An exposition of John 14:1-6. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 5, 2009.
Sermon Outline »
It was exciting and exhilarating. I was pumped. I was fully alive. I could not believe my constant pleading and badgering and whining had finally paid off. “They” didn’t want me tagging along. “They” said I was too little to go. But there I was – one of the boys. I was part of the gang. Oh my brothers had “protested” but I had won the day. I was officially on my first snipe hunt. I was in charge of the sack. I was told it was the most important job. We had to wait until it was good and dark. I was strategically placed behind a large tree and instructed to call out, “Snipe! Snipe!” while they circled around to flush the illusive creatures in my direction. About 10-15 minutes later I realized, “they are not coming back.” I was alone. In the dark. My life flashed before my eyes (which is really pathetic when you’re only 6 years old). Terror gripped me. I knew I was going to die in the wilds of Chandler Park.
Has your world ever come crashing down? I mean as far as you could tell, life as you knew it was coming to an end. It may have been as innocent as being the target of older siblings or as serious as the death of a spouse. It may have come as a result of a lost job or a doctor’s diagnosis but you knew that life was going to be different from that point on. What do you do when the ill winds of doubt, confusion and fear blow into your life? Where do you turn when your world is shaken? That’s how the disciples were feeling that night they gathered in the upper room to observe the Passover Meal. A lot happened that night. Jesus, their lord and master, had modeled loving service by washing their feet. He spoke of death and betrayal and He instituted a new memorial meal. Dazed and bewildered the disciples sought answers. That brings us to our text found in John’s Gospel chapter 14 beginning at verse 1.
Text: John 14:1-6
Let’s actually begin back in chapter 13 at verse 36. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered him, Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward. Peter said to him, Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you. Jesus answered, Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. (John 13:36-38)
They knew that Jesus was going to die. They had warned him this was not the time to be going to Jerusalem. The religious leaders had made their intentions clear. They wanted to be rid of the troublemaking Galilean. The question was really about “what then?” Jesus had been talking about death for awhile but it didn’t register with them. Now at dinner He talked about one of them betraying Him. Who would do that? What did He mean by betrayal? How can that possibly be true? Then in addition to the one who betrays – Peter would deny Him? Not once but three times? NO! Not after Caesarea Philippi. Not after that great confession.
To fully appreciate the words of Jesus in our text have must first understand the context. These words are spoken in the midst of pain, confusion and uncertainty. The disciples had committed their lives to Him. They were convinced that He was the Messiah. They thought He was going to usher in the Kingdom of God. What is this talk of death and going away? It didn’t fit their theology. It was contrary to their expectation. What would come of them? Would they suffer the same fate? Were they mistaken? Was there another to come? They had all kinds of questions and no answers. Confused, hurting and frightened they wanted answers.
From our Lord’s response we learn…
Thesis: In the midst of doubt, hurt and confusion believers find peace in the person of Jesus Christ.
Yes this is a glorious message for us about heaven and God’s gracious provision. We are encouraged about life beyond this life but it is more than that. Yes there is the assurance of a perfect peace, a prepared place and a precious promise but this is not just about death and the life to come. These words were intended to strengthen and encourage the disciples during the dark days that lie ahead. Their world is about to be turned upside down. Their hopes and dreams are about to be swept away in the grief of the cross and the horrors of crucifixion. Then will come the bewilderment of a reported resurrection. They need an anchor. They need something big enough to sustain them. That is what we find in our text. Yes it is about the glory of the sweet by and by but it is also about courage for the nasty here and now!
Let me point to three important truths.
- Peace is born in the heart that trusts in Jesus. (14:1)
- Assurance is anchored by the promise and provision of Christ. (14:2-3)
- Our confidence is rooted in who Jesus is. (14:4-6)
When all Hell breaks loose, when your world comes crashing in on you, when darkness prevails peace, assurance and confidence are found in Christ and in Christ alone.