|Posted on February 6, 2020 at 11:10 AM|
The resurrection and ascension of Jesus into heaven was not meant to suggest that we are on our own in this world. While his absence from this earth may cause us to feel abandoned by him, especially in difficult times, the truth is just the opposite. Jesus assured his worried disciples during his last “ministry training class” in the upper room with the following words: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know”. (John 14: 1-4).
Jesus didn’t come to establish a physical kingdom on this earth although it was what his first disciples were hoping for. He came to establish a spiritual kingdom in this world and ascended back into heaven to reign over that kingdom and prepare a place for his disciples. In leaving this world he was careful to point out that he was not abandoning his disciple saying, “I will not leave you comfortless” (literally like orphans). He promised the coming of “another Comforter” and called him the Spirit of Truth that had been in their presence and was going to be in them. He further promised the indwelling Spirit would “teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14: 26)
At the close of his class Jesus recognized the sorrow in his disciples and encouraged them by saying, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16: 7-11) Although they didn’t understand it at the time, his leaving them was the very best thing he could do. Only after they began to experience the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit living in them and directing their lives were they able to enjoy the comfort Jesus promised them.
Finally, Jesus promised that when the Spirit of Truth had come, “he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear; that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you.” (John 16: 13, 14) It is by the Spirit of Truth that we know the Truth and are set free. It is the indwelling Spirit’s job to make Jesus real to us by telling us what he is doing for and through us. The followers of Jesus today may enjoy the same benefits he promised those first disciples concerning the presence and work of the Spirit of truth in our lives. Learning to be taught, reminded, led, and comforted by that same Spirit of truth that Jesus unleashed in this world is our greatest asset in life. It is by the personal working of the Comforter that we are connected to our risen Savior.
In the same way those first disciples were led and directed personally by Jesus we have the privilege of following him through the Comforter today. Even though we can’t see him in this physical realm we can experience his divine leadership, direction, and power in our lives today. It is this spiritual ability that allows us to “be Christ” to others fulfilling our purpose in this world.