John 14:1–14: The Way of Jesus
After reading the Gospel of John up to this point, we might start to think that Jesus is permanently subordinate to his Father. Many times, Jesus has insisted that he neither speaks on his own authority (John 5:31; 7:17; 8:14, 18; 12:49), nor acts on his own authority (John 5:19, 30; 7:28; 8:28, 42, 54), but that he only does his Father’s will (John 4:34; 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28, 38). Furthermore, Jesus seeks to glorify his Father (John 8:50; 12:28), while he puts himself in the position of a slave in relation to his Father and even to his disciples (John 13:1–11).
But is Jesus nothing more than an errand boy for the Father? Is he like the prophets, priests, and kings of old—a servant of Yahweh, but in no way approaching Yahweh himself? In fact, the biblical testimony about Jesus is much more glorious than that. He serves the Father, speaks for the Father, acts according to the prompting of his Father, and leads us to the Father, but he does so much more than that. In John 14:1–14, Jesus proclaims that he reconciles us to the Father, he reveals the Father to us, and he reigns on behalf of his Father. Much more than a mere servant, Jesus manifests the Father.
1. What do you think that Jesus’ disciples were feeling as Jesus prepared them for his crucifixion? What part of Jesus’ words of comfort in this passage stick out the most for you in the midst of your own troubles? Why?
2. In this passage, Jesus claims to be the exclusive way, truth, and life of the Father. How does that claim influence the way that we understand competing religious claims in the world? Is Jesus overstating his claim? If Jesus is who he says he is, can there be other ways to God? If Jesus is not who he says he is, then can he actually be the “truth” who is the way to God?
3. What does Jesus mean when he says to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9)? What does that passage mean for us, since we were not alive to see Jesus like Philip and the other disciples did?
4. What are the “greater works” that Jesus promises his disciples will do? Why are these works greater than the extraordinary miracles that Jesus performed during his earthly ministry? What role do we have in these greater works? What role do you specifically have in these greater works?