I imagine that the moon was full that evening when Jesus informed His Disciples of His departure. Instantly, fear and great anxiety overwhelmed them for they now realized their time with Jesus Christ was coming to an end.
Three years before, they were ‘called’ by this itinerant preacher to leave everything—families, occupations, and lifestyles—to follow Him. Now He was leaving them, and they would see Him no more on earth…or so they thought.
This was certainly one very dark evening for them.
Many questions raced through their minds as they sat together on that last evening: What would happen during His absence? What would the people say? What were they to do next? What about their families? Do they return to their former occupations? Who would lead them now?
But at that moment of their deepest despair, Jesus comforts them with this magnificent promise:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3 (NIV)
Before His departure, Jesus described the ‘last days’ as a lust-crazed world of personal and social addictions. Here, iniquity would be commonplace as we pursue the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh with full gusto. With little regard for the sanctity of life or human dignity, people would brazenly use and discard other people while honoring and cherishing things.
In these last days, false teaching would also be accepted and embraced as well. Teachings like: Heaven is reserved for those whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. Fortunately, God does not keep a ledger with good deeds on one side and bad deeds on the other; eventhough there is a day when we shall account for our speech and behavior performed in this life.
We cannot do enough good to ‘balance the books’ because as Isaiah observes:
We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
In other words, we are sin-soiled and require internal, spiritual cleansing.
Thus, the promises of Jesus shared nearly two thousand years ago still offer comfort to fearful and uncertain hearts today because Jesus Christ paid the full price for our sins forever. And since He is alive today, we have the assurance of His Abundant Life (John 10:10) now, and His Everlasting Life (John 3:16) later. In Christ, we need not be troubled because:
- Jesus freely exchanges His righteousness for our unrighteousness so that we can have true peace and fellowship with God forever.
- God’s Holy Spirit inhabits us to strengthen our resolve to live for Christ each day as we await His glorious return for us.
- Through Christ, we have a total spiritual transformation that produces Jesus’ love, peace, joy, faith and other means of grace that allow Him to work out His perfect will in us.
When Jesus returns in glory, then we shall experience the fulfillment of His comforting promises as Revelation 21:4 illustrates:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
When we face those uncertain moments during the new year, I pray that the Lord’s comforting promise will serve to remind us of His incomprehensible love, grace, mercy and faithfulness.
What a wonderful Savior!