“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” These words are the beginning of John 14:1-3 (NKJV). Take a moment to read it.
Have you ever read this text from the perspective of what it meant to the disciples? I wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus first uttered these words? Think about it: Judas had just walked out, the disciples had finished their Passover meal and left the room, and Jesus is talking about not worrying and trusting the Father. Why is Jesus talking about leaving? Where is He going? Why? And what, if anything, can we learn from this?
At that moment, the disciples had no clue as to what was about to befall them and their Lord. They were about to go through a trial which would cause them to question their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus would presently be stripped, whipped, ridiculed, and, finally, nailed to a cross. Would they give up and go home, back to their lives before they met Him and gave up all to follow Him?
Christ did not speak the words to help them through the good times. They were given to help them hang on during the dark times, specifically for what Jesus knew was about to break upon them. They didn’t realize it then, but Jesus was giving them a lifeline. The Master shared those words of light and hope to fend off the darkness and despair that would soon overtake them. And we know, because we are the living proof, that the words of Jesus helped them overcome and continue to believe and preach in His name.
Do we find the same light and hope in Jesus’ words today? The Apostle John could have shared any number of stories about his time with Jesus. Why did John include this story in his letter? Was he just recounting history or was he hoping to do something more for his future readers?
Today, Jesus’ disciples are facing many of the same challenges. There are disciples who are struggling with their faith. It could be from spending too much time on the Internet taking advice from the godless social influencers. It could be because they see all the misery of the world around them and wonder, like the early disciples, “If Jesus is the Messiah, why is He letting this happen?” It could be from exposure to the so-called educational institutions which teach that you are not created but, rather, evolved from lower forms of life. The causes are as varied as there are people but the problem is the same—a plague of negativity, despair, and selfishness in a world devoid of hope. Is there anything in the Word of God that can help us, today?
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”—John 14:1-3. Powerful words, but only if:
• You know and trust the One who uttered those words. How well do you know Jesus? How much time do you spend talking to Him? Even more important, how much time do you spend listening to Him? Who do you know Jesus to be? The words and promises of strangers don’t do much to calm the anxiety and fear of the heart. But these words are the promises of a Friend, a Brother, a King who loves you. I can get excited in His words, in His promises, how about you?
• You’ve already learned that Jesus is a man of His word, that He can accomplish whatever He says He will do. What do I mean? The first time a person steps out in faith and puts their trust in God is probably the scariest experience in the Christian walk. It is exciting and terrifying, when a person’s faith goes out of the sanctuary and they are pressed into daily service. For example, the first time you return your tithe and find out that God’s math is amazing. He makes 90 percent go further than 100 percent! When you pray for God to help you find a job and you are suddenly presented with an unexpected opportunity. When your life is down in the dumps and a stranger shows up to help you, and talks to you about God and His love and plan for your life. Then as suddenly as he came he disappears. I have experienced all three! Yes, there is a God, He is powerful, He knows my name! God is more powerful than any problem I face. There are little “g” gods out there who promise much but take more from you than they give. This God is different! He knows, He loves, and He is never far away! He is keenly aware of our lives, and our needs, and He provides—sometimes in miraculous ways. I can find hope and get excited in words from Someone like that!
The words of Jesus should provide as much or maybe even more hope for us than for the apostles. We have more history to get a better picture of who He is. The words of Jesus are given to provide hope to us as we face the closing scenes of earth’s history. The words of Jesus are also here to provide hope for the times when, like the early disciples, we experience things that may make us want to question our choice to put our faith in Him or the times when God says, “no,” “not now,” or “you’re going to have to wait until my return for that one.”
Jesus promises that He will come again. He invites us to place our trust in Him, unwaveringly and fully. It is only then that we will begin to find the same comfort and encouragement that the apostles experienced.
I’m excited at the words of my Lord and can’t wait for Him to return. Until then, by God’s grace, I want to remain faithful and involved in telling others about the person He is, and that He is coming back. How about you?