‘Let not your hearts be troubled’ – summary of part of Jonathan’s sermon this morning

Jonathan

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.’ (John 14:1) Jonathan preached this morning on these words Jesus spoke to his disciples just before the crucifixion.

The reasons why the disciples hearts might be troubled are described in the previous chapter:  they have learned that one of them would betray Jesus, that Peter would deny Jesus, and that Jesus, with whom they had spent their lives for the last three years would only be with them for a little longer.

Small wonder they were ‘in shock’, or ‘troubled.’

And Jesus said (did he, Jonathan wonders look at Peter as he spoke?) ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’

Jonathan pointed out how kind and gentle Jesus was with the disciples. He had far more reason to be troubled than they were, as he faced the anguish of crucifixion, and yet his first concern was not for himself, but for his friends.   Jonathan finds this tenderness of Jesus very moving.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’

Often, when we speak these words to people who are struggling, they seem vacuous and empty. ‘You don’t know what I’m going through,’ people tell us, and they are right – we probably don’t.

But when Jesus says ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’, he can back up his words.

‘You believe in God; believe also in me.’   Jesus is the remedy for a troubled heart. ‘Take him at his word,’ Jonathan encouraged us. ‘Commit yourself to him.’

Now,  Jesus and the Father are at one – as Jesus himself makes clear in the rest of the passage. So why does he differentiate between himself and God in verse 1, Jonathan wondered.

Perhaps it was because Jesus wanted to draw the disciples attention to the God of the Old Testament. The God who rescued Israel through the waters of the Red Sea; the God who caused the walls of Jericho to Fall; the God who closed the mouths of lions and gave protection from the flames of the fiery furnace.

We believe in this God – but what about our present experiences, when we are facing walls, lions, flames, uncrossable waterways? This God is with us in the here-and-now of our troubles.

In their hour of trouble, would the disciples believe in Jesus, or continue in their distress?

The meaning of faith becomes real to us when in trouble, despair, dark circumstances we are able to entrust ourselves to Jesus.  And yet we are so like the disciples. We give up hope so readily.

Perhaps some of us, however, have little sense of trouble. We are so comfortable and feel secure. Trouble is half a world away.  We can be arrogant and self-confident – and when we are in that condition, we can’t believe.  Some of us perhaps need to hear the words ‘Let your hearts be troubled’ so that  by way of trouble our hearts may reach out to the God who is with us.

The disciples were faced with a choice. Let their faith fall apart or cling to Jesus and experience the love that will not fail.

We live in dark and troubled times, and its vital that people, in our nation, in our churches, in families, in marriages cling to Jesus.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’

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