“It is to your advantage that I go away; . . .”
Much of what Jesus said was shocking to the ears of the disciples. He spoke with a wisdom that was otherworldly. They may have become used to the fact that Jesus was going to say things that surprised them, but I do not think anything could prepare them for the statement Jesus made here. Earlier, He had been speaking about His betrayal and death, He now declares they will be better off without Him. For over three years, these men have been with Jesus. They have watched as He transformed lives, and listened as He declared truths about the Kingdom of God. Now He is speaking about leaving, and declaring they will be more effective with Him out of the way. I know Peter is the one who is known for objecting to Jesus, but I find myself objecting on His behalf. I cannot think of a single scenario where it would not be better to have Jesus around. If I were fishing, boating, preaching, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry or facing the Pharisees, I think it would always be better to have Jesus there, than to be by myself. How could Jesus say such things? What conditions could make it better to have Jesus absent, rather than present?
First off, things are better because of the way Jesus will depart. No one could take His life, He would instead, lay it down as a sacrifice to provide the cure for man’s sin problem. His death makes it possible for each of us to have eternal life, and gives us a message to declare to the world. The message that, they too, can have their sins forgiven, and receive eternal life in Christ. Beyond that, Jesus goes on to explain why things are better for us if He departs to the Father.
“Nevertheless 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 depart, I will send Him to you.”
When Jesus departed to the Father, He sent forth the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third “Person” of the Godhead, He is described as the Helper, the Comforter, and the One who empowers the Christian. Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convince the world of its need for a Savior, by convicting it of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
Ministry is impossible. We are natural beings with natural abilities. We are sent forth to impact people spiritually. We can tell moving stories that effect people’s emotions, but only the Spirit of God can penetrate the heart of man, and convince Him of His need for Christ. Praise the Lord, Jesus did not leave us alone, but sent forth the Holy Spirit who will enable each of us to be involved in furthering the work of God in the World.
Father, baptize us afresh with Your Holy Spirit today!
Questions for John 16
- Chapters 13-16 give us tremendous insight into what Jesus was teaching His disciples on the last night that He was with them before His crucifixion. These chapters contain some amazing lessons that He has not taught before, and in this chapter we are told some of the reasons that He is teaching these lessons. Look at verse 1, 4, 33, and John 15:11. What are the reasons that Jesus is teaching them these things?
- Read verses 6 and 12. Are Jesus’ words immediately producing joy in the disciples? Will His words ultimately produce those results?
- Consider verse 7. Is it better to have Jesus with me in the flesh, or to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in my heart?
- In verse 4 Jesus says “these things I did not say to you at the beginning because I was with you…”, but now that He is leaving, it is time for Him to tell them of who will be with them instead. The Holy Spirit is being introduced to them in a brand new way. Read verses 7-15. List some of the things that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would do.
- Will the Holy Spirit behave or cause us to behave in a way that draws attention to Him or to us? On whom will He put attention? (verse 14)
- Read verses 18-22. The disciples clearly are perplexed. But Jesus has a perspective that they do not (in the same way that a woman after having a child has a different perspective on the pain of labor). Have you had any times in your walk with the Lord where nothing seemed to make sense, but in hindsight you see perfectly what He was doing? Are you going through any of those times now? Take time to pray for God to give you His perspective.
- Verses 23-27 reveal that in as we walk with Jesus we can come directly before the Father with our prayers, and that He will give us what we ask. Read James 4:3 for a balance to this verse.
- In verse 32, Jesus tells the disciples that they will abandon Him in His trial, but who does He stay will stand with Him? Read 2 Timothy 4:16-17.