John 13 -- 16
One of the most comforting thoughts that Jesus left with us is when He said: Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . I will come again, and receive you unto Myself. . . . Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:1-3,27).
These precious promises were given to the Eleven on the last night before Jesus was crucified. At that moment, their hearts were afraid and very troubled. They were convinced that He was the Messiah and that He would be a Conqueror like King David. Along with the multitudes, they had shouted: Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel (12:13). But then Jesus said: Now is My Soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour (12:27). Just a few minutes earlier, during the Passover Supper, He had also said: Yet a little while I am with you. . . . Where I go, you cannot come (13:33). Still more unbearable, they remembered Him saying that He must suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed (Matthew 16:21). These devoted apostles were also troubled at hearing that one of their own number would betray Him (John 13:21). Peter must have been especially troubled over hearing Jesus say that he would deny Him three times.
But how could they see beyond their present circumstances? The picture is much clearer to us 2000 years later as we read the full story. Like the disciples, occasionally each of us is faced with troubles and fears of what tomorrow may bring. We too need to remember that the Lord knows how to take care of our tomorrows. We too can have the utmost confidence in our Lord's comforting words: Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me (14:1).
When Jesus later said to Peter: Do you love Me? Peter replied: Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You (21:17). Peter also knew that he had sinned when he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man (Matthew 26:74). Perhaps, if doubting Thomas had heard Peter deny his Lord, he would have called Peter a hypocrite. However, Peter was far from being a hypocrite. Jesus, who alone can search the heart, knew that Peter had a genuine love for Him. God looks at our hearts, whereas our fellowmen, as well as ourselves, too often judge from outward appearance.
When we find ourselves in a situation like Peter, it is comforting to know that we are not mere pawns in the hands of men. Financial loss, divorce, disease, handicaps, and "things" that happen to believers who are living to please the Lord are not unfortunate "accidents." Every disappointment becomes an opportunity to overcome stress, fear, and depression, and to develop patience and faith in God. Consequently, we must avoid becoming frustrated with the "things" or people that God, in His permissive will, allows into our lives. It is not necessary to know why we are in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. We can be certain that whatever the Lord permits is needed to develop our spiritual character and prepare us for eternity.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
For John 13:18: See Psa. 41:9. John 15:25: See Psa. 35:19; 69:4.
BPM Staff: Rita Guerra · Pray for Bible Pathway Prayer Partners · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in memory of Velena C. Malone · Country: India (966 million) in southern Asia · Major languages: Hindi and English · Religious freedom, but increasing harassment and persecution of Christians by religious radicals · 78% Hindu; 12% Muslim; 2% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic; 2% Sikhs · Prayer Suggestion: Go to God in prayer with a heart and life that are keeping His commandments and He will answer you (I John 3:22).
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