Troubled heartsArticle by Ronald English
We live in a world of troubled hearts. Look around you at the people you know who are troubled about various issues. You have to admit there are lots of unhappy people in just the folks you know and love.
The economy is troubling to many people. People who have not lost their job, but are fretting over the possibility they might lose it. People who are not sick hear about a friend who has breast cancer and now they are concerned about their own health. Nancy broke up with Robert and now she is worried about what he is doing.
Some people seem troubled because there is no trouble that they need to be worried about. So they are restless.
I want to address a whole different kind of trouble that touched the lives of the disciples of Jesus. The time had arrived when Jesus had to prepare for the cross. His disciples had no clue that he was going to die. They just assumed that He would be with them all the time and that soon He would establish His kingdom.
When Jesus gave them some indication what would be happening in just a few days, they become heart sick and troubled. First, they could not bear to think of losing their friend, their teacher, their miracle worker. Second, what would become of them? Jesus was their protector. He knew how to keep the religious critics at bay. Third, what about all the plans for a kingdom here on earth where they would surely be key players?
Jesus knew what His disciples were thinking. He knew they were vexed in their spirit. He knew that inside they were devastated, fearful. I think they were border-line panic stricken. Try to visualize this scene when Jesus addressed this conflict raging in their mind and soul.
In John 14:1, Jesus said to his trusted men, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
I think Jesus is speaking to all of us who have troubled souls and spirits. When a Christian boils down his trouble it can be reduced to a God problem-a faith problem, or a lack thereof.
Jesus knew they believed in God. So He starts there. “Ye believe in God…” Well, you do believe in God don’t you? He doesn’t ask this as a question since He knows what they are thinking. He is simple saying, if you believe in God, and I know you do, believe also in me.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful in the midst of whatever is gnawing at our insides, if we could hear Jesus calmly speak to us and say, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” You know it would be comforting. It’s difficult for Christians to look at their troubles and equate them to spiritual deficits or conflicts. We see them as money troubles; relationship issues; health concerns. But at the root it is, indeed, a spiritual matter.
Now Jesus jumps forward with His comfort for His disciples. He answers a question they have not asked, but surely they must be thinking in Verse 2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
How practical it is to think of Heaven as a place where the Father lives. The Father has a house-a big house in Heaven. A home large enough to accommodate all of His people that He saves. That home is so large that within the house are rooms spacious enough that Jesus calls them mansions. Some translations even calls them “rooms.” Some are insulted that such translations rob them of their “mansion” by calling that word “rooms.” Don’t be insulted, whatever the term, whether mansions or rooms, we will all be living in the Father’s house “in my Father’s house are many mansions.” Not only will there be room, but lots of room-”many mansions.”
Jesus very carefully lets them know that if what He is now telling them is not true, He would have already addressed all of this and made it crystal clear for them. “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Then tacks on something filled with comfort. He will share a golden truth why He is going away from them at this critical time. Look what He tells them: “I go to prepare a place for you.” It’s as if He is saying to them, “You already know my Father is in Heaven. You know Heaven is a real destination. You are aware that My Father has a home up there. What I want you to understand is that while I am out of your sight, I will go to Heaven and prepare a place for you.”
When you think about it, if you are troubled about Jesus leaving and you learn from His mouth that He will do something special for you while He is gone. You can start adjusting to that. You might even say, this could work out. But not yet. As comforting and as promising as these words are, the disciples are still distraught.
Jesus does not stop there. He continues: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” John 14:3,4
I think it is a whole lot easier for us today reading these words to reason that the disciples should have been immediately comforted than it was for them back then. I know it was difficult for at least one of them. Listen, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Verse 5
Now comes the snow plough clearing out the heavy snow drifts of doubt and troubling thoughts. Jesus will share a central truth with them and lets us overhear it. What He is about to say to them should ring true in our hearts, too.
“Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Verse 6
Let Thomas represent you, me and the world of Christians, Jesus is telling him, “I, Jesus Christ, am the way…” The way? What way? What is He talking about in Verse 2. He is talking about His Father’s house and the mansions there. Jesus is assuring Thomas (and us) that He (Jesus, Himself) is the way to all that He has just promised them. Nothing could be simpler and more clear than what He is unfolding in these verses.
Jesus is the “way” for salvation, for Heaven, for your mansion. It’s not the church. It’s not the preacher. It’s not your money. It’s not your skill set, your talent, your intellect, your wisdom, your attractiveness. It is Jesus, or nothing. It is Him, for there is no other way. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
When the Bible says, “Nor is there salvation in any other…” it means just that. He is the WAY! He said it Himself. But He didn’t stop there. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Verse 6
He adds “I am the truth.” Truth is a wonderful word. When we know the truth all of the clouds go away. We can see what must be seen. We can understand what we should know. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
There is a liberation-a freedom when truth becomes known in our heart. Jesus is that central truth. He said, “I am the truth…” He adds to that power duo “way and truth” these words, “I am the life.” “The way, the truth and the life.”
There is no spiritual life apart from Jesus Christ. You can fake lots of things in the religious world, but life is not one of them. You, the individual, know whether or not you have spiritual life. You don’t have to wonder. You don’t have to guess. You know in your own heart-the condition of your heart.
Church membership will not get you into heaven. Being baptized will not open the doors to heaven for you. Trying to keep the ten commandments won’t work for you. Being religious will not cut it. You have to have life. That life is in Jesus and can only be imparted by Him to you via the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has prepared them by letting them know the time is fast approaching when He must die. It’s not like this is a secret. Every blood sacrifice offered in the Old Testament right on through to the day He spoke these words were providing a picture of His death. The prophets of old had this word. This great truth was written in the sacred Scriptures. It was told in the earliest hours after creation when Adam and Eve fell into sin. From that day until the day Jesus is speaking to His disciples the plan has not changed. Jesus would die.
This article is much to short to cover all of the Old Testament teaching concerning Jesus and the price He would have to pay for our sin. But this truth is recorded clearly and often in the blessed Scriptures. The truth runs through the old Book like a bloody red thread. It is easy for Christians today to look back and see each mention of this great truth. However, it was hidden from the disciples-on purpose. They did not know!
I am about to share a truth from Scripture that most Christians miss. That is not surprising-the disciples missed it, too. Jesus shared it with them from His mouth to their ears, but they did not get it. The following is a truth that was hidden in plain sight.
Luke 18:31-34, “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
32For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
33And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
34And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
The Bible says, “they understood none of these things…” Why? “This saying was hidden from them.” Who hid it from them? Jesus did. The Holy Spirit did. God, the Father did. When God hides a matter from you-it can’t be found. They would remember all of these words later, but not now. It is too early in the plan that is unfolding. The Old Testament Scriptures would be remembered later, but not now. These words were hidden.
That is why the disciples were troubled. Their minds had been darkened from the central truth of Scripture so they would not reveal it before hand. There is no telling what these good men would have done had all of this been clear to them as it was about to happen.
But to give them a measure of comfort and assurance Jesus very lovingly said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”
He tells them and in the telling is sharing with us, “No man (or woman) cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
How narrow is the way to Heaven? Jesus Christ. There is no other way. No other plan. It is Jesus, or nothing. Why would you want a different route? Why would you look for another to come and rescue you?
The great truth that was hidden from His disciples is no longer covered. Jesus Christ was lifted up on the old, rugged cross almost 2000 years ago. The Bible says, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”John 12:32
When we started this article we began with “troubled hearts.” If your heart is troubled then take your troubles to Jesus. If you have never trusted Him for salvation, remember He is the way. If you wonder what is truth. He said, “I am the truth.” If you are puzzled about the direction you should take, He said, “I am the way.” Turn to Him today. Believe on Him the best you know how. He will take you in. He will accept you. He will not turn you away. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37
It could not be clearer than that. You have His Word on the matter. Turn to Him now.
If you are a Christian living a guilty distance from God-return to Him today. He is calling for you now. Let the words of the old hymn, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” speak to you: Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me; see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. Come home, come home; ye who are weary come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!