Know You Know
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
From the Bible: John 14:4-6, Colossians 1:15, 2 Corinthians 4:16
John 14:4-5 (Holman) AYou know the way where I am going.@ ALord,@ Thomas said, Awe don=t know where You=re going. How can we know the way?@
Jesus said, AYou know.@ Thomas objected, AWe don’t know.@ Evidently, Thomas didn=t know he knew. He knew Jesus, and without realizing it, this was all he needed to know. The disciple did not yet fully appreciate what he had in Jesus.
We often underestimate the value of what we have in Christ. He is the beauty and comfort our hearts desire. Everything we need and deep-down want we can find in Jesus, yet we meander far afield, seeking our heart=s delights elsewhere.
We are like people seeking everywhere for keys that are in their pocket, looking high and low for money already deposited in the bank, traveling near and far to find a jewel they placed in their own safety deposit box, scrounging through a desk to find the pen they put in their shirt pocket.
We often act the same way when it comes to enjoying the Lord=s benefits. God’s promises abound. We are never justified in worrying, yet much of Christ=s teaching seems to rarely take root in us.
We tend to confront troubles and difficulties by doubting. We often say, AWe don’t know.@ But Jesus, sufficient in us for every situation, replies, AYou know.@ In our text, Jesus let the disciples know the main benefits they had in Him.
John 14:6a AJesus told him, AI am the way,. . .@
A way is a connection between two separated things. A way accesses what was inaccessible.
Livingstone devoted his life to finding a way into the heart of Africa so that missionaries could reach there with the Gospel. Military commanders who have to move troops over rugged terrain know the first condition for success is to find an accessible way. Rome kept its grip on the world by means of its vast highway network. They had a way on which they could move troops rapidly.
By calling Himself the way, Jesus presented Himself as the link between God and people. The two farthest apart objects in the Universe are pure God, who dwells in resplendent light, and sinners, who roam aimlessly in darkness.
Jesus is the way to God, retrieving us from our godless wanderings. Jesus covered with His own death the chasm between God and us.
Jesus made the way, and walks it with us. Sinners need more than to have the way to God pointed out. A person who tells us to go 3 blocks north, 1 block west, 2 blocks south, and turn right after the third house makes us more lost.
We need someone to say, AFollow me; I=ll show you the way.@ By doing this, the person not only points out the way, but also becomes the way for us.
Jesus does this for us. He not only told us how to find God. He died in the past to prepare the way for us, comes in the present to take us by the hand to walk the way with us, and in the future will personally lead us home. Jesus is the way.
John 14:6b A. . .the truth,. . .@
Truth refers to reality, to what is reliable. In our text, it highlights the complete dependability of Jesus in revealing the Father to us. His whole life, character, and personality truly represented the invisible God.
Jesus is Athe image of the invisible God@ (Col. 1:15). In Christ we no longer see God with blurred vision at a distance, but as Immanuel, God with us.
An incarnation, an enfleshment, of Himself was the only possible form in which God, who is spirit, could adequately address Himself to a world of sinners. Intellectual concepts, words, and deeds could not by themselves teach us of God. For us to grasp what He is really like, He had to come live among us as one of us.
Plato, a pagan philosopher, observed, AThe Father of the world is hard to discover, and when discovered cannot be communicated.@ We Christ-followers disagree, yet have to admit, apart from Jesus, Plato’s statement is absolutely true. God the Father cannot be known apart from His only begotten Son. All attitudes about God apart from what Jesus revealed are conjecture.
Jesus brings to us truth, reliable information, about God. We were created to receive from Jesus dependable assessments of God. Aristotle, Plato’s student, said as the eye was made for light and the ear for sound, even so God made the mind to receive truth. We agree. The only qualifier is to know what truth really is. Human restlessness results when a mind does not receive the truth for which it was made. Augustine said we were made for God, and are restless till we rest in Him.
C.S. Lewis saw in this restlessness a strong argument for the existence of God. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, . . .never to mistake them for something else of which they are only a kind of a copy, or echo, or mirage.”
These longings for something beyond this world are fulfilled only in who Jesus was as explained by what He taught. His words spoke truth. It is no coincidence that the first temptation in Eden was a lie about God. Ever since, people have been deceived about God, erring often in their thoughts about God.
Jesus is the ultimate test, the final appeals court to which all considerations about God must be referred. People who grasp Christ’s teaching about God grasp divine reality. Jesus is the final, ultimate word, the reliable word B the truth.
John 14:6c A. . .the life.@
Jesus not only has to lead us to the Father as the way, and reveal Him to us as the truth. Jesus also has to make us alive to the Father, because we are by nature spiritually dead, in trespasses and sins.
People spiritually dead cannot walk a way or understand a revealed truth, nor can they have a relationship. We have to be born again. Jesus has to give us spiritual life. By means of a new birth, He gives us the kind of life that can enter into a personal relationship with God, one that can grow, blossom, and flourish.
By calling Himself the life, Jesus stressed the fact mere physical existence is not the best life. The only life worthy of being called life is the one Jesus brings. All other kinds of life disintegrate and decay.
The Fall introduced death and pain into our existence. Our world is in a downward spiral, still reeling from the blow.
Only one kind of life is immune to sin=s death sting. In the midst of bodily decay, decline, and degeneration, we can embrace a life that thrives, coming more and more alive all the time. AThough our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day@ (2 Corinthians 4:16b).
This improving type of life happens when Jesus Himself is planted in a heart through the Holy Spirit. He is the life, the best life, the God life.
John 14:6d ANo one comes to the Father except through Me.@
Jesus is the only means of salvation. We as Baptists pride ourselves on our convictions regarding religious freedom. We strongly believe every person has the right to worship, or not worship, God as he or she sees fit.
Do not mislabel our views on tolerance by calling them stamps of approval. Those outside of Christ have freedom of worship, but this does not mean we believe they are right. If words have meaning, and are meant to be understood, Jesus’ statement here can mean only one thing. There is no salvation apart from Jesus.
By using in our text this sweeping statement about Himself, Jesus separated Himself from all others. True religion gives Christ the supreme place.
Without the way, there is no going to God; without the truth, no knowing God; without the life, no growing in God; without Jesus the Savior, no salvation.
With Jesus the way, we go to God; with Jesus the truth, we know God; with Jesus the life, we grow in God; with Jesus the Savior, we have salvation.