|Volume 19 Number 1 January 2017||
The Passover feast was being observed by Jesus and the apostles in the upper room in the city of Jerusalem (Matthew 26:17- 30; Mark 14:12-26). The apostles had just learned several troubling facts: (1) A betrayer was among them (13:21-30); (2) Jesus was going to be leaving them (John 13:33) and (3) Peter was going to deny Jesus (John 13:36-38). In John 14-16, Jesus continued to prepare the apostles for His death by instructing them concerning the nature of His work and His kingdom. However, before He went any further, Jesus was determined to comfort them. The comfort that Jesus extended to His apostles should comfort Christians today. As you know, Christians are not immune to life’s difficulties. To name a few, Christians can swiftly be overcome with worry, grief and sorrow due to the loss of employment, health and spiritual stability. If you are facing these challenges or altogether different challenges of life, consider the words of encouragement Jesus offered in John 14:1-3.
Jesus was their comforter with these words, “Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me” (14:1). The apostles had already started allowing the troubling facts they had attained to overcome them with worry. Jesus commanded, “Stop worrying!” One can allow the day to day troubles, both big and small, to consume the mind entirely. So much so can daily troubles consume us that they become crippling forces which prevent one from fulfilling his responsibility to God and his fellow man. How can one’s worrying be constrained and overcome? Jesus said, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” Faith’s simplest definition is, “taking God at His word based on the evidence.” God has promised to provide for us spiritually (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 1:7-9), physically (Matthew 26:25-26) and providentially (Job 13:15; Daniel 3:17-18; Genesis 50:20). Do you believe Him? One may never know the “whys” or the “hows” of his particular situation, but he should be comforted by the promises of God. He will deliver on His promises (Titus 1:2).
Jesus promised to be their preparer. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” The owner of the house is the Father (“In my Father’s house”). As the owner of the house, He decides who enters (Matthew 7:21). Jesus, who God has appointed, will render the final judgment on who qualifies for entrance (Matthew 25:21). The occupancy of the house or number of abiding places (“are many mansions”) will be equal to the number of the faithful. There is only “one faith” (Ephesians 4:4-5) and “one way” that leads to everlasting life (John 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus promised, “I go to prepare a place for you.” One of the ways Jesus prepared a place for the apostles is by His death, burial, resurrection and Ascension. Without a first fruit there could not be a second fruit (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). However, Jesus prepared a place for all of His true followers. Heaven will be every Christian’s residency who remains faithful (2 Timothy 4:8)! When life becomes difficult, Christians should find it soothing to know that Jesus has prepared a place for them in heaven.
Jesus promised He would be their receiver when He returned from heaven. Jesus said, “…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). Jesus reassured them that He would “come again.” Jesus’ final return will come “in the last day” (John 5:28-29; 6:44), and He will receive the faithful apostles unto Himself. Yet, this promise was not exclusive to the apostles; Jesus made the same promise to all faithful Christians (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). What a great comfort! Jesus will not send a representative, but rather He will come Himself to guide the faithful to their abiding place to remain with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Let not your heart be troubled! Believe in God and in His Son, who promised to provide now and in the future.
What is the Significance of
“Jehovah” as God’s Name?
Names are important. It is difficult for us to conceive of things apart from their names. The many different names for God in the Bible describe and demonstrate His character. Jehovah (usually rendered “LORD” in the King James Version) appears often in the Scriptures. Jehovah means “the Eternal One, the Unchangeable One, the One Who was, and is, and is to come.” When Moses met God in the burning bush, he asked His name. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). God spoke as Jehovah, the self-existent God.
The Hebrew people came to consider one particular name of God as His personal name. Scholars call this name, derived from four Hebrew letters, the “tetragrammaton” (from “tetra,” four, and “gram,” letter). The Jews were so concerned about using this name in vain that they would not even pronounce it when reading the Bible aloud. (They substituted Adonai meaning Lord.) As a result, the proper pronunciation of the original Hebrew is unknown. Most scholars say “Yahweh” or “Yahveh” is likely the proper pronunciation, although Jehovah has been used since the sixteenth century.
The Bible stresses the importance of respect for God by emphasizing the importance of the name of God. Solomon said, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). The psalmist said, “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name” (Psalm 111:9). Isaiah spoke of “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). Jesus told His disciples, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).
The third commandment warns, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Although this commandment is part of the Old Covenant, the need for respect for the Lord’s names continues. Paul wrote, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed” (1 Timothy 6:1).