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Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–You’ll Never Walk Alone [3]

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–You’ll Never Walk Alone [3]

You’ll Never Walk Alone: The Coming Strengthener and Returning Master

John 14:15-21

In difficult times, having someone come alongside to help and strengthen you is a breath of life. Here, the disciples are confused. The Lord Jesus had been this helper to them, and now He announces His departure. They are filled with fear of abandonment. Their expectation of a Messiah who would reign in power and glory, like the prophets said, is unravelling. In John 14, a chapter full of interrupting questions, the gracious and patient Lord reveals that He is sending a Strengthener and that He Himself will not be gone for long. We learn for ourselves that we don’t need to wait for the Lord to send someone to help because the promised Paraclete is in us presently to strengthen. Even if everyone abandons you, you’ll never walk alone.

V15 – Keeping His Commands is Identifying with Him

A troubled heart needs to be reminded about love. The Lord does this by mentioning love 7 times in the next 7 verses. If we love Him, we must keep His commandments. The Son has just told them indirectly of His love for them and the Father, since He will do what we ask in His name. Now He asks His disciples to “keep my commandments.” Even in times of trouble, the mark of a true disciple is obedience - Don’t try to walk alone.

V16-17 – The Coming of Another Comforter

What the Lord is about to reveal to the disciples is a great difference-maker. There is “another Comforter” (Gk. ‘Paraclete’) that will be sent to “abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth.” What the Lord was to the disciples as He walked with them, a True comer-alongside, the Spirit of God would be to them. This statement is one of several remarks of the Lord in the Upper Room that confirm the deity of the Spirit of God. If the Spirit of truth was anything less than God, He could not be “another Paraclete” to the disciples.

What is a Paraclete? This word is difficult to translate into English. Comforter was a fitting translation in Victorian times, but now “Comforter” has come to convey the idea of a supporter in grief. The Paraclete is a Helper (ESV, NASB), Strengthener, Counsellor (NIV), and Advocate (NET). Where the believer in Christ needs aid in any and all trouble, the Spirit of truth is always present as a superior Helper, immeasurable Strengthener, wise Counsellor and supporting Advocate.

We must notice a couple things about this Paraclete before we move on.

  1. He is the Spirit of truth (also 15:26, 16:13). All that is associated with Him is truth. The strength that He brings, the testimony that He bears, and the guidance, revelation and glorification of Christ which He shows are all truth.

  2. The world cannot receive Him. What the disciple and believer has is special, while the world does not know Him.

  3. There would be a new relationship between the Spirit of God and the believer.

    1. In v16 the Lord says that He would abide with them (lit.) “unto the age.”

    2. In v17 the Lord reminds that the Spirit has been dwelling with them, by their side, throughout the ministry of Christ. They witnessed this in an unmistakable way through the works of Christ.

    3. In v17 the Lord tells of a brand new blessing, that the Spirit shall be in them. The Spirit of God would indwell the believer in a permanent way (also Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 6:19). This Paraclete wouldn’t need to be sent time and again, for He is always within to help and strengthen. You’ll never walk alone.

V18-21 – A Return of the Lord

The Lord promises not to leave them comfortless, or “orphans.” How? “I will come to you.” But when? He would first return to them in resurrection. After His death, the world would see Him no more. His resurrection appearances, apart from His earthly brother James, would only be to believers. They would see Him in resurrection and be assured that “because I live, ye shall live also.” In resurrection they would be assured that His words concerning His relationship with the Father, and the believer, was as He said. The truth of the resurrection is what drove the apostles and early Christians to zealously live for Christ and be willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel.

There is a practical aspect to the relationship between the believer and Christ. Where there is obedience, there is revelation of Christ. This is all because of love. Our obedience expresses love for Christ. If we love Christ, the Father and the Son love us. The Son who has witnessed this love will manifest Himself to us. Do you want to learn and be more like Christ? Then you must be obedient in the things which God has shown you in His word. The degree to which we keep his commandments is the degree to which Christ reveals Himself to us by His Spirit. It is a marvellous thing that Christ would manifest Himself to us and never leave us orphans – comfort for the troubled heart that you’ll never walk alone.

Still on Thy holy Word
We’d live, and feed, and grow;
Go on to know the Lord,
And practise what we know.

–J. Hart, R.S. Hawker

The Word–Jn. 1:15-17 [9]

The Word–Jn. 1:15-17 [9]

A Great King Over All The Earth

A Great King Over All The Earth