The Promise and Warning about Heaven

Notes for January 26-27
John 14:1-14   

Biblical Background

  • “Do not fear:  Jesus echoes the command heard throughout the Old Testament – Don’t be afraid, (don’t let your hearts be troubled) but rather believe in God.

  • Believe in me:  Jesus is clearly claiming to be God with this statement.

  • Homes in Israel:  In the biblical world, families often lived in a multi-generational situation.  When a child got married, the father would build another set of rooms around the courtyard of the family compound so that his children and grandchildren would have a place to live near him. This may be the background to Jesus’ statements that, “In My Father’s House there are many rooms… I go to prepare a place for you.”

  • I will come again: Jesus will ascend after the resurrection and prepare a place for His disciples. Then He will return and bring them all into his heavenly home.

  • Thomas the apostle:  The Gospel of John mentions Thomas often in various stories, whereas in the other Gospels, he is only mentioned as one of the Twelve. Thomas was the disciple who was always asking for clarification and is the one who got the moniker in church history as “doubting Thomas.”  In many ways, this is unfair, as once Thomas believed, he went on to share the Gospel with many and is renowned as the person who took the Gospel to India.

  • Philip:  Philip was from Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee and knew the region well. This apostle, is a different Philip from the one mentioned in Acts who was a deacon in the early church.

  • Disciples asked questions of rabbis for clarification: Jewish teaching uses questions both from the rabbi and the disciples to clarify and learn.  The mind is more active when asking question than when just listening without any interaction.  Jesus encourages questions and uses them as a teaching tool.

  • The Way, The Truth and The Life: Jesus affirms that He is the only way to God.  The exclusivity of Jesus’ claim puts him in a position different from all other religious leaders.  This is a central tenet of Christian faith and also the reason that it is so important to share the Good News of Christ with others – there is no other way by which they may be saved.

Discussion Questions

  1. Jesus has just told the disciples that He will be leaving them.  What does Jesus tell them to do in response to his upcoming departure?

  2. What is Jesus saying about Himself when He says, “Believe in God; believe in me.”?  What are the implications for you as you read this?

  3. Where is Jesus going?  What is the purpose for His imminent departure from the disciples?

  4. What do we learn about heaven – the place that Jesus is going – from this passage?

  5. What is Thomas asking Jesus? Put it in your own words

  6. What is Jesus’ answer? Put it in your own words.

  7. What is Jesus’ warning inherent in his answer to Thomas? How does this affect my life today

  8. What is the promise in Jesus’ answer inherent in his answer to Thomas? How does this affect the way I live?

  9. What is Philip’s question? Put it in your own words.

  10. What is Jesus’ point about His relationship with the Father? Why is this important?

  11. What evidence does Jesus give for His claims?

  12. What are the promises in vv. 12-14 that Jesus makes to His disciples – you and me?

  13. What would be your response to a colleague or neighbor who made the statement, “There are many ways to God.”  Or “All religions lead to God.”

  14. Knowing that putting one’s trust in Jesus is the only way to get to heaven, how does this change the way in which you live your life? Share the truth of the Gospel with others?

  15. Pray that the Lord would give you an opportunity to tell someone this week about Jesus and His claim to be the way, the truth and the life.