John 12:27, Mk 14:33, John 14:1, 27
We are in the season of Lent; Easter is upon us. What have been our remembrances throughout this period of time? Have our hearts resonated with the heart of our Saviour? How have we prepared our hearts to worship the God- Man who took upon Himself the sins of the world, yours and mine? What was the cost of His great sacrifice?
We read, in the last 9 chapters of John, that He prepared His disciples at great length for a grief mankind had never known before. Emmanuel would leave this earth after spending 3 short years teaching God’s love and majestic power, in word and deed. As Jesus talked intimately with the remaining 11 men He had chosen to be with Him through His formal ministry, (Judas had left the supper), He knew their hearts faced very troubling times. How would they cope?
“Let not your hearts be troubled” Jesus told them. Why so? His own heart had experienced trouble. John describes it for us (12:27). Greeks had come seeking Jesus. It seemed that suddenly this alerted Jesus to the fact His time had come. “I tell you the truth…” He said as He used a parable to tell them about His death and resurrection. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). He went on to explain how this troubled His heart. He is after all fully human, just as He is fully God. Did His followers understand? Did they care?
His following words might form a prayer for when we are faced with terrible trials. He questioned whether or not He should pray that His heavenly Father would save Him from this hour. How can we know the Father’s will when we face abuse, oppression, or rejection; when our hearts are troubled?
As a child I was taught that the Christian life is J.O.Y. meaning Jesus comes first, others second and myself last. Was this exemplified in Jesus’ sacrificial life? When we claim to follow Him, what will be the cost? Do I consider it a sacrifice to give Jesus my will, my time, my energy, my love? Will I render to Caesar that which is Caesar, but to God the things that are God’s? Can I love enough to give all my goods to the poor? Do I care about others within the family of God enough to restore them gently to fellowship when they have fallen?
I have discovered that when my heart is troubled the greatest panacea for healing is to encourage someone else, to draw alongside them and be, as someone wisely said “the only Jesus they may ever see”. What a challenge! This actually puts into practise what Paul experienced. He taught the Corinthian church to comfort others with the comfort with which God had comforted them (2 Corinthians 1:3).
Having a correct understanding of God brings me everlasting joy! My heart cannot remain troubled when I understand He has a plan for my life, one which may allow for moments of suffering, alienation or fear. He has promised He will not allow us to suffer anything beyond our ability to bear it, with His grace, in His miraculous strength! When we sing “Victory in Jesus” do we really mean it?
To struggle is human, to be victorious is Divine! In a sense we have the advantages of both, in that the Holy Spirit indwells the children of God, giving us all we need to endure in the moment. Are we willing to die to self, as our Lord and Saviour did, in order to see others enter into the family of God? Would this trouble your heart, or heal it?
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)