What We Believe about God, We should Believe about Jesus

Easter 5 Sunday

John 14:1

“Let not your heart be frightened. If you believe in God, believe also in me.”

 

Today’s gospel reading marks the beginning of the last sermons the Lord preached to his disciples during the Last Supper. And it is easy to notice that the Lord is chiefly concerned about how he could arm his disciples against the coming offense and instruct them so that they would not be frightened by his death, but would have joy and comfort because of it, especially because he would not remain in such death but come to them again, give them the Holy Spirit, and relieve them of sin and all misery. But just as the disciples are not able to grasp such comfort and understand such clear words – they focus only on the shameful death of their Master and cannot expect, or take comfort in, any life or help after such death – so it is also with us today. As soon as the cross comes and we experience it, fright and fear, impatience and despair soon follow. This is why this sermon serves us as well in this regard. For Christ teaches us what he will accomplish by his death and dying, so that we may take comfort in it and should think of it when we go through hard times. For it is certain that if we do not cling to such comfort, we will not find anything in heaven or on earth that could comfort us, especially when it is about how we might get rid of the great burden of sin and death. The first misfortune found under the cross is that the cross does not only hurt the body; it also frightens and injures the heart. Since it is impossible that flesh and blood could be any different than that they writhe in bad days, the Lord would like to see that, even as the flesh is oppressed and injured, the heart remain free and unburdened. It is natural that illness and death hurt. Such pain cannot be extracted from the flesh; it remains in it for as long as the illness remains. But those who have a good conscience and a joyous heart in such distress have already cut their pain in half, because the pain now only is in the flesh, not also in the heart. This was the situation of the disciples: It was impossible that they should not be saddened and hurt by having to see their Lord and Master die such a shameful death and lose him in this way. But Christ says: “Take care and let such pain remain only in the flesh and do not let it enter the heart.” But how should you prevent this? By believing in God and in Christ! By these words he means to say: “You are grieved by my dying. For you think of me in the way you are accustomed to think about other people. When a person dies, everything he is and has is over; he retains not a single penny, even if he had had all the possessions of the world. All might and power are also gone. … This you know and experience. This is why you think that this is how it will also be with me. But I tell you: “If you believe in God, believe also in me,” meaning: What you believe about God, you should also believe about me. None of you is concerned that God will die. None of you fear that the world, no matter how evil it may be, will harm God and throw him from his throne. Why, then, do you want to be afraid for my sake? Let death and world and the devil be as evil as they would – they will not gain anything from me. For I am God. And what you believe about God, believe that also about me. Then your hearts can be at peace. They will not only not be frightened when I will die; they will also draw comfort from it. For when I and death will clash, death must lose.”

 

St. Louis ed., 13.1:1126-1129.

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