It begins, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me…”
It ends, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
It’s the message of the upper room, Jesus’s last sermon. Food and foot washing flank conversation, conviction, and confusion. It is also Passover, and Jesus and the disciples share a meal worth more than fellowship. It’s a meal of remembrance; a remembrance with greater depth than the disciples are capable of understanding in that moment; a meal that will become a remembrance for a multitude of disciples for the rest of history.
When Jesus begins his final address to the disciples, it is already night, for John tells us that Judas went out into the night (13:30). Can you imagine what Jesus must feel? He knows he only has several hours left with his dear friends. The moment is ripe, but are the hearts of the disciples ready to receive words of hope in circumstances of horror?
John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 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.”
It’s sad and confusing news for the disciples. Jesus is jumping ship just when things get dicey, so it appears. Going to prepare a place? Isn’t Jesus needed in Jerusalem for the military takeover? But it’s not battle plans Jesus wants to discuss. He wants to build expectation and anticipation for His Kingdom. Soon enough the meaning of the night will become clear as the disciples watch him beaten and crucified. If the disciples are to have trouble-free hearts, Jesus must explain that this night will not be the end.
Do you have a memory of being a young child and waiting for something, giddy with excitement. Perhaps your father went to the airport to pick up your grandparents and you and your siblings ran around at home wild with expectation. When you tell something to a child who trusts you, that child fully expects that what you say will happen. There’s no doubting. No reasoning abilities to interfere with expectation. A child doesn’t rationalize, “What if Grandpa and Grandma missed their connection in the Houston airport?”
Jesus expects us to wait on him with the same certainty of hope. We wait for the little things with hope, and we wait on the final things with hope. He is going to prepare a place and he will come back to take us there. His plans will suffer no delays. No missed flights.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” In other words, this is not the end. It may seem like the end, but it is not. The end is a place with many rooms. When the blood begins to drip, Jesus wants his disciples to be confident of his return.