“I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or Me. But I have told you these things so that when their time comes you may remember I told them to you. I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.
“But now I am going away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 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.”
So much of what Jesus told his disciples ran counter to what they had always believed to be true about the Messiah. They were becoming increasingly distressed and discouraged. But then Jesus offered them some wonderful news.
Jesus never gave his disciples false hope. He only gave them realistic hope. He told them that the Holy Spirit would come to them. Though the Holy Spirit wouldn’t arrive until after Jesus had left, it would actually be better than having Jesus around. Jesus, as a human being, had taken on “the form of a servant.” He had “emptied” himself (Philippians 2:5-11). But the Holy Spirit would not become a finite man. The Holy Spirit, fully and completely God, would take up residence in each and every Christian. They would never be apart from or separated from the Holy Spirit. Jesus had to eat, he had to sleep, and he had to die. Jesus could only be in one place at a time. But the Holy Spirit would never leave or forsake them: they would be filled with all the power and knowledge that God had to give them.
We may wish that we could have been alive when Jesus was on Earth. But in many ways, we are better off today because we now have the Holy Spirit—the Counselor—that Jesus sent to all of us who believe. Rather than being in his limited, incarnated state, God in all his fullness and power lives in us forever.