When You’re Down: Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
5 November 2005
When You’re Down
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Have you ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong. It doesn’t make any difference how hard you try; it just seems that everything backfires on you? The harder you try, the worse it gets. I’m convinced that all of us have had days like that.
I want to tell you a story that may illustrate very well what I mean. It is about a lady at the airport who stopped in the shopping area to buy a Kit Kat candy bar to eat while she was waiting for her plane.
In the crowded waiting area she spied an empty seat at the end of one of the rows.
Rushing to get it, she quickly leaned her hang-up bag against it, placed her purse & several other small items on the table between her & a rather large man seated there, & then turned to straighten her hang-up bag. With everything finally in order, she was ready to eat her Kit Kat candy bar. But to her surprise, as she started to reach for it, she saw the man in the next seat unwrapping her Kit Kat candy bar, & she watched in utter amazement as he broke off a section & ate it. She thought, "Well, my goodness, I’ve never seen such gall." She glared at him, & he looked at her, but no words were exchanged. She was so furious at what he had done that she decided that if he was going to be that brazen about it, she could be brazen, too. So she reached over to him, broke off a piece & ate it herself. Then he broke off another piece & ate it. It became almost a duel between the two of them to see who would get the most. Quickly the candy bar was consumed, & she sat there just boiling that someone would be so rude & so presumptuous as to eat half of her candy bar. Well, after a few minutes of silence, the man got up & left & then came back with another Kit Kat candy bar. He unwrapped it, broke off a piece & started eating. She thought, "Well, since he ate half of mine, I’m going to eat half of his." So she reached over & broke off another piece & ate it. Once again the same scenario was repeated until the whole candy bar was gone. She sat there thinking, "This is the most ridiculous thing that has happened to me in all my life." She continued to glare at him, & he looked at her, with neither one saying a word. Just then, over the intercom came the announcement that her plane was ready for boarding. So she opened her purse to get her boarding pass &, to her utter embarrassment, there was her Kit Kat candy bar. She had eaten half of 2 of his candy bars, & her’s was still in her purse!
There are times, I suppose, when things really start to go wrong. Your whole world seems to be crumbling around you & you wonder what is going on. That is kind of the way the apostles are feeling as we come to the 14th chapter of John. They have been on a roller-coaster of emotions. Their week had begun gloriously with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, & people waving palm branches & shouting, "Hosanna to the King!" Even the chief priests who had been plotting against Jesus cried out in despair, "What can we do? The whole world has gone out after Him!"
But Jesus had not come to establish an earthly kingdom, & He refused the crown. Disappointed & stymied in their dreams of a Jewish kingdom with Jesus as their miracle-working king, the fickle crowd began to change. And soon the priests were once again seeking someone to betray Jesus into their hands. So as the 14th chapter of John opens, we see Jesus & His apostles in the upper room where they have eaten the Passover meal together.
Jesus knew exactly what the next few hours would bring. He knew that Judas would betray Him. He knew about the illegal trials of the night, & how troubled the apostles would be. He knew of the cross & the borrowed tomb. And He tried to prepare the apostles for all of that.
So He begins to comfort them.
Is there anyone who needs comfort here this morning? I know that there are. We lose loved ones. People lose jobs. Some have physical problems. Others are lonely & depressed. We experience all kinds of troubles.But Jesus says that part of the solution to a troubled heart is trust, & He tells His apostles to trust in 3 things.
First of all, trust in My presence.
Secondly, trust in My promises.
Thirdly, trust in My person.
I. TRUST IN MY PRESENCE
Listen to His words in vs. 1. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me."
What is Jesus saying there? Is He saying, "You trust in God, now it’s time to trust also in Me?" Or is He saying, "I know you trust in God, & you also trust in Me. Now remember, when you can no longer see Me, don’t stop trusting in Me." You see, we have always found it easier to trust in things that we can see & touch. We have a little bit of Thomas in us, don’t we? Remember, Thomas said, "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands & put my fingers where the nails were, & put my hand into His side, I will not believe it." So Jesus shows him & he believes. Jesus then said, "Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen & yet have believed."
The Bible teaches us that the things we can see are only temporary. The automobile in which you rode to church today, if it is still where you parked it, is temporary. This building, the pews on which you are sitting, this pulpit, all are temporary. All are subject to decay.
The story is told about a busy mother who put her two children to bed. After tucking them in & listening to their prayers, she bid them good night & heaved a sigh of relief saying, "At last, I can have some time to myself." So she went into the bathroom, took a nice warm shower, & washed her hair. Stepping out of the shower, she put on her old robe, wrapped her head in a towel, applied a thick layer of white moisturizer to her face, & then headed for the den. But just then she heard sounds of commotion & a pillow fight going on in the boy’s bedroom. Irritated, she threw open their door, said, "You kids get right back in bed & don’t make another sound." Then she turned off the light & slammed the door. The two kids turned to each other & said, "Who was that?"
We look in the mirror & see our aging bodies, & realize that they are temporary, too. All the things you can see & touch, are only here for a little while & then are gone. But the things you can’t see last forever.
This is a hard lesson for us to learn, isn’t it? Yet it is an important lesson, because when we face troubles & difficulties in life, we need to remember as Christians that Jesus has promised, "Lo, I am with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Trust in My presence."
II. TRUST IN MY PROMISES
Then vs. 2 begins some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible. Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
God gave many promises both in the Old & the New Testaments. He promised the children of Israel a land where there would be milk & honey. It took a while for the promise to be fulfilled, but finally it was fulfilled. He promised a Messiah, & that took a long time. But it, too, was fulfilled. Jesus the Savior was born. Now God promises that He is coming back for us. Someday we’ll be with Him forever & ever. Sometimes we grow impatient, but the scripture says, "You can trust in the promises of God. This promise will be fulfilled, too."
The Bible uses a lot of different words to describe heaven. In one place it is called "a country" indicating the vastness of heaven. In another it is called "a city" indicating the number of inhabitants. It is called "a kingdom" indicating that there is a governmental structure to it all. It is called "paradise" indicating its beauty & desirability. But here it is called, "My Father’s house," & that is another way of saying, "It is home." Home is a place where you can be yourself. Home is where you can take off your necktie & kick off your shoes. Home is where you can say what you are thinking.Home is where you’re always accepted & loved.
You’re not just a guest. You are a resident. You live there. That is home.