Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled. Jesus Lives!
O LORD God, my dear Heavenly Father—You have loved me with a deep and abiding love. You have revealed that love in the person and through the work of Your beloved Son, Jesus. He has redeemed my soul, and through faith Your Spirit has brought me into Your kingdom. Fill my lips with joyous praise this day, as I enter into Your presence for worship. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
This most beloved Psalm reveals our LORD to be our Shepherd, caring for our needs, protecting us from danger, and providing for our future both in this present life and in the life to come!
By God’s grace through faith we have been given new spiritual life and membership in God’s kingdom. We are not saved by good works, but rather we have been saved for good works!
Text: John 14:1-6
Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
In Christ Jesus, who is our “way” to the Father, dear fellow redeemed:
The text before us today is what I refer to as a “stand-alone” text. In fact, it is composed of two such texts. What do I mean by that? There are texts in the Bible that are so well-known and speak so powerfully to us, that they are often quoted outside of their contexts. They deal directly with various aspects of our lives, but we often fail to consider in their Biblical contexts. By quoting them without considering their contexts, we run the risk of failing to see fully what our God intends to teach us through them.
For instance, one of the most well-known verses in all of Scripture is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We quote those words out of their context all the time. They speak powerfully to us of God’s plan for our salvation, but by whom, to whom, and under what circumstances were they first spoken? If you guessed that they were spoken by Jesus, you would be correct, but when, where, and to whom were they spoken? They were spoken to Nicodemus, who had come to Jesus “by night” (cf. Jn. 3:2), because he was afraid to be seen with Jesus during the day. Nicodemus, as a good Pharisee, believed that the way to God was through the keeping of the law, but in such a faith there is no certainty and even less comfort. These famous words of Jesus were intended to correct Nicodemus’ erroneous thoughts, to instruct him in the way of salvation, and to invite him to confess his Lord and Savior openly. This Nicodemus ultimately did on Good Friday, when he joined Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus.
Even so “in My Father’s house are many mansions” and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” are stand-alone texts. They are quoted often and speak powerfully to us, but few of us know the context in which they were spoken. Consequently, some of the power of these verses is lost. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on Maundy Thursday evening in the upper room after He informed them that one of them would betray Him, that all of them would forsake Him, and that He would soon depart from them. No wonder their hearts were “troubled!” Their future lives, hopes, and dreams had just been turned upside down. Jesus’ words were intended to begin turning those lives, hopes, and dreams right-side up.
Is your life upside down in some way? Are one or more of your personal relationships on the rocks? Are your finances in the toilet? Are you facing a serious medical crisis that places your life in jeopardy? Has your thinking been jarred so strongly by world events or the false world-views presented all around you, that you are not sure what to believe anymore? If so, then listen to Jesus’ words: LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED! JESUS LIVES! Using His own words, I can assure you that Jesus is preparing a place for you; He will come again to receive you to Himself; and He is the way, the truth, and the life leading you to God the Father!
Jesus begins our text by saying: “Let not your heart be troubled; you 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.” As already mentioned, Jesus’ revelations of their immediate futures had rocked the disciples’ world. While they did not yet know it, Jesus was aware that within hours Judas would betray Him into the hands of the soldiers and servants of the high priest, while the disciples would be scrambling away from Him over the rocks and through the brush in the Garden of Gethsemane. Within one day He would be dead and buried, while these same disciples would be in hiding. Jesus was concerned about these men, whom He had chosen to proclaim the gospel after His resurrection and to lead His newly established church. He wanted to support them and to comfort them, so He spoke directly to them of their faith and its object. “Let not your heart be troubled,” He told them, “You are believing in God, keep on believing in Me.” The action implied and commanded is an ongoing action. They were believing in the LORD God, but they were to keep on believing in Jesus, for He was the promised Christ. What was about to happen to Him was part of God’s eternal plan. This they did not yet comprehend, but would later come to understand.
My dear friends, when our worlds are rocked, fear and uncertainty can so often enter our hearts. We become troubled and anxious. What is the solution? The solution is to hang on to our faith—to keep on believing in the grace, mercy, and power of our heavenly Father and our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus possesses “all authority in heaven and on earth” (cf. Mt. 28:18), and even though things may seem out of control, they are not. Jesus not only is ruling from God’s right hand (cf. Eph. 1:20), but He is actively preparing for our future in heaven. There is a place—a glorious place described in this text as a “mansion” in the Father’s “house” that Jesus is getting ready for you and for me as His brothers and sisters in faith—as children of His heavenly Father. Come hell or high water, we need never fear, whatever may be happening. We can take a deep breath, take hold of Jesus’ hand, and rest assured that He will lead us through whatever it is that troubles us. He will lead us through it and ultimately will rescue us from it—whatever it may be, for as the apostle Paul assures us, there is nothing…absolutely nothing that “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (cf. Rom. 8:38-39). Therefore, LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED! JESUS LIVES! He is preparing a place for you!
Not only that, but our text assures us that He will come again to receive you to Himself! Jesus says: “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.”After Jesus arose from the dead, He chose to withdraw His visible presence from us—to return to His Father and assume His throne in heaven. He left us—His redeemed children to be His witnesses on this earth (cf. Acts 1:8). Jesus is still with us, for He promised, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20). He assures us as well, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mt. 18:20). Still, we cannot see Him or touch Him. The world mocks us and suggests Jesus’ promises and claims are a mere figment of our imagination—a crutch for those of us who are weak, but this is not the case. Jesus’ claims and promises are intended to reassure and to strengthen us, so that we are able to fulfill our individual and corporate callings. Jesus’ presence and instructions enable us to be the husbands and wives, the parents and children, the workers and volunteers that He intends us to be to the glory of our heavenly Father and for the blessings of all those among whom we live.
Yet, life can become wearing, we can and do often become weary, and we can so easily wish to be somewhere else…to be home in heaven. Jesus’ promise that He will return for us, to take us to Himself, so that where He is, we may be also…that promise is such a comfort and such an encouragement for us. It was for the disciples, whom Jesus had told He was leaving. What were they to do in the face of what was about to happen? Jesus told them not to worry—He would be with them and would return to them, so that they and we might be with Him throughout eternity.
Jesus’ words give us hope. Jesus’ words instill confidence. Jesus’ words enable us to accomplish that good work He has given us to do. We have not, nor will we ever be abandoned by our living Savior. He is and will always remain faithful to us. Consequently, let us continue to direct our own eyes and those of others to Jesus. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED! JESUS LIVES! He is preparing a place for you!Hehas promised that He will come again to receive you to Himself!
He also assures us that He is the way, the truth, and the life leading you to God the Father! In our text Jesus goes on to tell His disciples: “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas replied: “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus then said to him,“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
This past weekend Immanuel sponsored its annual Women’s Retreat in Winona, the theme of which was “Thy will be done!” (Mt. 6:10)Professor Joel Gullerud of our Immanuel Lutheran College led the women in the opening study—determining God’s will for our lives. In that study the ladies discussed various possibilities for God’s will. In the end they concluded that the primary will of God for each of us is that our communion with Him be reestablished. We by nature are separated from God by our sin, but in Christ that barrier of sin is removed, and as we are led by the Spirit of God to repent and to believe, our relationship with Him is restored. Through Jesus we enter into communion with God. There is and can be no other way. Peter would later tell the religious leaders of the Jews: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Christianity is an exclusive religion. That is why so many people object to it. When I attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire years ago, people were surprisingly willing to listen to what I had to say from the Bible, but they would object when I would suggest that the Bible revealed absolute truth and that Christ alone was the way to salvation. While God’s plan of salvation is universal and applies to all people…“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Cor. 5:19), it is a fact there is only one way of salvation and that is by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the truth—His words have been revealed by the Spirit and through His prophets, so that we can have absolute confidence in the Bible.
This past Friday in the Bible Class at the Blue Earth County Jail I impressed upon inmates that they could place absolute confidence in the Bible, because there are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ, that were all fulfilled in His life and ministry. I illustrated it in this way—if you had a friend who each December gave you ten tips for the stock market during the next year and suggested you invest all your money based on those tips, would you invest all your money in those tips? Perhaps not the first year, nor even the second. But if year after year after year after year those tips all proved true, you would eventually believe it and invest your money. God’s Word is true. It alone reveals the truths you and I need to know to live good and blessed lives here, but also to secure the gift of eternal life in heaven. Jesus is the Source of that gift of life! He laid down His life for us, but then took it back again, so that we might know that our futures are secure.
My dear friends, LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED! JESUS LIVES! He is preparing a place for you; He will come again to receive you to Himself; and He is the way, the truth, and the life leading you to God the Father! Amen.