Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Text: John 14:1-14

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The disciples in our Gospel reading from this morning need comfort.  The Gospel reading takes place when Jesus was in the upper room with His disciples the night before He was to be crucified.  Yes, Jesus is eating and ministering to His disciples and He says to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  In other words, He is calling them not to be agitated, to not be troubled, to not have inward commotion, and to not be stirred up.  Yes, here is Jesus eating and ministering to His disciples while knowing full well that He will be betrayed later that night; knowing full well that Peter will deny Him; knowing full well that He will be abandoned; knowing full well that He will be mocked, tortured and crucified; and knowing full well that He will drink the cup of suffering for bearing the sins of humanity.  Even though Jesus will go through an immense amount of discomfort, pain, and suffering, Jesus was filled with concern for His disciples and said to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  In other words, Christ feeds His disciples words of comfort on the eve before His passion.  The disciples had just heard that Jesus was going to depart from them and Jesus knew what was going to happen on the day of His passion, but nonetheless, He shielded His disciples with words, words that were composed like calm waters. 

This all makes sense why Jesus proclaims comfort to the disciples, does it not?  Not only will they experience the discomfort from the upcoming events of Jesus’ passion, but He just got done telling them that He will depart from them.  Keep in mind that the disciples have been walking with the Son of God for three plus years and now they are approaching: uncertainty, the death of Jesus, fear, and a bloody cross.  Their world is about to come crashing down upon them.  Life as they know it will be turned upside down and they will scatter and deny Jesus later that evening.

We are really no different from the disciples my friends.  Like them we seek and need comfort.  We especially want it when our worlds are turned upside down and when our routines change. We all want relief from pain; we want ease, rest, and pleasure from the troubles of life.  We all want protection when our minds are distressed.  We all want to have comfort from the cold and hot elements of the weather.  We all want shelter when danger and difficulties approach.  We all want and need comfort from the darkness of death; death that approaches us with each breath that we take and with each day that we live.  Left to ourselves the weight of life is simply too much for us to bear, thus we seek to have a refuge. 

As you already know from experience, we often times desire comfort so much that we will go through discomfort and pain to obtain apparent comfort at the end of our personalized quests.  We will also cheat and steal to obtain temporary comfort in the now; whereas there are other times we will live our lives dreaming about comfort.  We will live with our head in the clouds, dreaming about the warmth of comfort, while ignoring the present realities of life. 

It is apparent that we are perpetually addicted to the idea and sphere of comfort. The reason why?  We were the ones who initiated discomfort in the first place.  You see, at the beginning of time, Adam and Eve were completely comfortable.  They were comfortable with the Lord, comfortable with each other, comfortable with themselves, and comfortable with their surroundings.  Everything was harmonious in the Garden of Eden; that is until sin happened.  Sin introduced calamity, distress, danger, and death.  Because of sin Adam and Eve were taken from comfort with God to being enemies of God.  They were once in harmony with each other and in harmony with themselves, but sin was driven deeply into them and into this world which resulted in insecurity and shame; discomfort emerged.  Yes, since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been in search of comfort.  There is this desire in each and every one of us to restore Eden; there is a desire to establish comfort so that rest may emerge.

In the midst of uncertainty, change, the sufferings of life and our continual discomforting status, we hear today the words of Jesus to the disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  Yes, Christ calls the disciples not to be troubled.  Even though these words were originally spoken to the disciples, they are also applicable and speak to us.  Friends, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  You may say to yourself though, “Sure enough, this sounds good and true.  But it is rather empty.  Why or how can I not be troubled, just look at life and this world!”  Friends, Jesus’ rightly calls us not to be troubled in our innermost being, but to believe in God and to believe in Him.  Yes, believe upon Christ for Christ says that there is a cure to our troubled conscience and our discomfort.  That solution and comfort is in Jesus’ word that there are many dwelling places in His Father’s house.  Indeed, Jesus is speaking of heaven, saying that there are plenty of dwelling places for you.  There is no shortage of space and no reservation black outs.  Furthermore, Christ uses a word that communicates to the disciples and to us that these dwelling places, these rooms, these mansions, these abiding places are permanent.  Yes, they are stable, concrete, and lasting.  Take comfort friends, believe in God for in the midst of our every changing and unsettled world Jesus has spoken that there are many dwelling places that are stable—for you.  In the midst of your suffering, in the midst of the turmoil of your life, and in the midst of the instability of this world, there are promised eternal dwellings—for you. 

Listen to the words of Jesus, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. …  I go to prepare a place for you.”  Yes, Jesus grants us additional comfort in that He prepares a place—for you.  But how does He prepare this place for you?  Does the Christ construct and create with a hammer, nails, and lumber?  In point of fact He does, for He is the great craftsman.  You, who have ears, hear this: Jesus prepared this place by crafting salvation for you.  Wooden beams were hoisted up.  A Hammer was swung.  Nails were driven.  Sweat dripped.  Blood flowed. The words, “It is finished,” were spoken. It is most certainly true that salvation was crafted, completed, and perfected by the Christ—for you.  Sin, death, and the devil have been conquered; the Father’s wrath has been completed through this crafted and completed salvation.  Going to prepare a place for you means that Jesus fashioned salvation for you through a hammer, nails, wood, blood, suffering, and death—and considered it worthwhile. 

The way to the Father’s house is through Jesus’ preparation, preparation that was done for you.  Yes, He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Jesus Christ “left His Father's house and came to this earth to do the works of His Father.  While He was here He took on human nature and lived a righteous life under the authority of the law.  He allowed the authorities to arrest Him, torture Him, and put Him on a cross.  By doing these things He satisfied His Father's wrath against our sin.  This is how He became the way for us to enter His Father's house.  We have confidence that He is the way because He rose from the dead.  This is the reason He could say, "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."  His resurrection assures us that we too shall rise from death and that He will take us to live with Him.

What gracious words Jesus shared with His disciples in that upper room on the evening before He went to the cross.  His words are full of comfort and reassurance.  How gracious it is of Christ to prepare a uniquely perfect room for each and every one of us in His Father's house.  How comforting it is to know that Jesus will bring us to His Father's house safely because He Himself is the way.  How reassuring it is to know that Jesus is the full presence of God with us.  Most of all, how wonderful it is to know that Jesus' perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection mean that His Father is also our Father and His Father's house is also our eternal home.”[1] 

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

[1] James T. Batchelor, “Fifth Sunday of Easter Sermon at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Hoopeston, IL.” (15 May 2014).

CLICK HERE to join in the conversation on Facebook.
CLICK HERE to follow on Twitter.