MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on belief. How does abandonment lead to belief? What does it mean to believe? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for 4th Sunday of Easter to find out what this all means. Please read John 10:1-10. #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #TrustingGod #EASTER (This is a repodcast of a reflection from May 18, 2014. My Spiritual Advisor is off this week.)
MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 5/18/2014 The 5th Sunday of Easter.
Please pause this audio and read John 14:1-20 .
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Right. O. K. WHATever. That is so easy for the God-man to say. Jesus says this to the very men who have followed him to be hated by the Jewish leaders, to be held suspect by the Roman government, to be mocked by their communities, and to cause confusion in their families. Now, he drops a bomb just before the passage for this 5th Sunday of Easter. He says, “I am going to leave you.” For three years he has lead them on this Messianic journey that they still think is going to end in military or political uprising, as we can see from Peter’s comments in the passage that precedes this one. In their mind, Jesus is saying, “OK, you are on your own from here!”
As the reader, aren’t we just a little tempted to think of the context that we know, but the disciples don’t? Aren’t we allowed to say, “OK, well, as the people are chasing Peter around the warming fires of the Temple and in the garden, and as Jesus is being crucified with the probability that his followers would be crucified, too, as was the Roman custom, we will keep in mind that they “should not let their hearts be troubled.”
When you ARE God, you know. When you are human, you understand that you are limited and you do not know completely. You have to trust. That is what Jesus is calling on here. He is asking them to trust. He says, “believe.”
Sometimes, no, almost every time, we use the word “believe” in our culture, we mean an intellectual understanding of what someone is talking about and a trust in them as a credible source. Yet, belief in the case of Jesus’ words is more than just intellectual assent and knowledge of a credible source. “Believe” here means that we are willing to take credible action even when the emotions tell us not to do so. “Believe” means that we trust him. “Believe” means we more than trust, we are willing to recognize him as the God of the universe.
This statement, “Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me,” comes as Jesus is seemingly abandoning the apostles to certain destruction at the hands of Romans, Jews, community and family. It is a clarion call in this context to not let our faith be moved backwards and forwards by our emotions. Belief is more than acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God, even the Devil does that. Belief is having integrated the truth of who Jesus Christ is in our everyday life, making decisions and acting on them based on that fact.
For example, Jesus tells us that in his Father’s house there are many rooms and he goes to prepare a place for us. This means that our place is in heaven. We don’t need the bigger car. We don’t need the bigger bank account. We don’t need to climb the ladder. We don’t need to be the future, relive the past, or right all the bad decisions we have made. I can live simply with what I need and know that there is nothing deficient about me.
Being a child of heaven means that our identity is not tied to the words that peoples say. Our worth is not commensurate with the salary we make. Our value is not based upon what we have achieved or the awards we have won. Our value is based on the fact that God has made us. He thinks we are worth dying for. He values us enough that he has deemed us worthy of entry into heaven. So, people can say what they want. They can overlook us at our employee evaluation time. They can overlook us when they keep us off the award stand. We are children of God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Our worth is not tied to wins and losses. It is tied to our life lived with a foundation named Jesus Christ.
All of the things we usually base our worth on are things that cannot go to the grave with us. Belief in Christ is something that not only goes to our grave with us, it also leads us to heaven. Even more than that, with the found of Jesus Christ as the definition of our worth, as the context for our life and actions, we do not have to do what other people think, other people want, other people demand. We only have to do what God wants. There is freedom in that.
There was a sixteen year old boy whose father never participated in his life. This young man was constantly trying to keep his family happy and please everyone around him. It could not be done, but he was trying. It led him to be depressed and deeply hurt. One day, the choir director at his high school asked him if he would sing in the church choir because the choir director needed tenors. The young man agreed, because he wanted to please his choir director. That evening, when the young man sat in the choir loft and began to sing, his sight went cloudy and he felt the hand of God on the back of his head. He suddenly realized that the only person he had to please was God. All the others, they would have to wait in line. He had a freedom that he had never known. The chains of his own hell were broken.
We, too, can have that freedom. We can live a life that has the proper priority: Jesus. We can have a freedom that allows us to forge on no matter what our emotions are. If we are sad, Jesus is our comforter. If we are happy, Jesus is our companion. If we are confused, Jesus is the way. If we are living a lie, Jesus is the Truth. If we feel dead and lifeless, Jesus is the life. He is not with us in the physical sense. Yet, he is with us through the Spirit that whispers to us, like we talked about last week.
Do you want a freedom to live life without weights that hold you down? If so, then believe in Jesus Christ. Trust him. Know him. Make decisions based upon him as the Truth. Act on those decisions.
Do you have any decisions to make in your life right now? If so, how does trusting in God and knowing that you are destined for heaven change your choices? How does trusting in Jesus Christ and knowing he is with you help you decide what to do? Decide now. Do it. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Amen? Amen.
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