Oh, I hate being sick … especially a late winter sickness combined with a busy work schedule that made rest difficult. I think I’m recovering, but I’ve lost a few more days in my Lenten journey. There are still plenty of days, though, to savor the teachings and actions of Jesus in the final days of his earthly life.
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 go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
(John 16:7-15 ESV)
It’s to your advantage that I go away …
Jesus was telling the disciples so, so much in their final moments together and now he delivered this bombshell statement. How could it possibly be to the disciples advantage that he go away?
When he met them, they were fishermen and tax collectors, zealots and ordinary men. For three years, he had traveled with them and taught them. They had seen healing and miraculous feeding. They had seen him walk on the water and calm the storm.
How could it be better for them that he go away?
They couldn’t know in the darkness of the upper room, but they would do astonishing things after Jesus left them. They preached and taught and healed and raised people from the dead. Under their leadership, the number of believers increased exponentially day after day. The gospel began its journey to the ends of the earth with their words delivered to a crowd of people on the day of Pentecost.
Even the religious rulers knew these were unschooled, ordinary men. How could they do such things?
When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came.
Through the power of the Spirit of God, they were able to do more than they had ever imagined that night in the upper room. Certainly, they missed Jesus, their human friend, but they were comforted by his Spirit.
It was to their advantageous that Jesus went away.