Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.…
I. THE SORE OF THE WORLD IS TROUBLE AND ITS CURE IN FAITH. The seat of trouble is not in anything outside of us. It is the passions. Work, wakefulness, losses, bereavements, life's burdens and battles are not troubles. They are discipline. While the passions are in right and healthful play all these things may befall a man, and yet he may be wholly untroubled. On the other hand, a man may be surrounded by all that can minister to his comfort and dignity, and yet be troubled. In the latter case the man's passions are tossed about as the sea is when a tempest is on it; in the other case, they are serene as the lake in the fastnesses of a mountain.
1. The cause of all our trouble is the want of harmony between our wills and God's will. Let them accord, and then nothing in heaven or earth or hell can trouble us. But when we beat ourselves against the barriers erected by Omnipotence for our safety and good, then there is trouble.
2. Our trouble arises from our want of faith in the rightfulness and paramount authority of God's law. Men would not fight against God's law of morals if they could perceive that the law is perfectly good and right. Men have an impression that the law of God is a kind of Procrustes' bed, cutting long men short and stretching short men long for arbitrary reasons, and not that every regulation is for man's sake and that of other creatures. And because men do not believe that the law of God is good they do not believe it is paramount. The origin of the trouble of every heart from the beginning is to be found in this failure of faith in God. It was so with Adam and Eve. There was no trouble while they trusted their Heavenly Father. You cannot seduce a man into wrong-doing until you shake his faith in God. It is this fundamental principle of which Jesus seems to have thought. This seems to me to mean two things —
(1) That belief in God is necessary to belief in Jesus. Jesus, then, is something more than a mere extraordinary specimen of humanity.
(2) Simple belief in God has never cured trouble. It might have kept all trouble from the human heart if originally persevered in. But after sin had come into the world something else was necessary. And for this we can appeal to every man's experience. Do you not often feel that you would be freer and happier if God would throw His laws away, or still better, cease to exist? The fact is, that until we came to distinguish between creatures and children, our belief in God can produce no agreeable feelings toward Him.
(a) We must hare some distinct evidence of His loving us. Of such love Jesus is the Demonstration. Belief in Jesus is belief in God incarnating Himself; putting Himself thus into most complete sympathy with us, making us feel that if any disasters should happen to us He would be the Person who most should feel it. This breaks down the opposition of our hearts to God.
(b) Jesus declares Himself the Governor of the world. Providence is in the hands of my Brother. He manages the universe for the purposes of the atonement. Why should my heart be troubled? Is not the King of eternity my Friend?
(3) Christ is my Leader through all places, narrow and dark and frightful, or large and wealthy and seductive. If I believe this and yield my heart to it, how my troubles disappear! Without Jesus, my heart is like the Galilean lake, night-bound and storm-lashed; when He says "Peace," there is a great calm.
II. THEN FROM HIMSELF AS FROM A CENTRE HE SWEEPS THE UNIVERSE OF SPACE AND DURATION, AND FOLDS IT ALL DOWN UPON EVERY TRUSTING HEART AS A MEASURELESS BENEDICTION.
1. "In My Father's house are many mansions." How this takes the vagueness out of our ideas of God! How our recently constructed scientific instruments enlarge and deepen this saying of Jesus! It is to be noticed that our intellects gravitate toward a common centre. There, in that centre, we seem to feel must be the chief place of God. There is an unhealthy fear of God which is not humble reverence. Men dread to think of Him. In our catechisms we put Him just as far away from our children as we can. Jesus does no such thing. God is a Person. He has a house and a household. He makes homes for His children. Why, then, should I be troubled that I am to die? My removal will be like the progress of a prince from castle to castle of his father's dominions. In each I shall find new work and new delights.
2. One of the phases of man's unbelief is that he does not seem to have space and time enough to carry forward to completion the grand projects of his intellect. But if you will believe in Jesus, this trouble shall disappear. In the boundless field of the universe, in the perpetual cycles of eternity, you shall find space and time enough to do all that you desire now or may desire hereafter.
3. Another thing Jesus utters to be a heart cure: "If it were not so, I would have told you." He will not only correct our thoughts of God, He will not let us have a false hope. Those men loved Him, and in some blind way had believed in Him. He knew that they had aspirations higher than the Temple and wider than the spangled tent that spread all night above the Holy Land. He would not go away and leave them cherishing a fond delusion. He would tell them if the things they hoped were an idle dream. In this there ought to be a happy lesson for every earnest heart. There is a gloomy infidelity in us which says of happiest things that they are "too good to be true." If you have any hope for eternity, and Jesus Christ has not contradicted it, you may reasonably indulge it. See what a field that flings open to us. This is comforting, but grandly vague.
4. He goes further and tells us that He departs in order to "prepare a place for us." This meets another phase of trouble. Our wills conflict with the will of God because we never feel at home totally suited in our surroundings on earth. Think how much is necessary for perfect comfort. There must be a suitable physique, agreeable in all the particulars of size, beauty, and health. There must be perfectly-fitting clothes; a collar too tight, a boot too small breaks one's comfort. Then our house must be in everything complete; nay, it must be an elastic house, expanding or shrinking to our wants at different times. When the residence is complete, there is the absence of the beloved or the presence of an unpleasant neighbourhood. It is not an unamiable discontentedness in human nature which makes us dissatisfied or unsatisfied: it is the inability of this present world, with all its resources, to fill the soul; and this argues the soul's greatness. Jesus says, "I go to prepare a place for you." He knows what is in us and what we need about us. He is putting all His resources to the work of fitting up for us mansions in the spiritual world. Our place will be complete. How that abates our troubles! There shall be nothing wanting in the place when Jesus pronounces it ready.
5. "Ready?" Then when it is ready we must go to it. There is to be a removal. But still there is something to try one in any change of residence, but Christ says, "I will come for you and take you," and that "unto Myself."
(C. F. Deems, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.