Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.…
There was some good in the disciples' trouble.
1. There was natural trouble at the departure of such a friend. For we are flesh, not steel; and in that sense, Christ was troubled Himself to show the truth of His manhood. Nay, trouble is the seasoning of all heavenly comforts; there were no comforts if there were no trouble; and therefore this natural trouble was not disallowed by Christ.
2. There was likewise something spiritually good in this trouble. They loved their Master, who they saw was going away. They were right in this principle, that all comfort depends on the presence of Christ. For as all heavenly light, and heat, and influence come from the sun, so all heavenly comforts must come to us from Christ's presence. Their error was in tying all comfort to a bodily presence; as if it were necessary for the sun to come down and abide upon the earth, to bestow its heat and influence.
I. THE BEST CHRISTIANS ARE SUBJECT TO BE TROUBLED MORE THAN SHOULD BE. Christ was troubled, but His trouble was like the shaking of clear water in a crystal glass. There was no mud in the bottom. But our trouble is of another kind, and apt to be inordinate (1 Samuel 1:13; Isaiah 38:14; Psalm 77:3; Jonah 2:2).
1. God permits us to be troubled —
(1) For conformity to our Head.
(2) That we may be known to ourselves; that we may discern where our weakness lieth, and so be better instructed to seek Him in whom our strength lieth.
(3) For the preventing of spiritual sins.
(4) In regard of others, that we maybe pitiful.
2. But how shall we know that our hearts are more troubled than they should be? We may sin in being overmuch troubled at things for which it is a sin not to be troubled. If they had not been at all affected with the absence of Christ, it had been a sin, and no less than stupidity; yet it was their sin to be overmuch troubled. A trouble is sinful when it hinders us in duties; or from duty, when the soul is like an instrument out of tune, or a limb out of joint. Naturally, affections should be helps to duty, they being the winds that carry the soul on, and the spiritual wings of the soul. But then they must be regulated and ordered at the command of a spiritual understanding. Now, besides the hurt that is in such affections themselves, Satan loves to fish in these troubled waters (Ephesians 4:26). That was Saul's case (1 Samuel 16:23).
3. We should not yield to excess of trouble. And the reasons are:(1) We wrong our ownselves. We make actions difficult unto us. The wheels of the soul are thereby taken off (Nehemiah 8:10).
(2) We do dishonour to God, mistaking His goodness, murmuring at tits providence, wronging His graciousness and nursing a rebellious pride.
(3) We dishonour Christ, and the love of God in Christ; for it is as if we had not in Him a sufficient remedy for that great malady.
(4) Christ hath forbidden it, "Let not," etc.
II. THE WAYS WHEREBY WE MUST LABOUR TO COMFORT OUR HEARTS.
1. There must be a due search into the heart of the grounds of our trouble; for often Christians are troubled, they cannot tell wherefore; as children that will complain they know not why. See if there be not some Achan in the camp.
2. And when you have found out your sin give it vent by confession of it to God, and in some cases to others.
3. And when we have done so, consider what promises, and comforts, in that Word of God are fitted to that condition. And therefore we ought to be skilful in the Word of God, that we may store up comforts beforehand.
4. When we have these promises, let us labour to understand them thoroughly, and then to digest them in our affections, and so make them our own, and then to walk in the strength and comfort of them.
5. Labour likewise to have them fresh in memory. It is a great defect of Christians that they forget their consolation (Hebrews 12:5).
6. Labour to keep unspotted consciences.
7. And because there can be no more comfort than there is care of duty, therefore, together with innocency, let us be careful of all duties in all our several relations.
8. But above all let us labour for a spirit of faith. "You believe in God," etc. How cloth faith in Christ ease the soul in trouble?
(1) It banishes troubles, and brings in comfort, because it is an emptying grace. It empties us of ourselves, and so makes us cleave to another, and thereby becomes a grace of union. It makes us one with the fountain of comfort, and by its repeated acts derives fresh comfort.
(2) It establishes the heart.
(3) It stirs up such graces as comfort the soul, as hope in all good things promised. "In My Father's house are many mansions."
(R. Sibbes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.