Do you feel like your heart is troubled?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip,even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. That’s what Jesus says to his disciples before he is arrested and taken away to be crucified, because he knew their hearts were troubled. They were worried because he had just announced he would be leaving them soon. 24 hours later his dead body would be in the tomb. But now, the night before his death, he tells his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled.
What possible reason, on the eve of Jesus’ murder, do the disciples have to not let their hearts be troubled? They had followed Jesus now for around three years. He was their whole life. Their whole purpose. How could they not be troubled that he was leaving? How could they not be distressed that he was about to be taken away?
We often feel like the disciples. We know Jesus says we shouldn’t be troubled, but we are troubled. Sometimes deeply troubled. How can we not be? How could the disciples not be?
Because Jesus’ departure wasn’t the end. He knew that he would rise again and ascend to his Father’s side. He knew he would be with his disciples by his Spirit. He knew that he would eventually bring his disciples with him – along with all who believed in him. But the disciples didn’t yet understand. So Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
But he leaves them with some comforting words: there are many rooms in his Father’s house, and he is going there to prepare a place for them. And 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.
In other words: don’t be troubled by the fact that I’m leaving you, because eventually you’ll be coming with me! My departure is good news, because I’m going to prepare rooms for you – with me! – in heaven. My departure is actually a good thing! Far better than you now realise.
Jesus is trying to comfort the disciples’ hearts by assuring them he has a far fuller perspective than they do. He has the whole story in mind – and the whole story has an incredibly happy ending – and an eternally lasting one.
We are not the disciples who were with Jesus on the night before he was killed. But we do share much in common with them: we believe in Jesus, we will be with Jesus forever in heaven, but for the meantime, we face many troubles. We face many dark nights when things seem hopeless and we feel alone.
But Jesus offers comfort to our troubled hearts: My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And 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.
Head: What does Jesus say to his disciples in this passage to comfort their troubled hearts?
Heart: The chorus to the song linked below has the following lyrics:
So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again
In light of what Jesus says in today’s passage, consider how you could own these lyrics in your own journey of following Jesus.
Hands: When we go through tough times, lonely times, sad times, we all struggle to keep the eternal perspective in mind. Are you struggling now? How does Jesus’ words shed light onto your temporary trouble? Do you know someone else who is struggling amidst troubles? How can you encourage them to keep their eyes on the eternal story in Jesus?
Prayer: Heavenly Father,so often when I’m troubled it’s because I get caught up in the ‘now’, caught up in the ‘temporary’, and I forget the eternal perspective. I forget your love for me in Jesus. I forget that you’re with my by your Spirit. I forget that Jesus will return one day, and bring me home to be with you forever. Please forgive me for my short-sightedness. I really need you to comfort my troubled heart. I really need you to help me keep the eternal perspective in mind. Please help me. In Jesus’ name, by the power of the Spirit, Amen.
A song to listen to: Take Heart – Hillsong United