THE LORD JESUS AS THE COMFORTER INSIDE HIS DISCIPLES AFTER HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
While the Lord Jesus was on the earth, He was with His disciples in an outward way for three and a half years; He was a tender, caring Comforter. However, after three and a half years, suddenly one day He told His disciples that He was going away from them and was going to Him who sent Him (John 16:5). The disciples were shocked by His word and felt sorrowful. Nevertheless, He told them not to be sorrowful, saying, “It is expedient for you that I go away” (v. 7). This was because, while at that time His physical presence with the disciples was wonderful, He could be among them only in an outward way since He was still in the flesh, limited by time and space. He could not be with His disciples if they were at the Sea of Galilee in the north while He was in the temple in Jerusalem to the south. Therefore, He had to go and have a change to become the life-giving Spirit. Thus, He would be able to enter into them to be with them at any time and in any place as the Comforter within them. For the disciples that would be His best presence.
The most precious result of our faith in Christ is that we receive Him into us. Although this is the pure and unadulterated yet mystical truth, it has been neglected by most Christians. They say that today Christ is sitting on the throne in heaven and that He does not dwell in His believers. The Bible tells us, however, that today Christ is in heaven on the right hand of God but at the same time He also dwells in His believers (Rom. 8:34, 10). Our experience also confirms that Christ is indeed in us today. In those days the Lord Jesus was with His disciples and He walked, stayed, and lived with them, but He could not enter into them. Therefore, He had to go and have a change through death and resurrection; in His resurrection He would come back to enter into His disciples.
The Lord Jesus was with His disciples as a small Nazarene. Like a grain of wheat, He had nothing to be admired at outwardly, yet within Him there was the mystery of life, the riches of life, and the glory of life. First Corinthians 15 says that a grain bears a certain kind of body before it is sown and bears another kind of body after it grows (vv. 37-38). When the Lord Jesus was crucified and buried, that was His being sown into the soil. However, after a period of time, He came out of the tomb and was resurrected. In His resurrection He was different from before; He no longer appeared as a little man of Nazareth but rather became a man with another kind of body. The Bible tells us that in His resurrection the Lord was a pneumatic man with a body of glory. Furthermore, even though He was pneumatic, He was not abstract. On the evening of His resurrection, while His disciples gathered in a house with the doors tightly shut, suddenly the Lord came and stood in their midst. While they were in amazement, the Lord Jesus said to them, “Peace be to you.” Then He appeared to them another time and said to Thomas, “Bring your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side” (John 20:19-27). How wonderful! The Lord’s body was spiritual, yet it could also be touched and handled.
The Lord Jesus still had a physical body after His death and resurrection. But even though He had a physical body, He was also pneumatic; this is marvelous. In the evening of His resurrection, when He came to the house where the disciples were meeting, instead of preaching to them, He said, “Peace be to you.” And after He had said this, He breathed into them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Pneuma, the Greek word for Spirit, may be rendered also as wind or breath. The Lord Jesus was resurrected as the Spirit, and this Spirit was the Holy Breath which He breathed into His disciples, yet He still possessed a spiritual body.
The Holy Spirit is the Holy Breath, and the Holy Breath is the Holy Spirit. When the Lord became the Holy Spirit, He became the Holy Breath. After the Lord Jesus breathed the Holy Breath into the disciples, and while they were in great amazement and rejoicing, He disappeared again. This was because at that time He had already entered into them. When He breathed into the disciples, He breathed the Spirit into them; this means that He breathed Himself into them. From that time onward, the disciples had a treasure abiding in them, a treasure that would never leave them again. Peter thought that the Lord was One who came and left suddenly. Therefore, when he did not see the return of the Lord after waiting for many days, he returned to his former profession and went fishing, and the rest of the disciples also went fishing with him at the Sea of Tiberias. However, that night they caught nothing. And as soon as the morning broke, the Lord stood on the shore and said to them, “You do not have any fish to eat, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” Then the Lord told them to cast the net on the right side, and they caught a hundred and fifty-three large fish. Furthermore, the Lord had already prepared bread and fish on the shore to feed them (John 21:2-13). In this way, for forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), the Lord sometimes appeared to His disciples and at other times hid Himself from them with the intention of training them to enjoy His invisible presence. The Comforter who was formerly outside the disciples could now enter into them to be the Comforter within them through the process of death and resurrection.
(The Subjective Experience of the Indwelling Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)