Once again this morning I am faced with a daunting task. Take a chapter full of truths and things worthy of being mentioned and pick just one to bring before you. Today we are looking at John chapter 14. Jesus is continuing to instruct his disciples concerning his departure. They don’t yet realize what is about to happen to Jesus and he knows that the events that are about to unfold will shake them to their core.
You and I have the benefit of being able to look back at this chapter knowing all that eventually happened to Jesus but these men hear and examine these things through a totally different mindset. Consider if you will, their most likely frame of mind.
I think that they are still expecting Jesus to be a Messiah very different from the one that Jesus actually is. They expect a Messiah that will throw off the Romans or anyone who oppresses Israel. A ruler who is like King David and who will establish Israel as a great power once again. A king who will take the throne of Israel and perhaps even take them up the ladder with him. Someone impervious to death or any challenge to his rule. In short, someone and something very different from who Jesus was.
Jesus knew that they were expecting one thing and were about to get something totally different.
Isn’t that the framework for how most of our greatest disappointments, setbacks, or fears occur? We anticipate one thing and something totally unforeseen happens. Or we imagine that the worst is going to happen. These men are about to have their greatest disappointment ever. They are about to face their greatest fears ever and all of this centers around the events that are about to happen and they don’t see it coming.
With all that in mind it is all the more powerful when Jesus says…
John 14:27 (ESV) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
If you read this chapter with this frame of mind, you see that the entire chapter feels like Jesus giving his disciples something to hold on to in the days ahead. Jesus is creating an anchor for their faith. Jesus is laying down bedrock for them to be built upon. I think that’s what he meant when he said, “Not as the world gives do I give to you.” This kind of assurance is not found in money or power or position. It is found only through our faith in who Jesus is and who we are!
My personal theology says that there is a place in God that each of us can reach, where faith grows to a level that this world begins to loose its hold on us. Where the circumstances of our lives pale in comparison to not only what awaits us in heaven, but also what Christ has built within us here and now. I refer you to Ephesians chapter one where Paul writes about the Holy Spirit being the down payment of our eternal inheritance. For me, that has to mean that even on this side of eternity, I can procure some of what heaven will be. I see this all over the writings of the apostles.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 (ESV) “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
I’m after this kind of trust and faith in Jesus’ care for me. I have no doubt that out in front of me are some things that I don’t expect. My prayer is that today Jesus would prepare me for those things and that when they come, I’ll rest in him and that my heart won’t be troubled.
I’m praying the same for you!