So often we can read the Bible and long for the days of Christ. 'Oh, what it would have been like to sit at the feet of Christ, to learn directly from him, to hear his voice and to touch his feet.' We long for the day when we will get to heaven and see Jesus face to face. And it is right for us to long for that day, for Christ is our treasure. Christ is our reward. For the believer, heaven is not our reward. Heaven is the place where we will receive our reward--Christ. Still, it can be easy to sometimes think we are missing out by not having Christ physically present with us in the here and now, to somehow think the disciples had more than what we have and, thus, our lives are a little more difficult than theirs. However, in John 16 Jesus begins telling his disciples that very soon he will be leaving them. Understandably, they are upset at the thought of losing Christ and no longer having him there. And so Jesus says to them, beginning in v.6, “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” This is very interesting language Jesus uses. He is actually saying to his disciples it will be better for them if he departs because when he departs he will send them the Holy Spirit to be their helper. Why would Jesus say that? Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, the Holy Spirit had been his closest companion. It was the Holy Spirit who strengthened and encouraged him during his wilderness temptations. It was the Holy Spirit who ministered to him throughout his life on earth. And it will be the Holy Spirit who will sustain him on the road to Calvary. Thus, in Matthew 12 when they insult the Holy Spirit by accusing Jesus of performing miracles by the power of Beelzebub rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ response is as much an emotional response as it is a theological one. “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (vv.31-32). In other words, Jesus is essentially saying, ‘If you’re going to insult me, the Son of Man, that’s one thing. For that you can be forgiven. But don’t you dare insult my close friend and companion the Holy Spirit! For that you will never be forgiven!’ Jesus knew how much the Holy Spirit had helped him and ministered to him during his life on earth and so he says to the disciples, and to all future believers, “It is to your advantage that I go away.” In other words, he is saying to them and to us, ‘Trust me. You really do want the Holy Spirit as your lifelong companion. He is truly amazing!’
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