John 14:1-14 (click for full reading)
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” — John 14:6
(Click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
In today’s Gospel text we hear unconditional promises. Unconditional. It’s not something we are all that familiar with really… most of the relationships in our lives are set with conditions. Webster defines love as “a strong affection for another based on feelings or familial ties”
Based on. Even our definition of love sets us up for conditions!
I think we are so used to conditional love that we don’t see it when it is given to us, but that is what Jesus does today.
Verse 2: “In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you”
Verse 6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”
Verse 7: ” If you know me, you know the Father as well.”
Three HUGE unconditional promises. See, in the original Greek, if a statement is a conditional clause, the Greek will use a type of grammar to indicate it. But these three verses have NONE. Not one conditional clause in them. Which means instead of conditions, they are pure promises.
Verse 2 then can be read like this – There is room for EVERYONE in my Father’s house. Everyone. Even you. If it were any other way, I’d say so, but I didn’t – so trust me when I say that there is room for EVERYONE.
Verse 6 reads like this: When you are worried about whether what you are doing or saying or believing is “right” I am telling you that I HAVE TAKEN CARE OF IT. Stop worrying. I have cleared the way to God for you. Jesus says that it is him and him alone that is saving everyone. This is not a statement of exclusion. It is a statement of inclusion. This verse shouldn’t make people feel like they are on the outside, but should draw people in. It is pure promise.
Verse 7 then is especially important for those of us who know God, and trust that Jesus has done the work for us. Jesus is reminding us that we know him. The Greek here means something that already exists (again, not conditional)… so it reads “If you know me – AND YOU DO – you know God.
Promises. SO many promises today. No guilt, no shame, no worry. Today’s text is a reminder that the love and grace of Christ has been given to you – freely. Let that fill your heart today. And if it overflows into some tears of gratitude… that’s ok too.
Questions to ponder/discuss:
1. What does unconditional love mean to you? Do you have any examples from your own life of when you have loved or been loved without condition?
2. Have you ever wondered if you “believe enough?” Or that you are doing faith the right way? How do you usually feel when you wonder this?
3. What might it mean to you that Jesus is asking us to trust that he has already taken care of it? How does it feel that your belief in God is not up to you?
4. Who in your life needs to hear that they are loved unconditionally?
We don’t ask you to invite people to church because we need to fill the pews or make a budget. We ask you to invite people to church because good news like this needs to be heard. Take some time today, and think about inviting the person you thought of for question 4 (above) to worship with you sometime.
PS. Summer worship is the PERFECT time to invite someone to church. They are causal and light-hearted, and usually involve food! 9:30am on Sunday mornings, and 6:30pm on Wednesday evenings. The Wednesday theme this summer is “Stuff Christians Say” and will be easy topics to invite others to hear!