“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1a

It must have scared John to his core.  

His best friend, his leader, and his Lord was talking about leaving. 

After all they had been through. After all they had left. In the words of songwriter Rich Mullins, “their love was bound more in the things they had given up than in the things they had kept.” Surely this would last forever.  

Who knows where this will lead? Maybe they’d stay in Jerusalem and reset the Temple? After all, Jesus had been so outspoken towards the Pharisees. Possibly Jesus and the disciples would be the new Temple priests and religious leaders. John had learned so much, maybe it would be best for them to share all of this with all of Judea. 

Or maybe the impact would go all the way to Rome? With Jesus’ power and miracles, maybe they could oust the Roman rule and send the soldiers packing. Maybe Jesus could unite Israel, and they could finally stand up to Pilate and Ceasar and be done with this oppression. With Jesus’ power and vision, he and the disciples knew no limits. 

But now, Jesus was talking about leaving.  

I am going away. 

Where I am going, you cannot come. 

Jesus had gone away before. He’d taken a day or two to go pray or recharge, but he always came right back. How long will he be gone this time?

John and the disciples must have been thinking like every child when a parent heads out the door … Where are you going? When are you coming back? Can I come too?

John had been left before. Family members had died. Friends had gone off to war and never returned. Is Jesus going to be just like that?

We get it. We’ve had true loves leave us. Friends ghost us. Businesses close down. Kids move and start their lives in another part of the country. Will Jesus be another in a long list of disappointments?

But the words that become the encouragement for John during the most questioning seasons of his life are the words Jesus says right before he tells the disciples he’s leaving. 

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.'”‭‭John‬ ‭14‬:‭1‬-‭4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

John has seen this play out. It’s been 30 years since he heard those words, and now he is writing them down. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

He’s certainly had his share of troubling moments. 

When Jesus was crucified. 

When his brother James was killed. 

When the other disciples were killed. 

When he was persecuted for his faith.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. So John chose to do that. John chose to believe that Jesus would come again. And he resurrected. John chose to believe that Jesus was God. Then he ascended. He chose to believe that Jesus would return for him. And the Spirit was given to him to remind him of this. John learned how Jesus loves. 

Troubling moments don’t have to mean a troubled heart.  

Today’s prayer:

Jesus, thank you for being with me now and preparing a place for me later. 

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