Another helper? (thanks, Chuck Swindoll)
The hour was late—around midnight. Jesus and His disciples were in a second-story flat in Jerusalem. There were eleven men with Him. One had been dismissed—the unfaithful Judas. In this upper room the men were reclining around a table, and there was small talk. The focus of attention finally turned to the Lord Himself. In quiet tones, He began to communicate the vital truths they were to live by after His death. When they realized how serious He was, they were seized with panic. Why?
Keep in mind that for over three years they’d been following the man they expected to be the ruler of the world. That meant they would be charter-member officials in the kingdom. Don’t think they hadn’t thought of that! And He would establish Himself as King of kings and Lord of lords. He would overthrow Rome. He would move the hypocrites in the religious world out of power as He established a new rulership marked by integrity, peace, authenticity, and righteousness. That was their dream. . . their hope. But now, out of the clear blue, He tells them He’s going to die. In a matter of hours He would be taken under arrest and by midmorning the next day He would be nailed to a cross. By midafternoon his body would slump in death. Before dark they will have taken His body down, wrapped Him as a mummy, put Him in a tomb, and sealed it.
He—their Teacher—would be gone.
Of course they were confused! The talk of death can’t help but bring panic, cause confusion, and, in addition, create an inability to grasp a set of facts.
Before you’re too harsh on them, imagine the charged emotions. Their heads must have been swimming. I can assure you it isn’t hard for me to imagine. Right after World War II my father had a physical breakdown—maybe some would say an emotional breakdown. Perhaps it was both Whichever, I shall never forget the dreadful feeling when, as the youngest in a family of three children, I was called into his bedroom. I can still feel his hand sort of work its way from my elbow up to my shoulder. I still remember how he held me close as he trembled (though he wasn’t an old man), exhausted from the rigors of endless work—sixteen- to eighteen-hour days, six to seven days a week, for four or five years of his life. I knew I might never see my dad again on this earth. At least, I thought I wouldn’t. He gave me some information about life. He talked to me quietly and deliberately about the character he wanted me to model as I grew up without him. He told me to take care of my mother and to cooperate with my brother and sister. I shall never forget choking back the tears.
I am pleased to say he lived on. In fact, he lived many years beyond that. But at that time, if my life depended on it, when I walked out of the room that dark night, I couldn’t tell you precisely what he had said or what his words meant. I had only one thing on my mind: “My daddy is gonna die!” That stabbing realization eclipsed everything else he said. It may have been important, but I missed it. I can still recall a few words he used, but that’s about it. Death talk is like that.
That’s what happened to those disciples. They’re listening to the Messiah say: “I’m going to die, but don’t worry . . . I won’t leave you as orphans. I’m going to send another Helper.”
They thought, “Another Helper? We want you. We don’t want someone else.”
(Swindoll, Chuck. Growing Deep in the Christian Life. 181-183)