On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). Jesus gave his disciples a source of hope when they would need it most. In just a few hours they would see Jesus suffer and die for crimes he hadn’t committed. But instead of helping him, rescuing him, speaking up for him, they ran away, saved their own skin; one of them even swore that he never knew Jesus. Jesus’ promise to come to his disciples like a loving parent who cares for his children would restore them when they felt as though they deserved to be disinherited from the family of faith.
Jesus promises us the same. We need hope to know that Jesus will not leave us, but will come to us even though we have betrayed and denied him as our Lord and Savior. After we sin, Jesus brings us to repentance and a remembrance of his promise to come to us with loving care as a good parent would. He comes to us with his pardoning love when he speaks a word of forgiveness through his servants of the Word. He makes us one with himself as we receive his very body and blood in Holy Communion and with his body and blood the forgiveness he won by his death on the cross. As much as his body is alive today, so like a vine to the branches so the life of Jesus in the living Word and Sacraments enters our lives to give us eternal life.
You are not alone. Jesus will not leave you as orphans. He comes to you whenever his Word and Sacraments are offered. And just as surely as the promise of his presence is fulfilled in that way, so his promise to come again on the Last Day will come true.
Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
+ Pr. Jim Schulz