What Does the Bible Say About Aging?

God made a Covenant of Nations with Abraham when he and his wife Sarah were well past their child-bearing years, and Sarah had not yet borne a child: When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations…I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you (Genesis 17:1-7). “…I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son” (Genesis 18:10b).
During the time of the Judges, Boaz took Ruth the Moabite to be his wife and she bore him a son in Bethlehem. At the birth of the child, the women prophesied over the widow Naomi, Ruth’s former mother-in-law: “…’Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.’ Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:14-17). Obed’s grandson King David and his great-grandson King Solomon ruled over Israel until they each died at a good old age.
In the New Testament, Luke tells the story of Zechariah the high priest and his wife Elizabeth, and the annunciation of the conception of John the Baptist. Although Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous before God, …they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while [Zechariah] was serving as priest before God…he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense…And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord…and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:6-17).

Nowhere in the scriptures does God promise that we will not grow old, but God pledges that he will give us the power to do great things if we will only be obedient to him and trust in his word. We do not have space to record its entirety here, but when you have time, consider visiting the book of Isaiah chapter 40. In it, God heralds the coming of John the Baptist, comforts us with a description of the majesty of the Messiah, and asserts his dominion over the nations. At the end of this mighty passage, Isaiah records a momentous promise:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (vv. 28-31).
Three hundred years earlier, King David sang of this promise in Psalm 103:1-5, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
Scripture after scripture confirms that old age is no barrier to the workings of God’s plan. On the contrary, God reassures us that the more our heads are crowned with grey, the more he will be present with us to strengthen us. When we explore the passages quoted here and search out what the Bible says about aging, we discover that this supernatural renewal of capacity always occurs alongside a fresh revelation of God’s grace, his goodness, and his sovereignty. For example, we read in Psalm 92 that, “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (vv. 12-15).
The psalm begins by instructing, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night…” (vv. 1-2). The righteous who are firmly planted in the house of the Lord and sing his praises day and night remain fresh and productive, even into old age.

You may say, “But Suzanne! I love the Lord, but my productive years are behind me. My get-up-and-go got up and went a long time ago!” Of course I understand, and that is what makes the promises of God so marvelous! Our strength is not what is required for us to continue to produce fruit. Remember Paul’s experience with the thorn in his side? “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
When we are weak, God is strong. Our time of greatest weakness is also our time of greatest usefulness to God. This seems counter-intuitive, but remember we follow the one who was born in a manger, died on a cross, and was despised for hobnobbing with fishermen, tax collectors, and sinners! “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…” (1 Corinthians 1:27). God does not ask us to operate in our own power, he is asking us to lay our human frailty at the foot of the cross so that he can fill us with his strength!
Paul, who understood weakness so well, wrote “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Remember Beloved Friends, our lives are hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are not meant to remain on this earth but to dwell forever in his presence. While we await the call to join him on high, we may offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, yielded to the working of the Holy Spirit, to praise, witness, and pray to bear good fruit in Jesus’ name.
As the Master said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:7-11).





All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.

Happy Father’s Day!

Our prayers, thanks, and love are with all the fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, and spiritual mentors who give so much of themselves every day, on this Father’s Day.
“The righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!” (Proverbs 20:7).
And for those families whose fathers are not with them today, we ask a special blessing over you and your loved ones as you celebrate and remember.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61:3-4 NLT).
We pray that God will place his mighty protecting hand over those families whose fathers are serving in the armed forces, and as firefighters, law enforcement, and EMTs. Thank you for your sacrifice and your courage. God be with you all.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).
May God, our heavenly Father, comfort all the fatherless on this day, and every day, with his loving presence.
“‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace” (Numbers 6:24-28 NLT).
Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Speak Comfort!





All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation unless otherwise noted.

Repost: What is the Rapture?

Have you ever heard of the rapture? Most non-Christians, and even many believers, either have not heard about the event known as the rapture, or do not really understand what it is all about. Part of the reason for this is that the Bible does not specifically use the word “rapture” to describe it, but instead uses the Greek, harpazo, which means to seize, catch away, call up, or take for oneself (Strong’s #726).
Let’s look at a very interesting, and supernatural, way that the term rapture – or harpazo – was used in the story of the apostle Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, beginning in Acts 8:26…
Philip and the other apostles were preaching in Jerusalem, when an angel appeared to Philip, and instructed him to Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza…And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Queen Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come up to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
And the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to sit with him…Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture [Isaiah 53] he told him the good news about Jesus.
And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away [harpazo], and the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing.
But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed though he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:26-40)

Can you imagine what both men must have experienced, as Philip disappeared from the Eunuch’s sight, and suddenly found himself in a completely different city? The beautiful Greek phrase for what happened is, pneuma kyrios harpazo philippos, or “the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away.” The Holy Spirit literally raptured him and set him down in a new location! Therefore, we can understand through this example that the term rapture can refer to being bodily caught up by the Spirit and set down in another place.
Now let’s look at how Paul uses the term harpazo in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep [died in Christ].
 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up [harpazo] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Notice that Paul makes a distinction between the living and those believers who have previously died, or “fallen asleep.” As we can see, he is specifically saying that those who are alive will be caught up, harpazo or raptured, to meet the Lord (along with those believers who have died and gone before them) in the air. In Acts chapter 8, we witness Philip being caught up or raptured by the Holy Spirit and carried bodily to a new location on Earth. Here, Paul describes believers who are alive being caught up to meet Jesus in the heavens, using the word harpazo, or in the Latin, rapturo, and in English, rapture.

Notice too that Paul specifically instructs the church to comfort one another and take comfort in these words, this blessed hope, of the rapture. Why is it that the hope of the rapture should be comforting to believers? 1 Thessalonians 1:10 tells us that Jesus saves believers from the wrath to come, and Romans 5:9 states, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
There is a time, during the second half of the seven-year Tribulation period, that God’s wrath will be poured out on those who remain on the Earth. Jesus refers to this time as the Great Tribulation during his prophetic Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” However, God will not focus his wrath on the Church, which is the Body of Christ, because at the cross Jesus paid the full price for all our sins. For all those who believe in the finished work of Christ at the cross and accept him as their Lord and Savior, God’s wrath against sin has been satisfied, and we are saved from his wrath forever. Therefore, when the wrath of God is poured out on the unbelieving world, the Church will have already been raptured, or caught up to heaven. And so shall we always be with the Lord.
When will this blessed event take place? That is something that it has not been given to us to know. In fact, Jesus himself stated, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Only our Father in heaven knows the perfect timing of the moment when God will instruct the Bridegroom to call for the Church, and his Bride will be caught up to heaven in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). However, in Luke’s description of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus instructs us, “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

In Matthew 16:3, Jesus scolds the Pharisees for not being able to discern the signs of the times, and Jesus, himself, has given us a picture of what to look for in these last days. If you want to know more, take some time to read both versions of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, and look around and see if what Jesus was pointing to looks familiar. And if you discover that it does, remember Paul’s words of comfort and Jesus’ exhortation to recognize the signs of the times, and do not be afraid, and do not get caught up in anxiety and worry about what is happening in the world. Jesus instructed us to look up and not to focus on the troubles of this world, but to keep our eyes firmly fixed on our Redeemer. He is drawing nigh, and when our Father gives the call, the Body of Christ will be caught up together, to meet the Bridegroom in the air. And so we will forever be with the Lord. And the Lord said, “…’Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!...” (Revelation 22:20-21).
If you are unsure whether or not, when the call comes, you will be included in the number of those who are caught up together in the rapture, please take a moment and read and pray this Prayer of Salvation:
Dear God, I believe with all my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake, and that He has risen from the dead for my deliverance. Lord, I receive your Word, and I repent of my sins.  I receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive Your complete forgiveness and my new birth into Your kingdom. I receive Your Holy Spirit to guide me and teach me, and I make You the Lord of my life. I receive salvation in the holy name of Jesus, today and forever. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer from your heart today, then you have been cleansed of all your sins and born again into new life through Jesus Christ, and we are so happy for you! We suggest that you find a copy of the Bible, which is God's Word, and begin reading with the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Please consider visiting a Bible-based church in your area and let them know that you have recently received salvation, so that you can enjoy fellowship with other believers and ask any questions that you may have. We are praying for you, we love you, and God bless you, in Jesus' name.
Jesus said, "In the same way God's angels are happy when even one person turns to Him" (Luke 15:10 CEV).






All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation unless otherwise noted.

The Shepherd’s Call.

In John chapter 10, Jesus uses two metaphors to describe himself, stating, “I am the Door” and “I am the Good Shepherd” (vv. 7, 11, 14). Why does Jesus liken himself to a door, and what in the world could doors really have to do with shepherds and sheep?
To answer this, Jesus makes two distinctions about himself. First, he uses the example of the Good Shepherd going in and out of the sheepfold the appropriate way, through the front door, in contrast to thieves and robbers, who climb over the fence or break in through a window. Next, he describes how the thieves come only to “steal, kill, and destroy,” while the Good Shepherd lays down his own life for the sheep (v. 10-11).
Jesus said, “He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (vv. 12-15). (In this metaphor the thieves represent the Pharisees and the wolf is, of course, the devil.)
There is an important third element to this equation, as Jesus points out in verses 2-5: “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Here, Jesus makes the distinction between himself, the Good Shepherd, and strangers, who do not care for the sheep and whom the sheep will not follow. How do the sheep know whom to follow? The sheep follow the Shepherd because they know his voice.
Perhaps you already know that here in John 10 Jesus is using the metaphor of sheep and shepherds to illustrate that he is the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy given in Ezekiel 34. In the prophecy of the Good Shepherd who is to come, God describes how he intends to replace the greedy religious leaders, or “shepherds of Israel,” with the Shepherd King whom he will send. As Ezekiel wrote: “Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require [take back] my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out…I myself will be the shepherd of the sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord…And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David [a type of Christ] and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:10-11, 15, 23-24).

Around 400 years before Ezekiel’s prophecy, King David himself prophesied about the Perfect Shepherd in one of the most well-known Psalms: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me on paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23: 1-3).
Less than one hundred years before Ezekiel prophesied, the prophet Isaiah described the Good Shepherd, proclaiming, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Returning to John’s gospel, we read that Jesus said “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold, I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10, 16). This was to indicate to the Jews who were flocking around Jesus that there were others, the gentiles, or non-Jews, who would also receive the call from Jesus to “Follow me.” They are all of us about whom Jesus prayed before the crucifixion,“…that they may be one [with us], just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21).
The Shepherd’s call resonates through scripture, from Genesis and the stories of Abel who was the first shepherd, and whose offering was acceptable to God; to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived in tents and led their flocks into a new land; Moses in the book of Exodus, who spent forty years tending his father-in-law Jethro’s sheep in the wilderness before God called him to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt; and the story of David, the shepherd boy who defeated the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel, and was born to be anointed king of Israel.
The coming of the Good Shepherd is foreshadowed in the writings of the prophets, and he appears at last in the New Testament, heralded by multitudes of heavenly angels proclaiming “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11-12). Finally, he became like one of us, so that in God’s perfect timing we would be able to recognize his voice and follow him wherever he leads.
John continues chapter 10 by witnessing to Jesus’ words, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one” (vv. 27-30).





All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.

The Seven “I Am” Statements in the Gospel of John: “I Am the True Vine…”

In his final “I Am” statement in John chapter 15, we accompany Jesus, leading his disciples from the Upper Room in Jerusalem to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. As they walk Jesus continues teaching, drawing attention to a flourishing grapevine, stating, ““I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (vv. 1-2).
In his seven “I Am” statements, Jesus reveals himself as the Bread of Life; the Light of the World; the Door of the Sheepfold; the Good Shepherd; the Resurrection and the Life; the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and the True Vine. In this final metaphor, Jesus connects his followers with himself, instructing that while he is the True Vine, we in fact are his branches. He goes on to say, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (vv. 4-5).
It is our responsibility to remain in him and hold fast to his teachings, so that we may fulfill our kingdom purpose of bearing much good fruit. Jesus warns us that without the sustaining power of the True Vine, any fruit we try to produce in our own power will wither and die and our fruitless branches will be thrown into the fire and burned. However, he gives us the promise that when we follow his commandments and abide in his love, we can ask our Father in heaven for whatever we need to fulfill his purpose and it will be done for us. Jesus reassures us that “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (vv. 8-11).
He makes it very clear what the commandments are. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus explained, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. In John 15 verses 12-17, Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends… I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

But Jesus is not talking about brotherly love, or familial love, or even erotic love. These types of love are relatively easy to practice because they generally include a certain amount of reciprocity. Jesus discussed this principle in Matthew 5:46-47: “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” And Peter expressed the same concept when he wrote, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:19-23).
This kind of love is not brotherly love, erotic love, or familial love. Jesus would not have needed to give us a commandment to practice those types of love. The love that Jesus commands us to embody is the Greek agapeo, to love in a moral or societal sense. To put the welfare of others above one’s own. When we act with agape love, we love our neighbors as ourselves. We even love our enemies, and we sacrificially place the needs of our friends and families before our own needs.
Jesus commands us to practice moral, self-sacrificial love because we would not naturally practice it on our own. It is a commandment, because Jesus knew we needed more than just a suggestion about trying out a nice-sounding concept. Jesus commanded us to practice agape love because it is hard to do. Not only are we not likely to be thanked for our efforts, but we might also even be persecuted for them!

Just because we love our enemies, it does not mean they are going to love us in return! In fact, Jesus warned “These things I command you, so that you will love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master’” (John 15:17-19).
However Jesus did not expect us to follow his commandments to love God with our entire beings and to love others as we love ourselves, in our own strength. Knowing how difficult it would be he also made us a wonderful promise. As they walked toward the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus explained to his disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit, saying:
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and…sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you…” (John 16:4b-7)
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (vv. 12-15).
Jesus used the word “declare” three times in these verses. Whenever a word or phrase is mentioned three times, we are to pay especial attention to it. The Greek word used for “declare” is anangello, meaning “to tell”. It also means to report, make known, or bring back tidings of something. (Did you recognize the word angelos, which means “angel” or “messenger,” in anangello?) Jesus intended for us to understand that the Holy Spirit would bring us tidings, instructions, and information from our Father in heaven. Read verses 12-15 above, again, with the understanding that the Holy Spirit speaks to us directly, as a messenger from the Father, guiding us into all truth.

In John 14:6 Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We come to the knowledge of the Father through the sacrificial blood of the Son and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to all those who receive him. There is no other way, because there is only one Father, one Son, and one Holy Spirit. Jesus did not come as fully Man and fully God only to demonstrate the kingdom, save us from our sins, and then abandon us to struggle to keep his commandments alone.
On the contrary, he reassures us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:15-21).
It is through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us that we are made able to abide in Christ, the True Vine. Jesus is our Daily Bread and our Good Shepherd. He is the Door for his sheep, who opens our hearts and minds to discover the Way, understand the Truth, and receive the Resurrection Life. He is the Light of the World, whose word illuminates our path. He dwells within us, and will be with us, forever. Through his Spirit Jesus causes us to abide in him, so that we may embody his agape love to those who suffer in a lost and dying world. As we abide in Christ, we will bear much fruit, and apart from Christ, we can do nothing.




All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.