“Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)
If there had been a floor debate and vote over whether it was to the disciple’s benefit that Jesus go away, Jesus would have lost the vote. The disciples either saw no benefit or could not understand it. What could be better than for Jesus their Messiah to be there in Person with them? From their view, it couldn’t get any better than that. Why would it be to their benefit for Jesus to leave them and be replaced by the One He called “the Counselor?”
Here are a few possible benefits to consider. First, Jesus lived around or with them. The Spirit would dwell in them. Then, Jesus was limited to the physical world (by choice), while the Spirit, being spiritual, knew no such limitation. Jesus had to sleep. The Spirit never does and is always available. Jesus could teach them from without, but the Spirit could teach them within and even guide them from within. Jesus could motivate them from without, but the Spirit could energize from within. Jeremiah hinted at this when he said that the covenant would no longer be on tablets of stone but on the tablet of our hearts. The Spirit, said Jesus, would come alongside and would dwell within, and He saw this as being much to the benefit of the disciples.
The Holy Spirit is our ready Counselor. He is the same Spirit who was in Jesus, and now He is in us. He is now a source of power and strength and blessing and grace, and in our hearts He now exalts Jesus. To a rationalistic and godless world this is nothing short of delusional, but for those of us who know the Lord and see this reality, the world’s rationalism is what’s really delusional.
Lord, We thank You for Your Spirit who dwells within us. Holy Spirit, fill each of us today and bless us as only You can. Amen.