Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.…
There is a class of words the meaning of which is known to all, and without consulting a dictionary most people know what the word "trouble" means. The man who should attempt to construct a theory of life and leave trouble out of the account would be no philosopher. How to deal with it, and not how to ignore it, becomes the great problem. From both ancients and moderns proposals of alleviation and help are forthcoming. But He who boldly cries, "Let not your heart be troubled" must possess infallible antidotes. What are they? Faith and Hope directed to their proper objects. We propose, then, to examine —
I. THE GROUNDS ON WHICH CHRIST SOLICITS OUR FAITH. Relief comes by belief. To be able in some overpowering grief to throw the weight of one's care upon another and to trust wholly in that other's help is an eminently satisfying process; while the trustless soul is without the least gleam of comfort. In these times of daring denial and of timid doubt it is well to be reminded that in the great crises of life — poverty, bereavement, affliction — denial is mockery and doubt is impotence, and that only an honest and hearty belief will secure sufficient solace. Christ solicits our faith on the ground of —
1. A prior acknowledgment of the Divine. "Ye believe in God." Christ desires nothing contrary to already existing and inborn Godward conceptions of the soul, but merely that we enlarge those conceptions so as to include Him.
2. The defectiveness of our belief apart from Him. "Ye believe in God;" yes, but that is inadequate, it needs supplementing. The most anxious moments of humanity have been spent in searchings after such a view of God as would enable man to approach Him without dread. Humanity's great longing has waited until Christ for its complete satisfaction. He has extracted from the thought of God all that is calculated to give pain and introduced everything calculated to give comfort. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself."
3. His personality. Trust must repose on a person to be trust at all. Christian apologists often begin with the proofs of superhuman skill and power, and so lead up to the central object of Christian faith. But Christ asked for immediate trust in Himself, for with that would come a hearty belief in all He said and did.
II. THE MOTIVES BY WHICH HE ENCOURAGES OUR HOPE. By "two immutable things," Christ intends us to have "strong consolation." Hope is as important a contribution to comfort as faith; the two together, exercised rightly, never fail. Without a future what is the present worth? An English nobleman once asked himself why there should be a future existence, and answered, "Because, on any other hypothesis, the world would be a piece of magnificent nonsense."
1. Christ, implying human immortality, reveals heaven. He bids the troubled be comforted by directing their hope to the positive existence of an absolutely untroubled state. Heaven is rendered attractive to us as much by its exemptions as by its possessions (Revelation 21:4). Christ does present also a positive view. Heaven is a home. "In My Father's house!" A house is not necessarily a home, but a father's house always is, or ought to be. A happy earthly home is the nearest approach to an adequate conception of the life of heaven. "My Father's house" is a happier home than the happiest of earthly ones.
2. Hope is encouraged by the variety of heavenly enjoyments. "Many mansions," many methods of enjoyment, various fields of occupation, unexhausted resources of interest and pleasure. An endless uniformity of type would be fatal to perfect happiness.
3. Hope is further encouraged by Christ's guarantee of its realization. "If it were not so I would have told you," etc. What security this! He could not countenance a delusion. Conclusion: We read of a Roman army, when eagerly engaged in battle with their country's enemies, being unconscious of an earthquake which made the ground beneath their feet to tremble; and so will a high faith in God and Christ, and a holy hope of immortality and heaven, cause the true Christian to be insensible to the tossings to and fro of the life that now is.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.