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GOD’S PROVISION FOR HIS PEOPLE
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
After the Passover Feast
Jesus and His disciples had kept the Passover together. After the supper, Jesus talked to them about the things, which were about to happen. The time of Jesus’ betrayal and death was near, and Jesus gave words of encouragement to His followers.
Jesus cautioned the disciples not to let their hearts be troubled. Indeed, there had been a number of incidents to distress them, and to test their faith and trust. No doubt, they were concerned about Judas Iscariot who had left the group after the supper and had gone out into the night. Had not Jesus said that one of them would betray Him? Had not Jesus dipped and given a sop to Judas Iscariot? What had it all meant? Would one of the twelve betray his Christ?
Perhaps they wondered about Peter who said that he would be willing to lay down his life for Christ’s sake. Peter had said that he would not be offended because of Christ, even though all others would be offended [Matthew:26:33]). Jesus did not commend Peter for such a statement of faithfulness nor yet did Christ reprove him for being self-confident. Jesus said to Peter: “This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” [Matthew:26:34]).
Jesus had warned them of His death, that He would be “lifted up from the earth,... signifying what death he should die” [John:12:32];[John:12:33]). Was their leader to depart from them? Would they be left deserted and disap-pointed?
Moreover, the disciples were to be told about the suffering that would come upon them after Christ left them [John:16:2]). They were to hear about the reproach that would come, and that the world would hate them because it hated Christ [John:15:18]).
Words of Comfort
Our lesson is a part of the last talk, before His trial, that Jesus had with His followers who were so dear to His heart. To relieve their troubled thoughts, Jesus spoke these words of comfort: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” These words not only eased the minds of the disciples then, but have soothed many of Christ’s followers down through the years. Christ’s words have helped them keep their faith and trust in Him.
“Let not your heart be troubled.” Other people might be contused as to what to believe and in whom to trust. But Christ’s disciples, especially, need not be disturbed and uneasy about the future. With their trust in the Lord, the followers of Christ can withstand any opposition and every trial.
With the Heart
Jesus did not say that their thoughts should not be troubled. He said that their heart were not to be troubled! We trust God with our hearts, not with our thoughts. Salvation is not of the mind; it is an experience that comes when our heart is right with God. “With the heart me believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” [Romans:10:10]). When one’s heart is fixed on the Lord, Usually his thoughts are not troubled either. Paul wrote to the Philippians that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” [Philippians:4:7]).
Today, we do not know just what lies ahead for us, but our faith must not waver. We have our trust in God. We know that “all things work together for good to them that love God” [Romans:8:28]). The Psalmist said, about the person who fears God and keeps His commandment. “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD,’ [Psalms:112:7]). In the Book of Proverbs we read, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” [Proverbs:4:23]).
Believing God prevents one from being troubled. David said that he would have fainted if he had not believed [Psalms:27:13]). A person may be concerned, burdened, and tried, but never does a trusting heart reach a place of despair and despondency. The Psalmist said: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God” [Psalms:42:5]).
Jesus wanted His disciples to have the same confidence in Him that they had in God. He wanted them to believe in Him. It is important today, too, that we believe in Jesus. Many people acknowledge God just as did the Jews of the New Testament times, but one must believe in Jesus also in order to have everlasting life [John:3:16]). Salvation comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ [Acts:16:31]). We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Preparing a Place
Jesus told His disciples that He was going away. There was a reason for His going. He had work to do. He said that He would prepare a place for them. In Heaven, where God the Father is, there is room for many people. Jesus is there now preparing for His followers. If you are saved, Jesus is preparing a place for you.
It has been said that the materials in our mansion depend upon the life we live here. What kind of material are you sending for the preparation of a mansion -- “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble”? (Read [1 Corinthians:3:11-15].) According to the things that you are doing, do you think that you deserve a mansion that is big and fine? Perhaps you can have a better one by doing more for Jesus and for others.
Jesus comforted His disciples by saying that if He went away He would come again. He will come for His people that they might be with Him. We know that Jesus did go away. We read in the Book of Acts about His ascension. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” [Acts:1:9]). Just as surely Jesus will come again. Jesus said, “I will come again.” After Jesus ascended, two men in white apparel told the people, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” [Acts:1:11]).
The Purpose of His Coming
Why is Jesus coming again? He is coming for His people, for those who are ready and watching. He is coming for those who have prepared themselves to live in the prepared place, in Heaven.
Jesus’ coming is very near. We must be ready, for there will be no time to prepare after the trumpet sounds. The Epistle of James warns us: “Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” [James:5:8]).
At His coming, Jesus’ people will be gathered “from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” [Matthew:24:31]), and so shall we ever be with the Lord” ([1 Thessalonians:4:17]).
Some of the disciples had questions. Thomas inquired as to the way. No doubt he thought that Jesus was going to a mansion on earth, because the disciples had hoped that Jesus would set up a temporal kingdom on earth at that time. This is the answer that Jesus gave him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
Jesus is our Way to Heaven and our Guide to eternal life. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” [Acts:4:12]). By following Jesus’ example and teaching, we find the way to Heaven, and shall have eternal life. Only the Blood of Jesus can blot out our sins and prepare us for Heaven. Jesus is the true and living Way, the “way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it;... but the redeemed shall walk there” [Isaiah:35:8];[Isaiah:35:9]).
Philip asked that they might see the Father. Philip had seen Jesus many times. He was talking to Him. Jesus is “the image of God” [2 Corinthians:4:4]), “the express image of his person” [Hebrews:1:3]). Having seen Jesus, Philip should have known the Father, by Jesus’ life. Philip saw Jesus in the flesh, but we see Him now by faith Jesus said that we should believe the words that He spoke, because His words and His works proved that God worked in Him.
Moreover, Jesus said that believers would have power to do great works for God after Jesus had left. Jesus said that they would have power to do greater works than He had done. Before this time, Jesus had given them some power to do miracles. He had sent forth the twelve to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus also told them to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” [Matthew:10:7] 8). They did “cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” [Mark:6:13]).
After Jesus went to His Father, the disciples continued to spread the Gospel. God had made a provision that after Jesus left, He would give them “another Comforter” [John:14:16]) who would dwell with them and in them to give them power [John:14:17]). The disciples would work miracles and spread the Gospel. The disciples were to keep in contact with Jesus by prayer. They would perform miracles by prayer and faith in the power of God. Jesus taught His disciples that there is power in prayer. Whatever they asked in Jesus’ name, He would do.
After Jesus left the disciples, many wonderful things were performed by the power of God. We remember that one woman had been healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment [Matthew:9:20-22]). Even greater miracles His disciples were to do after they had received the promise of the Father [Acts:1:4]; [John:14:12]), which came to them on the Day of Pentecost [Acts:2:1-4]). “God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” [Acts:19:11];[Acts:19:12]). Others who were sick were laid by the roadside for healing, that the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow them [Acts:5:15]). After one of Peter’s sermons, a host of people was converted. “They that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousands souls” [Acts:2:41]).
Such power was the provision that God made for His people on earth. In Heaven, Jesus is preparing mansions for them. God provides for His people, both on earth and in Heaven. He gives power for each day and a bright hope of eternal life for the future.
1. Name some things that may have troubled the disciples.
2. Why must a person believe in Jesus as well as in God?
3. Why did Jesus leave His disciples?
4. Where did He go?
5. How do we know that Jesus is coming again?
6. For whom is He coming?
7. What did Jesus promise the disciples about prayer?
8. What was promised the disciples that they might do even greater work than Jesus did?
9. What has God provided for His people on earth?
10. What is Jesus preparing in Heaven for His People?