The Crux Chapter 5 One Way (John 14:1-17)

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1 BIBLE STUDY (John 14:1-17) What s This Passage All About? Who is Jesus? Most people know about Jesus but not everyone has stopped to examine the claims Jesus makes about Himself. In John 14:1-17, Jesus makes some bold statements about His identity. We also have the privilege of hearing His disciples reaction to His teaching. By placing ourselves in the story, we allow the disciples to help reveal our own thoughts and reactions to Jesus identity. Context During the Last Supper in John 13, Jesus tells His disciples that He will not be with them for much longer. Confused and troubled, the disciples press Jesus for more answers. They want always to be with Him, and yet, Jesus tells them they cannot. This sparks the conversation about who Jesus is and why He is leaving them. The Big Picture The Big Picture Jesus reveals His identity as the way, the truth, and the life. He and the Father are one. Faced with these facts, the reader is forced to make a decision about Jesus. Identity (John 14:1-11) Jesus reassures the disciples that they will be able to follow Him; when He leaves, He will prepare a place for them (John 14:3). Thomas, not satisfied with this response, wants to know how to follow Jesus to His Father s house. Throughout history, humankind has always longed for something beyond this world. It seems we were made for something more than just this life. Thomas question reflects the heart of man; most human beings do not doubt if there is something beyond this world, they just question how to get there. Over the centuries, humankind has constructed many religions and philosophies searching for ways to reach beyond this world. This is why Jesus answer is so shocking: I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. Most people in the world today would not be offended if Jesus said I am a way or a truth. Jesus distinguishes Himself as the only way to reach heaven. Surely, this will bring up questions relating to the eternal salvation of non-christians or those who have never even heard of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has a great way to address these questions. For more, see the article Comparative Religions: The Uniqueness of Christianity, by Peter Kreeft, in the Appendix (particularly points 10, 11, and 1). Later in the passage (John 14:8-11), Jesus also reveals that He and the Father are one. By doing so, Jesus is equating Himself with God. Again, most people in the world do not have a problem honoring Jesus as a benevolent teacher, but Jesus statements about His divinity go much further than this. Continued on page

2 Decisions Jesus identity forces us to make a decision about Him. If He is the way, the truth, and the life, where does that put us if we do not accept Him? We would be lost in a false reality that would ultimately leave us lifeless. Getting your group to realize this is vital. If they have not fully committed their lives to Jesus Christ, they must make a personal decision. If they have devoted themselves to Christ, how do they live this out? Particularly, Jesus statements should give them the zeal and courage to share Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him. A great way for your group to see the implications of Jesus statements is to walk them through what is known as the Trilemma (think dilemma with three options instead of two). A quick and easy explanation of the Trilemma can be found on pages -3 in Made for More by Curtis Martin, Founder and President of FOCUS. This selection is found in the Appendix as well. The Trilemma lays out the logic behind Jesus statements to help a person grapple with who Jesus is and how He relates to his or her life. Application to Jesus Jesus is more than a benevolent teacher or a moral philosopher He is God incarnate and the only way to heaven. Personal relationship During this conversation, it is clear that the disciples fail to understand who Jesus really is. Jesus sums it up best when He asks Philip, Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? How true this is for so many Christians today! They have been with Jesus for a long time maybe since their infant Baptism but they do not know Jesus. In his encyclical, Redemptoris Missio (Mission of the Redeemer), Blessed John Paul II describes this very situation as the new evangelization: There is an intermediate situation... where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. In this case 1 what is needed is a new evangelization or a re-evangelization. The question is: How do we re-evangelize these people? In addressing the Church in America, John Paul II says, It is more necessary than ever for all the faithful to move from a faith of habit, sustained perhaps by social context alone, to a faith which is conscious and personally lived (emphasis added). We must show the faithful how the faith can be integrated into their lives in a personal way. The effects of a personal relationship (John 14: 1-17) What are the effects of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? The person will be able to be like Jesus and follow His commandments. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not simply a mental decision; it should bear fruit in our lives. Continued on page 3

3 3 1 Faced with the problem of sin, some people cannot imagine being able to do this. They reject Jesus not because of who He is but because of the inadequacy in their own lives. They think, There is no way I can be a Christian; my life is a mess; I will never be good enough. Jesus answer is in John 14:16-17, (God) will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever...he dwells with you, and will be in you. We are not alone and have no reason to be troubled. Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, no. 33. Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, no. 73. Application to Our Lives It is possible to know about Jesus without ever knowing who He truly is. If we love Jesus, we will imitate Him and keep Application His commandments to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. Continued on page 4

4 4 DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR YOUR BIBLE STUDY Opener Have you ever had a friend or a family member who you thought you knew, but then a positive experience with them or new discovery changed the way you viewed them? Backdrop In a way more direct than almost anywhere else in the Bible, Jesus elaborates in this passage on who He is. In doing so, Jesus presents a clear message that calls for a response from the reader. Who do we say that He is? And what does that mean for our lives? Passage Read John 14:1-17 together. Exploration 1. Why are the apostles hearts troubled?. What does Jesus tell the apostles to comfort them? 3. Philip asks, How can we know the way? Do you think we all have something inside of us that believes there is more to life than this world? 4. If you could ask one question about what is beyond this world, what would it be? 5. If you had the answer to this question, how would it change the way in which you live? 6. If there is something beyond this world, what are the ramifications of Jesus answer? 7. How does Jesus response separate Him from other spiritual or religious leaders throughout history? 8. If Jesus is the truth and the life, what effect does this have on us if we do not follow Jesus? 9. Some people say that Jesus was (is) just a good moral teacher but not actually God. How do Jesus statements about His relationship with the Father compare to this thought? Share the Trilemma. Information on the Trilemma is in the What s This Passage All About? section and in the Appendix. 11. Jesus asks Philip, Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? How do you think we could be with someone and not know them? 1. If someone claims to be with Jesus and does not know Him, what would that life look like? 13. Read Luke 6:46. How does this saying of Jesus relate to the passage in John 14? 14. What do you think Jesus means when He says, Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it? 15. What if we asked for something that was evil or contrary to who God is? 16. What does Jesus promise to those who love Him and keep His commandments? 17. If what Jesus said were true, how would it change the way we live our lives? 10. If Jesus made these statements but they were not true, would Jesus be a good teacher? Continued on page 5

5 5 Answers 1. In John 13, Jesus tells the apostles that He is leaving them and that they cannot follow Him now. Looking at this verse is a great way to teach your Bible study about reading Scripture in context. By looking at the surrounding passages, we can figure out what is going on in the passage we are currently reading.. Jesus tells the apostles to believe in Him and that He is going to prepare a place for them in His Father s house (heaven). 3. Refer back to the Prince Charles quotation in chapter one of this Bible study or the second paragraph in the Identity section of What s this passage all about? 4. Allow the group to discuss this. 5. Allow the group to discuss this. 6. Jesus tells them, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. This does not mean that other religions or spiritualities do not have any truth to them. It does mean, however, that Jesus Christ is the ultimate truth and way of salvation. 7. Most spiritual leaders claim to be a way or a truth but not the only way or truth. 8. If we believe what Jesus is saying but do not follow Him, we would be lost in a false reality that would ultimately leave us lifeless. 9. Jesus says that He and the Father are one. He is claiming to be God. This indicated that He is much more than just a good moral teacher. 10. No, Jesus would not be a good teacher. A good teacher does not lie or is not mistaken about His identity. Share the Trilemma. 11. Allow the group to discuss this. 1. Discuss this. They would be doing a lot of actions but without the relationship. Ultimately, these actions would be empty, without any meaning. 13. We can call upon the Lord without actually following Him. 14. Allow the group to discuss this. 15. God would not grant it. Asking for something in Jesus name also includes the action being according to His will. He would not directly cause evil things to happen. Also, your request could be noble but still not in line with His will. 16. He will pray and give them another Counselor, the Holy Spirit (v. 16). 17. Allow the group to discuss this. End FOCUSequip is based on Ephesians 4:1 for the equipment of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ. These materials seek to equip you for lifelong Catholic mission. We would love to hear your feedback at: Copyright 011 FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). You are free to make copies for non-commercial use as along as you attribute the material to FOCUS. For commercial use please contact us.

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