John 16:1–33—The Spirit, Joy & Peace
“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. 2 For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. 3 This is because they have never known the Father or me. 4 Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.
5 “But now I am going away to the One who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more.11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.
12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’
16 “In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.”
17 Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? 18 And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.”
19 Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. 23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
25 “I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father. 26 Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, 27 for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. 28 Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.”
29 Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively. 30 Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.”
31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Points of Interest
- ‘I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you’—it’s not a surprise to Jesus that they are heading into rough times. He has known for a while, but hasn’t thought it was the right time to tell them. He’s had higher priorities. Now, though, before he leaves, he’s downloading everything he can.
- ‘of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment’—I think the idea here is that some people will realize after Jesus’ death, his resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit that they were wrong about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will give those people another chance to say, ‘Yes,’ to eternal life.
- ‘your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy’—it’s unclear to me whether Jesus is referring to his resurrection, or to their own deaths (and full entrance into eternal life). The reaction he’s describing sounds very much like what happens when they see him risen from the grave. But it also seems like he’s talking about something that will happen later than three days from now.
- ‘you will ask the Father directly’—up until now, Jesus has been giving them, in himself, pictures of the Father. Now, or shortly, he will be introducing them into direct relationship.
- ‘using my name’—it’s like they’re on the list for some very exclusive party—or not exactly on the list themselves, but they can get in by dropping his name: ‘Just tell them you’re with me.’
Taking It Home
- For you: Jesus says that the Holy Spirit knows everything, even the future; and the Holy Spirit is willing to share those things with us. What’s something you want to know? Ask God, and listen to see if the Holy Spirit gives you an answer.
FF Family/Household Option: Jesus says that the Holy Spirit knows everything, even the future; and the Holy Spirit is willing to share those things with us. Talk about what are the things you would like to know and take some time right now and ask the Holy Spirit.
- For your 6: Pray that your 6 would have an expanded imagination of what they could ask for out of life. Jesus says that the Father is willing to do absolutely anything for anyone who asks in Jesus’ name. Pray that your 6 would have God-sized hopes in their lives.
- For our church: The longer Jesus is with the disciples, the more he seems to tell them. It seems like he only tells them things as they are ready. Ask Jesus to expand our capacity as a church to listen to him. Pray that we would be good stewards of what we hear from God. Pray specifically today for all of our Prayer Teams, Selah Worship & Prayer gatherings, Week of Prayer and the various classes (Healing Class, Heart of the Journey) that try to help people hear from Jesus in a profound way. Ask that these would in fact be really great spaces for people to hear from Jesus, and ask Jesus to raise up lots of leaders to help sustain these awesome spaces.