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God’s Satnav: Finding my way home

April 26, 2014

Read John 14:1 – 6

Last weekend, we remembered the events of Easter. Jesus’ arrest, death and resurrection. Prior to his arrest Jesus spent a considerable time alone with his disciples, talking, preparing them for the events ahead.

He openly told them that he was going to die. He told them that one of the disciples would betray him, that all of them would desert him, that he would rise again and then would leave them. The next few days would stretch the disciples to their limits. They would experience just about every emotion known to humankind.

They hated it when Jesus said he was going to die. Peter even told Jesus off on one occasion. But now in a dimly lit room his death was close.

Jesus was going to leave them. Twice.

So Jesus seeks to encourage them. “Don’t worry. Believe in me as you believe in God”.

Don’t worry?! That’s a good one! The disciples had huge hopes for Jesus. He was going to lead them in throwing out the Romans and establishing God’s kingdom on earth. They had left everything to follow him and now he is going to die. And the hope of resurrection is short lived. Then he’ll be off again. Worry? Of course they are worried.

Jesus starts to talk about his father’s house. It’s a big one. Many rooms. Sounds more like a hotel.

There’s a hotel in Moscow, called the Izmailovo. It’s the biggest hotel in the world. 4 towers. 30 storeys. 7500 rooms. Imagine getting lost on the way to breakfast!

But I tell you, that’s tiny. Compared to God’s house. Jesus tells his disciples he is getting the rooms ready. As Jesus speaks to his disciples he is speaking to all his followers, to those in this room who know him. Jesus is getting the room ready. 7500 rooms? Pathetic. Not even close.

Many rooms. And I’ll tell you what. The rooms in this place don’t have numbers on the doors.

Jesus is encouraging his followers to have confidence that he will come again and take them to this fantastic place. No I reckon if we could see the room doors, we’d see people’s names. There are people here this afternoon, followers of Jesus, who would see their names on those doors. Jesus encourages his followers to have a certainty and a confidence.

But just as the disciples worried, we worry too. We worry about money, illness, work, family. We even get ill because we worry. And if we’re honest some of us Christians can be the very best worriers. I’ll admit to that.

It sounds so simplistic but Jesus says “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust me. See the bigger picture. You have got a fantastic future. It’s in my hands”.

It all sounds great and the disciples drink it in. Jesus goes on “You know the way to where I am going”.

Have you ever had that situation when you have been somewhere, maybe a classroom, a church, a lecture hall? You can hear the words and it is obvious that everyone else understands. They have all got it. But you have not the foggiest clue what is being said. You’re lost completely. There are a couple of things you can do. You can leave it there. Perhaps you’ll ask someone later on or more likely you’ll just forget it. Or there’s the alternative approach. Brave I’ll admit. You raise your hand and ask.

For Jesus’ disciples this was one of those moments. Were they baffled by all this talk? Maybe they were. If that was so, there was only one man who was prepared to voice their doubts. His name is Thomas. Unfairly we have come to know him as Doubting Thomas, when perhaps he should be called brave or honest normal Thomas. It is worth looking to see the times Thomas is mentioned in the biographies of Jesus that appear in the Bible. Whenever he speaks up, it’s a big event. Something happens or something is said that we will never forget.

All this talk about massive homes. What is Jesus talking about? He says we know the way to the place he’s talking about, but…

“Lord, I have no idea where you are going so how can I know the way”.

I wonder if you have questions? Perhaps you have come here several times. Everyone around you seems to get it. But you are confused about Jesus, Christianity, the church. What is it all about? But you don’t want to appear stupid or difficult. Perhaps you have been a Christian for years. You’ve followed Jesus as best you can, but there are things that still cause you difficulty. You don’t want to show weakness or betray any lack of faith.

Actually if you’ll only recognise it, you’re in the right place. You can express doubts and ask questions without being dismissed. There are people here who would be only here to help you find the answers to your questions. People like Paul have even passed exams so they can help you.

Sometimes too Christians have to admit we don’t have all the answers. There are no simple answers to the questions of suffering, sickness, poverty and injustice. We need to work these things through together to see what Jesus and we can do.

And Thomas made a fair point really.

For me to know how to set out on my journey I need to know the destination. It’s one of the basic principles of Satnav. Your Satnav or mobile phone can tell you where you are, but to get the best out of it, you need to know where you are going. If you want to know the way to go, you’ve got to punch in the address or a postcode. Then the machine can work its magic. Instead of just looking at your screen, and shouting in delight “so that’s where I am!” you actually get to see that you are going somewhere.

All this talk of the father’s house was confusing Thomas. He needed clear direction.

Which paves the way for one of the most famous claims that Jesus made about himself. Without initially talking about the destination, he tells the disciples “I am the way, the truth and the life”. He confirms the destination – “No one comes to the Father except through me”. Where is Jesus going? Where does he want to take us? To be in a relationship with God that never ends. That’s the destination to punch in.

So how do we get there?

Through Jesus.

His words are remarkable for a number of reasons. The first is probably not obvious in our culture today.

Jesus uses 2 words. 3 letters. I AM. People did not use those two words to talk of themselves in those days. For the Jews, I AM was the name given to God in the days of Moses. To take these words on your lips was regarded as blasphemy.

But Jesus repeatedly said I AM when he spoke of himself. And in doing so, he made it clear that he is not just a man, but he is God.

But how do we know the way? Jesus says “you know the way. I AM the way. The way to that relationship is through me”.

“I AM the truth. If you don’t know what to believe you can believe in me. Everything about me is true. I am utterly trustworthy”.

“I AM the life”. If you want to live life as it was intended, then you can only find that in Jesus. Earlier in his gospel John said “In him was life”.

There is no one else you need. Indeed Jesus says there is no other way. If you think about the M25 cyclist, led onto the motorway by his Satnav, he knew the way home. But obviously as he came home one night he thought “there must be a better way, a quicker way”. But whatever his Satnav told him, it was the wrong way.

Perhaps you look at Jesus and you think “there must be another way. All roads lead to God. No one way can be right. It’s a bold thing to tell people there is only one way to God. Perhaps it seems arrogant, but it isn’t me or Paul, or Al, or Anthony or Amanda who says this.

These are Jesus own words. This is his call.

Some questions:

  1. Where are you going?
  2. Does your life have a direction and purpose?
  3. Do you feel completely lost?
  4. Do you sense as you come here that Jesus is the answer to that aimlessness?
  5. Do you need to share your questions and doubts?
  6. Do you know that now is the time to recognise Jesus as your Lord and your guide?

 

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus we thank you that you are the way the truth and the life.

If we feel lost, you can show us the way.

Where we have been lied to, you give us the truth.

Where we are dying, you give us life.

Bring us all into that eternal relationship with God through Jesus.

AMEN

 

 

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