““All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you. “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” ” (John 16:1–16, NIV)Jesus says, “I tell you the truth…It is to your advantage that I go away.”
Can you imagine how strange this must have sounded to the ears of the disciples? Jesus, the Messiah, had finally come and now He is saying that it is better if He goes away. I really do feel for these guys because all this has to be overwhelming to them. Just think about it. Step in their sandals for just a moment.
One day you are a fisherman. An average Jewish man fulfilling his daily trade. Some strange man comes along and calls you by name. “Simon, throw the net on the other side of the boat.”
“You’re kidding, right? I have fished all day and you are going to tell me that the reason for my failure was that I was fishing off of the wrong side of the boat. What? Do I need to stand on one leg when I cast the net? Will that help?” (I really think Peter would have said something like that!)
And then you pull in the catch of your life. “What…just… happened?”, you say. And that was just the beginning. For years now you have repeated that same question over and over again…what just happened?
Until you realize…this is the hope of all Israel. Jesus is the promised Messiah. In fact, He asks you one day, “Who do you say that I am?” And without hesitation, you answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona,” said Jesus, “flesh and blood did not reveal that to you. That was from My Father in heaven.”
You think to yourself, “I am walking with my Savior”…and then He tells you, after years of deepening love and friendship, “I must go away now, and you cannot come where I am going.” Can you imagine? Deflated, confused, anxious… What does this mean?
From our perspective, we know what it means. We understand through eyes of faith what the disciples would soon learn for themselves. What Jesus did on the cross, and God validated by His resurrection, ushered in a new era never known before in all of human history. He didn’t put new wine in an old wineskin. Or a new piece of cloth on an old garment. He didn’t just fix a sin problem by patching things together. Jesus made something new.
The church of Jesus Christ is experiencing the blessing of God that exceeds even the unimaginable privilege of knowing Him in person and seeing Him face to face. If you are a follower of Christ, you are experiencing the greatest work of God in the history of the world. This is a day that the patriarchs and the prophets longed for… and God has now made possible through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in your life as a believer in Jesus Christ.
We don’t grasp the magnitude of this privilege do we? But its true!
To say that it is to “our advantage” may biggest understatement that Jesus ever spoke. The indwelling Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is the greatest work of God in the history of the world. And his going away…His death burial and resurrection…is what made it possible. You are no longer foreigners to the promises of God. As a Christian, you are the recipient of His greatest work in the history of mankind. Rejoice today and share this good news!