Dear children of God, dear Baptized of God, this is for your assurance, for your comfort, for the strengthening of your faith. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”
But often our hearts are troubled. Like the women who found not the body of their Lord, after He had risen, we often focus on sadness, on what we feel, instead of the clear words of Christ. Like the disciples who hid behind closed doors, after their Lord had risen, we often focus on our fears. “Well, I don’t know the future, I don’t know what’s going to happen during this important time – so I guess I’ll assume that I’ll mess everything up. Or, at least something bad is bound to happen”. We think that way instead of focusing on the clear words of Christ. He says, I’ll never leave you. I’ll never forsake you. He promises to make all things work together for our good. So why should we fear the future? Knowing that Christ will be with us, we cannot lose. “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
He is risen from the dead, as He promised. He has conquered all sin and death, as He promised. There is no reason to be afraid, as He promised. There is no reason to dwell on sadness. Because He lives, we too shall live.
“Let not your heart be troubled. That word troubled means to have inward commotion, to have restlessness, anxiousness, and to be perplexed (troubled) because of doubt.
Yet, the word of Christ removes all doubt, calms all fears, dries all tears, and brings rest and peace to our troubled soul. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”
What is so unfortunate, is that so many forfeit this peace and comfort, thinking that they are not worthy of it. They think their sin is too big to be forgiven, or their troubles are too great to overcome. They think that they will only find condemnation for their sins in the church, or in the Bible. Yet, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”
To all those who are searching, but never really finding lasting peace in the things of this world, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”“Come unto Me…for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
That’s the kind of peace and rest that this world cannot give. Oh it tries. More money, more TV shows, more movies, more enteretainment, more gadgets, more devices, more laptops, more tablet PCs, more and better smartphones….more, more, more. “I gotta have more.” But haven’t we ever noticed that more is never enough? The things of this world never bring lasting rest and peace to our soul.
Jesus promises peace that the world, and all its vain treasures and pleasures, cannot give.
Jesus promises freedom from sin and death, and a clear conscience through His forgiving grace. No matter what our past has been, He went to the cross to prepare a place for us in heaven. Whoever believes in Him will not perish because He rose Himself from the grave, and will deliver us from it also, saying,: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
What does this world have to offer that compares with that?
We don’t have to guess how God feels about us. “The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” God’s Son was not ashamed to become one of us, live with us, and even die with us. He felt our pain, experienced our suffering, and even went through death for us. He layed down His life, but then took it up again. He raises us today spiritually by His Word and Spirit, granting us the true saving faith, and enabling us to live for Him. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”
Jesus is the way. Jesus doesn’t say, “I am a way”, as if there are many ways to heaven, as if many roads lead to heaven. As if everyone can just pick a religion that they feel is right, or is most convenient for them. That’s the wisdom of the world, whose greatest goal is not to offend anyone. “After all, isn’t any religion good enough, as long as we’re taught to be a good person, and follow the rules? Love your neighbor, live in peace, and everything will be ok.”
But Jesus makes it so clear. I am the way. The wisdom of the world responds, saying, “You can’t say that. That means you’re saying every other religion is wrong”. But that’s exactly what Jesus is saying. He is the only way because He is the only-begotten Son of God, conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, in order to live, die, and rise again for us all. Christ is the only one who went to the cross to prepare a place for us in heaven. Trying to be a good person doesn’t cut it. Praying to Budda doesn’t cut it. He is dead. Only Jesus died and rose Himself from the grave to give us life. Only Jesus, by His Word and Spirit, can bring to us true and lasting peace that can only come from knowing He has forgiven us, and made us right with God by His sacrifice for us.
He says He is the the way not because He wants anyone to be excluded from heaven, but because it is His will that all come to know the only way: true repentance and faith in Christ. God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
Every other r1eligion teaches that we get on God’s good side, by doing things to please Him. But Jesus’s word is clear. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Him.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Believers in Christ, Baptized of God, Redeemed of God: this is for your assurance, for your faith. Let not your heart be troubled. Jesus has accomplished everything you need to be saved. He promises to keep you in that true saving faith. He has, and He will by His Word, by His Sacraments, by His Spirit. Becaue He lives, you too will live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.