Fifth Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Way, Truth, and Life"

Scripture: John 14:1-14

SONG SUGGESTIONS

Prelude: "We Come, O Christ, to You"PsH 238, TH 181

Hymns

"All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" PsH 470, 471, PH 142, 143, RL 593, 594, TH 296,297
"I Will Sing of My Redeemer" PsH 479, TH 650
"O Jesus, We Adore You" PsH 472, TH 255
"To God Be the Glory" PsH" 632

Sermon Ideas

By the beginning of John 14, everything has been arranged, and those to be involved in the coming trial are preparing. The religious leaders have decided that it is time for Jesus to die. Jesus is in the process of preparing himself for his death. And now he begins to prepare his disciples for what is about to happen. He is speaking and acting like a dying man, although the disciples are choking on the idea.

Jesus tells his disciples that he will be going away to prepare a place for them in God's house. But the disciples don't understand. Thomas, speaking on behalf of the group, asks for some directions to God's dwelling.

Jesus responds by saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." To be a part of Jesus' household, it is necessary to follow him. He is the way. He is truth. He is life. And apart from him there is only death and darkness and destruction.

The statement becomes exclusive when Jesus adds, "No one comes to the Father but by me." Those who know the Son know the Father. As a matter of fact, there is no other way to draw near to God, to approach his throne, than through Jesus Christ.

Philip still doesn't get it. He makes what he believes to be a simple request: let us see the Father. Philip has missed the point. Those who know Jesus and those who follow him also know the Father. I once spoke with a woman who was struggling with her faith. Her parents' faith had been nominal at best, and now she felt a spiritual void in her life. She wanted to talk about Jesus because she liked him. He seemed like a nice guy. When I asked if she thought that Jesus was God, she simply smiled and said, "We need to start slow. I don't understand God. But I think I could get along with Jesus OK." She did not understand that by coming near to Jesus, she was coming near to God.

Jesus finishes by telling the disciples that anyone who would dare to follow him must also do what he did. They must be like him. The sequence works like this: if we want to see God, we have to look at Jesus, because his words and actions are those of the Father. And if someone wants to see what Jesus is like, he or she should be able to look at Jesus' followers and see our Lord living in us.

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Gerald L. Zandstra is a pastor at Hillside Community Church, Cutlerville, Michigan.