John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
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.
John 16:3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
Jesus tells the disciples that He is telling them these things so that they won’t be tempted to go astray when He has gone. He wants them to know what to expect. They will be put out of the synagogues. People will even think that to kill them will be a service to God. Saul was a prime example of this type of person before his conversion. This is because they do not know the Father and did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.
The truth in verse two has been proven throughout history—against both believers and the Jewish people in general.
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.
John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
John 16:6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
He wants them to remember that these things are expected and will not be a surprise. When these things start to happen, they will hopefully remember that He had already told them what would happen. He did not need to tell them about these things earlier because He was physically with them; He took the brunt of the persecution at that time. Jesus explains that He is going back to “Him that sent me” (God the Father). He lets them know that He understands that they are too filled with grief to even question where He is going.
There is an apparent contradiction of verse 5 with questions from Peter in John 13 and Thomas in John 14.
John 13:36 “Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.”
John 14:5 “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”
The consensus of many commentators centers on the fact that the disciples seemed more concerned with their future suffering than His soon to come suffering that will result in His leaving them. I think Matthew Henry’s comments were more to the point.
“Peter had started this question (John 13:36), and Thomas had seconded it (John 14:5), but they did not pursue it, they did not take the answer; they were in the dark concerning it, and did not enquire further, nor seek for fuller satisfaction; they did not continue seeking, continue knocking. See what a compassionate teacher Christ is, and how condescending to the weak and ignorant. Many a teacher will not endure that the learner should ask the same question twice; if he cannot take a thing quickly, let him go without it; but our Lord Jesus knows how to deal with babes, that must be taught with precept upon precept. If the disciples here would have found that his going away was for his advancement, and therefore his departure from them should not inordinately trouble them (for why should they be against his preferment?) and for their advantage, and therefore their sufferings for him should not inordinately trouble them; for a sight of Jesus at the right hand of God would be an effectual support to them, as it was to Stephen.”
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.
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.
Jesus begins to explain that His going will be a blessing because the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will come to them when He leaves, but not before. He is personally going to send the Comforter to them. The Comforter is coming for specific purposes:
1) to reprove (expose, convict) the world of sin,
2) to make known righteousness, and
3) to make man aware of the coming judgment (of sin & Satan).
He will cause the world to recognize the sin of not believing that Jesus was the Messiah. They will realize that Jesus was righteous and that He is now with God the Father; and they will know judgment since Satan will have been defeated by the resurrection.
Another good quote from the Believer’s Bible Commentary: “The Holy Spirit witnessed to the fact that Christ was right and the world was wrong.”
“it is expedient…” – I just realized that Jesus was saying that it is better to have the Spirit in you than to be in His presence while here on earth dealing with the sin nature. Why? Because that will mean that Jesus has defeated Satan at the cross and has risen victoriously in power to sit at the right hand of God the Father. His obedience made it possible for us to personally access that power as we contend for the faith looking forward to our own home in heaven with the Father and Son.
When listening to Jon Courson in reference to this verse, he made an observation that I did not address. While Jesus was here on earth in physical form, He could only be in one place at a time. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit He will be with all believers at all times.
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 shew you things to come.
John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew 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 shew it unto you.
Jesus explains that there is much more He wants to tell them, but realizes that they are overwhelmed. He promises that the Spirit will be their guide to knowing truth. The Spirit will speak to them as He hears from the Father and Son, and He will tell them of things yet to come. The Spirit will always glorify Jesus; whatever He receives from the Son He will share with His disciples/followers. He will never draw attention to Himself. He emphasizes one more time that what is His Father’s is also His own; so it is clear that anything that comes from Jesus is the same as coming from the Father.
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.
Then Jesus tells them that in a little while they will no longer see Him (He will suffer death and burial); and after another little while they will see Him again (after the resurrection) before He returns to the Father to assume His position on the throne at His right side.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
John 20:17 tells us that Jesus didn’t want to be touched before He returned to His Father. He evidently went to the Father and then returned to show Himself to His disciples and allow them to touch Him and fellowship with Him before visibly ascending to heaven. He will return visibly at the appointed time to take His earthly throne.
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.
The disciples began mumbling among each other about what Jesus meant by these statements.
John 16:19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire 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?
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 knew what they wanted to ask Him. He explained that they would weep and mourn while the world rejoiced (at His death). Their grief would soon turn to joy (when He appeared to them after the resurrection).
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.
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.
Jesus explains things to them by using the example of a woman in childbirth. She is in pain when labor begins until the baby is born. Then she forgets the pain in the joy of seeing and holding her child. He explains that now is their time of grief (because the time has come for Him to die so that they can be born again), but He will see them again soon (after His resurrection). This will cause them to rejoice with a joy that no one will be able to take away from them. I think a lot of this joy comes from the fact that the resurrection will be the final proof—without a shadow of a doubt—that He is the Son of God and that everything He has taught them is TRUTH. They can trust in Him and look forward to a future in eternity with Him.
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.
John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
The disciples won’t need to be coming to Jesus with their questions anymore. They will be able to go directly to the Father and petition Him in the name of His Son. Anything they ask the Father in the name of Jesus will be given to them. (This is not a magic key. The important phrase here is “in my name.” You wouldn’t sincerely use His name for something that was contrary to His teaching or nature or being.) He points out that they have asked nothing in His name as yet. He encourages them to ask so that they can receive and experience pure joy, full joy. The Greek for the word joy implies “full to bursting, to gush with.”
I think we rob ourselves greatly by our lack of faith. Maybe I should say, “I rob myself.” I’m probably at one of the happiest and most contented stages of my life, yet I’m not sure I can say I’m full of joy. There are still times I allow the things of the world to weigh on my spirit. When I think about the Lord coming, I am so thrilled about the fact that I won’t have to struggle with sin in my life anymore and can really enjoy peace and joy for the first time—and yet I feel so unready to meet Jesus yet. I want to have gifts to place before Him, but then I feel trapped by the demands and circumstances of life. I have had to learn that He just expects me to serve within the limits that He allows me according to my giftings. One of the gifts I can give Him is to be the best example of His love to those around me that I can. I want to be sensitive to recognize the opportunities to serve that He does allow me and realize that He will provide according to His leading.
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 shew you plainly of the Father.
Jesus admits that He hasn’t used plain language to this point, but that the day would come for plain speaking through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
A proverb is a parable. There appears to be only one parable in John (10:1-18 re the Good Shepherd). This would seem to be an affirmation from John regarding the other gospel accounts which present many of Jesus’ parables. The obvious question is, “Why did Jesus teach in parables?” We have to go to Matthew for that answer.
Matthew 13:11-15 “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
Note: The condition of our heart directly affects our ability to see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears.
When Jesus first started teaching, He spoke plainly. Although many followed Jesus, the Jewish people as a whole, through the direction of their religious leaders, rejected Jesus in spite of His miracles/signs/proofs.
The principle seems to be that the precious revelation of the deeper truths of God is only to be shared with those who choose to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. He always explained the parables to His disciples, those who follow Him in faith and obedience.
Disciples = “whosoever hath”
Unbelievers = “whosoever hath not”
When the Holy Spirit comes, plain speaking will again be allowed since the wisdom of God will only be understood through the revelation of the Spirit to believers.
1Corinthians 2:10-11 “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
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.
When the Holy Spirit comes, they will be able to pray to the Father directly without depending on Jesus’ intercession. The Father loves them already because they believe in Him as the Son of God. He explains that He came from the Father and entered the world and will soon leave the world to go back to the Father.
Both the Spirit and Jesus intercede for us, but we also have direct access to the Father.
Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he (Jesus) is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
John 16:29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
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.
The disciples told Jesus that that was pretty plain speaking. They know that He knows all things and doesn’t need to have anyone questioning Him regarding Who He Is. They believe He came from God.
John 16:31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
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.
Jesus basically says – Oh, really? Now you believe me? The time has come when you will each go your own way to your own homes and leave me all alone. But I won’t be alone because the Father will be with me. Point: Their actions will not support their declaration of belief.
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.
Jesus then tells the disciples to remember what He has said so that they may find peace in their faith in Him. In this world they would encounter trouble. This is a statement of fact. Jesus didn’t make “pie in the sky” promises to the believer. He did, however, state truth. This life will bring trouble, but our future will be well worth the experience because our future is with Him for eternity. This life is just a vapor—a very short blip on the timeline of eternity. In spite of the tribulation the believer will encounter, he is to be of good cheer – take heart – look to the future with hope:
“I (Jesus) have overcome (defeated/conquered/gotten victory over) the world (evil/sin/ruler of).”
This is also a statement of faith from the Son regarding the Father’s completion of His victory at the cross through the resurrection.
Because our focus is on eternity, we can endure whatever God allows this world to throw at us with a heart at peace. It is temporary and will accomplish good according to His purposes.