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How much is Enough?

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Is faith enough?
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:2–7—Where Jesus Is Going, Enigmatic Version

Disciples asked their rabbis questions to clarify the teaching. That four questions were also asked in the extant household Passover celebration may be mere coincidence (13:36–37; 14:5, 8, 22).

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:2–7—Where Jesus Is Going, Enigmatic Version

The “way” in many Jewish texts refers to the righteous way to behave but here possibly echoes Isaiah’s way back to the new Jerusalem through the wilderness (cf. Jn 1:23). In this case the background is less critical than the force of the image, however. Jesus answers Thomas’s question thus: The Father is where I am going, and I am how you will get there.

“Truth” later came to be a Jewish title for God; it is uncertain if it was in use this early. The primary significance of the statement, however, is that Jesus is the embodiment of the truth, God’s covenant faithfulness (1:17), which was embodied in God’s “word” in the Old Testament (17:17; Ps 119:142, 151). Just as Judaism affirmed that there was only one God and thus one right way (his law, either in the short version supposedly given to the Gentiles or the full version given to Israel), Jesus here affirms that he is the only way to the only God.

COMMENT FROM IVP Connected to above from IVP
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:8–17—Revealing the Father Clearly

John may wish his readers, most of whom were more immersed in the Bible than most modern readers, to think of Exodus 33:18, where Moses asked to see God’s glory; cf. comment on John 1:18 and 14:21–22.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:18–31—Jesus’ Coming and Revealing

The language of “manifesting” (KJV) or “revealing” (NRSV, TEV) himself to them recalls God’s revealing himself to Moses on Mount Sinai (see comment on 1:14).

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. By boldly affirming these three categories, we can see how Jesus fulfills the three main offices God provided for his covenant people: prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, Jesus is the truth of the Father—he is the Word made flesh, the final word God has spoken to his people (Heb. 1:2). As priest, Jesus is the way to the Father—he is both the sacrifice for our sins and the Mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 12:24). As king, Jesus is the life from the sovereign giver of life, the eternal Father—who gives life now and in the coming age for eternity (Heb. 6:5). He is the King whom the Father has already installed in Zion (Ps. 2:6) and the ruler over the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5).

2. Is Jesus enough?
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:8–17—Revealing the Father Clearly

John may wish his readers, most of whom were more immersed in the Bible than most modern readers, to think of Exodus 33:18, where Moses asked to see God’s glory; cf. comment on John 1:18 and 14:21–22.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:8–17—Revealing the Father Clearly

Here “works” (KJV, NASB, NRSV) could refer to righteous deeds, as often in Judaism (e.g., 8:39), or to miraculous works such as Jesus wrought (5:17; 10:32), or to both. (The works are quantitatively greater because Christ’s work is multiplied through all his followers.) In this context Jesus’ words are an invitation to radical faith: Jewish tradition allowed that some very pious teachers could receive from God almost anything they asked because of their intimate relationship with him, but never applied this possibility to the majority even of the pious. This promise also goes beyond claims made for most charms in pagan magic. Magic had no emphasis on relationship with the power addressed and sought only to manipulate forces for the manipulator’s ends (contrast 14:15).

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 14:8–17—Revealing the Father Clearly

In this context “name” means something like: those who seek his glory and speak accurately for him, who are genuinely his authorized representatives. Nothing could be further from the pagan magical use of names that sought to manipulate spiritual forces for one’s own ends.

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