15 Jul Facing the Future – Words of Grace Blog – July 15, 2022
Jesus speaks a message of hope and peace to the person who is troubled about the future.
The disciples are sharing the last supper and Jesus tells them that he is going away. He says that where he is going, they cannot come (John 13-16). Immediately questions arise. Minds are confused and hearts become troubled. What will the future be for these men who have left everything to follow him?
In good times we can assume that the future is bright, and things will only get better. In times of disruption (like we are in now), we look at the future with deep concern. A troubled spirit can skew our perspective and spill over onto every area of life.
The disciples were troubled about a future without Jesus on earth. Peter protests and wants to know why he can’t follow Jesus to wherever he is going now (John 13:37). Thomas says he doesn’t know where Jesus is going, so how can he know the way there (John 14:5). To all the disciples, Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:10).
These words are the beginning of the Farewell Discourse in John 14-16. Here, Jesus gives two reasons for facing the future with a settled soul.
First, Jesus promises that the ultimate future will be with him, in the Father’s house, where we will dwell together. “I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and where I am you will be also” (John 14:3).
Do you believe in heaven? Do you believe that by faith in Jesus Christ you will someday, after you die, be with him in a dwelling place of perfection forever? Jesus calls us to believe in him and in the fact that we will be with him in the future.
Faith in Jesus and the promise of heaven needs to be nourished and will require regular reminders in our personal prayer time and our corporate worship gatherings (1 Thessalonians 4:18). If we are to face the future with hope and peace, we must rest our faith firmly on the promise of Jesus.
Second, Jesus provides instructions for the immediate future and how we are to live until he returns. In these chapters, Jesus tells us about his Spirit who will live in us, how to remain in life-giving relationship with him, prayer, obedience to him, love for one another, joy in tribulations, and mission in the world. His final words in the discourse are, “Take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Then, he prays for us (John 17).
Do you know what Jesus says about living today as a pilgrim progressing toward a future with him? Are you following him, with his people, into that future with genuine faith and focused obedience to him? This is the calling for the Christian today.
The troubled heart finds hope for the future in the promise of heaven and the provision for today that Jesus gives in his word. The future is in God’s hands. We walk into it by faith.
This week at Grace Community Church, we will begin our pilgrimage through the Farewell Discourse of Jesus. Pray for our congregation this weekend. Join us for worship Sunday.