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Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

May 7, 2023 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLEDChrist Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
May 7, 2023
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Easter 5
Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house there 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 join you to myself, so that where I AM you might be also. Moreover, you know the way to where I am going. But 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 but by me. John 14:1-6

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Today’s holy gospel is not simply a report of what happened on Maundy Thursday; but our Service today is a perpetuation of what Jesus and the disciples were doing 2,000 years ago.

The words Jesus spoke to them he speaks to us; and not only as a historical report, as we say, because by virtue of Divine Liturgy Jesus is factually among us today – within these walls, under this roof and he is the holy ground on which our feet are planted at this moment.

This is not a charade or collective emotion but today’s gospel is the voice of Jesus in the midst of his people which, by the way, is why we have a gospel procession: why we stand, cross ourselves, and sing alleluia for the utterance of these priceless words, when Jesus comes among us to comfort us today. To say to us, “Let not your hearts be troubled.”

But he is not only vocally present among us, but bodily present as well on our altar. Today we take the body and blood of our resurrected Lord into our own selves. And it is the SURE CURE for the food that Adam and Woman took into themselves, which poisoned them and the entire race down to this day. So that like crack-cocaine babies we are all born addicted to sin, and in love with the Ancient Serpent, his monstrous works, and beastly ways. If you doubt that check your dismal social media, observe the culture, and read the commandments while looking in the mirror – our hearts are not pure.

But in Blessed Baptism that is all changed!

In it we “renounce the devil and all his works, and all his ways,” and confess our unyielding faith in the Holy Trinity: the Father Son and Holy Spirit. Here the water, combined with God’s Word and Promise “works the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal life to all who believe” and there is nothing better than that!

And so Jesus can say to the disciples on the third worst night of their lives, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Strong medicine to carry them through 3 of the worst days that any person has ever experienced.

Thursday was bad! They were in denial, as most of us are most of the time, but they knew. Oh they knew, even if Thomas said what they were all thinking: “We do not know where you are going, how can we know the way.”

Jesus had told the disciples on any number of occasions that the Son of Man would be remanded to the Gentiles, mocked, scourged and crucified; and rise again on the third day, but they could not handle it.

Nor can we! And so Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Strong medicine for scorching fevers.

If Thursday was bad, Friday was many times worse. Now they watched as if in a dream. A nightmare. As humanity collectively and viciously terminated, with extreme prejudice, the only Good Man earth had ever known.

How did their knees hold them up? How did they avoid following Judas into self-destruction? Only by these words of Jesus which are stronger than every sorrow, sin or destructive thing you have ever perpetrated, or has been perpetrated against you. “Let not your hearts be troubled.”

And if Thursday and Friday turned the disciples into rag dolls, what of Saturday? The first day in 3 years without their Lord among them? A day of superb regret for their cowardice. A day as murky as any ever was because their Lord was dead, gone, buried in a cave, covered with the Rock of Gibraltar, never to return again!

Good was now done, and evil firmly in charge.

But Jesus says: “Let not your hearts be troubled.”

Yes, they well knew where Jesus was going, and they knew the way. It was the way of the Cross where all that humanity made wrong by its untethered lives, was made right by Jesus! By his “holy, innocent, bitter suffering and death” and by God’s “boundless mercy” by which he forgives us, and renews us, so that we might delight in his will, and walk in his ways.

Now we said earlier that today’s gospel is no mere historical report but “the power of God unto salvation,” by which we are grafted into the Olive Tree that is Christ. We also heard in verse 6 Jesus’ word that “no man comes to the Father but by me.” Take that to the bank. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and there is no other Way, no other Truth, no other Life. One either lives with Christ, or goes to perdition with the devil. And there is nothing worse than that.

But there is more to be said in keeping with today’s gospel. As no man comes to the Father except by Jesus, Jesus never comes to the Father except with us! Never apart from, but always in union with, his baptismally-cleansed Bride, the Church. That is what we are doing today; communing with the Father through the Son. Because the case is exactly as Jesus said to Philipp “Whoever sees me, sees the Father.” And again: “The Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”

And so today we are doing what Jesus and the disciples were doing on Holy Thursday. What the first Christians were doing immediately following Pentecost. What St. Peter’s dispersed Christians were doing all across Asia Minor in the middle of the 1st Century (1 Peter 1:1).

We are “breaking the Bread” of Holy Communion; (Acts 2:42ff) “offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) And it is herein that we hear the voice of Jesus say to us, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Amen