- These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be caused to stumble. Jesus warned his disciples of coming persecutions in orderthat those persecutions might not shake their faith.
16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues1: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he offereth service unto God2.
- They shall put you out of the synagogues. See John 9:35. On the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.
- Yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he offereth service unto God. Persecutors would not only take awayreligious privileges, but even life itself, and they would do this as areligious act, esteeming Christians such enemies of God that God wouldtake pleasure in their death. Paul gives us an illustration of thisfanatical zeal ( Acts 26:9 ; Galatians 1:13 Galatians 1:14 ).
16:3 And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor me1.
- And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor me. The disciples being but few, and finding the vastmajority of the nation against them, and being but unlearned Galileans,and finding the leaders--the wise, the cultured, the mighty--againstthem, would be tempted to doubt the correctness of their course, and toask, "May we not, after all, be mistaken: may not those who know morebe better judges in this matter than we who are so ignorant"? Toforestall and prevent such questioning, Jesus asserts that theignorance is with the rulers. Knowledge of himself and of his Father isthe great and supreme knowledge, and the apostles having this werewiser than those with all other learning.
16:4 But these things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come, ye may remember them, how that I told you1. And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you2.
- But these things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come, ye may remember them, how that I told you. It would alsostrengthen their faith to remember that the Lord's divine wisdom hadforeseen all this trouble.
- And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you. While he was with his disciples they were in no danger,for he himself bore the brunt of persecution. In the beginning,therefore, of his ministry he did not deem it expedient to disheartenhis disciples by foretelling trials which were then remote. When hebegan to announce his approaching death, then he also began to declarethat the disciple must be willing to lose his life if he would find it.See notes at Section 70, Subdivision C, at Mark 8:31-38 . Some thinkthat Matthew 5:10-12 forms a contradiction to our Lord's statement here.While the words in Matthew were spoken early enough to be classified as"from the beginning", their import is to general to permit of theirbeing brought into contrast with this direct and personal prediction ofpersecution.
16:5 But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me1, Whither goest thou?
- But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me,
- Whither goest thou? The disciples had asked the Lord whither he was going ( John 13:36 ; John 14:5 ), but their question had a very differentmeaning from that which Jesus here suggests to them. They asked it toascertain whether his departure would a withdrawal from the world inwhich they could accompany him. The question which he suggests hasreference to the place to which he was about to journey, that placebeing the home and presence of his Father. The question asked wasselfish, as if the apostles had asked, "What will your departure meanto us"? The question suggested was generous, intimating that theapostles should have asked, "What will this departure mean to you"?
16:6 But because I have spoken these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
- Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Viewing his departure from a selfish standpoint filled theirhearts with sorrow; but viewing it from a generous standpoint wouldhave filled them with sympathetic joy, because of the supreme happinesswhich it would bring to their Master ( John 14:28 ). But even from aselfish standpoint the apostles would have had reason to rejoicebecause of the advantage which would accrue to them through the Lord'sdeparture, for that departure would result in the advent of the HolySpirit.
16:7 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 go, I will send him unto you1.
- For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. Space does not permit us to discusswhy the Spirit could not come until the Lord had departed, but theverses which follow give us one good and sufficient reason, for theyshow that his work had to do with the conviction of human heartsthrough the preaching of a completed gospel, and the ascension orreturn of Christ to heaven, and his enthronement in glory there, areessential parts of the completed gospel.
16:8 And he, when he is come, will convict the world1 in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment2:
- And he, when he is come, will convict the world. It would be the work of the Holy Spirit to take the truths respecting Christ, and,using the apostles as mouthpieces ( Acts 2:1-37 ), to convince the worldas to these truths.
- In respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. This convincing work was entirely in relation to Christ, the sin ofdisbelieving him, the righteousness revealed in him, and the power ofjudgment conferred upon him.
16:9 of sin, because they believe not on me1;
- John 16:9-11
- Of sin, because they believe not on me. Sin, righteousness, and a day of judgment with its reward upon one and its punishment upon theother, are three cardinal doctrines of the gospel. The Spirit convincesthe world that disbelief in Christ is its fatal sin, for belief inChrist leads to forgiveness, and to the unbelieving there is noforgiveness. The least sin is a sin unto death, and is a sin eternalunless forgiven. The greatest sin, if forgiven, becomes harmless and isas if it had never been. Until the world is convinced of this greattruth it feels no need of a gospel.
16:10 of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more;
- Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye behold me no more. Again, Christianity teaches that righteousness is prerequisiteto the attainment of the presence of God. Without righteousness we cannever behold him, nor can we ever hope to stand before him. But thisrequired righteousness was found in Jesus, for he returned to theFather, and abides with the Father, being seen by us no more. The HolySpirit convinces the world that those who are found in Christ, havinghis righteousness, shall attain unto the presence of the Father.( Philippians 3:3-14 ).
16:11 of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged1.
- Of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. Lastly, the Spirit convinces the world that Jesus is commissioned asits judge. Our Lord's resurrection is the assurance of this fact( Acts 17:31 ). The resurrection is such an assurance because it is anevidence of the judgment and condemnation of Satan, the head and leaderin sinful rebellion against God, and he that hath power to judge thehead thereby shows he had power to judge the body. Satan held the powerof death over humanity, but Jesus judged him and brought him to naughtby taking away this power ( Hebrews 2:14 Hebrews 2:15 ). The cross of Christ asthe source of life asserted his superiority over all other powers( Colossians 2:14 Colossians 2:15 ), which implies an ability to judge them.
16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
- I have yet many things unto say to you, but ye cannot bear them now. The doctrines of the gospel were necessarily obscure and largelyincomprehensible to the apostles until time had developed the gospelfacts. Jesus, therefore, forbore to speak of many things at this time,lest by doing so he should confuse the minds of his followers.
16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth1: for he shall not speak from himself2; but what things soever he shall hear, [these] shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come.
- John 16:13 John 16:14
- Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth. The Holy Spirit was to bring no absolutely newteaching.
- For he shall not speak from himself. The Son of God here claims for himself all that the Holy Spirit taught even to the declaration ofthings to come.
16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare [it] unto you1.
- He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare [it] unto you. The Spirit would bring to mind and republish in the"minds" of the apostles all the words which Jesus had spoken, and wouldadd those things which, being now in the mind of Jesus, were reallypart of his teaching, but which he at this present forbore to utter,the apostles not being able to bear them.
16:15 All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine1: therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare [it] unto you2.
- All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine. The Son's unity of interest with the Father made him possessor of all the Father's truth,as well as all the Father's counsel as to the future.
- Therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare [it] unto you. As Jesus, therefore, might at this time have uttered allwhich the Holy Spirit subsequently taught, he rightfully claimed allthe teaching of the Spirit as his.
16:16 A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while1, and ye shall see me.
- A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while,
- and ye shall see me. Having finished his digression about the Holy Spirit, Jesus here returns to his point of departure, the theme ofresurrection, but the seeing here spoken of refers more especially tothat spiritual communion with him previously mentioned ( John 14:19-23 ).
16:17 [Some] of his disciples therefore said one to another, What is this that he saith unto us1, A little while, and ye behold me not; and again a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
- John 16:17 John 16:18
- What is this that he saith unto us, etc. Having been unable to entertain the idea of our Lord's burial and resurrection, no wonder theapostles were mystified by these allusions to it.
16:19 Jesus perceived1 that they were desirous to ask him, and he said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, A little while, and ye behold me not, and again a little while, and ye shall see me?
16:20 Verily, verily1, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy2.
- Verily, verily. See John 1:51.
- But your sorrow shall be turned into joy. The death of Jesus "truly" brought gladness to his enemies ( Luke 22:5 ), and sorrow to hisfriends ( John 20:11 ), but the sorrow was indeed turned to joy( Matthew 28:8 ).
16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow1, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world.
- A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, etc. The simile here is very apropos, according with Scriptural ideals ( Colossians 1:18 ; Revelation 1:5 ).
16:22 And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you1.
- And your joy no one taketh away from you. See Luke 24:52 Luke 24:53 . The joyful hopes which come to us through the resurrection of Jesus arebeyond the reach of the despoiling hand of man.
16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me no question1. Verily, verily2, I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name3.
- John 16:23 John 16:24
- And in that day ye shall ask me no question. The coming of the Spirit would make all things clear, and the mysteries about which cometo us through the resurrection of Jesus are beyond the reach of thedespoiling hand of man.
- Verily, verily. See John 1:51.
- If ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name. Having spoken of his departure, and of what the Spirit would doduring his absence, he now speaks of the work which he would do himselfdo while absent. He entered heaven as our high priest ( Hebrews 9:24 ),and part of his priestly office is to make intercession for his people( Hebrews 7:24 Hebrews 7:25 ).
16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name1: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full.
- Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name. The use of Christ's name for intercessory purposes was new to the apostles, since it was onlythus employed after his ascension.
16:25 These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, 1but shall tell you plainly of the Father.
- The hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father
- . This closing discourse was full of "dark sayings" which the disciples did notunderstand, but when the gospel facts were completed and when theSpirit came on the day of Pentecost, then Christ through the Spiritmade all things plain to them.
16:26 In that day ye shall ask in my name1: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you;
- In that day ye shall ask in my name. Fullness of knowledge would lead them to look readily to Christ as intercessor.
16:27 for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father1.
- For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. While the apostlesdid not believe in the voluntary exit of Jesus, it having not yet takenplace, they did believe that he had come into the world as a divinebeing, and for this belief the Father loved them, and this love of theFather was not to be lost sight of in considering the mediatory work ofChrist. In short, the Father must be looked upon as one who does notneed to be interceded with because of a lack of love. Though, accordingto the divine plan and order, Jesus is intercessor ( 1 Timothy 2:5 1 John 2:1 1 John 2:2 ), yet the office is not self-assumed for the purpose ofcounteracting any spirit of severity in the Father, but is, on thecontrary, undertaken by direct appointment of the Father, made becauseof the Father's love ( John 3:16 ). Failing to recognize the Father asthe fountain and source of grace, love, and mercy has led the RomanChurch into gross errors. The Father being suspected of undue rigor, alike suspicion arose also as to the Son because of his nearness to theFather. Therefore the Virgin Mary was called in to intercede with andsoften the obduracy of the Son. Since the deification of the VirginMary in 1853, she also has been looked upon with growing distrust, andthe tendency has been to call upon Joseph to intercede with Mary tointercede with the Son to intercede with the Father. Thus thatwonderful love of God which passes all understanding is made less thanthat of mere mortals who never manifested a measure of philanthropyabove what is common. Against such errors Jesus guards us by causingus to understand that, if the love of the Father alone were to beconsidered, there would be no need for him to intercede at all.
16:28 I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father1.
- I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father. Birth and death are alikebeyond our control. That Jesus had a divine as well as a human natureis shown by the fact that his entrance into and exit from the worldwere both governed by his own violation, as was also his resurrection( John 10:17 John 10:18 ).
16:29 His disciples say, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no dark saying1.
- Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no dark saying. They now clearly understood that as Jesus came from heaven so would hereturn to heaven, but they did not understand the process by which thisreturn would be effected.
16:30 Now know we that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
- Now know we that thou knowest all things . . . by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. The miraculous manner in which he hadjust read their thoughts caused them to boldly declare their faith inhis divinity.
16:32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come1, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone2: and [yet] I am not alone, because the Father is with me3.
- Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come. He contrasts the faith which his disciples then professed with that utter lack of it which theywould manifest in a few hours.
- That ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone. All their confidence in his divinity would vanish when they sawhim arrested, etc., and they would seek their own safety, leaving himto his fate.
- And [yet] I am not alone, because the Father is with me. Much as he would feel their desertion, he would not be left utterly comfortless,because the Father would be with him. Paul speaks in a similar strain( 2 Timothy 4:16-18 ).
16:33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace1. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
- These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. Christ's return to the Father and his throne is the Christian source ofpeace. As none of the accumulations of evil which came upon Christprevented him from attaining his goal, so the Christian feels that inthe conquering power of Christ, he too shall rise superior to all histroubles, and this feeling brings him peace.