Harmony of the Gospels

 HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

(23-3) LAST SPEECH TO THE APOSTLES AND INTERSESSORY PRAYER

John 16


Tom Lowe

12/30/2007


Date: Thursday P.M.—The last week of His life
Location: Jerusalem

Jesus speaks to His disciples about the trials they will face as they fulfill The Great Commission to take the Gospel to the world. But they would not be alone because He would send them another Helper. The Spirit would give them reasons to rejoice and the power to overcome their foes.



Three divisions of JOHN 16:

The world’s opposition (1–15). The Lord warned them about the opposition that would come. Do not be surprised when you are persecuted by religious people (v. 2); for this has been going on ever since Cain killed Abel. The Spirit helps us witness to the world and glorify Christ before the world ( Acts 4:8)[1], so depend on Him.
The world’s joy (16–24). When Jesus was arrested, crucified, and buried, the world system rejoiced because their Enemy was out of the way. But today He is alive, and we have every reason to rejoice! The Lord does not replace our sorrow with joy; He transforms our sorrow into joy. The same baby that gives the mother pain also gives her joy. The world’s joy does not last, but the believer’s joy is forever ( Ps. 16:11)[2].
The world’s defeat (25–33). In the next few hours, the disciples would watch their world fall apart; and yet Jesus assured them that He was the winner. “I have overcome the world” is a fact, not a promise, and it applies to us today. We are overcomers through Him ( 1 John 5:1–5)[3].

 

Part 1: The World’s Opposition (1–15).

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

The disciples probably cherished the hope of the Jewish people generally—that the Messiah would set up His kingdom and that the power of Rome would be broken. Instead of that, the Lord told them that He was going to die, rise again, and go back to heaven. The Holy Spirit would come, and the disciples would go out as witnesses for Christ. They would be hated and persecuted. The Lord told them all this in advance so that they would not be disillusioned, made to stumble, or shocked.

The very fact that they would be witnessing for Him in the midst of fierce hostility creates the reminder that He was about to leave them, and that this was necessary if they were to experience the provision He was about to make for them, so that they might be both delivered and empowered. If they were to have the help they needed, they must be alert to the danger.

Jesus warned them before (i.e., especially vv.  18–27[4] of chap. 15) so that they would not be offended (The meaning here is “taken by surprise” or “caught unawares”.), but He had not continued to warn them, since He was with them, and what they needed was His person and His teachings concerning Himself.

Here the Lord has a warning, not against being tripped up as they minister the Gospel, but against a sorrowful reaction of disappointment at not seeing the kingdom set up in the world through the conversion of Israel. Their faith must not be shaken by the hostile fanaticism of Jewish leaders in excommunicating them, and even killing them as an act of service to God. It is crucial that they bear in mind the reason for it all, namely, ignorance of the Father and Himself. When antagonism erupts upon them, it is simply fulfilling what He had foretold, and in that way their adversities will be reminders of His ministry of love that very evening.

These things.  This is what Jesus had said in 4 John 15:18-25[4].

2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Excommunication from the synagogues was considered by most Jews to be one of the worst things that could happen. It meant isolation from the social life of Israel. It meant loss of employment and rejection by their own families. They would also be killed in the name of God (Acts 26:9–11)[5]. This would happen to these Jews who were disciples of Jesus. The Christian faith would be so hated that those who sought to stamp it out would think they were pleasing God. This shows how a person may be very sincere, very zealous, and yet very wrong.

The root cause of this persecution is the world’s rejection of both the Father and the Son.

He doeth God service.  Paul, before he was saved, personified this attitude as he persecuted the church, thinking that he was doing a service for God (Philippians 3:6)[6].  After Paul’s conversion, the persecutor became the persecuted because of the hatred of the world.

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.

Again the Lord reminded them that He warned the disciples in advance (John 13:19[7] and  14:29[8]) so they would not be overwhelmed, by these afflictions when they happened. Instead, they would be prepared. They would remember that the Lord had predicted persecution; they would know that it was all a part of His plan for their lives. The Lord had not told them much about this earlier because He was with them. There was no need to trouble them or to cause their minds to wander from the other things He had to teach them. But now that He was leaving them, He must tell them of the path that lay ahead for them.

I was with you.  Jesus didn’t need to warn them because He was there to protect them.

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

Verse 5 seems to express disappointment that the disciples were not more interested in what was ahead for the Lord. Although they had asked in a general way where He was going, they had not seemed too involved.  Both Peter (John 13:36)[9] and Thomas (John 14:5)[10] in fact asked this question verbally already.  Then it was because of their dismay rather than because of a real desire to know Jesus’ destiny (John 14:6)[11].  They were concerned only about the sorrow that they were experiencing because He was going away.

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

They were more concerned with their own future than with His. Before Him lay the cross and the grave. Then He was going to Him who sent Him, and, instead of faith and hope, nothing but sorrow filled their hearts, but it was over their own troubles rather than His. True, they had asked where He was going (13:36[9] and 14:5[10]), but the inquiries came from feelings of despair and bewilderment, not of hope. Before them lay persecution in their service for Christ. They were filled with sorrow

This has its lesson for us. We must never allow difficulties and distresses in the future to so preoccupy our minds that we lose our enjoyment of His person and love and power. Never permit threatening circumstances to obscure the light of His countenance and glory.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is  expedient[12]  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.

Nevertheless, they would not be left without help and comfort. Christ would send the Holy Spirit to be their Comforter (or Helper). It was to the advantage of the disciples that the Comforter should come. He would empower them, give them courage, teach them, and make Christ more real to them than He had ever been before. The Comforter would not come until the Lord Jesus went back to heaven and was glorified. Of course, the Holy Spirit had been in the world before this, but He was coming in a new way—to convict the world and to minister to the redeemed. 

It is important to note that the Spirit comes to the church and not to the world.  This means that He works in and through the church. The Holy Spirit does not minister in a vacuum.  Just as the Son of God had to have a body in order to do His work on earth, so the Spirit of God needs a body to accomplish His ministries; and that body is the church.  Our bodies are His tools and temple, and He wants to use us to glorify Christ and to witness to a lost world.

I tell you the truth. He explains the necessity of His departure. If the disciples would understand this truth, they would have reason to anticipate triumph and not tragedy. It was necessary for Christ to come into this world and die and it was also necessary for him to go, so that the Holy Spirit would come (John 14:16)[13].  When the Lord came to this earth, He took upon himself our humanity.  God is omnipresent, but Jesus limited himself for He could only be in one place at a time.  He tells them he will send the Holy Spirit to them.  The Holy Spirit will be in all places.

It is expedient. It was expedient in more ways than one. Their very loss would be gain. Sight would give place to faith, the all-important factor in present service. They would pass from a stage of training to qualified activity. Their earthly companying with the Lord would be exchanged for the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, ministering Christ to and through them. Without His coming there would have been no Gospel.

8 And when he is come, he will  reprove[14] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

The Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. This is generally taken to mean that He creates an inward awareness of these things in the life of the individual sinner. While this is true, it is not exactly the teaching in this portion. The Holy Spirit condemns the world by the very fact that He is here. He should not be here, because the Lord Jesus should be here, reigning over the world. But the world rejected Him, and He went back to heaven. The Holy Spirit is here in place of a rejected Christ, and this demonstrates the world’s guilt. The Holy Spirit convicts men of their sin, through the Word of God and preaching.  And Conviction is not the same as conversion but is necessary to it.  The Spirit works on the minds of the unsaved to show them the truth of God for what it is.  His conviction of the world will be threefold:
1. He will expose the naked truth that the root of sin lies in the decision of men to live their lives in self–centered independence, disowning any allegiance to Jesus.
2. He will show that all that Jesus said and did was right; because He will have been vindicated by returning to the Father after being withdrawn from His disciple’s site.
3. He will make it clear that there is such a thing as judgment, because the prince of this world already stands condemned.  When Jesus was sentenced to death by the judgment of Pilate, it looked as if His cross would be His scaffold, but it proved to be the place where judgment was passed on the prince of this world by whom Judas had been diabolically inspired.

When he is come.  The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was approximately 40 or more days away at this point ( Acts 2:1-13)[15].

9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

The Spirit convicts the world of the sin of failing to believe in Christ. He was worthy of belief. There was nothing about Him that made it impossible for men to believe in Him. But they refused. And the Holy Spirit’s presence in the world is a witness of their crime. 

When a lost sinner is truly under conviction, he will see the folly and evil of unbelief; he will confess that he does not measure up to the righteousness of Christ; and he will realize that he is under condemnation because he belongs to the world and the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3[16]).  The only person who can rescue him from such a horrible situation is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  There can be no conversion without conviction, and there can be no conviction apart from the Spirit of God using the Word of God and the witness of the child of God.

Sin.  The singular indicates that a specific sin is in view; that of not believing in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.  This is the only sin, ultimately, that damns people to hell (John 8:24)[17]. Though all men are depraved, cursed by their violation of God’s law and sinful by nature, what ultimately damns them to hell is their unwillingness to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

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

The Savior claimed to be righteous, but men said He had a demon. God spoke the final word. He said, in effect, “My Son is righteous, and I will prove it by raising Him from the dead and taking Him back to heaven.” The Holy Spirit witnesses to the fact that Christ was right and the world was wrong.

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

Of judgment.  When those who crucified Jesus saw that God did not interfere, they imagined that the judgment of God was being pronounced on Him.  Actually, another was being judged there, even Satan, the prince of this world.

The presence of the Holy Spirit also convicts the world of the coming judgment. The fact that He is here means that the devil (the prince of this world) has already been condemned both in the Garden (Genesis 3:15)[18] and at the cross, and that all who refuse the Savior will share his awful judgment in a day that is still in the future.

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

There were still ... many other things the Lord had to tell the disciples, but they could not take them in (understand). This is an important principle of teaching. There must be a certain progress in learning before advanced truths can be received. The Lord never overwhelmed His disciples with teaching. He gave it to them “line upon line, precept upon precept.” The disciples were just not ready spiritually to accept all that Christ wanted to tell them.

The Lord would not attempt to initiate the things he would teach, but like an obedient Son (John 15:15)[19], He would hear and pass on to man what was given to him from God the Father.

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. 

The work which the Lord began was to be continued by the Spirit of Truth. He would guide them into all truth. There is a sense in which all truth was committed to the apostles in their lifetime. They, in turn, committed it to writing, and we have it today in our New Testament. This, added to the Old Testament, completed God’s written revelation to man. But it is, of course, true in all ages that the Spirit guides (leads) God’s people into all the truth. He does it through the Scriptures. He will only speak of the things that are given to Him to say by the Father and the Son. This indicates the close relationship of the Trinity.

The first “He” is emphatic (ekeinos, the person, not an influence). He is “the Spirit of Truth.” Truth is His nature, and that is the guarantee of the character of what He teaches. He would not only be sent, He would “come,” by His own power. He would guide into the truth, revealing its facts and their meanings by divinely arranged development. Moreover it would be completely given to them in their lifetime. Nothing would remain to be added by the Church. It would be sufficient for all generations (see Jude 3, RSV). Just as Christ spoke that which He heard from the Father (John 8:38[20];  John 15:15[21]), so would the Spirit. He is not a separate deity, originating truth. The three are one. He would declare the coming things, i.e., all things relative to this period and the coming ages.

The phrase “He [the Spirit] shall not speak of Himself” does not mean that the Spirit never refers to Himself, for when He wrote the Bible, the Spirit often mentioned Himself.  Rather, it means that He does not speak apart from the Father and the Son; He does not “manufacture” a different message.

“He will tell you things to come.” This, of course, is done in the New Testament and particularly in the book of Revelation where the future is unveiled.  Some clarification is needed at this point.  Into all truth is misleading, for it can be taken to imply that the Church will be guided by the Spirit into the truth about all subjects; and in fact the Church has often claimed, most disastrously, to know the truth about many matters about which it is not really competent to speak.  The Greek means “all the truth,” that is, the specific truth about the person of Jesus and the significance of what He said and did.  The existence of the New Testament is permanent evidence that the apostles were guided into the truth about this.

Things to come is again apt to be misleading.  The apostles were not given by the Spirit the ability to predict the future.  The Greek means “the things that are coming,” that is, the unique events which are eminent and with which the last discourses of Jesus are primarily concerned, His death and resurrection.  About these matters, so central to the Christian religion, the minds of the apostles were illuminated by the Spirit after Pentecost.

He will guide you into all truth.  We don’t know it all.  We are to keep growing in grace and in the knowledge Him.  How can we do it?  Just reading the Bible is not the complete answer; the Holy Spirit must be our Teacher.  Notice the seven steps that are found in verses 13 and 14:
1. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, has come.
2. He will guide you into all truth.
3. He will not speak of Himself.
4. He shall speak whatsoever He shall hear.
5. He will show you things to come.
6. He shall glorify Jesus.
7. He shall receive of mine and show it unto you.

People who claim that the Spirit of God led them to do something contrary to the example of Christ or the teaching of the Word are mistaken and are being led astray by Satan.

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

Again, the close unity of the Trinity is implied. The Holy Spirit’s principal work will be to glorify Christ. By this we can test all teaching and preaching. If a man’s ministry and preaching magnifies the Savior, then it is of the Holy Spirit. “He shall receive of mine” means that He will receive the great truths that concern Christ.

These are the things He reveals to believers. The subject can never be exhausted!

As regards the world the Lord said, “He shall bear witness of me,” and as to the mode of His ministry, “for he shall receive of mine (more fully, out of that which is Mine)”, and shall declare it unto you.” The whole of the New Testament is the great proof of the fulfillment of this, and by means of the entire Scriptures the Spirit of Truth has been fulfilling it to and through believers ever since. Yet not all has been unfolded thus far. There remains yet more in the ages to come.

If we adopt the values and lifestyle of the world, if we conform to the world system, God is left without a witness to truth and life and grace.  But if we withdraw and cut ourselves off from the world’s people in order develop separate communities, God is also left without a witness.  Only by living in the world—by living involved daily with the men and women around us, by being involved in the issues of our own times and society—can we show the contrast between human ways and God’s way.

The natural response to persecution, to antagonism, to pressure, is to withdraw or to conform.  But you and I, like Jesus, are to live under pressure.  We are to open ourselves to hurt.  We are to resist protecting ourselves and, instead, to expose ourselves, for God yearns to reveal His glory in our lives.  As we learn to love each other, we will have the strength to become involved in the world and to find joy in our sufferings, even as Jesus found joy in His.  We will begin to love all men, even as Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us.

Glorify.  Even as Christ was glorifying the Father by His obedience unto death, so the Spirit would glorify Christ by making clear the significance of his person and work.  The Spirit’s mission would be first to receive the deposit of Christ–centered truth, then show it to believers.  It follows that a ministry, to be Spirit-directed, must be one that magnifies Christ.

The world will see the truth in Christians, and though the world as a whole will not respond in faith, individuals will believe.

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

All the attributes of the Father belong to the Son as well. It is this excellent rightness that Christ was speaking of in verse 14. The Spirit unveiled to the apostles the glorious perfections, ministries, offices, graces, and fullness of the Lord Jesus.

He gives a reason for this promise, and the reason is this: “All things that the Father hath are mine.” He shows not only the unity between the Father and Himself in the Godhead, but points out the vastness of the storehouse of divine possessions from which revelations come, all spiritual blessings come; also healings, guidance, enlightenment, strengthening, and comfort.

 

Part 2: The World’s Joy (16–24).

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.

The precise time-frame of verse 16 is uncertain. It may mean the Lord would be away from them for three days, and then He would reappear to them after His resurrection. It may mean He would go back to His Father in heaven, and then after a little while (the present Age), He would come back to them (His Second Coming). Or it may mean that for a little while they would not see Him with their physical eyes, but after the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost, they would perceive Him by faith in a way they had never seen Him before.

The ministry of the Spirit would be given in the midst of seasons of sorrow and trial for all believers. The Lord now prepares the disciples for this. He first reminds them that He is about to leave them, but there is joy to come from His own person: “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me.”  The first “little while” was a few hours, and then after some days He would cease to be seen by them. He would be seen by the eye of faith, but there is more to it than this, “ye shall see (Me).” The apostle John uses this very verb and the same tense in  1 John 3:2[22], and the Lord doubtless had in mind His future return, as He had said in  John 14:3[23]. For the time being the disciples were perplexed. The Lord noted that they were asking among themselves, and He satisfied their questions by His further discourse.

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?

His disciples were confused. The reason for the confusion was that in verse 10, the Savior had said, “I go to My Father and you see Me no more.” Now He said, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me." They could not reconcile these statements.

Little while.  Some interpret the second “little while” as the period between the crucifixion and the ascension, on the ground that in the Greek a different verb for see is used in the two parts of the sentence, the first denoting “physical” and the second “spiritual” site; and it was only after the ascension that further “physical” sight of Jesus by his disciples became an impossibility.

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

They asked each other the meaning of the words “a little while.” Strangely enough, we have the same problem today. We do not know whether it refers to the three days before His resurrection, the forty days before Pentecost, or the more than 2100 years prior to His Coming again!

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?
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.

Being God, the Lord Jesus was able to read their thoughts. By His questions, He revealed His full knowledge of their bewilderment.

He did not address their dilemma directly but gave further information concerning the “little while.” The world would rejoice because they had succeeded in crucifying the Lord Jesus, but the disciples would weep and lament at the death of Christ. But it would only be for a short while. Their sorrow would be turned into joy, and it was—first by the resurrection, and secondly by the coming of the Spirit. Then, for all disciples of all ages, grief will be turned to rejoicing when the Lord Jesus comes back again.

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 (human being) is born into the world.

Nothing is more remarkable than the speed with which a mother forgets the labor pains after her child is born. It would be that way with the disciples. The sorrow connected with the absence of their Lord would be quickly forgotten when they would see Him again.

Since everything centered in His death and resurrection, the very cause of their sorrow would be the cause of their joy. For Him and for them there was a correlation between their sorrow over Him leaving and the joy they would feel when He returns; compared with the suffering of birth pangs by a woman in labor and the subsequent joy in the birth of her son. His own bitter hours on the cross and the triumphant joy of the vacant tomb were to have their counterpart in their experiences, for He had identified them with Himself.
He “saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied.” God loosed the birth pangs of death, because it was not possible that He should be holden (It was an impossibility that Christ could be held in death.) of it (Acts 2:24)[24].

He did see them again, their heart did rejoice, and no one could take their joy from them (Acts 5:41)[25]. But what was experienced in that way, and has been ever since, is not the complete fulfillment of the Lord’s reassuring words of promise. The best, the complete, fulfillment will be brought about when He comes to receive us to Himself and takes us into His Father’s house above.

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.
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.

I will see you again. This refers to both the resurrection and the arrival of the Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit would produce a permanent joy.

In that day. Here and in verse 26 it signifies the day of the resurrection and afterwards.

Up to now, the disciples had come to the Lord with all their questions and requests. In that day (the age ushered in by the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost), He would no longer be with them bodily, so they would no longer be asking Him questions. But did that mean that they would have no one to whom to go? No, in that day it would be their privilege to ask the Father. He would grant their requests for Jesus’ sake. Requests will be granted, not because we are worthy, but because the Lord Jesus is worthy.

No longer will the disciples ask anything of Jesus; but with fuller insight into the mind of their Lord they will be able to do something, that, owing to their limited understanding, they have not yet been able to do.  They will be able to pray directly the Father with the joyous certainty that God will answer their prayers in virtue of the victory by Jesus on the cross.  They will pray Christ’s name pleading the merits of his sacrifice.  It is no meaningless formality that Christians end their prayers with the words “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Since Christ has returned to the Father, the prayers of Christians must be made to the Father in the name of the Son.

The Lord did not mean that no prayer must be offered to Him personally. They did address Him in prayer (Acts 1:24[26];  7:59[27];  9:13[28], etc.). What He does stress principally is His own ministry of mediation and the effect of prayer addressed to the Father. What He gives He does so in the Name of the Lord Jesus, that is, by reason of all that the Name implies in relation to the Father (John 14:14, 26[29]; also see 15:16). When the conditions for prayer are fulfilled, the answers are designed to fill the heart with joy, a joy of which no foe, no adverse circumstance, can deprive us.

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

Prior to this, the disciples had never prayed to God the Father in the Lord’s name; prayer had been made directly to God. Now they were invited to ask in His name. Now they were to pray in the merits of the finished work of Christ. Through answered prayer, their joy would be fulfilled. Note the order: ask … receive … joy may be full.

The World’s Defeat (25–33).

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.

The meaning of much of the Lord’s teaching was not always apparent on the surface. He used proverbs (parables; veiled sayings) and figurative language. Even in this chapter we cannot always be sure of the precise meaning. Then again, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, the teaching about the Father became plainer. Christ had not spoken openly because the disciples would not understand. However, when the Spirit came, Christ would reveal the Father plainly. This occurred through the inspiration and writing of the epistles. In Acts and the Epistles the truth is no longer revealed through parables but through direct statements.

This was the change in how the Word was presented. He would speak “plainly” of the Father. The word is to be taken in its wider sense of freedom of speech. The time for fullness of utterance was coming. No longer would the mind need a gradual process of training. The communications from God to man would impart a full assurance of understanding. All this became characteristic of the ministry of the Spirit to and through the apostles.

26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you (or concerning you):

“That day” again is the Age of the Holy Spirit, in which we now live. Our privilege is to pray to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus. “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:,” that is, the Father does not need to be urged to answer our prayers. The Lord will not have to plead with Him. But we should still remember that the Lord Jesus is the Mediator between God and man, and He does intercede on behalf of His people before the throne of God.

He does not say He will not pray the Father, He actually proceeded to do so, and He “maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34). His negative way of putting it, “I say not …,” is simply a way of preparing for the strong positive assurance which immediately follows. “I will pray the Father concerning you.”

And I say not.  Christ was clarifying what He meant by praying in His name.  He did not mean asking Him to ask the Father, as if the Father was indifferent to believers, but not to His Son.  On the contrary, the Father loves Christ’s own.  In fact, the Father sent the Son to redeem them and then return.  Asking in Jesus’ name means simply asking on the basis of His merit, His righteousness, and for whatever would honor and glorify Him so as to build His kingdom.

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

The Father loved the disciples because they had received Christ and loved Him and believed in His deity. This is the reason why the Lord did not have to plead with the Father. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, they would enjoy a new sense of intimacy with the Father. They would be able to approach Him with confidence and all because they loved His Son.

Prayer made in Christ’s name was not so that Christ could somehow convince the Father to answer the prayers. The Father will answer their prayers because of His love for the disciples.

Just think!  The Father Himself loves you.  No greater impetus for prayer could be given than in these words.

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

The entire purpose of Christ; His eternity, His humiliation, and His exaltation are all implied in this verse.
Here the Lord repeated His claim of equality with God the Father. He did not say “I came forth from God” as if He were just a Prophet sent by God, but “I came forth from the Father.” This means He is the eternal Son of the eternal Father, equal with God the Father. He came into the world as One who had lived elsewhere before His Coming. At His Ascension, He left the world and returned to the Father. This is a brief biographical account of the Lord of glory.
These four facts summarize the history of Christ:
1. I came forth from the Father—the fact that He is God the Son.
2. and am come into the world—the facts of His birth, incarnation, death, burial and resurrection.
3.  again, I leave the world—the fact of His ascension.
4. and go to the Father—the fact of His return to the Father

The first takes us to His past eternity. In verse 27 He said, “You have believed that I came out from God.” But now He says “I came forth from the Father.” This is a deeper truth; it is more than recognition of the faith of the disciples. It indicates a complete oneness of essence, of the Father and the Son, in the past eternity. Those who deny the eternal Sonship of Christ fail, for one thing among others, to discern the significance of the relationship of Christ as the Son of the Father before He became incarnate; He did not become the Son at His birth.

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

His disciples thought that they were now able to understand Him for the first time. He was no longer using figurative language, they said. The disciples now realize that Christ is speaking to them openly. They realize that Christ knows all things, and would reveal them without the disciples asking questions. Their conclusion is faith that Christ came forth from God. But He had said that He came forth from the Father (v. 28). Did they understand the meaning of this? Did they understand that Jesus was one of the Persons of the Godhead?

His coming from the Father and His return to the Father are each inseparable from His Sonship. The coming from does not suggest that the Father ceased to be with Him. It could not be so. He said “I and the Father are One.” “The Father hath not left Me alone.”

The disciples had been impressed by the power of Jesus to read their thoughts, and they regarded such supernatural insight as a mark of His divine origin.  He could satisfy their needs without their having to ask him to do so.

31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
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 suggested by this question, “Do ye now believe?”  that their belief was still imperfect. Actually, He was not asking a question at all, He was making a statement. He knew they loved and trusted Him, but did they really know that He was God manifest in the flesh?

In a short while He would be arrested, tried, and crucified. The disciples would all forsake Him and flee to their homes. But He would not be deserted because the Father would be with Him. It was this union with God the Father that they did not understand. This was the thing that would support Him when they had all escaped for their lives.

Shall leave me alone was fulfilled by all His disciples deserting him (Matthew 26:56)[3] when He was arrested and by Peter’s denial (John 18:17, 25-26)[31].  Yet the Father had not forsaken Him; I am not alone, because the Father is with me (John 8:29)[32], though the Father did forsake Jesus when He was on the cross (Matthew 27:46)[33].

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 (courageous); I have overcome the world.

The purpose of this discourse with the disciples was that they might have peace. When they would be hated, pursued, persecuted, falsely condemned, and even tortured, they could have peace in Him, but in the world they would have tribulation.

Peace.  This is not only peace amid conflict, but peace which rests in the assurance of a victory now won by their Champion over the world. 

Be of good cheer (be courageous). Even though they would be opposed by the world, they should remember that Christ had overcome the world. He overcame the world at the cross of Calvary. In spite of their tribulations, they could rest assured that they were on the winning side.
Also, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, they would have new powers of endurance and new courage to face the foe.

______________________Scripture Reference______________________


[1](Acts 4:8) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 

[2] (Palms 16:11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  

[3](1 John 5:1-5) 1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  

[4](John 15:18-27) 18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

[5] (Acts 26:9–11) 9I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. 

[6](Philippians 3:6) “Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Paul sincerely thought that he had been doing God’s service when he had attempted to wipe out the “sect” of Christians. He saw in it a threat to his own religion and therefore felt he must exterminate it.

[7](John 13:19) “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” The Lord revealed His betrayal to the disciples in advance so that when it came to pass, the disciples would know that Jesus was true deity.

[8](John 14:29) “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” In unselfish concern for the fearful disciples, the Lord revealed these future events to them so that they would not be offended, disheartened, or afraid, but rather believe.

[9](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.”  Simon Peter did not understand that Jesus had spoken of His death. He thought He was going on some earthly journey and did not understand why he could not go along. The Lord explained that Peter would follow Him later, that is, when he died, but could not do so now. 

[10](John 14:5) “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” He was going to heaven, and they knew the way to heaven, for He had told them many times. Apparently Thomas did not understand the meaning of the Lord’s words. Like Peter, he may have been thinking of a journey to some place on the earth.

[11](John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

[12] (expedient) an advantage:— be better for, be good for, be profitable for.

[13](John 14:16) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

[14]Reprove. (Gr elengchō, convict or convince). TO censure somebody: to speak to somebody in a way that shows disapproval of something he or she has done

[15](Acts 2:1-13) 1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 

[16] (Ephesians 2:1-3) 1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 

[17](John 8:24) “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” He solemnly warned them again that they would die in their sins. If they steadfastly refused to believe on Him, there was no alternative. Apart from the Lord Jesus, there is no way to obtain forgiveness of sins, and those who die with sins unforgiven cannot possibly enter heaven at last. 
 
[18](Genesis 3:15) “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This verse is known as the protevangelium, meaning “The First Gospel.” It predicts the perpetual hostility between Satan and the woman (representing all mankind), and between Satan’s seed (his agents) and her Seed (the Messiah). The woman’s Seed would crush the Devil’s head, a mortal wound spelling utter defeat. This wound was administered at Calvary when the Savior decisively triumphed over the Devil. Satan, in turn, would bruise the Messiah’s heel. The heel wound here speaks of suffering and even of physical death, but not of ultimate defeat. So Christ suffered on the cross, and even died, but He arose from the dead, victorious over sin, hell, and Satan. The fact that He is called the woman’s Seed may contain a suggestion of His virgin birth. Note the kindness of God in promising the Messiah before pronouncing sentence in the verses that follow. 

[19](John 15:15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

[20] (John 8:38) I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

[21](John 15:15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

[22]( 1 John 3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

[23] (John 14:3) “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” refers to the time when the Lord will come back again in the air, when those who have died in faith will be raised, when the living will be changed, and when all the blood-bought throng will be taken home to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13–18; 1 Cor. 15:51–58). This is a personal, literal coming of Christ. As surely as He went away, He will come again. His desire is to have His own with Him for all eternity.

[24](Acts 2:24) Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 

[25](Acts 5:41) “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” The beating inflicted on the apostles had two unexpected results. First, it caused them deep joy that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name 26 they loved. Second, it sent them forth with renewed zeal and persistence, daily in the temple and in homes, teaching and preaching Jesus as the Messiah.
So once again Satan outwitted himself. 

[26] (Acts 1:24) And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

[27](Acts 7:59) And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

[28] (Acts 9:13) Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 

[29] (John 14:14, 26) 14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it…26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

[30] (Matthew 26:56) But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. 

[31] (John 18:17, 25-26) 17Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not… 25And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 

[32](John 8:29) And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. 

[33](Matthew 27:46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 

 

Do you have any questions or comments?

 It is not surprising that 55 percent of Americans believe “a good person can earn his way to heaven,” but an alarmingly high percentage of professing Christians believe the same thing. Recent studies by George Barna show 40 percent of those in America who say they have committed their life to Jesus Christ agree with the statement, “If you are a good person or do enough good things for others, you can earn a place in heaven.” Such thinking runs contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture (Ephesians 2:8–9), dilutes evangelistic fervor, and gives scores of people fictitious hope.

Moody, March/April 1998, p. 46; Baptist Standard, March 12, 1997, p. 8

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