John 16:7 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.
There was a time when I was jealous of the disciples because they got to spend over three years walking with the Lord and learning from Him every day. I guess that I felt cheated because I was not one of them. I love the Lord and wanted every advantage that could be had to know Him and His way.
I guess that the disciples felt something a bit similar to that when Jesus spoke these words to them. They had come to respect Him and they also loved Him and knew that He was indeed the Messiah. I am sure that they felt the impending loss and drew back from it. You see it in Peter when he tried to defend the Lord with a sword in the garden when Jesus was arrested.
Jesus knew how that we cling to him. What we don’t see is that clinging is man’s effort to hold onto Him and we should be trusting on His holding onto us. He told Mary in the morning of His resurrection, “Don’t cling to me.” He knew that we were weak and could not hang on tight enough so He devised a better plan. He would hold onto us and He does have the strength to keep us. Not only that but if He went away we would need His presence and power within us. His statement about His not going away revealed that this greater relationship would be impossible unless He did. As long as Jesus was present in bodily form then He could work with us one or only a few at a time. But with His plan to go away opened the way for Him to live “within” each of us individually. This promise of the “Comforter” gives us an advantage that even the disciples, who walked with Jesus, never had. They had Christ with them but we have Christ within us and we can know Him as He is knowing us.