“I didn’t tell you this earlier because I was with you every day. But now I am on my way to the one who sent me. Not one of you has asked, ‘Where are you going?’ Instead, the longer I’ve talked, the sadder you’ve become. So let me say it again, this truth:  It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.”
– John 16:7 (MSG)

Toby sent me an email letting me know this would be a key verse in 2019. I read the email-read the verse and cried.
I cried the second time I read the verse.
I cried the third time I read the verse.
I told a very dear friend that I would need to figure out how to stop crying reading this verse, or it would be a very long year.

I wondered what made me tear up every time I read it.

Even reading silently, I could feel the words, “it’s better for you that I leave” get caught in my throat. I could feel the tears start to bubble up and I could feel sadness in my heart. And I wondered,

How could it ever be better for Jesus to leave?

I imagined being one of the disciples hearing these words. They loved Him, they lived life with Him, they learned from Him, He was their friend. What must it have been like for them to hear His leaving would be better?

Jesus said it for a reason. Reread His words – “Let me say it again, this truth:” He really wanted to make this point, drive this truth deep – it is better for Him if He goes. That feels counter to what makes sense to me. I don’t want people that I love to leave. I don’t want people that live with me to leave. I don’t want people that I learn from to leave. I don’t want my friends to leave.

And now, we begin a journey together. One that will teach us why it is better that Jesus leaves. We learned how to lean into the uncomfortable last year now let’s embrace all that this year’s study has for us.

Let’s commit to engage together, tell stories together, share our experiences with the text of Acts together.

And together, we will learn what better can mean.