It’s to Your Advantage…Trust Me
May 3, 2016
-by David Sibley
Jesus said to the disciples, “Now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. (John 16:5-11)
Hearing the words “It is to your advantage that I go away” coming from the mouth of the Risen Lord sounds a lot like phrases I had a vague suspicion of from my parents as a kid. “Go mow the lawn, even though it’s hot – it builds character, and you’ll feel better.”
The promise of Easter is an interesting thing. On the one hand, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead reminds us that nothing, not even death, can stop the love of God from finding us and seeking us out. On the other hand, Jesus’ words to his disciples after his resurrection are squarely focused in preparing the disciples for their mission when he would no longer be in the world. They are to go and make disciples of all nations; they are to go and feed his sheep; they are to go and live fearless, bold lives for his sake. But if they are to go, then Jesus, too, must go – must ascend to the Father.
As we approach Ascension Day, Jesus reminds us yet again that it is to our advantage that he goes away; he reminds us that we will receive power when the Advocate comes to us; he reminds us that God’s mission is in our hands and we, as his disciples, are called to follow.
“It is to your advantage that I go away – it builds character!” Jesus, our parent, might say. The work ahead may be uncertain; we may at times be unwilling; we may be afraid of failure. Yet Jesus will go. That leaves but one question: what do we do now?
How do you interpret Jesus saying to his disciples that “it is to your advantage that I go away?” How does the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate change the way you live your life in response to the resurrection? If you haven’t let it change you, how will you?