John Chapter 16: If I go not away, the Comforter will not come

Dec 21st, 2009 | By | Category: John, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

John Chapter 16:  If I go not away, the Comforter will not come

John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

In what sense did Jesus mean “that ye should not be offended”? Jesus told the disciples “these things” so that they would not be stumbled when persecutions arose and also when he was crucified. The Diaglott uses the word “ensnared.” This “stumbling” would be in a very serious sense.

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

Why is this comment of our Lord helpful? It puts us on guard to be as generous as possible regarding the motive of those who persecute us. They might be acting out of conscientious conviction, or they might have an ulterior motive. We are not to be concerned which it is. We should just try to be faithful under the circumstances. Prior to his conversion, the Apostle Paul was an example of one who persecuted Christians while thinking “he doeth God service.”

When a person of the world opposes us because of our devotion to God and to conscience, that is one thing. But when one who is ostensibly in the religious world opposes us, when one who claims to love God does the persecuting—one from the nominal Church—that is another matter. In the latter case, that would be persecution from the “synagogue.” In other words, here Jesus is referring to a religious persecution in contradistinction to persecution from the world. From this standpoint, it would appear to be God’s organization that ostracizes and persecutes us. If we are not stable in our convictions and beliefs, we might feel that those from the nominal Church are right and we are wrong. Our consciences might be so jumbled and scrambled that we would forsake the narrow way, fearing we have committed the sin unto death. Incidentally, some translations say, “Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God a religious service.”

The Revised Standard and the Diaglott use “hour” instead of “time”; that is, “the hour cometh.” Although this verse has applied all down the age, it seems a little more poignant to us to think of the “hour” as the coming hour of power during which we will be put out of the “synagogues.” The Holy Inquisition was a dreadful period of persecution in the past.

In regard to what is yet future, this verse ties in with Revelation 13:17, which describes the condition when none may buy or sell save he that has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Since we are not part of the denominational Babylonish systems, we will be prevented from speaking. Revelation 13:17 is a prophetic text that takes the principle of verse 2. At that time, it will be made mandatory for every man in the religious world to receive the mark of the beast or his image.

At least at present, one application of being put “out of the synagogues” is being denied an opportunity to teach, for example, among the Bible Students. This more subtle type of persecution occurs because one’s influence is killed.

John 16:3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

This verse can be applied in various ways. To what extent does one not know the Father or Jesus? There are various gradations of intimate acquaintance with God and Jesus. This verse would apply more to the nominal system, for the Bible says that at the end of the age, “a thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand” (Psa. 91:7). However, this comment of Jesus was comforting and enlightening to Christians right after his death, resurrection, and ascension, and then a little later when fellow Jews, particularly the scribes and Pharisees and false teachers who arose within the Church, brought persecution on the disciples. Verse 2 suggests the primary persecution would occur in the “synagogues” by professing Christians.

John 16:4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Take the first part: “But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.” These words were very comforting to the disciples then, and also all down the age, for when persecuting experiences do come, it is brought to remembrance that they were predicted beforehand as a test of faithfulness, and not as a punishment. Jesus is telling beforehand what will be his experience, as well as what will be their (and our) experience. This verse proves that he could see in advance, that he had foreknowledge.

Now the second part of verse 4: “And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.” Jesus knew his death had to occur at a specific time. For 3 1/2 years, he did not have to dwell on the theme of his death (he did make some statements, but his death was not a theme earlier). Now the subject of his death was more pertinent. Also, for the 3 ½ years, he knew his apostles would be specially protected—their persecution would not occur until after his death. So now was the time for Jesus to tell them much.

The dispensational aspect of truth can be seen here. As events drew near to fulfillment, necessary knowledge was revealed proportionate to the need of the circumstance and hour.

Earlier it was not needful for Jesus to discuss his death as a theme, but now it was.

This principle has applied throughout the age. Information has been supplied as needed, namely, meat in due season. It is incorrect to say that prophecy is not understood until it is fulfilled. Of course hindsight is clearer than foresight, but we should not use such a slogan. We should not say, “When it is time, we will know. The information will automatically be given.” We are enlightened in advance according to our hunger and desire and the light due at that time (just how far in advance depends on the situation). Otherwise, what is prophecy for? The Book of Revelation was given by God to help His servants to know things before they come to pass. The book was given as enlightenment progressively—to be understood and appreciated as needed throughout the age.

John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

Thomas did ask earlier, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5 paraphrase). Thus the question had been raised in a certain way previously. Why, then, does Jesus ask this question here? The disciples did not ask at this point because of their sorrow and fear of the unknown. However, if they had been begotten of the Holy Spirit, they would have asked. The apostles, like us, were not perfect—and particularly at this juncture.

The next verse proves sorrow was the overriding reason for their not asking Jesus where he was going. Their sorrow also explains why they were so sleepy in the Garden of Gethsemane. When we get very depressing news, it can exhaust us. And mental exhaustion can affect us physically. Some who are very depressed just want to shut out the depression by going to sleep. They hope to wake up refreshed.

John 16:6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

The disciples had hopes that Jesus would shortly establish his Kingdom, and now he kept emphasizing his departure. Sadness filled their hearts. In his great prophecy of Matthew 24, he had warned of a time interval, but they could not comprehend his words at that time.

John 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 depart, I will send him unto you.

The “Comforter,” or Helper (Greek parakletos), is the Holy Spirit. Why was it expedient for Jesus to go away in order that the Comforter might come? It was like his saying, “It is absolutely necessary that I go away. Otherwise, the Comforter will not come.” Why? Jesus had nurtured wonderful hopes in the disciples, but they could not be adopted as sons of God or even be eligible for the high calling unless he did go away. The technical recognition of them as sons of God—the spirit of adoption, of sonship—could not take place until the sacrifice of Christ had been completed and accepted.

Verses 7-15 seem to suggest that the Comforter is a personality, an individual. How would we refute this thought? How would we counteract the thought that the Comforter is one of the persons of the Triune Deity?

1. The Holy Spirit is shown to be subordinate to the Father and to Jesus. The Comforter does “not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13). Earlier Jesus said he did not speak of himself but spoke and taught as the Father directed. Here the Holy Spirit is said to receive from Jesus (who receives from the Father) and then to transmit to the followers of Christ. The Father is higher than Jesus and the Comforter, yet the doctrine of the Trinity says that the three in the Triune Godhead are coequal and coeternal or everlastingly coexistent. Those who originated the thought of coequality really put their foot in their mouth, but the Trinity is in the creeds so frequently that it cannot be retracted. Other doctrines have been retracted because they were forgotten, but not this one.

The pope has called this year (1987) the “Marian year.” Interestingly, some Catholics have been turned off because they say, “Where is Jesus?” At least in some cases, a part of the Protestant message with regard to the need to accept Jesus as Savior has filtered through to Catholic thinking. To dedicate a special year to Mary offends the sense of thinking Catholics.

2. Suppose we lived back there and Jesus promised to send the Comforter. Then he died, arose, and was with the disciples on and off for 40 days. Next, he ascended up to heaven, having said he would send the Comforter. The disciples waited for that Comforter, but there is no historical evidence that any such being dealt with them. The Holy Spirit is always referred to in vague terms—no personage appeared to them. The apostles saw and talked with Jesus, who was supposedly a part of this coequal Triune God, but where was the “Holy Ghost”? There is no historical record of such a being—the Holy Spirit is always put in other terms: the spirit of truth, the spirit of love, etc., did such and such. Thus, from a practical standpoint, we see nothing that would represent a being.

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

John 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.

John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

The use of the pronouns in these verses needs to be discussed. With regard to French and other languages (but not the Greek, which does have a neuter gender and uses it in an unusual way), nouns are considered either masculine or feminine, even when referring to inanimate objects. (The moon she is full; the sun he is hot.) An attempt is made to determine if there is a generative influence (like a father generating a son) or a nurturing or subordinate influence. The Greek is similarly influenced to a certain extent, although it does have a neuter gender. In the Greek, the use of “he” and “him” can be correct, and in many cases where the Greek lacks a pronoun, the English translation inserts one—correctly or incorrectly.

Here in John 16, the Greek does have the masculine pronoun auton, but there is a way to countermand it. If we get into the semantics of the Greek with a theologian, we should remember that dictionaries and concordances (Young’s, Strong’s, etc.) are very disinclined to give the gender of the Holy Spirit, yet for other words or entries, the gender is listed: masculine, feminine, or neuter. With the dictionaries omitting this designation for the Holy Spirit, it cannot be pointed out subsequently that the authors were wrong in calling the term masculine. Furthermore, the authors cannot be accused of premeditation.

In the Greek, the Holy Spirit is neuter. To prove this, the article that introduces it is to (pronounced “tow”). To is singular (the Holy Spirit), and there is no case where to can be masculine or feminine—it is always neuter. The word pneuma (translated “breath”) ends with an “a.” Other words that are feminine or masculine can also end with an “a,” but not to—it isalways neuter. Although some neuter words do end in “a,” the article itself is the best proof, for theologians might give us words to show that an “a” can end masculine, feminine, or neuter words. However, the article cannot be changed.

In the Greek, when a noun refers to a person, there are no exceptions for the pronoun or the article. If the person is masculine, so are the pronouns and the article, and if the person is feminine, so are the pronouns and the article. But if the thing referred to is neuter, the pronouns and the article can be masculine, feminine, or neuter. And that is the point with the term “the Holy Spirit,” which is not another person. The Father is a being, and so is the Son, but not the Holy Spirit.

The words “him” and “he” actually appear in the manuscript, but that does not prove the Holy Spirit is a person for the following reason. If the thought is God’s Holy Spirit, then the masculine would be correct because God is considered masculine, which has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit’s being a person. The masculine shows up if the context is related to the Father.

Q: When a word is neuter, can the article be masculine, feminine, or neuter?

A: Yes, so how do we decide which gender to use? By the context. And when it comes to context, an argument will ensue. Others will state, “That is what you say, but we say such and such.” Thus the issue is left up in the air. However, Trinitarians cannot get around to (“tow”) with “the Holy Spirit.” And in many cases where Trinitarians try to emphasize the pronoun, it is not even in the Greek, and another word is used—an adverb. That adverb is used frequently, but it is given a personal pronoun translation that is not in the Greek at all.

In the near future, the true Church will be tested in regard to the Trinity. We are living in an age where knowledge is held up as a god or goddess. Therefore, when the test comes, we cannot argue theologically on the Greek but must do as Jesus did when the scribes and Pharisees tried to trip him up. He took the initiative and changed the question. For example, “You asked me a question. Before I answer, let me first ask you a question.” Jesus responded on his own terms. Therefore, when we are confronted on the Trinity, we should not go back to the Old Testament where the word “Jehovah” is used or the New Testament where Adonai is used. Instead, we should use ordinary reasoning such as “How can Jesus be God if…?” The public would appreciate this kind of reasoning more than if we get inveigled into a discussion of Greek and Hebrew. For example, “How can Jesus be God if he said, ‘My Father is greater than I’?”

It is like the word “godliness” in 2 Peter 1:6,7, which means “piety.” “And … to patience [add] godliness; And to godliness [add] brotherly kindness.” The word “God” is not in the Greek in these verses. In certain cases, “godliness” could be “God-likeness,” but Godlikeness would be at the very top of a listing of qualities for the Christian to attain. One cannot go higher than Godlikeness—that is the epitome. Unfortunately, that is the word used in the King James to translate the Greek in Peter’s second epistle for the sixth quality, and then two more qualities are listed subsequently. The Greek has the thought of reverence and piety toward God.

Thus the Trinity is a subject that cannot be debated in a scholarly way with theologians. However, theologians are nervous if the usage of the neuter singular article with “Holy Spirit” is brought in, for they know it is not referring to a being. There are the Holy Spirit and the unholy spirit. Bringing in the unholy spirit (the spirit of fear, etc.) shows the foolishness of claiming a personality for the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we should not get inveigled into a grammar discussion because theologians can steer it to their advantage. The public would think, “The theologians have gotten the degrees, so who are you to question?” We would then have to admit we lack that type of training. They could fire questions as on the witness stand— making us answer just “yes” or “no” with no explanation. We must be BOLD when the time comes, and we must prepare years in advance (not the night before) with “How come this?” and “How come that?”

How does the Holy Spirit “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”?

Comment: The Pastor wrote that the consecrated of the Gospel Age are an example as they let their lights shine in the present life, but wouldn’t this be only a partial fulfillment because many of the world have no contact with the truly consecrated? And even if there is contact, the consecrated are imperfect in the flesh. Therefore, wouldn’t the main fulfillment of this verse be in the Kingdom when the Holy Spirit is poured on all flesh, that is, when it is poured out in a different way?

Reply: We should keep in mind that these verses are talking about the Holy Spirit reproving the world. In other words, the context limits the interpretation. Has the world been convinced yet of the error of their way? No. There are occasions where, on a certain issue, people might see that they are wrong, and perhaps a member of the true Church was instrumental in pointing out the wrong, but this would be an isolated circumstance. Generally speaking, the world is not convinced or convicted in the present life. If they were, they would respond like the Jews at Pentecost, who asked, “What shall we do?” and then consecrated. The next logical step after an individual realizes he is a sinner and in need of help is to repent and then consecrate.

Actually, from another perspective, verse 8 is a little of both applications: the present life and the Kingdom. Down through the Gospel Age, the Church has been witnessing, and as they witness, different ones of the world have had contact with the truth. In the Kingdom, when mankind review their life and look back at their past actions and statements, they will be convinced then that they were in error and that the true Church was in the right. They will also then appreciate why God honored those who were in the right by giving them a spiritual resurrection. In the future, the world will be convinced by the Holy Spirit but pertaining to their deeds in the present life as they look back. The enlightenment of the future will help the world to see. Then they will glorify God in heaven.

Verse 11 mentions Satan as the “prince of this world.” Because Satan is invisible, many do not presently believe he exists. But in the Kingdom, all will know that he has been judged and that his fate is sealed. The tense in the Diaglott supports a future fulfillment: The world will know that “the prince of this world has been judged” (a past action). The world will look back upon that judgment.

The world’s awareness of sin, righteousness, and judgment is future, but it will be predicated upon the past because they will be given a review—not only of their personal lives but also of the history of the world as a whole. They will then understand the reason for God’s righteous indignation. Because evidences have been given of the existence of an intelligent Creator, because all have received some enlightenment (through nature, for example), God is justified in His actions. The world is willingly blind and ignorant.

The thought in verse 13 is as follows: The Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth [as it is due].” Verse 14: “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” The pronoun “he,” referring to the Holy Spirit, should be “it.” The implication of this verse is that after Pentecost the Holy Spirit, acting as a spirit of remembrance, would enlighten the disciples in regard to Jesus’ previous words (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit helps us to recall certain things. Jesus had said that the disciples could not understand the things he was telling them, but that later, at Pentecost and afterwards, the Holy Spirit would call to remembrance the things necessary to be understood—the words spoken during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

“For he [it] shall receive of mine” signifies “For it [the Holy Spirit] shall manifest my words unto you so that you might have the same disposition and desire to please the Heavenly Father that I have.” Jesus was God’s beloved Son because he did the things that pleased the Father.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). We must be familiar with Jesus’ teachings and understand them (through the Holy Spirit) in order to have the mind of Christ. We get the teachings from God’s Word. (The power of God’s Word to sanctify us is brought out in the next chapter.) “And shall show it unto you.” The word “it” refers not only to Jesus’ words but also to the lessons he was trying to convey so that the disciples would be like him.

Trinitarians may make statements of three personalities, but they do not press the Holy Ghost aspect because there are problems. For instance, many texts on the Holy Spirit have nothing to do with personality. Moreover, there is an unholy spirit, and we do not think of the unholy spirit as a personality. The Holy Spirit pertains to character of thought and disposition. It is the disposition of God. “Ghost” is an Elizabethan term.

John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

“A little while, and ye shall not see me” refers to Jesus’ crucifixion, when he was removed from their presence. “Again, a little while, and ye shall see me” refers to his resurrection, when the disciples saw him on and off for 40 days. Jesus was saying, “While I must leave you now, do not worry. I will be back again after my resurrection.” And even after his resurrection, he had to caution, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). (Incidentally, “Because I go to the Father” is spurious in the Vatican Manuscript.)

John 16:17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?

John 16:18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

Even though Jesus had told the disciples that he would be crucified, they were puzzled. And even though they were puzzled, notice that they did not voice their questions to Jesus. (Remember, he was addressing the eleven on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane.)

John 16:19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

This verse tells us, in effect, that Jesus could read their thoughts. Now he would furnish a little more information.

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Jesus was explaining his remarks of verse 16 but not in terms explicit enough for the disciples to know exactly what he meant. He told them they would have sorrow, grief, and anguish when he was absent from them. And that is what did happen. The disciples’ hopes were dashed when he was crucified. Later, when assured of Jesus’ resurrection, Peter said, “We were begotten again unto a lively [living] hope” (1 Pet. 1:3). Earlier the disciples said, “We trusted he was the Messiah, but now we are not sure” (Luke 24:21). When the risen but disguised Jesus joined the two on the way to Emmaus, he inquired why they were so sad. They replied, “Haven’t you heard? Are you a stranger in these parts? Don’t you know about Jesus of Nazareth?” (Luke 24:13-19). At least two million Jews were in Jerusalem at the Passover, and they could see the Crucifixion from the Temple. Hence the two could not understand Jesus’ inquiry, but he was goading them. The disciples said, “We trusted that he would deliver Israel, but he was a prophet.” They had to admit he was a prophet, but his ignominious death (“Cursed is he who hangs on a tree”) crushed their hopes of his Messiahship (Gal. 3:13). They were very discouraged. (Note: The Scriptures quoted in this paragraph are paraphrased.) “Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” Jesus told the disciples not only that they would sorrow but that when he was resurrected, they would be joyous. In fact, when they were assured of his resurrection, they were almost like lunatics with joy. They wanted to witness to everyone, “Jesus is alive!” But, first, they needed more information from him.

John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

Jesus likened their coming sorrow to a woman in travail, which is a tender illustration— something probably all of them had witnessed. If we put ourselves in the disciples’ place, we can understand their emotions. For 3 1/2 years, they heard Jesus speak as no other man spoke, and they witnessed his miracles. Next, they saw him on Calvary’s hill, naked, on a cross, exposed to the whole nation. Wouldn’t we have been confused too?

During his ministry, Jesus did not explain the necessity, the reason, for his death—that he must die in order to redeem. Jesus had many things to tell his disciples but could not reveal at that time because they did not have the Holy Spirit yet. Only afterwards did he explain and on the occasion when he joined the two on the way to Emmaus. Still later, the Apostle Paul explained the rationale; namely, when Adam sinned, another perfect man had to die in his stead in order to redeem the human race.

John 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples’ joy was so great that no man could take it from them. They were willing to die for their faith.

The Jewish world back there rejoiced when Jesus was crucified. Similarly, during the period of the Holy(?) Inquisition, the populace rejoiced.

John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

This verse shows there was a larger fulfillment than just what immediately happened after his resurrection. The fulfillment continues to the present day.

Verse 23 must be qualified. If we ask according to the Father’s will, our prayer will be answered, but not if we ask amiss. Spiritual requests will be answered if we obey and progress in what we learn. Also, we must ask in faith—faith based on God’s Word. The Father “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). We should ask ourselves, “Do I diligently seek the Father?” We must examine ourselves continually if we want the crown. We must run as if there is only one winner.

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

If we ask for spiritual things—and depending on the intensity of that desire—our joy will be full in the present life. “Joy” means spiritual joy, for “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11). A fiery trial may be grievous, but if we are patient and persevering, looking to the Lord, we will see a lesson in the experience.

Sometimes a stumble can be a stepping-stone.

Incidentally, we pray in Jesus’ name to the Father. In praying to the Father, we recognize His supremacy, but we must pray in Jesus’ name, that is, in his righteousness.

John 16:25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.

Ever since Pentecost, Jesus has not spoken to Christians in proverbs and parables. While he used many parables during his earthly ministry, he has subsequently provided information through the New Testament to those who ask. That is how he speaks “plainly.” We can read the parables, but we can also get the explanation.

John 16:26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

What a comforting thought for all Christians! We can ask in Jesus’ name and actually pray to the Father, and why? Because “the Father himself loveth you”! And the Father loves us because we love Jesus. No man comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him. The high calling is of God, but it is in Christ in the sense that we are drawn through Jesus but by the Father. The Father chooses the Bride for the Bridegroom.

“The Father himself loveth you.” The disciples knew that Jesus loved them—they were with him for 3 1/2 years, and during that time, he gave many demonstrations of his love. Now he was saying, “The Father loves you too, because you love me.” They were two different personalities: the Father was in heaven, and Jesus was down here. In John 17:11,21,22, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be one with him as he and the Father were one. All of the Church are to be at one with God—with the same love, joys, sentiments, and appreciation of the principles of right and wrong. In other words, we want the mind of God and the mind of Christ.

The Father loves us because we love Jesus and because we believe Jesus came forth from Him. It is almost mathematical, very precise: “I came from the Father into the world; I leave the world to go to the Father.” “I came from Him, and I am returning to Him.” God sent His Son here on a mission to redeem man.

John 16:29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

This comment is based on verses 25-28. To us verse 28 seems so simple (Jesus came into the world, and he left the world), but the disciples still could not fully grasp the situation at this time.

John 16:30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

Other versions give the thought that “Before we ask a question, you seem to be able to read our minds; this capability convinces us you are who you say you are [that is, the Messiah]” (RSV, Jerusalem Bible, Living Bible). In other words, the capability of audibly producing the question in advance showed Jesus knew what the disciples were thinking. What brought their conviction was that Jesus needed no man to ask him a question—he already knew.

John 16:31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

Jesus’ question is interesting. The disciples had just said, “We believe.” Then Jesus replied, “Do you really believe?” In John 14:1, Jesus said, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” He had been preparing them, yet the belief did not sink in deep enough for the subsequent experience. The Holy Spirit would bring these things to remembrance later.

John 16:32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Compare this verse with the end of verse 30: “By this we believe that thou camest forth from God.” Verse 32 reminds us of Peter’s boast: “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (Matt. 26:33). In spite of his words, Peter later denied Jesus. Here in verses 31 and 32, Jesus was saying, “That is what you say now. Even at this very moment, things are being triggered where you will be tested on that point, and you will fail momentarily.” “You will be scattered; every man will go his own way” is the thought.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”? In what sense could the disciples be of good cheer because Jesus overcame the world? Because he overcame the world, he could succor the apostles (and us) in trials and give the proper counsel and advice. Jesus’ own experience in tribulation, including being put to death, qualifies him to help us as a sympathetic high priest.

In the Greek, the word “tribulation” means “pressure.” Thus Jesus was contrasting peace and pressure. Some translators use “threshing” in the sense of harvesting grain. Threshing separates the food content (wheat germ) from the kernel, or even the wheat from the stalk.

(1986–1987 Study)

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