December 21st, 2006
Most people believe that in order to get to heaven you should follow Jesus’s teachings. Lead a good life, care for the sick, obey the ten commandments, forgive people when they do bad things to you, help people who are in need, love your enemies, don’t be greedy, and do for others what you would like them to do for you. Most people believe that, at the end of the day, if you’ve done OK at these tasks then God will consider that you have followed the way, and you will get into heaven. But if you look at the teachings of Jesus more closely, you discover that it’s actually more complicated but at the same time simpler than that.
John’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 14
14:1 Jesus continued, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Also believe in me. 14:2 There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would have told you if that wasn’t the case. I am going to get a place ready for you. 14:3 I will go and get a place ready for you, then I will come again to take you with me, so that you will be where I am. 14:4 You know where I am going, and you know the way.”
14:5 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 14:6 Jesus responded, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you know him and have seen him.”
14:8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Do you not know me, Philip, although I have been with you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you ask, ‘Show us the Father?’ 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? I don’t say the things that I tell you on my own behalf, but the Father who lives in me works through me. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, or else believe me because of the miracles.
14:12 “I can guarantee that people who believe in me will also perform the miracles that I do, and they will do greater miracles than these, because I am going to my Father. 14:13 Anything you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. 14:14 If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments. 14:16 I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, who can be with you forever, 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world can’t receive because it doesn’t see him or know him. You know him, because he lives with you, and will be in you. 14:18 I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. 14:19 In a little while the world will see me no more, although you will see me. Because I live, you will also live. 14:20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 14:21 The person who loves me is someone who has my commandments, and keeps them. People who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them, and will reveal myself to them.”
14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) asked, “Lord, what has happened that you are about to reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” 14:23 Jesus answered, “People who love me will keep my word. My Father will love them, and we will come to them, and make our home with them. 14:24 Those who don’t love me don’t keep my words. The message which you hear isn’t mine, but the Father’s who sent me. 14:25 I have told you these things while still living with you. 14:26 But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of all that I said to you. 14:27 I leave peace with you. I give to you my peace, not like what the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled, and don’t let it be afraid. 14:28 You heard how I told you, ‘I am going away, but I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I said ‘I am going to my Father;’ because the Father is greater than me. 14:29 I have told you before it happens so that when it happens you can believe. 14:30 I will not speak with you much longer, because the prince of the world is coming. He has no power over me, 14:31 but I act as the Father has instructed me, so that the world can know that I love the Father. Let’s get up and go now.”