Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me
- John 14:1
Jesus was feasting with his disciples at what is traditionally called the Last Supper.
Why would Jesus say these words to His faithful few? It is a line you might use at the beginning of a relationship, a sort of induction into the fold, rather than at the end. It was a word of encouragement to a group who didn't realise he was about to be sacrificed, thinking He couldn’t and wouldn’t die.
But was there was another meaning?
In a sense, Jesus was reminding them again of their new heritage. In the famous verse of John 3:3 about being Born Again, we see Jesus creating a new lineage, not born of man.
Heritage was highly important to Israel. Depending on which tribe you belonged to, your heritage could be lucrative. Here, Jesus was showing them their new heritage. “Ye believe in God, believe also in me." Instead of mentioning the long line of forefathers from Abraham, as the Jews did, Jesus mentioned only two, His Father and himself.
The Apostle Paul emphasised this same thing much later.
In Philippians 3:4-5, Paul challenged the old Israelite heritage, stating that in the new spiritual kingdom it was worthless. “Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If any man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day (as per Law), of the stock of Israel (not simply a stranger residing in Israel but with a deep heritage as well as all the benefits), of the tribe of Benjamin (son of Rachel; the tribe faithful to Judah; Jerusalem is built on Benjamin land), an Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee (Strict in a legally righteous sense).
In John 8:19, that same Pharisee sect from which Paul came put this question to Jesus, “Where is thy Father?” They were demanding He prove His heritage. They had little interest in His words, as they couldn't get past the heritage issue. In a sense, they were saying to Jesus, “well, first you establish your credentials, and then we will talk!"
Due to these discourses, Jesus, concerned that His followers might be swayed by the Jews to return to heritage-based faith, encouraged them to stand strong when arguments about tradition arose after His death. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled”. Neither should we be concerned about the importance of our parentage in our Church.
Naturally speaking, and thanks to his adoptive Father, Joseph, Jesus was from the royal line of Judah, the line of David. Mary was from the priestly line of Levi. I think this may be another reason God chose them. Add the seed of God and we get a natural picture of our own spiritual calling to a royal priesthood by adoption.
In this new lineage created by Christ's death and resurrection, it doesn’t matter if we are Jew or Gentile, Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Buddhist, JW or Mormon, atheist or hard-nosed zealot, hippie, environmentalist or one-world-government devotee, if we have not been Born Again into this new heritage, we have no inheritance at all and are bound for the scrap heap.
The only credentials we require to get through the gate is if we are Born Again through the blood of Jesus Christ. All other testimonials, endorsements and recommendations will be worthless, and entry refused.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thanks that I also can come to a place where my heart is not troubled by coercion or deceitful talk of others. When my faith is built on the rock, I am rock solid as well and can rest in that promise.