Jesus was nearing the end of His earthly ministry. Matthew 20:17-19 “Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.’” His twelve disciples had been following Jesus for at least a couple of years. They had seen the miracles that He had performed. They had listened to His teaching. Some of them were convinced that He was the Christ, the Son of God. Some of them thought He was going to establish an earthly kingdom and be its ruler. To hear Him say that He was going to be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, condemned to death, delivered to the Gentiles, mocked, scourged and crucified was a heavy message. It is likely to have greatly disturbed His disciples. Their lives, hopes and expectations were all going to radically change. They also might lose their lives along with Jesus. What did it mean that He was going to rise again? They didn’t understand what was going to happen. I expect that there was a lot of anxiety among the disciples at this time.
Then they came to Jerusalem. They had the last supper together. Jesus said that one of them would betray Him. He identified Judas as the betrayer and Judas left to do his deed. Then He informs them in John 13:33; 36-38 “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.” “Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.’” After all this, it is likely that their hearts were greatly troubled. What was going to happen to Jesus? Where was He going? What was going to happen to their expectations of Jesus as the Christ? What was going to happen to them? Were they going to survive or die?
Jesus understood the anxiety that His disciples felt. So He told them in John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” I understand Jesus to say to His disciples – “You believe in God. Then believe in me and trust me. Things will work out for you. I’m going to prepare a place for you and you will get to be with me forever. So don’t be anxious about what will happen in the near term.” He is trying to reassure His disciples that everything is going to work out in the long term. Then He continues in John 14:4-5 “’And where I go you know, and the way you know.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’” The words of Jesus were confusing to Thomas; he didn’t know where Jesus was going. But Jesus was hoping that the disciples knew that He was going to the Father in Heaven. Continuing in John 14:6-11 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.’” The ultimate goal for each of us should be to go to be with the Father in Heaven. Nothing else matters compared to that. Jesus says that He is the way to life. No one can come to the Father except through Jesus. We must have faith in Jesus, trust in Jesus and follow Jesus. There is no other way to go to the Father. The problems and trials of this life shouldn’t cause great anxiety if the ultimate goal is to go to the Father. That is what matters. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and to receive us to Himself and to the Father.
Jesus continues in John 14:25-27 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” When we fully appreciate that the ultimate goal is to be with Jesus and the Father in Heaven eternally and they are waiting there to receive us, then we can have peace in the face of anything that happens to us in this life. The world cannot appreciate that kind of peace because they don’t have the faith that we have.
What kind of trials are you going through? What anxieties do you have? When you have true faith in Jesus, it is all going to work out in the long term. Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Jesus told the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” My encouragement to you is to let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Have faith and trust in Jesus. Be faithful until death. He has gone to prepare a place for you. Accept the peace that only Jesus can give.