Try to put yourself in the shoes (sandals?) of the disciples as Jesus is speaking to them about His leaving. They have been completely uprooted, leaving everything behind, forsaking family, friends and careers to follow Jesus for 3 years. Now, He’s telling them (in verses 1-4) that they will be thrown out of church and people will try to kill them! They depended upon Jesus for everything. They were drawn to Him. They were compelled to do so.
One of the most amazing miracles of what Jesus did was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Today, we enjoy the benefits of having God the Holy Spirit inside of us – guiding and convicting, comforting and challenging, revealing and encouraging. The disciples didn’t have that. All they had was Jesus. Imagine their surprise when He suddenly tells them He must go away.
In verse 7 He tells them:
7 But it is actually best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Counselor won’t come. If I do go away, he will come because I will send him to you.
They must have been very confused (again). “Who is this Counselor?” “Where is Jesus going?” “How could it possibly be better for me that Jesus goes away?” I’m sure the disciples thought they would have been much happier with Jesus along side all the way – until they grow old together. I’m sure there was much sadness at the thought of being scattered – of being separated from Jesus.
But, as I’m reminded each day, it wasn’t about them. It’s about God’s glorification and His plan being accomplished through and in us. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, it seems like it’s never easy anymore. But Jesus put it best:
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
He has overcome the world. If we are in Him, we have overcome the world.