Summary: Three comforts Jesus gives his disciples and for us in discouraging times.
The Comforting Christ
Introduction: It is amazing how Christ will rush down from his throne to wrap his loving arms around us during our darkest times. God's love for us is truly amazing. We sometimes believe that if we do more for God, he will love us more. If we witness more, or if we give more, or if we go to church more, then he will love us more.
We think this way because we are prone to love others based on conditions. It often seems that we love those who love us, we love those who are kind to us, we love those who agree with us, view things as we do, etc. And how often have we worked for the love of others. That is conditional love. The Love of God is unconditional. There simply is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there is nothing you can do to make him love you less. 1 John 4:8 says "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
This is good medicine for our souls, because sometimes we think that God has forgotten us. We think that he cares about everyone else's pain, everyone else's situation, but for some reason you believe that he has forgotten about you. You may think that being perfect will make God love you. It may surprise you to know that the apostles were not perfect men either. At one point, Paul approved of the murder of Christians, Peter denied knowing Jesus, Thomas doubted Jesus' resurrection. And the old testament servants didn't fare any better. Moses murdered a fellow Hebrew, King David lusted after his friends wife and committed adultery with her and then essentially had him murdered to have his wife for himself, Noah was found drunk and passed out on the floor naked by his sons. If you were to accuse any of these men of God for these specific things, you would not be wrong. It should give us some comfort to know that even the most devoted disciples, were no more worthy of God's love than you or me. God is Love.
Transition: This morning we will be preaching on three comforts that Jesus gave his disciples when they were discouraged.
I. Jesus comforts them with a Command
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me." -Jn 14:1
Just prior to Jesus saying these words he dropped three big bombshells on his disciples. He says that he will be going away and they could not come. He told them one of them was a traitor. He told Disciple Peter he would deny him three times. That is a lot to take in and you can imagine how the disciples were disheartened.
But what is amazing is that even as Jesus was haunted by the foreknowledge of the coming ridicule, the humiliation of the crown of thorns, the thoughts of the foreboding 39 lashes from the cat of nine tails (an instrument meant to slash and grab the flesh and pull it away) and as the dreaded cross loomed before him like the darkest shadow - knowing that he would have to carry it, in total exhaustion up a shameful hill called "the skull." His only reprieve from its weight would be when it was finally placed into the rocky ground where he would then be nailed to it. And yet as he alluded to this dismal appointment with his disciples, he puts all of his own dread for it behind him so that he can comfort his disciples with this command: "Do not let YOUR hearts be troubled. ..."
Jesus knows when we are sad. He knows when we are confused. He knows when we are mad. He knows when we are depressed and in despair. And of course, Jesus knows when we are troubled!
In Matthew 6:34 we read - "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Our Lord is omniscient, he sees tomorrow as easily as he sees today. He saw Nathanael under the fig tree even though Jesus himself wasn't there. He told Judas it would have been better if he had never been born. He gave a general warning for anyone who would cause any little child to stumble that it would be better if they had a millstone tied around their neck and thrown into the sea. He told Peter that the devil had asked to sift them all as wheat. Our Lord sees what we do not. Even when our current circumstances causes our hearts to sink and anxiety grips our souls, there the Lord is at our side, like a loving father whispering "Dear child, Do not let your heart be troubled."