The Message of John (Lesson 21)
A Promise to Send the Spirit | John 16:7
“But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
As we have learned in our study so far, the Gospel of John is renowned for its profound theological insights and Christological reflections.
Among the various themes present in this Gospel, the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is especially important. John 16:7, in particular, offers a key insight into Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples.
The verse is part of the Farewell Discourse in chapters 14-17, where Jesus prepares His disciples for His approaching departure after his crucifixion, which will take place the very next day.
Knowing this is on the immediate horizon, Jesus seeks to comfort and guide them, explaining that although his physical presence will no longer be with them, he will continue to be with them through the Holy Spirit.
John 16:7 reads,
“But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
Here, Jesus reveals that, while his departure is necessary for the arrival of the "Advocate," or the Holy Spirit, his physical absence ultimately is for their benefit.
This is because the Holy Spirit will be permanently present to empower believers as an advocate, counselor, and helper, providing guidance, wisdom, and strength. The presence of the Spirit will not provide less but more of God’s presence and power for their—and our—lives.
The promise of the Holy Spirit in John 16:7 has two big implications.
First, it emphasizes the continuity of God's presence and guidance. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus remains intimately connected to us, providing us with the necessary spiritual resources to continue his work as his ambassadors of grace on earth.
Second, the Holy Spirit's arrival signifies a new phase in the unfolding of God's plan. As Jesus departs, the era of the Holy Spirit’s fullness begins, enabling believers to carry on the mission of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nations.
This new era not only allowed for the growth and development of the early Christian community but also provides the guidance, wisdom, and strength we need to day to live as faithful followers of Jesus who magnify his cross for the world, with a deep desire for the Father to draw sinners to himself as part of his saved-by-grace-alone family.
Why would the disciples need to know it was better for Jesus to depart (especially since his departure would be through death)?
What might be significant that Jesus’ emphasis on the Holy Spirit is on the night before his betrayal and crucifixion?
How can we draw strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit to navigate our own spiritual journeys?
How can a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit's role in believers' lives transform the way we approach daily challenges we face?
Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit!
We ask for your ongoing guidance and wisdom to consciously embrace the presence and power of the Spirit in our lives, relying on the Spirit for strength, counsel, and direction as we seek to follow you and participate in your Kingdom work on earth.
In times of doubt or uncertainty, remind us that we are never alone, because the Holy Spirit is always with us, guiding and sustaining us on our journey.
We pray all of this in the you name, Amen.