In John chapter 14 Jesus is continuing to prepare his disciples for his violent death and departure from them. They were confused and filled with anxiety. Like the disciples we too can relate to loss and hurt and find ourselves in need of help and hope. These verses provide a foundation for comfort to our troubled hearts.
Do you like wrestling, either WWE or the Olympic style?
I always like to see the body slam when one wrestler picks up his opponent and pounds him into the mat! Sometimes life gives us a body slam, we are lying on the mat, confused, with the breath knocked out of us wondering, what just happened?
The disciples in today’s scripture are much like that pounded wrestler, slammed and hurting on the mat. They feel lost, uncertain, deserted, and exposed. They left everything to follow Jesus. They expected an earthly kingdom, with positions of leadership. A few hours ago, victory seemed near. Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph, with cries of “hosanna!” Surely, the new kingdom will be established.
Then Jesus called them aside and said words that changed their anticipated victory into an unbelievably painful body slam to the mat. The first slam came: Jesus told them that before long crowds like they had just experienced would turn away and reject him. (John 12:37) Not only would the crowds reject him, but people who believed his message would turn away from him in fear. (John 12:42)
They were slammed down a second time. For Jesus told them that not only would they miss their expected kingdom, but he would be nailed to a cross and be killed. (12:31-33)
Can you remember how shocked and upset you where when you discovered that someone you respected and looked up to was leaving? A teacher you had become used to was leaving. A pastor you had respected was leaving. A boss you had enjoyed working under was leaving. A co-worker you had worked with for years was leaving. A friend you had known for years tells you that she is moving to another town. How did you feel when you found out they were leaving? If you can remember how you felt perhaps you have some idea of how the disciples felt in this 14th Chapter of John.
Just as they thought they were getting up, His words slammed them to the mat a third time. One of their inner circle would defect and betray him. (13:21). The scriptures says the disciples looked at each other perplexed and anxious. (13:22)
Then, one more time, the words of Jesus slammed them to the mat. For Jesus said that their leader Peter would deny him three times. If their fearless leader would deny him there seemed to be little hope for the rest of them. (13:38)
In a heartbeat their lives were changed from joy and anticipation to lying on a mat with broken dreams. It was at that moment that Jesus, loving his disciples and seeing their hurt, gave them a promise of hope and comfort. Let’s see his dialogue meant to pick up his disciples, to give them help and hope.
Let me just repeat the first thing Jesus said, verse one, “Let not your hears be troubled, Trust in God, trust also in me.”
Faith is the answer. If I were on the 5th floor of a building engulfed in flames, I would be insane not to be troubled. The stairs and the elevators are all blocked by fire. I go to the window and low and behold there is a fireman on the end of a ladder looking into my eyes and saying, “I am here to rescue you. Trust me.” Will I experience any comfort? You bet I will. Will hope arise in my heart? Yes, because he is the answer to my problem.
In our text Jesus talks about WHO HE IS. That is essential to this trust issue. When you’re in trouble you want somebody who can actually help you. You want somebody who is in a position to help you. If I’m in a burning building on the 5th floor, I don’t want another victim who is trapped with me. I want a trained fireman on the end of a ladder saying, “Take my hand.”
In John 14 Jesus reminds them of WHO HE IS. He talks to them about his relationship with the Father. He is altogether willing and able to take care of them. And he wants you and me to know the same thing. Jesus is MORE THAN a fellow struggler. He is the Lord of glory. He is not a philosopher groping around in darkness trying to find the light. He IS THE LIGHT. No matter what problems you may be facing, Jesus is both able and willing to lead you triumphantly through it.
Notice that Jesus does not say, “Deny the problem.” He is not advocating denial. He is advocating trust. And he tells us exactly where to place that trust. “Trust in God; trust also in me.” Are you trusting? If we trust the wrong thing we will be disappointed.
DURING LIFE’S DIFFICULTIES AS A FOLLOWER OF JESUS…
I Can Trust Him to be With Me
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.(vs. 1)
What is Jesus saying there? He saying, “I know you trust in God, and you also trust in Me. Now remember, when you can no longer see Me, don’t stop trusting in Me.”
You see, we have always found it easier to trust in things that we can see & touch. We have a little bit of Thomas in us, don’t we? It was the disciple Thomas who said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands & put my fingers where the nails were, & put my hand into His side, I will not believe it.”
So Jesus shows him & he believes. Jesus then said, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen & yet have believed.”
This is a hard lesson for us to learn, isn’t it? Yet it is an important lesson, because when we face troubles & difficulties in life, we need to remember as Christians that Jesus has promised, “I am with you always, even until the end.” (Matt 28: 20) “I will never leave I will never abandon you.” (Heb. 13: 5) You can trust me to be with you.
None of us can predict the problems that we’re going to face in the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next three hours, much less tomorrow or next week or next year. But regardless of what you go through in the future, you won’t go through it alone. This is a basic truth taught over and over in the Bible and Jesus emphasizes it again. There is never a time in your life when Jesus will not be with you. There are some times when you don’t sense His presence, but He doesn’t move. Jesus will never leave you. He’s with you all the time. And God will be with you no matter what you go through in the future.
This is very important because one of the sad realities of life as time passes, as we grow older, is the fact that people are going to leave you. We don’t like it but they will. You will be left alone by other people. As you go into the future you’re going to have family members and loved ones who die, who pass on, who are going to leave you behind. That’s a fact of life. You will have kids who will grow up and they’ll leave the home. You will have friends who will move away. And you may have parents who move into rest homes or away from you. There will even be some people in your life who will intentionally walk out of your life in anger in the future.
So we have this natural fear that we will be abandoned, left behind. But Jesus will never leave you.
I Can Trust Him to Provide for Me
One of the fears we have is that when we get into the future somehow we’re not going to have what we need emotionally or physically or financially to make it through the crises, the things that come into our lives. Maybe we’re real confident right now that Jesus has been with us up to this point in our lives but sometimes we project ahead saying, “There may be some problem or something so big and so intense, He will not be able to help me through that particular problem. He won’t take care of my needs.”
Jesus taught in Matthew 6:31-32, “So don’t worry anything. Don’t says ‘what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” Jesus says that God will provide.
God does that in my life and your life. He provides for me. His presence in my life, the fact that He’s with me, also lets me be confident that He will provide my needs.
That trust doesn’t mean that I think I won’t ever have any losses in the future, that bad things aren’t going to happen. I don’t know. But what I do know is that God will give me what I need. Jesus is with me, he will provide for me needs now and he will provide for me in all eternity.
2There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (vs. 2-3) The Bible uses a lot of different words to describe heaven. In one place it is called “a country” indicating the vastness of heaven. In another it is called “a city” indicating the number of inhabitants. It is called “a kingdom” indicating that there is a governmental structure to it all. It is called “paradise” indicating its beauty & desirability. But here it is called, “My Father’s house,” & that is another way of saying, “It is home.”
Home is a place where you can be yourself. Home is where you can kick off your shoes and take off your socks. Home is where you can say what you are thinking. Home is where you’re always accepted & loved. You’re not just a guest. You are a resident. You live there. That is home.
Jesus is saying, “I’m going to take you to My Father’s house, & it will be your home, too. You’ll be a part of the family. You’ll be home where you belong.”
He says, “In My Father’s house are many rooms.” The KJ version says, “many mansions.” We like that word; but “dwelling place” or “rooms” is also really good in understanding the heart of what Jesus was saying.
In the eastern custom that when a son grows up & gets married, he brings his bride back home again. And the father adds another room onto His house for them. Then when another son grows up & gets married, they add another room. The house just keeps getting bigger & bigger, as the family stays together. In the next post we will see that Jesus will come back for his followers and what that means.
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