Christ & the Suffering Heart
For Troubled Hearts
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
John 14 v1
In these closing chapters of John there is a beautiful blending together of Jesus' own troubled heart and that of His disciples.
And, as He prepares them for His departure His words illuminate their troubled hearts. If your heart is in any way troubled this morning I commend to you these words of Christ, for He perfectly understands the troubled heart and His remedy is full of grace and strength.
This passage (and the verses just preceding it) sheds a beautiful light upon human anxiety and the troubled heart. We are shown:
(a) Christ's understanding of the troubled heart (three incidents)
(b) His insight into its causes (three friends)
(c) His remedy for the trouble (our verse)
A. Christ’s understanding of the troubled heart
Some folk are good at giving advice to those in need - but the best advice comes from those who have felt the troubled heart for themselves.
Jesus knew for Himself what it means to have a troubled heart. Even within this same gospel we read how He felt this distress:
As He approaches Gethsemane and Calvary He is frequently moved in a deep, troubled way :
At the tomb of Lazarus
When predicting His death and
When predicting His betrayal
11 v 33 at the tomb of Lazarus
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus knows the extent of human grief. He who was moved to tears at Lazarus' tomb would have wept at the sight of the children in Afghanistan and Palestine - and I believe does weep.
We have a High Priest who FEELS our distress.
12 v 27 at the prospect of His hour of anguish
27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Notice how Jesus feels the anguish of human uncertainty "what shall I say?" yet is able to triumph over it by recognising the plan of His Father and the underlying certainty of His mission.
Much of our distress, much that causes the troubled heart is rooted in uncertainty. Christ triumphs over that in victorious assurance
13 v 21 When faced with personal betrayal :
18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfil the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. 20 I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.
So much of the troubled heart stems from a sense of betrayal. The Psalms are full of such sentiments. When we are let down by others, when we feel betrayed by them - our hearts are troubled. Jesus understands fully the sense of real betrayal. His was the deepest betrayal ever - yet He was able to recognise (13 v 31) that God was glorified in Him.
Jesus understands the troubled heart!
B. Christ and the causes of the troubled heart.
In this passage and that just before it (13 36 - 14 27) we are able to recognise in the challenges of His disciples the roots, the causes of that heart trouble which Jesus longs to cure :-
It centres around FOUR INDIVIDUALS:
(a) PETER 13 v 37
"Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
The troubled heart is rooted in misunderstanding ourselves. If enthusiasm was all that mattered Peter would have known no troubled heart! But Jesus knew - an Peter would understand later - that Peter did not recognise his own weakness.
Later Peter would know for himself the troubled heart of
The troubled heart is rooted in the weakness of the human spirit. By nature we are doomed to disappointment - but by grace we may triumph over it!
(b) THOMAS : 14 v 5
The reality of human ignorance "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
Thomas would have called it uncertainty - in reality it is ignorance - ignorance of the Lord rather than ignorance of direction. He is confused by the direction that Jesus is taking. He cannot reconcile the human events with the divine plan. Nor can we!
Our hearts are troubled out of ignorance. We often cannot "Trace the rainbow through the rain” or recognise the Stranger on the shore, or realise that Jesus is more than history. We simply do not know - and, like Thomas, we tell Him so.
(c) PHILIP : 14 vv 8,9
"Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
For once Peter is not the one to voice the disciples' misunderstanding. "Don't you know me , Philip?" How grieved the Lord must have felt at their failure - after so long
not recognising Jesus
All of these factors underlie the condition of the troubled heart
v personal failure
v ignorance of the underlying issues
v not knowing Him
These are the roots of the troubled heart. But Jesus offers a solution:
C. Christ's REMEDY for the troubled heart.
Trust in God trust also in Me
14 v 1
We are not really surprised that the antidote for the troubled heart is faith. Scripture is interlaced with such exhortations - not to fear, but to trust. But the great truth which underpins this remedy for the soul is focussed in
WHO JESUS IS
You must trust me because of who I am
because of what I am doing
because of where I am going
because of what I will certainly do
"my Father's house" all His dignity is there
"I am going ..." the way of the cross
"to prepare a place for you" the presence of the Father
"I will come back" to take you to be with me
Trust me ....
I am ...
I know ...
I promise ...
Jesus understands the troubled heart
He recognises its causes as well as it symptoms
He issues His remedy
Believe in Me