Going and Coming
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” – John 16:7 (NIV)
Upon hearing Jesus announce his imminent departure, the grief of his disciples must have been palpable. They had come to love Jesus with an enduring devotion, and they held on to the hope of a powerful manifestation of Jesus’ messiahship. Jesus had become so essential in the lives of his disciples that it was practically impossible for them to conceive of life without Jesus.
How could they possibly go on without the living embodiment of God’s Word? How would they function without the inspiration of Jesus’ incarnate love? What would they do without the light of God shining tangibly through the countenance of their humble king?
In a real sense, the departure of Jesus meant a certain death to the life of the disciples themselves. It’s impossible to love the life of someone without having a part of you die when they die.
And yet, on the heels of the announcement of his grievous ending, Jesus promises a new beginning: the beginning of new life in the Spirit. The Spirit of comfort that would renew their strength. The Spirit of power that would embolden them to speak truth to power. The Spirit of peace that would keep Jesus with them forever more.
Jesus said that only upon his departure, would the Spirit come. Parting comes with such great sorrow. But in Christ, every ending is a new beginning. Earthly tabernacles can never constrain the life of the Spirit.
Dear God, we thank you for lives that end and begin again, in your Spirit. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.