BELIEVE IN YOURSELF — REALLY? – JOHN 14:1
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
We live in a society that teaches and promotes people to believe in themselves. This ideology is derived from the mentality and belief that mankind can find all that he needs within himself. In other words, if you look deep enough within, you will find the strength and resources to overcome any challenge. However, the problem remains that man is inherently wicked and will always default to his sinful nature. Therefore, man cannot overcome the sinful nature and problem which dwells within himself, by looking to himself. In other words, the darkness can never produce light from its own darkness.
So, the answer is never to believe in oneself, but rather to rest, trust, and believe in God! A perfect example of this truth is recorded in John’s Gospel. In order to recognize the gravity of what Jesus says to Peter, it is necessary to have an understanding concerning the manner in which the Scriptures were written. The Scriptures, as translated in English, are divided into chapters, paragraphs and verses to help us better understand, and provide a point of reference. However, there are continuations in chapters, paragraphs and verses from time to time. This is true in relation to the last verses of John chapter 13 and the first verse of chapter 14.
Chapter 13:37&38 “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” Simon Peter was very sincere in his devotion to our Lord, as we see demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane: John 18:10 “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”
Even with such devotion, the words of our Lord proved true and Peter failed: Luke 22:55-60 “And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.”
No follower of Jesus Christ would take pleasure or comfort in Simon Peter’s denial of our Lord (if anything, it reminds us of our own denial, or unbelief), yet it is through the denial of Peter that our Lord reveals His unconditional and eternal Love (referred to in Chapter 13:1 “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”)
We see this love demonstrated in chapter 14:1: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
Let’s put these verses together: Chapter 13:37- Chapter 14:1 “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
In other words, the Lord says to Peter, “Peter, you cannot trust or believe in yourself, because you are going to deny me 3 times. Even so, Let not your heart be troubled, because you can believe and trust in me.” For Peter to believe in himself would only lead to despair, yet for Peter to trust and believe in Christ resulted in true and eternal hope! Our Lord Jesus Christ was facing the darkest moment in all of history, He was soon to die as God’s Sacrifice for man’s sin. What’s more, is that it was Peter’s unbelief and denial for which He was going to the cross; and yet, our Lord commands Peter, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Peter would fail to keep his promise of commitment, yet the Lord would not fail His promise or plan. The Lord had already forgiven Simon Peter for his denial!
John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
In the midst of Peter’s failure, our Lord Jesus Christ proved His faithfulness. As the Apostle Paul declared: “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
Rejoice child of God, for although we fail, our God is faithful; and although we cannot believe or trust ourselves, we can believe, trust, and rest in our Lord Jesus Christ who never fails!