Summary: Jesus knows the hearts of his disciples and provides comfort for the trouble which lies ahead.
3 6 2016 Trouble Ahead; Comfort Ahead John 13:36-14:6
Last week we ended with the new commandment by Jesus in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
We saw that historically this was true in the early Church: the unbelieving world, even emperors were stunned by the love that the early Church had for one another, and God still commands that we love one another in the sacrificial and humble way that Christ loved us, and by our actions, the world will be drawn to the Savior.
We look at verse 36 and read Peter’s response to Jesus’ statement iv verse 33: “Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward." 37 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake." 38 Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”
Peter doesn’t seem interested in the “new commandment” but very interested in Jesus’ “going away”. Peter seems to be upset that Jesus is speaking about His death and asserts that Peter is willing to lay down his life for Jesus’ sake. There is a definite absurdity and irony in Peter’s suggestion because Jesus had come to give HIS LIFE as the Lamb of God for sinners and Peter certainly did not fit that requirement, in fact, before the night would be over, Peter would deny even knowing Jesus.
You ever find yourself being like Peter? That your self-assessment and intentions are inferior to your abilities? I think more often than not, our denial of “knowing Jesus” comes, not in denying to “know” Him, but denying to love Him and serve Him and others. In a real sense, disobeying Jesus is a denial of Him and a serving of self instead of the Savior. Jesus predicts that Peter would deny Jesus 3 times before sunrise, (which would have to be an excruciating blow to the personality of Peter) but then follows with some of the most comforting words in John 14 (NKJV).
Trouble ahead: Stop Shaking
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 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. 3 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. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know." 5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus knew that there would be trouble ahead: The disciples would witness the most intense suffering ever known on this earth: they would see one of their own betray their Master, the outspoken Peter deny Him. They would witness the agony of Gethsemane, Jesus’ arrest, His torturous beatings, relentless mockery, and then His excruciating suffering under the weight of the cross, and finally Him being nailed and suspended ON the cross. But Jesus, “loving them to the end” (13:1) encourages them so that their faith would not fail.
True to His character, Jesus’ attention is not on His suffering but rather the effect that His suffering would have on His disciples as well as their own future persecution. The omniscient Savior knew that the disciples would be under immense emotional distress and pressure, perhaps close to failure, and so Jesus proclaims an imperative: LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.
The tense of the verb is the present imperative passive and denotes an ongoing, continual action in the negative. His exhortation is to STOP THAT WHICH IS ALREADY IN PROGRESS. “Do not allow your hearts to be troubled, shaken, disturbed or to shudder.” The “heart” (GR. “cardia”) can refer to the “soul” (mostly used by the word “psuche”) and also “spirit” (GR. “Pneuma”), but includes the whole of the inner states-thoughts, feelings, and will as well as emotions.
So Jesus gives a command to, “Stop shaking and shuttering! Don’t let your “heart be troubled, but along with the exhortation Jesus gives us reasons to should stop shaking and shuttering: “You believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus has often reasserted His deity as well as His role as Savior/Messiah, and this will not be the only time He does so again in this chapter. The disciples have faith in YHWH, the God of Israel already, and now they must also believe in Jesus. The idea in both cases is belief that is continual and ongoing: You continually believe in God; continually believe in Me, and stop shaking and shuttering.