Between the Ascension & the Arrival: The Waiting

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the sixteenth chapter of this gospel. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you” (John 16:1-4).

 

            “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:5-11).

 

            “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:12-16).

 

            “Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me:: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? We cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire  among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask for me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you. In preverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father, for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:17-28).

 

            “His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world” (John 16:29-33).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the fourth and final chapter in this particular section of John’s gospel containing the teaching of Christ on the night in which He was betrayed. What began in the thirteenth chapter will culminate in that which is present before us in this chapter—at least in regards to the actual teaching of Christ. The seventeenth chapter is actually the conclusion of this particular dialogue and interaction between the Lord Jesus and His disciples and contains a powerful prayer which He would pray—not only for those disciples which were standing before Him but for all those disciples who would come after them. What began in the thirteenth chapter with Jesus laying aside His garments and taking up a towel that He might wash the feet of the disciples would now culminate in these words which Jesus would speak unto His disciples on this crucial and pivotal night during this week before the Passover. It is absolutely necessary that we pay attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for it is essentially the conclusion of that which our Lord taught and spoke unto His disciples on this night as He was not only preparing to suffer before being killed and crucified but also as He was preparing to depart from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven. What makes the words in this chapter—and not only the words in this chapter but also the words in the previous three chapters—so incredibly captivating is when you consider how Jesus wasn’t preparing the disciples for the suffering He would endure at the hands of the religious and at the hands of sinners. Jesus wasn’t preparing the disciples for the death He would endure and being crucified at the hands of the sinners. In fact Jesus wasn’t even preparing His disciples for His being buried in the heart of the earth and being raised from death to life on the third day.

 

            As you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for something which would have long lasting effects upon them. The words contained within these chapters bring us face to face with the Lord Jesus preparing His disciples for His departure from this world and subsequent return unto the Father. Not only this but with that departure from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven Jesus would prepare them for what life would be like upon the earth in His absence. We know that the time and hour had come for the Father to be glorified and for Jesus to give His life as a ransom for many and we know that Jesus would be killed and crucified before being raised from death to life on the third day. We know that death was the door through which our Lord would walk that He might enter into and experience resurrection life through the power and person of the Holy Spirit. Moreover we know that even resurrection itself was a door through which our Lord would walk as resurrection would make way for Him to ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. It is important for us to recognize and understand this as it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Jesus would rise from the grave on the third day that He might ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven.

 

            HE ROSE SO HE COULD ASCEND! WE RISE SO WE COULD ASCEND! It is absolutely necessary that we understand this tremendous truth for when we think and speak about Jesus rising from the grave on the third day we must needs acknowledge that He rose from the grave that He might ascend unto the right hand of the Father. I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that the Lord Jesus would indeed rise from the grave that He might ultimately ascend unto the Father. With this being said it is absolutely necessary for us to understand that without and apart from resurrection there would be no ascension for resurrection would be the catalyst that would propel our Lord to the right hand of the Father. It would be through death our Lord would experience the power of the Holy Spirit who would raise Him from death to life on the third day and the sole purpose for His rising from the dead was that He might ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that it would be through resurrection that our Lord would be properly positioned that he might ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven—a reality which would be experienced by those who have died in Christ at the time Jesus returns and descends from heaven with a shout. It is absolutely incredible to read the words found in these passages of Scripture for we recognize and understand that the suffering Christ would endure, the death Jesus would die at the hands of Gentiles and sinners, and the resurrection He would experience on the third day would indeed make way for and prepare Him to ascend unto the right hand of the Father for although Jesus would indeed be the Word which was made flesh and dwell among us He was always destined and purposed to return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that our Lord would indeed be the Word which was made flesh and would dwell among us, however, even though He dwelt among us in the flesh He was always destined and ordained to return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. We must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is that although Jesus would become flesh that He might dwell among us here upon the earth He would ultimately ascend unto the right hand of the Father. Jesus would indeed lay aside His heavenly garments and the glory He had with the Father in heaven that He might take upon Himself the form of human flesh so He could dwell with and among us here upon the earth. With that being said, however, it is necessary for us to understand that although the Lord Jesus put on the form of human flesh that He might dwell among us here upon the earth He would ultimately ascend and return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. Jesus would come unto the earth in the form of human flesh that He might dwell among us yet there would come the time when He would depart from this earth and would return unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven. There was a specific time ordained and appointed by the living and eternal God for Jesus to dwell among us in the form of human flesh and once those days were fulfilled and accomplished the Lord would in fact return unto His Father who was in heaven. Oh the entire context surrounding these chapters found in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John are centered around and centered upon this powerful truth of our Lord returning unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven.

 

            I’M RETURNING UNTO MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN AND THIS IS HOW YOU ARE TO LIVE IN LIGHT OF THAT KNOWLEDGE! I’M RETURNING UNTO MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN AND THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN MY ABSENCE! I AM GOING AWAY AND DEPARTING UNTO MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN AND YET YOU WILL REMAIN AND ABIDE WITHIN THE EARTH! I AM LEAVING FOR MY FATHER AND AM LEAVING YOU HERE BEHIND ME WITHIN THE EARTH AS MY WITNESSES WHICH WILL BEAR TESTIMONY OF ME BEFORE OTHERS!

 

            Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture it’s that our Lord was indeed preparing to depart from this world and return unto the Father who was in heaven. Through His departure from this earth and subsequent return unto the right hand of the Father our Lord would leave His disciples and His followers here in the earth in His absence and without Him in the flesh. After having spent three and a half years walking among them as the Word which was made flesh our Lord would depart from this earth and would return unto the right hand of his Father who was in heaven. As a direct result of this His disciples—those who had faithfully walked with and followed Him for three and a half years—would be left behind within and upon the earth. The sole purpose for the words and language presented before us by the apostle John is the Lord Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for what life would be like without Him after He departed from this world and returned unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. The sole purpose for these words which Jesus spoke were to prepare the disciples for what they would experience and face in the days after Jesus departed from the earth. We know that Jesus would teach His disciples how He must needs be betrayed by one of them and be turned over into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. We know that Jesus taught and prepared His disciples for the fact that He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the elders and the scribes as well as being mocked, scourged and ridiculed by the Gentiles and sinners. What’s more is our Lord would prepare and make ready His disciples for the death He would experience as He would be killed and crucified by and at the hands of sinners. Jesus would be deliberate and intentional in preparing and making ready His disciples for the suffering and death He would endure before He would be raised from death to life on the third day.

 

            In all reality we must needs understand these chapters in light of what would take place after the resurrection of Jesus on the third day. The beloved physician Luke describes in the opening chapter of his treatise on the body of Christ and the early days of the Church that after Jesus rose from death to life on the third day He would remain upon the earth for forty days showing and demonstrating Himself as being alive. The beloved physician Luke would describe how during that forty year period of time our Lord would show and demonstrate Himself as being alive with many infallible proofs. During that period of forty days we find our Lord appearing unto a number of individuals as He would show and demonstrate Himself as having risen from the grave and being very much alive. We know that the Lord Jesus would appear to Mary in the garden on the morning He was raised by the Spirit from death to life and how He instructed her to go and tell His disciples and Peter that He was alive and went ahead of them unto Galilee. We know that the Lord Jesus would appear and show Himself unto two men who had departed from the city of Jerusalem after hearing the report by the women that He had risen from the dead. Why these men chose to depart from the city of Jerusalem after having heard and received report that Jesus had risen from the grave is entirely and altogether a mystery, however, we know from the twenty-fourth and final chapter of the gospel written by Luke that Jesus not only showed up while they were walking, but He also walked with them unto Emmaus and even abode with them before making Himself known in the breaking of bread. It would be immediately after making Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread He would vanish from their sight and would cause them to rise up from that place and return unto the city of Jerusalem. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the opening verses of the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the book of Acts:

 

            “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

 

            “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scripture: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am. Not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:1-10).

 

            The words which we find here within these two passages of Scripture wonderfully demonstrate that after Jesus was raised from death to life on the third day He would show Himself as being alive unto a number of men and women. It would be the physician Luke who would write how Jesus would show Himself alive over a forty day period of time as He would demonstrate and manifest Himself alive through and by many infallible proofs. It would be the apostle Paul who would write how after Jesus had been raised from death to life He would be seen of Cephas also known as Simon before being seen by the rest of the apostles. After Jesus was seen by the apostles He would be seen of above five hundred brethren at once—many of whom which were still alive at the time the apostle Paul wrote this first epistle unto the Corinthians. Although the apostle Paul did not write about it in this first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we know from the gospel accounts that Jesus showed Himself unto the two men on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus as well as showing Himself unto Mary there at the garden outside the tomb where He had been buried. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that although Jesus would suffer in the flesh and although Jesus would die in the flesh He would not remain buried in the flesh but would rise on the third day. Oh pause for a moment and consider the fact that although the Lord Jesus would suffer in the flesh, and although He would even die in the flesh He would not remain buried in the flesh for the Spirit of the Lord would raise Him from death to life. What’s more is that after He had risen from the dead He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father in heaven with the scars of His suffering being evident and manifested in His body. Oh we know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven and we know that when Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father He would not ascend in the form of human flesh, however, I can’t help but think about the fact that He would indeed carry the scars of His suffering—the prints in each of His hands, the print in both of His feet, as well as the print in His side where the spear was thrust into His body by the Roman soldier to ensure that He was dead.

 

            There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that our Lord would indeed suffer in the flesh, and our Lord would indeed die and be crucified in the flesh, however, He would not remain buried in the flesh. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that although Jesus would suffer in the flesh, although He would die in the flesh, although He would be buried in the flesh He would not remain buried in that tomb in the flesh. The Spirit of the living God would raise up Jesus on the third day from death to life for the Father would not allow nor would He permit the body of His Son to suffer any decay nor His soul to remain in the depths of the earth. The Spirit of the Lord would raise Jesus from death to life on the third day and it would be from that third day He rose onward over another forty days He would show and demonstrate Himself as being very much alive in the flesh among His disciples and those who walked with and followed Him. Scripture makes it very clear that our Lord was indeed raised from death to life and that He would indeed rise from death to life on the third day that He might ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. Oh how absolutely marvelous and incredible it is to read these words and consider the fact that our Lord would be raised from death to life on the third day and forty days later would ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven.

 

            With all of this being said it is absolutely necessary that we pay attention to the words which are found within these chapters in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Jesus knew and understood that He was going to suffer in the flesh, that He would die in the flesh, that He would be buried in the flesh, and that He would be raised from death to life on the third day. Jesus did indeed teach and prepare His disciples for these realities that when the events spoken of took place they would not be taken back nor surprised when they occurred. In addition to Jesus teaching and preparing His disciples for His suffering, His death, His burial and His rising from death to life on the third day He would also prepare them for that which would after the resurrection. THAT WHICH COMES AFTER! THAT WHICH COMES AFTER RESURRECTION! Jesus would indeed prepare and make ready His disciples for His resurrection on the third day after being killed and crucified by the Gentiles and yet that resurrection would only be the beginning. Jesus rising from death to life on the third day would be the beginning of that which would come next for resurrection would be preparation for that which Jesus knew was ultimately His objective after He had completed and finished the work ordained and appointed for Him to do. Jesus knew that after He had suffered in the flesh, after He had been crucified in the flesh, and after He had been raised from death to life on the third day He would prepare to return unto His Father who was in heaven. Jesus knew before He suffered in the flesh and before He was crucified in the flesh that He would ascend and return unto the Father who was in heaven and even after He rose from death to life on the third day He knew and understood that He would return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. Jesus knew and understood that once the work upon the cross and the work in the grave were completed and He was raised from death to life He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven.

 

            The more you read the words found within these chapters the more you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth that our Lord would begin preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure from this world and return unto the right hand of the Father. Jesus knew that although He was the Word which was made flesh and would dwell among them He would not dwell with and abide among them in the flesh for an indefinite period of time. There would come an end to the days of Jesus walking among and dwelling with them in the flesh as He would return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. Jesus knew that He came from God and that He was returning to God and as a direct result of this knowledge He would prepare and make ready His disciples for this fact. Jesus deliberately and intentionally prepared and made ready His disciples for His departure from this world and return unto the Father who was in heaven—and not only for His departure but what His departure would mean for them after He was no longer with them. Imagine spending three and a half years with the Lord Jesus Christ and then being taught and told that He was going to depart from the earth and would return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. The disciples had spent the last three and a half years of their lives walking with and following Jesus and they knew that He was going to suffer, they knew that He was going to be crucified, and they knew that He was going to be raised from death to life on the third day, and now they had to prepare themselves for His departure from this earth.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in these chapters found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John it’s that Jesus desperately sought to prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure from this earth and His return unto the right hand of the Father. Jesus did not want His disciples to be caught off guard and taken by surprise when He departed from them and returned unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven and as a direct result of this He taught and prepared His disciples for that return and ascension unto the right hand of the Father. I am convinced the reason the Lord Jesus prepared and made ready His disciples for His departure from this earth was because He knew and understood what it would mean for and require of them. Jesus knew and understood that He would depart from this world and that He would return unto His Father who was in heaven and that by doing so He would leave His disciples and those who walked with and followed Him for three and a half years behind. Jesus knew that sorrow would fill the hearts of His disciples when He taught them of His departure from this earth and subsequent return unto the right hand of the Father and yet even in the midst of that sorrow there would be tremendous hope and promise that would be manifested. Jesus would indeed acknowledge the sorrow that would fill the hearts of the disciples when they heard Jesus teach them how He would depart from this world and return unto the right hand of the Father and yet if there was one thing we must needs understand when reading this particular passage of Scripture it’s that our Lord left them with a number of promises as well as mandates and commands.

 

            We cannot read the words which are found in these chapters and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that Jesus both issued unto His disciples promises concerning what would take place after He ascended unto the right hand of the Father as well as commandments and mandates which they must needs have present within their lives in His absence. Oh as you read the words which are found in these chapters you will find Jesus promising His disciples that there would be another who would come unto them—the Comforter who would be the Spirit of truth and who would guide them into all truth. Jesus emphatically declared unto His disciples that He would not leave them comfortless and would not leave them orphans in the earth but would in fact come unto them. Although Jesus would depart from them and would return unto His Father who was in heaven He would come unto them again through the person of the Holy Spirit. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture it’s that although Jesus would depart from them in the flesh after having dwelt with them for three and a half years in that flesh He would return and come again unto them in an entirely different form—namely, the form of the person of the Holy Spirit. It is truly remarkable and astonishing to read the words which are found within these chapters for within them Jesus would on the one hand declare that He would depart from this earth and would leave them behind, however, on the other hand He would declare unto them that He would not leave them orphans but would come unto them. The Lord Jesus emphatically declared unto His disciples that He would indeed depart from this world, however, He would come unto them through the person of the Holy Spirit whom the world could not know but who they would know.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the promises which our Lord spoke and gave unto His disciples as He was preparing them for His departure from this world and I cannot help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that our Lord gave them certain promises which cannot and should not be ignored. It is impossible to read the words found in these chapters and not encounter the tremendous truth that Jesus promised His disciples that He would come unto them—and not only that He would come unto them but also that both He and the Father would come unto them. With this being said we must understand that the means whereby the Lord Jesus would come unto them would be through the person of the Holy Spirit. While Jesus was in the flesh He would be bound and limited by that flesh as He could only be in one place at a single time and was affected by all those things which affected the flesh—namely, pain, suffering, hunger, thirst, agony, and the like. When, however, He would come unto them in the person and form of the Holy Spirit He would not be bound by those same restrictions and limitations. It was indeed true that our Lord would come unto men in the form of flesh that He might dwell with them where they were, however, we must needs recognize and understand that after He departed from them and returned unto the Father He would come again unto them and would move from dwelling with them to dwelling within them. Jesus would take upon Himself the form of human flesh that he might dwell with and dwell among us, however, when He would send the promise of the Father which would be the person of the Holy Spirit He would not only come unto His disciples and followers but He would also dwell within them. No more was Jesus limited to merely dwelling with His disciples and followers but He would now be able to dwell within them and be with them wherever they were.

 

            I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are presented before us in these chapters and encounter the tremendous truth that our Lord Jesus would indeed and would in fact depart from this earth and return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. Despite the fact that Jesus would depart from this world and would return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven He would come unto His disciples and followers through the person of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus departed from this world and returned unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven He would not only send the promise of the Father which was the person of the Holy Spirit but He would also come unto them through the person of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that the sole purpose for the coming of the Holy Spirit was not solely that they be witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judaea, in Samaria unto the uttermost parts of the earth. The reason and purpose the Holy Spirit was sent from the right hand of the Father by the Lord Jesus was that He and the Father might dwell within men as they would remain and abide upon the earth. We know that through Jesus He would fulfill the word which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah who declared that He would be Immanuel which literally means “God with us.” Jesus would come in the form of human flesh and in that flesh he would not only be God with us but He would also dwell among us where we are. Jesus would lay aside the glory He had with the Father who was in heaven and would take upon Himself the form of human flesh that He might remain and abide with us where we are. Jesus would take upon Himself the form of human flesh that where we are here in the earth He might also dwell with and abide with us.

 

            What we find within these chapters are an incredibly powerful narrative of Jesus’ departure from this world and yet how He would indeed and would in fact come unto us by and through the person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would indeed depart from this world having been in the flesh and yet he would return and come again in the form of Spirit. We must needs recognize and understand the tremendous significance of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit for it is through the Holy Spirit’s presence in the earth the Lord Jesus is able to not only dwell and abide with us but also dwell and abide within us. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to recognize and understand that it is through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit that we are those in whom Jesus can actually dwell within and abide. There is something truly astonishing and powerful about Jesus sending the person of the Holy Spirit unto and among us for when He sent the person of the Holy Spirit He would indeed and would in fact come unto us in an entirely different form than He originally came. Oh I have previously written that there are essentially three different phases and elements to the Lord Jesus coming unto us which are all manifested within Scripture. We know from the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as from the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the author of the Hebrews that Jesus would indeed and would in fact come in the flesh. We know that the Word would be made flesh and would dwell among us and we know that Jesus would take upon Himself the seed of Abraham and would be made a little lower than the angels that He might be a faithful and merciful high priest. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture concerning Jesus’ coming in the form of human flesh:

 

            “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. NO man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:1-18).

            “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set hi mover the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all thigns put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold, I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).

 

            It is quite clear and evident from these two passages of Scripture that not only did the Word become flesh and dwell among us but the Word would also take upon Himself the nature of flesh and blood that He might be a faithful and merciful high priest on our behalf. It was absolutely necessary for Jesus to come in the form of flesh and blood—not only to dwell with and dwell among us but that through and in the flesh He might destroy Him who had the power of death, which was the devil. Jesus would be made a little lower than the angels and would not take upon Himself the nature and form of angels but would instead take upon Himself the nature of flesh and blood and would experience life within and upon the earth as we ourselves experience that life. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for it can and will help us to understand the tremendous truth surrounding the first coming of Christ when He would come in the form of human flesh and blood and the second coming of Christ which would not be in the form of flesh and blood but would be in the form of the Spirit. It was necessary for Jesus to first come in the form of flesh and blood that he might dwell among us and that He might suffer in the flesh and through the flesh destroy him who had the power of death which was the devil. Once His work in the flesh was completed He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. It would be from that place at the right hand of the Father our Lord would not only send the promise of the Father which was the person of the Holy Spirit but would also come to us. The Lord Jesus Christ would not leave us orphans and would not leave us comfortless but would indeed and would in fact come unto and come among us that through the person of the Holy Spirit He might dwell within us. Oh the first time Jesus came He would come in the form of flesh and blood that He might dwell with us, however, the second time Jesus would come He would do so in the form of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit that he might dwell with us. Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words within these chapters concerning the language of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ coming unto us by and through the person of the Holy Spirit:

 

            “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:1-4).

 

            “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

 

            “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth;whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

 

            “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:18).

 

            “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

 

            “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:26-27).

 

            “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe(John 14:28-29).

 

            “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

 

            “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:5-11).

 

            “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:12-16).

 

            “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:25-28).

 

            There is a great necessity to read and pay careful attention to each of these passages of Scripture as Jesus declares unto His disciples three distinct realities which would directly impact His disciples and followers in His absence. The first of these realities is that it was expedient for Him to depart and return unto the right hand of the Father for if He did not do so the promise of the Father who was the Comforter and Holy Spirit would not come. Jesus made it perfectly clear that it was absolutely necessary and expedient for Him to depart from this earth for as a direct result of His departure the person, the promise and the presence of the Holy Spirit would come. The second reality surrounding the departure of the Lord Jesus from this earth and His subsequent return unto the right hand of the Father was that He would come unto them. Although Jesus was departing from them in the flesh He would in fact come unto them again in the person of the Holy Spirit. Oh I have to admit I find myself wondering what it was like for the apostles who walked with and followed Jesus for three and a half years to witness His ascension unto the right hand of the Father, to experience the events on the day of Pentecost and to have the person and presence of the Holy Spirit abiding with and within them. They had spent three and a half years having Jesus dwelling with them in the flesh and now Jesus was gone and the Holy Spirit was present among and within them in His place. What was it like for them when they began to experience the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit within them and within their lives? What was it like for them as they would continue in this earth as disciples and followers of Jesus and yet would have fellowship with the person of the Holy Spirit who was dwelling within them? Were the apostles just as aware of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within them as they were when Jesus was present among them in the flesh? Oh there is something to be said about Jesus’ statements that He would come unto them and that the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would in fact be sent and come unto them.

 

            Imagine walking with the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh for three and a half years and then witnessing and experiencing His ascension into heaven and unto the right hand of the Father. Stop and think about what it would have been like for the apostles and those followers of Jesus who remained and abode in Jerusalem for those ten days after His ascension as there was essentially a gap between the departure of Jesus and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. In all reality I would dare say there is something truly unique about those ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would be manifested in the earth for during those ten days they would have neither the person of Jesus in the flesh among them and they would not yet have the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. I can’t help but wonder what it was like knowing that Jesus had ascended unto the right hand of the Father as He promised and said He would and yet living in the shadow of His absence. His ascension unto the right hand of the Father would leave a tremendous shadow of absence among them and yet we know from Scripture they were filled with great joy and returned from the mount called Olivet unto the city of Jerusalem. We know that they continue in one accord with prayer during those ten days in between the ascension and the arrival. BETWEEN THE ASCENSION AND THE ARRIVAL! BETWEEN THE ASCENSION OF JESUS AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE SPIRIT! Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what those ten days were like between the ascension of Jesus unto heaven from the mount called Olivet and the arrival of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. What was it like to be in that place of waiting, that place of expectation, that place of anticipation and quite honestly that place of not knowing what it would be like when the Holy Spirit actually arrived.

 

            If you take the time to think about it Jesus promised there was coming another whom He would send from the Father and it would be One whom the disciples and followers of His had not experienced before. We know there was a tremendous amount of expectation regarding the Holy Spirit for John the Baptist would declare unto them that he indeed baptized them with water but there was coming one after him who was mightier than himself who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Even Jesus Himself prior to His ascension would speak unto His disciples and followers and declare unto them how John the Baptist had indeed baptized with water but that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence. What’s more is that Jesus would also instruct and command them to abide, tarry and remain in Jerusalem while they waited for the promise of the Father which He would send in His own name. The disciples and followers of Jesus knew and understood that there was coming someone whom Jesus would send from the Father, however, they had not experienced Him personally for themselves. During those ten days between the ascension of Jesus and the arrival of the Holy Spirit they would find themselves living in the absence of Jesus while waiting for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that there is absolutely no indication they knew exactly what to expect during those days and when the Holy Spirit would even arrive. The only thing they knew was that they needed to abide and tarry in the city of Jerusalem while they waited for the promise of the Father. Oh imagine what life for the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus must have been like during those ten days having spent the last three and a half years walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ and now doing life without Him. For three and a half years the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ would know what it was like to do life with Him and now they would spend a full ten days doing life without Him as they waited for something He had promised while still with them. It would be during those ten days from the time of His ascension when the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ would in fact remain and abide in the world without Jesus being present with and among them while and as they waited for the promise of the Father which Jesus would send in His name.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading these chapters it’s that Jesus would initially come in the form of human flesh that He might dwell with and abide with me here in the earth. There would, however, come a point in time when He would depart from this world and return unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven. What is so incredibly significant about the departure of the Lord Jesus from this world and His return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven is that from the right hand of the Father He would send the person, the promise and the presence of the Holy Spirit. What we must realize and recognize concerning the manifestation and arrival of the Holy Spirit is that it would be through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus would indeed be able to come unto His disciples and followers again. Although He would departed and although He had departed from them and from this world He would come unto them in the form of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit came unto the earth He did not come simply to dwell with and among men but to dwell within them. The Holy Spirit would be manifested in the midst of the earth that through Him both the Father and the Son might come unto the disciples and followers of Jesus. It would be through the form of the Holy Spirit Jesus would indeed and would in fact come a second time into the earth as He would not merely dwell with His followers but would dwell within them. This would ultimately fulfill that which the prophet Ezekiel prophesied when He declared and proclaimed that the living God would come and dwell within His people. This was the reality which the apostle Paul sought to emphasize when writing unto the saints which were at Corinth when speaking of them being the Temple(s) of the Holy Spirit. Consider if you will the following words which are found in both epistles the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints:

 

            “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without  the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20).

 

            “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what coucord hath Christ with Belial? OR what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to these words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints for he sought to bring them into the understanding that they were the Temple and the dwelling place of the living God. It would be through the person of the Holy Spirit that not only would the invisible God be able to dwell within His people and walk within them but it would also be through the person of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Himself would be able to dwell within them. It is absolutely astounding to read and consider the words of Jesus for not only did He declare that He would come unto His disciples and followers but He also declared that both He and His Father would come unto them. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider this tremendous truth as it calls and draws our attention to the fact that although Jesus came in the flesh and dwelt among us that through Him the Father might dwell with us the person of the Holy Spirit is present among us that both the Father and Son might dwell within us at the same time. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that when and with the Holy Spirit dwelling within you—not only is the very Spirit Himself dwelling within us but so also is both the Father in the Son. With the Holy  Spirit dwelling within you and I the very person of the eternal Father, the very person of the only begotten Son and the person of the Holy Spirit are dwelling within us. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives that allows Jesus to dwell within us wherever we are rather than simply dwelling with us at one place at one time. Through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus can dwell within us and abide with us wherever we are at any time of the day regardless of where we are. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus came unto us as He promised He would and would dwell within us right where we are. Not only this but with and through the person of the Holy Spirit—not only could Jesus dwell with and within us wherever we are but so also is Jesus able to dwell with and within us in the midst of whatever we go through, walk through and experience within our lives.

 

In the opening verses of the sixteenth chapter Jesus spoke unto His disciples and declared unto them that He spoke these things unto them that they might not be offended. Jesus would go on to declare how they would be put out of the synagogues and how the day was coming when whoever killed them would think they were doing a service unto God. This would be directly on the heels of the words Jesus spoke in the previous chapter when He spoke of their being hated of the world because the world did not know nor did they receive Him. What makes the personal dwelling and abiding of the Holy Spirit within us so incredibly captivating is when you think about the fact that not only can Jesus now dwell within us and be with us wherever we are but so also can the Lord Jesus be with us in whatever situation or circumstance we face. It makes absolutely no difference if we are suffering or being afflicted or being persecuted for through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit Jesus dwells within us and can be with us right where we are. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for regardless of what we face within this life the Lord Jesus Christ—and not only the Lord Jesus but also the eternal Father—can be present with us in whatever situation and circumstance we face in this life. It is truly awesome and powerful to think about and consider this incredible truth as it calls and draws our attention to just how vital and critical the person and presence of the Holy Spirit is within our hearts and lives as through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus can dwell within and abide with us. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this and just how incredibly important it is for the person and presence of the Holy Spirit to be manifested within our hearts and lives.

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