I wonder what the word orphan conjours up for you dear reader?
Maybe you are an orphan, someone who has lost their parents, and had to experience being cared for by strangers, foster parents or even in an orphanage? How did you feel? I can only guess maybe alone in the world surrounded by people not related to you? Maybe even feeling abandoned, living with a sense of rejection, not being good enough to have a proper home, parents and upbringing?
Jesus is preparing His disciples in this part of the Gospel, for him going to the Cross, dying, being resurrected and then Him having to leave them behind when He goes back into heaven. They did not understand and He could sense their deep anxiety and fear. They wanted things to remain the same, yet they still were not clued in to the close relationship they had with Jesus. They had yet to fully know Him as more than just a good friend or even a brother, a great fishing buddy! Life with Jesus had been so different that they wanted it to continue and they all really hoped He would take on the Romans and become the Leader of the Israelites. Nothing Jesus said could get rid of this ‘long hoped for’ overthrow of Roman rule and oppression. Jesus knew He was never going to be an earthly ruler over anywhere, He already was the Creator God Almighty, but His friends, disciples and followers did not get that yet.
So as Jesus spoke of going away, they felt the terror of being orphaned, left behind. Jesus heart seems to be heavy as He feels their terror and so He jumps in with this comforting promise ‘never will He leave them as orphans, adrift left to fend for themselves. No, rather He promises He will come and although the world will no longer see Him, all who believe in Him, will see Him. Jesus is promising to ask the Father to send a Comforter to them, who is the Spirit of Truth.
One of the harsh realities of being an orphan is having nobody standing for you as you learn painfully what is lies and what is truth in this world. You have to be your own parent, teacher an guide, too often. This is very difficult, especially when you are young. Most orphans I know grew up too fast, missed out on the innocence of childhood, and became adults before their time. Jesus is promising to give back all that you have missed out on. He then repeats all who love Him will also be loved by the Father and him and He will show Himself to you.
What does this feel like to you reading this? Can you sense Jesus the Christ, can you live by His love?
What might you want to say to Him as you pray now?
I pray for all who live and feel alone, rejected or abandoned, can feel the love of God in Christ Jesus hugging you close as He fills your life with His Grace and blessings. Amen.