For The Troubled Heart
I’m going to invite you this morning to John chapter 14, John 14’s where we’re going to be. We’re only going to look at six verses in John chapter 14 this morning. But these six verses are very powerful verses for the troubled heart. I remember about this time last year, we had a member in our church pass away and they knew that their time was very limited. And I remember meeting with them, talking to them as they were getting towards the end of their days here on earth and I asked them if there’s any sort of passage they just want to go through together to read just for comfort’s sake, and they immediately knew the answer. And it was this section of scripture, John chapter 14, verse one. In this section, Jesus gives a very comforting, encouraging passage of the Bible to reflect on for our soul, especially in troubled times that we face in life.
If you remember where we are in this story, in John 13, Jesus has taken his closest followers in the most intimate of settings into the Upper Room where he spends the last six hours of his life before he goes to the cross for six hours. He’s up in the Upper Room with his 12 disciples and he’s teaching them some of the most in-depth, I think, personal lessons that Jesus gives throughout his entire ministry on what it means to be a follower of Jesus, very important passage.
And then John 14, verse one, he gives this statement. He’s just announced to his disciples he’s about to be betrayed by one of them. Peter’s going to reject him after Peter says, “There’s no way we’re letting this happen.” Jesus says, the end of 13, though, “This is going to happen and you’re even going to reject me, Peter.” And then in John chapter 14, on the backdrop of all of that trouble, you can imagine being a disciple, having given up everything to follow Jesus for the last three years, now Jesus is giving you these kinds of statements, how you might feel. In John 14, verse one, Jesus gives this statement, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”
I love the way the King James says it. It says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Very important thought Jesus gives in this moment. I mean, he’s reading this moment. He sees the angst in the heart of the disciples and he gives this statement. And I really want to look at this phrase that Jesus says, as he goes on to explain it in the next few verses why he gives us this statement. I want to ask two questions. Why does he say it? And why should we believe it? In this moment, Jesus, why are you saying what you’re saying and why should we believe it? And if you’ve got the notes this morning, they were on the information counter, but there’s a few blanks related to this section of scripture. And we talk about why does Jesus give this statement or why does Jesus say this? “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Why is Jesus saying that?
It’s just a couple of answers I’m going to look at it very quickly, to then answer I think the more important question for us, why should we believe it? So why does Jesus say this? First of all, in your first blank in your notes, it’s because of Jesus’s personal experience that I think Jesus begins to say this, Jesus gives this statement because he’s walked a particular path in flesh. God became flesh, lived as we are, endured what we’ve gone. The Bible tells us, “He has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus knows what it means to walk in the flesh and because of Jesus’s personal experience, he gives us this statement. And there’s three reasons I want you to see here in the slides as to why Jesus, from his own personal experience, is able to say this to us. But if you go back to the gospel of John, just in these previous chapters, very recent chapters, Jesus’s own soul is talked about as having been troubled.
And what this word troubled means is he’s anxious within himself, in his spirit, there’s this anxiety that builds within him because of the circumstances that he is enduring. Jesus has walked this path. And in walking this path, he’s also found a place of comfort, security, and hope, and he desires this for his disciples. So from his own personal experience, he’s sharing with us why we should not allow our heart to be troubled. When Jesus was at Lazarus’s tomb, it says that he was troubled in his soul. When Jesus thought, in chapter 12, about the cross, it says to us from verse 27, that he was troubled in his soul. When Jesus reflected on the betrayal of Judas, it tells us that he was troubled, in chapter 13, verse 21, in his soul.
And now as Jesus, fulfilling that trouble in his soul, and he finds comfort, hope, security, in the midst of this struggle, he then looks at his disciples who are experiencing the same thing and then he says… On the basis of his disciples, he gives us four reasons where his disciples have experienced the same trouble. So in the next slide, it says this, “The disciples’ hearts are troubled that, one, Jesus was gone away, for three years they followed Jesus. This has been their desire to pursue him. They see him as the Messiah, the anointed one, the king who is to come to deliver his kingdom. And now he tells them that he’s going away. So their soul is troubled that he’s going to die. He delivers to them that he’s going to be betrayed by one of the closest followers, one of the 12 would betray him. And he even tells Peter at the end of chapter 13, that, ‘Peter, you will even deny me.'”
So why Jesus says this is a related, one, to his own personal experience and walking through adversity, having that own anxiety within in his soul. And two, recognizing that the disciples need to know how to walk in faith in these moments, “Let not your heart be troubled.” In chapter 13, we saw two responses to the circumstances, that were not healthy. And what I mean is, remember when they were in the Upper Room, Jesus declares to the disciples, “I’m going to die. Not only I’m going into die, one of you is going to betray me.”
And the question of the disciples, interesting question they asked Jesus, “Is it I, Lord? Is it I, Lord? Is it I, Lord?” Which is a pretty profound question to ask in the moment. I mean, you would know… I’m assuming if you were spending these last hours with Jesus, if you were one of the disciples in the Upper Room that if you were about to betray the Son of God, you would probably know if it were you, right? And the disciples are asking the question, “Jesus, is it I?” And it gives us a little bit of insight to the circumstances, the moment, that they are starting to feel the pressure.
They see the tide turning against Jesus and they’re seeing the writing on the wall that their days are numbered. And I speculate a little bit in the life of the disciples here that most likely the leadership of Israel has approached all of the disciples in a private manner, trying to see if they could get one of them to crack, to betray Jesus. And that’s why I think all of them are asking the question this moment, “Which one of it is it, Jesus?” Because all of them have felt the pressure of the circumstance and all of [inaudible 00:07:25] any moment probably felt that they could just run away from Christ and one of them does, Judas.
Judas [inaudible 00:07:32] gets labeled in history as that coward who turns in the Son of God and that of all of the things to be known for in history, I’m pretty sure that that label is the worst one, right? And Judas turns in the Son of God, he’s a coward. And at the same time, at the end of the story, you see Peter. Peter gets angry about the circumstance, that at one point, he even lops off the ear of the high priest servant, and Jesus heals that ear. That’s how the end of Jesus’s day… Moments ago before he goes to the cross, as Peter is so angry about what’s going to happen to Jesus.
He tells Jesus, “No way.” He pulls out a sword and he starts to fight to defend Jesus and he’s angry. But when I look in both of those circumstances, whether Judas, who just walks as a coward or Peter, who is angry, I feel both hearts are driven the same way. And what I mean is, honestly, anger is really the disguise of a coward. And what I mean is Peter in those moments is so afraid about what he might lose that rather than just become like a coward and hopeless, he decides to fight to try to hold onto what he’s afraid to lose. Both individuals, whether Judas or Peter, they’re both concerned to a level that one runs away and the other decides to fight. But Jesus, in these moments, teaches a different path.
Jesus talks about the strength of your faith in circumstances, to the point where he can say to us, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Now we talked about why did Jesus say it, related to his own personal experience and the need of the disciples. But I think the bigger question for us when Jesus gives this statement is, why should we believe it? Why should we believe it? Or if you haven’t gone through a circumstance in life where you felt this sort of angst where your life has been troubled, you will, right? I mean, maybe you might be so fortunate as to live your entire life in some sort of comfort or luxury, but at some point in your life, you’re going to come to the end of your days.
And there, welling up within you could be a concern, [inaudible 00:10:08]. Why should we believe what Jesus says? “Do not let your heart be troubled.” And the first answer of your blank here under this question, it’s to say this, “Because of who Jesus is.” He wants us to base our ability to trust in this statement, not in ourselves, but in his identity and what that represents for us. In fact, if you go on just a little bit further in verse one, John 14, verse one, it says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” And then Jesus does this, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” He wants us to equate the significance of who God is and our understanding of God and the authority of God and the sovereignty of God and everything in this God’s control, the God that created everything, right? He’s looking to the Jewish people and saying, “You and your monotheistic society, who has this faith in this one God, as you believe in God, I want you to equate that same belief in who I am.”
In the gospel of John, John talks frequently about this idea of believing in. It’s really the first time in Greek literature that we’ve discovered this, the word believe connected to the word in. There’s talk of belief in Greek literature, but never before has it’s taken these two words, believing in and associated them together. And what John is referring to here is this idea of trust. When he talks about believing in, what he means is trust. And so what Jesus is saying is, “As you have trusted in God, what you need to do in these moments is also trust in me.” Which is sort of backwards to the moment, right? You think about what Jesus has just declared to the disciples, it would be opposite of what would be innate in their nature under the circumstance.
“You’re leaving because you’re dying and you’re telling us to trust in you. What is there to trust in when you’re no longer here? We’ve given up everything to pursue you because we felt you were the Messiah who was to bring the kingdom and now you’re saying the exact opposite of where we feel our souls should go in these moments.” And we see it from the disciples after Jesus is taken to be crucified, they run away and hide. That’s what they feel in their nature they should do because the writing is on the wall. The Jewish leaders are killing Jesus and now they feel their own life is at risk. And Jesus is saying, “Rather than this, here’s what I want you to do. Lean harder into me.” This idea of believing in or trusting is not wishful hope.
We talk about faith, typically in our culture today, we sort of antiquate faith with the idea of just guessing and hoping you’re right. “I sure hope so. You just got to have faith. You just got to be blind about the circumstance and in the end, just hope you were the one that were right out of all the beliefs that you can have in this world.” But that’s not the way the Bible talks about faith. There’s a degree of certainty that comes with our faith because our faith is rooted in historical reliability. And what Jesus is saying to the disciples here is, “Look, in these moments, I know you’re concerned. I know there’s this trouble welling up within you, but I need you to lean harder into who I am and see who I am connected to who God is because I am God, and you’re going to find that this works out in your favor.”
And what we discover as believers on the backside of this is the resurrection of Jesus, his ability to overcome the grave. So because of who Jesus is, this gives us a place to put our faith in him. Jesus is showing in this section that faith in God is not separate from faith in who he is. What Jesus is really saying to the disciples is, “Look, you need a bigger God, you need a bigger God and I need you to see me as that God, and here’s why.” Because when Jesus is resurrected from the grave, what it’s going to demonstrate to the disciples is nothing can stop Christ. And his promises that he makes to us are true because not even the grave can hold him. That Jesus, in his resurrection, is seen as favorable to the Father because his life has been accepted as our sacrifice.
And the resurrection is the proof that validates for us, that Jesus has been approved by the Father in his sacrifice on our behalf, we need a bigger God. Within the last couple of weeks, I spent some, let’s say quality time with an individual, not a part of our church, that had just gone through some difficulty in life. And it was an interesting conversation because everything that we discussed was this laundry list of going historical with their life of everything bad that had happened to them. And some things rough, other things you hear, and you think, “How are you not past this?” But it was just this laundry list of everything in their life.
Just reviewing it over and over and sharing every detail with me like 40 years after the fact, there’s going to be something done about it. And finally, I just looked at the person and said, “You know what you need? You need a bigger God, because right now in your life, you see yourself as the judge and jury that needs to compensate for everything bad that’s ever happened to you. But if you had a bigger God, you’d be able to understand and see that this God holds it all in his hands and he cares for you. He cares for you. That all of this stuff you’re carrying in your life, there is a God who has a plan to do things, to rectify and bring the vengeance and bring justice and to bring you grace and to reconcile all wrong that’s ever happened in your life, that’s far greater than anything you’re ever going to do in your own strength. You need a bigger God.”
And this is what Jesus wants the disciples to begin to understand here. Jesus is saying, “Look, as you’ve thought about the Father and how great he is, I need you to see me as the same. Believe in God, believe also in me, because what I’m about to do, the last chapter has not been written yet. You need to see a God who has pursued you with his life, who has given everything for you and has been victorious in all of it on your behalf. You need a bigger God.”
And Jesus is giving this thought to the disciples to help them see in this moment that the reason that we get into despair as people is because we lose hope. We lose hope but when we see a God who is greater than our circumstances, it gives us a place to move from despair to great anticipation in what is to come because he is greater than our circumstance. So, when we look at a verse like this… Guys, I think it’s important to say, “Look, it’s not possible to remove all trouble that you’re going through in life.” I’m not saying to you, look, when you look at this passage, that never again will your soul feel angst. What I’m saying is when we look at a passage like this, because of a passage like this, we have a truth to declare to our soul when it does feel angst.
And then as we have a greater God than our circumstance. So here’s the question for you. Does Jesus have credibility in your life? I mean, who is this Jesus, right? That is the most, I think, important question we can answer. I think it’s what John has unfolded for us for the last 13 chapters leading into this so that we could see the very heart of God and our lives could begin to trust in this God. To see him in a personal way, that as he pursued the lives of individuals in the first century, that God is still alive today, pursuing your soul with the same desires that he’s saying to his disciples in John 14, he says to his disciples today that this lesson that he taught in the Upper Room, he wants your heart to rest in this section of scripture. Does Jesus have credibility in your life? Trust, trust is the most valuable commodity if you were to experience intimacy with him.
Do you trust in Jesus in this way? When Colossians chapter one and two were written, the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Colossians, and in chapter one, verse 15 to 17, especially, he describes for us the significance of who Jesus is, how he created all things within his hand, and all things consist by him and for him. And then in chapter two, verse nine, he says this about Jesus, “In Jesus, the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form. All of that God is, wrapped up in Christ for you. For you believe in God, believe also in me.” That’s number one. Why should we believe? Because of who he is, and number two, because of what Jesus says.
In verse two and to the first half of verse three, look at what he says in this section of scripture. He says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” I’m just going to break this down just section by section for a minute, I’m going to explain the bigger picture of what Jesus is saying here because of what he says, this is very powerful. He says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” And what Jesus is saying here is, he’s not emphasizing the size of the house. That’s not he’s point of what he’s telling you, but what he wants you to understand is the permanence of the place for which he is calling you. There exists a place for which you belong as a follower of Jesus.
That this is a permanent dwelling that Jesus desires for your life, this is why he came. This is not about God. God’s got a mansion and it’s ginormous. That’s not what he’s saying, which he does and it is. But what he wants you to understand is the permanence of where God is leading your life. And he says, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Meaning, when it comes to faith, Jesus doesn’t want to just give you false hope. He’s not just trying to puff you up so that way you can just wishfully look for something that doesn’t exist. This is not what Jesus is saying. This is not false hope for your life. This is certainty for you. “If it were not so, I would have told you.” When I consider the significance of what he’s saying to you personally, this is a very important phrase that you find your security in what he is saying for your life, that you own this passage of scripture.
Because what I find in life is when you interact with people, no one that you interact with in life is like, “I’m the person going to hell.” Everyone assumes they’re the person going to heaven, right? But when we read this, we want to read this with absolute certainty that when Jesus says, “You,” in this section of scripture, he means me. So he say, “Look, in my Father’s house are many rooms. This is a permanent place for you, I’m not giving you false hope. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I’m coming again, and will take you to myself.”
Now think about, for just a moment, these are the final moments of Jesus’s life. If you knew what you were doing was a sham, right now is when you pack up shop and run, right? This is it, this is your escape route. Understand, when life gets difficult, when the building’s burning down, when you’re inside of a facility and the ground starts to shake because of an earthquake, I’ll tell you what people do, it’s every man for themselves, right? Grab what you and yours and you get lost and you hope everyone else can make it out as well.
Save yourself before you can even begin to think about someone else. [inaudible 00:22:54] this is what we tell you on the planes. Plane goes down, grab the oxygen and you suck it in yourself before you give it to somebody else, it’s going to do you no good to share when you’re going to be passed out because you can’t breathe. Take care of you first and then maybe if you’ve got some time, you can think about some other people. That’s generally how we go, every man for themselves, and the disciples in these moments, Jesus has declared, “Look, the house is on fire, everything’s going down.” But what does Jesus do?
He doesn’t run. With more authority and certainty, he continues to share with us what he knows is true for your future. I mean, he goes to that cross with arms wide open, not fighting against it. Hands completely accepting the nails that are about to pierce it. Why? Because he knows, he knows [inaudible 00:23:48]. Hebrews says this, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” It’s incredible to see that the demeanor of Christ in these final moments that are, for us, we would say catastrophic, but for Jesus, it’s exactly why he came. And this is what his demeanor says to us.
Without even having to echo the words, “You are not forgotten. In these final moments, my life is being sacrificed for you, but what’s on my heart is not mine well-being, but yours, because you are not forgotten.” In the midst of a moment where your soul feels anxious and you feel distant, you might ask the question, “God, where are you?” This is Jesus’s declaration to you, that, “I’m right here with you. You are not forgotten.” And let me just tell you, what Jesus says here, because of what Jesus says, this is why we should believe it. Let me just paint for you the bigger picture of what Christ is saying for us. This is the most important thing I think of this section of scripture that your soul can grab a hold of because what Jesus is saying is a first century response to a betrothal between a husband and wife. When you think about the illustration that Jesus is giving here, as it relates to a betrothal, the most intimate of relationships that we have in life is marriage.
And the covenant that we have in marriage is a life covenant to love and care for someone else, for their well-being. It’s a giving of all you are to help someone else become all that God has called them to be. That is the marital covenant that God gifts us with to experience in this world. It’s the most sacred, intimate of relationships and of covenants that we can have as people. That when you say, “I do,” you say to your spouse… We don’t enter in marriage, as Christians, because of what we have to get or what we want, we enter into marriage because of what we desire to give for the benefit of someone else. That is the marital covenant. Sacrificing all that I am for your benefit.
And Jesus in these moments, in chapter 13, has just said to the disciples, “Look, my life for yours. I’m about to die and I’m gone.” Disciples, the angst to that, having giving up everything to pursue Jesus, they’re wondering, “What is this for us? Where does this leave us? What are we supposed to do?” And this panic, that Jesus looks at them and says, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. And let me tell you why, because I am producing for you the most intimate of relationships you will experience. It is this covenant of my life for you to help you become all that you were created to be in me.” In Jesus’s day, when a young man desired to marry a young woman, he would go to the father and he would discuss with the father, a dowery that he would pay for the bride. And once they agreed upon the dowery, the bride and the groom would partake of a communion glass together as if to say, “These two are now the truth.”
In Jewish culture, at that moment, when they were betrothed, if the young man were to die, even though the wedding had not taken place, their marriage had not been consummated yet, if the young man were to die, that young lady would be considered a widow. Once they partook of communion together, the young man would leave and when he left, his number one goal would be to prepare a place for his future bride. And when he completed the place, he would return for his bride. And as he would return for his bride, the people would await for his coming. And when he would receive his bride, they would celebrate all the way back to the home that the young man had prepared for his bribe, where they would consummate their marriage and enter into that holy union together. And here’s what Jesus is saying for you.
“I have come to the father and we have agreed upon a dowery and the dowery for your life to belong to me, is my life for you. And I have given my life for you. And now I am going to prepare a place for you. And I will return for you to receive you to myself that where I am, there you will be also.” What Jesus is saying for us is he is creating the new covenant in his blood. When we think about what Jesus has done for us on the cross, some people think that Jesus had to pay Satan for our debt, and that is not true. Our debt was paid to the Father because God is just and our sins were an offense against God. And Jesus, on your behalf, agreed to pay what you owed because of your sins, because it would cost the rest of eternity. An eternal God became flesh and paid for your sin, that you could experience relationship with him for all of your days.
It’s because of who Jesus is and because of what Jesus says, that we can believe in him. And the third is this, because of where Jesus leads. The last half of verse three, he says this, “So that where I am, there you also will be.” Guys, when we think about heaven, I typically think when we think about heaven, as people, we misconstrue what God’s picture of heaven really is. We tend to see heaven sometimes this way, this is the presentation. “You don’t want to go to hell, do you?” “No, I don’t want to go to hell.” “Okay, if you don’t want to go to hell, then take Jesus, so you can go to heaven.” And we make Jesus the tool to leverage so that we can be in this place that we think is heaven, which is our ultimate goal, but that’s not the Bible’s picture of heaven.
The Bible’s picture of heaven is Jesus. Jesus is the goal of our heart. Jesus is the goal of our life because where Jesus is, that is heaven. Just some physical place without the presence of Christ, that is not heaven. Where Jesus is, that is heaven. And that’s what he’s saying to us in this passage of scripture is, “You know what you get with this? My presence forever.” No one has ever loved you to the degree that Jesus has loved you. No one’s going to care for eternity the way that Jesus wants to care for you for eternity. What Jesus desires is you with him forever, and the moment you trust in Jesus, that’s when your relationship with him starts. It’s not when you die and get to a location, it’s in the moment you put your faith in Christ that you enter into this union, that God has promised you because of what Jesus has done by paying the dowry for your life.
Because of where Jesus leads, the greatest gift we have is his favorable presence in your life that God would desire to be with you in any circumstance you face in life, that his presence is always there and Jesus sees. And then he goes on verse four. “And you know the way where I am going. Saying, “Look, this should not be a shocker. This is what my whole life has been about. You know the way that I’m going.” And then in verse five, it kind of shares with us in the backdrop that when we live this life, that God calls us to, in the midst of our soul, experiencing some anxiety in times of uncertainty and learning to share this truth with us, it’s not always perfect.
In fact, sometimes it’s messy. And in verse five, Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going.” If you think for three years, you’d follow Jesus, and he’s like, “Okay, peace out guys.” You’re like, “Wait a minute. Where are you going? How do we know we’re going to be okay? You’ve said this so confidently. How do we know the way?” That’s what he says.
So at the end of chapter 13, Peter actually already asked this question, “How do we know where you’re going in?” And Jesus really… He hadn’t answered yet, but in chapter 14, he starts to answer it for us. And then Thomas shows up and he’s like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. I just need more clarity here.” So he asks the same question again. And then he adds this to it, “How do we know the way? Jesus, how do we know?” And so then Jesus gives us this concise statement. He takes everything that he just declared to us and he gives this summary phrase, is a very powerful phrase, is one of those passages in the Bible that it’s just a good memory verse, John 14, verse six, Jesus says this [inaudible 00:32:47], he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father, except through me.”
Jesus concisely declares for us everything that we just said in these first five verses, right? The way that we trust in where we’re going, he is the way, he is the bridge that connects us to our eternity with God. That’s Jesus, he is that passage way. He is the way in which we [inaudible 00:33:20]. It’s not this idea, it’s not this system, it’s a person, it’s Jesus. When you think about what Alpine Bible Church is about, it’s not this calling to religion, it’s this calling into relationship with Christ because it’s what he’s done for us, it’s the way of Jesus, we trust in him. And then he says this, that he is the truth, we trust because of who he is. So there’s where he’s going, he is the way, and because of who he is, he is the truth. Truth is the highest virtue in life. It is the building block for every other step that you will take.
When you have the truth, you can then follow the correct path, the truth is essential to understand how we should live, the truth, the highest virtue in life. He’s the way, he is the truth and then he is the life. We trust because of what he offers. So there’s where we’re going, the way, who he is, the truth and what he offers, life. If you think about what God is, God in the beginning, he spoke, life came into existence and then he formed us and breathed into us the breath of life and mankind became a living being.
And as soon as man sin in scripture, we cut ourselves off from the life source, who is God, because sin separates us in relationship and therefore sin has separated us in our relationship with God. And Jesus has come to pay for that sin. Reconnecting us to the life source, he is life itself. And now being in him, trusting in him and having life through him, he becomes our life source for all of eternity. What Jesus gives us in verse six is this robust theological claim on the significance of who he is. “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by me.”
Some people read a passage like this and get frustrated by the exclusivity of Jesus’s statement. But I want you to know Jesus intended it to be, in this passage, not primarily about exclusivity, though it is certainly exclusive, Jesus intended it to be an affirmation that the disciples had found the right way and that they had the privilege of being able to follow after Jesus. The only reason you can find the way, is because the truth has come to give you life. This is a privilege for your soul.
This is intended to be an encouragement to you, that if you have Jesus, you have what you need, the way, the truth and the life. Every once in a while, I’ll meet someone, and even a Christian, that wants to back away from the significance of this statement. And they’ll do it by saying something like this, “In the end, as long as you’re good, that’s all that matters.” Because that’s not what Jesus says. What Jesus says is, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. No one gets to the Father, but by me.”
Jesus made it crystal clear that if there were another way, he would not have come to provide his way, because his way cost his life. And there’s been no higher payment for your life than what Jesus has paid. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” This is an encouragement for us not to step away from the exclusivity of the statement, but to run harder into it because the significance of what it means for your soul and the certainty that you can have in Jesus and people will say, “As long as you’re good, that’s all that matters.”
But here’s the reality, [inaudible 00:37:29] people can be good all day long and never have a relationship with God. And we could ask the question, “And if you don’t really have God, how can you fully understand what it means to be good anyway?” I mean, Jesus gave us the warning of the significance of who he was. And in Matthew chapter seven verses 19 to 22, “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not do many great works in your name?’ And he will say to them, ‘Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.'” And Jesus say in John seven, “The most important thing is not what you do, it’s in who you trust in.”
He says, “I never knew you.” And refers to people that are doing good as workers of iniquity. The significance of Jesus matters. This passage matters because of who he is, is the very foundation for why my soul, in the midst of adversity, can still hope because I have trusted in one who is victorious and when life was falling apart around him, the pursuit of his heart was not for himself, it was for me, he gave everything for me to the point that he offered his life as a dowery for me, that he could lead the way for all of eternity, that I could be secure in him.
Don’t back away from the power of this statement because the power of this statement holds the security of your soul and the significance of who Christ is. Let me give you a little quote, a couple of things to close here. There was a man in Nazi, Germany named Victor Frankl. He was actually in a concentration camp twice in his life. And he gave an interesting statement about the idea of the significance, I think, of Christ. Of how important it is that we encourage the society and in John 14, verse six and the significance of Jesus. Don’t cower away from the power of who Christ is, but rest your soul by faith in the power of who Christ is.
And he said this, “I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.” What he’s saying is this, do you know where the world got off track? It wasn’t in the Ministry of Defense in Berlin. It wasn’t when they went to war. It wasn’t even when they got to the position of leadership, the Nazi regime, it was years before that. When their minds were being trained in a different pattern, really when they let go of the significance of who Christ was, and they started to follow a different faith or belief in a different type of God or idol.
That’s where the problem happened. And his statement is intended to be an encouragement to the society to say this, “You don’t change society today by waking up and saying, ‘Let’s change society today.’ You change society when you begin to reach a younger generation over the importance of who Jesus is, it’s when you help a generation raise up in the validation of Christ and you don’t back away from what Christ says about himself, that hearts and lives begin to change and a generation moves within a country and things become different.” The reason I want you to see the importance of where our heart rests and the truth of who Christ is, because… Look at this next picture for just a moment. This is going to pull your heartstrings a little bit. I want you to know I don’t just simply want to work up your emotions, but I want you to see this through a spiritual lens for a minute. This picture was taken in 1993 by a man named Kevin Carter who won the Pulitzer Prize for this picture.
He was in Southern Sudan. And if you know anything about Southern Sudan, this was a war torn country that also experienced extreme famine because of the battles that were happening in Sudan. Just moments before he was leaving Sudan, he happened to take this picture on his way out as he was getting ready to catch his plane. And what this is, is a young little girl who’s trying to make it to a UN food camp. She’s just a kilometer away and she doesn’t have the strength to get there because she’s so emaciated and starving. And there was a vulture following behind her that’s just waiting for her to take her final breath so he could pick the meat off her bones.
And he snapped this picture and the story goes that he shooed the vulture away and he had to leave. He had no time to do anything else because he was going to be late to get out of the country. This little girl was just one kilometer away from food that’s going to save her life. Now I’ll let you know, I looked a little further into this picture and she made it. Unfortunately, she died in 2007, but in this moment, she made it. The reason I show you this picture, one, is… Well on a personal note, I’ll tell you this… Maybe this is too personal, but I get a little frustrated sometimes in our country, [inaudible 00:42:59] watching the Olympics. I remember watching the Olympics as a kid and seeing the American flag and being proud and for some reason, this Olympics has just felt like our country has just been… Just people have not been very thankful.
I know we’re not a perfect country, but we’re certainly a blessed country, in the things that we possess. There are places in the world that I have been where I’ve stood next to a mother… And I’m a pastor in America, so that means I’m not real wealthy, but I’ve stood next to mothers in India who were in such dire situations that they are intentionally allowing their children to starve. Holding them in their arms so that they look as desperate as they can in order to beg for money so they can survive. And they will actually have children, let those children die in their arms and go and have another kid so they can be better at begging on the streets and continue to starve those children, keeping them barely alive, just so they can have enough money.
And here we are in a country where people just can’t appreciate what they got. God’s got you in a place in life where you’re extremely privileged in comparison to the rest of this world, to do something. I know when you look at a picture like this, you just want to reach through it and grab that child and be like, “I’ll take them. I will take them.” But that moment has passed, but I just want you to know, guys, you can’t change everywhere, but you can change somewhere. You can change somewhere, do for one what you wish you could do for everyone, you can do something. I know in life, you look at your life and you feel like, “Man, I’m not as well off as that person, they should be doing something.” I think God’s given you plenty in your life to be able to do enough where you are.
And let me just give you one more illustration from this picture as to what I mean, the way that we look at this picture and see this girl physically is the way Jesus looks into this world and sees us spiritually. I think God is concerned about our physical well-being, but your spiritual need is far worse, I think, even from this picture and what this little girl is facing in these moments. And because of the desperation of your soul and the emaciation of your spiritual state, God looked down into this world and he pursued you with a fury because he loves you.
He loves you and he’s given his life for you that you could have a hope that would transcend the circumstances of today. And he looks in these moments and his disciples in the Upper Room, and he says, “Guys, I know the moment is tough, and this is why I want to tell you this, do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you, but behold, I go to prepare a place for you that where I am, there you may be also.” That promise of Christ is one that furiously loves your life, that wants to bring you in and fill you up to see the joy and the significance of who he is that your soul could hope for all of eternity, knowing that in this world, there will be trouble.
Jesus promises that there will be trouble, but rejoice, because he has overcome. This God desires to make all things new because he loves you. “If in these moments, your soul would believe in God, believe also in me, with all that you are, trusting in all that he is.”