Let not your heart be troubled… (John 14:1 NKJV)
These words are but one example of the incredible love and care of Jesus for His disciples. Following the meal in the upper room, John begins in the 13th chapter of His Gospel to illustrate Jesus’ deep love for His own disciples beginning with the washing of their feet (John 13:1-ff) and concluding with His prayer for them as His departure from them drew near (John 17:1-ff). In the immediate context of the verse above, Jesus had just spoken about the one who would soon betray Him and also revealed that Peter—bold and fearless Peter—would deny even knowing Him three times. These simple words then, are words of comfort and peace in the midst of the world that they had come to know over more than 3 years falling apart around them. Our Savior knew what was ahead in those hours, including His own suffering and death, and yet He spends the whole of this Upper Room Discourse comforting His disciples in their fears and worries. It is a remarkable display of His love for His own which, of course, continues to be evident in our own lives as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, our Savior! Consider reading through chapters 13-17 this week in preparation for the Lord’s Supper to be reminded of His love and care for you as you struggle with worry and fear. And as you do, let not your heart be troubled.
The evidences of His love are all around us as we live in this fallen world day by day. One of the incredible statements Jesus makes during this discourse of love and comfort is found in John 16:7, where He tells them that it is to their advantage that He goes away from them. How could that be? It is because, Jesus says, in going away from them the Holy Spirit will be sent to them that He might make His home in them. This was far better—that by the Spirit Jesus would not merely be with them, but in them. This is an evidence of His love and care! John 17 introduces us to the priestly ministry of Jesus as He prays for us—and so, reminds us of His ongoing ministry as our faithful High Priest interceding for us before our Father in heaven. Another sign of His love and care for us. Consider as well the means of grace He has appointed through which we have all things necessary for life and godliness. By Word and Sacrament, along with Prayer, we have the means necessary to live as He calls us to live. These means are also a sign of His tender love and care for us. He has not left us as orphans. As the Spirit blesses these means of grace, we are built up and strengthened, enabled to live holy lives to the praise of His glorious grace. Therefore, let not your heart be troubled.
Consider these things as you prepare to come to the Lord’s Table this coming Lord’s Day. In the sacrament we are being reminded of His word to us: “let not your heart be troubled—I have reconciled you to the Father by My body broken and My blood shed for you!” And in that meal, as we partake of bread and wine, nourishing our physical bodies, so may we by faith feed upon Christ spiritually and receive all the benefits of His finished work. The meal we share in together is a sign of His great love and care for us and the promise of a hope and a future—let your heart rest in these truths as you prepare to come and partake worthily (1 Corinthians 11:23-ff).
In the Name of Christ, our Faithful and Tender Shepherd,
Pastor Ted Trefsgar