“Let not your hearts be troubled”
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
– A reading from the Gospel according to John, chapter 14, verses 1-14, English Standard Version.
In this passage above Jesus is saying that he will keep his promises. Even though death is looming over Jesus’ future, and even though his has already entered into the turmoil and anguish that are his battle with sin, death and evil. Death has showed its power at Lazarus‘ tomb where Jesus wept. The evil one sought to confuse Jesus about the purpose for which he entered the world, and Jesus in response called on God the Father to glorify his name. Sin sat at table with Jesus to share his bread, and then when Jesus said to “do your work quickly” he went out and betrayed him. In all of these events, the Gospel according to John tells us that that Jesus was troubled in spirit, agitated, and disturbed.
So, when Jesus tells his disciples that they should not be troubled, it is the very same word that tells of Jesus’ own profound turmoil and anguish of spirit. Jesus tells the disciples, I will contend with those powers that assail you, shake you up, leave you distressed and confused; do not take that trouble upon yourself-trust my promise to you. Jesus encourages the disciples in his “famous last words” to turn the things that “trouble their hearts” over to him, for he is trustworthy, just as God is trustworthy, and sin, death and evil will not have the last word-Jesus will return to “take to himself” those who know him as the way to the Father.
Every one of us contend on a daily basis with troubles that wound our hearts with worries, fears, anxieties and stresses. It robs us of our peace, denies us of our hope, questions our faith, and makes it difficult to truly love. We all know, deep down in our hearts, that we are limited, that our power to keep our promises to others, promises to be a good provider, a good spouse, a good parent, a good son or daughter, a good employee or employer, all depends on things that are not entirely in our power to control, and never will be. We often compound the problem by giving what little power we do have to other things. We give it to the false gods such as money, sex, and power- gods who promise us status, contentment, power, happiness, control. They never deliver though. Instead in their wake they leave behind broken and troubled hearts.
But to chase after Jesus Christ; to walk with him, to be his follower; to do what he says means to experience him, and to know him as the Way, as the Truth, as the Life. To let Jesus, who has burst the bonds of death, put evil and the gloom of sin to flight, and trampled Hell underfoot, direct our days and our deeds means that our promises to ourselves and one another find their joyous fulfillment. To follow after Jesus and obey his commands means opportunities day after day to discover the gracious Father who is revealed in the words and deeds of the Only Son.