Fifth Sunday of Easter
This is a well-known verse: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
In the verses that proceed this lesson, Jesus, speaking to his disciples, predicts both his betrayal and the denial of Peter that will occur prior to his death. Certainly it was a deeply disturbing conversation for all of them. When Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he is saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . about what I have just told you.”
Often we pull scriptures out of the narrative, and in this case one might conclude that we should not have troubled hearts. And then, when we have troubled hearts, we may feel guilty because as persons of faith we think we shouldn’t.
There are many things that trouble our hearts. Things over which we have no power and things that we may have brought upon ourselves. A troubled heart means we are human and created in the image of our Creator. The Gospels are filled with stories where Jesus is troubled by grief, injustice, hypocrisy, and fear. A troubled heart means we are impacted by the injustices of the world, the sufferings of those around us, or the regret over our own sins. The problem is not a troubled heart.
What is important is the good news. The good news is in the assurance Jesus gives his followers of the power of faith and the hope we find in him. In the midst of those circumstances we find troubling, we are in the care of a God of grace who goes before us and prepares a place for us.
There are times that the troubles on our hearts may be so overwhelming that we have no idea which way to go. We are told here that Jesus will lead the way. As we often sing,
Jesus still lead on, till our rest be won;
heavenly leader, still direct us,
still support, console, protect us,
till we safely stand in the promised land.
Matt Knapp, pastor, Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin