It is expedient - that I go away - In other places he had showed them the absolute necessity of his death for the salvation of men: see Matthew 20:19; Matthew 26:2; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33, Luke 9:44; Luke 18:32. This he does not repeat here, but shows them that, by the order of God, the Holy Spirit cannot come to them, nor to the world, unless he first die; and consequently men cannot be saved but in this way.
It is expedient for you - The reason why it was expedient for them that he should go away, he states to be, that in this way only would the Comforter be granted to them. Still, it may be asked why the presence of the Holy Spirit was more valuable to them than that of the Saviour himself? To this it may be answered:
1. That by his departure, his death, and ascension - by having these great facts before their eyes they would be led by the Holy Spirit to see more fully the design of his coming than they would by his presence. While he was with them, notwithstanding the plainest teaching, their minds were filled with prejudice and error. They still adhered to the expectation of a temporal kingdom, and were unwilling to believe that he was to die. When he should have actually left them they could no longer doubt on this subject, and would be prepared to understand why he came. And this was done. See the Acts of the Apostles everywhere. It is often needful that God should visit us with severe affliction before our pride will be humbled and we are willing to understand the plainest truths.
2. While on the earth the Lord Jesus could be bodily present but in one place at one time. Yet, in order to secure the great design of saving men, it was needful that there should be some agent who could be in all places, who could attend all ministers, and who could, at the same time, apply the work of Christ to people in all parts of the earth.
3. It was an evident arrangement in the great plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform a part. As it was not the work of the Spirit to make an atonement, so it was not the work of the Saviour to apply it. And until the Lord Jesus had performed this great work, the way was not open for the Holy Spirit to descend to perform his part of the great plan; yet, when the Saviour had completed his portion of the work and had left the earth, the Spirit would carry forward the same plan and apply it to men.
4. It was to be expected that far more signal success would attend the preaching of the gospel when the atonement was actually made than before. It was the office of the Spirit to carry forward the work only when the Saviour had died and ascended; and this was actually the case. See John 14:16.
And Jesus said He would give us the Comforter. What is the Comforter? It is the Holy Spirit of God. What is the Holy Spirit? It is the representative of Jesus Christ, it is our Advocate that stands by our side and places our petitions before the Father all fragrant with His merits. There He accepts the petition of the humblest saint. He doesn't ask you how much money you have, or how heavy you are loaded with property, but the very humblest saint that brings his petition to God, and [his] thank offering is made fragrant with the riches of His grace, and the Father accepts it as your offering, and the blessing comes to you, grace for grace. RC 285.4Read in context »
When about to leave His disciples, Christ was in search of the greatest comfort He could give them. He promised them the Holy Spirit—the Comforter—to combine with man's human effort. What promise is less experienced, less fulfilled to the church, than the promise of the Holy Spirit? When this blessing, which would bring all blessings in its train, is dropped out, the sure result is spiritual drought. This is the reproach that meets the sermonizer. The church must arise and no longer be content with the meager dew. 3SM 188.4Read in context »
As they met together after the ascension they were eager to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. In solemn awe they bowed in prayer, repeating the assurance, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23, 24. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher with the mighty argument, “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. And Pentecost brought them the presence of the Comforter, of whom Christ had said, He “shall be in you.” And He had further said, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” John 14:17; 16:7. Henceforth through the Spirit, Christ was to abide continually in the hearts of His children. Their union with Him was closer than when He was personally with them. The light, and love, and power of the indwelling Christ shone out through them, so that men, beholding, “marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. SC 74.1
All that Christ was to the disciples, He desires to be to His children today; for in that last prayer, with the little band of disciples gathered about Him, He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” John 17:20. SC 75.1
Jesus prayed for us, and He asked that we might be one with Him, even as He is one with the Father. What a union is this! The Saviour has said of Himself, “The Son can do nothing of Himself;” “the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” John 5:19; 14:10. Then if Christ is dwelling in our hearts, He will work in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. We shall work as He worked; we shall manifest the same spirit. And thus, loving Him and abiding in Him, we shall “grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:15. SC 75.2Read in context »
Let us believe the Word. He who thus eats the bread of heaven is nourished every day and will know what these words mean, “Needeth not that any man teach you.” We have lessons pure from the lips of Him who owns us, who has bought us with the price of His own blood. The precious Word of God is a solid foundation upon which to build. When men come to you with their suppositions, tell them that the Great Teacher has left you His Word, which is of incalculable value, that He has sent a Comforter in His own name, even the Holy Ghost. “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).... TDG 292.3Read in context »