Remember those little plastic capsules you played with as a child? You would drop them in hot water and watch the plastic casing melt away. A mysterious surprise emerged, slowly taking shape until you recognized some foam creature. It wouldn’t work if you refused to drop it; you had to let go of it first. You also couldn’t help it along; it would tear to pieces if you attempted to free the sopping substance from its gummy cocoon.
5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Christ explained to His disciples that they had to let Him go. Not that He was fragile or anything would be ruined, but that God’s design required a time of transition. Earlier in John’s Gospel, Jesus had taught that like a seed, His body would be sacrificed in order to introduce new life in the spirit. Like a seed, we too must die to ourselves, shedding our flesh, to allow the spirit to produce fruit that glorifies the Father.
There is no short cut. There is no way around God’s plan. Just like Christ submitted to the will of God, so must we. Since Jesus is no longer with us on earth, His Spirit has been sent to help us in this life. We can be confident in three things as the Spirit slowly reveals the nature of God’s character (and ours).
First, we know that sinful desires must be shed, replaced by trust in Christ. His Spirit will convict us of what needs to go and what needs to grow. Second, we know that His Spirit will empower us to live by faith, reminding us of what Christ said and did. The Helper will nurture spiritual health, becoming the righteousness of Christ in us. Finally, we should feel confident knowing that God is not abandoning us, nor can evil overcome us. God is in control. He is doing a new thing and His power is more than sufficient.