-Jesus begins this chapter of His continued dialog with His disciples just before His incarceration and looming crucifixion with this specified purpose, “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.” He knew the future and was preparing His faithful followers for what was about to happen. He did not want to lose a single soul. They would be cast out of the synagogue, just like the blind man the Lord had healed (John 9:34). They would be killed by people thinking, in error, they were offering a service unto God. The Messiah warned of the coming storm because of the rejection that would be out of ignorance. These people who professed to be religious did not know the Father or the Son. Jesus called His disciples to remember these things which He spoke. They could not have borne this information earlier, but now they had to handle this truth. The moment was huge. Jesus told them figuratively that He was going to Him who sent Him. Because of this, His disciples were filled in heart with sorrow. But Jesus made an encouraging statement that they did not comprehend initially, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you (indwelling form); but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” He had much more to tell them, but in His omniscience, He knew they could not bear any more at that time. However, He again assured them that the Holy Spirit was coming as the Spirit of truth to guide them into all veracity based on the Father’s will for what was to come. The Spirit would be sent speaking the words of God by what He hears and not of His own initiative. This was just like Christ’s ministry, but it would be multiplied into every believer. A new age was coming. The Holy Spirit would glorify Jesus and take care of the Messiah’s people disclosing everything needed (John 16:1-15).
-Jesus was teaching vast Trinitarian doctrine here, but these things were difficult to understand for these 1st Century believers. Jesus’ oxymoron comment, “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me” confounded His disciples leading them to ask what this could possibly mean. They did not have a clue as to what He was talking about; although, we can now easily recognize it as the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah with the consequential manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus perceived that they wished to question Him and stated, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” Then He related this to a woman in childbirth. She has intense pain as her hour comes, but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish she had suffered because of the joy that has been brought into the world. He reinforced the fact that while they would have grief for a time, He would surely see them again and that their hearts would rejoice with no one to ever take that feeling away. In that day, Jesus said, they would not question anything any longer, and if they asked anything in the Son’s Name before the Father, He would grant it. Up until that point, they had not asked anything in Jesus’ Name, but He told them to ask so that they would receive and that their joy would be made full. He acknowledged His speech was in figurative language, but now He would tell them plainly about the Father. God loved them because they had loved His Son and believed that He came forth from the Father. Jesus said, “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” His disciples now responded, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” Jesus now concludes, “Do you now believe? 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. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:16-33).”
-*Application*- We too often misinterpret or have misunderstandings about things of a spiritual nature when it comes to the pain of waiting, or intense times of suffering. As Matt Thiessen of Reliant K has said, “When a nightmare finally does unfold, perspective is a lovely hand to hold.” In times of struggle, it is essential to take these words of the Master and hold on to them. Our joy will be unspeakable, and the blessings will soon give birth as we believe in the Name of Jesus to full effect. So have peace and take courage my friends. Enjoy the ride through this world in perfect trust of the One who has overcome it. The way of the cross is redemption. It is all part of His plan. Sorrow may be in the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Verse to Memorize: John 16:33