Our Hearts Are Troubled

Pastor Jon Brohn

Worship Series: Change of Plans
Worship Theme: Our Hearts Are Troubled

Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 2:4-10 (EHV)
Gospel & Sermon Text: John 14:1-12 (EHV)
Hymns & Songs: CW 356 You Are the Way; through You Alone, Blessings, CWS 759 Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled, Abide With Me, CW 367 Christ Be My Leader (in worship folder)
Message Notes & Growth Group Questions
Children’s Bulletin
Children’s Activity Sheet

Our Hearts Are Troubled

My dear friends in Christ,

What do we do when our plans fall through? A few weeks ago, we joined the Emmaus disciples in taking a walk, and what a walk that turned out to be! We saw how God’s Word gives us hope when our plans change, and we can be sure Jesus walks with us every step of the way. Last week, Pastor Jake shared what we do when we don’t want to listen to our Good Shepherd’s voice. So many distractions, so many opportunities to focus on ourselves, but Jesus’ voice cuts through everything and he calls us to follow him. His voice is so loving, so gentle, and we follow him through the darkest valleys to be with him forever.

Today, we continue our series on Change of Plans by asking the question, “What happens when our plans fall through and our hearts are troubled?”

Jesus comments on that in the first verse of John 14. “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1 EHV). Why would the disciples’ hearts be troubled? Plenty of reasons. Jesus had just done something crazy, even unacceptable. The Teacher became a servant! He took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel around his waist, and washed their feet. Once Jesus had washed their feet, he shared a troubling announcement, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: One of you will betray me” (John 13:21 EHV). The revelation bewildered the disciples. Each one asked, “Is it I, Lord?” Jesus piled on another troubling statement: “Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come” (John 13:33 EHV). These people had been with Jesus for 3 ½ years, and now he’s saying that they can’t be together? Troubling! Jesus shared a final, troubling prediction for Peter: “Will you really lay down your life for me? Amen, Amen, I tell you: The rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times” (John 13:38 EHV).

Four incredibly troubling statements. The disciples didn’t know what to say. They didn’t know what to do. Their hearts were in turmoil over what Jesus had done and said. They were disturbed that one of them could betray Jesus. They were agitated at the thought of Peter denying his Lord.

Stop and take an honest look at your heart. All kinds of plans have fallen through, especially now in the month of May. How are your hearts troubled?

I thought about my Senior year of high school—spring sports, spending lots of time with friends, hanging out together on weekends. My heart is troubled—it hurts for you, seniors.

I looked at the May calendar last year and how full it was (just like every May) here at Salem. Confirmation. First communion. Track meet. Play nights. Field trips. Band & piano recitals. Olympic day. Last day of school. Graduation. My heart is troubled—it is concerned for our confirmands and students.

I watched the news reports about unemployment, benefits not being received, people being evicted from their apartments, and budgets blown thanks to COVID-19. My heart is troubled—it is anxious for everyone who is struggling financially.

I witness how the “Stay at Home” order affects families. Parents frustrated with online school and online work. Children miss their sports and other activities. Spouses amplify abusive behaviors since they are home together so much. Distance keeps us from seeing the people that we love. My heart is troubled—it is distressed over families and relationships.

Maybe the things that trouble our hearts are the everyday struggles that have nothing to do with the huge change of plans we’ve experienced. Has your depression gone even deeper and darker being stuck at home? Does your struggle with self-medication continue despite all the changes going on around us? Is your faith floundering in the middle of this whole mess—wondering how God could let things go so bad so quickly?

Our hearts are troubled. Each of us is hurting over something different. Today Jesus gives us a clear command: “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1 EHV). He doesn’t leave it at that. He offers 3 things to calm our troubled hearts. Here’s the first one: JESUS HAS A PLAN. “Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that you may also be where I am” (John 14:1–3 EHV).

“Believe in God.” “My Father has a plan. He had it before time began. He knew what was going to happen this very night, and it’s all part of the plan!” “Believe also in me.” “I’ve been part of the plan from the very beginning. Everything my Father planned, I am doing. I’m in this 100%, and I’m not going to back out now. Believe me!” Then Jesus shared one of the most comforting statements he has ever made. “I’m going to prepare a place for you.” Not “I might go, or I’m hoping to go.” I AM GOING. He’s going home to heaven very soon. The dramatic, brutal death on a cross would simply be the starting point for the rest of the plan. When Jesus arrived home in heaven, he still had work to do. Not the work of salvation. Remember, that is FINISHED! No, Jesus once again put on his servant garb and went to work preparing rooms—all kinds of rooms for the day we will arrive. Can you picture it? No? Maybe this will help.

One of our favorite shows to watch is Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines. One of the best moments in the show is when they reveal what the renovated house looks like. The couple sees a giant picture of the old house. Chip and Joanna pull back the picture to reveal a new, incredible house designed and renovated just for that family.

Jesus has an incredible reveal planned for each one of us. It’s not a reno. It won’t affect our budget. We don’t have to do anything. He has prepared the most elegant room in the most spectacular mansion, and it has your name on it. Jesus has prepared it FOR YOU. Jesus has a plan—a plan that includes bringing you out of this mess into the most beautiful, perfect place he can make. That helps us gain perspective on the things that trouble our hearts. These things are “light and momentary” (2 Corinthians 4:17) compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven!

The disciples were still troubled. They were reeling from everything Jesus had said. Then, Jesus added, “You know where I am going, and you know the way” (John 14:4 EHV). Thomas voiced what the rest were thinking: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5 EHV). They are so lost, and just didn’t understand. The question is real. It’s heartfelt! “How can we know?”

I hear that same question when I watch Fixer Upper. The people buying the house listen to Chip and Joanna talk about the changes and they ask, “How can we know? How can we be sure it will look as nice as you say?” It takes trust, and seeing the way Joanna designs the renovation. She always sits down and shows them the way it will work out on her laptop. She shows each room with different finishes and every time. The couple looks at the way she says it will be, and they say something like, “It’s perfect! It’s beautiful! Wow!”

Here’s the second thing Jesus uses to calm our troubled hearts. He said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6 EHV). JESUS PROVIDES THE WAY to heaven. The disciples did know the way because they knew Jesus. When Jesus said, “Believe in me,” he was reminding them he is the Way.

Do you believe Jesus is the Way? That’s not easy to believe. If Jesus is the only Way, then doesn’t that mean some people aren’t headed to heaven? This is one of Jesus’ hard sayings. He made it clear— “no one comes to the Father, except through me.” That’s what makes the way to heaven so difficult to follow, and yet so easy. Jesus said he is the Way, and he made it possible for us to follow him. He has done it all. He’s been perfect for all the times we have sinned. Jesus paid the price his Father demanded for our sins—he gave his life as a ransom. Jesus blazed the trail to heaven. He went through death, and then rose again so we don’t have to worry about dying. He did it all, and that’s what makes his statement, “I am the Way,” so comforting for troubled hearts. JESUS PROVIDES THE WAY to heaven.

The disciples were still struggling. They weren’t quite sure about these promises. Philip piped up, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough for us” (John 14:8 EHV). Philip was looking for a glorious revelation—like Moses seeing the LORD on top of Mt. Sinai, or Peter, James, and John witnessing Jesus’ glory on the mount of transfiguration. “Jesus, just show us the Father in his shining glory—that’s all we need!”

Jesus’ response brings us to the final thing that calms our troubled hearts. “Have I been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9 EHV). JESUS HAS A PERFECT PARTNERSHIP with the Father.

We can’t understand how that relationship works. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus? That blows our minds! Maybe this will help. Let’s go back to Fixer Upper one more time. Joanna puts together the plan and the design. If it stopped there, the renovation wouldn’t happen. That’s when Chip takes over. It begins with his favorite day—Demo Day!— and continues until the renovation is complete and the house is ready for its owners.

Jesus and the Father have been working in concert since time began to rescue the world from sin and death. Everything the disciples had heard from Jesus, every miracle they had witnessed, every act of love Jesus had shared came from the Father who was in Jesus, just as Jesus was in the Father. Knowing that perfect partnership is always at work for the salvation of souls brings comfort to troubled hearts. Those two are working for you right now as you mourn the loss of your senior year, your graduation, your job, your money, your loved one. No matter what is troubling our hearts, Jesus and the Father have a PERFECT PARTNERSHIP that is working for you to bless you.

“What happens when our plans fall through and our hearts are troubled?” Remember: JESUS HAS A PLAN, he PROVIDES THE WAY, and he has a PERFECT PARTNERSHIP with the Father. His promises calm our worries, and point us to the bright future that awaits us in heaven! Amen.