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Jesus the Consoler

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”   John 14:1-3

All of us have days of sadness and sorrow. It’s a fact of life in this sinful world. Sadness and sorrow are the offspring of sin.

“Portraits of Christ” in John’s Gospel (by chapter) :

1–The Son of God
2–The Son of Man
3–The Divine Teacher
4–The Soul-Winner
5–The Great Physician
6–The Bread of Life
7–The Water of Life
8–The Defender of the Weak
9–The Light of the World
10–The Good Shepherd
11–The Prince of Life
12–The King
13–The Servant
14–The Consoler
15–The True Vine
16–The Giver of the Holy Spirit
17–The Great Intercessor
18–The Model Sufferer
19–The Uplifted Savior
20–The Conqueror of Death
21–The Restorer of the Penitent

When we are down and out or grieving over loss or in pain, we welcome fellow Christians who bring words of true consolation from God’s Word. The words they speak are very often familiar. They don’t bring new promises but rather direct our hearts and minds back to the promises of our Savior-God, promises that can be lost sight of in the midst of tribulation of body and soul.

Family, friends, and acquaintances may be unavailable or even forsake us, but our God promises, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

On the occasion when Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving their presence and they couldn’t follow, they experienced sadness of heart, soul, and mind. They had been walking in His footsteps for three years but they still didn’t fully understand what it meant to follow Him. The time would come, however, when they would understand that following Jesus would mean persecution and even death.

Yes, they would be persecuted, hated, and even killed. In fact, every disciple of Jesus experiences trouble from other sinful human beings for following the Savior. Jesus said it would be so (see John 15:18-19, Mark 13:13) and so did those commissioned by the Spirit to write (2 Timothy 3:12).

Jesus’ disciples were about to learn that following Jesus can lead to persecution and death. When they faced those circumstances, they could think back on these words of the Savior and find in them real, lasting comfort.

For, you see, Jesus didn’t offer some cliché as salve for their new wounds. He didn’t tell them that they could find in themselves the strength to stand. He told them—and He tells us—that comfort and strength to stand firm in the faith is to be found in the Father and in Himself. When the going got tough, they were to remind one another of what He Himself had done for them—and had promised to always do for them.

Jesus did more than offer them words. He did something about the fears they would face when confronted with their own mortality.

He took their sins—and ours!—upon Himself and paid for them. In doing so He forever silenced Satan, our “accuser” (Revelation 12:10; see Romans 8:33), and removed the punishment that was otherwise in our future. Jesus rose again the third day, proving His power over death (Revelation 1:18). Jesus’ glorious rising would comfort their hearts and forever remove their—and our!—fear of death. When they breathed their last, still trusting in the Christ, they would depart to the place He promised to prepare for them in the Father’s House in heaven.

In the same way our comfort for the future is also found in Christ and what He has done and in what He still promises to do. He has redeemed us to God by His own perfect life and death. He rose again the third day, assuring us that one day we will also rise at His invitation, at the sound of His voice (John 5:28-29). He has power over death.

No matter then what the pain or sorrow, we are comforted knowing that He has reserved a place for us. He promises that He is coming back for us. He will receive us to Himself. We will be with Him where He is. We will then never be separated from Him.

The promises of Christ are better than iron-clad; they are guaranteed by the One who sits at the right hand
of God.

Jesus is our Consoler in the face of death and the grave… and beyond!

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
’en then this shall be all my plea:
Jesus hath lived and died for me.
(TLH #371:6)

Christ Jesus is my only plea, my hope,
my comfort, my surety. ”