We find the final words of Jesus before His arrest in the fourteenth through seventeenth chapters of John’s Gospel. Many of us are familiar with the contents but do we understand what the Lord was saying? I ask this question because it is one thing to know what is said and another to have a revelation.
I believe that the words of Jesus recorded in these chapters communicated His most important instructions to the disciples. He knew that His earthly ministry was at an end and that the crucifixion was just ahead. Jesus prepared His disciples for the crucifixion and the road ahead after He was resurrected from the dead.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; how can we know the way?
(John 14: 1 – 5)
In verse four, Jesus said that they would know the way. Thomas immediately questioned this statement. His question indicated that he did not believe Jesus when He said they would see the way, essentially accusing Jesus of lying.
Can you imagine accusing the Lord of lying to you in His Word? We want to think that we would never do a similar thing, but this is what people who approach Scripture from a religious mindset do. Religion robs us of the power we are meant to walk in, which is why many Christians have become hypocritical in their approach to God.
A person who identifies as Buddhist or Muslim is religious. Christians are to be Christ-like and not religious. There are a lot of religions in the world. We should not lump Christianity in with them. The word “Christian” means “like Christ” or “little Christ.” We are called to live and walk as Christ did.
Jesus did not endure the suffering of the cross to enable us to join an organization or obtain a religious designation. The way some talk makes me think that they believe the group they have joined is the only one able to help God fulfill His plan on the earth. God did not create the religions of this world or the denominations we hold so dear. He will accomplish His plan with or without them!
I responded to an altar call in a church that was part of a pentecostal denomination. There was a lot of pride in our ranks because we had the Holy Spirit and experienced His presence. Without acknowledging it, we looked down on everyone else as if our position with God was much more elevated than anyone else’s.
Over time the Holy Spirit helped me see the error of our ways. God was moving in all churches. The title on their door or the denomination they were a part of did not matter to Him. We may have thought our group was the best, but we were wrong!
One of the most shocking revelations of my early years as a Christian was when I realized that people labeled as “Pentecostal” were full of unbelief. I had elevated them because of their doctrinal statements regarding the Holy Spirit, miracles, and healing, but I was wrong. We were no different than the people we pointed our religious fingers at!
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
(James 2:14 – 17)
I have learned that it is one thing to say we believe in healing and deliverance, but this does not mean we do. Many Christians say they believe in these things. Their actions tell a different story. They are steeped in religious traditions and are not living anywhere near the place a Christ-like person would be.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
(James 2:19 – 20)
The devil believes in God and His miraculous power. We want to live at a level of life above where he walks. James’ statements in these verses tell us that it is not enough to believe these things. We must move beyond “belief” and live out these truths. Doing so will require a commitment to spending time meditating on the truths of God’s Word until they become revelation knowledge.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
(John 14: 1 – 5)
Thomas had traveled with Jesus for almost three years. He had heard Jesus’ messages and seen the miracles but did not believe. We may be tempted to judge him, but we must back up and look at ourselves before doing so. What is the difference between his reaction to Jesus’ words and our response to them?
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Jesus told them they would know the “way” He was going in the fourth verse. What would the difference be between Thomas’ reaction to that statement and a person who would question their ability to do the works Jesus did today?
We often do not give much thought to these things or people’s words. Our pulpits, hymns, and even contemporary songs are often full of unbelief. How many of us take the time to examine what we are hearing in light of God’s Word? For example, consider the following verse from a famous hymn by Johnny Cash.
“I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world below
There’s no sickness, no toil or danger
In that bright land to which I go”
These words are full of unbelief and are not Scriptural. Christians are not “poor wayfaring strangers” on this earth. We are filled with the Spirit of God, and Jesus said we should be “doing” the same “works” He did while ministering on the earth!
Religious tradition acknowledges Jesus said these things but then provides excuses for why they do not apply to us today. Man has applied all sorts of religious doctrines to Scripture today, which has robbed the Church of its power.
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Our traditions have caused us to accept the lack of power and manifestation of God’s glory in most churches today. We make excuses for the state of things but cannot escape that Jesus said we would do the same works He did.