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FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY…

Date: 
April 9, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
John 14: 1-9

THEME: Jesus is the way to the Father…

INTRODUCTION

  • Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
    • As I began working on the sermon for this morning, I quickly realized that this single verse of scripture offers enough fuel for three full sermons, or for one very, very, very long sermon – (what’s your preference?)
    • Jesus is indeed the truth – the truth about God…
      1. He is the truth incarnate
      2. He is God in the flesh
      3. Jesus reveals God to us not just by his words, but by his very being – by who he is…
    • Jesus is indeed the life – he gives life today and life forever – eternal life - to all who believe in him…
    • I hope you will be relieved that I’m going to save my sermons on “the truth” and “the life” for another time…
    • This morning, Palm Sunday, I’m going to focus only on the very first words of today’s text: “I am the way.”
  • How many ways are there to God? – That’s the question I want you to keep in the back of your mind this morning as we think together about these words of Jesus: How many ways are there to God?
  • There was a time when we didn’t have navigation systems in our cars or the ability to pull up driving directions on our phones… we had to rely on maps.  It seems like ages ago, but it really wasn’t…
  • I remember going to a meeting in Worcester one day in the “map era”… Our associate pastor was traveling with me… we had no problem following the directions to the church where the meeting was being held… but coming home was another story…
    • We could see where wanted to go… from the parking lot we could see route 295, but we couldn’t get there… big “no left turn” signs kept us from getting near the highway…
    • We asked a “local” for directions… he said, “Just keep turning right. You can’t miss it!” – I will never again believe those words, “You can’t miss it!” 
    • We knew where we wanted to be… there were signs that pointed to route 295 West, but those signs didn’t lead us to the highway… they led us on an 8 mile tour of downtown Worcester…
    • We drove around and around until we came right back to the parking lot where we had started – twice!
    • We didn’t need printed directions… we didn’t need a map, we didn’t need someone to tell us where to go… we didn’t need signs… we needed someone to show us the way…
  • Jesus said, “I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through me.”
    • I’m not the one who gives directions…
    • I’m not the one who posts the signs…
    • I’m not just the one who will show you the way…
    • “I am the way…”

PALM SUNDAY

  • Today we celebrate Palm Sunday – the triumphant entry of Jesus into the Holy City – Jerusalem.
    • The disciples were not too sure where Jesus was leading them as they followed the borrowed donkey along the dusty road lined with cheering crowds waving palm branches and placing their garments on the road to pave the way for “King Jesus.”
    • The disciples knew that they were heading to Jerusalem, but they didn’t know what they would find there…
    • Jesus had told them that he would be arrested and crucified, but being caught up in the excitement of the moment, the disciples lost sight of the cross.
    • Jesus had spoken several times about his dying and his rising, but the disciples were too dull to fully understand… they were in denial… they didn’t want to believe that anything bad could happen to their Master.
  • Jesus was leading his followers to Jerusalem… to the temple… to the upper room… to his cross, but in reality he was leading them to God, but they didn’t know it…
  • Jesus knew that the hour had come to depart this world and go to the Father…
    • Within hours of sharing a last supper with Jesus, life for the disciples would fall apart…
    • The cross would plunge them into chaos…
    • At such a time there was only one thing to do – cling to their trust in God. (Barclay)
  • On the night before the crucifixion, the very same night that he was betrayed, after he had washed their feet and they had shared the Passover meal together, Jesus began to prepare his disciples for what was to come… his words were words of encouragement…
    • Jesus said to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. 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 take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also, And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
    • Thomas, always the doubter, said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?
    • Jesus said to him, “I am the way…!”  “I am the way…!”  (John 14:1-6)
  • The concern of Jesus, the very focus of his life – was that people come to know God…
    • That is why he came…
    • That is what his life and ministry was all about…
    • Jesus came to us for three reasons:
      1. To show us the Father…
      2. To forgive our sins…
      3. To establish the Kingdom of God…
      4. Revelation… redemption… rule   (Peter J. Blackburn)
  • On the road to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, at the table in the upper room on Maundy Thursday, on the cross of Calvary on Good Friday, and from the borrowed tomb on Easter Sunday, Jesus was leading his followers to the Father. He wanted them to know God!

JESUS IS THE WAY

  • How many ways are there to God?
  • Jesus said, “I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through me.”
    • Jesus is not leading us to a place.
    • Jesus is leading us to the Father… to God and to all that God promises to those who believe in him: forgiveness of sin and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, his presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in his Kingdom which has no end…
  • Jesus is the road – THE way to the Father… not A way, but THE way.
    • We do not come to the Father by following a set of written directions…
    • We do not come to the Father by simply leading a good life…
    • We come to the Father through believing in and trusting in Jesus Christ…
    • Jesus said, “If you known me, you will know my Father also.” (14:7)
    • “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father.” (14:9)
  • People want to believe that all roads, all paths, and all faiths lead to God… according to Jesus, that is not true… Jesus said, “I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • How many ways are there to God? One way! The way is Jesus!
  • The earliest followers of Jesus were called “The Followers of the Way.”
  • To follow the Way, you must have a personal, living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ… you must love him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength… and you must allow him to love you in return.
  • You can not go through life hoping to stumble upon God… you must follow the Way – the Way is Jesus himself.

CONCLUSION

  • On a hill on the outskirts of London there stands a large white cross… One day, in the heart of the city, a policeman heard a little boy crying as if his heart would break… “What’s the matter, my boy? Can I help you?”… “Oh,” replied the child, “I am lost.”… “Well, don’t cry. We can fix that,” said the officer, adding, “Where do you live?”… The boy answered, “If you will take me to the hill where the white cross stands, I can find my way.” (Wallis)
  • How many ways are there to God?
  • Jesus said, “I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through me.”

Sermon Seeds

  • Life Application Bible Commentary – Tyndale
  • Daily Study Bible – Barclay
  • A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations - Wallis
  • The Way, The Truth and The Life – a sermon by Peter J. Blackburn
  • Sermon on John 14:6a sermon by Adrian Dieleman

Worship Bulletin