Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
John 16

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-11

12 As the Lord had explained in His kingdom proclamation, the whole law was included in the one word, love. Love to God and love to man is far more than all the precepts of the law. So, in His final charge, as He is about to give them the greatest example of love the universe has seen or ever will see, in the offering of His soul to God for the sin of the world, He presses home to their hearts the excellent way of love. Paul, in his appeal to us, the Uncircumcision, lays even greater stress on love. We have no law, no precepts. But love remains, and conduct in accord with love needs no law, but soars far above all its righteous demands.

16 Too often is salvation made a matter of the sinner's choice. This sadly mars the full and clear apprehension of God's love which it is intended to reveal. All active effort in redemption is the outflow of divine love, and is entirely on God's side. All the sinner's activity is a hindrance, He would choose anyone but God. His part is a passive or a negative one. This basic truth is much more forcibly revealed later on in connection with the call of the nations. We were chosen by God in Christ before the disruption. Sin itself was subsequent to His choice of us. Hence, sin, either past or present, cannot affect God's purpose for us, or our acceptance of His grace. He chooses, He calls, He glorifies. He does not give man his choice or a chance. He has the wisdom and the power to impel men to fall into line with His purpose no matter what their natural inclination may be. All human experience confirms the divine declaration that He it is Who is operating in us to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight ( Php_2:13 ). Man can carry out his own will only so far as it accords with the purpose of God. When men rage against God, He uses their wrath as far as it is useful to His plans. The remainder of their wrath He restrains.

1 There is no hatred like religious hatred, no persecution so fierce as that fired by a mistaken zeal for God. Not only were the apostles persecuted in their day, but the truth of God is just as offensive to the recognized heads of Christendom now as it was to the chief priests of Judaism then. Those who boldly defend some doctrine, will just as boldly do their best to denounce and destroy the testimony to a truth of which they are ignorant, or which conflicts with their accepted creed. Happy is that servant of God who bares his brow to the storm in the consciousness that God not only knew and knows of all the opposition to His truth by the religious world, but who realizes that this also is apart of His purpose. Lack of success will not sadden, apparent failure will not make him faint. His only real defeat will follow any attempt to retaliate. Let us never be found on the side of those who persecute. Blessed (not happy!) are the persecuted! Their reward is sure. May His grace enable us to enjoy suffering for Him!

8 The world is to be convicted on three counts by the spirit, now that Christ is absent. His sinless life, His righteousness, His proclamation of the kingdom all cease with His return to His Father. But all are used by the spirit to convict the world. Even the unbeliever is convinced that all have sinned except the Christ of the Scriptures. No other man is acknowledged to have been perfectly just. They assent to the injustice of His judgment. If we make "the Chief of this world" a title of Satan we involve ourselves in a maze of difficulties. If the world or God had judged Satan, how would that convict the world? And he certainly has not been judged yet. Christ is the great Chief of the world. He was judged and crucified by it. We question whether any sane man, today, will justify its action. The world has been convicted or convinced by the spirit of truth even though it knows it not.

11 The three occurrences of the title "Chief of this world" ( Joh_12:31 , Joh_14:30 , Joh_16:11 ) are most difficult and contradictory if assigned to Satan, but clear and consistent if connected with Christ.

Verses 12-33

12 The words of our Lord preserved for us in the four accounts of His life come very far from giving us all that He had to say. They were sadly limited by the incapacity of His hearers. Even His closest disciples could not understand some of the simplest facts, simply told. They would not listen to the story of His supreme sacrifice. His temporary departure was a puzzle to them. As the great galaxy of truth subsequently revealed depends on His shameful death and glorious exaltation for its very foundation, how could they begin to understand?

Hence it will be seen that the transcendent truths of Scripture should not be sought in the words of our Lord, but in the subsequent utterances of the spirit of truth. Furthermore, much could not be revealed until Israel had once more definitely refused the proclamation of the kingdom by the apostles, as recorded in the book of Acts. This, and the fact that the spirit is given a much larger place in Paul's ministry than ever before, leads us to look in his epistles for the supreme revelation. And a thorough study will convince us that this is so, for he it is who reveals those secrets which enabled him to "complete the word of God" ( Col_1:25 ). He takes us back before Genesis ( Eph_1:4 ), and brings us far beyond the Unveiling ( 1Co_15:24 ). Any system of theology which plays our Lord's words against Paul's, or does not recognize the predominant place of Paul's epistles for the present, is in practical opposition to the plain statement made by our Lord Himself. Much of what our Lord wished to say He has spoken through His apostles, by means of that spirit of truth which would enable them to apprehend what would otherwise be beyond them. The great apostasy of the present time is largely fortified by the refusal to heed these clear declarations of the Lord Himself. The truth especially given for the nations is ignored and the truth intended only for the Circumcision, more especially that taught by our Lord, is wrested from its place and forced into a position for which it was never intended.

27 There is a common but false feeling that God is a stern Judge but Christ a lenient Saviour. This is very wrong, for Christ is but a reflection of the Father. Christ Himself in His time will be a Judge and deal out justice. But let us not imagine that He came to appease God’s wrath entirely of His own volition. All that He did was in obedience to the will of God and in order to display the heart of God. It is a sure sign of true spiritual progress when we are enabled to look through Christ to the God that He portrays.

28 His miraculous entry into the world is more than matched by His marvelous exit. He alone knew what His childlike words implied: "I am leaving the world and going to the Father:" Little did His disciples dream of the shame and suffering, distress and death that lay upon that appalling path to the Father!

31 Their belief in His return to the Father fled when the hour of His trial arrived. Had they believed they would not have forsaken Him at a time when He needed them most.

32 Compare Mat_26:31 ; Mar_14:27 .

33 "I have conquered the world." Who thinks of the lowly Nazarene as a world conqueror? Who would include Him in such a list? The world would mention Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Napoleon. These have written their names in blood on the bar sinister of the world's escutcheon. No one gives them homage now. The sober and sane shudder at their sinful excesses. Christ is the real world conqueror! He has held the homage of men's hearts and will bend them into perfect acquiescence with the will of God.

3 The knowledge of God is not given as the definition of eonian life, but eonian life is imparted that they may be knowing Him. Eonian life is life during the eons of Christ's reign and glory. Two methods are used by Him to acquaint His saints with Himself. First, they are left to taste the sorrows of sin at a distance from Him. Then, in the eons of the eons, in glorious fellowship with His Son, each high tide of bliss will mark some new discovery of His love, some fresh token of His affection.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 16". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/john-16.html. 1968.
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