John 16:5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 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 depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."
There is so much in just these few verses. The eleven are in shock. The Man they have lived with and worked with and learned from for over three years is suddenly leaving. The thought have just that imminent reality has overwhelmed them with sadness and confusion. They haven't even had the presence of mind to ask Him where He is going. Jesus acknowledges their sorrow. The thought that struck me as I read this today was "Is Jesus so much a part of the fabric of my life that if His presence were removed I would be filled with sorrow?"
Then Jesus tells them "It's better for you if I go. My replacement, the Helper is better." I used to be jealous of the disciples. I wanted to walk and talk with Jesus like they had the privilege of doing. Then I grew and came to realize two things. First the physical presence of Jesus alone was not life changing. Many saw Him and interacted with Him and walked away hating Him. The idea I would or could be a better person if I could see Jesus or talk directly with Him is a false assumption. Secondly I realized we're better off now than the disciples were when Jesus was here. Why? Because His presence through His Spirit is infinitely more powerful and intimate. He (the Helper) is always with us. His presence is limited by time or space. Lying in my bed, driving in my car, walking down the road, sitting in a meeting, at all times and in all places He is ever present. Jesus in human form could not do that.
Now Jesus opens to them and to us the three main things the Helper does for us. He convicts us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
Sin = unbelief. At the root of every wrong move we make is a lack of trust. Trace the "why" for every mistake you have made and at the end of the day you will find it was because you didn't believe Jesus. The Helper brings that awareness. He shows me where that root of unbelief is so the next time I face similar pressures I can intelligently choose to believe or not believe. Let me illustrate: Suzie knows the "rule" about sex before marriage. However Johnny makes her so happy and she loves him so much that she can't see any harm in it. They are going to get married anyway. Soon after choosing to sleep with him the relationship goes south and she is left alone with pieces of her she'll never get back. She us devastated and hurt and now feels guilty because she is "ruined". She feels cheap and used even though it was her choice. Gently the Helper comes to her. He helps her see and understand that she didn't break a rule, she broke a trust. She did not trust that Jesus was more concerned about her ultimate happiness than she was. She didn't trust that His path toward that happiness was the best one. She didn't trust that He was only trying to protect her from the pain and shame and emptiness that she was now experiencing. Sin is not doing bad things. Doing bad things is what happens after we choose to sin, after we choose not to trust.
Tomorrow we'll explore the other two areas where the Helper brings light to dark places.