Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

In John 13, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, sits down for the Passover Feast, predicts his betrayal by Judas, as well as Peter's failures, then we read in 14:1, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" (or "You believe in God, believe also in me".) He continues on with the beautiful 'many mansions' teaching, and His "Way, Truth, and Life" teaching, and much, much more. Verse one has slipped by so quickly it almost seems dwarfed by the rest of the chapter, and the passion chapters to come, but it is imperative that the disciples "get" vs. 1 if they are going to understand His teachings and be able to cope with Jesus' departure from the scene. And it's where we find ourselves in this present age, too.

Wesley comments, "14:1 Let not your heart be troubled - At my departure. Believe - This is the sum of all his discourse, which is urged till they did believe, John 16:30. And then our Lord prays and departs." Jesus spends 3 Chapters convincing His disciples to believe in Him, just as they believe in God. Why was it so crucial at this point for them to finally "get it?" Jesus was about to gift the world with the greatest love ever given it, and they had to know who it was giving it.

Living the Gospel means understanding that apart from knowing the love of Christ, our hearts are indeed troubled. The Gospel of Mark uses the words "fear not" scores of times. As little children, our parents raised us to one day be able to handle life on our own, take care of ourselves, get married and raise our own family. But no matter how successful we might think we are at life, inside we are all afraid, all insecure, and forever throwing up defenses to the world to try and protect that wounded spot in our heart. Growing up and coping with life tends to mean: How well can we hide our insecurities and not let them interfere with our lives? We use defenses like control, anger, selfishness, and pride. We so desperately want to feel good about ourselves. We do anything and everything looking for something, but we don't know what we are looking for. We'll buy anything that Madison Avenue says will make our life better, because we know there is something better to life. Even born-again Christians fall prey to this type of thinking, if not presented with a gospel that says "Live me everyday!"

The answer is the rest of the vs., "Trust in God; trust also in me." When we are trusting God for not only our eternal security, but for our daily bread, we come out of ourselves, and open our hearts to Christ and the love He demonstrated. His love fills our troubled hearts, Jesus validates us like we never can, and life makes sense. And God does indeed provide our daily bread, and so much more. Our will becomes His will, out of our love for Him, and the daily grace of faith becomes more powerful then any nearby mountain. When we rely on God, not ourselves, the peace of Christ is a reality, not just a cliche, because we have no fear of failure. We learn through our experiences that all things really do work together for good for those that love the Lord. And worshipping Him, needing more of Him and His grace becomes a thirst. Such as a deer at the running brook, we know we cannot live without Him.

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