Summary: Jesus calms our troubled hearts when he tells us the end of the story. He is coming again to take us home.
Comforting a Troubled Heart.
When I was a little boy I remember having nightmares. There were two things that used to scare me to death. One was witches and the other was skeletons. Ooo! I hated those things! It all started when I saw the Wizard of Oz. It was Sunday evening and we were getting ready to go to church. The Wizard of Oz was on and it was right down to the wire! Dorothy and her friends were surrounded by the evil witch’s army. The witch was laughing hysterically! It was awful! Then the worst thing that can happen at a time like that happened! Mom came in and turned off the TV and made us get ready to go to church! I had no idea how it ended! I could just imagine Dorothy and her friends being horribly tormented by the witch! I didn’t know the end of the story till Monday when I got to ask my buddies at school who didn’t go to church on Sunday nights. There I learned that Dorothy melted down the witch with a bucket of water… cheesy way to go, if you ask me. And Dorothy becomes a hero and ends up going home to Kansas and loved ones. There’s no place like home.
Few things calm a troubled heart like knowing the end of the story, especially when the story takes you home to those you love.
In John 14, Jesus tells us the end of the story. Even though he leaves us here for a while and the ride is really rough, he’s coming back to get us and take us home.
We need to replay the previous chapter to appreciate Jesus words here. John 13. First Jesus washes their feet. When Peter tries to stop Jesus from washing his feet he gets a scalding rebuke. Then while they are eating, Jesus says that one of them will betray him. They are all staring at each other wondering who it could be. Judas is secretly pointed out by taking a piece of bread from Jesus and he leaves. Jesus tells them to love one another and then tells them he is going away and they can’t follow. Peter again pipes up and asks why? Then Peter declares that he is ready to lay down his life for Jesus. Jesus, speaking again to Peter says, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!" That’s chapter 13.
Wow! What a disturbing chapter! From arguing about who is the greatest, to getting a humiliating foot washing from their master, to hearing that one of them will betray Jesus, to Jesus confrontation with Peter a second time tonight! Some may have been wondering if Peter was the betrayer.
In the midst of this heart troubling time, Jesus speaks these words of peace and comfort. It was time to settle down and listen. Emotions were probably very high. Jesus tells them, "Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me! In my father’s house are many rooms (mansions is not a good translation). 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 you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."
We sing a song about a mansion just over the hilltop in that bright land where we’ll never grow old. Well, I’m sorry to inform you that "mansion" is an old word for "manse," or room. Jesus is not talking about a big house of gold that’s silver lined. He’s talking about a room in his Father’s house
When we first moved to Signal Mountain, I remember driving around looking at some of the big houses around here. There’s some pretty incredible ones. But I also know that some of these big beautiful houses have some very unhappy people living in them. You see its not the size of the house or it’s fancy furnishings that satisfy the longings of the heart, it is something much more meaningful.
Through the years Jenny and I have moved from Arkansas to New Hampshire to Vermont to Tennessee. One time we lived in a 16 foot, 1968 Wennabago camper for a few weeks, with no running water, bathroom or toilet. Believe it our not, we were actually happy. Part of the happiness was in knowing we would not have to stay there long. But our real happiness came from being together as a family in the Lord. We were on an adventure together. One lesson I’ve learned in life is this: It’s not so much what you live in as who you live with that brings lasting joy. Home for the heart is where those we love most live.