Would you like some good news this morning, news that can make even the faintest of heart rejoice and sing for joy? Our Lord speaks some wonderful words to His disciples gathered around the wonderful gift of food that He gives: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”Why would your hearts be troubled when you hear the voice of your Good Shepherd speak to you with words of great comfort? The disciples needed to hear words of great comfort because they were distressed. It’s hard to watch Jesus go about His preaching and teaching and get the treatment that He did from the Pharisees. Anything the Pharisees could do to disprove Him, to show He was a heretic, they would do it because the message that Jesus preached was condemning and threatening to their teaching.
When you look at the teaching of Jesus, what was so threatening? Clearly Jesus preaches something threatening here in our text when He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Clearly the Pharisees and I are on two different pages because what they hear as threatening, I hear as comforting. I would imagine that when you hear these words of Jesus, you do not hear them as threatening but comforting as well.
If you’re a Pharisee, it’s very easy to see how that declarative statement of grace can be threatening to their doctrine. It wasn’t Jesus who was going to save. It wasn’t the Messiah who was going to save. Rather, it would be your adherence to the Law of God. The only problem with that is that you would not be able to keep the Law of God because you were a sinner and could not do all that God had demanded. But if you were a Pharisee, you were the one who was able to because you were able to keep the Law perfectly or change it so that they could keep it.
For you and I, we don’t have to worry about whether or not we kept the Law because the reality of it is that we cannot keep the Law. There is hope for us, a hope that lies not in this world, but a hope that likes in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. He tells His disciples and all of us, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Our hope likes in the promise that God has made to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Instead of reasons for despair, the disciples realize the good news that the cross of Jesus Christ overcomes troubled hearts with the promises, assurances, and benefits of our great God.
There is no need for troubled hearts, as they are overcome by the Lord’s amazing promise of what God has in store for us. We look at this world and we see how much it has suffered because of sin. We have wars. We have disease. We have death. We all have seen the effects of sin on this world and we ask ourselves, “Is this it? Is there more to this thing called life?” And the answer is no, this isn’t it. There is more to this thing called life, or at least life as we know it. There is salvation. There is forgiveness. There is everlasting life. No matter how good or how bad your life may be on this earth, there is more waiting for you. There is a room in heaven that your Savior has prepared for you. If that isn’t good enough, Jesus also tells us, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”Jesus will personally take us to our eternal rooms, rooms prepared by Jesus when He said from the cross, “It is finished”because there at the cross, Jesus paid for your sin, giving to you that key to your room in heaven.
Then Jesus speaks the all-familiar words to Thomas and the other disciples. “I am the way, and the truth,and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you want words of assurance and comfort, then these are the words for you. Jesus comforts the disciples with what they had previously learned and experienced. With these words, He reminds us that He is the world’s one Lord and Savior.
These words, Jesus also speaks to you. He spoke these words to you on the cross. He spoke these words to you at your baptism. He speaks these words to you this morning. He speaks these words when you feast upon His body and blood. He speaks these words to you each and every day of your life, and He will speak these words to you as you draw your final breath.
Christ is the one and only source of blessed existence and life for us. In our sin is death, the separation from God. Left to ourselves, we should remain in this separation forever, dead beyond hope. In the person of Jesus, God sent us “the life.”Take away Jesus, and the way, truth, and the life are gone. All hope of God and heaven outside of Jesus is vanity and worse. “Except through me” is absolute and final. Despair would be the order of the day for this world, except for this wonderful news that our Lord declares. Despite the sin and evil of the world, there is a Way. The way is not what we would expect. The way is not a route or a set of directions. Instead, it is a person – Jesus Himself. We cannot travel this route. Instead Jesus must take us. In fact, that is exactly what He promised when He said, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Through the blood that flowed from His body on the cross, Jesus is the way. Through the Scriptures that testify He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, Jesus is the truth. Through His taking our sin and our curse upon Himself, Jesus is the life. What comfort this is to our troubled hearts! In the name of Jesus, amen. Now the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus, amen.