As Jesus spent His final days with His disciples, He told them of His impending death and resurrection (Matt 20: 18-19). Evidently, the sad prospect of Christ’s imminent departure had troubled and confounded them. The trials they would face were no ordinary ones. Soon they would witness their Saviour being arrested, tortured and crucified – a spectacle that would send them to the lowest depths of despair. How would they cope with these “unbearable” trials without their Master?
Anticipating the sorrow that would overwhelm them, the Lord encouraged His gloomy disciples. His comforting words are found in John 14: 1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Jesus urged them not to be anxious – “Let not your heart be troubled” – v 1b. But how could they calm a “troubled” heart? The remedies are found in vv 1b – 3:
o By exercising faith in Christ
“ye believe in God, believe also in me” (v 1b)
Understanding their confusion and fears, Jesus encouraged them to trust in God and in Him during this difficult time. He did not simply exhort them to remain steadfast but directed them to Himself, the Son of God Who would see them through their greatest trials.
As true Jews, the disciples had believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here, Jesus was telling them to trust Him in the same way they had trusted Jehovah God. Jesus was putting Himself on an equal plane with God the Father: “I and my Father are one” (Jn 10: 30). It was an implicit claim to deity. He was saying: “Just as you have believed in the Almighty God, believe also in Me Who is God the Son.”
“He bids them to believe in him as they believed in God; to trust Him even if they did not comprehend; to walk by faith rather than by sight through the darkness of that hour” (The People’s New Testament Commentary).
Heaven is specially prepared for the redeemed to dwell with God and His Son forever more. The fact that there are “many mansions” reveals that there will be enough room for all who belong to Him. The disciples’ suffering would be only for a while. Soon they would enjoy eternal rest in their glorious home in Heaven.
o By looking forward to their glorious heavenly home
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (v 2)
To draw away their thoughts from their earthly sorrows, the Lord encouraged them further with happy thoughts of their heavenly home. He announced that He was going to His Father’s house – a reference to Heaven. With that statement, He made a most delightful promise: “I go to prepare a place for you.”
o By looking forward to the Lord’s return
“I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (v 3)
Jesus promised to return personally for them: “I will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” “The sad disciples were thus challenged to look beyond the present with its immediate disappointments to the glorious future which was just as certain of fulfilment” (Studies in the Gospel of John by Homer Kent).
Brethren, are we struggling to cope with life’s problems? Take heed to the words of our Saviour and trust Him to see us through our trials. He understands our frailties and will grant us “grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4: 14-16). While we sojourn in this world, let us remember that our earthly afflictions are temporal. What awaits us is a far more glorious inheritance in heaven (II Cor 4: 16-18) and the happy expectation of our Saviour’s return to “receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn 14: 3). May these blessed thoughts calm our troubled hearts and encourage us to remain steadfast in our faith. Amen.