Why Did Jesus Leave the Earthly World?

John 14:1–14 continues Jesus’ discourse with the disciples at the Last Supper. He has recently mentioned a traitor in their midst and predicted Peter’s denials. That leads Jesus to reassure these men—reminding them that He has told them the truth and has all things in hand.

Christ reassures His followers that faith in Him is faith in God. To know Christ is to know ”the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

In John 14:1–14, Christ famously refers to Himself as ”the way, and the truth, and the life.” That is the sixth of seven such ”I Am” statements included in John’s gospel. This section includes Jesus’ words, personal experience, and evidence of His miracles as reasons to maintain trust.

The words, actions, and miracles of Jesus should give Christians confidence to trust that He is preparing to come for us, so we can be where He is. Jesus also predicts the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

This is only available to believers, and this Helper acts to guide, teach, and remind us.

Both for the disciples and for future Christians, these words are meant to be comforting during hard times. Since Christ knew, in advance, what would happen, we can be even more confident to trust Him.

Vs. 12: Because I Go, You Can Do Greater Works

One of the reasons that Jesus had to leave the earth was to go prepare a place for us (John 14:2, 3).  Another reason He had to go is that the Holy Spirit needed to come, but Jesus did not say why His leaving was requisite to the Holy Spirit’s coming (John 16:7).

Perhaps the fact that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all one is related to the reason that God the Son had to leave in order to send God the Holy Spirit.

The sending of the Holy Spirit was important, for whereas Jesus could teach the disciples and give them examples, the Holy Spirit could work within them (John 14:17).

John 14:12

One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is empowering. 1 As a result of the Holy Spirit being at the centers of their lives, the believers could do the things Jesus did, and even greater things. 2 These greater things depended on Jesus’ going to the Father, because they are works done in the strength of the Holy Spirit. 3

An example of the fulfillment of this pledge to do greater things is shown following the unique outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Not only did three thousand people respond to Peter’s preaching (Acts 2:41), but the Lord continued adding to the number of saved people each day (Acts 2:47).  The disciples, being filled with the Holy Spirit, testified about Jesus with boldness and great power (Acts 4:31, 33).  The early believers were NOT people with unusual abilities or efforts but the results and effectiveness of their ministries were a consequence of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 4 (Erickson, p. 1040)

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Consider the Daily Bread email message sent on sent on 4/25/2005, 2/13/2009 and summarized on 10/18/2023:

John 12:12

John 14:12 – Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (NASB)

One of the reasons that Jesus had to leave the earth was to go prepare a place for us (John 14:2, 3).  Another reason He had to go is that the Holy Spirit needed to come, but Jesus did not say why His leaving was requisite to the Holy Spirit’s coming (John 16:7).

Perhaps the fact that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all one is related to the reason that God the Son had to leave in order to send God the Holy Spirit.

One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is empowering.  As a result of the Holy Spirit being at the center of their lives, the believers could do the things Jesus did, and even greater things. These greater things depended on Jesus’ going to the Father because they are works done in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

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References:

  1. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1985), pg. 873.
  2. Ibid. pp 778, 779.
  3. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, pg. 628.

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