The night before he died Jesus told his Apostles, “It is better for you that I go.” Now, how could that be true? How could it be good for the Apostles to lose Jesus?
I don’t know the answer to that. Al I can give anyone is two possible answers that occur to me. One answer involves the difference between the name Jesus and the name Christ. The difference seems to be that while he was the living son of Mary, the Bible called him Jesus. After his death and resurrection the Bible called him Christ.
St. Paul came along after our Savior’s death, and Paul always called him Christ. When he used the name Jesus it was always coupled with the name Christ. He never speaks of Jesus, only of Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus of just Christ.
In his Letter to the Philippians Paul wrote, “Now as always Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or death. For me to live is Christ, and death is gain.”
In his thirteen letters Paul never retold any of the stories he had heard about Jesus before his death. He never related to the Jesus he had heard about, he always related directly to Christ alive in his heart.
So, we started with the question, “How could it be good for the Apostles to lose Jesus?” And my first shaky answer is that having Christ in one’s heart is better than it would be to have Jesus physically present in ones company.
A second answer to the question of how it could be better for his followers to have Jesus leave, would be that the Spirit could not come to them until after Jesus left. That seems to be what the Gospel is saying, and that is the answer most people go for; but I have trouble with it.
My trouble with that answer come from the first item in our creed, namely, “I believe in one God.” I am not at ease with people talking about Christ and the Holy Spirit as though they were separate individuals.Rather than speaking of the Holy Spirit as a distinct individual, I prefer to think of the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ. In imagining the indwelling of the Spirit I think in terms of the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ.