This is part 2 of a Bible study on questions asked of Jesus by the disciples. Read Part 1, Questions, here.
Jesus had resolutely proceeded to Jerusalem, knowing the danger. He had been hailed as a Savior as he entered the city, although most misunderstood what kind of Savior he would be. In a quiet moment celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples, questions arose.
Peter had asked in John 13:36 “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord why can’t I follow you now?” In other words, let’s just skip this part and go on to heaven together. The rest of the story is familiar.
Peter thought he was ready to lay down everything, even his life, for Jesus, but Jesus knew he was not. Soon after this conversation, the situation got heated. Jesus was arrested, and Peter was immediately asked direct questions by people outside their circle. Peter didn’t immediately see the connection between the false answers he gave and the efforts Jesus had made to prepare him for this very moment.
Peter failed the first test. And the second, and the third. But Jesus had also known ever since he had declared “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) that Peter would come through the failures and the testing. He would later be the first to stand and declare what was going on when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. Peter wanted to skip the second step illustrated below, but God had another plan for him. Now here is a point that we don’t want to miss.
WHO justifies us?
WHO will take us to heaven when we’re glorified?
WHOSE responsibility is our sanctification?
We accept that God provides our justification; he is the only one who can make us righteous. We accept that he will make our glorification happen when he takes us to heaven, but all too often we think that the sanctification part is up to us. It’s important to realize that God is the one who accomplishes ALL of our salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 tells us “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through… The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
Now let’s look at Thomas’s question. He was the next one to question Jesus. Jesus had answered Peter (John 14:1), “Don’t be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together. You know the way to where I am going.”
“Thomas said, ‘Lord, we don’t even know where you are going! How can we know the way?’”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father.”
In October of 2012, my daughter and I took a long-anticipated trip to Cornwall, England. Cornwall is the county at the southwest end of England.
We hiked from St. Ives to Lizard, 70 miles along the very tip of the coast, over 5 days. Our guidebook was a plastic-covered folder with typewritten pages written by a guy named Russell. Here’s the introduction:
You may have figured out by now – this is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I definitely had my “What was I thinking?” moments. But something I learned years ago in a hospital bed came to mind, and it’s something I like to practice. At that time, as I struggled, I asked God to teach me in the moment, to show me something about himself. Now this trip was something I volunteered for, so don’t think I’m comparing a vacation challenge to some of the hard things life has handed you. But as I asked God to show me something about himself in the struggle, he gave me some beautiful illustrations regarding the work of the Holy Spirit and how I can “know the way,” as Thomas asked. Join me as I share a little – I hope you’ll see the lessons I learned.