No. 22: The way, the truth and the life!
Read John 14:1-14
Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament
When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, He wasn’t kidding!
Jesus is the only path there is to the person of the Father and to a relationship with Him. The only way to know God is to know Jesus by His Spirit. This is eternal life: to KNOW the only true God and Jesus Christ who God sent. (See John 17:3.)
The Jewish people used these names for the entrances to their temple. So, when Jesus made this declaration, they would immediately have known that He was saying that He was the foundation of their faith.
They still know them as:
- The Way – leading into the main court, a place where sins were atoned for;
- The Truth – leading into the Holy Place, finding bread, light and incense;
- The Life – leading to the person and presence of God Himself.
Historical background of the tabernacle
Under the old covenant, God told Moses how to build the tabernacle (tent) and all its furnishings. It was a portable sanctuary where God lived among His people, while they trekked across the desert until they finally entered and possessed the promised land. The tabernacle was God’s home on earth, which He filled with His glory. Almost five hundred years later, Solomon replaced the tabernacle with a temple to house the “Ark of the Covenant”. At the opening of the temple, God’s glory filled that too. (See 2 Chronicles 5:14.)
This was to be the place, ordained by God, where His people would bring their sacrifices; where the priests served Him and where God Himself was present.
The tabernacle was designed by God with three entrances
The first entrance took the worshipper into the main court, where burnt offerings and sacrifices were made to atone for the sins of the people. A second entrance then led into “The Holy Place”. Inside stood the table of “show-bread”, the altar of incense and the menorah (golden lamp stand). There too, was the huge curtain leading to the “Holy of Holies” where God was present. Only the high priest was permitted to venture here and that only once a year, after he had first made sure that he had been ritually “cleansed” on behalf of himself and the people. If the high priest had entered behind the curtain with any trace of sin, he would have been killed instantly, unable to survive in the presence of I AM (Jehovah) Himself.
These three entrances were placed, one after the other, leading to the Father and the way of reconciliation.
In John 14:6, Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life. See the diagram at the end of these notes for a visual representation of the three entrances.
“Let not your heart be troubled.” (John 14:1)
Jesus has told us not to allow our hearts to become troubled. So, it must, therefore, be possible not to let our hearts be troubled. Jesus wouldn’t have said this if it was impossible to achieve.
That word “heart” doesn’t refer to the organ that pumps blood around our bodies, but to our mind, will and emotions. Whether you believe it or not, IT IS POSSIBLE not to let our emotions and thoughts become traumatised. We are the ones who have control of our minds and hearts. Jesus then explains to us how this is possible.
Believe! Faith in God is the victory that overcomes the world and all its troubles. (See 1 John 5:4.) We can actually cast all our cares and concerns onto the broad shoulders of Jesus (Compare 1.Peter 5:7.)
Isaiah 53:4 says of Jesus: “Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses and distresses) and carried our sorrows.” The good news is, that He HAS ALREADY borne them. So why do we still feel so devastated at times and feel that our hearts must surely explode with the hurt of it all? Jesus felt everything as deeply as we do, but He had a “God perspective”. He never allowed those feelings to take over and control His life, but constantly had His purpose in focus. Could it be that we don’t totally trust Him with the things that are causing the pain? The disciples were devastated when Jesus died. His words hadn’t helped them because they hadn’t mixed them with faith. (Read Hebrews 4:2.)
Perhaps we don’t yet have absolute confidence that He is able to deal with the things that concern us. We think that we must surely try our hardest to sort it out ourselves and help God along! Jesus is more than capable of sorting out: partners, children, parents, friends, housing difficulties, food requirements; in fact, any trouble we may have. The reality is that the only difficulty we do have is in clinging to, relying on, and trusting in God with absolute confidence. That is why He left the Holy Spirit (John 14:16) to do the work.
The reason that Jesus told us not to let our hearts become troubled is so that we can be free from all those fears and anxieties that just bring torment to us. We were not designed to worry. Our body is destroyed by it in fact – ask any doctor. Stress is the most common cause of death. Father cares so much for us all, that He has made a way for us to be free from it. It’s hard to let go of things sometimes, because our brains seem to be working overtime – thinking – thinking – thinking! In fact, our thoughts can fly around so much that they become a tangled mess, like “silly string”: knotted, tangled and a useless mess! But… we can make a decision to refuse to fear, no matter what we may be facing. Other people and circumstances CANNOT trouble us unless we allow them to divert our attention from the Lord and His Word. (Read Isaiah 26:3.)
Start by making a decision today that you will choose to trust God. When that feeling of panic or fear shoots up out of nowhere, say: “No. God has promised. I refuse to fear. There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.” (See 1 John 4:18.) Speak out the truth to yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and then follow His leading and His focus in the situation. It may take a while for your feelings to change, but they will as long as you keep remembering: You can, because Jesus said you can!
There is NO OTHER WAY to be free to live in that “peace that passes all understanding” – “peace that will guard your heart and mind” Philippians 4:7.
The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom” and it is defined by Strong as, “completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquillity, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony and the absence of any agitation or discord“. (Strong’s Concordance, 7965)
The peace that we can have is a decision away and comes through understanding that Jesus has truly borne ALL our troubles.
Key contents of the tabernacle and temple
The Ark of the Covenant: A golden rectangular box that contained the ten words (or commandments). It was placed in the tabernacle and, later, in Solomon’s Temple.
Symbolized: God’s covenant with the people of Israel. It was located in the “Holy of Holies”.
The Place of Mercy (Mercy Seat): The lid of the Ark of the Covenant. It featured in the tabernacle and, later, in Solomon’s Temple.
Symbolized: the presence of God among his people.
The Veil: The curtain that divided the two sacred rooms of the tabernacle – the “Holy Place” and the “Holy of Holies”.
Symbolized: how the people were separated from God because of their sin.
The Table (of Show-bread): A wooden table located in the “Holy Place” of the tabernacle. The “Bread of the Presence” and various utensils were kept on this table.
The Bread of the Presence: Twelve loaves of baked bread, one for each tribe of Israel.
Symbolized: the spiritual nourishment that God offers his people.
The Lamp-holders and Lamps: The golden lamp-stand, holding seven burning oil lamps and located in the “Holy Place”. The lamp-stand lit the “Holy Place” for the priests.
Symbolized: the light of the world.
The Incense Altar: An altar in the “Holy Place” in front of the “Veil”.
Symbolized: acceptable prayer and was used for burning God’s special incense.
The Anointing Oil: A special oil used to anoint the priests and all the furniture in the tabernacle.
Symbolized: being set apart for God.
The Altar for the Burnt Offerings: The bronze altar outside the tabernacle that was used for the sacrifices.
Symbolized: how sacrifice restored one’s relationship with God.
Basin (Laver): A large wash basin outside the tabernacle used by the priests to cleanse themselves before performing their duties.
Symbolized: the need for spiritual cleansing.
Home challenges for Power Up! – No. 22: The way, the truth and the life
1. Read the notes on: “Let not your heart be troubled”. In a short sentence, write down what it meant to you?
2. a) Did you realise that you are able to: “Let not your heart be troubled”?
b) How are you now casting your cares onto Jesus?
3. After reading John 14:14, what is the promise that Jesus gives us?
Read John 14:15-24
4. What does God promise if we love Him?
5. If we have Jesus in us, what will we find it easy to do?
6. Where else previously in John (besides John 14:19), does Jesus tell them that, “in a little while”, the world will not see Him? Write the verse out.
7. How can these verses help your prayer times?
8. Which disciple asked Jesus about how He would “manifest” (show) Himself to them and not the world?
9. What was Jesus’ reply to the disciple? Write it in your own words.
10. Focusing on the job of the Holy Spirit from these verses, does this give you encouragement when witnessing? How?
Read John 14: 25-31
11. What does Jesus mean by “The helper”? Who will send the helper?
12. What does Jesus promise to leave with us? John 14:27. What warning does He repeat?
13. How do we receive the Holy Spirit?
14. In John 14:28, what does Jesus mean by saying He is going away and coming back to us?
15. From John 14:30 and 31, what is Jesus saying about Satan’s power? Who is Jesus obeying and why?
16. a) After reading these verses and knowing that Jesus has sent His helper, the Holy Spirit, do you have His comfort and peace in your life? (Take note of the definition of “shalom” from the text.)
b) Explain your experience of His peace.
c) If you cannot do this, then stop and pray now for His peace in your life, remembering that it is already yours through Calvary (the cross). Sometimes, we just need more revelation about what Jesus has given us.
17. Choose one verse to learn and write it out several times. If we remind ourselves constantly that the Holy Spirit is living in us we will find it so exciting to walk with Jesus on a daily basis.