116- Gospel of John Chapter 16
There is enmity in the world towards Jesus Christ. It was first revealed in Genesis when God placed His judgment on Satan and man for the first sin that had occurred there. (Genesis 3:15) Wherever Christ is loved in that community of people His followers will not be hated, but in communities of people who reject Jesus and His claims nothing can be expected but enmity, persecution and death. The followers of Jesus will be hated just as Jesus was and just because of Jesus.
The peoples ignorance of God is the cause of this hatred because of their false conceptions of His nature ad will: “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” The testimony of Jesus by His words and works had only aggravated their guilt. He had by His word and works revealed Himself as the true Messiah and the Son of God leaving them with no excuse for their rejection of Him. Those that reject Jesus also reject the Father and thus fall into the sin of unbelief. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also.” Nowhere else in this Gospel is it stated more clearly the sinful nature of unbelief and the peril of rejecting Jesus Christ. To deny the claim of Jesus and to refuse to become his disciple is to hate God and to condemn his own soul.
Jesus now ever so clearly sets forth the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus assures them that His departure will be more than compensated by the coming of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was already in the world, He was in the beginning at the creation of the world. After the ascension of Jesus the Holy Spirit would begin a work so marvelous and unique it could be described as a “coming” or a “being” sent from the Father. The work of the Holy Spirit at His very essence would be making Jesus known to the disciples in all the fullness of the Divine Person and work: “He will glorify Me” Through the disciples the Holy Spirit would make Jesus known to the world:
Jesus then talks about the Spirits work in the world. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
“Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” This does not mean that unbelief is sin, of course it is. This verse means that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of being sinful by the evidence of its rejection of Jesus Christ. The truth taught here is that the rejection of Christ shows one to be a sinner. Jesus Christ is good, Holy, and pure and to reject Him is to convict one of being opposed to goodness and holiness and purity and love. When Christ is preached He becomes the Touchstone of character.
“Concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” By the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension Jesus was proved to be righteous, and all His claims of deity were vindicated. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension still form the ground on which the Holy Spirit convicts men that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God.
“Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” At the cross of Jesus Satan massed all his forces and suffered an eternal defeat. Satan’s ultimate fate was settled and his sentence pronounced. Every time Christ is preached, under the power of the Holy Spirit, Satan suffers further loss, and every saved soul is a new proof of his judgment.
Here we are concerned with the sin of the world, the righteousness of Jesus, and the judgment of Satan, as they are proved by the Holy Spirit. By the evidence of the rejection of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus and His triumph on the cross, when the believer testifies to these great truths under the power of the Holy Spirit He never fails to convict the soul of a man. On the Day of Pentecost the first fulfillment of this promise was completed. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, presented these proofs and three thousand souls were convicted and saved. Today when the Holy Spirit accomplishes a great work of saving grace, it is where witnesses are testifying faithfully to the crucifixion, risen, ascended, divine Christ.
Jesus then talks about the Holy Spirits work in the believers. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Until after His death and resurrection there were many spiritual realities that the disciples would not understand. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” The office of the Comforter is to reveal to the believer all the divine riches and grace that are in Jesus Christ, to make clear and vital the meaning of the realities of the divine Person of Jesus Christ.
The concern here is for the witnessing power of the believer that in such service the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit of truth is needed.
In the remainder of this chapter we are concerned with the work of the Holy Spirit. In the farewell discourse of Jesus He teaches that the real manifestation of His Spiritual presence is in the Holy Spirit that will soon follow His death.” A little while, and you will no longer see Me” The crucifixion and death of Jesus was the next day. “And again a little while, and you will see Me.” They would not only see Jesus after His resurrection but with an enlarged Spiritual vision on the Day of Pentecost and ever after.
The disciples are puzzled at a promise so mysterious, that Jesus would go away for a little while and then in a little while return. The departure of Jesus was a condition of a more real presence with them. Jesus further reassures them that their anguish at the separation caused by His death would be forgotten in the joy of the spiritual reunion which would be endless. “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
The influence of the Holy Spirit will increase the knowledge of the disciples. They will not need to ask such questions as they have during this conversation. “In that day you will not question Me about anything.” The disciples will pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” “In my name”, signifies in virtue of all that Jesus has been revealed to be. After the Day of Pentecost, as never before, Jesus was to be known as the Christ, the Son of God, the risen, glorified, invisible, divine Lord and Savior. Prayer in Jesus name would most certainly prevail.
Finally Jesus lays aside all figures of speech and plainly declares His divine pre-existence, His incarnation, His death, His resurrection: “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.”
At last the disciples seem to understand and they assert their faith: “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” Jesus then warns them that their faith is to be tested and they will not be victorious at first. “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” However by a strengthened faith in the power of the Holy Spirit they shall soon enjoy peace and share the victory of their Master and overcome the enmity of the world.
The closing paragraph in this chapter of the Gospel of John is in harmony with the continuing purpose of John.
Chapter fourteen presents the testimony of the divine Person of Christ. Chapter fifteen emphasizes the need of a vital faith by which believers can abide in Jesus. This chapter enlarges on the life which results from faith. A life, by which the Lord by the power of His indwelling Spirit makes real His gracious presence, gives increasing knowledge of the truth, confidence in prayer, inspires heroic courage, and secures abiding peace.