John 16

Listen to John 16
1 "I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.
2 1They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, 2the hour is coming when 3whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
3 And they will do these things 4because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4 But 5I have said these things to you, that when 6their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, 7because I was with you.
5 But now 8I am going to him who sent me, and 9none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'
6 But because I have said these things to you, 10sorrow has filled your heart.
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for 11if I do not go away, 12the Helper will not come to you. But 13if 14I go, 15I will send him to you.
8 16And when he comes, he will 17convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 concerning sin, 18because they do not believe in me;
10 19concerning righteousness, 20because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
11 21concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world 22is judged.
12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 When 23the Spirit of truth comes, 24he will 25guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but 26whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14 He will 27glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
15 28All that the Father has is mine; 29therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Your Sorrow Will Turn into Joy

16 30"A little while, and you will see me no longer; and 31again a little while, and you will see me."
17 So 32some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 33'A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, 34'because I am going to the Father'?"
18 So they were saying, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? 35We do not know what he is talking about."
19 36Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'?
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, 37you will weep and lament, but 38the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but 39your sorrow will turn into joy.
21 40When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
22 41So also you have sorrow now, but 42I will see you again, and 43your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
23 44In that day you will 45ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, 46whatever you ask of the Father in my name, 47he will give it to you.
24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. 48Ask, and you will receive, 49that your joy may be full.

I Have Overcome the World

25 "I have said these things to you in figures of speech. 50The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father.
26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf;
27 51for the Father himself loves you, because 52you have loved me and 53have believed that I came from God.[a]
28 54I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now 55I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
29 His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not 56using figurative speech!
30 Now we know that 57you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that 58you came from God."
31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?
32 Behold, 59the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when 60you will be scattered, each to his own home, and 61will leave me alone. 62Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
33 I have said these things to you, that 63in me you may have peace. 64In the world you will have 65tribulation. But 66take heart; 67I have overcome the world."

Images for John 16

John 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Persecution foretold. (1-6) The promise of the Holy Spirit, and his office. (7-15) Christ's departure and return. (16-22) Encouragement to prayer. (23-27) Christ's discoveries of himself. (28-33)

Verses 1-6 Our Lord Jesus, by giving his disciples notice of trouble, designed that the terror might not be a surprise to them. It is possible for those who are real enemies to God's service, to pretend zeal for it. This does not lessen the sin of the persecutors; villanies will never be changed by putting the name of God to them. As Jesus in his sufferings, so his followers in theirs, should look to the fulfilling of Scripture. He did not tell them sooner, because he was with them to teach, guide, and comfort them; they needed not then this promise of the Holy Spirit's presence. It will silence us to ask, Whence troubles come? It will satisfy us to ask, Whither go they? for we know they work for good. It is the common fault and folly of melancholy Christians to look only on the dark side of the cloud, and to turn a deaf ear to the voice of joy and gladness. That which filled the disciples' hearts with sorrow, was too great affection for this present life. Nothing more hinders our joy in God, than the love of the world, and the sorrow of the world which comes from it.

Verses 7-15 Christ's departure was necessary to the Comforter's coming. Sending the Spirit was to be the fruit of Christ's death, which was his going away. His bodily presence could be only in one place at one time, but his Spirit is every where, in all places, at all times, wherever two or three are gathered together in his name. See here the office of the Spirit, first to reprove, or to convince. Convincing work is the Spirit's work; he can do it effectually, and none but he. It is the method the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to comfort. The Spirit shall convince the world, of sin; not merely tell them of it. The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin; of the fault of sin; of the folly of sin; of the filth of sin, that by it we are become hateful to God; of the fountain of sin, the corrupt nature; and lastly, of the fruit of sin, that the end thereof is death. The Holy Spirit proves that all the world is guilty before God. He convinces the world of righteousness; that Jesus of Nazareth was Christ the righteous. Also, of Christ's righteousness, imparted to us for justification and salvation. He will show them where it is to be had, and how they may be accepted as righteous in God's sight. Christ's ascension proves the ransom was accepted, and the righteousness finished, through which believers were to be justified. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. All will be well, when his power is broken, who made all the mischief. As Satan is subdued by Christ, this gives us confidence, for no other power can stand before him. And of the day of judgment. The coming of the Spirit would be of unspeakable advantage to the disciples. The Holy Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with us by continued aids and influences. To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of it in our hearts. He shall teach all truth, and keep back nothing profitable, for he will show things to come. All the gifts and graces of the Spirit, all the preaching, and all the writing of the apostles, under the influence of the Spirit, all the tongues, and miracles, were to glorify Christ. It behoves every one to ask, whether the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in his heart? Without clear discovery of our guilt and danger, we never shall understand the value of Christ's salvation; but when brought to know ourselves aright, we begin to see the value of the Redeemer. We should have fuller views of the Redeemer, and more lively affections to him, if we more prayed for, and depended on the Holy Spirit.

Verses 16-22 It is good to consider how near our seasons of grace are to an end, that we may be quickened to improve them. But the sorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as those of a mother, at the sight of her infant. The Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neither sufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of their joy. Believers have joy or sorrow, according to their sight of Christ, and the tokens of his presence. Sorrow is coming on the ungodly, which nothing can lessen; the believer is an heir to joy which no one can take away. Where now is the joy of the murderers of our Lord, and the sorrow of his friends?

Verses 23-27 Asking of the Father shows a sense of spiritual wants, and a desire of spiritual blessings, with conviction that they are to be had from God only. Asking in Christ's name, is acknowledging our unworthiness to receive any favours from God, and shows full dependence upon Christ as the Lord our Righteousness. Our Lord had hitherto spoken in short and weighty sentences, or in parables, the import of which the disciples did not fully understand, but after his resurrection he intended plainly to teach them such things as related to the Father and the way to him, through his intercession. And the frequency with which our Lord enforces offering up petitions in his name, shows that the great end of the mediation of Christ is to impress us with a deep sense of our sinfulness, and of the merit and power of his death, whereby we have access to God. And let us ever remember, that to address the Father in the name of Christ, or to address the Son as God dwelling in human nature, and reconciling the world to himself, are the same, as the Father and Son are one.

Verses 28-33 Here is a plain declaration of Christ's coming from the Father, and his return to him. The Redeemer, in his entrance, was God manifest in the flesh, and in his departure was received up into glory. By this saying the disciples improved in knowledge. Also in faith; "Now are we sure." Alas! they knew not their own weakness. The Divine nature did not desert the human nature, but supported it, and put comfort and value into Christ's sufferings. And while we have God's favourable presence, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all the world forsake us. Peace in Christ is the only true peace, in him alone believers have it. Through him we have peace with God, and so in him we have peace in our own minds. We ought to be encouraged, because Christ has overcome the world before us. But while we think we stand, let us take heed lest we fall. We know not how we should act if brought into temptation; let us watch and pray without ceasing, that we may not be left to ourselves.

Cross References 67

  • 1. John 9:22; John 12:42
  • 2. See John 4:21
  • 3. Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 26:9-11
  • 4. John 8:19, 55; John 15:21; John 17:25
  • 5. John 13:19; John 14:29
  • 6. See Luke 22:53
  • 7. [Matthew 9:15]
  • 8. See John 14:12
  • 9. [John 13:36; John 14:5]
  • 10. ver. 22; John 14:1
  • 11. John 7:39
  • 12. John 15:26; [John 14:16]
  • 13. [Acts 2:33]
  • 14. John 14:2
  • 15. See John 14:26
  • 16. [John 8:28]
  • 17. [John 8:46]
  • 18. John 8:24; [Acts 2:36, 37; 1 Corinthians 12:3]
  • 19. [Acts 17:31]
  • 20. ver. 16, 17, 19
  • 21. See John 12:31
  • 22. [Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14]
  • 23. See John 14:17
  • 24. See John 14:26
  • 25. Acts 8:31; [John 1:17; John 14:6; Psalms 25:5]
  • 26. [John 15:15]
  • 27. See John 7:39
  • 28. John 17:10
  • 29. ver. 14
  • 30. See John 7:33
  • 31. [ver. 22]
  • 32. [Mark 9:10, 32]
  • 33. ver. 16
  • 34. ver. 10
  • 35. [John 14:5]
  • 36. [ver. 30]; See John 2:24, 25
  • 37. Matthew 9:15; Mark 16:10; Luke 23:27
  • 38. [Revelation 11:10]
  • 39. Jeremiah 31:13; See Matthew 5:4
  • 40. Isaiah 26:17; [Psalms 48:6; Isaiah 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 12:2]
  • 41. ver. 6; [2 Corinthians 6:10]
  • 42. [ver. 16]
  • 43. Psalms 33:21; Isaiah 66:14; Luke 24:52; Acts 2:46; Acts 8:8, 39; Acts 13:52
  • 44. ver. 26; John 14:20
  • 45. ver. 19, 30
  • 46. See John 14:13
  • 47. John 15:16; [Ephesians 1:3]
  • 48. See Matthew 7:7
  • 49. See John 15:11
  • 50. ver. 2
  • 51. [John 14:21, 23; John 17:23]
  • 52. John 21:15-17; [1 Corinthians 16:22]
  • 53. ver. 30; John 17:8
  • 54. John 8:14; John 13:3
  • 55. See John 14:12
  • 56. ver. 25
  • 57. John 21:17; See John 2:24, 25
  • 58. [ver. 27, 28; John 3:2]
  • 59. [John 4:21, 23]
  • 60. Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27
  • 61. [Isaiah 63:5]
  • 62. See John 8:16, 29
  • 63. See John 14:27; Colossians 3:15
  • 64. [John 15:18-21]
  • 65. Revelation 1:9; See Acts 14:22
  • 66. John 14:1, 27
  • 67. [Romans 8:37; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4, 5; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 12:11]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Some manuscripts from the Father

John 16 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.