. Satan tempts mankind in three primary ways, as as Charles Ryrie points out in his tome Basic Theology. Satan will tempt us to put status before sanctification, tempt us to cover up our selfishness, and tempt us to immoral thoughts and behaviors. It would seem Judas fell for all three, but only one of these tempting paths is necessary to find your way to Satan. One must put their faith in Jesus alone to find their way to the Father. Jesus emphasizes that those whom have seen Jesus have seen the Father, relating once more their oneness.

Philip seems to ask a rather dense question, asking Jesus to show them the Father. I think he wasn't that stupid. Picking up on Jesus words, he was asking for a theophany, a manifestation of the Father like Abraham had experienced. Jesus assures Philip that this is unnecessary as he and the Father are one. Jesus then gives three evidences for this fact: (1) Jesus is in the father and the father is in Jesus, (2) the words Jesus speaks are the words of the Father, and (3) the miracles Jesus performed are evidences from the Father. Jesus then makes two statements that are often misunderstood by particular denominations.

The first of these statement Jesus makes is that his followers will do greater deeds than Jesus did. Many take this to believe that they ought to perform miracles, particularly the flashy sign miracles. History shows this to be in error. However, Peter preached one sermon and brought three thousand people to faith in Jesus. This surpasses what Jesus did, and even this is surpassed by modern evangelists who preach to stadiums full of people. Jesus' mission was the salvation of men, not turning water into wine.

The second statement is Jesus' promise to answer "yes" to any prayer request we bring to him. Many see Jesus words in verses 13 and 14 as a promise without equal and without qualification. They see wrongly. Jesus clearly states that we must ask "in his name". This is not a magic phrase or mantra, but rather a qualifier. "In Jesus name" is the same as "in Jesus' will". The more prayers of our that our answered indicates that our human spirit is more greatly aligned with the will of God. It is meant for encouragement, not exploitation.

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