Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.…
The disciples had been like lambs carried in the bosom of a loving shepherd. They were now about to be left by Him, and would be among the wolves and the terrors of the snowstorm. Frequently after conversion God, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, gives a period of repose; but for all of us there will come a time of trouble. Albeit that bark so lately launched upon a glassy sea has all her streamers flying, and rejoices in a favourable wind, let her captain remember that the sea is treacherous and that the stoutest vessel may find it more than difficult to outride a hurricane. But without due trial where would be our experience, and without the experience where increase of faith and triumph of love? We have each —
1. A share of home trials.
2. Trials arising from the Church of God. In the best-ordered Church it must needs be that offences come.
3. Worst of all are soul troubles. Note that the advice of the text is —
I. TIMELY AND WISE. There is no need to say, "Let not your heart be troubled," when you are not in affliction. When all things go well with you, you will need, "Let not your heart be exalted." Now, it is the easiest thing in times of difficulty to let the heart be troubled, to give up and drift with the stream. Our Lord bids us pluck up heart, and here is the wisdom of His advice, namely —
1. That a troubled heart will not help us in our difficulties or out of them. In time of drought lamentations have never brought showers. A man whose business was declining never multiplied his customers by unbelief. It is a dark night, but the darkness of your heart will not light a candle for you.
2. A doubting, fretful spirit takes from us the joys we have. You have not all you could wish, but you have still more than you deserve, and far more than some others; health perhaps, God certainly. There are flowers that bloom in winter if we have but grace to see them.
3. A troubled heart makes that which is bad worse. It magnifies, aggravates, caricatures. Unbelief makes out our difficulties to be most gigantic, and then it leads us to suppose that never soul had such difficulties before. But think of Baxter, Calvin, the martyrs, St. Paul, Christ.
4. A troubled heart is most dishonourable to God. It makes the Christian suspect eternal faithfulness and to doubt unchangeable love. Is this a little thing? The mischief of the Christian Church at large is a want of holy confidence in God. When once an army is demoralized by a want of spirit and the soldier assured that he cannot win the day, then the conclusion is that every man had better take care of himself and fly. But as long as we do not lose heart we have not lost the day.
II. PRACTICABLE. "Let not your heart be troubled." "Oh," says somebody, "that's easy to say but hard to do." Here's a man who has fallen into a deep ditch, and you say to him, "Don't be troubled about it." "Ah," says he, "that's very pretty for you that are standing up there, but how am I to be at ease while up to my neck in mire?" But if Jesus says it our heart need not be troubled.
1. He indicates that our resort must be to faith. If in thy worst times thou wouldst keep thy head above water, the swimming belt must be faith. In the olden times how were men kept from perishing but by faith (Hebrews 11)? There is nothing which it cannot do, but what can you do if you do not trust your God? and surely it ought not to be difficult for a child to believe his father.
2. The Saviour goes on to say, "You believe in God"; exercise that same faith with regard to the case in hand. The case in hand was this — could they rest upon One who was about to be crucified? "You have believed God about other things, exercise that same faith about this." You have believed God concerning pardon, believe God about the child, the wife, the money.
3. It ought to be a great deal easier for us to live above heart trouble than it was to the apostles.
(1) You have experience.
(2) You have received the Holy Spirit.
(3) You have the whole of Scripture, which they had not.
III. PRECIOUS. Remember that the loving advice —
1. Came from Jesus. The mother says to the child, "Do not cry, child; be patient." That sounds very differently from what it would have done if the schoolmaster or a stranger had spoken. His own face was towards the Cross, He was about to be troubled as never man was troubled. It is as if He wanted to monopolize all tears.
2. It points to Jesus. If you want comfort you must hear Jesus say, "Believe also in Me." No place for a child's aching head like its mother's bosom. No shadow of a great rock in this weary land like our Saviour's love consciously overshadowing us.
3. It speaks of Jesus. "In My Father's house," etc. Jesus is here seen in action. Think of all He said and did, and what He is doing for us now.
4. It hints that we are to be with Jesus forever. "An hour with my God," says the hymn, "will make up for it all." So it will; but what will an eternity with our God be?
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.