Jesus promised we would be comforted, not comfortable.
Jesus taught that those true disciples willing to forsake all1 to follow Him would find enemies among religious and civil authorities2 and even their own households.3
That’s how it played out for the genesis of Christianity.
Jesus was sentenced to death for blasphemy by the High Priest4 and elders of His own religion.
The first deacon of the Church, Stephen, became its first martyr because he was condemned for the same sin by the same High Priest5 and elders.
The most prolific writer of the New Testament, Apostle Paul, prior to his conversion obtained written authority from the High Priest to seek out and imprison followers of Jesus.6
Can you imagine what it must have been like for the first Christians? Christianity began as a perceived blasphemy. These were Jews who grew up hearing from the Torah, “God is not a man.”7 Now they were giving up everything for a man who claimed, “I and the Father are one.”8
How did they do it?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil , for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…
They knew Holy Spirit.9 They knew the One whom Jesus promised, whose title is sometimes translated “Comforter”.10
That’s why Paul could say, “I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”11
And, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”12
The Church had to increase in wisdom and stature, like Jesus did.13 They had to work out the consequences of their radical new faith.14 They did it facing enmity from their surrounding community. And through it all, they held fast to the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.”15
Jesus may call you out into troubling times. You may have to work out your faith in new, surprising ways. You will have enemies.
It won’t be comfortable.
But you will have Holy Spirit.
Ey will help you, guide you into all truth,16 and yes, in the face of all the pain and loss, comfort your mind and heart.
1. Matthew 19:27-29. Luke 14:27-33.
2. John 16:2.
3. Matthew 10:34-36.
4. Mark 16:53-64.
5. Acts 6:2,3; 7:1,54-60.
6. Acts 8:1-3; 9:1,2.
7. Numbers 23:9.
8. John 10:30,31.
9. Acts 2:1-18.
10. John 14:26 ERS.
11.. 2 Corinthians 12:10.
12. Philippians 4:6,7.
13. Luke 2:52.
14. Acts 15:1-31.
15. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
16. John 16:13.