John Chapter 16:15-33

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The Gospel Of John Chapter 16:15-33

John 16:15 “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.” “All things that the Father has are Mine”-While the world will be busy rejecting Christ and persecuting Christians (16:8-10), the Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the Apostles will be busy glorifying Christ (16:14). In this verse we once again see the complete unity that exists between all members of the Godhead. See Matthew 11:27. The Son is in complete agreement with the Father and therefore Jesus can say, ‘all things that the Father has are Mine’.

“therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you”-(16:14). The “He” in the verse is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we could also say that ‘All things that the Father has are the Holy Spirit’s’. Tenney makes the following comment: ‘Each of the persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is separate in personality and is distinguishable from the others. In function the Father plans, the Son perfects, the Spirit executes and reveals. The Father sent the Son; the Son sent the Spirit; the Spirit represents the Son as the Son represented the Father. ….All that the Father has belongs to the Son; and all that the Son has to teach is administered through the Spirit…Jesus offered no philosophical statement of the Trinity (Godhead). His language was extremely simple..’ (p. 239) Woods notes that the above words are also another proof of the Deity of Jesus. ‘No man, nor angel, however great and pure, could truthfully assert such a claim…Because he and his Father are one in nature that which belongs to the Father is his, that which is his is the Father’s and the Spirit, and his revelation would present the truth common to both.’ (p. 344) Carefully note that three Divine Beings, all co-equal, agree on the same truth! Obviously, such truth is absolute and timeless. What is revealed in the Scriptures is not simply the Father’s view or the Son’s view, rather it is the view of the total Godhead. Lenski notes, ‘This is added in order to shut out the possible wrong thought that which Jesus so emphatically calls “mine” and by which the Spirit will glorify “me” could be something belonging to him exclusively apart from the Father.’ (Lenski p. 1092)

John 16:16 “A little while, and you will no longer behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” 1

“A little while…and again a little while”-While various writers have differing views on what “seeing” is under consideration in the last part of the verse (spiritual seeing, seeing Him at the Second Coming, etc….). It seems clear that Jesus is saying in a little while or short time, He would be taken from them, arrested, crucified and buried. But also in a little while, they would see Him once again. I believe Morris is right when he says, ‘There can scarcely be any doubt but that this refers to His approaching death. He uses the same expression for the time interval, “a little while”, before they will see Him again. The words seems to favor a literal seeing of Jesus Himself rather than a metaphorical reference to the work of the Spirit. As far as they go then, the words point to the post-resurrection appearances.’ (pp. 702-703) Their separation would be short. Within a few hours Jesus would be arrested.

John 16:17 ‘Some of His disciples therefore said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?”’ “What is this thing He is telling us”-‘What does this mean’ (Knox). The disciples are confused! In addition, they are still struggling with an earlier statement which Jesus made about going to the Father ‘What had this to do with seeing him after “a little while”? What this meant they could not at the moment decide. Each confessed to another his own lack of understanding, apparently too much in awe to question Jesus directly.’ (Woods p. 345) Hendriksen notes, ‘They are not able to understand how on the one hand Jesus can say, “Again, a little while, and you will see me”, as if his absence would be very brief, yet on the other hand can talk about going to the Father so that they will see him no more, as if his departure would be definite and final.’ (p. 331)

John 16:18 ‘And so they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.”’ ‘they were saying’-imperfect tense, they kept on discussing this among themselves. ‘The little while sounds so hopeful, but the hope cannot rise as it might because of that other word about going to the Father which sounds like a long, indefinite stay.’ (Lenski p. 1094) From such verses it is clear that the disciples are not in on some plot to pretend that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected. Obviously, they are not accomplices in a scheme to pull off a fake resurrection. Rather, they are thoroughly confused.

John 16:19 ‘Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’?”’ 2

‘Jesus knew that they wished to question Him’-Jesus always knew what people were thinking in their hearts. Again, simply one more occasion where Jesus exercises His powers of Divine omniscience. I am impressed that Jesus takes the initiative. Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Well, if they don’t have the courage to ask Me, that is their problem.’ And also note how Jesus responds with compassion and kindness. Jesus will be suffering intense pain in a few hours, and yet He isn’t angry because His disciples are confused. He doesn’t lash out and say, ‘What a bunch of dense and ignorant disciples you all turned out to be. Boy did I really pick the bottom of the barrel!’

John 16:20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.” “Truly, truly”-‘Jesus makes it clear that His followers will have a difficult time while their enemies triumph…”Weep and lament” combines the thoughts of deep grief and of the outward expression given to that grief.’ (Morris p. 705)

“you will weep and lament”-‘In a little while the disciples shall sob, with loud, unrestrained weeping…yea, they shall wail, utter wailing cries and moans for the dead… The two verbs emphasize the dire reality in all its poignancy.’ (Lenski p. 1095)

“the world will rejoice”-particularly, the enemies of Jesus, those who had plotted His death. Jesus clearly labels the Pharisees and Sadducees as being part of the ‘world’, the ‘world’ that is antagonist towards God. The Jewish leaders would look upon the death of Jesus as “good riddance”, worthy of a celebration. This verse reveals that the disciples were completely heartbroken when Jesus was crucified. Note: Jesus wasn’t a person to ignore the harsh aspects of reality.

“your sorrow will be turned to joy”-when they see Jesus after His resurrection and especially, when they understand what Jesus has accomplished by dying. In the book of Acts we see the Apostles as joyful and confident (Acts 5:41).

John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a child has been born into the world.” Points To Note: 1. ‘He points out that there may be anguish, like that of a travailing woman, that is purposeful. It must be gone through, but when that is done that person forgets it for the joy at the result. So they must go through a time of deep sorrow. But out of it will


emerge an abounding joy.’ (Morris p. 704) 2. The contrast in these verses is between the state of mind in a woman before she gives birth and her state of mind after the child is born. During the birth she is in tremendous distress and pain, but after the child is born, the pain is superseded by tremendous joy. 3. The point is also that the same event can produce both sorrow and joy. In like manner, the death of Jesus will produce sorrow but then tremendous joy, when the disciples realize what Jesus has accomplished in dying!

John 16:22 “Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.” “you too now have sorrow”-Jesus realized that His disciples were already in pain at this very moment. In addition, the sorrow He was describing was quickly coming as His arrest would happen that very night. Note the compassion of Jesus, even though He will suffer more than His disciples, He is greatly concerned about their momentary suffering.

“I will see you again”-when He appears to them following His resurrection (Luke 24:36ff).

“your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you”-‘No one will take away the joy they will then have. The thought is not, of course, that believers never know sorrow. It is rather that after they have come to understand the significance of the cross they are possessed by a deep-seated joy. This joy is independent of the world.’ (Morris p. 707) This would be an intelligent joy, a joy rooted in the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, that God loves us and that God wants us saved. In like manner, Christians need to have a joy that is rooted in reality and truth and not in outward or temporary circumstances. Too many of us allow temporary setbacks to change our whole attitude towards reality and God. ‘It is of the greatest significance that the disciples, weak, wavering and uncertain of the future as they were before his death never for one moment questioned his resurrection after his ascension; and the persecutions and trials they suffered, though exceedingly heavy and hard, never weakened their faith nor dampened their determination to follow him to the end.’ (Woods p. 347) ‘The joy the world gives is at the mercy of the world. The joy which Christ gives is independent of anything the world can give.’ (Barclay p. 232) The Christian also needs to remember that every sorrow in this life is only a temporary sorrow (2 Corinthians 4:14-18). While those in the world are only enjoying a temporary joy and are headed for eternal sorrow. See also Romans 8:35-39.

John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me no question. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name.” “in that day”-that is, the period of time following Jesus’ resurrection and His appearances to the disciples.


“you will ask Me no question”-up to this point the disciples had asked Jesus many questions (13:6,25,36f; 14:5,22). The fact that they won’t be asking questions, indicates at that time they will be understanding all these things which Jesus had taught (Luke 24:44-45). In addition, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they will be guided in all truth (John 16:13; Acts 2:1-4). When the Spirit comes upon them, all their questions will be answered.

“if you ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you”-Once again, Jesus stresses that far from being alone, they will have access to all spiritual blessings. The Father will always be there to answer their requests (John 14:13-14; 15:7, 16). Thus, far from being helpless, they will see Jesus before He ascends into heaven, they will be guided into all the truth, and they have a Father in heaven who hears and answers prayer!

“in My name”-Jesus will now be the sole mediator between the Father and mankind (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 9:24-28). This verse also reminds us that we can never become so friendly with God, as to say, “our or my will be done”. The most intimate relationship with God, still includes the idea of ‘Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10). Unfortunately, some think that there is an intimate relationship with God which allows those who have reached that level to ignore the will of God (1 John 5:14).

John 16:24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”

Points To Note: 1.

Up to this time, the disciples had directed their prayers to the Father directly, without mentioning Jesus. 2. I don’t think that Jesus is reproving them for not asking in His name, rather, He hadn’t died as yet. Tasker notes, ‘No longer will the disciples ask anything of Jesus (like asking Him a question); but with fuller insight into the mind of their Lord they will be able to do something, that, owing to their limited understanding (and without the death of Christ) they have not yet been able to do. They will be able to pray directly to the Father with the joyous certainly that God will answer their prayers in virtue of the victory won by Jesus on the cross.’ (p. 184) 3. Carefully note that Jesus connects prayer and the fullness of joy. 4. Also note that God wants His people to be happy and joyful, even in a world which is filled with many sorrows.


John 16:25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.”

“in figurative language”-“these things” especially includes what He had been teaching them from chapter 13 onward. In these section of Scripture, Jesus had given many illustrations and figures of speech. Washing the disciples feet, the dwelling places or mansions in the Father’s house, the Vine and the branches and so on. ‘Many matters in the Lord’s final address to the apostles were obscure and incomprehensible and often prompted questioning on their part (14:5,8,22,17,18); this was not because the teaching was inherently difficult to comprehend but resulted from the misapprehension of the apostles, at that period, of the true nature of the Lord’s mission into the world and of the kingdom which he had promised to establish.’ (Woods p. 348)

“an hour is coming…tell you plainly of the Father”-this “hour” appears to have started after His resurrection, and will include what He taught them at that time (Luke 24:45), during the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3) and especially what He would teach them through the Holy Spirit, when the Spirit came upon them and started guiding them into all the truth. Hendriksen notes, ‘At present Jesus is still prevented from speaking fully and openly, He is held back by the incapacity of the hearers (16:12)…Until the Man of Sorrows has actually suffered and died on the cross and until he is risen, this cross cannot be fully revealed. Until the Helper has arrived, the Father cannot be fully revealed.’ (p. 337) We might say, especially the Father’s love cannot be fully revealed (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8; Romans 8:31-32).

John 16:26 “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf;”

“I do not say to you that I will request the Father”-‘I shall not have to ask the Father in your behalf’ (Nor). Things will have changed! No longer will they need the physical presence of Jesus. Jesus will be their mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), but they won’t need to ask Jesus so that Jesus can ask the Father. Rather, in view of the cross, their prayers in the name of Christ will automatically be heard by the Father. Following the death of Christ, a new relationship would be formed between the Father and them. Jesus would now be their High Priest. In removing Jesus from this world in a physical sense, all other barriers between them and the Father will have also be removed.


John 16:27 “for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” “for the Father himself loves you”-‘There is also a firm exclusion of the thought that the disciples should enlist Christ’s prayers for them as though He were more merciful and more ready to hear than is the Father…The Son does not persuade the Father to be gracious. The whole work of the Son rests on the loving care of the Father who sent Him.’ (Morris p. 710)

Points To Note: 1.

God’s love is conditional. Those who love Jesus are loved by the Father, which means that the opposite is also true. In addition, love is expressed in faith, the conviction that Jesus is the Son of God. 2. The Father is just as compassionate or merciful as the Son. When Jesus intercedes for us, He doesn’t have to twist the Father’s arm.

John 16:28 “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.”

In the above verse, Jesus sums up the whole redemption story. He gave up the glories of heaven to come to this world (Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Corinthians 8:9). He came into this world in a body of flesh (John 1:14). And now He is on the verge of going back to the Father. ‘Here we have the great movement of salvation. It is a twofold movement, from heaven to earth and back again. Christ’s heavenly origin is important, else He could not be the Savior of men. But His heavenly destination is also important, for it witnesses to the Father’s seal on the Son’s saving work .’ (Acts 2:36) (Morris p. 711) Point To Note: There were many things which the disciples did not understand at this time. But what they did understand was that Jesus came forth from God and had the words of eternal life (John 6:68). In like manner, as long as we respect the authority of God, we will be able to overcome our preconceived ideas, prejudices and various areas of ignorance.

John 16:29 ‘His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly, and are not using a figure of speech.”’ “You are speaking plainly”-The disciples seem very impressed about what Jesus had just said. And yet we know that they still didn’t understand “how” Jesus was to return to 7

the Father, i.e. through His death, resurrection and ascension. At this point the disciples may be thinking that at last has arrived the period of time that Jesus had promised.

John 16:30 “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.”

Points To Note: 1.

The disciples are in complete agreement on a number of things: A. Jesus knows all things, and unlike mere mortals that need to be told about something before they can know about it, Jesus can read the hearts and the minds of men. ‘for without their asking him he has completely and in detail answered all the things that were in their minds and that they had communicated to each other only in whispers. He reads the unspoken thoughts of their minds, the secret communications they have with each other.’ (Lenski pp. 1107-1108) B. And that Jesus came from God. Notice that they believed that Jesus came from God, based on the evidence at hand.

John 16:31 ‘Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?”’

“Do you now believe?”-‘Jesus show that He is not deceived by the disciple’s confidence. He knows that there are limitations to their faith, and that these limitations will speedily be shown up…Jesus is not calling in question the reality of their faith, but directing attention to its inadequacy….Jesus’ next words show, in reality they have not yet come to know some of the important consequences of faith in Him.’ (Morris pp. 712-713) Point To Note: Jesus knew that they believed in Him (John 17:8). But He also knew that they would desert Him, ‘You do now believe, but your belief will soon be shaken’ (Tasker p. 188). Barclay notes, ‘Jesus was a realist. He told them that, in spite of their belief, the hour was coming when they would desert Him. Here is perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Jesus. He knew the weakness of His men; He knew their failure; He knew that they would let Him down in the moment of His direst need…But Jesus said: “I know that in your weakness you will desert me; nevertheless I know that you will still be conquerors.”’ (pp. 236-237) Notice that Jesus didn’t write off the disciples for this coming lapse in their faith. Since people are imperfect, the question isn’t whether or not your faith will fail (for it will at times), the question is, ‘what will you do after you have let God down?’


John 16:32 “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.” “and has already come”-that very night the disciples would forsake Jesus, within a matter of hours they would flee (Matthew 26:56).

“each to his own home, and to leave Me alone”-See Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27. ‘Probably He meant to say that each would return to his own home and daily pursuits. After having seen Him die they assumed that His work was defeated (Luke 24:13-24).’ (Butler p. 313)

“yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me”-John 8:29. The tenses are present, that is, the Father is always with Jesus. ‘Jesus does not chide the eleven for what they will do. They will do it, and he will bear it, that is enough. As far as the disciples are concerned Jesus will, indeed, be alone but not as far as his Father is concerned: alone and yet not alone…Where the disciples fail—and Jesus pities them—the Father cannot fail.’ (Lenski p. 1111) Barclay notes, ‘No man ever stands alone for the right; he always stands with God. No good man is ever completely forsaken, for He is never forsaken by God.’ (p. 237) (Hebrews 13:5-6)

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” “that in Me you may have peace”-Notice the sympathy and compassion of Jesus. These men would let Him down, but He isn’t bitter. ‘if Jesus had not foretold the weakness of the disciples, when they realized afterwards how they had failed Him and forsaken Him and abandoned Him, it might well have driven them to utter and absolute despair. But He warned them before it happened; I am telling you about it now; you must not think that your disloyalty came as a shock to me; I knew it was coming….When you think about it afterwards, don’t despair.’ (Barclay pp. 237-238) I believe there is a great thought in the above verses, that is, when we sin, when we fail, we must have remorse and godly sorrow, but we must never say, ‘it’s no use, I can’t do it, I’m no good, I’m worthless.’ Remorse yes, despair no.

“In the world you have tribulation”-‘you are under pressure’ (Ber); ‘you will find suffering’ (Rieu). Jesus made it clear that the world will be hostile to Christians and the Gospel message. In view of the above statement, how foolish it would be to place one’s trust, security, self-esteem and hopes for happiness in the world. The world will always be in a state of upheaval, the news in the world will always be negative, bad things will always be happening. How foolish to try to find happiness in a world which is every changing, ever in turmoil and filled with so many negative things and constant tragedies! 9

“but take courage”-‘but be confident!’ (Ber); ‘but, never lose heart’ (Phi); ‘but cheer up!’ (Tay). ‘At times this feeling will prevent the feeling of peace though, of course, without destroying the disciples’ condition of peace. Hence Jesus bids them fight against the feeling of depression, “be courageous”, untroubled and unafraid (14:27).’ (Lenski p. 1112)

“I have overcome the world”-Jesus will conquer all the powers of evil in the hostile world. ‘”Have conquered” once for all means that despite all its rage the world cannot prevail.’ (Lenski p. 1112)

Points To Note: 1. Notice the optimism of Jesus, even before His death He is tremendously positive. He has overcome everything that the world and Satan can throw at Him. The victory is His. ‘Thus Jesus ends the dark and veiled sayings of this ominous night on a glorious note of victory! And the New Testament from the resurrection and appearances to the end of the book of Revelation is one grand shout of victory! (Romans 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 15:5058; 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:21; 1 John 5:1-6).’ (Butler p. 314) 2. ‘This statement, spoken as it is in the shadow of the cross, is audacious. The cross would seem to the outsider to be Christ’s total defeat. He sees it as His complete victory over all that the world is and can do to him. He goes to the cross not in fear or in gloom, but as a conqueror.’ (Morris pp. 714-715)


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