Jesus’ Answer for Troubled Hearts: John 14:1-3: Part I
The Reality of Inner-man Turmoil and Agitation Within

Introduction: The three-part series: Jesus’ Answer for Troubled Hearts: John 14:1-3 addresses a misunderstood solution to a common occurrence. Burdened and agitation within is a common experience in a fallen world for the believer and unbeliever alike.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and Life. Having  and using His answers simplifies life as it calms the person within. He is then of earthly good as he keeps an eternal perspective.

The Bible is God’s story, a redemptive narrative that moves from creation and God as Creator and Controller; to man without sin in perfect fellowship with God; to the fall, God’s judgment and mankind’s guilt, condemnation, ignorance, and arrogance; to the new creation ushered in by Christ’s first coming which looked forward to the second coming and the new heavens and the earth. The new creation includes an entirely different mode of existence as the Church and believers who are in Christ by the Holy Spirit. Early, Adam and Eve were in the Garden in God’s presence enjoying fellowship and unfettered intimacy with God and themselves. Adam sinned and Eve with him. They were judged guilty and condemned by God. Such is the beginning of troubled hearts. As a result of their un-holiness and God’s holiness, they were no longer fit to be in God’s presence. They were exiled from the Garden and from God’s direct presence. They had lost godly fellowship with God but retained hope as given in Genesis 3:20-4:1. This exodus was a sad day for mankind. It went the wrong direction – away from God.

Simultaneously, they, and their posterity, were given hope through the promise of a Deliverer (Genesis 3:15). The Deliverer was Christ. The redemptive story centers on God’s covenantal faithfulness and includes Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts. God’s covenant-making and keeping is acknowledged in Scripture as beginning in eternity past (John 6:37-43). The Triune God has continued to keep His promise of saving a people for Himself. Throughout the biblical-redemptive narrative, God is pictured as moving toward His people with both judgment and mercy. His people were motivated to seek Him and to be in His presence. The ultimate means for God’s people to enter into His presence, to dwell with Him, and to enjoy Him eternally is recorded in the Bible and is the essence of God’s story. The story is summed up in Jesus Christ – His perfect obedience before and on the cross and His perfect sacrifice via the cross – AND the application of the benefits of His work by the Holy Spirit. Salvation and growth in grace after salvation is Intratrinitarian and form one continuous unit. Sin produced troubled hearts. Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts is one major facet of God’s redemptive message.

The cross forces every person to consider man’s greatest need. Man is truly a needy person rightly understood. Man was created the image of God, a dependent being designed to live in God’s presence and enjoy Him. After the fall, God’s desire for Himself and for man did not change. The implementation of that desire did. God’s solution to man’s predicament of ignorance, arrogance, alienation, and estrangement is a restored fellowship and greater intimacy with Him. This solution came with a price. Unsaved man is not able to move toward God. In fact, he is unwilling and rejects God and makes every effort to distance himself from God (Romans 1:18-23; 8:5-8).

The Bible portrays a comprehensive picture of God seeking and saving the lost. He never deviated from His plan of bringing fallen man, rebels and enemies, into His divine presence and having them grow in Christlikeness. God’s redemptive activity began at creation as He created man with a purpose: His glory and man’s benefit. It continues at redemption. God re-created His people individually and corporately for His glory and to fulfill His design as given in Ephesians 1:4 and 5:27. Creation and redemption are linked and both have an eternal focus. Salvation is part of the redemptive narrative and occurs at a definite point in time in each individual believer’s life.

With that backdrop consider Jesus’ words in John 14:1-3:

v.1: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me.
v.2: In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
v.3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.

The word John used in 14:1 (also see John 11:33; 12:27; 13:21; 14:27; Psalms. 6, 13) for troubled indicates angst, unrest within – an inner-man stirring up, vexation, uncertainty, and agitation. It is the same word found in John 13:21. There we read that Jesus was troubled within. Being troubled rightly understood is not sinful or unwise. Otherwise Jesus would have sinned!

Matthew used the word to describe Herod’s and all of Jerusalem’s response to the birth of Christ (Matthew 2:3). In Matthew 14:26, he used the word to describe the disciple’s response to seeing Jesus walking on water.

The word attempts to picture active, churning inner-man thinking and wanting as the person considers and decides in response to some person, event, and encounter. It is an active word expressing a troubled heart for whatever reason. The activity is whole – brain and the inner man/heart. But it is predominantly an inner-man activity where the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer. There was trouble outside of the apostles and they were troubled within in response to God’s providence. Jesus “capture” and death loomed large for the apostle as did uncertainty about their own safety and future. Much was stirring within their hearts as it was Christ’s.

In John 14:1 we read that Jesus interdicted their continuing response to the trouble. The original language carries the meaning of stop being troubled. They were troubled but Jesus said whoa. It is interesting and instructive that Jesus commanded the apostles to stop their inner-man angst. It is even more instructive that Jesus’ antidote for inner-man angst for the disciples was trust: trust in God and trust in Christ rather than self. This was the same antidote that Jesus applied to Himself (John 12:27). Jesus was troubled within Himself. During that time of stirring within, He was faced with the choice between trusting in the Triune God or himself. He asked himself if He should say: Father save me from hour.  He said No: Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts was through the cross! Christ never failed to trust God as moved to the cross, the grace, and beyond.

Jesus did not sin and He did want His apostles drowning in wrong thinking, wanting, and feelings.  Jesus would not take or make the excuse that feelings got in the way or that the apostles had an excuse to ignore the command. Jesus went straight to the heart and told them to change their thinking and wanting. Psalm 46:10 conveys this same message in times of trouble and unrest and stirring up in the heart: Be still and know that I am God. Jesus followed His own counsel throughout His life! Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts applied to Him! He kept the big picture before Him which enabled Him to keep everything else in proper perspective including the cross (Hebrew 12:1-3).  He came to earth, lived a perfectly life, and went to the cross because He was motivated to please His Father (John 4:31-34). Pleasing His Father was more than duty. It was His privilege and blessing. He knew the road to glory for the Triune God was through the cross and beyond (Hebrews 12:1-3; Philippians 2:9-11).


1. Trouble is part of living in a fallen world (Job 5:7; 14:1; John 16:33). It comes in all shapes and sizes. Define your troubles specifically.
2. When agitated within, what is going on? First and foremost it is trust issue and control issue so ask yourself who and what do you trust?
3. You will trust in something. If you don’t trust God, you will trust self. Write all the reasons to trust self and the results.
4. Then write out the reasons to trust God and the results.
5. What is it about God or about self that makes it easy for you to trust in either one?

Jesus’ Answer for Troubled Hearts: John 14:1-3: Part II

v.1: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me.
v.2: In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
v.3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. John 14:1-3

The apostles were burdened: hostility and uncertainty abounded. They needed Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts! In fact, they needed Jesus! Based on Jesus’ words as recorded in John 13 the apostles had many reasons to be troubled. There was trouble all about them. Consider that the hour was late. Jesus had predicted Judas’ betrayal, the cross, and His short time with them. He answered Peter’s question as to Jesus’ plans and Jesus predicted Peter’s denial (13:20-21, 31-38). What were they to think, desire, and do? In response to the turmoil and uncertainty from their perspective, Jesus minister truth to them. He pointed them vertically, in the same direction that He always oriented Himself.

Trouble in terms of unpleasant and threatening times is ever-present then and now. Even unbelievers have trouble. The apostles were in the midst of unprecedented times. But Jesus knew that trouble – God’s providence in terms of people and events – was on the outside. Jesus knew that trouble and troubled hearts don’t have to coexist. Trouble may not cease but troubled hearts can and will cease for the believer but only through laying hold of Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts. .

Jesus directed the apostles to guard against a continuing downward spiral of viewing the circumstances apart from and disconnected from His presence, power, promises, purposes, plan, and provisions. Trouble in its various forms – actually circumstances – was and are not bigger than God. One’s response to trouble is another issue. The apostles needed to guard their hearts as Jesus was guarding His (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus pinpointed the problem: trust and its object. The apostles needed to trust and continue to trust Him and the Father rather than self. The issue was one of trust and control. Said another way: the issue was one of fear of the Lord and wisdom vs. trust in self and foolishness which is the world’s un-wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-8).

A troubled heart is a reality. It was for Jesus. He was facing hell on the cross, being forsaken by the Father, as well as ignorant apostles and a betrayer with whom He had invested much time. Three key issues need to be considered in order to ascertain the quality of inner-man turmoil:  the reasons for it, the response to it, and the duration of it. Jesus reasons those directly or indirectly.

In John 14:1 Jesus gives a command. In the heat of battle, Jesus commands the apostles. The meaning of the Jesus’ words is NOT:  do not begin to be troubled, but stop being troubled. We might say don’t be troubled any longer. Someone may cry out: I can’t control my feelings. Or, my insides are in an uproar. Jesus’ command strongly suggests that the disciples were not the God-trusters that Jesus desired them to be or which they needed to be in order to carry on the Lord’s work.

The reasons for their troubled heart were different from those of Jesus. Jesus knew the beginning and end. Similarly, believers know the beginning and the end.  What bothers people is the middle. They wanted to know how to get from the beginning to the end. Knowledge rather than faith and trust are the key for them. Rather, believers are to walk more and more in and by saving faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). The apostles saw and heard and interpreted what was going on and what might happen without referring to the truth that Jesus had continually revealed about Himself – He would be tried, crucified, death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts was Himself: trust and obey. The two are linked.

Jesus addressed the duration of the trouble heart: He told them to stop (John 14:1)! No one likes simple commands! He gave them a simple command and solution: Trust (John 14:2). Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts is so simple yet it is profound. We need to guard the simplicity of Jesus’ answer for troubled hearts. He provided an incentive and motivation in verse 3: they have a place to go to because Jesus is leaving, in part, to prepare them a place. They are His children and He will always provide a place and welfare for them.

Application: John 14:1-3

1. Describe some of the reasons for the apostle’s inner man turmoil.
2. What was Christ’s command?
3. What was the way for the apostles to accomplish it?
4. What motivation did Jesus them?

Jesus’ Solutions for Inner-man Turmoil and Agitation Within: John 14:1-3: Part III

Continuing our stud: Jesus’ Answer for Troubled hearts, we find Jesus the night before the crucifixion. At this hour of His life and at that moment of God’s providence, Jesus as He had done throughout His life and at His death practiced what He preached (John 12:27; 13:21; Luke 23:46). His inner-man turmoil was godly and was founded on His knowledge of God, Himself, and the plan and means of salvation. Consider the turmoil in Christ’s heart as He considered the depths of these facts: facing hell on the cross and God’s unmitigated fury and the fullness of His wrath; understanding fully the horrors of hell; understanding fully the depth and darkness of sin and sinners and standing as their substitute; understanding and experiencing the misery that hell-bound and non-hell-bound sinners face.

He had a never-ending, intimate relationship with the Father such that He proclaimed that He and the Father were One (John 10:30). His commitment to the Triune God and His Father so controlled Him that He embraced the incarnation, life under the law, subjection to sinful parents and immature disciples, the cross and God’s wrath as a Victor (Rom. 8:35-39. This fulfilled the Intratrinitarian design in eternity past so that salvation and a return to heaven as the conquering King became a reality (John 6:37-43; 17:1-5; Heb. 12:1-3). Inner man angst must always be limited and tethered to trust in God. You may say with Paul that inner-man angst must be God-honoring. Paul taught this truth in regard to grieving. Believers are to grieve with hope (1 Thess. 4:13).  Godly grieving is distinct from ungodly grieving.

The counsel He gave His disciples is the same counsel that He lived by. Guard your heart (Prov. 4:23).Quiet the agitation within. He called on the apostles to get a grip on self by getting a grip on God and His glory. Relationships matter and a proper knowledge of them matter. This is the same counsel the Bible gives believers throughout the ages. Jesus went to the cross because He trusted His Father and He was motivated to please Him (John 4:31-34). Pleasing His Father as evidenced by trusting Him was more than duty. It was His privilege and blessing. He knew the road to glory was via the cross which would accomplish the Triune God’s purpose. The way of cross means going down in order to ascend (Hebrews 12:1-3; Philippians 2:9-11; John 6:37-43).

In John 14:2-3, Jesus promised reunion with Him in heaven and in the divine presence. This future gaze may seem impossible when faced with uncomfortable and unpleasant times. The truth of the matter is that the believer’s home is not here. His citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20-21). A future destiny awaited Jesus and the disciples; it awaits all believers. But resurrection life begins now. Believers have a foretaste of heaven here and now through union with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus pointed the apostles to eternity which begins now for the believer.

For the believer, there should be an excitement as he anticipates the fulfillment of God’s promises. He is to remember among other truths that resurrection life starts now (Romans 6:9-11; Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3). He looks forward to heaven as the fulfillment of God’s promises and an expectation of eternal bliss. That expectation and joy of salvation now and the hope of heaven should control the believer in the present life (1 John 3:1-3). When that happens God is glorified and the believer grows in Christlikeness. God is pleased and so should the believer.


1. Compare John 14:1-3 and 1 John 3:1-3: what do you learn and how do the truths expressed in those passages help you trust in God daily?
2. What does trust look like in your life?
3. What is your view of heaven? What is your view of Christ’s intercession (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25)?
4. Use a concordance, to study passages on heaven. Write out what you learned.
5. How does the prospect of your eternal destiny influence your daily life? See 1 John 3:1-3 and Colossians 3:1-3.