I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
— John 14:18
Have you ever felt isolated or alone in this world? If you have, just remember — you are never alone! Imagine how alone the disciples felt when Jesus informed them that He would soon ascend to Heaven and leave them behind on the earth!
What do you think the disciples felt when Jesus told them this? They must have wondered, What will life be like without Jesus? How will we continue without the Master walking right alongside of us? But it was time for Jesus to ascend to the Father and to take His place as our Great High Priest.
It was natural for the disciples to feel sorrowful. To them, it must have seemed like the end of their wonderful encounter with the Lord and with the power of God. Living and walking with Jesus was more than they had ever hoped for in this world. With Jesus at their side, their lives had been filled with adventure, excitement, joy, victory, power, healings, and miracles.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
Feelings of insecurity and uncertainty would have been normal for any human beings who found themselves in the disciples’ position. They had grown dependent upon the physical, visible presence of Jesus — something we’ve never experienced and therefore cannot fully comprehend. The thought of Jesus leaving this earth probably made the disciples feel spiritually forsaken and abandoned.
In the midst of these fears, Jesus promised His disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless…” (John 14:18). Today I want us to look at the word “comfortless” in this verse. It is taken from the Greek word orphanos, which is where we get the word orphan.
In New Testament times, the word orphanos described children left without a father or mother. In today’s world, the word orphan has exactly the same meaning. It refers to a child who is abandoned due to the death or desertion of a father or mother. Once orphaned, the child is deprived of parental care, supervision, and protection — unless that child is placed in the custody of a blood relative or a new guardian who assumes a parental role in that child’s life.
However, in New Testament times the word orphanos was also used in a broader sense to describe students who had been abandoned by their teacher. Just as children are dependent on their parents, these students were reliant on their teacher to teach them, to guide them, and to prepare them for life. But once the teacher abandoned them, they felt deserted, forsaken, discarded, and thrown away.
In both cases, the word orphanos is used to carry the same idea, whether it refers to children abandoned by their parents or students discarded by their teacher. It gives the picture of younger, less educated, less knowledgeable people feeling deserted by those they trusted and looked to for guidance.
Jesus was a spiritual father to the disciples. He knew they were completely reliant upon Him. They couldn’t make it on their own in the world without Him. This is why He promised them, “I will not leave you like orphans.”
Jesus’ words could be translated to express this idea:
“I will not leave you behind like orphans who have been deserted by their parents, nor will I desert you like an unfaithful teacher who walks out on his students and leaves them with no supervision or help.…”
Jesus knew the disciples couldn’t make it on their own in the world. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to be their new Guardian and Teacher.
You can’t make it on your own in this world either — but you don’t have to, because Jesus did not abandon you! He did not desert you, walk out on you, or throw you away. When He ascended to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to care for you, to guide you, and to teach you. Jesus did not leave you as an orphan in this world!
So meditate on this truth today, and let it sink deep into your heart: I’m not alone! I’m not a spiritual orphan. Jesus has given me the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, counsel, and strengthen me in every situation of life!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I thank You that I am not a spiritual orphan in this world. You didn’t abandon me or leave me to figure out everything on my own. You sent the Holy Spirit to be my Teacher and Guide. So right now I open my heart wide to the Holy Spirit, so He can be the Helper You sent Him to be in my life. I give You thanks for sending this divine Helper, and I ask You to teach me how to lean upon Him more and more in the course of my life.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly declare that the Holy Spirit is my Helper, my Teacher, and my Guide. Everything Jesus did for the disciples, the Holy Spirit now does for me. He leads me, He teaches me, and He shows me everything the Father wants me to know. I am not a spiritual orphan! I am a child of God who is fully befriended, indwelt, empowered, and led by the Spirit of God.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of a critical moment in your life when you felt abandoned and alone and turned to God for comfort and support?
2. What are some of the ways the Father has comforted you in the past?
3. Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to be your Comforter, Strengthener, and Guide?