John: Troubled

Jacksonville First United Methodist Church
A Message on John 14: 1-7, “Troubled”
By Rev. Bonnie Osteen
June 28, 2020

Jesus the Way to the Father
14‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ 5Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’

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There is so much content in these few short verses. There’s worry, rooms, dwelling places, mansions, doubt, the way, the truth, the life, eternal life, and more. And we often hear this scripture to bring us comfort.

We start off with ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’ and from there we dive into the reasons why our hearts should not be troubled.
What? Troubled heart?
My heart is troubled because we can’t have worship like we used to have.
My heart is troubled because I need to wear a mask to keep others healthy, and maybe me too, and social distance, and wash hands.
My heart is troubled with the racism in this world.
My heart is troubled with what school will look like in the fall.
My heart is troubled with whether I will have a job in these next few weeks.
My heart is troubled because I don’t want to social distance.
My heart is troubled because I’m mad.
My heart is troubled because I don’t like what someone said or what someone did.
My heart is troubled because we have hungry children.
We know what it means to be “troubled”: It’s the opposite of being peaceful, calm, serene, at ease, or comforted. To be “troubled” is to have inward commotion which causes you to become agitated and restless.

Jesus gives the solution for troubled hearts. Have faith in Jesus. So, you may be wondering if I’m saying, “If your heart is troubled over the things I just mentioned, then you may not have faith in Jesus?”
Well, yes, I am saying that. Not that any of those things aren’t important, but the first part of the statement is what shows where our heart is, is it troubled?
All of our prayers and our studies about following Jesus, obeying Jesus, loving Jesus, trusting Jesus go right out the window, when we say, “Our hearts are troubled.” I will admit it is difficult to have faith in God. We often think we can do a much better job. But our ultimate goal is to have faith in Christ. Jesus reveals the truth of God and the life that is found in God. Then, we have the choice to live in the way of Jesus, which is not worry.

We hear the disciples were troubled. It is Jesus’ final night with his disciples before the cross. Jesus has identified Judas as the betrayer and is left with the other eleven apostles. He stated he would be killed. He even predicted that Peter would deny him – three times! He has washed their feet, and given them a new command, telling them to love one another as Jesus has loved them. He tells them that he is going away and where he is going, they cannot come. Peter wants to know why they cannot follow him, and Jesus responds by asking if they are ready to lay down their lives for him. This is where we pick up in the account as we begin John 14. Since they had come to value Jesus’ words and truthfulness, the disciples were disturbed. Certainly, the disciples had reason to be troubled.
The combination of fear and despair were overwhelming. From our perspective they had every right to be agitated. And they couldn’t understand it, let alone control it. This dear man, Jesus, whom they believed was the Messiah, was saying “good-bye.”
So, we go back to look at ourselves. What troubles you? What thoughts about the present and the future worry you? What from the past still has a hold on you – your sins, failures, feelings of inadequacy? What fears block your sense of peace? All these things, and here Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus was addressing our minds, our hearts, and the focus of our faith.

So, we too can trust. We are familiar with troubled hearts. We know all about troubled hearts. That’s why Jesus calls us to deepen our connection with Him. As Jesus met the disciples at their point of pain and agitation, Jesus meets us at our trouble.
So, Jesus tells us, “You trust in God; trust also in me.”
So why trust Jesus? We can hold onto our faith because Jesus is trustworthy.
He said one of the disciples would betray Him; Judas did. He said Peter would deny Him three times; He did. He said He was going to die; He did. He said He would rise and live again; He did. He said He would go – ascend – and be with the Father; He did. He said He would send His Spirit; He did. We can hold on to our faith because Jesus is trustworthy.

The Psalmist put it this way
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

What is the Way, The Truth, the Life, and why should that convince me to ‘not be troubled’?
I can just imagine the sigh of relief as their weights of worry and fear subsided.
Now, was Jesus telling his disciples that nothing bad would happen to them? Did Jesus tell them that everything was going to be ok and that they would live a life of total bliss? The answer is no…
Jesus was reminding them, and reminding us today, that even when life may get tough and the future unsure, that they, and we, can trust God.

When we really trust Jesus, what do we have to be troubled about? The reason the disciples were so stirred up is that they were not trusting in Jesus’ promise and his Power.
And they had not seen the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we have! Jesus says: “Believe in me! Trust in Me! Live in Me! Live for Me!” We too need to listen to Jesus’ challenge to believe in God and him. It’s the ultimate cure for troubled hearts.
Beyond the initial experience of trusting him as Savior, it becomes a daily thing for us. This involves placing our lives under his complete control. Jesus must be Lord of every area of our life. No matter the circumstance, we must trust him to do in our lives what’s best. Our belief in him comes alive by believing his word, praying, supporting the work of his church and sharing this love with others.
And this is really the foundation for finding peace to get through these tough times.

All the other things that he said depend on this one thing – Trust in him.
Faith is knowing that God is with you through all things. Trust is believing that God fulfills his promises.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the gift of faith.

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