Jesus was their guide, teacher, joy, peace and hope, and now he was physically leaving them. They had built their entire world around him and he would no longer be with them.
Of course, Jesus knew that the disciples were about to face persecution, hardships, the loss of earthly goods, and torture for his name’s sake. Yet I doubt those disciples understood Christ’s words to them when he said he would not leave them comfortless. What he was saying, in essence, was: “I will never let you face your battles alone. I will not leave your helpless or powerless against the devil’s onslaughts. You’re going to face hardships, but I know the Father’s plan for you. If you knew and understood it, your hearts would rejoice because I am going to my Father.”
Jesus told these disciples, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (14:16). He was telling the disciples, “I leave you as man, and I will return to you as Spirit.” Yes, the Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of Christ and he abides only in those who are born again in Christ and walk by faith in his finished work on the cross.
The Spirit’s mission is to comfort Christ’s bride in the absence of the bridegroom, Jesus. If there is need for a comforter, there must certainly be discomfort, those who need comforting. Simply put, anyone who follows Christ will face pain and suffering.
God sent the Spirit to use his power to keep you out of the clutches of Satan. He has come to lift your spirit, drive away all despair, and flood your soul with the love of your Father.
“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).