Dr. Ed Young - You Have Only One way to Heaven
John chapter 13 is a tough chapter when you know that Jesus had only a limited amount of time, a few hours to stay in this world. The cross was a few hours away. So, here he is in the upper room, talking to the Apostles, giving them his last words of wisdom. And he gives them bad news. He says, "I am going to leave you. I'm not going to be with you any longer. That's going to happen". He had talked about it. It had been put off. It had been postponed. And I'm sure that a few days earlier when they marched into Jerusalem with all the hosannas and hallelujahs, and the palm branches waving. They said, "Hey, we're following the true Messiah". They forgot all of his words about his impending death.
Here he makes it clear, "I am going to die. I am going to leave you". And then on top of that he says, "By the way one of you are gonna sell me out. You're gonna be a traitor. You're gonna turn away from me. You're gonna sell me out". Hmm. And then he proceeds to say, "By the way, you Peter, you think you're so important, and you're the spokesman, and you're so bombastic. Peter before the rooster crows in the morning, before the sun comes up, you're going to deny me three different times that you even know me, and you're gonna even add a word of profanity to make it strong".
Now, this would upset all those apostles wouldn't it? I mean, you're going to die. One of us are gonna sell you out and they're looking, "Are you the one or you're gonna be the one? Who's gonna sell me out"? And they're debating among themselves, and then on top of that their vocal leader, he is going to run, and hide, and deny. And in this situation Jesus does something I think that is absolutely remarkable.
Now, Jesus knew that in just a few hours he would be taken prisoner. There'd be a mock trial. He'd be beaten. He'd be laughed at. He'd be spat upon. Thorns would be placed on his head. He would be stripped naked. He would be nailed to a cross before all the people. Humiliated, shamed, embarrassed, he would hang there until he died, and while hanging on that cross, all the trash of the world, all the sin and corruption in the whole world would be placed upon him. And the Father would turn his back on his Son, because God cannot look upon that kind of evil. All of this would happen to Jesus, he knew that. But what did he do? He spent these last hours not talking about his plight but comforting his apostles.
If you need comforting today, things are coming loose that you thought were nailed down. You're confused, you're lonely, you're fearful, you're doubtful, you're upset, you're sick, whatever the problem in your life at this moment. I'll tell ya, John chapter 14 is written just for you. It's written just to me. It's a chapter of comfort. It's words of comfort. And Jesus is comforting those apostles and this same comfort is available for you and me. And he comforts them with three words; I'm going to teach it to you in the Scripture. But I want to give it to ya in pedestrian language so you'll understand it.
What does he say in verse 1 through verse 6 that has overwhelming...? Jesus says, First of all, I'm going to be with you 24/7. he said, you're not gonna see me, but I'm going to be with you 24/7. The next thing he says, he says very simply to them. He said, "I want you to know something that you will live for me in heaven in my Father's house". In other words, in my Father's house, you're gonna live with me. Boy, that would comfort us wouldn't it? In my father's house, you're gonna live with me. And finally after Thomas asked that little question again that we're gonna look at. He said simply, "It will be impossible in the meantime for you to get lost".
Isn't that comforting? Is that thrilling? Jesus saying, "I'm gonna be with you 24/7 and you're going to live with me in my Father's house". And then he says, "In the meantime, it is absolutely impossible for you to lose the way or be confused. It's impossible for you to get lost". Look at the wonderful words of assurance we have here in this 14th chapter. Open your Bibles, if you would. "Comfort", he says, "Do not let your heart be troubled". In other words, don't let your heart, don't don't be upset, don't be confused. I'm going to leave, you're gonna betray me, it's gonna be tough time, but don't let your heart be troubled. Do not let it be afraid. And that's all about comfort and the first thing is he says, "I'm going to be with you 24/7".
You see that in the second part of that verse 1. It says, "but Jesus said, 'Believe in God, believe also in me,"' in other words, if anything the Jews believed in it was God. Every Jew believed in Jehovah in Yahweh, in Elohim. They believed in God. They were brought up believing in God. And now Jesus say, "If you believe in God". Do you see God? He said, "Believe also in me". He said, "You're not going to see me, but I'm going to be with you 24/7". I want to ask you a question. Is Jesus here right now? Absolutely, where two or three are gathered in my name He's always there.
And that's what Jesus is saying to these these followers. And he explains it, look at it here in verse 16 and 14. "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper," that's the comforter. That's the Holy Spirit. "That he may be with you forever. That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him, but you know him because he abides with you, and will be in you". Listen to the 12. "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you after a little while, the world will no longer see me, but you will see me because I live, you will live also. In that day, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you".
Now look at verse 22, "If anyone loves me, he'll keep my word and my Father will love him". Listen to this, "and we will come to him and make our abode in him". What's Jesus saying? He says, "I am going to leave you, but yet now I'm going to be with you 24/7. I'm going to be with you, the Holy Spirit, the comforter will be with you and I'm in the Father, and the Father is in me". In other words, the whole Trinity takes up residence in the life of every believer. Is that comforting? That's a tremendous statement. And just an awareness of that fundamental truth ought to be a great word of assurance to every Christ follower. He's saying I'm going to be with you 24/7.
And then he offered the second word of comfort, which in one way is even more fabulous. Verse 2, "In my father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so I would've told you. For I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you may be also". What's Jesus saying? He is saying simply that you will spend all of life and all of eternity with me in my Father's house.
There are a lot of words in the New Testament for heaven. Heaven is called a kingdom because it has principles upon which it will operate. Heaven is also called a country because it is vast and it is expansionless. Heaven also is called a city because it has a heavy population. Heaven is also called paradise, because it is beautiful beyond our understanding and the ability to perceive it. But the best term for heaven, I think, it's my Father's house. In my Father's house.
Let me tell you something we get to heaven, we'll realize how we haven't been at home in this earth. We realize we're really strangers here. I think I'm at home, but we get to heaven, you can just kick back and flopped back, and you will really be at home in your Father's house. What a word of promise. How comforting that must have been for all those apostles, but there's old Thomas that rascal. He's so much like you and me. He didn't get it. Jesus said in verse 4, "And you know the way where I'm going".
Now, Jesus has gone to the Scripture. "Well you know the way where I'm going. I'm going to be out of here. I'm going to Fathers house to prepare a place for you, and I'll come and get you and when it's time to come". And Thomas says, "Lord, we did not know where you're going. How can we know the way"? That's the same question I would've liked to have ask had I been there. Probably wouldn't but Thomas said, you say you go to your Father's house, you know, we don't know where that is. How in the world can we know the way? And then Jesus gives this tremendous word of exclusivity that rattles people. He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life".
Now, by the way, those words together they don't mean so much to us, way, truth, and life, but to every Jew they would have perked up because they knew those three words are pivotal points of Judaism. They talked about the way, they talked about the truth, they talked about the life. You read it, Deuteronomy chapter number 5 about the way Moses says we are to walk in. You read in Isaiah chapter 30, Isaiah talks about the way of truth that we walk in. And you read David says throughout the Psalms he talks about the way we are to walk, the way we are to live.
In fact, the first Psalm, "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly". You don't walk with the ungodly. You don't stand in the way of sinners. You don't sit down in the seat of the scornful and just visit with them. He said, "But blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, does not stand the way of sinners, does not sit in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on the truth of God he meditates day and night". He says, "They will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water".
What's he saying? He said as we walk in the way, we walk with those who love God. As we stand around, and spend time with those who have the same agenda of God, and when we sit down, we sit down with those who are on God's side, and seeking to honor and love him. You see that's when we're in the way. I am the way. Therefore, because God is in us, and Christ is in us, and the Holy Spirit is in us, how in the world can we get lost? We know exactly the way we are to walk. We know the light that is there for us. I am the way. He doesn't just show the way. We have a built-in compass within you and within me, which is our helper, which is the Holy Spirit, which is the Trinity abiding in you and abiding in me. I am the way. Then he says, "I am the truth".
How do we know Jesus is truth? Because his fingerprint fits all the prophecies. All the prophecies predicting about what the Messiah would be, who the Son of God would be, when God visits the earth, Jesus fulfills every one and it is his fingerprint. That's how we know he's truth. He fulfills all the prophecies. "I am truth. I am the way. I am the truth". He says, "I am the life". When you're walking in the way with him who is the truth, we have life and Jesus says, "You wanna have life"? He said, "I've come to give you not just life. I've come to give you life abundantly, life overflowingly". And then he shocks everybody then and today, and says, "No one comes to the Father, but by me". Wasn't a little wow. Wow. We don't like that. It's against being accepting. It's against being opened. It's against, you know, understanding that, you know, we don't have everything.
You see we have trouble accepting that. Somebody who says, "Well, all religions are the same". Don't ever make that statement. Don't ever be that foolish. The idea that all religions are the same put them side by side. They're radically different. What the Buddhists think represents god. What the Hindus thinks represent god or the divine. Or what any other, what Confucius thinks. All these other opinions they... there can't just be one way because there's so many different religions. Huh, 10, plus 10 is 20. That can't just be one answer because there's so many other options. You ever take multiple test, multiple choice test in history, and they give you five choices or 100 choices? And you say, "You know, there's so many other choices as to who the first president of the United States was. Why does the answer just had to be one"?
You see how foolish, how illogical this is? And when Jesus says, "I am the truth". That's the claim of exclusivity. Truth, ladies and gentlemen, is very, very narrow. Either I am standing here or I'm standing over here. I can't stand in both places at the same time. By the nature of truth it is narrow. The religions of the world by and large, talk about God and faith in terms of a wheel. They say that we go on this wheel, we're born, we grow, we decay, and we die. And therefore, life is meaningless, and we get off right where we got on.
In the process they talk about teachers, teachers, Mohammed was seen as a prophet, Buddha was seen as a teacher, and Confucius would be seen as a guru. You've got all of these prophets, and gurus, and philosophers, and statements, and they speak to us as we're on that wheel. With visions, with ideas, with wisdom. And these religions see life as a wheel. Christianity sees life as a journey. And we're on that journey and there are mile markers along the road, along the path we're walking. One would be the birth of Israel. One would be Christmas. One would be the Crucifixion. One would be the resurrection. One will be Pentecost and those historical mile markers we walk along because we believe that God invaded history in Jesus Christ.
You see, our faith is built on history. Technically, Christianity is not a religion. It's in that general category, but technically we're not a religion because religion is doing or not doing. The Tibetan wheel, or making a pilgrimage, or not eating this, giving alms over here, or praying like that. It's what you do and what you do not do that you get right with God in the religions of the world. Christianity is totally different. In fact in the religion of Hinduism, there's a story like the Prodigal son. And the Prodigal son comes back home but he's not forgiven as in our story. He has to work, and restore, and get things right that was broken.
There's no grace, there is works, that is religion. Religion always is doing and not doing. Christianity is receiving by grace forgiveness with him. A relationship, not doing or not doing. So, the idea that all religions are the same is one of the most foolish statements anyone can make. So, we see there is a sense of uniqueness in Jesus Christ. He is indeed unique. Mohammed did not claim to be God. Confucius never claimed to be God. Buddha never claimed to be God. Confucius never claimed to be God. Jesus stood up and said simply, "I am God" and history did not laugh at him.
If I stood up here and said, "By the way, I wanna tell you something. I've kept this quiet but I'm really God. Did you know I don't tell anybody, but I'm really God". Everybody smiling, why? It's absurd. It's ridiculous. And the more you know me the more humor there would be in that simple statement. Jesus claimed to be God because he embodied truth. He didn't just teach it. He lived it. He embodied wisdom. He didn't just say, "This is why," he lived it. And that gives us a unique understanding of the divine visiting this world.
Larry King was asked, "If you could interview anybody in history, who would you interview"? He said, "Jesus". And they said, "What would you ask Jesus if you could ask him one question"? And Larry King said, "I would ask him are you indeed virgin born"? Interesting. Are you Indeed, virgin born? And then Larry King said, "His answer would give me the meaning of history". That's profound. Because he's exactly right. He's precisely right. If Jesus were indeed virgin born then this means that the God Almighty visited this earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and it would give all of history, meaning. And see on the basis of his uniqueness, and who he was, and how he lived, and how he rose from the dead, we can say truly he is the way, and the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father, but by me. We do not say that with pride. We do not say it arrogantly. There is certainly some truth in all religions.
Now, somebody will come up, give the old worn argument say, well, you know about the blind man, who looks at the elephant. Now, there were six blind men, or eight blind men, and they all go the elephant. And one of them walks up, and feels the elephants, and the others said, "So what is an elephant"? He said, "Well, the elephants a wall". Another one comes up, feels a leg of the elephant. Say, "What's the elephant"? "No, the elephant is a column". Somebody else feels a tusk of the elephant. Say, "What's the elephant"? "Oh, the elephant is a sword". And another blind man feels the tail of the elephant. Oh no, the elephant is a snake. And so, all of these blind man touch different parts of the elephant, and they think that describes the elephant.
Someone says this is the way it is religions of the world. Somebody sees this part of truth, and that part of truth, and the other part of truth, and therefore, you know, all religions have truth in them. You know how that story breaks down? Somebody backed up, and had their eyes open, and saw the whole elephant. And they saw in truth, what the elephant was. This is the claim that this book makes about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. He is indeed true truth.
I remember the book, several years ago, "Into Thin Air" about the expedition that was failed. It was goin' to Mount Everest, how many read the book, heard of the book "Into Thin Air"? Did they make a movie out of it? I don't even know. In this book it tells about the expedition goin' to the top of Everest and how they ran into so many problems. Some of them could not be avoided but some of them because they did not follow their own instructions. Many lives were lost.
It was a tragic, tragic story back in 1996. And there was one man there named Andy Harris. And Andy was one of the leaders and he stayed on top of Everest too long. Longer than his oxygen supply told him. And so, he was coming down by himself and he realized he was running out of oxygen. He ran into a cache of canisters of oxygen. And he radioed the base camp down below and said, "I'm running out of oxygen. I found all these canisters of oxygen, but they're all empty".
Well, those down below knew that those canisters really weren't empty, they were full. But because oxygen was being denied to his brain at that height. He was not thinking clearly and it was scrambling his brain and therefore, even though they were full, to him there were empty, and they began to debate. They said, "Pick up the oxygen. Pick up a canister, try it. They all have oxygen in them. We were just there". And he said, "Oh no, they're empty," and he held those canisters in his hand saying they're empty when they were full, and the man died. The man died on Everest.
I thought about that. How many people miss Jesus Christ when he is the oxygen of life, and he's available to us, and he comes to us. You see, our faith says that we're not looking for God. God is looking for you and me. Somebody says, "I found God. No you didn't, God found you". That's what this book is all about, God searching for us. And Jesus Christ is like oxygen to us, who'll give us life because he is the way, and he is the truth, and he is the life. Therefore, Jesus Christ is like oxygen. He gives life.