Jeremiah 3:15-181NIV New International Version Translations
15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.
Jeremiah was a priest, a native of Anathoth, in the tribe of Benjamin. He was called to the prophetic office when very young, about seventy years after the death of Isaiah, and served for about forty years with great faithfulness, until the sins of the Jewish nation became do great that their destruction followed. The general subject of his prophecies is the idolatry and other sins of the Jews; the judgments by which they were threatened, with references to their future restoration and deliverance, and promises of the Messiah. They are remarkable for how plain and faithful his message was, his affection while carrying out his warnings, and how awful the warnings were.
Here we can see God’s readiness to pardon sin, and the blessings reserved for times when Christ would come. These words were proclaimed toward the north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. They were directed to the people to show them how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive them. These promises are to come to pass fully in the bringing back the Jews in end times. God will graciously receive those that return to him; and by his grace, he takes them out from among the rest. The Ark of the Covenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of that dispensation was to be done away with, which took place after the multitude of believers had been greatly increased by the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scattered among them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He can teach all to call him Father; but without thorough change of heart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have no security if we depart from Him.
Items for Discussion
- Why is the coming of a great shepherd such an appropriate analogy?
- Why would/should the Ark of the Covenant become irrelevant?
- What is the principle change in people that Jeremiah says God wants to see?
- How would you describe an environment where rules and laws were not necessary?
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 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.
John wanted his readers to believe ‘that Jesus is the Messiah, God’s Son’ (John 20:31) and that is why he wrote his Gospel. Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded many miracles in their Gospels. But John chose to record only 7 miracles. He called them ‘signs’ that Jesus is God’s Son. John also emphasized that Jesus was human. John recorded that Jesus was tired (John 4:6). John also recorded that Jesus needed food (John 4:31). Jesus was very sad when his friend Lazarus died, Jesus cried (John 11:35). On another occasion, Jesus became angry with the people who did business in the Temple (John 2:15). And John also recorded that Jesus was thirsty (John 19:28). Jesus was not half human and half God. He was completely human and completely God, too.
Many people agree that John emphasized this for a particular reason. In the early church, some people were teaching false beliefs about Jesus. One group taught that Jesus was not really God. They said that he was just a man. They believed that the Holy Spirit entered him at his baptism. But before he died, the Holy Spirit left him. Another group taught that Jesus was not really a man. They said that he did not have a physical body. They believed that he was a spirit. And they believed that he only seemed to be human. Both these groups were wrong!
John and the other disciples had lived with Jesus for about three years. John knew that Jesus was a real man. Also John had seen the miracles that Jesus did. John watched Jesus die on a cross. And John also saw Jesus after he (Jesus) had become alive again. John knew that Jesus had defeated death. John had seen Jesus rise up to heaven. So John knew that Jesus was a real man. But Jesus was and is also God’s Son and he wrote his Gospel to prove this.
This has to be called the “Comfort” chapter because in it Christ comforts his disciples. (1-11) He further comforts his disciples. (12-17) He still further comforts his disciples. (18-31)
Christ promises that he would continue his care of his disciples. I will not leave you orphans, or fatherless, for though I leave you, yet I leave you this comfort, I will come to you. I will come speedily to you at my resurrection. I will come daily to you in my Spirit; in the tokens of his love, and visits of his grace. I will come certainly at the end of time. Those only that see Christ with an eye of faith, shall see him forever: the world sees him no more till his second coming; but his disciples have communion with him in his absence. These mysteries will be fully known in heaven. It is a further act of grace, that they should know this, and have the comfort of it.
Having Christ’s commands, we must keep them. And having them in our heads, we must keep them in our hearts and lives. The surest evidence of our love to Christ is, obedience to the laws of Christ. There are spiritual tokens of Christ and his love given to all believers. Where sincere love to Christ is in the heart, there will be obedience. Love will be a commanding, constraining principle; and where love is, duty follows from a principle of gratitude. God will not only love obedient believers, but he will take pleasure in loving them, will rest in love to them. He will be with them as his home. These privileges are confined to those whose faith is worked by love, and whose love to Jesus leads them to keep his commandments. Such are partakers of the Holy Spirit’s new-creating grace.
To know these things for our good, we must pray for, and depend on the teaching of the Holy Spirit; thus the words of Jesus will be brought to our intellect and reason, and many difficulties be cleared up which are not plain to others. To all the believers, the Spirit of grace is given to be an aid to their memories. Therefore, by faith and prayer, we should commit the keeping of what we hear and know about Jesus. Peace is given for all good, and Christ has left us all that is really and truly good, all the promised good; peace of mind from our justification before God. This Christ calls his peace, for he is himself our Peace. The peace of God widely differs from that of Pharisees or hypocrites, as is shown by its humbling and holy effects.
Items for Discussion
- Why is obedience easier when you love the one who is asking you to do something?
- How do you love Jesus?
- So what is the good news that you hear in these verses from Christ?
- Which must come first, belief or understanding?
- Why is the Holy Spirit critical to our happiness and understanding?
- Describe the peace that Christ brings?
- How would you test the peace you see to know if it is coming from Christ?
- If we know what Jesus would not do something, why do we do it?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations