Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
What does an untroubled heart look like? Is that a heart that has simply secured enough biblical truths to live well and address its particular troubles? Is it a heart that has found a community of kindred spirits who embrace and understand it and help shoulder its troubles? While these things may help in meeting some of our intellectual and social hungers, let’s probe deeper into this passage to see if Jesus may be saying more.
In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for 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. And you know the way I am going.
Sometimes Jesus is an enigma speaking apparent contradictions. He had just told them, “I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek me; yet, where I am going you cannot come.” OK, Lord, let me get this straight, I know the way You are going, yet I can’t come? Peter was having none of this. He says, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Jesus, focused on Peter’s heart (and ours), essentially say’s, “Really?”
Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow until you deny me three times.
Jesus was saying, “Peter, Peter, You do not know your own heart. Circumstances are coming your way that are about to expose just how inaccurate you see yourself, Me and especially My kingdom.” Peter’s heart was troubled to be sure. His agenda to reign with Christ in an earthly kingdom was threatened if Jesus was going away somewhere that He could not go. Jesus had more to say to Peter (and us). John closes out his gospel with these words,
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” The Father did that with Jesus, His Son. As he faced his trials in Gethsemane, Jesus responded,
Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.
Has the Lord ever forewarned you that He is going to take you somewhere you would prefer not to go? Or, have you ever found yourself somewhere that you most certainly would have never chosen to go? Or, experienced something you would have never chosen to experience? Certainly Peter would have never elected to find that he was unprepared to lay his life down for Jesus. He was totally blindsided by this revelation. He had no clue until Jesus led him through this crucible. Peter could have never gone the distance with Jesus had he not discovered the unwelcome presence of his flesh and its own deep and misguided investment in this temporal world.
Crucible: a severe test, a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause influence or change in development.
Jesus takes His intimate followers to a place where they come face to face with their flesh – that independent, blind facet of their being that is incapable of true righteousness. A brokenness occurs upon this revelation, even a sense of despair. But the Lord is present, prepared to unveil something far greater than any of our earthy aspirations – Himself.
Until this day of brokenness and resurrection, we will inevitably put our trust in our selves. In our flesh, we can even double down on good works and still have hearts (if we are willing to look at them) that are deeply troubled. Yet, after we are broken, we inherently know the folly of such a life. This place that no one chooses to go (where Jesus would take us) eventually produces a humility, dependence and intimacy with Christ that cannot be had otherwise. It is that place – so beautiful, we dare not dream it exists, lest we disappoint ourselves.
And to let go, of all, you cannot hold onto / For the hope, beyond,the blue (From Josh Garrel’s Beyond the Blue) For those willing to linger; Full lyrics of this song are available at the end of this post.)
Many are looking over the horizon past their deaths to receive that place that Jesus has promised to prepare for them. What a glorious revelation it is to discover that we ourselves (not just some well-designed cosmic residence) are that place He has prepared as His home. To be sure, He is coming one fine day but He has also already come and has received us unto Himself just as He had promised. This is the way that Jesus was going which He says, we know; he himself is the way, the truth and the life and astonishingly, He resides in us as the hope of glory. We are God’s address on earth.
In your story, is their a chapter where you have had to hear the cock crow? Have circumstance come your way that exposed your blind spots? Now that you are older, has he ever exposed your investment or aspirations for an earthly kingdom?
Father, we set our eyes beyond the horizon of this earth to the kingdom that has come and is, even now, within us. Holy Spirit, teach us to yield our timid hearts and stretch out our trembling hands into Your own. And gird us with Your life and take us anywhere Your good and wise heart aspires. Let not our wills be done but Yours. Untrouble us Father with the knowledge that our spirits that have been joined forevermore to You. Amen.
Josh Garrels – Beyond The Blue
Stand on the shores of a site unseen The substance of this dwells in me
Cause my natural eyes only go skin deep
But the eye’s of my heart anchor the sea
Plumbing the depths to the place in between
The tangible world and the land of dreams
Because everything ain’t quite what it seems
There’s more beneath the appearance of things
A beggar could be king within the shadows,
Of a wing
And wisdom will honor everyone who will learn
To listen, to love, and to pray and discern
And to do the right thing even when it burns
And to live in the light through treacherous turns
A man is weak, but the spirit yearns
To keep on course from the bow to the stern
And throw overboard every selfish concern
That tries to work for what can’t be earned
Sometimes the only way to return is to go,
Where the winds will take you
And to let go, of all, you cannot hold onto
For the hope, beyond,the blue
Yellow and gold as the new day dawns
Like a virgin unveiled who waited so long
To dance and rejoice and sing her song
And rest in the arms of a love so strong
No one comes unless they’re drawn
By the voice of desire that leads em’ along
To the redemption of what went wrong
By the blood that covers the innocent one
No more separation
So lift your voice just one more time
If there’s any hope may it be a sign
That everything was made to shine
Despite what you can see
So take this bread and drink this wine
And hide your spirit within the vine
Where all things will work by a good design
For those who will believe
And let go, of all, we cannot hold onto
For the hope, beyond, the blue
Said I let go, of all, I could not hold onto
For the hope, I have, in you