25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 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. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
John 16:1-11 ESV
The disciples had followed Jesus for about three years. For all those years, the Lord was with them. They witnessed the power and authority of Jesus – how He could heal the sick, feed the hunger, calm the storms, walk on water, and forgive sins. They could walk with Him, rely on Him, touch Him, and hear Him. He went before them, provided for them, taught them, and guided them every step along the way.
But this night changed everything. In the upper room, they had to receive the hard truth from their beloved Lord – It is time for Jesus to depart out of the world to the Father, and it’s also time for the disciples to step out of their comfort zone, reach out to the world, and do greater things than what Jesus had done. Adversities await, but the Lord has to leave.
And Jesus said it is to our advantage that He goes away.
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. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgmentJohn 16:7-8
Let us not lose sight of the big picture and God’s mission. The disciples and we are called to do greater things than what Jesus had done. God had chosen us and called us to make disciples of all nations. To accomplish His mission also require suffering and facing adversities in our lives. Many disciples had to be persecuted because they chose to stand for Jesus. But the greater work was not meant to be done only by us and our power. Just as how He always went before the disciples, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to go before us to help us. His work is to convict (convict can also be translated as convince) the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. See, before we go and do His great work, the Holy Spirit would work in the world and in individual hearts to convince and convict of the truth concerning their salvation.
Although we cannot physically see and touch the Lord, it is better for us that Jesus ascended to the Father so that we may have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He is not only living next to us. He is living in us, in our hearts! And He still goes before us, provides for us, helps us, teaches us, and guides us every step along the way.