Summary: Comfort, Grief, Peace, Struggles
HOLY ISN’T HIS FIRST NAME – The Spirit of Comfort
John 14:15-31 (p. 752) April 26, 2015
In 1845 Capt. John Franklin set out with 2 ships and 138 of England’s finest sailors to chart a northwest passage around the Canadian Arctic to the Pacific Ocean...they never returned.
Even though they were planning an Arctic expedition, projected to take 2 to 3 years the sailors carried no special clothing other than their uniforms. They only had a 12 day supply of coal for the auxiliary steam engines if the wind went slack...but they did take plenty of entertainment items: a 1,200 volume library, an organ, fine china and cut glass goblets as well as silver knives, forks and spoons. Years later these place settings would be found near frozen cannibalized bodies.
Strange how this officer would lead such an expedition so ill prepared. Captain John Franklin seemed more equipped for afternoon tea than for a dangerous expedition into the unknown.
In our text the followers of Jesus are about to set out on a journey more perilous than an Arctic expedition. This rag tag group of men and women will be asked to go to every corner of the known world as witnesses of the resurrected Jesus.
Jesus hasn’t painted a picture of ease either...He tells them in
MATTHEW 10:16-20 (p. 681)
Sheep among wolves...be shrewd...be on your guard...but you’ll be flogged and put on trial...as my witnesses. It doesn’t say...if they arrest you...Jesus states “when they arrest you.” But don’t worry (not so easy), the Holy Spirit will give you what needs to be said!
The mission of Jesus’ followers wouldn’t be a Caribbean cruise...it would be more like crab fishing on the Bering Sea.
When do you think Christians began to believe that Christianity was safe and comfortable? That Church is a padded pew building instead of a life’s journey filled in an antagonistic world?
Maybe when Christians begin to think about their own comfort instead of the global commission...we pack up the things that entertain us...our choruses or hymns, our preferences and traditions...and then we wonder why we freeze to death spiritually in our faith.
Folks in our text Jesus is about to die. He has told them... “My children I will be with you only a little while longer...I’m going away and where I’m going you cannot come.” (John 13:3)
Peter is distraught... “Where are you going? Why can’t I go with you? I’d die for you!” (John 13:36-37)
It’s not their time to die for him. For all but John, the beloved, that time will come with martyrdom...but Jesus has a job for them before them...
“Be my witnesses...before kings and governors and the gentiles. Go into all the world and make disciples.”
The most important journey ever, would require the right preparation...and the Holy Spirit to bring comfort as they went through the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus would make sure they had everything they needed for the trip...even when:
I. THE JOURNEY STARTS WITH A TROUBLED HEART
John 14, 15 and 16 are a continuous conversation between Jesus and His followers...and He’s just told them He’s going away...and He’s just told Simon Peter He will deny Him 3 times. It’s gotten somber and real...so much so Jesus says
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled...trust God and trust Me.”
[I preached one of my best friend’s funerals a month or so ago...I spent a lot of time with him and his wife and kids through the cancer. They all loved Jesus, but had troubled hearts through this journey.
I’ve got another dear friend, she’s 48 and she’s struggling through chemo and cancer every single week. She and Travis have troubled hearts.
I’ve been with parents of children who have taken their lives. I’ve been with mates who have had their spouses walk out for good.
I’ve stood with families who have had floods and tornados destroy everything they own. All their hearts were troubled.
My heart’s been troubled and so has yours...and it might be right now. If it’s not...it will be.]
So what’s the answer? The world says, “Numb the pain” – give me a bottle...give me a pill. But numbness doesn’t heal the troubled heart...it just postpones the payment of grief.
Jesus tells us the answer is “hope.”
Trust in God...Trust in Me.
In the midst of pain Jesus is literally saying “wait before you give up on me.” “Don’t judge forever with right now’s pain.”
Satan is a liar. He speaks defeat, hate, anger and hopelessness in times of troubled hearts. Many listen and allow bitterness and cynicism to become their constant companions. Worry and stress eat away at any peace. And sometimes this is true even for Christians...Satan cannot steal our salvation...but we can certainly surrender our joy to him.