By Brooke Holt
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1
We have certain times with friends and family that are extraordinary. You know it in the moment, know to cherish the conversations, the meal, and the experience of such blessed fellowship. However, sometimes you can truly marvel at the precious gift of that experience in retrospect.
I would imagine Jesus’ disciples felt this way after the Last Supper. Jesus was fully present with his friends and followers. He washed his disciples’ feet, taught them about serving others, shared about the disciple who would betray him, celebrated the Passover feast, gave the new commandment to love one another, and foretold Peter’s denial. Quite an evening together! Jesus must have had some seriousness in his interactions as well as some intensity for he knew his time with them was short. Everything he did and said was to prepare these disciples for what was to come – his betrayal, trial, and crucifixion.
For his followers, it marked what was always a special night of celebration, but this night they could not fully appreciate or comprehend. They still could not grasp what lay ahead for Jesus. So Jesus spoke words of encouragement and assurance; these would be words that his disciples could recall in their distress, confusion, and heartache: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).
The English translation misses that Jesus’ spoke in the imperative tense here. He knew what was to come for these disciples, and he admonished them to choose to believe in God, to choose to believe in him even when it looked like he had been defeated. Jesus wanted these words to ring in their heads and for them to remind one another to make the choice to believe through every hardship. Jesus was assuring them that even when things looked dark, his Father had a plan.
Trusting in the plan of God in the times of turmoil was and is the way to peace and hope. Jesus laid the foundation for that peace and hope prior to his crucifixion. The disciples could not grasp this peace and hope. Instead, they scattered, lamented, and then hid themselves for fear of the Jews. They chose despair instead of trust.
What about you? What do you do when life does not work out as you expected? How do you respond when it appears that evil is winning? When the path before you appears dark or unknown, do you choose to trust the Lord or do you doubt, lose hope, and fall into despair?
Jesus does not expect you to be a superhuman, but he has provided the way for you to withstand every trial, loss, and uncertainty in this world: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1). The same words he spoke to his disciples at that Last Supper, he now speaks to you. Choose trust; choose to believe in God and in Jesus; and choose to persevere no matter what happens.
Jesus was rejected, crucified, and buried but that was not the end. He overcame the grave, and he now stands ready to help you overcome. Believe in him – believe in his Father – believe that there is always hope and victory available through Jesus; believe in the bigger plan of the Lord.
When is it hardest for you to choose faith and trust? Will you make the choice to believe that Jesus has overcome and will make the way for you to do the same? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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