We can understand why the disciples would be greatly troubled. They were aware of the mounting peril to Jesus; they knew that the priests and the rulers of the Jews were out to put Him to death. They were also uneasy when He declared that one of them was going to betray Him. They were confused and puzzled by the sudden exit of Judas from their midst. Most of all, they were afraid of losing Jesus. They were troubled by His words that He was about to take His departure. Anxious foreboding filled their minds; fear gripped their hearts.
Many ask, “Is it wrong for Christians to be troubled, to feel pressure, or to feel anxious and worried? Are we supposed to be cheerful and confident all the time?” This is not what this verse means. Jesus was not immune to pressure. Three times in previous chapters, John records that Jesus was “deeply troubled in spirit.” The apostles went through times of great peril, during which they feared and trembled. So, it’s not wrong for Christians to feel pressured and fearful. What Jesus is teaching here is that, while we can’t prevent stress, we can overcome it.
Jesus tells the disciples, “You trust God, don’t you? Trust Me.” What He means is, “You have found relief for worry many times in the promises of God.” They had the scripture, with its rich heritage of wonderful promises, and they had found strength and help from those passages in times of pressure. But now Jesus obviously moves Himself onto a plane of equality with the Father, speaking not only as a man but also as God. He begins to reveal to them the things that had been kept concealed from the rest of the world.
The bad news for the disciples—so far as they perceived it—was that Jesus was going away without them. But the good news puts all this into perspective. He is going to His Father’s house; He is going back to heaven. He is going there to prepare a place for His disciples, so that they can be with Him for all eternity. His Father’s house has plenty of “rooms.”
In heaven, there will be no temple, for God’s place of dwelling will be with His saints (Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27). Through our faith in who Jesus is (the Person of Christ) and what He has done for us (the Work of Christ), our Lord is presently preparing us to be His holy temple, a congregation of believers in whom—and among whom—He will dwell for all eternity. When the disciples comprehend what Jesus is saying here, they will look on His “absence” in an entirely different light. It is better for them that He leave them, for a time, so that they may dwell with Him for all eternity.