This is the sermon for Wednesday September 30th, 2009.
John part 61
Comforting Words part 1
The setting here is what has traditionally been called, “The last supper.” Jesus has done and said many things before and during the meal. He has washed the disciple’s feet; revealed Judas as the betrayer; revealed the New Commandment that His disciples should love one another; and finally, Chapter 13 closes out rather dramatically – revealing to Peter that He will deny Him.
John 13:38b ESV – Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.
Now we begin in Chapter 14. Within these first 14 verses we will see comforting words for troubled souls; a discussion between Jesus and the disciples concerning where He is going; and the subject of greater works.
Let’s begin looking at the first 3 verses tonight, and then we will cover the remaining verses next time:
Comforting words for troubled souls.
John 14:1-3 ESV – 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also.
Jesus has told the Eleven He is about to leave. He is preparing them I feel for two events: His death, and His ascension after His resurrection. So the news that He has given them so far has been very troubling. Think about it for just a moment: they have left all to follow Him, yet this whole time, one of them was a traitor. Not only that, one of the disciples that were closest to Jesus was just told by Him that he would deny Him. Their world is about to turn upside down, and I’m sure that they felt like they were hit in the stomach with all this news that Jesus has been sharing with them.
Now in both Chapters 14 and 15 Jesus begins to focus on bringing them comfort.
Let’s look at some of the comforting truths revealed in these first three verses:
- The disciples should not continue being troubled.
John 14:1a ESV – Let not your hearts be troubled.
Troubled is the Greek word tarrasso (tar-as’-so). It means, “to stir or agitate; to trouble.” In Greek grammar this is called a PRESENT PASSIVE IMPERATIVE WITH THE NEGATIVE PARTICLE. This means that Jesus is saying they should stop an act that is already in progress. This could also be translated, “Stop letting your hearts be troubled.”
I’m sure all the negative things said and done so far that night is on repeat in their minds, causing anxiety, frustration, fear, and worry.
Jesus next gives them a cure for the trouble that they are facing.
- In the midst of their troubled feelings they should believe in the Father and the Son.
John 14:1b ESV – Believe in God; believe also in me.
Jesus is reminding them of why they left all to follow Him in the first place – because they believed He was the Messiah sent by God. Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, and Jesus’ upcoming arrest and death will not change the fact that He truly is the Son of God – the Messiah promised to come in the Old Testament Scriptures.
In Greek Grammar these two belief statements, “Believe in God; believe also in me,” are both PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVES AND PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVES. This means that Jesus is giving both a command and a statement of fact. He is basically saying that they should continue believing in God and in Him – this belief in God and Christ will be their comfort in the time of desperation.
In the same way: we should not rehearse negative words, thoughts, or tragic events; but keep our focus on our Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Word.
Philippians 4:8-9 ESV – 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Jesus now gives them a promise that will be a comfort for them.
- The promise of heaven.
John 14:2-3 ESV – 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also.
What a comforting truth: the promise of heaven. There is plenty of room for the Eleven in heaven and Jesus is going away there to prepare a place for them.
Now does Jesus preparing a place mean that He is going to physically construct rooms, houses, or mansions for them? Or is there another work that Jesus is talking about in the phrase?
Well, I like what the Life Application Commentary of John has to say here. I never thought of it this way before, but I have to say that I agree with the possible interpretation.
“The passage primarily speaks of the believer’s immediate access to God the Father through the Son. The ‘place’ Jesus was preparing has less to do with the location (heaven) as it had to do with an intimate relationship with a person (God the Father). This interpretation does not deny the comfort of heaven’s hope in this passage, but it does remove the temptation to view heaven purely in terms of glorious mansions. Heaven is not about splendid accommodations; it is about being with God. The point of the passage is that Jesus is providing the way for the believers to live in God the Father. As such, the way He prepared the place was through His own death and resurrection and thereby opened the way for the believers to live in Christ and approach God.” Life Application Commentary – John pages 286-287 (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Carol Stream, Illinois)
Jesus promises that if He goes away, He will come back. Those who are His followers will be with Him. In another passage (after the resurrection of Christ) we see this promise reiterated by some angels.
Acts 1:9-11 ESV – 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
We are going to conclude here tonight and look at more comforting words Jesus spoke next time.
What can we learn from tonight’s sermon?
- Don’t continue being troubled in difficult times, but continue to believe in God and believe in your Savior, Jesus Christ.
- If have been saved through Christ, you are His disciple; and there is a promise of heaven and an eternal relationship with the Father.
- No matter how bad it gets, put your hope in this truth: Jesus is coming again!