Summary: We often wish Jesus was still here today. We envy the disciples who had God in their presence. They could be with him and talk with him-physically. But here we see Jesus telling them that it’s a good thing that he’s leaving them. Let’s find out why.
“IT IS FOR YOUR GOOD THAT I AM GOING AWAY”
INTRODUCTION: We often wish Jesus was still here today. We envy the disciples who had God in their presence. They could be with him and talk with him-physically. But here we see Jesus telling them that it’s a good thing that he’s leaving them. Let’s find out why.
1) First, the bad news (vs. 1-6).
Jesus had just told his disciples that they were going to be hated and persecuted (15:18-21). They had seen Jesus being mistreated and hated and now they needed to realize that they were going to be treated the same way since Jesus was going to the Father after which the world would turn their aggression towards them. But Jesus had a good reason for giving them this bad news. Jesus wanted to give them fair warning so they wouldn’t go astray. He wanted to reveal these things to them so that when the persecution came they would remember that he warned them. Jesus didn’t want them to be overwhelmed to the point of it diminishing their faith. This is important for us to remember. Some people come to Christ and they think all their troubles will be over. So when they have troubles or face persecution they are blindsided and they begin to question things and question God and they lose faith. But if I become a Christian with the full knowledge that there will be trouble with those who oppose Christ then I can prepare myself for when trouble comes. I might get discouraged but I won’t be taken by surprise and it won’t cause me to give up. “I did not tell you this at first because I was with you”. There was no need for Jesus to tell them before because there were other things to focus on. But now that Jesus will soon be handed over to be executed now was the time to prepare his disciples. Jesus had talked about persecution before but now it was much closer so it was time to speak in specifics rather than generalities. He needed to forewarn them that they were going to be put out of the synagogue and that the enemy would be looking to kill them. Now that Jesus was going to be leaving them they would be the targets of persecution and so now was the time to explain all this so that when that time came their faith would not fail. Vs. 6- “You are filled with grief”. Jesus recognizes that the disciples are grief-stricken over the news of him going away and the hardships they will face. It was a depressing double-whammy. ‘We’re losing our mentor, our leader, our Lord and along with that we’ve got to prepare ourselves for persecution and death’. How easy it would be to go astray! These were some serious persecutions to face. Being put out of the synagogue was no little thing. They wouldn’t be able to go to their place of worship. Beyond that, they would be looked at as outcasts of society. And obviously the threat of death was the most severe persecution of all. But Jesus needed to give them the reality of what was coming. He didn’t sugarcoat it, he didn’t minimize it-he presented the reality. Even though it was bad news it was necessary for Jesus to tell them so they would know what was coming. Sometimes we need to be the bearer of bad news. Sometimes we need to warn people of dangers ahead. No one likes to do that but it’s necessary so that people won’t be in the dark about reality. When we witness to people we need to tell them the bad news-that they’re a sinner and that they’re going to hell. People don’t want to hear that. But it’s necessary information because then when I hear the good news, that Jesus paid the penalty for my sin and that through trusting in him I can be saved, then I will understand. I won’t receive the good news unless I accept the bad news. The truth hurts but being in the darkness hurts more. So, in essence, this bad news was actually good news because it gave them an understanding of the reality they were going to face so they could accept it.
2) Now, the good news (vs. 7).
Jesus offers them some consolation with the promise that they will not be left on their own. In fact, what seems like the worst outcome will actually turn out to be a better one. Literal translation, “It is advantageous for you that I should go.” Can you picture the disciples’ reaction? “Seriously? We’re going to be facing all this persecution and doing it without you here with us but somehow that’s to our advantage? How could it be better for us that you’re leaving?” One way in which it was better would be that through the Holy Spirit Jesus would not just be with his disciples, he would be in his disciples; and this would prove to be the better thing. John 14:15-18. The Holy Spirit is something that’s not understood by the world. The work He does in us is unexplainable but completely verifiable. William Burkitt’s commentary states, “The benefit of Christ's conversation was great; but the advantage of the Spirit's renovation and holy inspiration is much greater; the one encourages and incites us to be holy, but the other quickens and enables us to be holy.” When we see the apostles’ lives after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost we see a drastic change from how they were before. Where once Peter was thinking of himself and cutting ears off and denying Jesus after the Holy Spirit comes he turns into this bold preacher and powerful leader. Where once the Apostles all scattered when Jesus was arrested, after the Holy Spirit comes we see their boldness and dedication. They were even willing to be arrested and beaten for preaching Christ. In Acts 5 we read about the persecution that Jesus warned them about. But not only were they willing to endure it, they actually rejoiced in it. Acts 5:40-42. The power to be so courageous and the ability to rejoice in the face of persecution could only be due to the enabling work of the Holy Spirit. There is also the advantage of having Jesus with each disciple everywhere they went. Two people were having a conversation. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have been alive when Jesus was here?” To which the other responded, “Yes, but wouldn’t it be a bummer to be in a town he didn’t get to?” Jesus in human form was one man and could be only one place at a time. However, with him ascending to the Father and sending his Spirit now every Christian could “be with Jesus” all at the same time; no matter where they were. He is with us is in the valley as well as the mountain. When we’re sick and when we’re well. There is nowhere we go that he doesn’t. And not only would Jesus be in his disciples, and not only would he be with each of his disciples everywhere, but with Jesus leaving and the Holy Spirit coming Jesus would be around forever. As a human, Jesus was subject to human limitations. One of which was growing older. Eventually, Jesus would’ve died of natural causes. At best he may have lived for 100 years or so. But now, through the Holy Spirit, he would be with his disciples forever, as he told them before he ascended, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus is just as alive and well and effective in his followers today as he was 2,000 years ago. Notice that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit Counselor. Greek for Holy Spirit-Paraclete. It basically means “to be called to one’s side.” And many good words are used to translate it: Counselor, Comforter, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener and Companion. The Holy Spirit is by our side everywhere we go, through everything we face. When we are tempted, he is there to warn us. When we’re depressed, he’s there to encourage us. When we’re joyful, he’s there to share in our happiness. As we fight the good fight, he’s there fighting alongside with us. In the book Healing the Masculine Soul, Gordon Dalbey says that when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper, he uses a Greek word, paraclete, that was an ancient warrior’s term. "Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs," says Dalbey, "so when the enemy attacked, they could draw together back-to-back, covering each other’s blind side. One’s battle partner was the paraclete." Our Lord does not send us to fight the good fight alone. The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who covers our blind side and fights for our well being. The gift of the Holy Spirit-in us and with us.