lesson may 27 2012 by 6B0Jc44E

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									UNIT III: The Word Will Be              CHILDREN’S UNIT: The Word Will Be                       SPRING
QUARTER

   LESSON 13                                                                          May 27, 2012


THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE
Devotional ReaDing: Matthew 7:13-20                       BackgRounD ScRiptuRe: John 14:1-14
pRint paSSage: John 14:1-14                               key veRSe: John 14:6

John 14:1-14—KJV                                          John 14:1-14—NIV
LET NOT your heart be troubled: ye believe in God,        “DO NOT let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God;
believe also in me.                                       trust also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it           2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were
were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare       not so, I would have told you. I am going there to
a place for you.                                          prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come    3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,      back and take you to be with me that you also may
there ye may be also.                                     be where I am.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.          4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither        5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where
thou goest; and how can we know the way?                  you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and      6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the
the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.       life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my             7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father
Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and         as well. From now on, you do know him and have
have seen him.                                            seen him.”
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father,        8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will
and it sufficeth us.                                      be enough for us.”
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time          9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even
with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?         after I have been among you such a long time? Any-
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how        one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can
                                                          you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
                                                          10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and
                                                          that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are
the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I
                                                          not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me,
speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in      who is doing his work.
me, he doeth the works.                                   11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father     and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the
in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.       evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth      12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will
on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and          do what I have been doing. He will do even greater
greater works than these shall he do; because I go        things than these, because I am going to the Father.
unto my Father.                                           13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that           that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.   14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.    I will do it.”

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   UNIFYING                         LESSON
   PRINCIPLE
   People always try to find direction in their lives. How can we know which way to go? Jesus
   proclaimed that He was the way people would come to God—because He was in God and
   God was in Him.



TOPICAL OUTLINE                             POINTS TO BE EMPHASIZED
OF THE LESSON                               ADULT/YOUTH
 I. Introduction                            Adult Topic: Finding Direction for Life
    A. Jesus Is the Way!                    Youth Topic: No Other Way!
    B. Biblical Background                  Adult/Youth Key Verse: John 14:6
                                            Print Passage: John 14:1-14
II. Exposition and Application              —The word oikia, often translated as “house,” a physical
    of the Scripture                           structure, may also be translated as “household,” a com-
    A. How to Be Untroubled                    munity of people.
        (John 14:1-4)                       —This passage is the beginning of a “farewell” address that
    B. There Is Always God                     Jesus gave to the disciples.
        (John 14:5-10)                      —The Greek term for believe may also be translated “have
    C. Following Jesus’ Model                  confidence and obey” or “be assured and follow.”
        of Service                          —The word dwell is used to talk about believers’ relationship
        (John 14:11-14)                        with God and Jesus.
                                            —Thomas misunderstood Jesus’ use of “way” as a geographi-
                                               cal term.
III. Concluding Reflection
                                            —The word hodos can be translated as “road” or “way.”

LESSON OBJECTIVES                           CHILDREN
Upon the completion of this lesson, the     Children Topic: Jesus Gives True Life
students should know that:                  Key Verse: John 14:6
1. Jesus’ life provided spiritual ele-      Print Passage: John 14:1-14
    ments essential for Christian           —Jesus assures us that our way to eternal life is to trust in Him.
    discipleship;                           —Jesus will bring all believers to a prepared place.
2. Faith in Jesus is the only pathway       —The only way to God the Father is through God the Son.
    to faith in God;                        —Even though the disciples had been with Jesus for some time,
3. Believers find in Jesus’ ministry a        it was necessary for Jesus to identify Himself.
    model for their own service; and,       —Jesus is the totally human and totally divine visible image
4. Trusting the promises of Jesus             of the invisible God, who completely reveals to us what
    for direction in the midst of un-         God is like.
    certainty is the way to fulfill God’s   —When believers’ prayers are aligned with the character and
    purpose in life.                          will of God, God grants their requests.


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 I.
 INTRODUCTION
 A. Jesus Is the Way!
      Before one can know what Jesus meant by the words “I am the way, the truth, and the
 life,” the context in which He spoke those words must be understood. The context was
 not one absent of fears, tension, and conflict. In fact, mounting fears surrounded Jesus
 and His disciples as Herod Antipas reacted to Jesus’ prophetic ministry. The reaction of
 Herod Antipas to Jesus is understandable, given the fact that the Roman Empire was a
 mere generation old, and its policy of violently protecting its power was as necessary as it
 was ruthless to maintain its world status. Because of Jesus’ prophetic character, Galileans
 compared Jesus to Elijah, the prophet of Mt. Carmel. Jesus spoke and acted with prophetic
 authority in His teachings (see Luke 11:49). Jesus knew that prophets in the mold of
 Elijah or Elisha had entered into direct conflict with the kings of their time, demanding
 they conform to the rule of divine justice. Although Jesus never formed a military group,
 Herod Antipas would have seen Jesus and His disciples as a potential army, a band of
 rabble rousers who could ignite the fire of revolution in Galilee. Herod Antipas would
 not tolerate Jesus’ revolutionary speech about the reign of God, an irreversible change in
 the system values of the Empire. It was in this context that the disciples of Jesus became
 deeply concerned about the kind of revolution that Jesus was leading, and this moved
 Jesus to say to His disciples in John 13:33 (NIV), “My children, I will be with you only
 a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where
 I am going, you cannot come.” This profession only intensified the fears and tension of
 the disciples, to which Jesus responded by saying these comforting words to them: “Do
 not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1, NRSV).
 The key phrase to remember in the study of this lesson is “believe also in me,” or “trust
 Jesus” for life’s direction.

 B. Biblical Background
     Jesus’ prophetic pronouncements about the imminent coming of the kingdom of God
 signaled a revolution in the name of God to the disciples. This was also in the mind of
 Herod Antipas and created conflict for Herod between the kingdom of God and Herod’s
 empire. Elijah’s authority had been confirmed by the prophetic feats that brought drought
 and floods (see 1 Kings 17:1-7; 18:25-38); and the killing of the prophets of Baal (see
 1 Kings 18:39-40). Many Jews believed that God would again send Elijah, whose signs
 would herald the fire and healing of the divine kingdom (see Malachi 4:1-2). The prophetic
 fame of Jesus branded Him as a potentially greater threat than John the Baptist, whom
 Herod Antipas had beheaded. Jesus’ healing miracles became a sign for the restoration
 of the community of Israel.


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    In studying this lesson, it is important to                  the conflict between fear and confidence, com-
note that perhaps Jesus was concerned about                      passion and judgment were all resolved in His
the fear in the communities of His disciples                     complete trust in the Spirit of God and the
who lived on the dangerous edge and tension                      divine kingdom. Although events at the time
of political and cultural estrangement within
                                                                 were moving quickly both in the politics
the Roman Empire. In His teachings, Jesus
                                                                 of Galilee and in His own spiritual quest,
stressed His growing conviction that the power
of God’s Spirit and the coming kingdom of                        Jesus’ deep trust in God’s kingdom gave Him
God would see the disciples through any threat.                  confi- dence to teach the disciples to trust
Jesus’ sense of the violence around Him,                         His truth
and                                                              and way to God.

II. EXPOSITION AND APPLICATION OF THE SCRIPTURE
A. How to Be Untroubled                                          God, but also, more specifically, to believe and
   (John 14:1-4)                                                 have confidence in Him as the authentic path
LET NOT your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe       to the divine kingdom. Jesus Himself—or,
also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if           rather, what He stood for—had become the
it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a         core of the meaning of His teaching.
place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will       Jesus understood that He was to be the
come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I
                                                                 presence of the kingdom in the disciples’ midst.
am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and
the way ye know.                                                 “Believe in God, believe also in me” (verse 1)
    While these comforting words of Jesus’                       was how Jesus responded to the fears of the
have sustained many through periods of                           disciples. Faith in Jesus is the only true faith
grief, Jesus spoke these words in a context                      in God. The Greek term for the word believe
of hostility and conflict that had developed                     may also be translated “have confidence and
around His prophetic life. Confronting a                         obey” or “be assured and follow.” Even in the
hostile world and having to trust Jesus’ revolu-                 light of Jesus’ impending betrayal, separation,
tionary teachings created uncertainty and fears                  and death (see John 11:33; 12:27; 13:21),
within the disciples. Jesus knew that His disci-                 Jesus commanded the disciples to “Love one
ples were bewildered as they shared in the hope                  another; as I have loved you” (John
of His salvation. They all became hunted men.                    13:34). Love for God’s kingdom, love for one
The difficulty of their grasping Jesus’ teachings                another, and self-denial on behalf of the
coupled with questions of uncertainty about                      kingdom were the ways to overcome fear.
where and how God was present in the midst                       The love that the disciples expressed toward
of them perpetuated the disciples’ fears.                        God was the same love that Jesus
Jesus understood Himself to be the                               commanded His disciples to have toward one
embodiment of a new world in which God’s                         another. In other words, faith in Jesus is the
kingdom was the only source of life. Jesus’                      only true faith in God; and love is the way
teachings were aimed at helping the disciples                    that such faith is expressed. This faith does
not only to trust in                                             not remove external threats, but it

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puts human fears in the right perspective. In              and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I
addition to the command to love one another,               speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me,
Jesus sought to comfort the troubling fears                he doeth the works.
of the disciples by teaching them that their                    Living with untroubled faith is grounded
present anxieties, fears, and threats to their             in the confidence that “there is always God.”
futures were not larger or more powerful than              God’s reality, His truth, His love, His justice,
the futures that God had prepared for them.                and His purpose will have the last and final
“Let not your heart be troubled”—because                   word about the future of the world and our
God had secured their futures. The present                 humanity. The world of the Roman Empire
fears and trials were real, but temporary.                 loomed so large in the lives of the ancients
The presence of God’s kingdom was in their                 that it was difficult for them to grasp that
midst, as Jesus was its embodiment of love                 there was another reality more powerful than
and heal- ing power. Jesus followed up the                 the governance of the Empire. Jesus simply
phrase “Let not your heart be troubled”                    taught the disciples that to believe in God is
with, “Believe in God, believe also in me.”                to realize that you are never alone to manage
Jesus’ healings, His confrontation with                    life for yourself and by yourself—that you can
demons, His miraculous feeding of the                      always trust that God is working in the world,
thousands, and His teachings had all                       bringing to fruition divine justice and divine
become prophetic signs, incursions from                    purposes. When life threatens us, our belief in
the divine kingdom into the world of the                   God’s love guides and sustains our faith. The
disciples. Thus, Jesus’ identification of                  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told
Himself as one with God was an act of faith,               the story of his confrontation with the threats
a trust in the power of God to bring Him and               that occurred during the Montgomery Bus
His disciples to God’s spiritual home—the                  Boycott in 1955. The black community faced
true place of restoration. In this place of res-           daily threats of physical violence as they sought
toration, God’s salvation would have plenty of             to end segregation and discrimination. One
“mansions” for all who believed to find peace              night, just as Dr. King was retiring for rest, he
and transformation.                                        received a threatening telephone call from an
B. There Is Always God                                     anonymous caller whose display of hatred un-
   (John 14:5-10)                                          settled the spirit of Dr. King: “Nigger, you will
                                                           regret having ever come to Montgomery.” At
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither           that moment, Dr. King decided not to awaken
thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith
unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man    his wife but went into the kitchen and prayed
cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known         to God as he had never prayed before: “I am
me, ye should have known my Father also: and from          here taking a stand for what I believe is right.
henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith    But now I am afraid. The people are looking to
unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.   me for leadership, and if I stand before them
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with
you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that
                                                           without strength and courage, they, too, will
hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest          falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have
thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I
am in the Father,

276 | TOWNSEND   PRESS COMMENTARY–Spring 2012
nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I         the truth and the life,” Jesus declared. This
can’t face it alone.” At that moment, Dr. King       declaration indicated Jesus’ own faith in God,
reported that he “experienced the presence of        whom He believed had endorsed Him, His
the Divine as he had never experienced God           agency, His teachings, and His truth as one
before. It seemed as though I could hear the         with those of God; through Him persons can
quiet assurance of an inner voice saying, ‘Stand     attain salvation and life in God’s kingdom.
up for justice, stand up for truth; and God
will be at your side forever.’” Christians must      C. Following Jesus’ Model of Service
have the spiritual resolve and commitment to            (John 14:11-14)
do God’s will as Jesus did—“Not my will but          Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:
Thy will be done.”                                   or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily,
     Jesus’ belief in God and His sense of one-      I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that
ness with God’s presence and purpose in the          I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall
world is the key to understanding why Jesus          he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye
                                                     shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may
insisted that the disciples believe in Him also.     be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my
As with the disciples, in some real measure over     name, I will do it.
the course of history, Jesus has taught us also          Christians believe that in all that Jesus said
to believe in Him. We might have questions           and did, He was the express image of God’s
like the one Philip of Bethsaida had in John         very person, the Word that conveys to us God’s
14:8, but Jesus points us to the demonstration       very thoughts and mind and heart. Jesus calls
of “works” of God in our historical transfor-        us to live in solidarity with Him as the only
mations. The end of slavery, social justice, and     way to God. Jesus has set an example of love
radical change in the social lives of black people   that opens up a pathway to God. This was what
in America are but a few examples. The works         Jesus meant by the words, “Believe me that I
of God uncompromisingly validate that God’s          am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else
power is for us, with us, and in us as we stand      believe me for the very works’ sake” (verse
for divine justice and love in the world. Godly      11). Jesus made the promise to His disciples
lives become possible—even amid threats—             that by believing in Him they would do
when they are undergirded by belief in God.          greater works than the works that He
This is Jesus’ way, and is our only way to           performed. It is incredible to affirm in our
God.                                                 faith “the greater works” of God. God’s love,
     Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus, asked    His compassion, His justice, and His
Him about the “Way”; he asked, “Lord, we             liberation and salvation are the ongoing work
don’t know where you are going, so how can           of the kingdom of God. When believers trust
we know the way?” (John 14:5, NIV).                  God’s power, the promise of Jesus is that
Many may think that the raising of this              human brokenness turns to heal- ing, poverty
question by Thomas to Jesus indicated                of body and soul turn to abundant life, and
Thomas’s doubt and lack of faith. However, we        guilty souls can turn to souls of joy and
might consider that good theological                 restoration. These are the greater works to
questions are the foundation for growing             which every believer is called. If we follow in
authentic faith. “I am the way and

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the model of Jesus’ love and service—while it        way of God is love. The way of God is divine
may seem that our service is little—then God         justice. The way of God is divine truth unhin-
will take it and expand His kingdom.                 dered in the world. The way of God brings
     In the black church, I remember the song        authentic life. Only when God’s love and pain
“Serving the Lord Will Pay Off after While.”         for the world become our love and pain for the
Little did I know as a boy that the seed was         world are we following in the servant model
being planted in my spirit for God’s work, nor       of Jesus. In the world of fears and threats, we,
was I aware of the dividends of faith that would     like the disciples of Jesus, can easily allow
yield a harvest for God’s kingdom. Now as a          the world to blur our thinking and drain us of
proclaimer of the Gospel, a Christian theologi-      faith and energy to do the work of God. We
cal educator, and leader of a Christian college, I   must learn that our spiritual service or kingdom
have been graciously called to the greater works     work must exist in faith and belief in Jesus
of God’s kingdom. Jesus promises to grant us         as “the way, the truth, and the life.”
the power to do the works of the kingdom.
Only inasmuch as we advance kingdom causes
                                                     PRAYER
can we expect God’s Spirit to be with us.
                                                  Thank You, Lord, for Your sacrifice of love that
                                                  helps us overcome fear. Cultivate in our hearts
III. CONCLUDING REFLECTION                        trust in Your love, so that we can bring glory to
     Jesus is the way to God, the way to life and Your kingdom on earth. In Jesus’ name we pray.
truth. This is what this lesson teaches us. The Amen.


   WORD POWER
   The eastern understanding of the word kingdom focuses more on the royalty than the realm.
   There is more attention placed on the king than on the dominated territory. As such, Jesus
   calls us unto Himself before He calls us to labor in His vineyard.


HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS
    (May 21-27, 2012)

The Way, the Truth, and the Life
    MONDAY, May 21: “Making Known the Way of God” (Exodus 18:13-23)
    TUESDAY, May 22: “Turning Aside from the Way” (Exodus 32:7-14)
    WEDNESDAY, May 23: “Seeking Truth Within” (Psalm 51:1-7)
    THURSDAY, May 24: “Speaking Truth from the Heart” (Psalm 15)
    FRIDAY, May 25: “Telling the Whole Message” (Acts 5:17-21)
    SATURDAY, May 26: “Choosing the Hard Road” (Matthew 7:13-20)
    SUNDAY, May 27: “‘How Can We Know the Way?’” (John 14:1-14)

278 | TOWNSEND   PRESS COMMENTARY–Spring 2012

								
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