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July 5, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”—John 14:18 (NKJV)
For the past several months, the disciples broke from their normal routines of life and abandoned all in order to follow Jesus. The things they saw, heard, and felt are still being talked about and studied two thousand years later. To walk so closely with the Son of God, following His lead towards the establishment of His kingdom . . . what better destiny could a person ever have?
And then, Jesus tells them something they weren’t really ready for. He tells them He’s going to be leaving them, and that they won’t be able to follow Him as they had done for the past many months. This sent their minds spinning and initiated a chain reaction of confused questions. How could this be? What about the bright future You’d painted for us?
In hindsight, we understand what Jesus was saying here. He wasn’t breaking His promise but rather revealing a new one to them. They would experience the glories of God’s kingdom, but not before fulfilling the mission He’d been preparing them for all along—a mission that would change much more than they could ever anticipate—the human heart. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus would give these men a message that would transform people from the inside out . . . a message that would literally change the world!
But they don’t know all of that yet; they’re confused and anxious, which is why Jesus gives them this word of assurance: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” As the feeling of abandonment swells in them, the Lord promises to not leave them destitute. He will be faithful to come to them in a couple of ways. First, He will be with them through the Holy Spirit, Who will dwell within them (John 14:17). Second, He will receive them when their mission is finished and it’s time for them to come “home” into His Father’s house (John 14:3).
It’s important to point out that these promises don’t just apply to the disciples, but to all followers of Jesus. We, too, have been given the promise of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), as well as entrance into the Father’s heavenly inheritance when our race here on earth is through (Ephesians 1:11).
The Lord knows how crippling the sense of abandonment can be. He never wants His followers to be ensnared by it and assures us we’re not orphans, but rather adopted sons and daughters of God. We belong and are assured of this fact by the promises of His Spirit and our inheritance in Him.
DIG: How did Jesus respond to the disciple’s sense of abandonment?
DISCOVER: What does this indicate about the Lord’s heart towards us?
DO: How can you know that you belong to God? Write down a few verses that reveal this truth and meditate on them this week.