Jesus Promises the Spirit
Open Your Bible
John 16:1-33, Isaiah 32:14-18, Joel 2:28-29, Romans 8:12-17
BY Kara Gause
To parent is to watch a child grow more independent, so that one day, they’ll live healthy, productive lives of their own. Independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency—these are the goals, at least in Western culture. But not so in the upside-down kingdom of God. If anything, the point is to grow more and more dependent upon our Father. Living under the delusion of self-sufficiency can keep us from being truly productive for the kingdom, which was never meant to be done without the King. We’ve been down that road only to find that apart from Him, there’s really nothing good to be found (Genesis 3, Psalm 16:2).
Thankfully, God’s pursuit of us and His glory never stops; the logistics just become far more complicated. After the fall and without the sacred space of the garden, there was nowhere for God and His people to safely commune. A new sacred space would have to be set apart, so that no space—whether by sin or deception—would stand between Him and us. From creation to the garden, tabernacle to temple, from Jesus Christ Himself to each one of us as members of His Body, sacred space has been where God’s holy presence safely dwells with His people.
Now, imagine losing His presence.
I can picture His disciples sitting there before Him, eyes wide and hearts stuttering, as Jesus assures them of the persecution they will face because of their devotion to Him (John 15:18–21). They needed to be prepared, so they wouldn’t lose heart when incredibly hard times came. But now the real news: “I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going away to him who sent me” (John 16:4–5).
Of course, Jesus wouldn’t just be going away. He would die a humiliating death in our place, and three days later, be gloriously resurrected. It would be a victorious act of spiritual warfare to secure our place in God’s kingdom. Still, He tells them, “It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you” (v.7).
The power of the Holy Spirit would now dwell in God’s people. The Spirit would be with them always, strengthening and comforting them in the face of persecution. Step by step, He would guide each of them individually and as one body, as they set out to share the gospel across the world, carrying out the great commission and establishing the Church (Matthew 28:16–20). And so it is with us.
Jesus Christ, God incarnate, came to dwell with us. After the ascension, He sent His Spirit to dwell within us. Now, “the Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16), and for those who belong to Him and His kingdom, nothing can separate us from His love (v.38–39).