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Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 14, 2017 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

Passage: John 14:1–14:14

†††In the Name of Jesus†††

Pastor Murray Keith

Text: John 14:1-14
Date: May 14th, 2017; Easter 5; Series A

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

In our Gospel lesson for this morning we heard that Jesus boldly declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Most people recognize that we have lost our way.

Sure, some might try to deny it or ignore it, but I think most people recognize that things aren’t the way they are supposed to be.

There is greed and hatred and fighting and wars.

We even hurt the people in our lives who we love the most and they hurt us in return.

We get sick and injured.

We die.

Because of these, and many other things we experience in life, most people recognize that we have lost our way.

And there have been, and continue to be, many suggestions on how we are to find our way.

There are thousands of religions and world philosophies that claim to have the answer we are looking for.

A common philosophy today is that we have lost our way because our ancestors have passed down to us their bad ideas and behaviour and we perpetuate this by passing it on to our children and grandchildren.

In other words, the suggestion is that we have simply been taught to be greedy, and hateful, and hurtful towards others.

The belief is that we will find our way by stopping these bad thoughts and actions and by teaching everyone to be loving and kind instead.

The idea is that we are all born basically good and we just need to tap into that goodness.
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with striving to educate people in an effort to improve things, but our problem goes far deeper than simple learned bad behaviour.

In Psalm 51:5 we learn that our sin isn't something we learn, but is a condition that we are all born with, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

And further, even if we all could learn to become better behaved - that still doesn't deal with the problem of death!

This worldly philosophy, and all others like it, don't provide us with a way that is anything more than a temporary bandaid.

Along with the philosophies of the world, all of the world’s religions suggest that they have found the way.

Invariably, the way of the world’s religions require us to live lives that make us worthy enough. We have to walk a path, or climb a ladder to God, or get on that stairway to heaven through our holy living.

In a nutshell, all of the world’s religions teach that the way is through our good works or by achieving some sort of enlightenment.

The way for the world’s religions involves a list of rules to follow.

Some believe that it doesn't really matter what you believe, just as long as you believe something - all paths, all ways, lead to heaven.

There is no doubt that with all of these different views, and religions, and philosophies - it can be confusing and even overwhelming.

So what is the truth of the matter?

Jesus plainly answers this question when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the truth.

Jesus is the way.

The way isn't a long list of rules, or philosophies, or anything found inside of us that we just need to tap into.

The way is a person. The way is God in the flesh. The only way is Jesus.

Although it is hard for us to admit, the truth is that we are unable to do anything through our own efforts. There is no way on our own.

God became one of us, he took on our flesh - not to teach us the way through a list of dos and don’ts, not to be an example of the way - but to literally be the way himself.

Sin is our problem. Our sin causes us to do and say and think horrible things and it causes harm to ourselves and everyone around us.

God is holy, righteous, and just and he cannot overlook your sin. It must be paid for.

As we acknowledge and confess at the beginning of the Divine Service, we deserve present and eternal punishment for our sin. Justice must prevail. It’s the only way.

Justice prevailed on Jesus when he took upon himself the punishment that our sin deserves so that we could be set free from it.

He was found guilty and sentenced to death so that you could be declared innocent and receive eternal life.

Jesus died so that you could live.

Jesus is the way.

He is the way to peace.

He is the truth upon which we base our lives and our hope for the future.

Jesus is the life – the life that lasts forever.

The way of Christ is different than all of the world’s religions and philosophies.

We do not, we cannot, find the way through our own efforts. We do not, we cannot, save ourselves.

God has given us the way by sending Christ to be the way and to save us.

The way of Christ is different than all of the world’s religions and philosophies.

The way of Christ is grounded in history.

The Bible is a reliable, accurate, and true record of God acting in history in order to provide the way of our salvation.

In fact, the Bible is the most reliable document that we have from antiquity. By far. It’s not even close.

And there is no event in history that proves that Jesus is the way more than his resurrection.

Jesus was able to back-up his claim that he is the way by rising from his grave after being put to death on a cross.

Only God can rise from the dead by means of his own power.

And we have good evidence (eye-witness testimony and other) that Jesus’ resurrection is a historical fact.

No other way is grounded in miraculous and historical fact.

And God makes the salvation that he accomplished for the world personally yours by continuing to act in history. He acts in your history. In your life.

He acts through the waters of your Baptism to remove your sin and mark you as one of his redeemed.

He acts through his living Word as it is read, preached, and mediated upon.

The Holy Spirit works through the Word to stir up and strengthen your faith in the truth that not only did Christ break into history to save the world - he came to save you personally.

Your God-given faith is what receives all that Christ has accomplished for you.

Jesus continues to break into our history in a tangible way as he feeds us with his true body and true blood through Holy Communion that we may receive his forgiveness, strength, and gift of eternal life.

Through these means of grace God gives you the gift of faith that receives Jesus.

Dear friends, you have Jesus - and having Jesus - you have the way, and the truth, and the life! Thanks be to God! Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

More in Easter

May 7, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 30, 2017

Third Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2017

Second Sunday of Easter