Discover more from Grounded in the Bible
John 14:1-14: Jesus Is the Way
Individuals: Take time to think back about your past week. Where have you seen God work in your life or answer prayer? Write down any prayer requests you have.
Group: Open the study by sharing life updates, reviewing highs and lows of your past week, or sharing prayer requests and praises.
Icebreaker: Who in your family or friends is the best at giving directions? Who has no sense of direction?
All: Begin the study with a word of prayer, asking God to open your heart for today’s study. You can also pray for any prayer requests now, or save that for the end.
Read today’s passage: John 14:1-14.
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 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’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
What is the context for this passage?
This week’s passage takes place during the Holy Week. Jesus has already ridden into town on a donkey to the shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (John 12:13). During this week, Jesus talks a lot about his death and predicts Judas’s betrayal (John 13:18-30) and Peter’s denial (John 13:31-38). In the midst of this talk about Jesus leaving them, the disciples want to know where Jesus is going and how they can get there. The passage in John 14 addresses these questions.
Read the passage again.
Explore a different version if you have one available. If you are online, here is John 14 in NIV through Bible Gateway. You can change the version by using the dropdown menu at the top right of the page.
Try to summarize the passage in your own words.
Answer these three questions about the passage:
1. What does the passage say about God?
God the Father’s house has many rooms (vs. 2). We understand this reference to the Father’s house to be heaven. In heaven, there will be many rooms with a place for everyone who chooses to follow him.
Jesus is the only way to heaven (vs. 6). Many people would like to believe that there are many ways to heaven. However, the Bible tells us that God only accepts one way—belief in Jesus. Jesus is the one who paid the penalty for our sins, so we must believe in him in order to have our sins forgiven and become right with God.
Jesus is the source of truth (vs. 6). These days, truth seems to be hard to come by. Everyone has their own version of the truth. However, the only real source of truth is Jesus. If you aren’t sure what you can believe as truth, know that you can believe Jesus.
Jesus is the source of life (vs. 6). The Bible teaches that all have sinned, and the penalty for sin is death. Jesus counters this by offering eternal life if we believe in him. He is the only one that can give us the gift of eternal life. Not only is Jesus the source of eternal life, he is also the one who holds all things in his hand and gives them life here on earth. All life, whether on earth or eternal, is through Jesus.
Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Jesus (vs. 10-11). Jesus’s words here lead us to a discussion of the Trinity. In the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are the three parts of the Triune God. Each part has a specific role to play, but they all three share the same purpose and the same character. They are united in all things—so much that Jesus says they are “in” each other. They are so close in relationship that they are one. (If you want to read about the third part of the Trinity, keep reading John 14.)
God does his work through Jesus (vs. 10). In the Old Testament, God’s interaction with his people was primarily through God the Father. Then he sent Jesus to earth, and his interaction with people was primarily through Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, God was doing his work through Jesus—teaching the people, performing miracles, and ultimately becoming the perfect sacrifice for sins. Today, God primarily interacts with his people through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus will fulfill the requests of his people to glorify the Father (vs. 13-14). When we are truly following God and aligned with his will, then the things we ask of God—the things we pray for in Jesus name—God promises to do. He doesn’t do this for our sake, or so that we can be praised in any way. He does this solely to glorify God.
2. What does the passage say about people?
Jesus’ disciples felt despair when they realized Jesus was going to die (vs. 1). In John 13, Jesus talks a lot about his death and tells the disciples that where he is going, they cannot come now, but they will follow later. This causes some despair in the hearts of the disciples. They want to be where Jesus is! They felt despair at his upcoming death and their separation from him, even if the separation was temporary.
People sometimes fail to see the truth right in front of them (vs. 5, 8). In this passage, the disciples have Jesus right in front of them, yet they seem to not see the truth of who Jesus is—Jesus is one with God. They want to go with Jesus to where he is going, and they want to know the Father. The disciples don’t yet understand that belief in Jesus is the answer to both of these.
People should believe in Jesus based on the evidence they see (vs. 11). In Jesus’s time, people could believe in Jesus based on his teachings and the miracles he performed. Today, people can read the Bible and see evidence of God through creation and through the work of the Holy Spirit in his people. Whatever age we live in, the evidence of Jesus as the way to salvation is provided clearly to us.
3. What does the passage say about God’s plan?
God’s plan is that people will believe in God and Jesus (vs. 1). Some faiths try to separate God and Jesus. They believe in God, or a “higher power,” but they don’t believe that Jesus is God. Or they believe that Jesus was a good teacher or a prophet but not God. To truly be a Christian, we must believe in God and Jesus, and we must believe that Jesus is God.
God’s plan is that Jesus is going to heaven to prepare a place for those who follow him (vs. 2). When Jesus died, rose, and ascended into heaven, he promised to go to heaven to prepare a place for all who would follow him. Jesus isn’t sitting in heaven forgetting all about us. He is actively preparing a place for us to be with him.
God’s plan is that Jesus will come back to earth to take his followers to heaven with him (vs. 3). One piece of Biblical prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled is the promise that Jesus will return to earth to take his people home to be with him in heaven. We are still waiting for that day, and we live in hope that Jesus will return one day.
God’s plan is that those who know Jesus will also know God (vs. 7, 9). There is a connection between God and Jesus that we cannot deny. If we know God, we will also know Jesus. If we know Jesus, we will also know God. The two are tied together with bonds that cannot be broken.
God’s plan is that those who believe in Jesus will continue to do his work (vs. 12). Once we choose to follow Jesus, God gives us a new purpose—we must continue to do Christ’s work. We must continue to spread the good news of Jesus to all those around us. We must share the message of reconciliation that we read about in our 2 Corinthians 5 study.
God’s plan was that Jesus would return to heaven after his time on earth (vs. 12). In this passage, the disciples are distraught because Jesus has told them that he will be leaving them. However, God’s plan all along was that Jesus would leave this earth after his death and resurrection. He had to leave so that he could return to heaven and prepare a place for all his followers.
How does the passage fit into the overarching story of the Bible?
Sometimes it’s easier to understand a passage if you have a little outside knowledge from other passages in the Bible. This section will help provide that outside perspective.
There are three big picture truths that we see in this week’s passage:
Jesus will come again and will take his followers home to be with him in heaven, where he has prepared a place for us (vs. 1-4).
Jesus is the only way to get to heaven (vs. 6).
Jesus is God’s Son (vs. 7-14).
These three truths are essential to the Christian faith. First, we must believe that Jesus is God’s Son. A lot of other religions have Jesus as part of their faith, but he is only a good teacher or a historical figure, not God’s Son. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that God the Father and God the Son are part of the Trinity (along with the Holy Spirit). As part of the Trinity, Jesus is not only God’s Son, but he is fully divine, fully God.
Second, as Christians, we believe that Jesus is the only way to get to heaven. Other religions and society would have us believe that we can get to heaven by being good people, or we can get to heaven by any faith, not just through Jesus. But the Bible tells us over and over again that Jesus is the one and only way to heaven. We must accept the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross for our sins and give our lives to him. In return, we receive his righteousness and the gift of eternal life in heaven with him.
Finally, if we believe in Jesus, we know that he is working right now to prepare a place for us in heaven. When that place is ready, he will return and take us home to be with him. This time may be at our death here on earth, or it may be at his second coming, when he returns to take all of his followers to heaven to be with him. None of us know when that time will be for us, so we must be ready. What if he comes today? Will you be ready?
Individual: Answer the following questions thoughtfully for yourself.
Group: Pose these questions for discussion.
All: If you are willing to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts to these questions. Feel free to use the comment section to start a discussion about this passage.
What else strikes you about this passage?
How does the passage affect how you view God? How you view yourself?
How does this passage affect how you will live your life?
For additional study related to this topic, read John 10.
For Bible Essential studies, you can use my thoughts as your devotional, or you can download and use the journaling sheet to work through the passage on your own. If desired, you can then compare your thoughts to mine. Journal sheets can be downloaded and used now or later. They can be printed and filled in by hand or saved and filled out electronically. Journal sheets are available for individual or group use.
If you plan to lead a group study, a PowerPoint presentation is also available.
You can access these resources by clicking here: John 14 Resources