Jesus’ Not-So-Comforting Words Of Comfort

(Today's post by Chris Queen)

John 15:26-16:15

After the Last Supper (a phrase that proves Jesus is Southern, but I digress), Jesus took His disciples out for a walk and gave what we might call His parting words before the cross. They’re words of comfort, and when we think of them, we recall phrases like “you are my friends if you do what I command” or “my peace I leave with you.”

But as we take the turn to Chapter 16, Jesus dropped some bombs on His inner circle:

1 I have told you these things so that you won't be caught by surprise. 2 They will ban you from the synagogue; in fact, the time will come when anyone who kills you will think he is serving God! 3 They will do these things because they have understood neither the Father nor me. 4 But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for it to happen, you will remember that I told you. I didn't tell you this at first, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to the One who sent me. Not one of you is asking me, “Where are you going? 6 Instead, because I have said these things to you, you are overcome with grief.

Whoa! Jesus gave them some cold, hard truth: “It’s not going to be easy; in fact it’s going to be really hard.” But He followed it up with some words that, on the surface, don’t sound so comforting, but at their core are some of the most comforting words of the Gospel:

7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I don't go away, the comforting Counselor will not come to you. However, if I do go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will show that the world is wrong about sin, about righteousness and about judgment — 9 about sin, in that people don't put their trust in me; 10 about righteousness, in that I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 about judgment, in that the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 I still have many things to tell you, but you can't bear them now. 13 However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative but will say only what he hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future. 14 He will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and announce it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine; this is why I said that he receives from what is mine and will announce it to you.

When Jesus ascended into heaven a few weeks after His death and resurrection, He left us the best gift of all – the Holy Spirit. I think we (including me – this isn’t a make-you-feel-not-as-bad “we”) tend to minimize the Holy Spirit in our lives. You know how we tell little kids, “Jesus lives in your heart”? That’s the Holy Spirit. Your conscience? Yep, the Holy Spirit. That gut feeling that prods you to do something out way of your comfort zone that winds up being really rewarding? You guessed it: the Holy Spirit.

Take comfort in the fact that, even when times are at their toughest, the Holy Spirit’s got our back. Carry that comforting knowledge into your every day and see what it does for your state of mind.

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