The Promise of Heaven

Part 4

September 29, 2019


Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”


As we have been studying, on the night He was betrayed, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comforted His disciples with what may have been the most important doctrines He had ever shared. We’ve already looked at Peter’s reaction to our Lord’s Teaching, which was panic at the idea that His Lord was going to leave him. Now let’s look at Thomas’ reaction. Here’s the dialogue between Our Lord and Thomas: And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?” Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” (JOH 14:4-7 The Message Bible)


Now, what Jesus was telling Thomas and the other disciples in these verses wasn’t something new; He had taught them this at other times during His earthly Ministry. But as in many teaching opportunities, there are always students who don’t understand the lesson right away. In this group, it was Thomas. Also, especially in emotional situations like these, there is usually at least one person who will ask the question everyone else is thinking but is too afraid to ask. That person was Thomas, too. It may have been that Thomas was expressing the confusion that some of the other disciples were experiencing. Remember, Peter had already asked Our Lord where He was going and, in all fairness to Thomas, if you’re unsure of a person’s destination, you wouldn’t really know which road he was taking.


In a sense, Thomas was asking the same question Peter did, with exactly the same love and sincerity. Thomas was also devoted to Jesus and didn’t want to be separated from Him. If Our Lord was physically going somewhere else, Thomas wanted to make sure he knew the directions to take to follow along. If He’s talking about His death, then how could they follow? This particular scene, in the Upper Room, really makes you look at each disciple in a different light. It allows us to see that each of us, in The Royal Family, are unique believers, too!


Thomas’ personality was complex. He displayed a courageous boldness. He was fiercely loyal and faithful; but he was also pessimistic at times. The point is that we may find ourselves being the same way, but we should never lose faith in difficult, emotional times. Thomas had an amazing devotion which is revealed in JOH 11:16: Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” He was willing to die with Jesus Christ – right on the spot – no questions asked! This devotion was also displayed in JOH 14:5 when he said:Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”  It also clearly shows his fear of enduring being separated from His Savior, Teacher and Friend.


Historically, Thomas has been characterized as slow to believe, subject to hopelessness, and only seeing the difficulties in situations. But to give him the benefit of the doubt, it may be that he was simply analytical. But nevertheless, back in the Upper Room, Thomas and the other disciples really should have understood what Jesus was saying because He had talked to them about all of it before. In JOH 10, Our Savior talked about His being The Good Shepherd Who was the Door into the sheepfold Who would lay down His Life for His sheep. This was certainly the same message. And He taught the same message in JOH 12:26, talking about His impending death saying: If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.


So, Our Lord reemphasized that He was going to be with His Father and comforted them with the knowledge that they would be able to come later, as a result of their faith in Him. He then responded to Thomas’ fears with a statement that backs this up even more clearly: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”(JOH 14:6) It’s interesting to look at this verse like this: Our Lord makes three statements about Himself and then makes a conclusion based on those facts. He uses the personal pronoun – I – to emphasize Himself and then in each of the three statements, He uses the article – THE – to distinguish Himself from all others. He is not A Way, but THE Way; not A Truth, but THE Truth; not A life, but THE Life. The idea here is, He’s not one of many ways – He’s THE ONLY WAY to God The Father!


In JOH 14:6, the word “way” is used for a road or a journey. It’s used metaphorically to represent a manner of life or the means to a destination or goal. Jesus Christ is the Way to a destination. Sadly, for the vast majority of the world, He is viewed as “a” way but not “the” way. People often think of Him as a great teacher, or a good example of moral behavior, or even as the founder of a major world religion. But all of these points of view fall short of what it means for Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be “the way!!”


Jesus Christ was a teacher. Even the Pharisees recognized that about Him. Look at MARK 12:14 (The Message Bible): They sent some Pharisees and followers of Herod to bait him, hoping to catch him saying something incriminating. They came up and said, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, that you are indifferent to public opinion, don’t pander to your students, and teach the way of God accurately. Tell us: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But He is much more than just a teacher. He is also a guide. In fact, Zacharias’ prophecy concerning Him in LUK 1:79 specifically states that He was given to us by God “to guide our feet into the way of peace.” But sadly, most people who think of Our Lord as a guide also believe that there are many paths to Heaven. For them, the path that Jesus guides us on, is just one of many and He only helps a person along the way. WRONG! Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus Christ is much more than a guide.


He is a shining example of the humility He wanted His disciples (and all believers) to have. Many people simply think of Him as an example of proper ethical behavior and for them, He is only one of many examples of the correct way to live. But the life He led is much more than an example of how to live. Our Lord is much more than someone who teaches the way, or guides the way, or shows us the right way to live.


A guide points out the way so that you can walk directly to the correct destination. With Our Lord and Savior as your Guide, He brought you to life and carried you before you could walk. You were dead in sin, but through God The Holy Spirit, you were made alive together with Christ: It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. (EPH 2:1-6 The Message Bible)


{to be continued}

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