April 1/2, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk : Rev. Francis Chan

The Apostle John used 5 chapters to recount Jesus’ parting words to his beloved disciples in the upper room. Jesus said that he would leave them to go to a place where they could not go with him, and that he would be betrayed by a disciple and eventually killed. Although Jesus also said that he would leave to prepare a place for them, and that he would rise from the dead and come back for them, his disciples had failed to listen up and could not understand because their hearts were filled with worries, confusion, sorrow, and fear.

Jesus was not only their teacher, but also their family who had lived with them for three years. Jesus’ way of loving them meticulously, teaching them patiently, saving them mightily, and leading them authoritatively had become the most unforgettable and irreplaceable experience in their lives. Thanks to Jesus, they had received a renewed insight into their faith and the meaning and purposes of their lives. Jesus had become an integral part of their lives and the foundation of all their hopes for the future. When Jesus was about to depart, their reluctance, their trepidation, and their difficulty in accepting it were only natural.

In our lives, there are people who are very dear to us. They are an integral part of our lives. For example, our families, our relatives, our best friends, as well as our pastors who have enlightened us and brothers and sisters in the Lord who have walked with us in our journey of faith. When these people leave us for different reasons, it is as if a part of our life is leaving us. Our hearts have sunken into an abyss.

Jesus’ temporary departure was God’s will. In God’s time, Jesus will come again to welcome us into the new heavens and new earth to enjoy the presence of God and all the goodness and happiness that God has prepared for us. If the disciples could see Jesus’ departure from a heavenly perspective, they would understand that everything Jesus experienced on earth, from his birth to his death, was in God’s plan. Jesus’ life was to fulfill the mission God had given him.

The same goes for our lives. From the moment God called us to be his children, God’s wonderful plan for us had begun. Maybe we will stop here for a while and go there. Maybe sickness, death will temporarily separate us from our loved ones. If we can just see things from a heavenly perspective, willing to believe that God’s plan is good for us and his kingdom, we can accept such separation with peace amid our sorrow. As long as those who leave and those who stay are willing to follow God’s will and fulfill God’s mission faithfully, all temporary separations and departures in this life would be bearable in God’s love and mercy.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Francis Chan