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Jesus prepares his disciples for the crucifixion (John 14)

(Following taken from BibleTrack.org)

Jesus has talked a great deal about the Kingdom on earth through his ministry. That Kingdom is the one prophesied by the Old Testament prophets foretelling the reign of the Messiah over the entire earth. Jesus is that Messiah, but in accordance with the prophets, the Messiah must suffer and be crucified first. The discourse of Jesus in chapters 14-16 takes place after the Passover supper the night before Jesus is crucified. Jesus goes into great detail giving perspective to the disciples on what to expect.

The way, the truth and the life (John 14:1-6)

John 14
1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know."
5 ¶ Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 
6 ¶ Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

It's obvious at the beginning of John 14 that the disciples are on a different thinking track than Jesus. Their questions and comments indicate that they are thinking about an earthly kingdom while Jesus is NOW talking about a spiritual kingdom. As Jesus had preached to the Jewish masses for the three-plus years previous to this time, he had talked frequently about the earthly Messianic kingdom, but not here. The emphasis here has changed so as to equip them for the immediate future.

Jesus begins by talking about the house prepared for them in Heaven in verses 1-4. Verse 5 demonstrates that this talk of Heaven rather than an earthly rule was confusing to Thomas; he indicates that he does not quite understand when he says, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Verse 6 is your apologetics verse for proclaiming your position in Christ, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." There's no need to argue or explain; just quote John 14:6. Someone may reply to you, "Don't you think that all religions are about the same if you're sincere?" Don't argue; just, once again, quote John 14:6. It explains itself, and these are the very words of Jesus. Someone may come back to you with a question like this, "Do you mean to tell me that everyone who doesn't believe in Jesus is going to Hell?" Don't argue; just quote, once again, John 14:6. That verse says it all.

Incidentally, the Greek word for "mansion" in verse 2 is "mone." It's only used twice in the New Testament - here and verse 23 where it is translated "home." Quite literally, it simply means "a place to stay." So, will our "place to stay" in Heaven be mansion-style nice? Need you ask?

You will also notice that in verse 3 Jesus indicates that he, at first, must go and prepare a place for his disciples after which he will come and receive them. This is undoubtedly a reference to the rapture of the church discussed by Paul in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 (see notes) and I Corinthians 15:51-58 (see notes). The second coming of Jesus Christ takes place later when Jesus actually comes back to earth to establish the earthly rule about which Jesus had been speaking in earlier discourses