But 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. JOHN 16:7
I’m just going to be honest with you. Many times, this Scripture has left me feeling frustrated. I can’t help but wish I had lived in Jesus’ day. I can only imagine what it would have been like to walk with Him, to listen to Him teach and marvel at the miracles—to see with my own two eyes the fullness of our heavenly Father expressed in humanity. But after 40 days of walking among His friends and family following His resurrection, Jesus said it would be to our advantage for Him to leave this Earth.
How can that be?
When sin entered the world, it separated humanity from the presence of God. So Jesus came to make a way for the Kingdom of God to be brought near to us again. But Jesus didn’t only rescue us from our sin, He invited us into partnership to carry the Good News of salvation to the ends of the Earth.
Wow. That feels like a big and weighty responsibility. Maybe like me, you’re thinking, How am I supposed to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth when I get things wrong so often and my life is so messy? The answer is that we can’t do it on our own; we need help. And it is the gift of the Holy Spirit (who is the very life of God dwelling in us) that fully empowers and equips us to carry out that mission and, you know, just live everyday life. He’s the one who does the heavy lifting.
This verse calls the Holy Spirit by the name, Helper, using the Greek word, parakletos (par-ak'-lay-tos) which means one who is called to one’s side, especially to help or one who pleads another’s case before a judge— intercessor, advocate, defense. This Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) who resides within every person who accepts and follows Christ.
You see, it was better for Jesus to go away because He could send the Holy Spirit to be with us and never leave—defending us when we get it wrong and helping us live lives that overcome sin.