Well today is Easter Sunday which is a really big deal in our faith. Actually it’s the biggest deal to our faith because it is the day we celebrate the greatest thing that could ever happen in the history of our lives, which is God loving us so much that He would send Jesus to this Earth, to handle our sin problem for us, to lay down His life for us, changing our eternal destiny. So yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! While many of us Christians get excited over extra church attendance, or greeting someone at church that you haven’t seen since Christmas I want to stay focused today. I know we can get a little distracted on this holiday with the clothes, and all that a holiday can bring like the family gatherings later today but the whole Easter thing is celebrating Jesus and his victory over sin and death. So while we may get a little extra excited today, the message really remains the same each and every week here at MRG, it always comes back to that big list that I keep bringing up pretty much every Sunday since our young church has started. The big list that is at the very center of everything in our belief system is Jesus, a blood stained cross, and an empty tomb. Have you ever wondered why that list is such a big deal? Why it’s so profoundly personal? Have you ever wondered why a Pastor would get so fired up over Jesus? Well I want to talk to you about that, and then I want to show you why Jesus is such a big deal for all of us.
So to start I want to look at a pretty awesome chunk of scripture and then we are going to talk to someone about what Jesus means to her. So here’s the scripture I would like to look at today, and I will warn you, this scripture can hit some nerves.
John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV
Jesus says something here that is very polarizing to a lot of people today. Why is it polarizing? It’s because He is clear. I will tell you that many struggle with Jesus’ words here and call them unloving or rigid or harsh, but I want you to see today just how loving this statement actually is. Jesus says that He is the way, the truth, and the life…and that no one comes to the Father except through him. So many of us don’t want to hear that, because we want to live life our way. We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it. So the last thing we would ever want to hear is that there is only one way to heaven because that doesn’t seem fair does it? Well it is beyond fair…if anything it wasn’t fair to Jesus, who came and did all the heavy lifting for us. Jesus who took on all of our shortcomings and sins so that we can have eternal life! It’s all about Jesus. It is only about Jesus. He is the way the truth and the life and he loves us enough to be clear with us.
So I want to spend some time in this scripture with you today. The first thing you see Jesus say is an encouragement to his disciples. He says… “Do not let your hearts be troubled” which is something that they would have needed to hear right in this moment. You see, Jesus is speaking to them here in his last 48 hours on this Earth…the Cross is right before Him in this moment. At this point they have eaten the last supper. Judas has left to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins, and he has just told them they would all scatter and run from him to save themselves and that before a rooster crows that Peter was going to deny Jesus three times. So yeah, their hearts were a little heavy in this moment. These guys have given their lives to Jesus, they have gone all in. They have left everything behind, jobs, family, really they have left everything to follow Him and now things are getting real! Now they are finally realizing what is about to happen. Jesus explains so much to us there in those first few verses…
John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” NIV
So Jesus is encourages them, and then explains that He is going on ahead to get our eternal home ready. He will prepare a place for us all…and he clearly lets us know that He will come back for us so that we can go live in our eternal home with Him. Thomas explains to Jesus that they have no idea what he is talking about, and then Jesus tells us three things about himself that are such a big deal.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV
Jesus is the way. He is our way to eternal life. Jesus is the answer to the sin problem. Remember that sin is the divider between us and God. And Jesus was God’s loving answer to sin. The answer, the way is Jesus. Now I know this isn’t what our culture wants us talking about today. Our culture says there should be multiple ways to do anything and that I should be able to take the one that makes me feel good right now, but Jesus isn’t saying that at all. Jesus is saying that I am the way to Heaven. I will get you to your eternal home. I am the answer! I know no one likes absolutes like this. No one likes to be told what they can and cannot do and so many people think this is harsh or oppressive. How dare Jesus tell me that I must do life His way to go to Heaven right? So stay with me for a moment, and think about what He is really saying here; “Hey, come to me and I will do all the work for you so that you can enjoy heaven for all of eternity, regardless of how badly you have messed things up.” Think about this. It’s actually freeing, and loving, and leads us to a life of joy, and energy, and strength because Jesus does it all for us. Our job is simply to believe in Him and allow Him to lovingly take us home. Listen Jesus is the way…there is no other option, there is no plan B…it’s Jesus. Then Jesus explains to them that He is the truth.
Jesus is the truth. Jesus is the only real measure of what is good. Jesus is mercy and grace. Jesus is forgiveness. Paul says this in Colossians…
Colossians 1:15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. 16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. 17 He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once so far away from God. NLT
Jesus is literally the image of God. He is the only true measure of God’s own righteousness. So when we know Jesus we know God…He is truth and did you notice how big of a deal Jesus is in all things? Also did you notice how personal it is for you there in the end of what Paul said there…wow!
Vs 20 and by him (Jesus) God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once so far away from God. NLT
Jesus says that He is the way. He is the truth…and He also tells us that He is the life.
Jesus is the life. So, if you are not banking on Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life than, odds are you are banking on something else to be that in your life right? We have been wired by God with a need for Him, which means whether you realize it or not, you have a desire that needs to be filled in your heart and soul. Whether you are a Christian or not, that void is there for everyone, and if you aren’t filling it with God you will try to fill it with something. This can be people, material possessions, substances…work, success…I don’t know what it is for you, but it’s something, and none of those things can and will fill that void in your life. Jesus is the life…and only Jesus can fill that void that each of us have. So if you are turning to other things this you will never find fulfillment. Remember what is central? It’s the big list…Jesus, the blood stained cross, and the empty tomb so if that isn’t in the center of your faith, you have put something else there…which I’m just going to tell you is very common, but doesn’t work. Maybe you are sitting there and I even mentioned the thing that you put central in your life other than God. Can I ask you something? How is that going for you? Whatever that thing is, it just isn’t getting it done is it? It can’t. So what can happen when Jesus isn’t central is that we can get caught up in the endless and exhausting games of trying to fill that void with things. Many get caught up in religion, where we aren’t centering on Jesus. We can end up working really, really hard to be good. We try to earn our way into heaven, which Jesus told you is His job, not yours. So you search for the kind of life Jesus told you that He came to give you and you just never seem to find it…remember John 10:10 where Jesus tells you why He came?
John 10:10 …I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. NIV
Listen, I love you enough to tell you none of these other things will bring you this life and life to the full thing. Jesus is very clear, he is the life. You simply will never work hard enough to accomplish what Jesus came to freely give you…but when we take Jesus out of the center of our lives and put ourselves in there…boy oh boy do we have to work to be good, and more importantly than being good may be how hard we try to look good and I have to tell you I don’t think there is anything more exhausting than working for things you can’t ever achieve and acting like something you are not, constantly trying to hold it together so others see the view of you that you want them to see! This is an exhausting way to live…it’s a total mess. Here’s the thing, if you believe in Jesus, that He is The Life, you don’t have to work or act like something you’re not anymore. You can simply embrace the imperfect person that you are and engage life and life to the full! You don’t have to manufacture goodness anymore…and as you relax in that, Jesus hands you that life to the full thing that you have always been seeking in the deepest part of your soul which you could never find! Maybe this is exactly what Jesus meant, that this life to the full thing that He came to give us is us just us accepting and relaxing in who we are, and being ok with who we are regardless of our imperfections as He covers all our issues for us. It frees us up to live a whole other way because Jesus is handling everything for you. No more acting. No more working. Simply relaxing in the loving arms of Jesus and allowing Him to do what only He can do in your life.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV
So you may be sitting there saying “Ok, Sam I hear what you are saying, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. You seem a little extra excited today with it being Easter and all but I’m just trying to get through another day on this planet, pay my bills, and keep my head above water. I’m not seeing this whole life to the full thing, and I’m still wondering what your life really means to me on a personal level.” Well if you are thinking something along those lines today, I’m glad you are here…because I want you to see it first-hand. I think the best way to best answer this question of what Jesus can mean to your life on a very personal level, is to show you. I’ve asked my good friend Jen Wolfkill to come up here and join me today.
Jen Interview Questions:
- So tell us a little about yourself…fill us in a little about you and your family:
- Can you give us some of your story before finding Christ?
- Can you tell us what having Jesus in your life has meant to you? To your family?
- So now that Jesus is in your life everything goes perfectly for you all the time right?
- So what would you tell someone who is sitting here today struggling in life and wondering about this whole Jesus thing?
I wanted you to see something pretty powerful today. First I wanted you to understand the magnitude of Jesus, the blood stained cross, and the empty tomb. Jesus changes everything for us…but I didn’t want you leaving here on another Easter Sunday wondering what this can mean for you on a personal level. God loves you…and you matter so much to Him that He gave you Jesus…to change everything for you…He is the way, the truth, and the life. Because of Jesus we gain life and life to the full, we gain relationship with our Heavenly Father, we gain Eternity in paradise…make no mistake about this, it’s a game changer and it’s profoundly personal.
This matters so much because you matter that much to God.