Summary: 7th in the series "Near to His Heart: The Gospel of John." Looks at Jesus promise to always be with us.
Trust His Presence
v. 1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
In the preceding verses at the end of Chapter 13, Jesus has been talking about the fact that the time for Him to go away has finally come. A discussion has taken place about one of them betraying him. If there were any doubt that the disciples understood that this was to be a violent event, that doubt would be erased by Peter’s statement that he was willing to die for Jesus.
I think the disciples understood, if not exactly, at least in general what was about to come. And I don’t think it takes any real conclusion jumping to figure out that they were frightened. Jesus is preparing them to carry on in His absence—his physical absence.
For these close followers who had come to depend upon being with Jesus this was a scary thought. And Jesus says to them “You trust in God, trust also in me.” Trust in what way? I think at least in part it means, trust in His presence—that even though physically absent he will still be with them. In the same way they trust in the presence of God the Father—though they could not see Him, they can trust in the presence of the Son, His spiritual presence.
You and I have never had the privilege that the twelve had to walk with Jesus and spend time with him physically, but I think that Jesus is inviting us to trust Him in the very same way.
If you have trusted in Jesus for salvation—that is if you’ve made the decision to become a follower of Jesus, you have experienced the presence of Jesus. We talked about that heartfelt experience with Him a few weeks ago. If you’ve asked Him to come into your life you know what it feels like to know He’s with you—to feel his presence.
On the other hand if you’ve walked with Him for very long, you probably also knows what it feels like to not feel Him with you. You know what it is to begin to doubt whether anything really happened when you prayed that prayer accepting his gift of eternal life. You know what it’s like to experience His presence in worship and you also know what it’s like to come to a worship service where it seems like everyone but you got a blessing.
A couple of weeks ago I was driving into Minier from Hopedale on Stringtown Road and the grain elevator was gone. It had just disappeared. Of course once I got into town it reappeared. A fog had simply settled that blended in with the clouds and made the elevator seem to disappear. Sometimes a fog settles over our spiritual life and Jesus seems to disappear.
I believe Jesus invitation to trust in Him—to trust in His presence is made for just such times. Whether you feel his presence today or tomorrow or not, He has said He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Secondly, to be near to the heart of Jesus forever we should…
Trust His Promise
2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The promise here is really two parts first it is the promise of a place, the place we call heaven.
Bill Bright, just months before he died in July 2003: "Even though I’ve always believed in heaven and hell, after I became a believer, I gave little thought to it. But in recent months I’ve been writing on heaven and hell. My logic is this: The God whom we worship created at least 100 billion galaxies—some astronomers would say 200 billion. Do we give God credit? They say it was the Big Bang. But it was this great Creator God who made all this majesty and glory.
You can imagine, then, what he’s done to create a heaven? "Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither knows the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him"—beauty and magnificence beyond anything our little finite minds can imagine."
The second part of the promise is even better though—it is the continuing promise—the eternal promise of His presence
Leith Anderson wrote about this aspect of the promise on an eternal home:
“My family and I have lived in the same house for seventeen years. We’ve lived there more than twice as long as I have lived at any other address in my entire life. I’ll sometimes refer to it as ‘our house,’ but more often I refer to it as ‘home.’ What makes it our home isn’t the address or the lot or the garage or the architecture. What makes it home is the people.”