It is better for you that I depart

 

Jesus chose twelve ordinary men to follow Him as His disciples.  I love everything about that.  I love that Jesus chose ordinary men from various professions who had diverse natural abilities and interests.  I love that Jesus focused deeply on training a few.  I love Jesus’ heart for His guys, and I love their courage to leave all in order to follow Him.  This group of men experienced a lot of life in those few short years with Jesus.  They had seen remarkable things and heard even more.

As Jesus’ appointment with the cross drew near, He knew everything would change.  These disciples would have to continue without having Jesus with them in the flesh.  Jesus also knew the road before the disciples would be difficult.  They would experience persecution and opposition, and Jesus wanted them to be ready when He said to them, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away (John 16:7).”

Peter was often the first to shoot his mouth off, and I can almost hear him declare, “WHAT!  How can it be better for us that You would depart? We need You!”  Jesus continued with these words, “For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”  Jesus promised to send the Helper in His stead.  This Helper is the Holy Spirit, who comes upon each person who is born again.  In the flesh, Jesus was still fully God, but He was also fully man.  Jesus was able to relate in a very tangible and direct manner with His disciples, but He was limited to one location at a time.  Jesus had a global church in mind, so He sent the Holy Spirit to continue His ministry within us everywhere we are.

Jesus’ promise was fulfilled at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples (Acts 2).  They were never the same again.  While they were with Jesus, the disciples excelled at being ordinary.  They bickered and complained.  The struggled to understand Jesus’ teaching.  The ministry of the Holy Spirit changed everything.  Following Pentecost, Peter proclaimed Christ to the lost with power and clarity (Acts 2:14-40).  The Holy Spirit empowered the work of the disciples and their results.

I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit and my very own Bible.  The Spirit continues to be the Helper for all who seek God.  The Spirit gives us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand as we open our Bibles to seek God.  He exposes our sin and instructs us in righteous living.  Oh God, thank You for the Holy Spirit.  Help us to obey that we might please You.

John 16:7-8 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.