Jesus was their teacher, who patiently taught them about God, the heavenly Father, and how to live under His rule. Jesus was their leader who was constantly pushing them to grow in their faith and their own leadership skills. Jesus was their constant companion, and although it was often frightening to see Jesus’ power revealed, it was also a great comfort to have Jesus present in hard times! Jesus was their hope, the rabbi they followed through the tough times because they fully expected to be richly rewarded in the coming good times! Jesus – teacher, leader, companion, and hope! How could it possibly be good for Jesus to leave them?
Jesus told them that if he left them, he would send the Advocate (Holy Spirit). While they were familiar with the Holy Spirit from the ministry and teaching of Jesus, they could not imagine (before Pentecost) the multiple ways the Holy Spirit would be as great a friend and leader as Jesus had been for them.
Peter claimed that Jesus was even more beneficial in his fight against the forces of darkness while at the right hand of God than while here on earth. “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ (Acts 2:34-35 NIV)
Paul says that Jesus is now our intercessor in the presence of God the Father. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33-34 NIV) The disciples had seen Jesus praying intercessory prayers, but to understand that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God with immediate access to the throne of grace would be life changing!
Everything that was lost by the ascension of Jesus has more than been made up for by the sending of the Holy Spirit, the powerful waging of spiritual warfare by Jesus and his amazing intercession on behalf of his people. As hard as it was to believe, Jesus was exactly right when he said “It is good for you that I am going away!” Kind of makes you want to say, “Of course, Jesus was right about that!” Keep walking by faith…
- Kenny Payne