“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Reflection – Wes Jeffcoat
Being alone can create fear, even when we are in places we would normally consider safe. I remember a time when I was teaching we got word that a group of students were planning to vandalize the school. I was asked to stay overnight and be a lookout. During the day the school is full of people and sounds and I never had a moment of fear. However, during the night, when I was alone in the darkness in the very same school building, fear would creep into my thoughts. I would hear noises, (or at least I thought I heard noises), a car would drive by, or wind would blow limbs against the building. All these things happen throughout the day and I thought nothing of them, but this night I was alone and those sounds were amplified – fear. I challenge any of you to come to church any night you want from 10-11 pm alone and just sit – fear.
In this passage as Jesus is preparing the disciples for his leaving he says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Orphan comes from the Greek word orphanous, meaning fatherless children. It derives from the root term meaning to be alone, deprived. In ancient biblical cultures, orphans were one of the most vulnerable people. Jesus knew with the prospect of him going away, his disciples were fearful of being abandoned (alone). Jesus promised “to come to you,” through the Holy Spirit. Verse 21 says, “Those who loves me will be loved by my father, and I too will love them and reveal myself to them.” God’s promises, “I will never leave you, never forsake you,” are found in multiple books in both the New and Old Testaments. How reassuring it is knowing that Jesus will never leave us and is always with us, even in our loneliest and most fearful times. And all we have to do to ensure this is to be one of those who have chosen to love him.