Jesus was about to die. He knew this, He even tried clueing His disciples in on this. He also knew Judas was going to betray Him, the rest of the disciples would scatter from Him, and Peter would deny Him. He told them He knew this was going to happen and that it was going to happen soon (see John 13). In lieu of all this depressing news, Jesus turns in John 14 to comfort His disciples. How does He comfort them in view of betrayal, suffering, and death?
He encourages their faith. How so?
- Faith in general (v.1): If they believe in God, they should believe in Him as well since He and God are one. But specifically, how can standing firm in their faith pull them through the following days? Now Jesus gets specific..
- Faith in a future hope (v.2-3): Jesus would be physically leaving them soon, but that was info that should make them rejoice because He was not just going to leave them but prepare a place for them to stay and then return to get them. They could face the pain of Jesus’ departure in light of Jesus’ return.
- Faith in fellowship (v.4-11): Jesus told them they knew where He was going and they even knew the way, Thomas confessed ignorance and Jesus answered that the Father’s presence was the place and He was the way. Because of their fellowship with Jesus they could also have fellowship with God Himself. This thought is completed later in v. 15ff when Jesus promises the coming of the Spirit to abide with them forever. The fact that they currently had fellowship with God and would have continued fellowship should have been a comfort to them. No matter how depressed they may feel, they weren’t alone. They could go to God’s very throne room and cry out for help.
- Faith rewarded (v.12-14): Obviously if they stood firm in faith, reward(s) would be in order. Jesus notes 2 specifically: 1)great works–that is, because of them the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection (and what it meant) would spread throughout the world and have a greater extent. 2)answered prayer–anything they asked of Jesus, so long as it was asked in faith and in accordance with God’s will, would be granted to them (you may wonder how they would know if what they asked for was in God’s will. Consider that if they stayed strong in fellowship with God, they would know better His mind and therefore His will as well). Faith is a tough position to stay in, but Jesus encouraged them by noting that if they weathered the storm, they would feel the glory of the sun thereafter.
Good for the disciples, they learned about faith! But what about us? We can learn just as much. Whether your situation is as drastic as losing a loved one or as minor as struggling with schoolwork or finding a job, be encouraged! Believe in Jesus Christ! These troubling moments surely won’t last as He will come again soon to take us home, away from all this pain. But in the meantime, as you struggle with the daily grind of life, as you wade through the murky waters of depression, or drown in the flood of despair remember that if you believe in Jesus, His Spirit lives within you. God is with you! Yes, the pain still remains, but you’re not alone.
As I mentioned, faith is easier said than done. But to hold tenaciously to faith in Jesus through the daily pressures of life reaps a bountiful reward. The pain is worth the gain in the end. You will see great things accomplished as people are challenged by your faith in God. Prayers will be answered in ways you never could have thought possible. So take these words of comfort from Jesus and keep them in mind for the next time when you find yourself lodged in discomfort.