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The Way, The Truth & The Life


okay we are right in the middle of the IMS of Jesus I love this series it's so important I think as followers of Jesus to look at what he said about himself like I don't know how you would describe yourself to someone if you had to pick five things to say about yourself what would you say you are Jesus picks seven things and said that he is these things and it's a really good way to figure it out rather than just trying to figure it out on our own like some kind of doctrinal statement or we just look at it as it's all really complicated but really Jesus tells us who he is and so the Gospel of John gives seven signs that Jesus did seven big miracles and then seven I am seven things seven statements that he made about himself pastor Evan two weeks ago looked at I am the bread of life pastor Steve last week lifted I am the light of the world and what I love about these statements is that as we begin to see who Jesus is we also see who we can be because when he says I am the bread of life it's not just because that's cool I'll just be the bread of life it's because this way you won't go hungry I am the light of the world so you don't have to be confused and stumbling and in darkness and today we're looking at one that is really interesting and people have used this one to beat people up before and I'd like to not do that this morning well you could tell me how I do at the end if I beat you up or not jesus answered this is from John 14:6 I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me now this is a really it can look a little narrow-minded and kind of egocentric if you look at it you know like so no one gets to go to the Father except through Jesus I thought all roads led to God isn't this true why would Jesus say this so we want to look at that and it's funny to me because pastor Steve I think it was a leader advance he mentioned a scripture that said all the people in Asia heard the gospel all the people and and I love anytime we see like an all in the Bible but then also here's a no one no one comes to the Father except through me so I want to pay attention to things like that in the Bible that are very strong statements and this is one of them and and so in order to really understand this sentence to understand this I am we want to look at the context it's kind of gonna be Bible study 101 this morning but context is everything and starting to study Scripture any ancient document really we need to understand the context really anything we want to understand context if you hear a woman scream in the Safeway parking lot stop that man what will your immediate thoughts be about that man you stole a purse or something but if you see a woman and and she screams stop that man is she's holding his wallet different story oh she found his wallet stop that man so understanding context changes everything about the way we see especially Scripture so whenever you start and you crack open the Bible and you're gonna read something in the morning or whenever ask yourself why is this being said where is it being said and to whom is it being said when you start to answer those questions you get a much fuller picture about the lady in the parking lot you start to understand what's going down here and so we're gonna look a lot at context today and a little at the actual statement because context is gonna form for us the why and the win and the where and to whom it's being said if we don't look at that we end up reading the Bible through a bend 2019 lens and when we do that we tend to miss something usually the point and so we don't want to miss the point how sad would it be to speak for 30 minutes to miss the point entirely so Jesus is saying this and it's a part of a better conversation remember that chapter divisions are not holy or sacred or spiritual they're they're not God inspired they are man-made your Bible was not divided into chapters and verses before it's just helpful for people like me who want to tell you where to turn so this even though it's four to chapter 14:6 this conversation bleeds out into chapter 13 as well in fact it starts at the very beginning of chapter 13 13 1 and it says it was just before the Passover festival jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the father having loved his own who were in the world he loved them to the end I love the original language in this because it means he loved them perfectly he loved them completely he loved them too full wholeness and so this scripture tells us a lot about context it tells us when when does it tell us the conversation is happening just before Passover right which also happens to be want 24 hours before Jesus is crucified and it's Jesus knows that the hour has come and he's gonna have a conversation with his disciples and that means this is gonna be the last conversation he has with them this is his last chance to tell them what he wants to tell them and he knows his hour has come so he knows it they don't know it but he knows it so that puts a framework around this conversation that is very tender and very meaningful I don't know you know you may know lots of people in your life I read a statistic that said most people know 600 people and I was like no wonder I'm overwhelmed that's too many people to know um then you don't have to like 600 people but apparently you know 600 people and you like like four of them probably but um I I like to ask people the question who would be around your deathbed who would be there what would you say to them that narrows down like that's there's not gonna be 600 people around my deathbed there's gonna be just a couple and I'm gonna choose my words so carefully and they're gonna be so full of love and heart and intention and that's the words we're getting here in John 13 jesus knows his hour has come and he wants to talk to his own his own disciples the ones who have given up everything to follow him he's focused on them even though this happens at Passover because Jesus is gonna become for us remember Passover happened 15 centuries before this date and it was when the the Lord released the children of Israel from bondage to the Egyptians and there was the Passover lamb and they put the blood above the door and so Jesus is coming as the new and better Passover he's coming for everyone he's throwing the doors open wide beyond Israel and he's coming to everyone to free us from every kind of bondage so Jesus presents himself symbolically at Passover as the new and better Passover lamb but for this moment though he's coming for all of us he's focused on his own his twelve they are his audience and they are held deeply in his heart so the tone of this entire conversation is loving and tender but it's also a little sad and Jesus is going to give them three distinctly bad pieces of news in this conversation there's a problem inside of the conversation and one of the things is that he's about to leave them because the the the problem of for Humanity is we need a Savior we've needed a savior since Adam and Eve we need a Savior but the solution to the problem is that Jesus will have to die and leave them and they will no longer have this flesh-and-blood access to the Father Jesus alone is perfect theology Jesus Jesus came to set our theology straight and so he lives with these men who have seen God through the law they've seen him through 600 rules they've seen him through the way they need to to live the way they need to hack the rules they need to follow and then Jesus comes and says this is what the father really looks like this is how it really is and I can't imagine how beautiful it must have been for them to have this living demonstration of the love of the Father right in front of them and they walk with him and talk with him but now the solution for the problem of humanity is that he has to go and so the question for the disciples is about to become how do we connect with the way of the Father when we no longer have a living breathing flesh and blood Jesus in front of us so one scholar writes in historical perspective oh I miss you guys I skipped a whole page of my notes and you're not getting out of here that easily not happening so Jesus plays out in front of them and reconstructs their understanding of God and then gives them some some news that we'll get to later so it says the evening meal was in progress and the devil had already prompted Judas the son of Simon Iscariot to betray Jesus jesus knew that the father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God Jesus knows exactly who he is um and that he a covering bottom is returning to God so he got up from the meal took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet drying them with the towel that was wrapped around his waist this is one of the most beautiful pictures of love in the Gospels it's just so mind-bending that Jesus takes on the form of a slave the only people that wash the feet of people in this culture were slaves and women and Jesus decided to take on the form of a slave and serve his disciples in a way that that would just it just wasn't done just to wash their dirty feet it just wasn't done by someone who was a leader and Peter protests he's humbled by it and he says don't don't do it and Jesus says if you can't trust me with the dirt on your feet you can't trust me with the dirt in your life you're gonna have to let you're gonna have to let this happen and he Stoops the God who is the boss of it all Stoops to serve fallen man he's not just demonstrating his love for them here he's demonstrating his way the the way that he loves the way that he serves it slow and it's humble and it's to honor the lives around him to almost incomprehensible levels and if you think they were humbled by this moment watching their Lord washed their feet imagine how they felt 24 hours later watching him lay their life down for the hymn them on the cross it is the humility that is great that leads us into salvation and I know it seems so obvious but every time I read this story I think I am not like that I'm not that way I still really want to be right and I still really want to be served and I still really want things to go my way and I still want to be honored I still want things that I feel like Jesus clearly demonstrates bow there's a better way for you one scholar writes the historical perspective for this what makes this account so extraordinary is that there is no parallel in extant ancient history for a person of superior status voluntarily washing the feet of someone of inferior status Jesus act therefore represents an assault on the usual notions of social hierarchy a subversion of the normal categories of honor and shame it is not just an honored teacher who is performing a shameful act but a divine figure with sovereignty over the cosmos who has taken on the role of a slave how did he do it how did he pin all of his love and service into the feet of the disciples I think we find the answer when we step back a minute in the in the story it says jesus knew that the father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God Jesus identity was so anchored in who he was and where he had come from and where he was going that it didn't cost him his identity to serve someone else so anchored in the love of God that he could freely love other people without worrying is this dignified enough is this honorable enough is this showing who I really am he already knew who he really was and so the way he loved wasn't attached to that and it was instead it was fueled by that and I think the more and more we understand how totally completely outrageously loved we are the or able we are two totally completely outrageously love our spouse and our kids and our co-workers and the people that annoy us I really think that understand not that anyone annoys us but I really think that knowing our identity and having it connected fully to being loved by the father is the thing that fuels us to do our greatest acts of service Jesus understands exactly who he is and there's no shaking him away from that identity not as he rides in triumphantly on a donkey not as he washes the disciples feet not as he hangs on a cross you can't shake his identity it's not circumstantial it's entirely embedded inside of him and so now we're seeing context develop in this story we're seeing that this night is tender and important and deep and it's about to get really sad because Jesus goes on to have dinner with them to predict his own betrayal and then he tells Judas he says one of you is gonna betray me it's the person that I dip the bread in and give it to him and he does it and he gives it to Judas and the disciples are still confused as to who the betrayer is and I take a lot of comfort in that because I miss a lot of obvious clues so I think that's good but I also think it's a clue as to how normal Judas was he didn't seem like the bad guy and so when he does this they know that this is Jesus knows that this is finally happening he gives the bread to Judas and then he looks at him and he says what you're gonna do go do it do it now and with those words Jesus launches the events of his own death did you have you ever noticed before when it told us twice already it has told us Jesus had all power invested in him he could have stopped this but instead what did he do he started it he is the one that said it's time it's time for me to go it's time for this to happen go do your worst Judas I'm ready go betray me it's stunning but here's the thing I believe in the beauty of a God who washed his feet first he knew what was coming he had the time line clearly etched in his heart and he still said I'm gonna love you first first I want you to remember this moment remember that I loved you to the very end so he says my children I will be with you only a little longer you will look for me and just as I told the Jews so I tell you now where I'm going you cannot come a new command I give you love one another as I have loved you so you must love one another by this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another there's just not a lot of programming information here there's not a lot of things you need to say there's not a lot of like propositions you need to give to people there's not a lot of rules you need to make sure people follow so that they know you're a disciple of Jesus there is one command love one another but it's specific as I have loved you how has Jesus loved them just this moment by washing their feet and by serving the betrayer Jesus demonstrates unconditional love and then he says this is the only way anyone's ever gonna know who you really are and so when I look at this and go wow I'm not very much like that I think I'm not doing it then I'm not doing well enough heritage I got a change to be more like Jesus Peter asks them the obvious question Lord where you going jesus replied where i'm going you cannot follow now but you will follow later well this is heartbreaking after all the believing and following and serving jesus is leaving them they finally found the one they've been looking for and he's not staying Peter says Lord why can't I follow you now I will lay my life down for you then jesus answered will you really lay your life down for me very truly I tell you before the rooster crows you will disown me three times so let's catch up on our context Jesus has gathered them and loved them well he's washed their feet and served them and showed them how they need to love and live with one another and then he gives them three very bad pieces of news he tells them one of them will betray him he tells them Peter will deny him three times and he tells them worst of all he's leaving and they can't go with and everything is changing for these guys I don't know if we can fully comprehend what a gut-punched this would have been they'd have left everything to follow him they didn't get to go to the funeral they wanted to go to they have left everything to follow him they have taken abuse from a society that doesn't understand they've passed in the glow of the crowds who love to listen to Jesus they've been friends with a superstar who loved them perfectly in their imperfections there is no replacing Jesus and there is no going with him I'm thinking this is the moment that the whole evening begins to make sense to them and they're realizing this is it this is goodbye he's really going in the very next line because remember chapter divisions are not our friend the very next line is do not let your hearts be troubled you believe in God believe also in me my father's houses many rooms if that were not so what I have told you that I'm going to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am you know the way to the place where I'm going Jesus says here do not let your hearts be troubled it's clearly a reaction to their reaction to his bad news and I love this in the original language because the first one I read it I was like that seems sort of him that seems sort of mean I'm leaving and I'm not coming back and stop being sad about it um but actually it's do not let your hearts be too troubled yeah he gets it he's not in validating their pain since you know let your hearts be too troubled I'm here and we're gonna figure this out together Jesus tells them to trust him he tells them hey guys I have a lot of real estate and there's the house with your name on it it's okay there's a bigger picture going on there's something bigger at work than what you're about to see he prepares them for what's coming by telling them that they can see a little bit of it but they can't see all of it Thomas says to him Lord we don't know where you're going so how can we know the way jesus answered I am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me if you really know me you will know my father as well this is where Jesus says the killer line I am the way the truth in life it is not an accusation hurled out at the world it is a comfort given to his disciples who were afraid they're losing him and so he is saying to them you will never lose the father because you have me and I will show you where to go I am the way I am the way for the for whatever it is that you're looking for I am that way I am terrible at directions like terrible like or any of you like this where you going to a doctor's office and they take you back in the caverns of the place the bowels and then you come out and it's just like am I in China well I don't know where I am and it's impossible to find my way out and I need an escort to get out of the building I'm like that I can't find places in fact I before cellphones told us where to go I would go to cities to speak that I had never been in before and I would go alone and I would decide it would be really fun and romantic to go out and discover the city and find a cool cafe in a bookstore and all of that and I would get a map and then I would turn it another way and I try to figure it out and I would end up just kind of in my hotel room all day watching Netflix because I couldn't find my way anywhere I'm bad and but I went to my friend's house in Sacramento and it was the first time I had been there and she knew the way to everything and not only did she know the way to everything she knew exactly what I would want to see even though I don't know Sacramento she knows what kind of donut I want to find in Sacramento she knows the coffee I want to find and she takes me where I need to go it's like that I think with Jesus he doesn't just know the way he knows you he doesn't just know the way for you to get to relationship with the father he knows what you need and he knows where to take you and he knows how to drive and he's good at it he is the way and I know you know we have we have a lot of tendency to be like but all roads lead to God and how can Jesus claim he's the only way I wrote that sometimes we say what does the church say Jesus is the only way and I'm I'm not the one saying it he's the one saying it but we have this this thing of like we we think we can get there however we want to get there and I understand it I just don't agree with it in all of life I don't think it's true there's this principle about ways and the principle is the way only goes where the way goes it just only goes where it goes it can't go somewhere it doesn't go and I know that's super profound and you just wanted to write it down right now maybe have a tattooed somewhere but the way only goes with the way goes and so if you come to me and say I'm new to bench I want to find target I'm gonna first be like I'm your girl I could tell you how to get to target I love the thirty dollar section you know it's nice and so I will tell you just go north on 97 that's the way you get to target I'm bad at directions but I know how to get to target and no matter how smart you are or what degree you have or how much gas is in your car how will intention you or how much you love the idea of going to target if you go south on 97 you will end up at Walmart and no one wants that for you and if you go further you will end up in California and that is less ideal sorry it's a Spring Break joke I'm sorry Californians we love you but honestly the way goes where the way goes now here's the thing that would it matter if somebody argued with me and said but wait a minute a couple of 97 is actually third can I take third to get to target yep because that's the right way it's just a different name so what if I say you should get to target by going past Sherry's and as long as Sherry's is on your right you'll definitely get to target yeah same thing same way just set a different different way it's just a different name for the same way it's okay but the way only goes were the way goes and so we say all roads lead to God but in fact we don't believe that in any other area of our life well we don't say all roads lead to be losing weight or all roads lead to a college degree or all roads lead to raising a healthy child we know that anything worth finding is worth going the way you have to go to get there and for my money the only way to get to the true love of the father is through Jesus now here's the thing I do believe Jesus can reveal himself in a thousand different crazy past thousand a trillion different crazy mysterious ways that wouldn't make any sense to me or my theological brain that I believe for sure that Jesus can reveal himself in any church in any place in any country in any in anywhere he can reveal himself to the heart that is searching for him that I believe with all of my heart but I do believe that if we want to get to the Father he is the way he is the one the only way and then I trust him with the way he reveals himself because here's another thing that I believe you can know how to get to Target you can even know the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates I'm not even sure those are real I think that might just be a hoax like the earth is round kind of thing but Evanson me a great text between services about that which was awesome he said me I'm gonna just tell you he sent me a map of the world just a flat map and he said if the earth is round how did the astronauts get this picture okay we're done with that you can tell me exactly how to get there you could tell anyone exactly how to get there and never go yourself that I also believe that it doesn't matter how much you know about getting there if you don't actually go so he is the way and the way leads to truth and the way leads to life great truth and great life when Jesus stands before Pilate he says um you say that I'm a king in fact the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth and anyone who's on the side of truth listens to me Jesus presents this very clear picture of you can be on the wrong side of truth and being on the side of truth I think is a really big and important thing in our life essential in fact when things have eternal implications so truth is our friend and and knowing Jesus in it leads us toward the way that is also life in John 10:10 he said the thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy I've come that they might have life and have it in abundance I don't I think we constantly underestimate the amount of life Jesus wants to give us I think we look at church and the stuffiness and the stuff that we you know I think we just underestimate that Jesus the life he gives us is Zoe it's abundant it's fresh life it's the the life you feel when you fall in love it's the life you feel when you look at your baby for the first time it's the life you feel when the blossoms come up in spring when you thought you would drown in sorrow and winter and everything was over it's a life you feel when you start something fresh it's life life it's all the life and and you can take a million ways to go a million different places but the place of Jesus the way of Jesus is life his way leads to life I have experienced it it leads always to life Thomas a Kempis said without the way there is no going without the truth there is no knowing without the life there is no living I am the way you should follow the truth you should believe the life you should hope for trusting Jesus as the way to the Father comes packaged up with life and truth in abundance and that's why gathers his disciples around a dinner table the night before he leaves and his last words to them are I am the way you have found it it is beautiful Jesus we thank you for letting us in on this conversation we thank you that we get to see your way played out in front of us for everyone who feels unworthy and unchosen this morning I ask that they would feel you stooping to wash their feet wash their hearts God we love you for the ways that you work and provide and lead us to the great love of the Father you are good you are good you are good then we give you glory for it this morning in your name we pray amen hey if you would like to pray with someone this morning the prayer team is along the wall they have blue lights and they are amazing and they would love to just join with you and pray with you for your week and essentials please register for that it's such a fun class and I love teaching it so I would love for you to come to that and then also I want to just take this opportunity to say don't even drive carefully you don't even have to because the streets are dry you can swerve and all kinds of things it'll be great okay I love you I'll see you next weekend

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