“Let not your heart be troubled” by H. A. Clarke is comprised of two major sections.
The first section starts with a SATB andante with a slight crescendo; “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God”.
The tempo increases in the second section which starts with the first stanza sung in unison. It ushers in a SS-AA-TBB crescendo–“If it were not so I would have told, I go to prepare a place for you”.
This euphonious composition ends with a decrescendo Adagio Amen. So what is the song saying?
John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…”
This is the message Jesus has for his disciples after the last supper.
To understand why He says it is important to have a look at the context in which he says it.
In John 12, Jesus tells the crowds (including the disciples) that He would be crucified. In John 13, during the Passover meal which is now known as the last supper, Jesus tells his disciples of Judas’s imminent betrayal.
He goes on to tell Peter that He (Peter) would deny Him (Jesus). This is all troubling news.
After the Last Supper, before He is arrested, Jesus assures His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Do not be anxious. Do not fret. Although everything seems to be in a downward spiral, be not afraid, you who believe in God.
Ye believe in God, believe also in me – It is best to read both the verbs in the imperative mood: –
Jesus urges his disciples to put their trust in God and in Him (Jesus) as the mediator between God and man, and to expect God to support them but all through Him.
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.
In my Father’s house, in Heaven, are many mansions. Jesus has told his disciples that where he is going, they cannot follow him immediately but he assures them that they will not be separated for ever.
Where Jesus is going, there is a place of supreme eminence not only for himself but also for his disciples.
If it were not so, I would have told you. Jesus is assuring his disciples that if there were no places for then where He was going, He would not permit them indulge in a vain hope of future blessedness.
Christ promises his disciples a spiritual and heavenly inheritance, and thus lifts up their drooping hearts.
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.
Jesus promises his disciples that His death will not be the end, and Peter’s denial will not be the end for Peter, either.
He explains that His death and subsequent ascension into heaven, rather than leaving them destitute, will bring about two specific blessings: it will enable Him to prepare a place for them, and it will allow Him to send the Holy Spirit to comfort them.
The admonition “do not let your hearts be troubled” was spoken specifically to the disciples in the face of Jesus’ impending death.
Believers today are not in the same specific situation, but the admonition still applies.
We should not let our hearts be troubled by anxiety or worry about Jesus’ care and plan for us.
When we face trouble, we may think that, if only Jesus were here with us, in person, standing beside us so that we could talk face to face, we could get through the trial.
We are tempted to think that we could trust Him better if He were visible and in the flesh. When we begin to have these thoughts, we need to let our hearts be comforted for two reasons:
- Jesus has completed his work of salvation on the cross of Calvary and consequently reunited us with the Father, and
- He has sent us a helper – The Holy Spirit who lives in us to help us, if we will yield ourselves to His leading. When we rest in the salvation that Jesus provided and rely on the Holy Spirit to help us navigate the dangerous world around us, we can keep from being troubled in our hearts.