Monday, March 18, 2024

           In the opening verses of John 14, we find some powerful and encouraging words from Jesus to His disciples.  These words are often read during times of grief and loss.  We can also read those same words when we are facing some difficult battles and hardships.  You may cherish these words and read them frequently.  They are good to keep close by in your heart.  Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3).  Now keep in mind, Jesus spoke those words during the last week of His life when the cross was getting closer and closer.  We find some important truths that can bless us today.  Let’s think about what Jesus said.
            First, Jesus told His disciples (and us) not to be troubled in heart.  The word is not to be anxious or distraught.  Many things can leave us fearful and afraid.  Situations can threaten our peace and well-being.  We can fear uncertain things, unknown things and unfamiliar things.  But Jesus reminded us not to let our hearts be filled by trouble, worry or life’s frets and fears.  We are not to be gripped or seized by fear and worry.  If you find yourself afraid or anxious about something today, then it may be time to surrender that worry to Christ.  Let the anxious go to Him.  Jesus invited us to come to Him.  Remember these words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Amazing, isn’t it, that the Lord welcomes our worries and fears to be entrusted to Him?
            Second, Jesus gave the solution to fears and worries.  “Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1b).  We are to trust both Father and Son.  If we can trust God, then we have no reason to be captured by fears and worries.  The trustworthiness of God is a consistent message of Scripture.  Moses trusted God with the Exodus.  David trusted God in the valley of the shadow of death.  Abraham trusted God when the Almighty told him to pick up everything he had and leave everything he knew to move to a new place.  And Abraham was anything but young when this command came to him.  John trusted in Revelation that God would bring history to an end and establish a new heaven and a new earth at some future moment.  You and I can easily trust God with the worries we may be prone to carry today.
            Third, Jesus promised an everlasting place with Him.  A place we can rightly call home.  There are many rooms in the Father’s house.  And there is room for everyone who belongs to Christ.  Our future is certain and secure.  Jesus promised us a place with Him in the Father’s House.  And there is no shortage of rooms or space.  Jesus also promised that because He went to prepare a place for us that He will come to gather us to be with Him.  We may meet Him through death or He may come for us one day when He returns for His people.  But in either case, we are with Him forever.  Another promise made and another promise kept.
            A bit further in John 14, we find these words from Jesus, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  Some Bible verses simply stand out like mountain peaks.  And John 14:6 stands out and upright like Mount Everest.  We find the definite article “the” used three different times.  Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life.  There is no plan B.  There is no alternate route.  There is no backup plan.  We come to the Father on His terms and those terms mean that it is Christ and Christ alone who gives, guarantees and guards our access to the Father and the grace and salvation that the Father offers us.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the way, the truth and the life?  Nothing could be simpler or easier to understand. 
            Some may suggest that John 14:6 is very exclusive.  Well, salvation is exclusive to Jesus and His cross and resurrection.  His finished work matters above all else.  There is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12).  We make no apologies for saying that salvation is through Christ and Christ alone because that is the truth that the Bible teaches.  We never want to be wrong about salvation.  But salvation is inclusively opened to all who by faith and trust respond to His death, resurrection and grace.  Salvation is not limited to a particular race, language, nation, age or set of sins.  Christ died.  Christ rose again.  Christ will come again.  Those realities translate to anyone, anywhere, anytime who turns to Jesus in faith and trust.
            Spend some time in John 14 this week and allow God’s Word to bless and encourage you.  Give thanks for the promises that God makes and keeps for people like you and me.  We have not deserved this incredible love, grace and hope but God has lavished it upon us.  We are reminded of Paul’s prayer for the Christians at Ephesus.  We read, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).  Have a great Monday!  Good Friday and Easter are on the way!    

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