Sunday 14th July, 2019
Series: I AM
Preacher: John (Myeongcheol) Oh
Bible Reading: John 14:1-14
I AM the Way, Truth and Life
Continuing the I AM series the way, the truth and the life. Today, we will look at the vision given by Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus? This question is related to the disciple’s’ vision their fate for the future. In other words, it is related to the meaning of faith.
With Jesus’ ascension, he left his disciples, and they had to confront the question of faith.
Because Jesus was no longer with them. At that time, Jesus was the sign of their faith. Jesus was the centre of their life. but after his ascension they couldn’t find the sign of faith, experience the truth and the way of life due to the disappearance of Jesus.
The disciples could not ponder long over the questions of Thomas and Philip. Like “Where is the way, show us the father.” But Jesus invited his disciples to witness the transcendence miracle as the true life of faith instead of pointing to simply a sign.
What is the meaning of faith?
What special meaning can you find in this trick?
What I want you to think about today is faith in relationship.
If you trusted me, would have you been worried about dropping the water on your face.
Even if I had told you to trust me, but at the moment would have had doubts and anxieties that would not easily disappear.
It was just a trick, however, let us think about our life, Jesus asked his disciples and us “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house there are many dwelling places.” John 14:1
For a long time, we have learnt about faith in the church. In faith there are no doubts, anxieties and no questions. We have to say yes, always we have to say amen.
However, the meaning of living by faith does not mean that doubt will fully disappear from our life. The meaning of living by faith does not mean that the question of anxiety will disappear from our life. Perhaps, living by faith is accompanied by more questions in our life. It has to confront a thousand questions on the journey of faith.
Because faith is not a magic trick or spell for a special occasion but faith is a journey of life a pilgrim progress in relationship.
Before Jesus ascension as a farewell to his disciples, he engaged with his people through relationship. He didn’t say just believe me, but he served his disciples, shared meals together and showed his love for his people. He made relationship through his life.
The relationship is crucial to give us a chance that faith works in you.
Apparent Relationship discloses through unexpected moments
Let us think about relationship in our life,
Sometimes faith in our relationships is proven on unexpected occasions. We don’t know each one of us how strong and deep our relationship with people and God is at the moment. And also our relationship is not always stable. But we will see ourselves the strength of a relationship with God and people in crucial moments.
One of Jesus disciples Simon Peter is the example, he was one of the faithful disciples among the 12. But when he was challenged by a little servant girl in the courtyard, Peter betrayed Jesus. (in Matthew 26:69-72.)
Before this happened, Peter said in Matthew 26:33-35, “though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” And he said “even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” But Jesus said “before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
Peter believed he would not betray Jesus. But he couldn’t keep his faith.
Peter had to spend tears, pain, and difficult times because of the broken relationship until the moment until he met Jesus again in Galilee. Nevertheless, Peter’s faith and his relationship with Jesus was not over. When Jesus met Peter again, he asked Peter to feed his flock. What is the faith between Jesus and Peter? Peter’s journey was to keep following the way of Jesus, the truth and he decided to live Jesus’ life.
Rembrandt : The Return of the Prodigal Son
Look at the screen of the famous oil painting by Rembrandt the title is “the return of the prodigal son” 1661-1669
There was a man who had two sons.
One day, the younger of them came to his father and said ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So the father divided his property between them.
Then the son travelled to a distant country. And he spent everything in dissolute living.
When he spent everything he had, he became a hired person, and his food was pods that pigs were eating.
Look at the picture, there are so many symbolic messages in the picture. One of the interesting things is the father’s face in the painting. This is related to the message today. Look at the father’s face and his eyes. His eyes are not focused on his son. The father’s eyes look like being closed. So I want to define the father’s eyes were closed. The Gospel of Luke 15:20, the way the father’s heart is depicted, shows how much he waited on his son every day, while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.
The father obviously wanted to see his son. The father must open his eyes to see and check his son’s condition.
The picture shows how tough the son ‘s life was. Look at the dagger in the son’s waist. And his hair.
Perhaps the son would have been so different that his father could not easily recognize his son.
As the picture depicts, closing the eyes of the father may show a deep relationship between the Father and the Son.
Today in our life, we want to see facts, believe, and confirm. Our relationship also wants to confirm with our eyes in our life. But the message of the relationship in the paintings of Rembrandt seems to indicate to us that there is another world that we can only confirm to if we close our eyes. Which means our faith is not attributed to our knowledge and experience.
The father’s closing of his eyes in that painting is the willingness to decide the faith that is formed only in relationship, behind all our experiences.
In Hebrews 11:1-3
1. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
2. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.
3. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
The prodigal son found the way where he has to go, and he found the truth not in a distant country but at his father’s home, there is life, and there are many dwelling rooms.
Jesus shows us the way, the truth and the life through his life and finally completed his mission of incarnation in this world through the cross and the resurrection. He gives us eternal life.
As the father waited his son for a long time, what a faithful father, what a beautiful relationship the father made. Even if we have failed in our faith and relationship in this world. It is not over. Because the father’s willingness never fails us. Our faith is limited, but there are many dwelling spaces in the father’s faith, his relationship never fails. Trust the father’s willingness. That is the way, the truth and the life.
Faith is an unknown mystery however faith can be beautifully portraited in the darkness of our eyes. Your relationship in God is yours. It means can’t be hired out to others and transferred to someone.
It is our prayer to find faith, the church is a lighthouse to the way, the truth and the life in the world before those who want to close their eyes.
May the way, the truth and the life of Jesus Christ always guide your prayer and your faithful journey will be glorified to the father forever. Amen.