WORDS OF EXPLANATION

Scripture Reading:  John 16:5-11

“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.” (John 16:7)

Jesus had been with His disciples for three years.  They heard His words and saw what He had done.  He was physically present to comfort and guide them.  He was with them in good times and in bad times.  They knew how much He loved them and they loved Him.

But now Jesus was preparing them for His departure:  “But now I am going to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart” (vs. 5,6).  The disciples did not want Jesus to leave them.  Their hearts were fill with sorrow and fear.  They could not imagine being without Him because they depended upon Him for everything.

Jesus explained to them why it was better for Him to depart:  “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.”  The Helper is, of course, the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was both comforting the disciples and informing them.  Jesus comforted them by telling them that He would not leave them alone: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him…I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:16-18).

Jesus was also informing them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  He said that it was to their advantage for Him to leave.  He said this because while He was still here on earth, He could only be at one place at a time.  His body limited Him; but the Holy Spirit would carry on Jesus’ ministry over the entire world, all at the same time.  And the Holy Spirit would actually dwell within God’s people.  He would be present with all of them wherever they went.

In God’s sovereign plan, when Jesus left this earth physically, the Holy Spirit came in His fullness to accomplish His mission:  “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” (vs. 8-11).  We now have the Holy Spirit living in us permanently.  He is our Helper and Comforter, who guides us, convicts us, and opens our eyes to God’s truth.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells within me.  Thank You that You always do what is best for me and for all of Your children.

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