No, this writing is not intended to be a promotion for a bedding or mattress company! Rather, it has to do with Jesus and the comfort He sends from heaven where He reigns as our King.Actually, though, the gospel allows us to go to bed and sleep in peace and comfort (Psalm 4:8)!
The word “comfort” occurs frequently in the Bible as well as in worldly writings. Take Shakespeare, for example. In The Tragedy of King Richard II we find the Queen and others troubled, woeful, and sad (Act II, Scene ii). The Duke of York walks in, and she asks him to “speak comfortable words.” His answer contains a memorable line: “Comfort’s in heaven; and we are on the earth, where nothing lives but crosses, pain, and grief.”
It is a grim line, but it makes one think of heaven and the comfort there.
Yet this comfort is not just a “thing” or a “commodity.” It is a Person! Our Comfort in heaven is Christ Himself. And His Ascension and Session (being seated) provide us with much comfort down here, before we get to heaven.
We are in the brief Season of Ascensiontide. We have come through Christmas, which teaches that God became Man. We have come through Epiphany, which teaches that this Man really is God! Then came Lent with its sharp focus on this very special Man taking our sins upon Himself. It cost Him His life. But then soon came Easter—where we rejoice in the comfort that “He lives!”
Comfort Pouring Out of the Bible!
My old Catechism (Concordia Publishing House, 1943) dealt well with all this, focusing on the comfort conferred by Jesus’ resurrection, His ascension, and His Session at the right hand of His heavenly Father.
And three “comforts” pour out of the Bible:
- As our Prophet, Jesus sends preachers and teachers of the gospel.
- As our Priest, He intercedes for us constantly before our Father.
- And as our King, He “governs and protects His Church as the Head of the Church and rules the world in the interest of the Church” (Catechism).
Sometimes that third point seems not so easy to accept, given the deterioration in Christianity this past century, plus the extreme secularization of our society, and the unrest everywhere.
The Duke of York was right: “On the earth… nothing lives but crosses, cares, and grief.”
But our Savior has provided for that, as we know. He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, right on the heels of Easter and Ascension. That Spirit is the One who brings all heaven’s comfort down to us—pointing us to Christ, giving us Christ, keeping us in Christ—to be our Comforter sent by the God of all comfort (see 2 Corinthians 1:3) and by His Son.
We are always in the care of our King. And we always have access to the comfort He brings in Word and Sacrament.