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Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–Words Of Strength [2]

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–Words Of Strength [2]

John 14. 5-14

If you address an audience with word of comfort, there will always be a listening ear. Speaking a word of consolation to an individual can be refreshment to their soul. When the Lord Jesus addressed His disciples, He had a room full of young men who were deeply troubled. In this article, we will resume considering the confusion and sadness that the disciples were experiencing in the upper room and how the Lord sought to comfort their troubled hearts.

V5-7 – The Way to the Father

The disciples were troubled due to their lack of humility, the fact of a betrayer, the mystery of his identity, the Lord’s impending departure and the predicted denial of Peter. But as always, the Lord is able to meet the need of a troubled heart.

He appeals to their need to simply trust Him in what is happening. He is going to prepare a place for them. His departure will ultimately end in His coming for them so that they could be in the Father’s house with Him.

As the Lord mentions that they know where He is going, Thomas is perplexed. He has a question about where Jesus was going and the way. In 13:33, 36 the Lord has stated that the disciples wouldn’t be coming with Him presently. Perhaps Thomas thought it was impossible for them to be in the dwelling place of God, or he was confused by the fact that the Lord called the earthly temple “My Father’s house” (2:16). Whatever the case, the Lord Jesus reassures that He is not only the revelation of the Father, but the pathway to the Father. Though He was departing, He was their hope for the future. In our catastrophes, may we realize He is our only hope and proceed to draw near (Isa 57:15).

V8-14 – Seeing the Son is seeing the Father

Next, the troubled heart of the disciple can rest in the fact that by seeing the Son, they have seen the Father. Philip’s question in v8 arises from this statement by the Lord. Jesus explains that the Son and the Father’s words and works are so intertwined that the one who has seen the Son has seen the Father. His miracles proved this. A troubled heart can be lifted by knowing that the deeper its knowledge about the Son, the deeper its insights about the Father. As we learn about our God, we find Him reliable, trustworthy and sovereign. In the storms of life, there is refuge in humbling oneself under the mighty hand of God (1 Pe 5:6-7).

Cheering their spirits was the declaration that the apostles would be involved in greater works. Not independently, but as Mark’s longer ending states, “the Lord working with them” (Mk 16:20). What were these greater works? They couldn’t be miracles, because the Lord did greater miracles in the gospels than the apostles in the Acts. One greater work was to add Matthias, a faithful twelfth apostle, to the group. Another was to see 3,000 saved through one preaching event. Yet another was carrying the gospel out of a tiny radius throughout the Roman Empire and beyond! You too can reach many worldwide through modern means of communication, both build up believers and spread the gospel.

Great comfort is found in v13-14. This is also one of the greatest abused or misunderstood verses in the Scriptures by modern evangelicals in Christendom. The context helps us to deal with this. Notice the progression from verse 8 onward when Philip asks about the Father. The Son was the outward expression of the Father through, among other things, doing His Father’s works. Now the Son wants to see the same happen with Himself and the disciples He is leaving behind. The disciples will do the works of the Son, and whatever the disciples ask in accordance with the Son, the Son will do for them. What you and I ask the Son to do, if He is to do it, then it must be in accordance with His character, person and will. “In my name” is no magic formula. It only expresses that what is prayed seeks to be in keeping with the Son and what He would do and desire.

What a balm for the weary heart! The Son has departed, but He is still working. In prayer and trial, the Son has not forgotten about you, just as He didn’t forget His disciples. A trial that continues to weigh heavily is a trial that God allowed for our good and His glory. A trial that passes is cause for rejoicing and worship. When a prayer is answered, we know it was “in My name” and His will is done. When a prayer is unanswered, in this too we know that His will is done.

He always wins who sides with God,

To him no chance is lost;

God’s will is sweetest to him, when

It triumphs at his cost.

FW Faber (1814-63)

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