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November 7, 2023

John Part 45

Jesus spends His final hours before going to the cross alone with His disciples.




John 16:1-33

Jesus spends His final hours before going to the cross alone with His disciples. Specifically He’s been with the faithful eleven, the true disciples. Judas, the betrayer, left earlier that evening. The Bible says that Satan entered into him and he went out into the night (13:27-30).

Jesus said to the eleven, “Let not your hearts be troubled…” He knows their frame of mind. He knows they are troubled in their spirit. They all believed Jesus to be the Messiah and He had proved that to them over and over. For 3 ½ years they’ve heard him teach and preach like nobody else. They’ve witnessed hundreds maybe even thousands of His miracles. They’ve heard all of His amazing claims. And based on their undersanding of the O.T. scriptures they believe that when the Messiah comes He is going to establish an earthly kingdom and defeat the enemies of God. And so that was what they had been expecting of Jesus – that He would set up His kingdom right there in Jerusalem. They even argued among themselves who would be the greatest in that kingdom – in the Jesus Administration. But Jesus burst their bubble. Right in the middle of His greatest moment, the crowds hailing Him as the Messiah and yelling, “Hosanna (save us)! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the king of Israel!” In their minds and in the minds of the people the time had come for Jesus to kick out the Romans and set up His kingdom. Finally! They were ready! But that’s not what happened. Instead Jesus announced publicly right there in the temple that He’s going to die – He’s going to be crucified. Then Jesus just walked away. He departed. John says that even “though [Jesus] had done so many signs before them [the people of Israel], they still did not believe in Him.” (12:37) So now Jesus is alone with His disciples. He knows that they’re upset. He knows their hearts are troubled. As if Jesus’ death wasn’t bad enough now Jesus tells them that He’s going away and where He is going they cannot come. Jesus knows His hour has “come to depart out of this world to the Father.” And out of His deep love for His disciples He leaves them final words of hope and encouragement. And that’s what Chaps 13, 14 and 15 have been all about.

On one hand (the bad news)…       

Jesus is going to die

He’s going back to heaven

He’s going away, they can’t come

But on the other hand (here is some good news)…   

He’s going to be resurrected

He’s going to prepare a place

He’s sending the Helper (HS)       

At the end of Ch 15, last week’s lesson Jesus tells them that they can expect persecution by the world. He says the world hates Me and since you represent Me, the world is going to hate you as well. Up to this point the disciples themselves haven’t experienced any persecution – that has all been directed at Jesus Himself. But when Jesus leaves they WILL face persecution. How will the disciples be able to handle all this hatred and persecution that they’re about to face? The answer is given at the end of Ch 15, with the help of the Holy Spirit. He’s called the Helper. The Holy Spirit is going to come at Pentecost and when He does He will fill these same troubled and fragile disciples with power and boldness.

We know how it is all going to play out, but just put yourself in the disciple’s place. Yes, Jesus has just given them these promises. He’s just told them that you’re going to be persecuted. He’s just told them He will send the Holy Spirit to help them. But the fact remains there’s a lot that they don’t fully understand. So they’re full of sorrow.

With that in mind listen to Jesus’ final words to His disciples, John Chapter 16…I’m going to read the whole chapter, all 33 verses, then we’ll look at the passage in the time remaining.

READ John 16:1-33

Jesus’ last word to the disciples is, “Take heart; I have overcome the world.” There is a great deal of comfort in that, isn’t there?  QUESTIONS

V 1-4: Jesus told the disciples in Ch 15 (last week’s lesson) that they can expect to be persecuted. Here he explains further what that will entail – they will be put out of the synagogue, cut off from Jewish religious life. On top of that Jesus says that many of the disciples will be killed. Full disclosure – Jesus gives them a heads up what is going to happen. He says, when it happens, remember that I told you it would. Don’t be surprised by it. Later in the book of Acts we read that this happens just like Jesus said. Tradition holds (not recorded in the Bible) that all the disciples except for John died as martyrs.

V 5-7: Jesus is fully aware that His disciples are troubled. In v 6 He says, “sorrow has filled your heart.” In spite of all Jesus’ promises, the disciples probably should have been a little more hopeful and optimistic, but they’re human. They are focused on themselves. They are wrapped up in their own sorrow and distress. So Jesus comforts His disciples. He reminds them what He has told them before – very important – that He will send the Helper. But this won’t happen until He goes away. Up to this point Jesus hasn’t said a whole lot about what the Holy Spirit. Now He gives a little more insight into exactly what the Spirit will do.

V 8-11 Speaks to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that “when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”

Sin. Specifically here sin refers to the sin of rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, as the Son of God, as the Savior. This is the sin that sends people to hell. John 8:24 “unless you believe that I am He (I came from God, I am the Son of God) you will die in your sins.” And most people reject this because Satan has blinded them. So the H.S. convicts people of this and points them to Jesus as the way to salvation.

Righteousness. The H.S. shows us that we have no righteousness in and of ourselves. The only way that we can be made righteous before a holy God is not by anything that we do, not by our good works, but by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Judgment. The world is under Satan’s control and facing divine judgment. Satan has blinded people and turned them away from believing in Jesus. So it is the convicting work of the H.S. that leads people to faith in Christ. If He doesn’t convict a person and reveal to them the truth then the god of this world has them fooled into believing they’re OK when, in fact, they are NOT. So when the ruler of this world is judged, Revelation Ch 20, those who follow him will face judgment as well, Matt Ch 25.

V 12: Actually connects with v 13 ff (next). Jesus knows that when the H.S. comes later, many of the things He has been telling His disciples will become clearer. For now they “cannot bear them.” Remember their state of mind – they don’t understand why Jesus has to die, why He is going away, concerned about their own preeminence in the kingdom, dismayed, sorrowful. Jesus knows they are not ready for any more spiritual truth.

V 13-15: One of the things the H.S. does is guides us into truth. The role of the H.S. will be to speak truth to us. He will reveal the truth about God. He will glorify Jesus Christ. I believe His inspiration of the N.T. writers to write what they did was a major part of His guidance into truth. While Jesus was on earth that’s what He did – He revealed the truth about the Father and Himself. When Jesus leaves and goes back to heaven, the H.S. will assume this role, revealing God’s truth.

V 16-19: Lots of debate about what Jesus is referring to here. Remember the context – He is talking at length about the coming of the H.S. So I believe based on the commentaries I read that “You will see me no longer” refers to Jesus’ ascension. In v 17 He says, “because I am going to the Father.” Then when He says, “you will see me,” He is referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Back in v 7 He says, “if I go I will send Him (the Helper) to you.” How is that seeing Jesus? Because of what He just said in v 14, “He will glorify Me for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.” The H.S. shows us Jesus clearly.

V 19: Jesus is fully aware of His disciple’s little side bar discussion among themselves. He knows their confusion and never directly addresses it for the same reasons as earlier. The H.S. will come and He will reveal truth to them after the cross and after the resurrection and after His ascension. It will all become clearer later.

V 20-24: This is a wonderful section about their sorrow being turned to joy. Jesus identifies with our infirmities. He is our sympathetic high priest. He desires our peace, comfort and joy. The Lord seeks the joy of His disciples even in the midst of their despair. The disciples are full of sorrow. Jesus wants them to be full of joy. He has deep compassion for them. V 20 Jesus knows the disciples very well. He says that they will weep and lament, which they will. Later Jesus tells them that they will scatter. But then He adds that their sorrow will be turned into joy. The cross is going to produce grief at the time it happens. But later, in retrospect, after the resurrection, the disciples will look back at the cross, as we do today, as a source of joy.

In V 21 Jesus gives them an illustration, analogy to help them out. The same event that brings the pain also brings the greatest joy. V 22 “No one will take your joy from you.” As Christians our joy is a permanent joy. We have been saved! Our joy as believers has nothing to do with our physical circumstances and everything to do with our spiritual circumstance.

V 23-24, This is a promise Jesus has mentioned before, back in Ch 14. “In that day,” at Pentecost, when the H.S. comes. Up until Jesus’ ascension the disciples asked Jesus everything. When Jesus goes away and the Spirit comes, the answers to all their questions will come from God’s revealed truth thru scripture and thru the Holy Spirit. Today as believers we have direct access to God. We can go directly to God the Father, in the name of God the Son thru the help of God the Holy Spirit. All of this is available to us that our joy may be full.

How do you have peace in the midst of everything that is about to happen? Jesus’ gives a divine promise.

 V 25-26, Everything Jesus taught was all about the Father. He has been revealing God to them. Jesus reveals the Father. Up to this point what Jesus has said has often been in veiled language, in parables, not completely clear to the disciples. What Jesus said often required further explaining. “The hour is coming” is a reference to sending the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth who will remove this veil. The writing of the NT – the completion of the four gospels, the letters of Paul, Peter, John and others are clear – the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the truth. When the Holy Spirit comes you will have direct access to the Father. When we pray to God in the name of Jesus what does that mean. Something like this: “Father, I am here because your Son Jesus sent me. He told me to come.”

V 27-33 Jesus leaves His disciples with words of love, faith and hope


27 Why do we as Christians receive all the promises Jesus has mentioned in these chapters? Because God loves us! The word “love” used in v 27 is not “agape” love like we are used to seeing when talking about God’s love. Here it is a “phileo” love, family love. He loves us with a personal affection. He loves us even though He knows all about us – the good, bad and the ugly. Unconditional love. And God loves us this way as believers, this special personal intimate love, because we have loved Jesus. If you love the Son whom God loves, then He loves you. How do you know if you love Jesus? John 14:21 keep His commandments. What is the definition of a Christian – one who loves the Lord Jesus Christ.


27b - 28 “have believed that I came from God.” This is fundamental to being a believer in Jesus Christ. This is the crux of the Gospel message. Believing Jesus came from God and took on human flesh. Did the disciples believe this? Yes.

29 “We get it!” We understand what You are saying.”

30 – The confession of what the disciples believe.

31 – the Greek structure: “You are believing now. You understand.”

Don’t you wish that’s where we could end it. On a high note. The disciples who had been so obtuse now get it. But that’s not the case. Look at the next verse – the harsh reality, back to earth…

32 He knew they were true believers. He knew they were loved by the Father. But He also knew their faith was weak – they were going to scatter in just a couple of hours! Even the sword-wielding Peter would run away and hide in the shadows and deny Jesus before a little servant girl. A word of warning here – don’t overestimate your faith. Live humbly and be diligent to strengthen your faith. There is a maturing process. Paul said, “when we are faithless He remains faithful.”


33 A closing word of hope by our Lord just before He leaves them. The disciples looked with fear on what was about to happen. And sometimes we look around at our circumstances and wonder if things could get any worse. Jesus says, “Take courage.” He has overcome the world. His victory is our victory. 1 Jn 5:4-5: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

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John 16:1-22

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