Jesus laid a lot on the disciples that last night after supper. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” He said to them (Jn. 14:1), knowing that over the next several hours troubling turns of events would pile one upon another until they eventually stood at the foot of a Roman cross. Troubling turns of events that would end with them looking upon the crucified Christ, hearing Him declare, “It is finished,” as He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (Jn. 19:30).
But while the work of redemption was finished, Jesus was not. Though for a time they would be sorrowful, their sorrow would turn into joy (Jn. 16:20). He would rise again, proving that He had vanquished sin and death through the power of an indestructible life. And so, they would see Him three days later. They would touch Him, they would eat with Him, they would again be taught by Him. Once more, they would be with Him.
But only for a short while. Though they would have Him again, they would lose Him again. And that, He said, would actually be to their advantage.
“But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, 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 16:4-7 ESV)
Wrapping up John 16 this morning and chewing on one of the advantages of the Helper. One of the ways life for the disciples was going to be better through the sending of the Parakletos — the Advocate, the Comforter, the Helper. How Jesus’ departure and the Holy Spirit’s arrival was going to profit His follower’s journey.
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father.” ~ Jesus
(John 16:25 ESV)
Plain language. Along with bearing witness concerning the Son (15:26); beyond convicting the world of sin and righteousness and judgment (16:8); in addition to guiding us into all truth (16:13); the One who “dwells with you and will be in you” (14:17b), the Holy Spirit, makes known the Father–and that, in plain language.
Openly, freely, with unreserved speech, in a language we somehow can understand, the Third Person of the Godhead reveals mysteries concerning the Father, through the Son, which, apart from the Spirit, would be indiscernible to the mortal mind. Though Jesus would be physically gone, yet He would continue to speak. Through the Holy Spirit. And that, in plain language.
For those of us who have been in the kingdom for awhile; who have become pretty familiar with the old, old, story; who know a thing or two about the ways of heaven and earth, I wonder if we take for granted that whatever we’ve picked up, it’s because He has laid it down. That whatever we have seen, is due only to Him opening our eyes. That whatever we have taken in, has been possible because He has chosen to reveal it.
That we might tend to forget that, when we open our Bibles, the Helper engages. Bringing to light the Scriptures. Making known the Father. Explaining the mysteries. Assuring our hearts that faith really is the substance of things hoped for. All in plain language.
Whatever we get about the Father, the Son, and the kingdom to come, it’s because of the Spirit who is present now. Not because of our intellect, but His illumination. Not through our reasoning, but His revelation.
And that, dear brother and sister, is to our advantage. Amen?
Plain language. The language of heaven translated for earth-dwellers. And that, by the Holy Spirit who dwells with us and in us. May it not be something taken for granted but, instead, a continuing source of awe.
Another reminder of His amazing grace! Another reason to give Him all the glory!