Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Let Not Your Heart Be Slammed

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)
There are no chapter breaks in the original text. These were added later by translators as a reference help, but sometimes they get in the way and obscure the message. So let’s back up a few verses to discover the context.
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. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me”
(John 13:36-14:1).
Jesus was about to be handed over for an unjust trial, abuse, severe flogging and finally, crucifixion. He was betrayed by Judas. But He also knew that Peter would betray Him by denial — He even prophesied to Peter about this.

But in that same moment He said, to Peter and all the others, “Let not your heart be troubled.” On this, the darkest night of His life (and the darkest time for His disciples, as well), He speaks a powerful word of comfort and hope.

The Greek word for “trouble” here is tarraso. It means to be stirred up, agitated, and disturbed, to lose calmness, be disquieted and made restless, to be stricken with fear and dread, and perplexed with doubt. In other words, Jesus was saying, “Don’t let your heart be slammed!”

It does not matter what your circumstances are. It does not matter what your failures have been. Don’t let them slam into you and send you into despair. Don’t let them overwhelm your heart and fill you with doubt and fear.

But that is only half the prescription. The other half is even more important:
Believe in God, believe also in Me.
The Greek word for “believe” is pisteuo. It is the verb form of pistis, the word for “faith.” It is dynamic — faith in action.

Our natural tendency is to keep focusing on our circumstances and our failures. That’s just the way the enemy wants it, so he keeps whispering those things in our ears. But Jesus wants us to direct our attention to Him, because He has destroyed the works of the devil and taken care of everything that pertains to our wholeness and peace. All we need to do is to exercise our faith and trust fully in Him.
  • To Martha, Jesus said, “Don’t let your heart be crowded — focus your heart on Me” (Luke 10, rough paraphrase).
  • To Peter, Jesus said, “Don’t let your heart be slammed — focus your faith on Me” (rough paraphrase).
Don’t be distracted and discouraged by your situation, however dark it may now seem. Don’t let your past sins, failures or mistakes steal your attention away from Jesus. Focus your faith on the solution — Jesus — not the problem. Let not your heart be troubled.