John Wesley led the Methodist revival in England in the 1700’s. God used him to launch a world-wide movement of Methodists who believe in both a personal experience of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and in living out that faith by caring for the least, the last and the lost.
The last words Wesley spoke were these: “Best of all, God is with us.”
Wesley experienced for himself something that I have also experienced—the indwelling, heart-warming Presence of God’s Holy Spirit in his life. The Presence of the Holy Spirit changed everything for Wesley, and for me!
Jesus told his disciples in John 16:7, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”Jesus did go away from them. First, He left them to go into death to pay the price for sin. Then, after God raised Jesus from the dead, He left them again and ascended into heaven, from which He will return one day to consummate human history and fully establish the Kingdom of God for eternity.
In the meantime, the Father sent us the Advocate. The Advocate is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, indwelling us. The Holy Spirit is not someone else. He is the third Person of the Trinity. He is the very Spirit and Presence of Jesus, made alive in our hearts. And He is for us.
Attorneys have a bad reputation. Most people don’t really like lawyers—until we need one. But in a trial, it is good to have an advocate to stand besideus and argue the caseforus. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate. In 1 John 2:1, John says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father. What a powerfully assuring statement that is. The Advocate Jesus promised to send is Himself as a spiritual Presence in our lives! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, alive in us. The One who died for us stands with us in every experience of life. He rejoices with us when we rejoice, and weeps with us when we weep. He grants grace when we sin and gives power to overcome the chains of sin, so we can be free to be holy.
When Jesus was on this earth in a physical body, he was localized. He could not be in two places at one time. His presence was limited. But as the Holy Spirit, Jesus can be present in the life of a believer in Africa praying for her child who has malaria, and at the very same moment be present in my life here in the US as I pray for wisdom to lead a church well.
Jesus meant what He said. It is better for us that He went away. We long for the day when we will see Jesus face-to-face. But in the meantime, we know His presence and reality every moment of every day. I’m thankful for the reality of our Advocate, who stands with us in all things.
Like Wesley, I can affirm, “Best of all, God is with us.”How about you?