Thursday, December 31, 2015
“I will not leave you comfortless . . . I am leaving peace with you” (John 14:18).
When I was eight years old I was missing my father. He had joined the Navy in late 1943 and was in basic training. I remember how sad and lonely I felt when he left.
Can you imagine the child- like confusion I suffered, not really understanding why my father had to leave? The weeks waiting for his return seemed endless. I was afraid he would never return. The war news wasn’t very positive. Telegrams of sympathy were delivered every day with Killed or Missing in Action news.
Jesus talked of an unseen “Comforter” coming to take his place. How would this comforter fill Jesus’ sandals? How would he eradicate their loneliness? How would he take away that indescribable gut feeling that Jesus’ absence would create? They were expecting Jesus to restore David’s kingdom and empty their land of the barbarian Gentiles. If he was going to be King of kings, why leave? If he is Lord of lords, why substitute an unseen Spirit rather than grace them with his presence?
His arrest caused them to flee in fear (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50, 52). False messiahs come and go! Was he just another disappointing failure? They learned to lock their doors (John 20:19). Would his fate also be theirs (John 20:19)? After his resurrection, there was disbelief. Even when he did appear, fear replaced unbelief (Matthew 28:8, 10; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:37) Then, he left again! They prayed and waited in that crowded upper room.
Then it happened (Acts 2:1-4)! With the coming of that promised Comforter, the apostles developed boldness. Persecution produced joy. Misconceptions disappeared. Fellowship increased. Giving was easy. Love was shared. Souls were saved (Acts 2:41, 47). Christians, without a Ph.D, were wiser than those with them (Acts 6:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:21). Jesus had given them a wonderful Comforter! They experienced the peace given to them by Jesus.
The Comforter’s work was to inspire the apostles and prophets and confirm, with signs, miracles, and wonders, the Good News of God’s salvation for all men. We have that inspired message in what is referred to as the second covenant (Hebrews 8:7) or the New Testament (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:15). Peter tells us,
“For you know that . . . with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth . . . For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. . . . the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:18-25).
We are not alone! We are in Jesus and He is in us (John 14:20; 15:4; Romans 8:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 13:5). We are also a dwelling place for the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20). We have been purchased; we are His! We are His new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We sit with Jesus in heaven (Ephesians 2:6 BBE, HCSB, GW, Greek). We are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37)!