In the intimate fellowship of the upper room, Jesus exhorts His disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). He had just washed their feet. Having done so, He announced, “I say to you, that one of you will betray Me” (John 13:21). This statement, of course, caused no small consternation. Who would it be? Then, with the compassion of a father for his children, Jesus warns of His impending departure. “Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’” (John 13:33). “To men who have left all for their Leader to be told that He is about to leave them is shattering” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 637). Future circumstances will be dire. So much so will this be the case, and despite his protestations, Jesus warns Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times” (John 13:38). The situation in the upper room is far from tranquil.
In this context, Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Transliterated, the word translated trouble, is tarasso. Perhaps you’ve heard of terrazzo floors. They consist of marble or granite chips stirred into some form of cement. When dry, the terrazzo is ground and polished. Our Lord is speaking about being stirred in heart and mind. We are confused because we lack understanding. We have doubts about the future. Any sense of security we have seems to vanish. We can reach despair. So it was with the disciples. Their world was about to come crashing down.
The future is in doubt for many of us. Employment may be uncertain. The Falling stock market is depleting your retirement funds. Sudden illness, the COVID-19, may agitate your minds and burden your hearts as well as our bodies. You do not know what tomorrow will bring. Yet Jesus urges, “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mat. 6:34). Similarly, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Such things are easy to say.
Jesus continues, “[You] believe in God, believe also in Me.” Here is the response to anxiety and trouble of heart. “Jesus is urging His followers to continue to believe in the Father and to continue to believe also in Him, and in this way not to let their hearts be troubled” (Ibid).
Continued belief in the Father depends upon continued faith in the Son. How so? Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). He also tells Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). How can this be? Jesus answers, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:11). He said earlier, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Are you anxious, worried, or troubled? Continue to believe in and trust the Father. Abandon self-centered living. Seek to be God-centered in thought and life. Trust His greatness, power, and sovereignty. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).
In like manner, seek to be Christ-centered in thought and life. Trust Christ as your Savior from sin and guilt. Trust Christ as the sovereign Lord over all aspects of your life. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”