Summary: Expository sermon dealing with how Jesus comforted disciples in their disappointment and revealtion concerning heaven.
Fortifying the Foundations # 32
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Jesus spoke those words to his disciples at a time when there were some good reasons to be troubled. This is the night before the crucifixion. Jesus has told them that he is going to leave them. There is no break in the conversation going on in Chapter 13 and here in Chapter 14. In John 13:33 Jesus had said, "My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.”
Peter’s response to that was, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” He and the others understood that Jesus was talking about his death. They thought they ready to die with him if necessary. It was a sincere response but an uninformed one. We really don’t know what we will do in a situation. I personally believe that these disciples were brave men. Given a normal situation they might very well have stood with their leader. But they did not take into consideration the spiritual dynamics that would be going on that night. In a few hours Jesus will be arrested and at his arrest he will say to those who have come for him, (Luke 22:53) “Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour-when darkness reigns." Evil was out in full force that night and when confronted with it the disciples fled.
That evening Jesus had exposed Judas as the betrayer. Most of the disciples did not catch on to everything that was going on concerning that but everyone felt something of the intensity and sorrow of the evening. It was not a light-hearted time. There were serious issues going on.
When Peter said he would lay down his life for Jesus, do you remember at the end of John 13 what Jesus told him? "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! “ (John 13:38) Imagine how you would feel if you just heard Jesus say that to you. These disciples were confused. They were disappointed. They were worried about what would take place next. A huge change is about to take place and they seem powerless to do anything about it. Jesus is about to leave them.
There are events in life that can leave our hearts troubled. Six years ago I read from this text as I stood before a family whose 13-year-old daughter had just been brutally murdered. That precious couple had cause to feel distressed. I am thankful that about a year prior to that time Stephanie Mahaney had received the Lord right here in this sanctuary. But life can get very troubling. It’s troubling to go to the doctor and find out you have a terminal disease. It’s troubling to have your spouse betray you and commit adultery. It’s troubling when you train your child in the way he or she should go and then in early adulthood that child goes the wrong way. I am not denying the pain, the sorrow, the loneliness that we may experience in this world. Jesus did not say there would be no trouble. In fact, later this very evening he told his disciples that the time would come when people would think they were doing God a service to kill them (John 16:2).
The confusion, the disappointment, the sorrow these disciples were feeling was very real.
Jesus is not denying that. But he is giving them a way to deal with it. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Is that something I can really do? It is if I look at the issues in the light of the whole truth. Jesus is about to broaden their understanding. And if they will receive it they will find comfort to their souls.
What is the answer to the distress I feel in times of trouble? The answer is found in the second half of that verse (John 14:1) “Trust in God; trust also in me.”
The NIV gives a good translation of that verse. The Greek form used for the word trust is the same in the imperative as it is in the indicative. So either half of that statement could be a statement or could be a command. Some versions translate the first half as a statement (You trust in God) and then the second as a command (Trust also in me).
But its more logical in my opinion to translate it as parallel imperatives like the NIV has done, “Trust in God; trust also in me.”