Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is John 14:25–27, where Jesus says,   

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”



Have you ever gone “spelunking?” For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the “hobby” of exploring caves. You can sure take it up in Missouri, long known as the “Cave State,” since it has 6,400 caves to discover! One spring, my wife and I explored several of those caves. It was exhilarating, but I have to admit it was a bit scary as well. At one point of the tour when we were deep in one of the caves, the guide turned the lights off. He had us lift our hands towards our eyes to experience the reality of not even being able to see them right in front of our face. Wow! It was unnerving to say the least. When you are in complete darkness, you can easily begin to lose your balance. You quickly lose all reference points. If trapped for long, you even begin to question how to move; you wonder if you will survive or get out. At that moment, the most basic thing becomes the most important thing -- light!

Light versus darkness. That’s a metaphor for what is happening in our reading today. Jesus is speaking to His disciples before making His sacrificial journey to the cross where He will pay the price for humanity’s sin, overcoming an eternal, absolute darkness for our sake. But He didn’t want His disciples to be “left in the dark” or incapacitated by fear. Yes, He knew that His death would overwhelm them. They would feel helpless and full of fear as He was nailed to that tree and then placed in a tomb. And so He shares with them a promise which only THE Light of the Word can give (see John 8:12). He says, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus doesn't want them to be “in the dark” about the things that really matter. Nor does Jesus wish for you and me to be “in the dark” either. Today it often seems like the things of Christ are out of step with the ways of the world. The world in which we live seems upside down. Wrong is right and evil is celebrated. Instead of turning to God, people yearn for politics, money, and notoriety to calm their fears. Sadly, amidst such spiritual darkness, many miss this world’s only true Light, the Savior who came, died, and rose again so that we might live forever in Him.

I know the craziness of this world. I know its darkness. You can feel it and see it too. But I also know this: In the midst of such chaos, Jesus promises a peace that only He can give, forgiveness that only He can offer, and victory that only He can bring to fruition for all who believe. And He promises believers the very Advocate of all advocates, the Holy Spirit, who will empower us through God’s Word to handle whatever we face today with power, strength, and courage. That’s the Spirit’s help for troubled hearts; that’s Christ’s saving light amidst the darkness; that’s God power to live life boldly each day in Christ and for others.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit to create and sustain our faith in You and to comfort us when we face whatever this world will throw at us. Help us to put Your Spirit-filled Word to work for our blessing and strength. AMEN.

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