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.
The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fullness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour out upon the church the riches of the Spirit's grace. And under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible love. Lost in wonder, the apostles exclaimed, “Herein is love.” They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. Thousands were converted in a day. AA 38.1
“It is expedient for you that I go away,” Christ had said to His disciples; “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” John 16:7, 13. AA 38.2
Christ's ascension to heaven was the signal that His followers were to receive the promised blessing. For this they were to wait before they entered upon their work. When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity. The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven's communication that the Redeemer's inauguration was accomplished. According to His promise He had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to His followers as a token that He had, as priest and king, received all authority in heaven and on earth, and was the Anointed One over His people. AA 38.3Read in context »
They knew that His personal presence was no longer to be with them, and they recognized, as they had never recognized before, the value of the opportunities that had been theirs to walk and talk with the Sent of God. Many of His lessons, when spoken, they had not appreciated or understood; now they longed to recall these lessons, to hear again His words. With what joy now came back to them His assurance: Ed 94.1
“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.” “All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” And “the Comforter, ... whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 16:7; 15:15; 14:26. Ed 94.2
“All things that the Father hath are Mine.” “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.... He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” John 16:15, 13, 14. Ed 94.3Read in context »
The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.—Special Testimonies, Series B, 7:62, 63. (1905). Ev 615.1
The Pre-existent, Self-existent Son of God—Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God.... In speaking of his pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.—The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900. Ev 615.2
He was equal with God, infinite and omnipotent.... He is the eternal, self-existent Son.—Manuscript 101, 1897. Ev 615.3Read in context »