The WORD

16“…and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 14:15-16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

 

What are the devil, death, and all things over against the eternal, almighty majesty of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who want to be and are our Comforter? For if He who is sent is called a Comforter, then both He who sent Him and He by whom He is sent must be the same Comforter. Then there is surely no God besides Him who is a Comforter. And henceforth he who wants to know God aright and name Him appropriately must call Him “Comforter” or, as St. Paul terms Him in [reftagger title=””]Rom. 15:5[/reftagger], “the God of Comfort,” namely, for those who are frightened and have no other comfort. They must not conceive of God otherwise than as a Comforter of the wretched and troubled. They must give the lie both to the devil, who threatens with God’s wrath and with hell, and to their own heart, and say to the devil: “You are a false spirit of lies!” and to their heart: “You are a false, foolish heart!”

Thus the prophet David declares in [reftagger title=””]Ps. 42:11[/reftagger]: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted in me?” As though he were to say: “Why do you torment me without cause?” And then he quickly shakes off his dejection, takes comfort, and says: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my Help and my God.” “Your notions,” he wants to say, “are falsehood and lies; for you transform God into a terrible judge or jailer for me, while, as a matter of fact, He is a friendly Father and a consoling Lord. Away with your anger and terror! Go to the ungodly tyrants and others who are so smug that they do not care about God! That is your proper place. Do not confuse me; for I believe in my Lord Christ, who died and rose again for me and who both asks for and sends me the Holy Spirit and Comforter from the Father. Therefore be undaunted, no matter what happens. Even though everything were to collapse, though lightning were to flash and thunder to crash, let it all fall and tear and crumble. Where my Lord and God stays, there I, too, will abide.”

Blessed is he who knows and can do this. But here there is still a deficiency. The devil is too powerful among us, the world is too strong, and we see so many obstacles and temptations before us that we forget and cannot comprehend the comfort God sends into our hearts. We feel only that which hurts us. It is so strong that it fills man’s whole being and erases these words from his mind. Therefore Christians should rise above all fear and sadness, all anxiety and woe, and say with the prophet: “Why are you so sad?” Christians know how to do this. Christ says: “I know this very well, and for this very reason I am telling you about it in advance. You should not be guided by such feelings or believe your own thoughts; you should believe My Word. For I will ask the Father, and as a result of My plea He will surely give you the Holy Spirit to comfort you. Then you can rest assured that I love you, that the Father loves you, and that the Holy Spirit, who is sent to you, loves you.”

Your heart will counter: “You have not been living right; you are full of sin.” Unfortunately, this is all too true. What is the result? “Oh, you must go to hell!” says the devil. No, that is not the will of God. Begone, devil, you and the evil world; for my Lord Christ says no to you, He tells me that the Father is not angry with me but will give me the Comforter, who will come to me in answer to His prayer. They concur in this, that they do not want me to be frightened and sad, much less rejected and condemned, but comforted and happy.

Behold, that is why Christ befriends His Christians so faithfully and diligently. It is His desire to give them the firm conviction that they will have comfort in abundance, and to acquaint them with His and His Father’s heart and intention. They should have no other purpose and should wish for nothing else from Him than that they be comforted. He tells them that the work and office for which He has been sent by the Father is nothing else than to comfort them and bid them be unafraid. And when they are comforted through God’s Word, they should regard and accept this as comfort that surely comes from the Holy Spirit and is also comfort from God the Father and the Lord Christ.

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 24: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 14-16. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 24, pp. 113–115). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

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