Five Lessons From a Verse-and-a-Half


Five Lessons From a Verse-and-a-Half

Today as I write, I am reading one of my favorite passages, the beginning verses of John, chapter 14. Jesus is speaking to his disciples back then, but he is also speaking to us today. Beginning at verse one Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions.”

These twenty-one words are packed full of meaning. I get at least five lessons from these words:
1.      
      1. When Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” in the original language he is actually saying, “Stop letting your hearts be troubled.” I think for many of us, his words hit us where we live. We know that we already worry and are troubled by many things. Similarly in Matthew 6:25, Jesus is saying “Stop worrying,” or “Stop being anxious.” He know us through and through. As Psalm 103:14 says, “He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”  The One who knows us knows how we worry and how we stew and fret. He says, “Stop letting your hearts be troubled!” “Stop worrying!”

2.      2. Jesus  says we need to believe in God, which means we need to focus on God, not our problems! We need to trust God (the real meaning of “believe in”). When God is at the center of our thoughts, it will change everything. Paul writes, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2)

3. However, Jesus says that to trust in God is not enough! God can seem distant, far off, and abstract. But the Real God has come near to us. In Jesus, He has become Emmanuel, God with us. (see Isaiah 7:14). In Jesus God has become flesh and blood and dwelt with us (see John 1:14). We need to trust not only God, but also God’s sovereign self-revelation of Himself, His incarnate Son. (see letter to the Hebrews 1:1-3). We need to trust that he died to give us eternal life.

4.      4. Jesus refers to God as “My Father.” This is revolutionary for the day, and even now, 2000 years later. It a term of incredible intimacy applied to the Living God, the God of Israel, the Holy One.  But not only did Jesus use this term of intimacy for God, he encouraged us, through him, to use the same term. In the Lord’s Prayer (also known as the Our Father) he says we should pray like this: “Our Father….” The Christian faith teaches that through Jesus, because of His sacrificial death for us on the cross, we can have incredible intimacy with the Holy God. Through faith in Jesus we can become adopted children of God. We can call God, “Father.” 

5.       5. Jesus  says that in his Father’s house are “many rooms” (“many mansions” in the King James translation.) He says that God has prepared an everlasting place for each one of His children. He is telling us that God wants us to live eternally with Him. He offers us this opportunity through the intimate relationship with His Father that Jesus offers.  If we have a relationship with God through Jesus, this relationship will not be ended by death. We will live eternally

These five lessons come from one-and-a-half verses of scripture. If we looked at the next verse and a half, we might come up with five more lessons. Perhaps we will do that next week.

Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at wrjones2002@gmail.com. This column first appeared in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter News. 


    


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