In memory of Katharina Frensch: John 14:1-6

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.””

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Kathy’s family has chosen for our today’s reflections this passage from the gospel according John. It records Jesus’ conversation with His disciples on the very night when He was betrayed and delivered into hands of His enemies.

Let not your hearts be troubled. When we lose our loved ones, when death comes into our lives and take someone close to us away, when things happen which are out of our control, then our hearts often are troubled.

We want to be in control of our lives. And to great extent today we have managed that. Much better than ever before. But there is still nothing we can do when death comes. We are helpless in those situations.

Our life just leaves our body. Dust returns to dust, ashes to ashes. And as far as we can know, there is nothing we can do to prevent it, or to resist it. With good healthcare is some cases we can postpone it a little. That’s all.

But eventually death comes and robs us of the most precious thing that we have, our life, our existence. That is a terrifying thought, and people often try to put it as far away as possible, pretending that’s not an issue for them.

When we face death, these words of Jesus are of great encouragement. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust to God and trust to me.” Trust to God and trust to me. It sounds like a comforting invitation. But what does it mean?

Trust to God. To certain extent we all trust in Him. That He will keep the world going in this orderly way to which we are so used. And we are quick to blame Him when something goes wrong.

Trust to the One who created this Universe and still keeps it running. Rely on Him. Trust that He is in control. But there is something much more… trust that you can know Him and that He has the best intentions towards you.

When things are out of our control we need someone to trust, we are built to turn to someone who has much more power and influence that we do. Trust God, trust Jesus. Then Jesus says something very interesting.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

What is Jesus saying? For one, that death is not the end. To certain extent we all sense it… everything in this world changes, just our self-consciousness remains as it was. You are the same you that you were 10, and 20, and 30 years ago.

Jesus says that there is a future for us. That our existence will go on. And that it is in His hands. And what is He saying to His disciples? That He is going to prepare a place for them. Then He will return and will take us with Him. So that we can be, where He is. So that we can be with Him forever.

Sounds lovely. Like a nice story. People like nice stories, especially when their hearts are troubled. We want to believe something. We all need a hope. But why would we trust what Jesus is saying?

That there is a place which is prepared for His disciples. Who is He that He can say these things? Because, if this is just a story, if He is not capable delivering what He said, then there really is no comfort, and no reason to trust. Then this is just a story and we are left without a hope, then… the fear of death looms large.

Who is this Jesus? Only one could give such promises. The One who is the very source of life, the source of everything. God the Creator of everything. Why would we believe that this is who Jesus was?

Because His actions speak loader than words. Because hundreds and hundreds of eye-witnesses were present to witness that He has the power over everything in creation, even over death, and have recorded their testimonies.

They witnessed that He is the One to whom all the authority is given in heaven and on earth. And now we have His personal invitation, – trust me! He invites everyone, ’trust me, accept my invitation!’

Then one of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, asked: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus gave us these wonderful promises about our future after this age. But then this is an appropriate question. How can we know the way? What are we supposed to do to get there? It sounds like a good place to be, but how?

There is nothing we should or could do. Everything is already prepared for us. For you. Jesus Christ has made this wonderful future possible for you. He has done everything. He has opened for us doors to eternal life with God.

He is the way we need to go. He is the truth. And He is the life. He is our best option. For no one comes to the Father except through Him. What should we do? Just accept His invitation. Wholeheartedly.

Except it as a gift. Unmerited and precious gift. The gift of life. Trust Him and follow Him. Don’t do it blindly but learn to understand. Listen to Him where He speaks to us, receive Him where He comes to you. That’s it. No merits required.

Kathy knew Him. She trusted Him. She followed Him. And now she is with her Creator and Redeemer. Enjoying the place which was prepared for her.

These are good words for us to hear, when we are troubled. These are good words to remember when troubles seem to be far away. Because these words are true. More, they are the truth, the way and the live. True God wants you to know Him, and He wants you to be with Him forever.

Trust Him and trust Jesus.

Amen.

2018-11-05, St John’s, Tanunda

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