16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the 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. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Jesus is not physically present with me. I can read of him, I can know how he acted, behaved and believed in a wide variety of circumstances. I can read of his power, wisdom and love. I can make note of his recorded teachings. But it is not quite the same as having him with me, daily. The physical Jesus would provide advice and perspective in the very moment I need it, he would see when I am discouraged and speak the words I need to rise up again. He would rebuke me when I was headed down a destructive and evil path.
No wonder his disciples grieved at the thought of losing him. How wondrous and incomprehensible it must have been to hear Jesus talk of this ‘helper’, this ‘Spirit of truth’, that would step into their lives as he seemed to depart.
I have the advantage of standing on the other side of two thousand years of the Church’s existence testifying that Jesus was not lying or using hyperbole. Truly, it was good for Jesus to leave and send us this Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit). He is now with every disciple of Jesus, and if I learn to listen to him he is just as much present as the physical Jesus was with his disciples and he is just as trustworthy, speaking to us only what is passed on to him from the Son, who in turn received it only from the Father. Even more, he can do a work on the inside of us that turns my hard heart into an obedient and responsive heart.
Lord, I am living in the days of your Spirit poured out, your Kingdom is alive in our souls and is being revealed to the world in our lives. Truly I am not alone, you are with me, speaking to me and working thorough me to the ends of the age! Amen!
Written by Andrew Mellor