Click here, John 14:1-14, for an easy to print or email Adobe PDF version.
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "To be added."
This passage and Psalm 23 are probably the most widely read passages at funeral or memorial services.
And no wonder. These words of Jesus address in a most personal and direct way our questions about death and what will happen next.
Jesus addresses his followers then as he addresses us now:
Do not be afraid
Note that the reason we should not be afraid is NOT because Jesus is going to magically make all the bad, no good, horrible circumstances go away - he IS still going to be arrested, tortured and executed. Rather, we are not to be afraid because these circumstances will not be the end of the story.
I love the way this passage presents the very human, natural, fears and questions of the disciples. A good title for a sermon would be, "Were It Not So?" precisely because that is OUR question. Is that so? What does happen after we die?
In a few words, Jesus paints a wonderful word picture of the life to come: my Father's house; many rooms; a prepared place; a prepared way to get there; a trusted guide; not being left alone to find our own way; ending with being with Jesus again.
But as usual, the passage does not leave us without inner, spiritual work of our own to do. Namely, to trust and to believe INTO (not "in") Jesus:
And you know the way to the place where I am going ...
If you know me, you will know my Father also
(Aside: The NRSV translation of "believe in" would be better as "believe into." That is, be bonded with Jesus; not "accept concepts about Jesus." And "believe" is better translated as "trust" precisely because the underlying Greek word is more about a quality of relationship with Jesus than it is about ideas about Jesus.)
That sneaky word "And" as in, "And you know the way," implies a pre-existing knowledge on the part of the disciples. Jesus is not telling them anything new; they already know: And you know ...