Many times in my ministry I have heard someone talk about how much better it would be if Jesus were still here, or if He came back to walk the earth again. “If Jesus were here…” and you can fill in the rest. People would believe, lives would be changed, I would have no more doubts. Whatever it is. Jesus, however, actually taught us something completely different.
As we enter the Christmas season where we celebrate the arrival of our Lord, let us not forget that it was His departure that brought the best He had to offer.
John 16:7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.
Jesus told the disciples that something better was on the way. “Now, I am with you, but when I go I will be IN you!” That’s a game changer. Yes, it would have been amazing to physically see what Jesus did and hear what Jesus said. It would be unreal to sit on the side of a hill while He preaches and then get a free chicken and waffle fry meal when He multiplies someone’s Chick-Fil-A order. (You know if He were here He would go to Chick-Fil-A)
However, think of all the things we would be missing out on if Jesus didn’t leave. Here are three:
1. Strength — In Ephesians, Paul said, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” The strength to endure and overcome when we are overwhelmed is available because Jesus left!
2. Comfort — One of the names of the Spirit that Jesus left us with when he departed is “The Comforter.” In 1 Corinthians, Paul would go on to tell us, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”
3. Hope — In a world that we desperately need hope, it’s only because Jesus left that we even have hope! In Romans, Paul would also say, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Those are just three out of dozens of reasons that it’s better for us that Jesus is not here. Strength, comfort, and hope. This doesn’t account for the wisdom and direction the Spirit gives. It doesn’t mention the conviction that draws us back to God or the power to live according to His Word.
Yes, it would be incredible to have Jesus with us, but I for one am glad that He left so that while we wait for His return it’s even better than if He were here!