Focal Passage: John 14:1-7
Approximately 100 years after the resurrection of Jesus, a young man named Justin was converted. He was a philosophy student and a committed devotee of Plato. When he turned from his sin and trusted in the finished work of Christ, he began using his philosophical training to advance the kingdom of God.
Justin defended the Christian faith both in debate and in writing. His work came to be known as an “apology.” He was not, of course, apologizing for Christianity, he was defending it by giving a reasoned explanation for the faith that we hold dear.
In a stirring section of his writing, Justin makes clear that tyranny and threats against Christians are powerless because of the hope of the gospel. Indeed, he declares to the powers that be, “you may kill us, but you cannot harm us.” Where does such boldness and assurance come from?
If we examine Jesus words in John 14:1-7 the source of Justin’s boldness is evident.
In this section of scripture, Jesus tells his followers that by trusting in Him, we keep our hearts from being troubled. There is plenty of trouble in the world, but our faith in Jesus allows us to trust in the One greater than the world.
Jesus goes on to give two additional reasons to have peace.
First, he promises in John 14:2-4 that he is going ahead of us to prepare a place for us. He is, of course, speaking about an eternal dwelling, which reminds us that this life is not all there is.
Second, he promises in John 14:5-7 that only through knowing Him that we can know our Heavenly Father.
The picture Jesus paints is crystal clear. Our assurance is rooted in a relationship with Him; a relationship that means an eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus and our Heavenly Father. That is why Justin could say that Christians can be killed but not harmed.
The death of the believer is a transfer from this life to the personal, glorious presence of our Lord. Embracing that truth brings us peace.