The disciples had lost their confidence that their Master was going to rise to prominence in the land, and that meant their hope of being exulted with Him was fading.
Jesus was talking about dying, and within a few days He would. The mood among the band of followers was turning grim. The opposition of the pharisees and the elite class seemed to have gained a following of their own against the One who claimed to be the Messiah.
This is the context of John 14:1-4 when the Lord said to His bewildered disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (NIV).
It’s obvious from the Savior’s words that His disciples had lost steam, they were giving up hope, and perhaps we could say they were depressed. As a result of their despair, Jesus says “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Why? Why, should they not let their hearts be troubled?
The answer to letting our hearts not be troubled is within the counsel that Jesus gave and it is this: “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Jesus told the disciples that they don’t need to be depressed about the circumstances that are dashing their hopes and causing them to feel emotionally deflated, because those circumstances are not final — He is coming again.
The Bible specifically calls the return of Jesus, our hope, and its in Titus 2:13, “we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (NIV).
The followers of God have long found hope in the promised return of the Lord, it is the keynote of Scripture, the completing act of redemption, the awakening of the saints in the resurrection, the ushering in of the earth made new, and the end of sin.
Job, a man in the most despairing of circumstances, regained hope after the destruction and death of his property and family by looking to the return of the Lord, saying, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25 NIV).
Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam in the midst of the circumstances brought by sin and violence known in Noah’s time, regained hope saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 14 NIV).
John, the Apostle who was banished to Patmos for his faith, regained hope in his loneliness and in actually seeing in vision the worst of tribulation by looking to the return of the Lord, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20 NIV).
The Apostle Paul gave us some beautiful words of encouragement on the return of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, but it is what he said in verse 18 that we need to remember, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
This is not the time for the church to shy away from the encouraging themes of our Lord’s return. I fear for those who sit in pews before a pulpit that doesn’t mention the Blessed Hope of Jesus’ return. If we are not prayerfully thinking about our Savior’s return we are left to losing heart.
As we begin this year, 2021, we may have reasons to be skeptical, apprehensive, and distrustful in the direction of our society, but one thing we do know — Jesus is coming again!
The return of Jesus Christ is our only hope, and its a hope we can’t afford to lose. Our hearts are going to fall from time to time into despair and depression because of the conditions of living in a fallen world, but let’s not stay there, let’s not keep looking down but let’s look up toward the coming of our Savior and have hope again.
So, I say to you, don’t lose heart. Look up, and allow your heart to be strengthen in the Blessed Hope of the Lord’s return.