Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to leave? Why did Jesus have to go back to heaven while leaving us alone to struggle in this sinful world? There have been times in my life where I imagined how good life would be if Jesus were living right here with us. We could ask him for advice and receive direct answers whenever we faced issues, hold onto him tightly when going through difficult situations, receive healing when experiencing sickness, and the list goes on and on.
But why did Jesus choose to leave us when it is clear that life with him would be good? In fact Jesus says that is is to our advantage that he goes away. John 16:7 says, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.” So why did Jesus believe that his leaving was good for us?
Because Jesus wants us to have an intimate relationship with him.
The only way we could experience Jesus in the most intimate way was for him to leave us – to be physically apart from him. Because Jesus is far away from us, it forces us to be more sensitive in discerning his voice to know him. It forces us to have to work hard and seek him with all our hearts to find him.
If Jesus was living on this earth and was only a mile walk away from you, you would not need to form an intimate relationship to be sensitive in hearing his voice. You could simply walk up to Jesus and ask him what you needed. But because Jesus is not here, the only way to know him and hear what he has to say is through a deep intimate relationship with Jesus.
Being able to know and hear from Jesus without actually meeting him in person is not comparable to any relationship we could find on this earth – and that is exactly what Jesus wanted. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you that surpasses all the other relationships you have with your family, friends, and spouse.
Just like in any long distance relationship, it takes greater effort from both parties to grow their love and intimacy. God wants us to put our best efforts in our relationship with Christ. He wants you to put your relationship with him above any other relationship that exists on this earth. He wants a relationship with you that only you could have with him. Jesus is already putting his best effort with you, but are you giving your best effort for him? Are you putting enough effort to make your relationship with Jesus work?
Jesus never intended to leave us, but to stay in our hearts. He also did not leave us alone on this earth, he sent someone important to help us. That someone is the holy spirit. The second part of John 16:7 says, “Unless I go away, the advocate will not come to you; but if i go I will send him to you.”
Jesus knew that the holy spirit would do a better job than him in teaching us what it means to depend on God and be one in him. The holy spirit is there to help guide us to knowing God and to reveal to us the things that God wants to reveal in us. If Jesus never left, the holy spirit could never come, and we would never experience Jesus the same way we could now.
Embrace Jesus in your heart and trust that the holy spirit is enough to cultivate your intimate relationship with him. Jesus is always with you and he will never leave you no matter where you go. He may be physically far, but through this he can exist deep in your heart. Matthew 28:20 says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” So remember, Jesus is not far, he is closer to you than ever before.