Lesson 20: I Will Not Leave You as Orphans

This Lesson is part of John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series. 

Jesus was comforting his disciples because to be orphaned is a sad state to be. He told them: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:18).”

Jesus was talking about his constant presence with each one of them and with each one of us too. If Bethlehem was, God with us; and Calvary, God for us; then Pentecost is, God within us. So Jesus was talking about each one of us experiencing the very real presence of God in our lives through the gift of the Holy Spirit residing in us.

We have often neglected this ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who makes Jesus real to us. In his time on earth Jesus had to go to the tomb of Lazarus to meet with Martha and Mary and to comfort them. But today, through the Holy Spirit Jesus can be real to anyone in any part of the world at any time of the day or night in whatever situation or circumstance you find yourself to be.

The Sent One

The Father sent the Son into the world. The Son, from the Father, is sending the Holy Spirit into the hearts of believers (John 15:26). Therefore the Holy Spirit is the promised gift to the church. And that is why Jesus asked the disciples to wait for the promise (Acts 1:4, 5).  And it was a kind of birthday gift to the church on the day of Pentecost.

The unique event of Pentecost will not be repeated again. It was this unique gifting of the Holy Spirit to the body of believers that formed the nucleus of the church. Now all who are added to the body of believers are so added because the Holy Spirit has convicted them of sin, and they have looked to Jesus and his shed blood in faith, and have repented having accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour of their lives.

So without the Holy Spirit residing in one’s heart no one can become a child of God and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” without him (1 Corinthians 12:3). No one therefore should tell you that you do not have the Holy Spirit. He was given to the church—the organic body of believers and not the organisation—to be dwelling in us until Jesus comes again.

At the same time the Spirit of God can move mightily in your life only if you give him the control of your lives, and you confess and say goodbye to all known sin in your life, and you live a life of obedience to his gentle whispers in your heart. It is not a one-time experience alone (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) but a daily experience we all need to have (being filled with the Spirit—Ephesians 5:18).

It Is for Your Good That I am Going Away

Jesus was saying farewell. He was speaking about his suffering, crucifixion and death. For the first time the disciples were feeling helpless. Jesus was no longer going to be with them. But Jesus was trying to tell them that unless he went the Holy Spirit cannot come (see John 16:7)

Let us look at Pentecost once again.

What happened on that day can be compared to a king taking up his rightful place on the throne and distributing gifts to the courtiers. That is what Peter preached about Jesus: “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear (Acts 2:33).”

“Scriptures make it plain that the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and ever since is the result of Jesus’ exaltation, glorification, and crowning in heaven. . . . In other words, the outpouring of the Spirit is earth’s evidence and proof of what happened after Jesus’ ascension, not only of the magnificence of His crowning in Heaven, but of His very real coronation power.” – Catherine Marshall in her book, The Helper.

“The Holy Spirit has not been poured out on you or me to prove how great we are, but to prove the greatness of the Son of God.” – Watchman Nee

Jesus had his glorification in mind when he said “It is for your good that I am going away.” His glorification included his cross, resurrection, ascension and crowning in heaven. Without his death on the cross, this outpouring of God’s Spirit would not have been possible.

See John 7:38:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

To this John adds his comment: “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (7:39).”

The Comforter

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