The Expediency of The Lord's Departure

The Expediency of
The Lord’s Departure

John Bramhall

Invariaby John Bramhall arouses our imagination and spurs our thinking. This instructive article does both.

When the Saviour said to His disciples, “It is expedient for you that I go away” (John 16:7), it was difficult for them to accept its truthfulness. His constant companionship during His earthly ministry with them, and their immediate expectation of His Kingdom, made His words appear incredible and impossible! How could His departure be for their profit? Nevertheless, subsequent history proved the truth of His words in a conclusive manner; not alone for them but for all of His own through the Christian age, It was expedient for us that He should leave this world and go to His Father! Why?

His Presence is Nearer

This may seem a contradiction but we must realize that when on the earth He was confined to one locality at a time. But Now He is beyond all boundaries of time and sense, filling all things above! See Ephesians 1:21-23; 4:10. Paul has written, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16). He is now the man in glory, who, in the Father’s presence above, is accessible to all of His own by faith and prayer. Each believer can lean “on Jesus’ bosom” if they will and be as close to Him as any other! (John 13:23). Our prayer should be “Nearer, still nearer! Close to Thy heart; Draw me, my Saviour so precious Thou art!” So for all of us His Presence is Nearer!

His Godhead Is Clearer

When the Saviour was on earth it was difficult for men to believe in His Godhead; that He was “GOD manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). But NOW — He is “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Beyond all controversy, the resurrection and exaltation of Christ on high establishes the glorious fact of His Deity in a greater way than if He had stayed on the earth! See Philippians 2:9-11. It was expedient for Him to go away, for now, to all of His own — His Godhead is Clearer!

His Salvation is Surer

Having passed through the heavens, there to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24), we have Perfect Evidence that His redemptive work of salvation is complete! “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God … for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that sanctified” (Heb. 10:12 and 14). (a) He is our great High Priest above — Heb. 4:14-16. (b) He is our great Intercessor (Heb. 7:25). (c) He is our great Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1, 2). We are convinced that His Salvation is Surer!

His Church is Richer

Had Christ not departed from the world, His people would still have been rich, but His departure, while not depriving us of His presence, has enriched His Church even more! (a) Through His present Headship over the Church, His place of authority as Head over His own house, “whose house are we” (Heb. 3:6). How rich we are! (b) Through His gifts to the Church as its risen Head how blest we are! — “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Read the context of Ephesians 4:8-16. Are we enjoying these riches in a practical way? (c) Through His gift of the Holy Spirit: “For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you,” said the Lord (John 16:7). How rich we are with the presence and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the chief agent of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth now! Do we prove the sufficiency of the Holy Spirit? “The presence and the operation of the Holy Spirit is the Power of the assembly” (Wm. Kelly). (d) Through the completion of the Word of God. The final revelation of divine truth is “the Church”, committed in its stewardship to the Apostle Paul. Read very carefully Colossians 1:24-27. Note particularly verse 25:: “The Church, of which I became minister, according to the dispensation (stewardship) of God which is given me towards you to complete the word of God” (J. N. D. Translation). Not only do we have the complete body of Holy Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, but we have God’s final revelation of divine truth, “The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations … but now made manifest to His saints” (Col. 1:26 JND Trans.). How much do we value the riches of truth that God has now revealed? That blessed “mystery” for which the beloved Apostle Paul laboured, suffered and died! He had a two-fold objective in his ministry (1) “That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (2) “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” — Read the context of Ephesians 3:1-11. These tremendous facts certainly confirm the expediency of our Lord’s departure proving His Church is Richer!

Heaven Is Dearer

If Christ had lingered among men after rising from the dead, the Father’s house, though still a certainty, would lack its greatest attraction! What is the most valued attraction for a believer in heaven? It is not the outward, incomprehensible glory of that blessed realm —God forbid! The dearest object for us to behold and to enjoy in the Father’s house and through all eternity Is the Saviour Himself! How suitable are the words of Samuel Rutherford: — “I would be in heaven, suppose I had not another errand but to see that dainty golden Ark, and God inhabiting a body, such as we sinners have, that I might adore Him for evermore”… “For We Shall See Him as He Is!” are the inspired words of the apostle John (1 John 3:2). To see the eternal Son of God Who for my sake took upon Him the form of my humanity to redeem me; to see that glorious Person wearing humanity for ever! — will be greatest privilege and dearest attraction in all heaven! To fall at His feet and worship Him with the redeemed hosts out of the ages of time and sing for ever that “new song” in the greatest anticipation of a believer’s heart! “And They Shall See His Face” is the Spirit of God’s expression of the eternal joy that will be ours through the endless ages of eternity! Yes! — it was expedient for HIM to go away, for now to all His own

What shall it mean to waken in that Morning,
When things of time and sense have passed away;
When sights and sounds of sin-born things which sadden,
Have changed for life’s eternal, cloudless Day?

What shall it mean to waken in that Morning,
Where fears come not, and foes shall not be known;
Where needs and cares, and toil and test are ended;
Where heavenly peace, unbroken, reigns alone?

What shall it mean to waken in that Morning,
When with unhindered vision we behold
All that is meant by walls of shining jasper,
Life’s crystal river, and the streets of gold?

What shall it mean to see at last the Saviour,
He Who, in love for man, so freely died?
I shall awake that Morning in His likeness,
And, waking thus — I SHALL BE SATISFIED!

J. Danson Smith

We humbly, but gladly, say, “yes Lord, it was expedient for Thee to go away to Thy Father’s home above!” May we soon hear Thy voice calling us home that we may see Thy face for evermore!