There are many things that happen in this world that I simply do not understand. For instance why do criminals commit crimes? Why do parents fall ill and die? Why do horrific acts happen when people become deranged? Why do good people suffer bad things while it seems that bad people get away with just about everything! We can theorize all day long as to the motive of bad acts and actors and we can wonder why God doesn’t heal someone or why God doesn’t stop someone from committing an evil deed. The truth is that until we get to heaven we may not see the whole picture as to motives. I personally believe that our world would be so much worse than it already is if God didn’t intervene on our behalf more times than we will ever know! There is a passage in the Bible that helps me to understand that I am not the only one who just doesn’t understand all about everything that happens but I find comfort in this passage and I find hope.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4, (New International Version or NIV).
We live in troubling times but then so have many generations before us lived in troubling times. Every generation deals with evil and the consequences of evil. At the time of John’s writing he is accounting for the last days of Jesus living on this earth and there was much that Jesus said that just didn’t make sense to the twelve chosen disciples. No, it wasn’t until after Jesus went to the cross and the grave and rose again that these men began to comprehend. Jesus knows what is coming and knows that death awaits Him and so He tries to comfort His friends. These words give hope in hopeless situations and bring courage to the weak and I think that today we need to hear these words again. Do not let your hearts be troubled…but my heart is troubled Lord and I can’t sleep because the events of the day are pressing in on me tonight. I want to be strong but Lord, I feel as if everything in life and in the world around me is out of control spinning toward doom. People who have been through tragic events are hurting and I don’t know how to comfort them Lord. A man who lost his wife less than a year ago to breast cancer now finds out that he has a cancerous brain tumor and will probably die soon and his three lovely children will be without a mother and a father. I can’t comprehend this tragic news Lord. Someone’s beloved son committed suicide and I can’t wrap my head around this tragedy either Lord. A gunman killed many people and injured many more during a concert Lord, and I can’t wrap my head around this. Another gunman entered a church, a sacred place to so many, and began killing and injuring Christians, Lord, I just don’t understand! These words Do not let your hearts be troubled are of great comfort to me and I hope to you also because God sees all and knows all and will judge all eventually. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. I can hardly wait to see my room Lord, please come soon! God’s house will never be a place of violence and I long to go there and be at peace and never see the face of evil again! I hope to see you there too.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” John 14:5-8, (NIV).
You see, they did not understand what Jesus was saying. I am like Thomas and Phillip because I don’t always understand what Jesus is trying to tell me either! Thomas must have been the first to ask the obvious question, we don’t know the way because we don’t know where you are going! Jesus gives a powerful answer. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is the way, and before Christians were known by the name Christian they were known as the followers of The Way! I think that a light is beginning to dawn on me when I think about how Jesus is the way. He is the way out of misery and the way to eternity, Jesus is the bridge between this world and the next and so He is our hope. Jesus is the truth. Truth today is a relative term, you have your truth and I have my truth and if we were describing the exact same scene your truth and my truth would not match in every point of truth. But Jesus is The Truth. There is only one absolute truth and the standards of almost all other truths are measured by the truth of Jesus because Jesus is God’s Son and therefore is the standard for truth. Everything that Jesus said and taught to others is in complete and perfect harmony with God’s words laid out in the Old Testament; they are sweet to Christian’s ears! And Jesus is also The Life! There is life in the truth that Jesus speaks and the only way to get the hope of eternal life is to come to Jesus and bow before Him and worship Him as your Lord and Savior. Life, eternal life, is the hope we have in Jesus and no one else can give us life except Jesus! There is more that Jesus said.
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:9-14, (NIV).
It was hard for the disciples to understand the comfort that Jesus was offering them because Jesus hadn’t died yet. They had not received the Holy Spirit yet to help them to understand because Jesus was still with them. We who are Christians have no excuse for not understanding what Jesus is saying because we are looking at it from the grace side of the resurrection and we have the Holy Spirit to help make things clear to us. But the non-Christian doesn’t have such understanding because they don’t have the Holy Spirit guiding them and instructing them. Many people pray every day and some of them are Christians. God only answers the prayers of Christians because we have the Holy Spirit to interpret our requests and bring them to the attention of God the Father (Romans 8:26). You can be extremely serious in your belief that God will hear and answer your prayers but if you do not accept Jesus as God’s Son who came to walk among mankind and was killed and rose victorious from the grave and defeated death then you do not know the way or know the truth or have eternal life. The world doesn’t understand and so it is our duty to go and teach them who Jesus is and why He helps us through tragic and horrific times. We have hope and the world needs to hear a hopeful message. Praise God for His mercy and grace.