“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
One of my childhood memories is of waking from a nap on a stormy Sunday afternoon to find myself alone in our house. Neither my parents nor a single one of my seven siblings were anywhere to be found. Frightened, I ran to a neighbor’s home. I was comforted by the presence of familiar faces. As it turned out, my family was in the barn watching our horse give birth to a colt we named Lightning.
Being left alone can be frightening. Jesus describes it as being orphaned. With tender urgency, he comforted and prepared his disciples for the events that were nearly upon them. Soon their friend and teacher would be brutally arrested, beaten, and crucified. Jesus knew that would frighten his disciples. He knew they would feel abandoned, orphaned, alone. So he gave them this unspeakably good promise: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
There are two ways Jesus made good on this promise in his disciples’ lives and in ours. First, he did come back, personally and physically. He rose from the dead, having defeated death. He walked out of the tomb. Jesus’ resurrection secures our place in the family of God. We are not orphans. We are heirs with the risen Christ. Second, Jesus has sent us his Spirit, who is with us always. Indeed, we are never alone.
Faithful God, thank you for your promise that we are not orphans but heirs. Help us to trust that by your Spirit, Jesus is with us always. Amen.
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