An Exposition of John 14:6-21.
Introduction: We live in a troubled world and we encounter troubles in life. But it is possible to live as Jesus instructed in John 14:1: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” The entire Upper Room Discourse runs from John 13 to John 17 – it’s the longest recorded sermon of Jesus, and the most personal and poignant. It was spoken immediately prior to His arrest, so it represents the last hours spent with the disciples before His crucifixion. It’s filled with comfort. When you read the Upper Room Discourse, it’s as if you were there. It’s very personal. Somehow we can place ourselves in that room, put ourselves in the picture.
Here’s the amazing thing about this passage. The disciples were very troubled, so what did Jesus say to them? He gave them theology. He taught them doctrine. He dispensed serious Bible study. He didn’t give them platitudes or optimistic proverbs or positive sayings; He didn’t give them counseling or sympathetic pats on the back. He gave them doctrine and theology. Sometimes people say, “I don’t want to hear theology. I don’t want sermons with a lot of doctrine. I want feel-good sermons with lots of stories and practical application.” While we always need practical application, Jesus gave doctrine and depth. He was so deep they didn’t understand it all at the moment. They couldn’t take it all in that evening. But He gave it to them anyway.
Great distress requires great doctrine. Great trauma requires great truth. The great miseries of life require the great mysteries of God. In this passage He explained the most mysterious doctrine in the Christian life—the doctrine of the Trinity. This is our Lord’s primary teaching on the subject of the Trinity. Think of how remarkable this is! It’s our Lord’s last hours with His disciples; everyone is confused; they are very afraid. And so He begins to explain the deepest and most mysterious aspect of universal Truth—the doctrine of the Trinity.
The doctrine of the Trinity is our greatest, deepest, most mysterious, and most distinctive point of teaching. It is THE central truth in the universe. He knew the disciples could only settle their nerves and learn to live with untroubled hearts by coming to know their three great Friends.
The Trinity is the Most Unique Aspect of Christian Truth. This doctrine sets Christianity apart from all other religions, faith systems, sects, and philosophies. The Trinity is at the heart of who God is, and the great doctrines of Christ and the atonement flow out of a right understanding of the Trinity. Christians are the only people in the world who believe there is one God who eternally exists in Three Persons. This is what makes us different from Jews, from Mormons, from Muslims, from atheists, from Jehovah Witnesses. If there is one single doctrine or truth that makes Christian superior to and unique from every other religion and philosophy on earth, it is the doctrine of the Trinity.
So what is the doctrine of the Trinity? It’s very simple to state: There is One God who eternally exists in Three Persons—the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean there are three Gods, or that there is one God in three forms. There is one God who eternally exists in three persons.
Perhaps you’re saying, “I can’t understand that!” Good. I can’t either, and I’m glad I can’t. The fact that it boggles our minds is evidence of its authenticity. If God were small enough to understand He would not be big enough to be worshipped. Trying to get our brains to understand the infinite, eternal, almighty God is like trying to pour the seven seas into a test-tube.
And yet we can understand it as far as the Bible takes us. We can observe the outlines of this truth in the Scriptures, and although it may boggle our minds it comforts our hearts. So in the Upper Room, Jesus described the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Son Came To Show Us What the Father is Like – First, the God the Son came to show us what the Father was like. Look at verse 8: Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered, “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me?
The New Testament consistently teaches that by looking at Christ we can see the qualities and attributes of God the Father. Jesus came to show us what God was like. The First Person of the Trinity is invisible; but the Second Person is the manifestation of God to us in a way we can comprehend. Jesus came to reveal the invisible God. When we look at His ethics, we’re looking at the ethics of God. When we see His values, we’re seeing the values of God. When we see His love, we’re seeing divine love. When we hear His words, we’re listening to the voice of God. When we observe His power, we’re observing the power of God. When we see Him, we see God.
- John 1:18: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.
- Colossians 1:15: The Son is the image of the invisible God….
- Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.
2. The Son Came to Reunite Us with the Father – Look back at verse 5: Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are 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. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” In the Living Bible, 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “God is on one side and all the people are on the other side, and Jesus Christ, Himself man, is between them to bring them together.”
3. The Son Was Returning to Heaven But Would Send the Spirit – Look at verse 16: And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. In the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus makes one promise after another about sending the Holy Spirit. As He discussed the nature of the Trinity, said, in essence: “I am leaving. Tomorrow I am going to die for your sins and rise again. I’m going to do what only I can do and return to heaven with my mission finished. But when I return to heaven, I will ask the Father and He will send the Holy Spirit. This will be much better for you than if I were to stay with you. If I were to stay with you, now that I’ve taken on humanity, I could only be at one place at one time. There are certain confinements to My humanity, which I willingly accepted for you. But having obtained redemption, I’m going to return to heaven and send the Third Person of the Trinity—another Comforter, another Advocate, another Personage who can come alongside you—and He can live with you and even live inside you.”
4. Christ’s Work Would Continue Through Spirit-Indwelled Christians – John 14:12 says: Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things that these, because I am going to the Father. In other words: “My work on earth will continue as I do it through Spirit-indwelled Christians. What I’ve begun, you can continue. What I started in a small way here in Jerusalem, you can continue to the ends of the earth. I’ve spoken to a few thousand people, but My followers are going to preach to millions. I’ve reached one small nation here in the Middle East, but My followers, who will be filled with My Spirit, will go to every tribe and tongue and nation and nook on earth. They will do much greater things than I have done, because I will be working in them and through them to multiply our efforts through time and across distance.”
5. We Can Have Untroubled Hearts Because of our Relationship with the Triune God – And that leads to the fifth thing: As we go about working on this planet and living here for Christ and completing His mission, we can have perfect peace and untroubled hearts because of our relationship with the Triune God, because of our Three Friends. Look at verse 18: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.”
Conclusion – How do we take the greatest theology and make it a practical help in our life.
A. We have to receive the offer He makes to us. We have to be reunited with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus did all of this—God made flesh to die on the cross—to give you a spiritual core in your life, to fill up what is missing in your heart, and to reunite you with God. You have to take Him up on His offer and receive Him as your Savior.
B. We have to realize we can’t live the Christian life through our own efforts. It requires Him living within us by His Holy Spirit, and that’s why the Bible tells us to be filled with the Spirit. It’s a good idea every day to say, “Lord, fill me with your Spirit today. May I be wholly yielded to Jesus. May I be Spirit-filled.”
C. It helps to train ourselves to think often of the Trinity. The simplest explanation for the Trinity I’ve ever seen is this from the pen of Chuck Colson. The Trinity is: God Above, God Beside, God Within. We have a Father who is God above us. We have a Savior who is God beside us. We have a Spirit who is God within us. As Colson points out, “The Trinity…answers the deepest needs of the human heart, offering a depth of spirituality unknown in any other religion.”
So, let not your heart be troubled. Jesus loves you. He has thrown Satan out of the room. He is going to prepare a place for you. And in the meantime He has sent us the Holy Spirit. We have three special Friends. And…
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.