The Lord Jesus has been speaking extensively to the disciples about His going away. He assured them of the coming of the Holy Spirit and of an unhindered fellowship with Him and the Father. He also commanded the disciples to bear fruit to the Father’s glory by loving one another. Having prepared the disciples with the knowledge that they would be hated by the world, He now returns to a consolatory tone in this last discourse. He tells them that while sorrow fills their hearts now, their sorrow will soon turn into joy when He sees them again.
Did You Know...?
1. “Convict” (16:8): This word in the New Testament means “to show someone his sin and to summon him to repentance.” [ref]
- The Coming of the Helper (16:4b-15)
- From Sorrow to Joy (16:16–24)
- Proclamation of Victory (16:25–33)
What does the Lord Jesus teach about: Him and the Father?Hide Answer
1. Jesus is going away to the Father who sent Him (16:5, 16, 28). 2. All things that the Father has belong to Jesus (16:15). 3. Whatever the disciples ask the Father in Jesus’ name the Father will give them (16:23). 4. Jesus will tell the disciples plainly about the Father (16:25). 5. The Father Himself loves the disciples because they have loved Jesus and have believed that He came forth from God (16:27). 6. Jesus came forth from the Father and has come into the world. Again He leaves the world and goes to the Father (16:28). 7. Jesus is not alone because the Father is with Him (16:32).
Him and the Holy Spirit?Hide Answer
1. If Jesus does not go away, the Helper will not come to the disciples; but if He departs, He will send the Helper to them (16:7). 2. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus (16:8–9). 3. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness because Jesus goes to the Father (16:10). 4. The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus, for He will take of what is Jesus’ and declare it to the disciples (16:13, 14).
What are “these things” in verse 4?Hide Answer
“These things” are the words of Jesus that precede the present passage. In particular, they refer to the hatred and persecution by the world which the disciples would endure (15:18–16:3).
What was the response of the disciples after hearing “these things”?Hide Answer
Sorrow filled their heart (16:6).
Explain the work of conviction by the Holy Spirit.Hide Answer
As we have seen previously in 15:26–27, the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus through Jesus’ disciples. The exalted Jesus now dwells in believers and enables them to speak the truth concerning Him. In so doing, He brings to light the guilt of the unbelieving world.
How is not believing in Jesus a sin?Hide Answer
Jesus’ coming into the world, His preaching, and His works directly confront the world about its evil. Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already (Jn 3:18–19). Not only so, the unbeliever has no excuse now because he refuses to believe even after hearing Jesus’ words and seeing His works. This makes him all the more guilty (Jn 10:37, 38; 12:48; 15:22–25).
Why does Jesus’ going to the Father pertain to “righteousness”?Hide Answer
“Righteousness” can be understood in a legal sense in terms of God’s judgment (cf. Jn 5:30; 7:24). In this respect, Jesus is proved right (or justified) when He goes to the Father because His return to God validates His claim to be the Son of God and Savior of the world (cf. 1 Tim 3:16). Furthermore, Christ, who is righteous, imparts the righteousness of God to those who believe through His resurrection (Rom 10:4–13; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21; Php 3:9). This righteousness from Christ unto believers is a sharp contrast to the sin of unbelievers mentioned in the previous verse (Jn 16:9). That is why the righteousness in Jesus forms yet another basis for the Holy Spirit’s conviction of the world.
What does it mean that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of judgment?Hide Answer
Through the words and lives of believers, the Holy Spirit will show the world that the ruler of the world has indeed been judged. Jesus, who has overcome the world and its ruler through His exaltation (Jn 12:31; 16:33) also enables believers to do the same through the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 2:13–14). Those who believe in Jesus and walk in the Spirit are victorious over sin (Rom 8:1; Eph 2:1–10; Gal 5:16, 17). Their living testimony is in itself a judgment on the unbelieving world.
In what ways have you felt the conviction by the Holy Spirit?
How does the Holy Spirit declare to us today the things of Jesus?Hide Answer
The Holy Spirit reminds us of what the Lord Jesus has spoken (Jn 14:26) and gives us insight and understanding concerning the spiritual things of Christ (1 Cor 2:9–16; Eph 1:15–21; 3:8–19). Without the guidance of the Spirit, our capacity to know Jesus Christ is very limited, and hence the Lord told the disciples that they would not be able to bear the many things He had to tell them (Jn 16:12). But the Holy Spirit who dwells within us is able to teach us, guide us, and unveil to us the spiritual things that we would not otherwise perceive.
How would the disciples see Jesus in a little while?Hide Answer
They would see Jesus when He comes to them after His exaltation to manifest Himself to them and to abide with them (Jn 14:21, 23). He would do so through His Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16–18), for the Lord Himself is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17; cf. Lk 21:15, where Jesus said, “I will give you…” when speaking of what the Holy Spirit would do, as the parallel statement in Mk 13:11 indicates).
Why would the world rejoice after Jesus’ departure?Hide Answer
The world would rejoice out of its hatred for Jesus, for Jesus testified of its evil (Jn 3:19, 20; 7:7).
How was the sorrow of the disciples analogous to the pains of a woman in labor?Hide Answer
The pains of a woman in labor, although extremely hard to bear, are a necessary process that leads to the final moment of joy. When she sees and holds her newborn, she does not remember her pain anymore. In the same way, Jesus’ departure, which causes the disciples to weep and lament, is necessary but temporary. For in yet a little while, they will be filled with joy when they see the Lord again and when they receive from the Father whatever they ask in Jesus’ name.
What does it mean to ask the Father in Jesus’ name?Hide Answer
When a person acts or speaks in someone’s name, he claims to have been sent by the latter to do so (cf. Deut 18:19, 20). Therefore, “in Jesus’ name” implies commission from Jesus. The expression encompasses obedience to Jesus’ command as well as acting with His authority. This same thought is found in Jesus’ promise that whatever we ask the Father in His name the Father will give us. When we ask in Jesus’ name, we are doing so as His representatives. We are granted direct access to the Father and we ask the Father to accomplish what our Lord Jesus has entrusted us to do. This promise is consistent with Jn 14:12–14 and Jn 15:7, 16; it is for the purpose of carrying out Jesus’ works and bearing fruit as Jesus has commanded. As such, asking “in the name of Jesus” is to be distinguished from asking to satisfy our own desires (cf. Jas 4:3).
How have you experienced the joy that the Lord speaks of here?
How does our Lord speak plainly to us today about the Father?Hide Answer
The Lord speaks plainly to us today through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (Jn 16:13, 14).
What is the teaching in the words of verses 26 and 27?Hide Answer
The Father loves those who love and believe in Jesus Christ. Because they are favored by God, believers in Christ may boldly pray to the Father directly, and have the confidence that the Father will do for them what they ask.
What does the disciples’ response say about them?Hide Answer
While the disciples’ declaration of faith in the fact that Jesus was from God (v. 30) is commendable, their response to Jesus’ speech shows that they did not understand what Jesus was saying. They have misunderstood His words on two counts. First, they commented that Jesus was speaking to them plainly, echoing Jesus’ words in 16:25. But what Jesus was referring to was the day when the Holy Spirit would come and guide them into all truth. Second, the disciples’ response that Jesus had no need that anyone should question Him was a misinterpretation of Jesus’ words in 16:23, that in that day they would ask Him nothing (“ask” and “question” are the same word in Greek). Nevertheless, the disciples’ lack of understanding was expected, since the day that Jesus spoke of had not yet come.
What kind of peace can we have in Jesus?Hide Answer
The peace believers have in Jesus is not like the peace the world gives (Jn 14:27). While the peace that the world gives is temporary and comes and goes with circumstances, the peace that we have in Jesus is rooted in the fact that Jesus is alive and has overcome the world. In other words, nothing in life can defeat us because we are in the One who holds power over all things. Our trust in Him, as well as the marvelous workings of Christ in us, gives us an inward stability that guards our hearts and minds (Php 4:7).
Jesus proclaimed victory over the world even as He was about to face suffering and death. How does this help us in times of tribulation?Hide Answer
Our Lord Jesus, according to the hour set forth by His Father, courageously faced the sufferings ahead as a victor, not as a victim. Today, as children of God, we are not removed from tribulations in this world. But we can face them knowing that we are doing the will of our Father in heaven and that our sufferings are achieving for us an eternal glory (2 Cor 4:17; Heb 12:1–3). Because our Lord Jesus has opened the way, we, like Him, are more than conquerors even in the midst of tribulation in this world (Rom 8:31–39).