We all have troubled hearts at times. The circumstances of life can be sudden and seemingly unforgiving. No chance to recover, no chance to change the outcome. Our world is replete with examples of things we would like to see different. A kinder, safer, more hopeful, and more equitable one. A world that was right in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, on this side of heaven, there is no one that has experienced a life without such distress. Even Jesus, the Son of God, had a troubled heart at the last supper.
The Apostle John records Jesus prophesying about his betrayal by Judas. He said, “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.” For several years, the twelve disciples had been with Jesus, learning, and imitating him. Who could it be, they asked? Furthermore, Jesus also told them that he was going to leave them. While not directly stated in the Gospel account, I expect a large amount of uncertainty and apprehension entered their hearts after these two statements. As a loving shepherd, Jesus promptly answered the disciples’ concerns with comforting words.
Jesus Promises a Home.
Jesus proclaimed, “’Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’”
Look Toward the Heavenly City
The Hebrews waited for generations for their redemption both spiritually and in their daily lives. A cycle of regional powers (Egyptians, Philistines, Syrians, Babylonians, Greeks, and the Romans) often dominated their physical territory. They not only ruled over key practical matters like taxes and laws, but also wanted to suppress their religious practices. The writer of Hebrews reminded the keenly suffering Christians that the faithful for centuries looked past their circumstances toward the future Kingdom. He wrote, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
Your Address is with God
The future is very exciting. A new home. New neighbors from every language, culture, and age. A neighborhood filled will be nothing but joy. Living together with expectations fulfilled. Think to these things when times here on Earth are full of trouble. John, in the last letter written to the Church, summarizes our hopeful future. He writes, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 13:21–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 14:1–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Heb 11:13–16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 21:1–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.