The Reading: John 16:1-7
“… but if I go, I will send him to you.” (v. 7) RSV
The departure of Jesus was like any two-sided coin. On the one hand it was loss and grief to his disciples, but on the other hand it was gain and expectation for them. Jesus said that unless he left them they could not receive the Holy Spirit whom he would send to them.
His ascension and return to heaven meant that the Holy Spirit could come in all his fullness bringing all the benefits of the crucified, risen and exalted Christ. Believers would from then on be filled with the very life of the Christ.
So Jesus told his bewildered disciples: “It is to your advantage that I go away …” (v.7). The ascension of Jesus ushered in the new age of the Spirit. His people would receive “power” (Acts 1:8) to be witnesses. They would be bold, and therefore “prepared to give a reason” for the hope within them (1 Peter 3:15). How often has the church been spiritless? She has been so inconspicuous that you’d think Christ commanded his followers to ‘Go out into all the world, shut up and keep your heads down!’
Jesus was anointed (Christ-ed) for his ministry, and we too need to be anointed for ours. He told his disciples to wait after his ascension for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. We too need to be aware that this great Gift is the heritage of all who follow Christ.
Thank you Lord that you change my mourning into dancing, that you send the joy and power of your Spirit into my life and the life of the church. Amen.
1 What will the Holy Spirit do?
2 What will the Holy Spirit enable us to do?