The disciples are naturally enough disturbed, indeed “troubled,” by the news of Jesus’ imminent death and departure. Jesus therefore commands them not to be troubled (14:1). But there is no point giving such a command without following up with a reason, which Jesus straightaway does. Too many times people give commands of a spiritual kind without providing reasons of a practical nature. This can all too often lead to guilt. Why are we not to be troubled with all the difficulties we face? How can we avoid such troubled feelings?
Jesus tells us that at root the issue is faith. “Trust in God; trust also in me.” There is a battle in all of our hearts to choose between anxiety and faith. Where there is faith, there is no room for anxiety; and where there is anxiety and troubled feelings, there is faith lacking. So, part of the answer to troubled feelings is simply to school ourselves to trust.
But trust in what? Jesus goes further than simply telling us to trust. He also tells us what to trust in: he paints the picture of heaven as a beautiful and bountiful house of the Father God, and we are to trust this view as it is what he has “told” us. We can avoid trouble, then, by trusting what Jesus says about the Father’s house to which those who trust in Jesus are destined.
But how do we know for sure that this is the case? The famous words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6). We know the way to the Father because we know Jesus. He is the way. He is the truth. He is the life. The more we get to know Jesus, the surer we will be of the eternal destiny, for it is through Jesus—and Jesus alone—that we can come to the Father.
Philip still does not understand, and he asks instead to be shown the Father (14:8). Jesus then replies, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9). This is a great principle worthy of underlining. To know Jesus is to know God. Those who claim to worship God but reject Jesus cannot then truly be worshipping God.
But what is more astonishing, those who believe in Jesus will do “greater works” than the works Jesus did (14:12). This cannot mean that disciples of Jesus will do something greater than being raised from the dead. It is not greater without context, but greater in the context of this chapter. The greater works in this chapter are the extraordinary works of coming to the Father through the Son. What greater works are the ones that the apostles did? Taking the gospel of Jesus throughout the Roman world. What greater works are the ones that disciples of Jesus today do? Taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. In the power of Jesus’ Spirit, we are equipped to take the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The works are greater by global extension, not by infinite comparison.
So trouble flees. How? Through faith. Faith in what? Faith in Jesus’ promise of his Father’s house. In what way can we be sure of this eternal promise? By knowing Jesus himself. And what sort of confidence does this lead to? Doing even greater works of gospel extension. We move from being “troubled” disciples to being those who double, treble, and quadruple the numbers of disciples of Jesus Christ. Would you then today not have your heart be troubled, but instead as an act of spiritual commitment put your trust in Christ!
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