“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” — John 14:1
Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke words of farewell to his disciples in His last days. This farewell discourse is recorded only in John’s gospel. Jesus prepares them all for His departure because He wanted them to understand their role in His kingdom after His return to His throne in heaven. Jesus promises to leave peace (John 14:27). Yet that peace is not what most people expect. Christ’s peace invites hatred. Jesus wanted to encourage his disciples that persecution comes on account of His name. (John 15:20). Those who claim the name of Jesus, who follow Him will see hatred poured out upon them. It is inevitable.
Jesus speaks to his disciples about his departure as if it is best that he leave. Really? If Jesus leaves then the disciples face danger. But Jesus encourages them as they express sorrow. He tells them that it is to their advantage for him to leave (John 16:7). Once the Son returns to the Father, the Helper (Paraclete- counselor, comforter) will come to all who believe in Christ. Jesus sends help and turns sorrow into joy. He promises that the Holy Spirit will aid his faithful during their hardship and promises them joy.
Do you face persecution for Christ’s sake? Do you have joy in that persecution?
After Christ’s crucifixion, his followers were understandably upset. We read of Mary Magdalene’s arrival at the tomb only to discover Christ missing. She is joyful when she sees Jesus alive and then He speaks to her in covenant language after the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis. “…I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17). His God is our God. His Father is our Father. He speaks a new covenant for those who claim His name. We are His family. We are His people. Are you a part of this new covenant? Have you embraced the joy promised in Christ even though that joy comes with persecution and hardship?
My prayer for you in the weeks leading to Resurrection Sunday on April 24th is that the Helper Jesus gave to his Church will teach you the joy of Christ. My prayer is that all of us will prepare to celebrate that joy is alive in all of Christ’s faithful, especially when we are hated for HIS name. Celebrate with us on April 24th. Prayerfully prepare to embrace Christ’s life. He is ALIVE although he was dead and we are not alone. Hallelujah!
In HIS Grip