WORDS OF COMFORT AND ASSURANCE FROM JESUS AS HE PREPARES TO LEAVE HIS DISCIPLES – JOHN 14
The disciples were confused and discouraged as Jesus had told them many times He was going to leave them (John 7:34; 8:21; 12:8, 35; 13:33 and 14:2), that He would die (John 12:32-33), that one of them was a traitor (John 13:21), that even the bravest among them, Peter, would deny Him (John 13:38), yet all of them “left Him and fled” (Mark 14:50), and that Satan was at work against all of them (Luke 22:31-32 – the “you” in these verses is plural). They had left all to be with Him and had come to love Him and now their Lord and Friend was going away. They too thought He was the One, the conquering Messiah, Who had come to set Israel free, and their hopes were dashed (Luke 24:21). They greatly needed some encouragement and Jesus, Who sympathizes with us in our weaknesses, greatly encouraged them (and us) through the assurances He gave them in this chapter. : 1) the assurance of heaven; 2) the assurance of knowing the Father; 3) the assurance of prayer; 4) the assurance of the Holy Spirit; 5) and the assurance of the supernatural peace of Jesus.
1) The assurance of heaven – "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3) Notice the highly relational aspect of all these promises and heaven is not just a glorious place, it is our home where we will be face to face with the Lord and among a community of loving, joyful friends. Yet heaven is a real “place”. Jesus the carpenter/builder is preparing our abode/room even as the bridegroom prepared a home on his father’s property during the betrothal (engagement) period. This place is a kingdom (2 Peter 1:11), a guaranteed inheritance for all Christians (1 Peter 1:3-5), a city and a country (Hebrews 11:16), an abode/room/home (John 14:2), and most importantly, heaven is perfect relationships with the Triune God and His people forever and ever. The promise of heaven and joyful loving relationships, is what can give us hope and perseverance to continue to fight the good fight of faith all the way home.
2) The assurance of knowing the Father – “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Knowing Jesus is knowing the Father, is knowing God, for Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. (Heb. 1:3) And knowing God is the greatest good in all of life. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”(John 17:3) “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man boast in his might, Nor let the rich man boast in his riches; But let him who boasts, boasts in this, that he understands and knows Me… says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24) And our heavenly Father loves us perfectly. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
3) The assurance of prayer – – The assurance of prayer – We have the great privilege to talk to and listen to the most wonderful and powerful Being in the universe. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (vv. 13-14) The phrase “in My name” means in God’s will. Contrary to the prosperity gospel, God is not obligated to answer our selfish prayers (demands) no matter how many times we name it and claim it. Prayer, talking and listening to the Lord, helps us to grow in intimacy with Him and provides comfort, wisdom and power to do His will. To pray without ceasing simply means we talk to the Lord about everything and constantly try to hear His voice so we can “walk in the Spirit” step by step throughout the day. It is the realization of our desperate need for His help and a passionate desire to honor Him in all our ways that drive us to prayer. We simply can’t know and do His will and thus glorify Him without that vital connection through constant communication with Him through prayer.
4) The assurance of the Holy Spirit – As Jesus will soon leave His disciples in His physical body, He assures them that He will not leave them as orphans but will send “another” Counselor (Advocate, Comforter, Helper – “Parakletos” – called to come along side of). The word “another” (allos) means “another of the same sort” i.e., one just like Jesus. As Jesus mediates the presence of God so the Holy Spirit mediates the presence of the Father and Jesus.
The term “Comforter” gets its meaning from a Latin phrase “comfortare ” which means “with (com) strength (fortare)”. The Holy Spirit makes God’s presence real to us (whereas God is not real to unbelievers –“the world”) and empowers (strengthens) us to live like “little Christs” (Christians). Jesus said the Spirit would come after He ascended to the Father and we would receive power to be His witnesses. (Acts 1:1-8) It is impossible to live the Christian life without His power. The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of truth. He, like Jesus, communicates the truth about God. And since Jesus is the truth (John 14:6 – the Person of Christ, not just His words) the Holy Spirit duplicates and sustains the work of Jesus as He communicates and defends the truth of Jesus. Relationships can only grow and thrive in truth.
“He will be in you” (v. 17). At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came and indwelt all believers “forever” – permanently. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came on (but not in) some believers for special enablement and could depart, especially because of disobedience. (e.g., Saul -1 Sam 16:14)
5) The assurance of the supernatural peace of Jesus – The Greek word “eirene” used here and the Hebrew word “shalom” have similar meanings – peace, rest, prosperity, wholeness, or “set at one with.” Only Jesus Christ can set us at one with God. He is the one and only mediator that can make us right with God through His atoning sacrifice. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:1) But Jesus not only gives us peace with God He also gives us the peace of God. “My peace I give to you.” (v.27) And He contrasts it to the peace that the world gives to us. Let’s compare the two:
Peace the world gives Peace that Jesus gives
Depends on having resources Depends on having right
relationships with God and man.
Depends on our ability to
accomplish something temporal Depends on God’s power to
accomplish things that will last
Peace that comes from the
absence of trials Peace that comes the
Presence of a Person even in
midst of trials.
Walking by sight and depending
on externals – good circumstances Walking by faith and
depending on the internals and
eternals- a good God.
Remember – the peace that the world promises to give us is a lie. But if we know Jesus, Who is the truth and are walking in and under the control of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth (John 14:17; Eph. 5:18), and abiding in (obeying) God’s Word which is the truth (James 1:22-25), Satan cannot deceive us and steal our peace. “O world, so frail and so mad! Is it you in which we are made to believe? With what boldness do you hope to impose on us the vain and fantastic form which passes and disappears? You are only a dream and you want us to believe in you? We even feel in possessing you that you are nothing real to fill our hearts. Are you not ashamed to give magnificent names to the showy miseries by which you dazzle those who are attached to you? The moment you offer yourself to us you cause us a thousand pains. The same moment you are going to disappear and you dare promise to make us happy?” (Francois Fenelon – Christian Perfection)
Questions for reflection/application:
Jesus tells us to not let our hearts be troubled or afraid. Where are you in bondage to fear or worry and need God’s truth to set you free? (John 8:32)
Which, if any, of the four ways the world offers peace continues to be a requirement for you to have peace? How can God’s Word shown under the “Peace that Jesus gives” column help you have the peace of God?
That we would see Jesus,
Len and Kristen