"Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"

Notes of an address at Bangor, North Wales, on John 14:1-9

These words came out of the Lord's own mouth and have comforted multitudes, but we must know to whom they were spoken and whether we have a right to lay claim to them. The Lord was not speaking to self-sufficient and haughty men, He did speak to such sometimes but He did not say to them, "Let not your heart be troubled," to them He spake words of denunciation and solemn warning, scathing words, that would have thrown them into the greatest trouble of heart if they had had any consciences at all. Nor was He speaking to notorious sinners who had grown weary of the lives they were living. His words to them were compassionate words and full of tender pity, for He came to call them to repentance, but He did not say to them "Let not your heart be troubled." He was speaking to men who in the previous chapter are called "His own," those whom He loved and would never cease to love. They were representative men, they represented all His own down through the centuries to this very day, and we gathered here this night belong to that favoured company. We may be feeble and fickle and some of us very young in the faith, but if we can say, "The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me," we are "His own," He loves us and will never cease to love us. "Having loved His own which were in the world He loves them to the end." Then we can claim these words; they were spoken for us; to us He says, "Let not your heart be troubled."

These disciples of the Lord were troubled because He was going away. They had had no trouble while He was with them. "Lacked ye anything?" He had asked, and they had answered, "Nothing." But He was going away and what would they do without Him? His answer to their unspoken fear was, "Let not your heart be troubled." There would be no trouble for any of His own if He were here. "Disease and death and demon fled from His presence, and great peace had they who kept His company, but He is not here and He said in view of His going away, "in the world ye shall have tribulation," and is not tribulation trouble? His answer is "Let not your heart be troubled." That is His word to every one of us. Do any of us think that He would have said that to us if He were not able to keep us from troubling? Did He ever mock a needy soul with vain words? We may be sure that He would never have uttered the words if He were not able at all times and in every circumstance to keep us from troubling. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because He trusted in Thee." "In the world ye shall have tribulation but in Me peace." Then He proceeded to give the basis for this untroubled confidence. "Ye believe in God, believe also in Me" and in those words He declared His Deity and set Himself before us as the object of our faith and trust even as God is. God is invisible but real, He would be invisible but as real to faith as God is. Those disciples were well acquainted with Old Testament history. They had read of Abraham and Moses and David and Daniel and the three Hebrew youths. They knew that these men had trusted in God and were not confounded, He had not failed any of them when they cried unto Him, at all times He was their shield and exceeding great reward. Well, said the Lord, all that God was to His trusting people in ancient days, I will be to you. Have the centuries that have passed weakened His strength and diminished His interest in His own? Has He grown weary of them and their troubles? Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? "Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." Having loved His own which were in the world, He loves them to the end. "Let not your heart be troubled."

"In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you." These men had trusted that He would redeem Israel; they had had great hopes for their nation, and for themselves as His chief friends, when He should sit upon David's throne as Israel's King. The Father's house had never entered their earth-bound minds, but of this He talks to them and not of thrones and crowns. And it was His will that they should understand that His Father's house was to be their place, for they were more to Him than servants or disciples, they were the children of His Father, and the Father's house is the children's home. And to remove all question from their minds He says, "if it were not so I would have told you." If I had not had something better for you than the earth can give you, something better than your highest expectations I would have told you. I would not have asked you to follow Me and then deceived and disappointed you. And that is His word for us gathered here tonight, and to the young Christians very specially. Your Lord will not deceive you; if the world could do better for you than He could He would say to you, Go to the world. He would not have called you to follow Him if He could not do infinitely better for you than the world or the flesh or Satan. If His resources had been limited and the end of discipleship uncertain, if there had been any doubt as the result of your trust in Him, He would have told you, He would not have deceived you, He would not have called you to disappointment and final loss. He would have told you. Every word He has uttered as to His all-sufficient grace and final glory is the truth and you may trust Him fully and follow Him wholly, assured that earth has no prize to be compared with what He has to give.

"I go to prepare a place for you." That was the purpose of His going away, but before He could prepare a place for "His own" He had to prepare "His own" for the place. And because of this necessity He said at the end of this chapter, "Arise, let us go hence." Gethsemane, Gabbatha, Golgotha was the way that He took to the Father's house, for only on that road of sorrow could He prepare us for it. Nothing that defiles can enter the Father's house; and sin-soiled feet can not tread its courts, hence His death and resurrection were necessities, and His love was equal to the demand. He laid down His life for us and took it again.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also." We are told how He will come in 1 Thessalonians 4 and surely we cherish and value the words. "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord." But why will He come Himself? It has often been said, because He loves us too well to entrust us to others. I am sure that is true, but there is another reason. If the head of a foreign state, a king or president, was to pay a state visit to this land His Majesty would go himself to meet him, if one of lesser rank came he would send one of his brothers. It is rank to rank. I do not lose sight of the fact that our Lord is the eternal God, and as such there lies that distance between Him and us that must ever be between Creator and creature, but He became a man that He might die and rise again, that He might redeem us from death and the kingdom of darkness, and make us His brethren. He said to His Father, "The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given them," and now He is not ashamed to call us brethren, and because of the high dignity that is ours as His brethren, the sons of God and His Father, He must come for us Himself. "That where I am there ye may be also." Therein comes His love, and it passeth knowledge, it cannot and will not be satisfied apart from having our company in the Father's house for ever.

As we meditate on these words of the Lord we realise that His great aim was that those whom He loves should know the Father. Indeed we may say that we must become acquainted with the Father before we can enter the Father's house. Philip must have felt this when he said, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us" The Lord's answer lets a flood of light into our souls "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father." It is as we consider Him that we learn what the Father is. Behold that leper coming to Him. The law demands that he lays his hand upon his mouth and cries, "Unclean, unclean." If he had come near to Simon he would have shrunk from him with horror. If he had come near to John, he would have cried "Get away from me." But he came to Jesus; and He moved with compassion stretched out His hand and laid it upon him, and the poor wretch had not been touched by a human hand for years, and that touch most surely healed the sickness of his soul as the word of the Lord healed his corrupting body. He had no need to have touched him, His word was enough for his cleansing. But oh, the grace, the compassion in that touch! Would you know the Father? "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."

The children wanted to see Him, but what use were children to Him? thought the disciples, so they drove them away.

"But Jesus saw them e'er they fled,
And sweetly smiled and kindly said,
Suffer the children to come unto Me."

And those children never ran to their mother's arms with the eagerness that they ran to His, and He pressed them to His heart and blessed them. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Behold Him weeping with the sisters of Bethany at the closed grave of their brother, and see Him as He looks upon guilty Jerusalem and anticipating its doom weeps over it. Tears for friends and tears for foes! Impartial tears! Would you know the Father? "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."

When He fed the hungry multitude and gave sight to the blind and healed the sick and raised the dead He was showing the Father, for these were the Father's works. And His words were the Father's words. When He said to the widow sorrowing for an only son, "Weep not," and when He looked upon the sinner of the city bowing at His feet, and said to her, "Thy sins are forgiven thee," and to Zaccheus the publican, "Today I must abide at thy house" and when amid the darkness and agony of Calvary He said to the dying thief, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise," the compassion of the Father's heart thrilled in His words, He was showing the Father.

Tell me, is not the Father attractive as revealed to us by Him? What are the world's friendships and its boasted prizes when compared with the knowledge of Him and His love? Are you not glad that the Father's house is your eternal home, and that you are to be for ever with the One whom Jesus has so blessedly revealed? "His Father and your Father, His God and your God!"

How indispensable to our eternal happiness is our Lord Jesus, and how dependent upon Him we are. We see the Father in Him, for "no man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him," and we reach the Father by Him. "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." A pleasing story was very popular more than half a century ago. Queen Victoria was staying in Edinburgh at Holyrood Palace, and a wee laddie from a poor home was very anxious to see her, but when he reached the palace gates the way was barred by the scarlet-coated sentry. They would not let him pass and he stood as near as he could, sobbing with disappointment. A young man passing by noticed his distress and asked him what his trouble was "I want to see the Queen but the soldiers will na' let me," he said. That young man was Prince Arthur, the now aged Duke of Connaught. He took the boy by the hand and led him past the sentry who saluted the royal prince and his little friend. No one challenged their right to pass right into the palace, footmen and gentlemen-in-waiting bowed to them until they reached the very presence of the Queen. The prince was that boy's way to the Queen, and Jesus is your way to the Father, you have trusted in Him and He has taken you by the hand to lead you to the Father. The Son has access to the Father and with Him and through Him we also have access. "If the Son shall make you free ye shall be free indeed." He gives us the freedom of the Father's house. The boy of our story had to return to his slum dwelling, but we through the infinite grace of God have become children of the palace, the Father's house is our home, the Father is our Father. Our Lord is the way to the Father, He is the truth as to this great and eternal relationship in which we are now with Him and He has imparted to us His own life so that we may intelligently enjoy the relationship. We are waiting for His coming for us, soon we shall be ushered into our eternal home; we shall meet the Father then and He will be no stranger to us, we know Him now for we believe and understand the words of our Lord, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."