“Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me.”
Jesus had just washed His disciple’s feet and reminded them that not only was He the Messiah, but that he would be crucified and that they would be scattered. So in John 14 Jesus calls the disciples to trust God through any and every circumstance of life, even when they did not understand and they could not see Him at work. Have you ever had one of those weeks when everything seems to go wrong? When it doesn’t seem to make any difference how hard you try, everything seems to backfire on you? The harder you try, the worse it gets and then your whole world seems to crumble around you leaving you wondering where is God in all of this is? How do you think the disciples were feeling? Their week had begun gloriously with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people were waving palm branches & shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” But Jesus had not come to establish an earthly kingdom, He refused a temporary crown of glory and the fickle crowd began to change. As their dreams of a Jewish kingdom with Jesus as their miracle working king began to dissipate their praise turned to persecution. Jesus knew exactly what the next few hours would bring, after eating the Passover meal together, He knew Judas would betray Him. He knew about the false trials of the night, He knew of the cross and the borrowed tomb and how troubled the disciples would be. So He begins to prepare them for all that is to come with words of comfort. Today that is exactly what some of you need, His words of comfort. Maybe you have recently lost loved ones, a job, your health, or a relationship that has left you lonely & depressed. We all experience difficulties and Jesus says that part of the solution to a troubled heart is trust.
Jesus tells His disciples to trust in 3 things:
- His Presence
Jesus begins by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” The word “troubled” means to be disturbed or agitated. On three previous occasions this word was used to express Jesus’ deeply troubled feelings: when He faced Lazarus’ tomb (11:33), when He contemplated the cross (12:27), and when He reflected on the betrayal of Judas (13:21), now the disciples will face the same feelings. When we read the words “Let not your heart be troubled” most of us would put the focus on the word troubled. But an equally if not more important word is the word “heart”. Jesus is saying that the heart can be clothed in serenity even when hell is clashing at its very gates. Inner peace does not come from tranquil circumstances but from an untroubled heart that is trusting in Jesus. Are we spending more energy trying to avoid difficulties or letting them grow us as we lean on Christ and get to know Him better? When we put our focus and energy simply into trying to change our circumstances we will be headed for frustration and failure. When Jesus told His disciples “Let not your heart be troubled” He was preparing them for the dark day of His crucifixion. He knew they could weather the storm only by trusting in Him in spite of the apparent triumph of evil. Through trust in God the Father and Jesus the Son, we can not only find peace but be sustained through our coming tests. We can focus on the trouble in the world and in our lives, or we can focus on the victory we have in Christ because His death was eclipsed by His resurrection. Jesus wanted His disciples to focus on Him not their circumstances because He didn’t want them to miss the resurrection. This wonderful fact gives new meaning to His words, believe in Me. Jesus was saying “I know you trust in God, & you also trust in me, now remember, when you can no longer see me, don’t stop trusting in me.” We all find it easier to trust in things that we can see & touch, we are prone to walk by sight. Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands & put my finger where the nails were, & put my hand into His side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25). There is a little bit of Thomas in all of us. Jesus showed Thomas and he believed. “Then Jesus told him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen & yet have believed” (John 20:29). When we go through the troubles and tribulations of this life we need to fix our eyes on what is eternal not the temporary. Jesus has promised, “I will be with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” There are many uncertainties, opposition, and even doubt along the road of life and those who lived with Christ when He was on earth faced the same difficulties. His answers and assurances for the disciples are meant for us as well. Jesus is God’s solution to our troubles, the question is will we trust in His presence?