Study Notes

John 14:1-6


The setting is the Passover evening. Jesus is having the Seder dinner with His disciples, when He becomes troubled in spirit, revealing that one of the disciples will betray Him. After Judas leaves to do that very thing, Jesus says that He is going to a place where they cannot yet come, but encourages the disciples to love one another.

Simon Peter doesn't understand. He says, "Lord, why can't I come too?" He didn't understand that Jesus was speaking of ascending into heaven. But He says, "Peter, you can't come right now, but you will follow Me there later." Peter keeps insisting that he be allowed to go where Jesus is going.

John 13:37-38 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny Me three times."

What a bombshell! This really is turning out to be a heavy dinner! Jesus is troubled, someone's going to betray Him, He says He's going away, that Peter will deny Him... The tension must have been so thick you could cut it with a knife. But Jesus then encourages them, saying...

14:1 Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

The disciples were about to suffer three of the most terrible and trying days of their lives. But Jesus says, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Let not. Don't let your heart be troubled. A troubled heart is something that you allow. Oh, it may be caused by outer circumstances, but it is controlled by your inner self. The Bible repeats to us over and over, "Don't be anxious," "Be anxious for nothing," "Fear not," and, "Why are you troubled?"

You will never be able to control the actions of others. You'll never be able to dictate circumstances and situations. As the Bible says,

James 4:14 ...You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow...

Things will happen, situations will arise, people will do things that could trouble your heart. But Jesus says, "Don't let your heart be troubled." Easier said than done, right? Well, God will never give you a command without giving you the method and the strength to obey it. How can we prevent our hearts from being troubled? He tells us before He even finishes the sentence.

Believe In

"Believe in God, believe also in Me." That's how your heart will be guarded from trouble. Now this is not an inactive belief that God is out there somewhere. This term "believe in" is an active belief. It means to commit, to believe, to trust INTO something. How do you believe INTO?

A plane is a good analogy. While I'm on the ground, I can believe that a 747 can safely fly to New York I can accept the aerodynamic design by the engineers, I can see them putting fuel into the tanks. But it is when I actually commit myself and show my trust by actually getting into the plane that I believe INTO it.

Jesus tells us that the way to prevent our hearts from being troubled is to believe INTO God.

But how does this all work practically? Here's the instruction manual:

Phil. 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

By praying, petitioning, and giving thanks, you remind yourself of three things. #1: God is in control, no matter how out of control the situation looks. #2: God is aware of your situation, and is working it out for your good. #3: God's desire for you is to give thanks in the midst of the situation. When you remember and are reminded of those three things, the peace of God washes over you completely, removing the anxiety in your mind, keeping your heart from being troubled.

What situation is troubling your heart this morning? Is it relational? Financial? Personal? Occupational? God is in control. He is aware of your predicament. He wants you to give thanks in the midst of it. Let not your heart be troubled.

14:2 My Father's House

Jesus has been speaking of ascending to heaven. Notice what He calls it: "My Father's house." Remember that Jesus also called the temple "My Father's house." When He was 12 years old, and Mary and Joseph discovered that He was missing, they found Him in the temple.

Luke 2:49 And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"

Twenty years later, when He found sellers and moneychangers in the temple, He drove them out, saying,

John 2:16 ..."Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise."

So is His Father's house the temple or heaven? You Old Testament students should already know the answer, for the tabernacle, and later the temple, was a model of heaven. The writer of Hebrews said that the priests...

Hebr. 8:5 ... serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN."

On the mountain, Moses had a vision of the heavenly things, and the tabernacle was made after their pattern. When we studied the book of Revelation, we saw the actual heavenly things and discussed their parallels to the earthly tabernacle. Then when we went through Exodus, we did the opposite - we saw the earthly things: the lampstand, the ark of the covenant, etc., and discussed their heavenly counterparts.

So Jesus here is speaking of His Father's house in heaven.

A Place For You

Although the King James translators embellished this word into "mansions," the word literally means "abodes," or "dwelling places." Jesus is saying, "In heaven, there are lots of places to live, and I'm going to go up there and make a place for you." Let's think on that for a moment. Heaven is not going to be a huge Motel 6, with every room having the same furniture, the same painting on the same wall, and the same bed spread on every bed. Jesus said, "I'm going to prepare a place FOR YOU."

I teach a Bible class to Junior High School students on Friday mornings at a local Christian school. Last Friday, a discussion of the nature of heaven arose. One very intelligent boy said, "I can't prove it, but I think that heaven is going to be exactly what we've always hoped for - exactly what each of us wants." I think he's not too far off there - Jesus is going to prepare a place FOR YOU.

But think further of the glorious nature of that dwelling place He's making for you. Remember that the Lord took six days to make creation as we know it. The universe, the sun and stars, the earth, and all of its plant and animal life. But for the last 2,000 years, He's been working on my place! And yours! How glorious is that going to be? How unimaginable! When Paul was speaking of being caught up there, he said he...

2Cor. 12:4 was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

He also said,

Rom. 8:18 ...the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

1Cor. 2:9 ...eye has not seen and ear has not heard, AND HAVE not entered the heart of man, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."

The place that God has waiting for you in heaven is beyond comprehension, explanation, or even imagination!

14:3 I Will Come Again

Jesus is coming again. But the language here is interesting: I'm coming again, and will receive you to Myself. If He's coming, how is it that we are going to Him? This is an accurate description of the blessed event called the Rapture of the church. The apostle Paul described it this way:

1Ths. 4:17-18 ...We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Why do we call it "the Rapture?" When Paul says "caught up," that word in Greek is "har-PAD-zo." It means "to seize, carry off by force, to snatch out or away." When the Bible was translated from Greek into Latin, the Greek word "har-PAD-zo" was translated into the Latin word "raptus." So we get the English word "rapture" from the Latin word "raptus." We could just as easily have called this event "the catching up," "the great snatch," or "the harpadzo."

So you can see how this happens: Jesus comes back, but we go to Him, fulfilling the words of Christ,

John 14:3 "...I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

Now, this is very interesting, the debate about whether the Rapture will happen before or after the Great Tribulation period prophesied in most of the prophetic books of the Bible. Let us read what God said through Isaiah,

Isa. 26:19-21 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. Come, my people, enter into your rooms, And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while, Until indignation runs {its} course. For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed, And will no longer cover her slain.

God will say to His people, "Come." That indicates that we are going up to Him. We are going to enter our rooms, our dwelling places, close the doors, and wait for the tribulation to run its course. It all seems very clear to me...

14:4-6 I Am The Way

So Jesus says, "Hey guys, you know the way where I'm going." Of course, with hindsight, we do... but at least Thomas had the guts to say, "Wait a minute! I don't have a clue where You're going! So how are we supposed to know the way there?"

Jesus was on His way to heaven. And He told Thomas that He Himself was the way there - the ONLY way there.

You see, heaven's got a pretty strict admission policy: if you're a sinner, you can't get in.

2Ths. 1:9 ...these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord...

So sinners will spend eternity away from God - in a place that we commonly refer to as hell. That turns out to be a really big problem, because,

Rom. 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God


Every single human being is disqualified from entering into heaven. No one can get in on their good works, because in the light of God's perfection,

Isa. 64:6 ...all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment...

Fortunately, there is a way. One way. Jesus Christ. He is the way.

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Every human being deserves a death penalty for their sin. Jesus Christ died in your place. He paid for it Himself.

Rom. 5:8 ...God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

All that's left for you to do is to receive His sacrifice for yourself.

Acts 16:31 ...Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved...

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