Imagine what life for Jesus would be like had He stayed here and not ascended to heaven. Because He is eternal, He would still be alive in 2007, no doubt performing miracles and gathering crowds by the millions. The paparazzi would hound Him worse than any celebrity, and those wanting a free lunch would cause traffic jams. When He tried to find solitude to pray, global positioning satellites would quickly pin down His location. Every talk show host would be calling Him for interviews, and millions would be asking Him to autograph their Bibles. Good thing He didn’t stick around.
But God is still here. The Bible says, “This Jesus God has raised up... therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.”
Instead of sending Himself in bodily form, God resides on earth invisibly in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Before He left, Jesus said the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit would be like the wind, unseen yet observable, and that is true also of His presence. The Spirit is unseen but observable; those who watched the early church could tell something happened when God poured out His Spirit on them and He filled and indwelt them.
The first change in their lives was that they could speak in other languages. This amazing phenomena happened at a time their city was filled with devout people from every nation, giving the disciples the ability to tell the “wonderful works of God” in the language of their listeners. It was not a miracle for ‘show’ but very practical as three thousand people were added to the number of believers that very day.
The Holy Spirit does for us things Jesus that could not do had He stayed. For one thing, the Spirit lives inside each believer, giving us changed lives. I can produce spiritual fruit, have assurance of eternal life, commune in unity with other believers, have spiritual abilities and spiritual power, am comforted in trials, and can hear God speaking, all because of the Holy Spirit.
He does other things too. He is my guarantee of full salvation. He prays on my behalf. He sets me apart for God and seals me as His own. He teaches me, reminds me, nudges me, leads me, encourages me, and is very active governing my life and my choices. While God in human flesh might be able to do those things, I’d have to be in close proximity. Instead, God the Spirit does it all, no matter where I am, and not only for me but for every other believer in this world.
The Bible says that someday, that which restrains evil “will be taken out of this world.” Most Christians assume this speaks of the Holy Spirit, and because we are His dwelling place, all believers will go with Him. When that happens, evil will reign for a while, then Jesus will return (with all His people). At that point, the dwelling place of God will change. “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
For now I must walk by faith, not sight; I cannot see the One I serve with my literal eyes. However, the day is coming when faith will become sight, and the glory of God will be visible, not only to me but to everyone.
Normally, I tend to live in the ‘now’ because I don’t know the future and feel that speculation is futile, but because of the promises of God, I love to think about the certainty of His return and the overwhelming expectation of seeing Jesus face to face. From what I see in the Bible, the Father will be here and Spirit will remain within me in that day. Then God will wipe away every tear, and take away death, sorrow, crying and pain, but the best part will be laying my eyes on, and giving a hug to the One who has done all this for me.