Pew news 31st March 2019

Jesus’ work didn’t come to an end when he ascended into heaven.  The opposite is true.  When he disappeared from human view to go back to his Father, his work began in a new massively expanded phase. 

I’ve been studying the account of the evening before his death as recorded by John.  The disciples were so despondent at the thought of losing him that they didn’t grasp the good news Jesus was trying to impart: they would have more of Jesus when he went away.  

How could that be?  The answer is THE HOLY SPIRIT.  When Jesus returned to the Father, he received the authority as a man to give the Holy Spirit to all his believing people.  Jesus describes the Spirit as “another comforter” (John 14:16) – Jesus being one comforter, the Holy Spirit being a comforter just like him. 

It gets better.  Not only is the Holy Spirit like Jesus, he brings the very presence of Jesus with him.  Jesus can say – on the basis that the Spirit is coming – that he will not leave his people as orphans because he (Jesus) will come to them (John 14:18).  By the Spirit, they will see Jesus in a way the world cannot (John 14:19). 

So great is the Spirit’s coming that Jesus tells his bemused followers they should be glad he is physically departing.  He goes on to explain how the Spirit will make Jesus present to the world, convicting millions across the planet that getting right with God through Jesus is the most pressing issue in life.  He further explains how the Spirit will bring all Jesus holds in store for his people to their hearts and minds (John 16:14-15). 

Jesus’ presence through the Spirit is to be preferred to his presence in the flesh.  At one and the same time, he can teach you in your house by the Spirit, comfort your loved one in hospital and confronting even the most ardent non-believer that he is the Truth.  By the Spirit, Jesus works on a scale and with an intimacy that would never have been achieved if to meet Jesus we all had to buy plane tickets to Galilee or Jerusalem!  As it is, the one who walked the lanes of Galilee and the streets of Jerusalem is with us where we are, right now.