Jesus tells the disciples that they will weep but their sorrow will turn to joy. Whether it is spiritual blindness or just refusal to accept what Jesus is saying or if one feeds the other, the disciples just can’t imagine Jesus leaving them, particularly through what is about to happen.
Jesus is going to be executed in a most brutal fashion to pay for the sin of the world. He is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 on whom the Father will execute judgment for all sin…past, present, and future. He will be wounded for our transgressions. The chastisement that will bring us peace will be heaped on him and by his wounds we will be healed.
It is written, and even though it is, they can’t imagine it. So, he tells them it will be hard, but that awful sorrow will turn to joy.
How will sorrow turn to joy? How will the work carry on?
26 “When the Counselor comes, the one I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father — he will testify about me. 27 You also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. 2 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. 3 They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their time† comes you will remember I told them to you. I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going? ’ 6 Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 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. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.
How in the world is it to their/our advantage that Jesus goes away? He’s God. In the flesh. Present. He’s leaving. How is this advantageous?
While the Son of God walked the earth on the mission Father sent him on, his deity was contained to his location somewhat. There are times when he healed from a distance, but that was more an exception rather than the rule. True, God the Father and Holy Spirit are still operating and upholding the universe. But Jesus, the one the Father has given a kingdom, can only be in one place at one time while physically present on this earth in his pre-resurrected state.
So, it is to their/our advantage that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit. How?
- He will convict about the sin of unbelief because Jesus won’t be here to give proof of himself, so Holy Spirit will do that.
- He will convict about what is right and wrong because Jesus won’t be here to settle the dispute on who is greater with truth bombs.
- He will convict about judgment because in the cross, burial, resurrection, and ascension the enemy stands condemned as well as all those who decide to stay in bondage to that dark kingdom.
- Holy Spirit will guide all his people, everywhere into Jesus’ teaching at all necessary times because his presence is not limited to a physical location.
- Holy Spirit will give us insight into what is to come with discernment and his word.
- Holy Spirit will take care of making sure Jesus is glorified.
Great news! All the fruit-bearing Jesus sent us to do and ask him for, he’s sending the One capable of pulling it off. Holy Spirit! And he won’t be limited by his physical presence. He will be ever-present with all Jesus’ people all the time seeing to the witness of Jesus in the world. We have only to hear and obey.
That’s definitely to our advantage.
But in order for this to become a reality, the eternal plan of God must be fulfilled. Jesus must pay for your sins and mine on a Roman cross, and there is indeed sorrow ahead for the disciples.
But that sorry will indeed turn to Joy because death cannot and won’t have the last say.