“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” vs. 7
The disciples likely didn’t think it would be to their advantage to have Jesus go away–that’s not in our human nature. When we love someone dearly and have been fed by their presence, we like to keep them around. We don’t even like to have beloved pastors leave! But if Jesus had just hung around, the Holy Spirit would never have come–and Jesus would likely have been forgotten. But with his leaving the mission shifted from being a personality cult to being a Spirit-driven movement. With the death of Jesus and the resurrection of the Christ, the Spirit was set free to stir up the world with a radical message of forgiveness and sacrificial love. Now there’s a danger when a movement is unleashed–we can never be sure what direction it might take. That’s why it’s so important for the Christ-movement to continue to be grounded in the life and mission of Jesus. There can be any number of changes in rituals and doctrines, but the strength of the Church is its recognition that the fueling Spirit is not an independent contractor, but the Spirit of the risen Christ. If we don’t stay rooted in the grace and the love of Christ, we’ll just be blowin’ in the wind, and there’s no telling where we might end up.
Thought for the Day: How does a personality cult get started?