I've often wished to be able to be with Jesus in person. To share a meal, a cup of steaming coffee, to ask Him specifics. What wealth it would be to lean into His presence and hear His words tailored for my exact situation.
You feel it, too!? That burning to really KNOW His intimate guidance in your personal situation, to sense his presence in the most vulnerable and unseen places of your heart!?
Jesus promised us:
"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 16:7 ESV).
How can His absence be better than His presence?
It was in the middle of one of these nitty-gritty down-to-earth conversations between Jesus and His disciples that He fleshed out the secret. They were seething with the suppression and oppression of Israel. They were longing for their Messiah to free His people from the strangling grasp of Rome. Their enemies had names and faces they saw in everyday life. Their people were literally being crushed in front of their eyes by the tyrant. Of course, Jesus would see this as the most pressing need, they assumed, and fix it.
But, the Lord's reply encompassed far more than the rule of Rome over Israel, and the struggle of a handful of nationalities. Jesus surprised them when He said:
"Do not leave Jerusalem but WAIT for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
. . .
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:4, 8 NIV)
And then He was taken up in a cloud to heaven, right before their eyes.
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away..."
Jesus isn't just with us in the flesh, now. His spirit, is inside of us — a fire always burning and consuming and illuminating.
Jesus' presence isn't just a vague, "Look for me, I'll be around." His very spirit is hovering over us and is in us. He is present with us in every moment, more present than He could have been in the flesh.
His word is true.
His promises are incapable of lies.
He is here, more than ever before.
It is to our advantage!