Summary: A sermon on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Life can get really busy, can’t it? I think that with every passing year, the pace of life increases, and we have quickly found ourselves in a culture where being busy is normal.
A young doctor had just opened office and felt really excited. His secretary told him a man was here to see him. The young doctor told her to send him in.
Pretending to be a busy doctor, he picked up the phone just as the man came in. ‘Yes, that’s right. The fee is $200. Yes, I’ll expect you at ten past two. Alright. No later, I’m a very busy man.’
He hung up and turned to the man waiting. ‘May I help you?’
‘No’, said the man. ‘I just came in to install the phone.’
Being busy is good, it means we get more done, and for many that gives them a sense of achievement. But I think there are some difficulties with being busy. Sometimes you get so busy, that every now and then you find yourself needing to be in more place than one. It happens to me from time to time, and when I mention that it would be good if they could clone me, my wife quickly reassures me that one of me is more than enough trouble.
Have you ever stopped to think to yourself, why was Jesus only on earth for 33 years? Why was he only in the Middle East? Why didn’t he travel wider, to heal more people, to teach more people, to guide more people, and to help more people?
I mean, out of all the known world at the time, his area of outreach was pretty limited.
We need to sometimes put ourselves in his shoes. He, like us, was only one man. Yes, he was the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, but he was only one man. We ourselves may, in all the best intentions, want to help the world, but we are limited because of what one person can do.
Can you imagine yourself being one of Jesus’ disciples 2,000 years ago. You have spent three years with this man Jesus, the Son of God, the one who claims to be the prophesied saviour of the world. You have travelled with Jesus for three years, listened to his marvelous teachings, seen him heal people with all sorts of illnesses. I mean, you had seen him heal leprosy. You had seen him give sight to someone who was born blind. You had seen him raise Lazarus from the dead days after he died. You had seen him cast our demons, in one case it was more than 2,000 demons in one man. You had witnessed him feed 4,000 people and then 5,000 people with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread.
Can you imagine that today? I’m sure you would be thinking that finally, there is an end to illness and disease. Finally, there is an end to world famine and hunger. Finally, the troubles and problems of this world are about to end.
But then, Jesus says, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it is for your own good that I am going away.’
What? After all that, Jesus is saying that it is for our own good that he is going away?
But Jesus continued, ‘Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.’
I think that the word that we have here as Advocate is an unfortunate translation. The original Greek word that John used here is Parakl?tos, is more accurately translated as a lawyer, specifically a legal advocate who makes the right judgement call because they are close enough to the situation. The picture portrayed here is a lawyer giving evidence on our behalf in the court of law.
You see, Jesus was only one man. Yes, he was fully divine, but being in human flesh he could only be in one place at a time. The issues of every person in the world was too much – he was confined to Israel and the surrounding nations. If you feel the pressure of needing to be in more than one place at a time, imagine how Jesus must have felt. He couldn’t possibly help everyone, not in his human form.
And that is why it was for our own good that he went away. Because in Jesus ascending into heaven, he was then able to send the Advocate, and the Advocate is the Holy Spirit, who is able to be with every one of us, in every nation, and to dwell in us if we allow him to.
Now, when talking about the Trinity, we know a lot about God the Father. He appears all throughout the Old and New Testaments. He was there at creation. And he is there, in the last chapter of the book of Revelation.