Wednesday, July 1, 2020

John 14 - Part 1

                                                                                                                      Read John 14

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Think on that statement made in the indicative or perhaps the imperative.  Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Our state and our nation and the world are all working like a well-oiled, godly oriented machine.  They are hitting the target in everything they do.  Right?

That might be an exaggeration or an outright lie.

The world is a mess.  It has its good points.  Traffic lights seem long, but they do seem to do the job.  You should see traffic in parts of the world where it’s basically unregulated.  It’s like, get in your car, go, and good luck.  Oh, and everyone else, including pedestrians, get out of the way.

Let’s stick to traffic.  Roads and interstates are generally good.  I know that we complain about ongoing construction, but there are places in the world that haven’t seen construction or repair in decades.  We joke that in America we drive on the right.  Some other countries drive on the left. The rest of the world drives on what’s left.  In Kenya, it didn’t matter which side of the road had pieces of asphalt.  If you had the bigger vehicle, that’s where you drove.

It is great to live in the United States of America, but for a nation to be so blessed, we seem to have a lot of strife.  Some issues may be based in legitimate struggles.  Other issues are fabricated and sold as the real deal.  Some buy everything lock, stock, and barrel.  Others are skeptical in every detail.  Some people wrestle with both.

They not only sit on the fence, they go back and forth one side to the other. People often have dissonance discerning which is which. People have troubled hearts.

This year has pushed sanity and humor to extremes.  So far, I have survived the Rona, the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, Murder Hornets (which between Oklahoma mosquitos and goat heads didn’t seem all that ominous.  They never got here.  I’m still waiting on the killer bees from last century's warnings).  To continue, the Sahara dust cloud, self-inflicted haircuts, and Zoom conferences have all make their appearances this year.

Fortunately, I was blessed with 20 years as a Marine officer and these events spread out over half a year would just be a Monday morning after giving the troops a 3-day weekend.  The Sergeant Major or First Sergeant would say, you might want to take a stripe and some money from these two, but we can handle the rest on our own.

Humor gets me through a lot.  Yes, I know by some, ok most people’s standards I have a distorted or disturbed sense of humor.  You know that zero filter thing?  Guilty. But it’s neither wit nor levity that gets me through the day, but my trust in the Lord.

I trust that what the Lord has in store for me is not contingent upon the state of the world.  I trust that when it seems like I am going it alone, God is preparing something for me.

Jesus couples two statements that we should receive together.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and trust in God and also in me.

Our hearts are not troubled because the right people are going to win the elections.

Our hearts are not troubled because we have a three-year supply of toilet paper.

Our hearts are not troubled because the stock market never really got that bad and the oil and gas industry is slowly making a comeback.

Our hearts are not troubled because we might get another stimulus check.

Our hearts are not troubled because we might have a football season this fall.


Our hearts are not troubled because we trust in God.

Our hearts are not troubled because we are anxious for nothing.  Everything gets turned over to God in prayer accompanied with thanksgiving.

Our hearts are not troubled because our Father in heaven knows exactly what we need.  He doesn’t give us a rock when we need bread.  He gives good gifts and my heart will not be troubled.

I’m jumping ahead a couple chapters.  Jesus said that we would have trouble in the world.  He didn’t say it was a possibility.  He said that we would have trouble in the world.

That was not the end of the thought.  He said, take heart that he had overcome the world.  Take courage!  The world is not in charge.

The psalmist counsels us to simply be still.  That not just stop talking.  That’s be still in everything that we are so we can realize that God is real and he is with us and he loves us and he will not forsake us. In our stillness we hear his I Am.

So, do not let your hearts be troubled.  Know that God is for real and he is for us.  Believe in him.  We believe in God through our Master and Savior and Lord, Christ Jesus.

Now, let’s dive into those times when it seems like we are left alone.  Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them.  He wouldn’t tell them this if it wasn’t so.

Remember how Jesus told his disciples that they couldn’t go with him, yet?

Jesus would go to the Father and the disciples should have been happy about that.  Things were about to move beyond day-to-day life.  Real connections are on the horizon.

Jesus told his disciples that they knew the way to where he is going.  He did not say, they knew the map coordinates.  He said they knew the way.

Thomas said, “No!  We don’t where you are going so how can we know the way?”

Still, we see no grid coordinates or geography in this answer.  Jesus defied the limited perspective of the disciples and others with another I Am statement.  Jesus didn’t say, here’s the address.  He said, I am the way.

Phillip jumped in to confirm that absolutely nobody was listening to Jesus.  Show us the Father.  We’ve paid our dues.  We’ve followed you for three years, now we want to see the Big Guy.

I visualize Jesus shaking his head muttering, do any of them get it?

I am in the Father.  The Father is in me.  If you have seen me—which is rhetorical—then you have seen the Father.  The Father entrusted everything to me. 

Why do you keep asking for more when you haven’t even put what you have to work?

If you would just believe in me and everything that I have told you, you would already be doing unbelievable things.  Not to beat up his followers too much, Jesus did promise the Spirit that would help them get their heads screwed on straight and their hearts aligned with the Father’s will.

But for these last few hours together, Jesus once again offered a huge paradigm shift from geography to relationship.  Jesus had rocked their world by washing their feet.  Now he is at it again.  The disciples were drinking from a firehose.

Look ahead a few chapters where Jesus defines eternal life.  It’s not defined with a calendar but with relationship.

It’s about relationship.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the 
truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

One last thing.  Stop using this verse with non-believers.  Jesus answered men who sought after God and worshiped him as Lord and Master.  They believed, they just wanted to see the Father.  They just didn’t yet understand that everything they needed and needed to know came from Jesus.

If you absolutely have to beat someone over the head with scripture about Jesus being the only way, use Acts 4:12.  In those words, Peter was talking to those who were yet to believe.

Remember this part of chapter 14 is not about the destination but the way.  Jesus is the way.

Have no doubt that our destination is fantastic.  Our eternal inheritance is beyond comprehension, but our hearts will not be troubled because we know the way.

We know Jesus.  He is the way.

Yes, he is the way, the truth, and the life, but for this week, meditate upon him being the way and your heart free from trouble in a world that knows nothing else.


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