John: Chapter 16
Let’s begin by reading (John 16:1-15).
(Verse 1)(NASB) “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.”
Jesus is continuing the thoughts of (Jn 15:18-25), and going to Verse 15 in this chapter. He is preparing the disciples ahead of time for the persecution they should expect, so that they would not “stumble” when the persecution came to pass.
(Verse 2) “They shall put you out of the synagogues” Remember in John chapter 9 (Verse 22), we saw this same language being used. This is referring to being “excommunicated.”
According to the “Nelsons NKJV Study Bible” there were 3 types of excommunication:
1. One lasting 30 days, during which the person could not come within six feet of anybody else.
2. One for an indefinite time, during which the person was excluded from all fellowship and worship.
3. One that meant absolute expulsion forever.
(Verse 2)(NASB) “But an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.”
Those who were going to persecute the disciples would believe that they were “offering service to God.” In other words, they believed that they were “pleasing” God in their actions. Paul speaks of how He did this very thing as He persecuted Christians before He later became a Christian. Let’s look at two places where he said this: (Acts 22:3-6)(Acts 26:9-18).
Can you think of examples of this today?
(Verse 3) “And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” Those who persecute Christians because they are trying to “please God” really do not know God (the Father), nor Jesus at all.
(Verse 4) “And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
Jesus is likely saying here that prior to this, He didn’t speak a lot about the persecution that the disciples would face because while “He was with them,” most of the persecution would be directed at Him, and not them. However, since Jesus was about to be murdered, and therefore no longer “physically” with them, the persecution would turn to them. Jesus was warning them to be ready for this.
(Verses 5-6)(NASB) “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ ”
Both Peter (Jn 13:36) and Thomas (Jn 14:5) had asked this question previously. So, why did Jesus say this? Likely, because they had asked Him for the wrong reason. They were not concerned about what would happen to Jesus, nor were they thinking about the spiritual significance of Jesus’ departure, but rather, they were thinking about what His departure would mean for them (see verse 6).
(Verse 7) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
“The Comforter” (“Advocate” or “Helper” in other versions). The Greek word used here is parakletos, and this is the third of five times this word is used in the New Testament (also see: Jn 14:16,26)(Jn 16:7)(1 Jn 2:1). It means “the one summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid” (Strong’s).
Remember that it says in (Jn 14:26) that “the Father” would send the Holy Spirit, while in (Jn 15:26) and here it says “Jesus” would send the Holy Spirit. Why is this significant?
(Verses 8-11) (Verse 8) “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” After this verse, we are told the meaning of each of these things.
1. “Of sin, because they believe not on me;” Did you realize that if a person doesn’t “believe” in Jesus, it is called “sin?” On my “soapbox” against Calvinism, this verse KEY. (But, we won’t go into that too much here 🙂 .) The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin.
***Note: In saying “sin,” not “sins,” this may indicate that the primary “sin” of the world is failing to believe in Jesus.
2. “Of righteousness” Only God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is truly righteous (Ps 145:17)(Zeph 3:5)(Dan 9:14). The Holy Spirit will “reprove the world of its unrighteousness.” Only through Jesus can any man be made “righteous.” When a person is convicted of their sin, and accepts Jesus’ payment for their sin, the “righteousness” of Jesus (who lived a sinless, righteous life) is “imputed” to that person. They are made “righteous” through Jesus (2 Cor 5:19,21)(Rom 4:7-8,24-25)(Rom 3:21-24).
3. “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” The “prince of this world” is Satan. Satan was defeated at the cross of Jesus. He has been judged, and his fate is sealed. Those who do not turn to Jesus to pay for their sins will share the same fate as Satan. The presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Christians since Pentecost is clear evidence of Jesus’ victory, and Satan’s defeat and judgment.
(Verses 12-13) “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
I believe Jesus meant two things here:
1. The disciples were still fairly new Christians, and were not yet ready for deeper spiritual truths. The same would be true for new Christians today. New Christians need to be taught, and understand the basic and foundational truths of Christianity before going into deeper teachings in the Bible.
2. The Holy Spirit, who “guides (us) into all truth” (Verse 13), and helps Christians to understand God’s Word (Jn 14:26), had not yet been given. (This would happen at Pentecost – Acts 2.)
(Verse 14) “He shall glorify Me” The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to “glorify” Christ. This is also the primary purpose of the Bible.
Next, let’s read (Jn 16:16-33).
(Verse 16) “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.”
(Verses 17-18) After Jesus says this in (verse 16), the disciples begin to discuss what Jesus meant when He said this. What do you think Jesus is saying in (verse 16)?
(Verse 19) Jesus, in His omniscience, knows that they are discussing, and trying to understand what He said. He then “somewhat” (not super clearly, in my opinion) explains.
(Verse 20) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful” At the death of Jesus, the “world” (most people) would “rejoice” that He was gone. However, the disciples (and some other Christians) would weep, lament, and be sorrowful. But, that “sorrow (would) be turned into joy.”
(Verse 21) Jesus then gives an example of this: “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.”
(Verse 22)(NASB) “and no one will take your joy away from you”
What is “joy,” and why can no one take your joy?
(Verse 23) “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.”
Whenever the disciples had a question or need, they went to Jesus personally. However, after Jesus was gone, they would no longer be able to do this. There would be a new way to have their questions answered, and their needs met. They would go to the “Father,” and they would do so in “the name of Jesus.” (Verse 24)(NASB) “Until now you have asked for nothing in my name.”
Two common questions are asked in relation to this:
1. Can we pray to Jesus?
2. Why do we end our prayers with “In Jesus name, Amen?”
In relation to #1., as we see here, and in a number of other places (i.e. the Lord’s Prayer – Mt 6:9-13), we are told to pray to the Father (Mt 6:6)(Rom 8:15). It seems clear that this is to be our primary way to pray. However, there are examples of people in the Bible of praying to Jesus also (Acts 7:59-60)(Rev 20:20)(1 Cor 1:2)(Acts 1:23-26). In fact, in (Jn 14:13-14), Jesus said to “ask in His name and He would do it.” Therefore, it seems clear that it is acceptable to pray to Jesus too.
In relation to #2., we pray “in Jesus name” precisely because Jesus tells us to do so here, and in Verse 26. Also see: (Jn 15:16)(Eph 5:20)(Eph 2:18).
(Verse 24) “that your joy may be full” As we spoke of previously in John chapter 15, this is one of several places that speak about how our “joy can be full.” Also see: (Jn 15:11)(1 Jn 1:4).
(Verse 25) “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs (figures of speech), but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.”
Why did Jesus speak in parables, or “figures of speech” so often?
Jesus explains why He did this in (Mt 13:10-17)(Mk 4:10-11)(Lk 8:9-10). Let’s turn to (Mt 13:10-17).
(Verses 27-28) “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”
Again, as in so many other places in the book of John, Jesus is proclaiming His deity, by speaking of His pre-existence.
(Verses 29-30) The disciples respond to Jesus’ statement by making several statements of their own. They say that, Jesus is “speaking plainly,” they are “sure that He knows all things,” they know that He has “no need that anyone should question (Him), and they believe He “came forth from God.”
(Verse 31) Jesus responded to this by saying, “Do ye now believe?” What I think Jesus is saying here is basically, “Oh really, do you really believe?”
***Note: Notice, in (verse 28) Jesus says He “came forth from the Father,” and in (verse 30) the disciples respond by saying Jesus “came forth from God.” This kind of sounds like they really didn’t understand that Jesus was and IS God.
(Verse 32) “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone” If the disciples had truly “believed,” they would not soon abandon Jesus. Here again, we see here the deity of Jesus in prophesying His future.
***Note: The “scattering” of Jesus’ disciples was prophesied in (Zech 13:7)(Mt 26:31).
(Verse 32) “yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” All Christians should remember this verse. Even if we feel like everyone else has abandoned us, as Christians, we are NEVER alone. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are ALWAYS with us.
(Verse 33) “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
How can you find true and lasting peace? This is one of many verses which tell us that the only way to truly find peace is through Jesus Christ (also see: Jn 14:27, Rom 5:1, Col 1:20).