Week 16 John 16:1-33
John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Overview of Chapters 14-17
Chapters 14-17 form a unit, possibly all taking place while in the upper room still at supper or shortly thereafter. Or, chapters 15-17 may have been given while in route to the Garden of Gethsemane. The text does not give enough information to know conclusively.
Chapters 14-16 form a single, long discourse by Jesus to his disciples, while chapter 17 is a prayer to God by Jesus both for himself and for his disciples. A general description of each chapter is given below.
ch 14 Comfort with an emphasis upon the Trinity
ch 15 Admonition
ch 16 Prediction
ch 17 High Priestly Prayer
Chapter 15 (Link to Previous Lesson)
Section 1: Abide in Me John 15:1-11
Section 2: Love One Another John 15:12-17
Section 3: Testify of Me John 15:18-27
Chapter 16 (see Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 319-346)
A Word of Prediction
Section 1: Even as believers are being persecuted (John 16:1-4, see Week 15), the Holy Spirit will come and abide.
I. The Holy Spirit and the World (John 16:5-11)
Setting: ESV John 16:1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
A. Jesus is leaving (vss 5-6)
1. He points out the disciples’ selfish response in their failure to ask questions.
2. Their grief has numbed them, so that they only see their own pain and not the larger picture.
3. Nevertheless, Jesus proceeds with kindness to explain that his leaving them physically is for their benefit.
B. The Counselor will not come to them unless he goes away.
1. Not stated–Jesus is going the way of the cross in order to provide ultimate atonement for all their sins.
2. Atonement paves the way for God’s dwelling within them to be re-established.
3. God’s declaration of acceptance for Jesus’ sacrificial death is two-fold:
a. the resurrection
b. the sending of the Holy Spirit
C. When the Counselor (the Holy Spirit) comes he will (vss 8-11):
1. Convict the world in regard to sin–the world’s sin. The world rejected Jesus as Son of God and killed him. The presence of the Spirit in the world shows that Jesus, though rejected and cast out by the world, is alive and therefore the genuine Son of God. There is no excuse for not believing (receiving) him.
2. Convict the world in regard to righteousness–Christ’s righteousness: It is Christ’s righteousness to which the Spirit testifies. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the world shows that Christ indeed was resurrected, and therefore declared righteous in the eyes of God the Father. (see also Pink, pages 861-868)
3. Convict the world in regard to judgment–Satan’s judgment: Satan has been judged and declared guilty for condemning God’s Son. Everyone will witness this finally and fully when at the Last Day he will be cast into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
D. Peter’s sermon on Pentecost contained all three of the elements listed in verses 8-11 above (Acts 2:22-36). Many of the people–about three thousand men, women, and children–repented and believed that day.
II. The Holy Spirit and Believers–the Church (John 16:12-15)
A. Throughout Chapters 14-16 Jesus has been emphasizing his oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is leaving; the eternal God is always present. Jesus is leaving, but He will return in the third person of the Trinity–the Holy Spirit. This should be a great comfort to the disciples in their moment of felt need at the thought of the imminent departure of their leader, their Master and Lord.
B. Details of the Holy Spirit’s future interaction with the disciples.
1. The disciples cannot bear to hear the “many things” right then, in part because neither the cross, the resurrection, nor the ascension had yet happened.
2. The Holy Spirit follows the same pattern as Christ. Neither Jesus nor the Spirit speaks on their own authority, but only what they hear in the presence of God the Father. They are essentially one in substance, one essence.
3. The Holy Spirit will prophetically reveal that which is still to come (see, for example, Thessalonians and Revelation).
4. Everything the Son has is given by the Father, and all that the Father has is given to the Son. This is what the Spirit will reveal to the disciples. He will thereby glorify Christ, since Christ is at the center of God’s plan of salvation for the entire human race. Christ will also be glorified to the world through the preaching of the disciples and their followers.
Section 2: Sorrow turns to joy with the resurrection of Christ and the Coming of the Holy Spirit (John 16:16-24)
I. Jesus Helps the Disciples Voice Their Concerns Aloud (John 16:16-19)
This dialogue fits in well with the informality in tone of Chapter 13. It serves to remind the readers of the location (quite likely still the upper room either during or right after the Last Supper) and occasion (Jesus’ imminent departure from the disciples) of the entire discourse. John points out to the reader the tenderness of the Lord as he helps the disciples to deal with and receive what he is telling them.
II. Their Sorrow Will Become Joy (John 16:20-24)
A. The Jewish religious leaders undoubtedly rejoiced when Jesus was pronounced dead. As soon as they found the tomb empty that first Sunday morning, their joy turned once more to anguish. The world has been anguishing over the Good News ever since.
B. The disciples would grieve and mourn over the events of the Garden and what followed. And they on that first Sunday morning experienced awe and joy like none other. The coming of the Holy Spirit caused further joy beginning on the day of Pentecost. Christians have been rejoicing ever since.
C. This is very much like the pain and joy of a mother during labor and afterwards. The disciples’ joy will be permanent–out of reach of every enemy.
D. Answered prayer will be a cause for joy after the Holy Spirit comes. The disciples faith will be mature–grown up and complete. In that day, they will know all about God’s complete plan for salvation, as revealed by the Spirit in plain words, no longer in parables and veiled sayings. They will understand more fully the motives and character of Christ and ask accordingly. Because they will be praying as Christ himself would pray, the Father will answer those prayers, causing greater joy.
E. Combining the first four verses of this chapter (John 16:1-4) with these verses, the reader sees that the disciples’ (and all believers’) union with Christ will yield on the one hand persecution on account of his name and on the other hand great blessings of answered prayer and fullness of joy in his name.
III. Final Encouraging Remarks (John 16:25-33)
A. The Father loves you.
1. Jesus very directly tells the disciples that he will be leaving them permanently–he is going back to the Father from whom he came.
a. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will also speak plainly to them.
b. Because the disciples have believed that Jesus was sent by God and because they loved him, albeit imperfectly, they are included in the circle of God’s fellowshipping love. God loved them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5), and from now on, they will be fully experiencing that love through the Spirit.
2. The disciples now know that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that he is able to discern their thoughts without the hint of their asking him questions.
3. Jesus again demonstrates his knowledge of all things by predicting that they will scatter, each to his own home, and leave him alone. The disciples believe and love him, but it is as though the light within them is on a short timer that keeps clicking on and off. When the Spirit comes, they will know fully, and the light switch will be permanently turned on (metaphor courtesy of my pastor). Yet Jesus, up until the moment of the cross, will not be alone, for his Father is with him.
B. You will have peace.
John 16:33a “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace…”
1. The peace will be a legal peace of atonement and justification (“your whole body is clean”). Such a peace always leads to subjective peace with daily confession and repentance of sins (a good foot washing) and a constant abiding in Christ the vine through the presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s heart
C. Be of good cheer!
John 16:33b “…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
What seemed at first to be gloom and doom has turned into a rallying cry of victory–Christ will soon be wearing the victor’s crown. So certain is he of the final outcome of his achievement that he states it in the present perfect tense, “I have (once and for all and with permanent ongoing results) overcome the world.”
The implication is that because Christ has already conquered the world, the disciples, who most assuredly will follow wherever he leads–they too will overcome the world.
Lamentations 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.