“ ‘You know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”
The disciples were understandably worried after Jesus told them of His impending betrayal and departure at the Last Supper (John 13). So, He moved to calm their fears by telling them that His returning to the Father would be for their benefit, that He would be preparing a place for them (14:1–3). And, as today’s passage reveals, after telling the disciples this comforting truth, Jesus told them that they knew the way to where He was going (v. 4).
Given that the disciples have shown some confusion about what is about to happen to the Lord (13:37), Jesus’ comments might strike us as odd. In fact, they strike Thomas as odd, for he objects that the disciples do not know where He is going (14:5). But our Lord’s point is not that the disciples have complete knowledge of all that is about to transpire in the arrest, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. No, His point is that they know the way to where Jesus is going because they know Him. As the author of Hebrews makes clear, Jesus goes back to the Father on high as our forerunner; He returns to heaven ahead of us in order to bring us there (Heb. 6:20). But the only way to get to heaven, the only way to be reconciled to God, is through Jesus. So, while the disciples do not yet fully know where Jesus is going, they know the way to get there because in knowing and belonging to Jesus they will be taken to the Father as well.
This point is confirmed in John 14:6, which features one of the most important teachings regarding our salvation in all of Scripture. Jesus proclaims Himself as the way, the truth, and the life—the only way to the Father. Here we read perhaps the boldest declaration of the exclusivity of Christ ever spoken. There are no alternatives for redemption other than Jesus; only He can reconcile us to the Father. John Calvin comments that “if any man turn aside from Christ, he will do nothing but go astray; if any man do not rest on him, he will feed elsewhere on nothing but wind and vanity; if any man, not satisfied with him alone, wishes to go farther, he will find death instead of life.”
We must never compromise on this point. To reject Jesus’ teaching and authority here is to reject His other teachings about Himself and His work. Dr. R.C. Sproul writes in his commentary John: “Our friends, our community, and even many churches tell us that we must deny the uniqueness of Christ. But to do that, we must deny the church’s confession of faith, and more importantly, we must deny Jesus’ own confession about Himself.”
It is scandalous in our age that Jesus is the only way to the Father. But to confess otherwise is tantamount to rejecting our Lord. Dr. Sproul comments that “if [we] deny that [Jesus is the only way to God, we] deny Him.” Let us resolve never to deny that Christ is the only way to the Father, and let us pray for strength to confess this truth no matter the pressure to say salvation is available through other means as well.
The Bible says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6, ESV).
In partnership with you, my father and I have had the blessed opportunity to carry the Gospel message around the world. In doing so, we’ve noticed a very clear reality: Nearly everyone is searching for the same thing.
Cultures are different. Clothing is different. Customs are different. But there’s one common denominator. People are desperately seeking hope. And from a worldly perspective, hope is in very short supply.
For instance, in recent weeks and months, we’ve seen an onslaught of destructive weather leading to tornadoes and flooding across a large swath of the United States. As our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains have comforted those affected, they’re finding that the aftermath of the storm is simply another layer on top of the hopelessness that people were already facing.
In Wayne County, Michigan, where devastating floods hit in late spring, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains spoke with a young lady who described her difficult childhood as the daughter of a drug-addicted mother. She became the caretaker of her mother at a very young age and looked after her until her mom died of an overdose. The young lady was only 16 at the time. She felt lonely and hopeless, but had grown comfortable with the idea that “this is as good as it gets.” There are no coincidences with God, and—miraculously—the chaplain that ministered to this young woman had come from a very similar background, opening the door to share the true hope of Christ as the young woman prayed to receive Him as her Savior.
You see, where people are desperate for hope, the world only offers pain, broken dreams, and “this is as good as it gets.” Conversely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ heals the wounds of this world with its eternal, all-encompassing hope.
You, my friends, have a key part in this ministry and have made it possible for tens of thousands to find that hope so far in 2019.
Earlier this year, I traveled to Kaua`i, Hawaii. If there has ever been a place on earth where one should feel hopeful, this was it. It’s hard to fathom such beauty. The residents of Kaua`i live in paradise. In spite of this, local Christians explained to me that hopelessness abounds on the island, with many people working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Suicide is a real concern.
One 44-year-old woman responded to the Gospel invitation during the evangelistic Celebration in Kaua`i. As a trained volunteer prayer counselor ministered to her, it became clear that the woman was searching for hope, deep in grief over the suicide of a family member. Again, God put just the right person in this woman’s path. The counselor with whom she was speaking shared about her father’s suicide when she was just 7 years old and about how, as she grew up, she had found healing through Christ. The woman was finally able to release the burden of pain and accept the peace that passes all understanding.
Yes, hopelessness plagues this broken realm in which we live, but we know where our true hope comes from; not the kind of hope the world offers, but the hope that is rooted in the eternal promise of Christ. Your partnership and support has carried that message of hope around the world, and many are claiming it as they surrender their brokenness to Jesus. As they do so, He doesn’t just put a bandage over their wounds. He gives them a whole new hope-filled life.
This month I will travel to Albania, a formerly communist state where no Billy Graham Evangelistic Association evangelist has ever preached. In fact, back in 1968 this country declared itself the world’s first atheist nation. Since the downfall of communist rule in 1991, some have come to grasp the truth of Jesus, but nearly 60 percent (three out of every five people) follow Islam.
From there I will hold a three-city tour in Montana called the Big Sky Celebration.Montana has a very different climate and culture than Kaua`i, but it’s similar in that it is a remarkably beautiful place that is troubled by issues like suicide, along with drug and alcohol addiction, gambling, and child abuse—all signs that point to epidemic hopelessness.
As we go into these areas with the Good News of Christ, I need your prayers. Pray with me that “the God of hope” would fill the people of Albania and Montana with “all joy and peace in believing, that [they] may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NKJV).
Dating back to 2010, I’ve held an evangelistic outreach in Australia every two years, reaching the smaller towns and Outback communities that don’t often get visited. This year I returned to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, where more than 5,900 heard the Gospel last May, and learned how the area has changed for the better since the proclamation of the Gospel. I also met with pastors around the country, encouraging them to continue being bold in sharing the love of Jesus with others.
Interestingly, during my father’s tour of Australia, he stopped in five out of the six Australian state capitals, with Hobart, Tasmania, being the only exception. God had another plan, I guess, because while I was in Australia I also had the chance to visit with Christians in that community about a possible evangelistic outreach there in the coming months or years. Please join us in praying about that potential opportunity.
Much closer to home, you may have heard that the next installment of my dad’s Decision America Tour will take place in our home state of North Carolina this fall. Though we’ve traveled the world with the Good News, the Tar Heel State is in our blood. It’s where my great-grandfather had his dairy farm and where my grandfather Billy Graham dreamed of being a baseball player (though God had a very different direction for his life, of course!). It’s where my dad rode motorcycles and my brothers and I ran through the Appalachian Mountains. It’s where most of his grandchildren are growing up as well.
Though North Carolina is often thought of as part of the Bible Belt, it’s quickly changing in the face of the struggles and battles that affect so much of our world. My dad knew it was time to come home and share the hope found in Christ here among his own state, the state that recently named his father its “favorite son.” We covet your prayers as the Word goes forth here in our local communities.
My friends, we live in a world void of hope. Sure, people search after it and try to find it in everything from good deeds to hobbies to destructive passions, but we’ve found true and lasting hope, and we’re sharing it with urgency in a dark and dying world.
Souls are being saved and eternities are being altered every day because of you.None of this would be possible without God’s blessing and your partnership. Thank you!
May God richly bless you,