The text for the sermon this morning is based on our gospel reading for this 5th Sunday of Easter from John’s 14th chapter beginning with this word from our Lord, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me.”
“Troubled hearts” are not something that needs much explaining really. We all know what THAT’S all about.
And so does Jesus. In his gospel, John tells us…
• That when Jesus saw Mary bawling her eyes out because of her brother, Lazarus’ death, “he was deeply moved in His spirit and GREATLY TROUBLED.” (Jn.11:33).
• There was something about the visitation of some Greeks who came to see Him that upset Him. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No but for this hour I have come into the world.” (John 12:27).
• As Jesus was sitting with His disciples in this Upper Room, “[He] was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (Jn. 13:21)
• His heart was TROUBLED by the emotional pain seeing those whom He loves suffer;
• and by the thought of the physical pain that He would soon have to endure;
• and by the deep disappointment of a friend’s disloyalty.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with or weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
No, our Lord was not the care-free, happy-go-lucky, singing in the rain, fantasy person who is unfazed by anything BECAUSE HE’S GOD. He was also FULLY MAN. Which means He was DEEPLY TROUBLED by all that DEEPLY TROUBLES us, “AND YET WITHOUT SIN…”
Which means that the things that troubled His heart didn’t CONSUME Him, didn’t CONTROL Him, didn’t cause Him to DOUBT that the Father was in complete control and moving ALL THINGS along according to His eternal plan for “working all things for good for those who love Him” LIKE THEY DO FOR US.
“Yet without sin…” means that He knew how to deal with a troubled heart. “Believe in God. Believe also in Me.”
The world is full of ‘deists’ who believe in God. Everyone believes in A God… except for Atheists who believe in themselves which means that they believe that they are god – as Luther teaches us, “whatever a heart trusts and relies on is its god.”
The world is full of people suffer with a ‘troubled heart’ and would like to find a remedy that really works. What troubles your heart? How are trying to comfort your troubled heart?
• Some hearts are troubled by MONEY and the remedy is more of it. If I only had more, my heart would not be troubled.
• Some hearts are troubled by LOVED ONES OR FRIENDS who’ve got troubles. If I or anybody could solve their problems, my heart would not be troubled.
• Seems like POLITICS causes a lot of troubled hearts these days. If we could get better politicians in office, ‘good ones,’ then my heart would not be troubled.
• Some hearts are troubled by ‘DEATH’ and the fear of what lies on the other side of death DEEPLY TROUBLES their heart. If only I knew what happens after death, then my heart would not be troubled.
Interestingly, Jesus does not say that to believe in God is enough. You must believe also in Him. “Believe in God. Believe also in Me.”
These men in this Upper Room with Jesus are not idolaters. They believed in God. In fact, being good Jews, they believed in God long before Jesus introduced Himself and said, “come follow Me.” They believe in the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – the God of Israel.
But Jesus tells them that that’s not enough. They’ve got to connect their faith in God to Himself. They’ve got to learn that everything that they hope for and expect from God, they should expect from Him.
And evidently, that they still aren’t able to do that. They believed that Jesus was one of the prophets, maybe even a great prophet. Maybe even another John the Baptist who had come to ‘prepare the way’ for God.
The world is full of people who believe that Jesus was a great person, a good example to imitate, maybe even LIKE GOD, but not TRUE GOD.
There was a point where it looked like Peter had made the big breakthrough on the road to Caesarea-Philippi when he answered Jesus’ question, “who do you say that I am?” And Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15) But here in the Upper Room they’re not so sure.
Phillip speaks for all 12 when he asks, “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.” “Lord, show us the REAL THING and that will calm our troubled hearts.” Show us the Father and we’ll rest easy knowing the God is really with us.
Jesus’ disappointment with Philip is palpable. “Have I been with you so long and still you don’t know me, Philip.”
As I read this reading, it became glaringly obvious that in these 14 verses, Jesus wants to make the crucial connection between Himself and the Father.
• “You believe in GOD. Believe also in ME.”
• “No one comes to the FATHER except through ME.”
• “If you had known ME you would have known the FATHER also.”
• “Whoever has seen ME has seen the FATHER.”
• “Believe ME that I am in the FATHER and the FATHER is in ME.”
• “Whatever you ask in MY name, this I will do, that the FATHER may be glorified in the SON.
When Jesus wants to remedy His disciples ‘troubled hearts,’ He DOESN’T TELL THEM that faith is God is all they need. They need to make the critical connection between GOD THE FATHER and GOD THE SON, which only happens through GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. Which is why it won’t really happen until Easter when He “breathes on them” and says, “receive the Holy Spirit.”
John is all about wanting us to see the FULLNESS OF THE DIVINITY IN THE HUMANITY of Jesus. John begins his gospel by making the clear connection between Jesus and God.
• “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1)
• “And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
• John the Baptist bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove and it remained on Him…. I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32,34)
• I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
Paul preaches the same message.
• To the Colossians, Paul writes, “In Him, the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…” “In Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” (Col. 1:19; 2:9).
• To the Corinthians he writes, “For God, who said, ‘let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)
The writer to the Hebrews puts it as clear as it can be put when he writes:
• “[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Heb. 1:3)
Troubled hearts are set at ease when they are able to see that in Jesus Christ – God is with us.
• It is in the Son that we see the love of God poured out upon the world.
• In the Son, God lays down His life for His friends.
• In the Son, God takes the sin of the world upon Himself and atones for it all in His crucified body.
• In the Son, God reconciles Himself to all mankind and to you.
• In the Son, God accomplishes His total victory over death and the devil on Easter.
• Through the Son, the Father welcome you and into His heavenly house.
This is why we are fond of saying that all THEOLOGY is CHRISTOLOGY and apart from Christ you do not have God at all. There can be no meaningful talk about God except as God has made Himself known in His Son, WHO IS “the only-begotten of His Father, before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father…” (Nicene Creed).
So it is right to say that there can be no true faith in God apart from faith in Jesus Christ AND apart from faith in God there is NO TRUE REMEDY for your troubled heart.
• Whatever you expect to receive from God, expect to receive it from Jesus.
• Whatever help or comfort or relief you expect God to give you, expect Him to give it through Jesus and His suffering and cross and resurrection from the dead, and His intercession on your behalf to the Father.
• Whatever you would ask of the Father apart from the Son, the Father never hears because ‘no one comes to the Father except through the Son.” “But whatever you ask in My name, says Jesus, I will do, that the Father may be glorified. If you ask anything in my name, like, calm my troubled heart and give me your peace, I will do it.”
It is, after all, not the Father who died on the cross for you. The Father sent the Son into this world to die for you. But when you thank the Son for bearing your sin and being your Savior, even unto death on the cross – you glorify the Father.
Likewise it is not the Father who gives us His body and blood to eat and to drink but the Son. But in eating and drinking this body and blood of Christ, we receive Him in whom “the fullness of the deity dwells bodily.”
And it is in and through this Jesus Christ – and His body and His blood, that God has healed all of your wounds and cured all of your diseases, and forgiven all of your sins and raised you from the dead. Through this Jesus Christ, He has conquered Satan, overcome the world, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers and even know, prepared a place for you to live with Him to all eternity.
So what is it that troubles your heart? Listen to your Lord. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in Me.”
In the name of Jesus,