The Work of the Holy Spirit.
SUMMARY.--Persecution Predicted. The Comforter to Come. He Will Reprove the World of Sin; of Righteousness; of Judgment. Will Guide into All Truth. Sorrow and Rejoicing. Overcoming the World.
1. These things have I spoken. The warnings found in the 14th and 15th chapters . They were given beforehand lest they should stumble. To be forewarned would be a help to their faith amid the dark scenes of the next few days, and in the persecutions that would come later.
2. They shall put you out of the synagogues. Excommunicate you. The first persecutions were Jewish. Whosoever killeth you, etc. Even so Saul of Tarsus thought while persecuting the saints. Fanaticism has always held the slaughter of those who are deemed heretics to be praiseworthy.
3. These things will they do, etc. Had they known Christ, or the Father, and received the Holy Spirit, they could not do thus.
4. These things I said not unto you at the beginning. He had made his instructions as they were prepared to receive them, lesson by lesson.
5, 6. Now I go my way to him that sent me. To the Father, by way of the Cross, the Sepulcher, the Resurrection and the Ascension. None of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? They had asked this question, but in the stupefaction of their sorrow they had ceased to ask.
7. It is expedient for you that I go away. What seemed then a crushing sorrow was a real blessing. His mission could never be accomplished unless he went away. For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come. While Christ was present in person, in bodily form, the Holy Spirit, the representative of the Godhead, could not come. Christ, as King, must send him, and on the day of Pentecost Peter declared, "He hath shed forth the things ye do see and hear."
8. Will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The Revision more correctly renders, "Will convict the world in respect of sin." There are three points concerning which the world would be convicted, concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit would effect these important results through some means. If we would understand the methods we have only to turn over to the fulfillment of these predictions recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. In Acts 2:38 , the Holy Spirit fell upon eleven apostles and they spoke as "the Spirit gave them utterance." The words that they spoke were the words of the Holy Spirit. In the record of what was said by the mouth of Peter, we find that the Spirit convicted (1) of sin, in that those who heard had rejected the Lord of life and glory; (2) of righteousness, in that it was demonstrated by the manifestations of that hour that God had exalted the Lord whom they had condemned to his own right hand; (3) of judgment, in that they were assured of the "wrath to come," and warned to "save themselves from this untoward generation."
9. Of sin, because they believe not on me. In naming sin, the chief of all sins is singled out. All sin springs from unbelief. To destroy sin, the heart of man must be pierced with the sword of the Spirit. Hence, the aim of the Spirit on Pentecost, and always, is to destroy unbelief.
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father. Human tribunals convicted him of blasphemy, because he said he was the Son of God, and put him to death. God exalted him to a throne, thereby showing that the condemnation was wrong and that he was righteous. Of this the Holy Spirit bore witness in words and by miracles.
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. In chapter 14:30 , he declared, "The prince of this world cometh." It was the prince of this world, the spirit of the world, Satan, as the ruler of the world, who slew him. When Christ rose from the dead, and all power was given into his hands, this was a judgment in the court of the universe against the prince of the world.
13. When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. He is about to go away and his own personal teachings will be ended, but those things that he desires them to know will be taught them still. The Spirit of truth will guide them into all truth.
14, 15. He shall glorify me. "All things that the Father hath are mine," and the Spirit "shall receive of mine and shew it to you." "These three are one;" a striking illustration of the unity of the Godhead. They are so united that what proceeds from one proceeds from all.
16, 17. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me. On the morrow he would die, be buried, and for "a little while" they would not see him; then he would rise, and for another "little while," a space of forty days before "he went to his Father," they would see him while he remained on the earth. When he ascended to his Father, they, in a spiritual sense, would "see him coming in the kingdom of God."
20. Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice. How sad were the broken-hearted disciples, as they wept at the tomb! At the same time their enemies were gloating over their triumph. Soon all was changed, for your sorrow shall be turned into joy. The glad news came, "The Lord is risen!" Then they heard that "all power was his," saw him ascend into heaven, and "returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
22. Ye now therefore have sorrow. Are in travail, but soon there shall be a birth, "the First Born of the new creation" from the tomb.
23, 24. In that day. After the Kingdom comes on Pentecost. Ask the Father in my name. We must come to God through him. His is "the only name." Before, when they prayed, he told them to say, "Our Father," etc. Now they must pray in the name of the ascended Lord.
25. Spoken in proverbs. In figures.
31, 32. Do ye now believe? The disciples had just asserted that they did, because they thought they understood him, but before morning their faith would give way and, instead of clinging to him in the hour of trial, they would leave him alone.
33. I have overcome the world. In this world his disciples would be persecuted and have sorrow, but he bids them Be of good cheer. The world can only afflict for a season; it is a conquered world; Christ has overcome it.