Untouchable Peace: A Sermon on John 14

Hi! I’m Paul O’Brien, one of the pastors at Ontario Christian Fellowship. I’m glad you’re checking out this sermon.

I wish I could see you. I think of John’s words from 1 John: “I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” This is a little awkward… But I’m super thankful to God for technology.

Alright, let’s pray together…

Intro

Within the past seven days, a lot has changed…

  • Kids our home
  • Many are working from home
  • Restaurants, bars, libraries, and all sorts of businesses are closed
  • Travel is restricted
  • We are unable to visit our loves ones in nursing homes
  • And you’re at home

This is an unprecedented situation.

Many hearts are heavy.

Yet, Jesus emphatically said in John 14 verse 1 and in John 14 verse 27, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

That’s the passage we’re looking at. John 14…

Jesus’ closest friend’s hearts were troubled and many of our hearts are troubled. So, that’s the first point we want to look at…

1. Hearts are troubled 

(for them🙂 Jesus’ death was imminent

Jesus has just had the Last Supper with His disciples (ch. 13) and He is continuing to talk with them after supper.

Jesus knew the disciples were troubled. He saw it in their faces and He knows the reality of what they would face. He had just told them some of what would happen. We see some of those things in chapter 13.

  • Jesus will be betrayed by a close friend (13:2)
  • Jesus is leaving (13:33)
  • Peter, the strongest among them, will deny Jesus (13:38)
  • This all comes right after Jesus rode into Jerusalem and crowds of people were crying out: “Hosanna!” So, this is a real downer in light of all of their expectations and they Pharisees are especially made at Jesus and His followers (12:12-19)

And so, not surprisingly, Jesus’ friends were troubled. They were likely dealing with a medley of emotions.[i] They were sad, ashamed, perplexed, wavering, and maybe even mad.

Our context is different but it is also troubling. The reason for our hearts being troubled is…

(for us🙂 Unknown future

We don’t know what might happen. Some might fear…

  • Death
  • Heartbreak
  • Financial ruin for yourself, your family, and the country
  • Societal chaos
  • Sickness
  • Global crisis

That’s the context… There is real-life trouble.

And just like Jesus with the disciples, Jesus knows the trouble we face. Think about that for a second…

Jesus knew about the disciples’ trouble. He did not just know, however. He also cared. Jesus was about to be

betrayed, denied, beaten, and crucified. Yet, He cared for the disciples. He cared for them and comforted them with truth.

Jesus cares about you too. He may feel distant but He is not. He cares and He gives us untouchable peace, at great price to Himself, as we will see.

Jesus did not say, “Deny the trouble.” He said, “Don’t be troubled.”

How? In light of the trouble we are facing, how can we not be troubled?

Look with me at verse 1 again: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” 

What does Jesus mean by “troubled”?

Ill. I think of boogie boarding with Uriah at Virginia Beach. We were having a great time but the waves starting to get more and more powerful. We kept trying to catch a wave but the waves were catching us.

I remember one specific wave that picked us up, flipped us over, and sent us crashing to the ocean floor. I remember being flipped and thinking, I wonder when I’ll be in control again… The wave smashed my head into the hard ocean bottom and I felt a crack in my neck. It was painful.

We don’t want our hearts slammed around like that.

When Jesus says, “troubled” He makes us think of the sea when it is troubled, when it is waging about. Or when a crowd is stirred up and on the verge of a riot (cf. Acts 17:8, 13). The term is used in Mark 6:50 when the disciples are terrified when they see Jesus walking on the water in the midst of the storm. What was their response when they saw Jesus walking on the water? They thought He was a ghost and they were, not surprisingly, terrified.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be like that. He does not want us to have turmoil. He doesn’t want us to be like a chaotic sea. He wants our hearts to be calm.

Notice Jesus doesn’t say, let not your finances be troubled… let not your body be troubled… Jesus’ concern here is with hearts.

So, Jesus doesn’t want us to have troubled, anxious, hearts. But, how? As we have seen, there are actually things to be concerned about as there was for the disciples when Jesus.

What’s the remedy for troubled hearts?

TS: Jesus gives us untouchable peace so we don’t need to be troubled.

But how can we have untouchable peace? Jesus helps us. We see in our next point that…

2. Hearts are cared for

Jesus does not just say, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” And just leave it at that. Jesus gives solid reasons why we don’t have to be troubled. Jesus alone gives us the ground for His command in verse 1 and 27 where He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled—not the government, not your money, not your age or health.[ii] Jesus gives us the reasons for untouchable peace.

First, Jesus cares for our hearts by showing us we have reason to…

  • Trust (v. 2-4)

Look at verses 2-4:

“You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

We can have confidence not because we are self-reliant and we ourselves are so great. We can have confidence because we believe in God.

Jesus says, “You believe in God, believe in me too.” These are actually commands. Jesus is saying, “Continue to trust in God, continue to trust in me!”

When we heed Jesus’ command that is when we realize more and more that our hearts don’t need to be troubled. Why? Because we believe that there is a God in heaven who is not only powerful but also good and loving. And we believe in Jesus and what He has said and done. And when we believe, when we trust God and His character and in Jesus who shows us the definitive picture of God, then we can have calm hearts no matter the storm that rages.

Ill. Picture a small child in a thunderstorm… They cry and are troubled in heart unitl… Until their good father walks into their room and comforts them as they cry and consoles them and tells them they are safe.

That is us. We trust God and it comforts our frightened hearts.

We can trust God, because like any good father, He has demonstrated time and time again His goodness.

Jesus’ message to us is, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mk. 5:36).

The remedy that Jesus gives to troubled hearts is trust. Trust in God. Trust in His character.

Faith is how we fight fear.

One of the things we are to trust Jesus on, is that He Himself has made preparations for us. He Himself has made a way for us because He Himself is the way.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus has prepared a place for us, that’s what v. 2 says. He made a way for us by the sacrifice of Himself. Do we trust Him? Do we care about what He has bought for us? Or are we so worried about our tent here that we are troubled in heart about what might happen to it?

We need to see and trust that Jesus has provided that which is ultimate. In light of Jesus providing what is ultimate, we can relax regarding the things that are penultimate.

On earth, we have a mere tent because we’re just passing through. We have a home, an eternal mansion and perfect city, waiting for us. Jesus reminds us to trust Him that that is the case.

Ill. Paul David Tripp gives a helpful illustration. Think about living as a camper. The sole point of camping is to make you thankful for home. At first you love your portable dwelling called a tent. You have pilgrim delusions. You enjoy that first meal cooked over the campfire.

You say, ‘Doesn’t food cooked over an open flame taste so much better?’ You love that first night in that tent, hearing animal sounds in the distance. But three days later, you complain about the gritty food and complain that your back hurts from sleeping on the hard ground.

The tent has taken on sub-human odors.

You dream of your bed at home.

You long for a stove that turns on with a click.

You think that one of God’s sweetest gifts is a toilet that flushes.

And you hope someone in your family will say, ‘Let’s go home early!’

That’s the way we’re supposed to think. We should say to ourselves, ‘This is not all there is. There’s more to come.’

We’re not left to camp forever! I’m in an earthly tent now, but one day, I’ll be in a heavenly mansion.[iii] Jesus has provided a place for us!

Jesus is going away from His disciples that is true, but He goes as on an errand. He only goes to prepare a place. Jesus set heaven before the disciples and He set Himself before them as the way to it—the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to the Father. That’s what the disciples had to believe.

However, we know Jesus is the way. We already know of the reality Jesus’ death and resurrection and so we have more solid grounds to hope and believe. Listen to this from Romans 8:32:

“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”

Do you see the logic there? We believe in a God who gave His Son for us, we believe in a Messiah that freely laid down His life for us to prepare a place for us, what will God not graciously do for us?! That’s the God we believe in!

When we believe, it results in us not having troubled hearts!

So, the first remedy to troubled hearts is to believe and trust God and Jesus Christ who He sent.

The next way Jesus cares for us is by reminding us that

  • We have the Spirit and so we’re not orphans (v. 16-18)

Ill. Often when friends part they say, ‘Keep in touch” or ‘Let’s talk soon.” They used to say, “Write often.”

Jesus says, “I will be with you.”

So He leaves but He’s not really gone…

We’re not left on our own to face unknown challenges on our own. No. We have the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Advocate, and the Counselor to be with us always. We don’t know what we might face in the days, and weeks, and months ahead—just like the disciples didn’t know—but we do know that we have the help of the Spirit with us at all times.

Because that’s what Jesus tells us. Look at verses 16-18:

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Sometimes children are sadly left as orphans when their parent or parents die. This is obviously a tragic situation. Jesus comforts His followers by reassuring them that that will never happen to them. For Jesus will send the Holy Spirit to be with them.

And so we see, the Advocate, the Spirit will be with us forever. So, we can be sure no matter what we face He will be with us.

He will be with us, in us, and by our side. He is as the sap in a tree, the blood in our veins, the wind in our sails. We are not left alone but have life and power through the Spirit.

So, thus far, we have seen that we can have untouchable peace instead of troubled hearts because we trust God, we’re not left on our own, and next, we see that no matter what happens…

  • We will live with Jesus (v. 19, 28-29)

Look with me at verses 19 and then 28-29:

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.”

Jesus Himself as the way, the truth, and the life, is ever the cause of our spiritual life. Because He lives, we can also live.

It is true, brothers and sisters, that we don’t know what will happen. That is the truth. But we don’t have to be troubled because we have hope that transcends this world.

Because Jesus lives—and He Himself is the way, the truth, and the life—if we trust Him and live for Him in repentance as our Lord—we will be with Him. Jesus lives forevermore and those who trust Him will live forevermore too.

In verse 28, Jesus even says that we should be glad that He goes because we should realize how awesome and glorious it is that He goes to be with God our Father.

And in verse 29 we see that Jesus told His disciples about this so that they would believe.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus did die. That is a historical truth. But Jesus did not stay dead. He rose from the dead. He is with the Father.

He told His disciples beforehand so that they would not tremble in fear and have troubled hearts but instead believe.

And that’s what happened! They saw the resurrected Lord and they received the Holy Spirit and they believed! And they did not tremble, they did not have troubled hearts, but they boldly believed.

We too must boldly believe. We too must not tremble in fear no matter the challenges we face.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus rose from the dead, conquered sin and death, and so we can be bold, loving, compassionate, and continue to trust the Lord even in the face of the coronavirus.

And that’s actually what our Lord Jesus commands us to do. He commands us to “not let our hearts be troubled in both v. 1 and v. 27. We are going to look at v. 27 now and that verse tells us that…

  • We have peace (v. 27)

Please look at verse 27 with me:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What should Jesus leave to His disciples that have left all to follow Him? Money, gold, property? No. But He left them what is infinitely better, His peace.[iv]

As a dying parent leaves all their treasure to their child, Jesus gives us His peace. The peace the Lord Jesus gives through His death is peace, total peace, shalom, with God, with one another, and peace in our own hearts. Our hearts no longer need to be troubled, no longer need to be afraid.

Peace, true peace, does not come from circumstances. It doesn’t come from money or even health.

Jesus is the one that gives true peace.

And He gives it. We do not earn it.

Look at verse 27 again…

“Peace”

“I”

“leave”

“with”

“you”

And if we didn’t get it the first time, Jesus says, “my peace…” It’s not our peace. It’s His. He gives it freely to us.

“I do not give to you as the world gives.”

How is the peace that Jesus gives different from what the world gives?

Peace from the world is often flippant. We throw up the peace sign all the time. We wish others well… We say, “I hope you’re well.” But Jesus delivers. Jesus does not give a formality but a real and actual blessing of peace. He doesn’t just say, “’Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

The peace of the world is faded and flawed. Whereas the peace that Jesus gives us such a peace that the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away.[v]

Much of the peace of the world is a sugar pill that is secretly poisoned. Pleasure, power, and money seem sweet, seem like the remedy we seek but in the end our empty. Further, the world gives peace that relates only to our physical bodies and time but Jesus gives eternal material and immaterial peace.

Peace from the world is temporary and very often based upon a payment system. For example, if you want the peace and protection of a place to live you have to pay for it. That, however, is different than the eternal home that the Lord Jesus graciously provides.

Peace at the time of Jesus and the Apostles was Pax Romana, that is, Roman peace. There was peace in Rome. But do you know how that peace came? Do you know the cost of that peace?

That peace was built on the foundation of caskets and tombstones. It has been said, that “Romans regarded peace, not as an absence of war, but the rare situation which existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist.” Rome during the Pax Romana still killed and in fact crucified many. I have read about 1,000 slaves being crucified at one time.

The Romans brought peace through death. They brought peace through trampling their enemies. Jesus, in contrast, brings eternal peace by Himself being crucified.

Peace from the world is limited in scope.

We often give up peace for peace. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says in The Cost of Discipleship, “when we seek for security in possessions we are trying to drive out care with care, and the net result is the precise opposite of our anticipations.” So, money may take away some cares and bring more peace in some regards but then you also have more to worry about.

There is ultimate peace in the Lord Jesus. Other things that give us peace, also paradoxically, bring more cares and fears.

Jesus, however, gives untouchable peace. He gives peace that the world cannot give. To say it succinctly, Jesus gives peace that the coronavirus, and no earthly thing, can take away (see Rom. 8:35-39).

So, how are we to respond?

TS: Jesus has cared for our hearts. He has shown us various reasons (some of which we did not look at) why our hearts don’t need to be troubled. That gets us to our last point…

We can have untouchable peace because, through Jesus,…

3. Hearts are saved

After Jesus comforts His disciples and shows them why they can trust and not be troubled He says, “Come now; let us leave.”

Jesus has a mission to do. And so He sets out to what’s ahead. He lingers and talks further with His disciples but all the while He’s pressing ahead for the hour ahead, the hour of glory, the hour of suffering. The time when He would be lifted up upon the cross, that He would draw all types of people, people from every nation, to Himself (Jn. 3:14; 12:32).

It is because Jesus left His disciples, left His friends, was betrayed, denied by one of His closest friends, crucified, and exalted that we can have peace in the presence of God.[vi]

We can have untouchable peace, we can now have friendship with God, because there was a time when Messiah Jesus felt His wrath.

It is through Jesus being forsaken by God[vii] that the temple curtain is ripped in two (Mk. 15:38)[viii] and we can now, through Jesus Christ, boldly go to God our Father (Heb. 9:2–3, 12; 9:24; 10:19–20).[ix]

Jesus died in agony, crying out, “My God, my God! Why have You forsaken me?!” so that we could die in peace. Jesus cried His forsaken cry so that all who trust in Him will not have to for all eternity.[x]

Jesus died in the dark. Thirsty. Forsaken by God.

So that we can be comforted by the Holy Spirit no matter what comes. So that we never have to cry out in agony, “God, You have forsaken me!”

It is through Jesus being forsaken that He opens the way for whosoever will to come to God through the way that He made. Jesus is the way (Ps. 118:20; Jn. 14:6).

Jesus has brought us untouchable, eternal, peace freely at great cost to Himself. So, let’s be the people of peace that He’s called us to be. Let’s share toilet paper, stay in our houses, or do whatever is wise and loving.

Jesus Himself is our peace (Eph. 2:14). Jesus brings peace to those who are far off and peace to those who are near. For through Him we all have access to the Father by the one Holy Spirit (v. 17-18).

And so, Jesus says:

To you, my disciples and followers, that are exposed to troubles, and have need of peace; come and receive peace from me. I have bought it and I freely give. Come, trust in me and be free. Receive peace. Rest your troubled hearts.

We must not let fear rule our hearts. Jesus gives us solid reasons for resisting the lordship of fear, Jesus is the Lord and He has brought peace. So, don’t look at life through the lens of fear. Don’t live life with fear goggles on. Live life through the lens of peace.

Fear forgets. Fear does not trust. Fear forgets and disregards the perfect peace that Jesus purchased for us. May we never forget such a precious gift!

Let’s pray…

Father, we know as it says in Isaiah 26 that you keep those who trust You in perfect peace because they trust in You.

For You, LORD are the eternal rock.

So, Father help us to trust in You.

Help us not to be anxious about anything, but whatever we face, help us be prayerful and thankful and make our request to You.

And as we do that may Your peace God, which surpasses all understanding,  guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

And Father in the midst of the chaos and all the scary news that we see, help us to think on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely.

We ask this Father because we know, as it says in Romans 8:6, that the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

We want to be governed not by our flesh, but by Your Spirit.

We know that Your Kingdom is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We want the peace, the joy, the righteousness that only You can give.

Father, we confess, we believe, help our unbelief. Help us to trust you more and more.

And Father we thank You that you are the God of peace.

And we thank You for “the gospel of peace;” that Jesus made peace through His blood shed on the cross; that Jesus is Himself our peace.

We thank You that those who have been freely justified through faith have peace with You through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank You for the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

And we ask that You would help us to carry out the ministry of reconciliation that You have called us to; that we would be agents of peace in this broken and needy world.

So, we ask for a fresh empowering of Your Spirit.

We need Your empowering presence.

We need the fruit that can only come from the Spirit.

We are in need of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We ask You now Father that You, the God of love and peace, will be with us; that You Yourself will give us peace at all times and in every way.

Lord be with all of us.

It is in Jesus’ name we ask this.

Amen.[xi]

Benediction

I want to read our benediction from Romans 15:13:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Now go, or rather stay, in the peace of the Lord Jesus.

Amen.

Discussion Questions

  • Read over John chapter 14.
  • What are some specific things about what we are facing right now as individuals, as a country, and collectively as the world that is troubling to you?
  • What are some reasons Jesus gives why we don’t need to have troubled hearts that Paul pointed out from John 14?
  • What are some other reasons Jesus gives why we don’t need to have troubled hearts that Paul didn’t point out from John 14?
  • How is “untouchable peace” made available? And why is this peace different from the peace the world gives?
  • How can you help and encourage others with troubled hearts?
  • How will you face the day differently in light of what you have gleaned from John 14?

_____________

[i] William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, 263.

[ii] Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, 263.

[iii] Paul David Tripp, “Appearance is everything: reclaiming God’s image in an image-obsessed culture.” 

[iv] See Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 5, 903.

[v] Henry, Commentary, 904.

[vi] Cf. Colin G. Kruse, John, 292.

[vii] It is not as if Jesus just “feels forsaken by God as though this were an understandable mistake. What Jesus experiences is the concrete fact that he has been left to suffer and die. God has, in this sense, abandoned him, not merely in psychological experience but in the form of the concrete situation that Jesus experiences” (Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity, 257).

[viii] “The curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was an elaborately woven fabric of 72 twisted plaits of 24 threads each. It was 60 feet (18 m) high and 30 feet (9.1 m) wide. No one was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the curtain except the high priest, and he only once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Heb. 9:2–7). Torn in two signifies the removal of the separation between God and the people” (The ESV Study Bible note on Matt. 27:51).

[ix] As D.A. Carson has said, “At the very moment when Jesus gives up his spirit (v. 50), Matthew reports, ‘The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom’ (v. 51a). This is not some mere datum of interesting destruction. The destruction of the curtain makes a theological statement” (D.A. Carson, Scandalous, 34).

[x] D.A. Carson, Scandalous, 36.

[xi] cf. Is. 26:3-7; Eph. 2:14-17; 6:15; Rom. 5:1, 8-11; 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:16; Col. 1:19-22; 2 Cor. 13:11; Acts 10:36; 2 Cor. 5:18-21.

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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