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146. Work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:1-15)
As long as Jesus had been with his disciples, the full force of people’s opposition had been directed at him, not at them. Now that he was about to leave them, he warned them that this hatred would be turned on them (John 16:1-4). However, because of their grief concerning his coming departure, they scarcely understood his warning. Nor could they see the joy that lay before him in being reunited with his Father (John 16:5-6).
When Jesus departed, the Holy Spirit would come to take Jesus’ place with his disciples, to defend them and accuse their opponents. He would show the world to be wrong in three things in particular - sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-8). He would show that sin is the cause of unbelief in Jesus; that Jesus’ death is the way to God, a fact that is proved by his resurrection and ascension; and that judgment on sinners is certain because Satan has been conquered by Jesus’ death (John 16:9-11).
Jesus could tell his disciples no more at that time, as they were too grief-stricken to take it in. After he left them, the Holy Spirit would instruct them further and help them to understand. The teaching of the Spirit would not be something new, but a development of the teaching they had already heard from Jesus. It would concern both the present and the future (John 16:12-15).
147. Difficulties ahead for the disciples (John 16:16-33)
Within the next twenty-four hours Jesus would be taken from his disciples, but three days later, after his resurrection, they would see him again. Their sorrow would be replaced by joy, just as a woman’s pains before giving birth are replaced by joy after the child is born (John 16:16-22). Jesus’ victory through death and resurrection would give them a confidence in God that they never had before. They would see Jesus Christ as the mediator through whom they could confidently pray to the Father and thankfully receive the Father’s blessings (John 16:23-24).
After his resurrection Jesus would no longer need to speak to the disciples in figurative language, because the resurrection would give them a clearer view of the purpose of his mission. Also, no longer would they depend on Jesus to do their praying for them. They would learn to approach the Father personally and with confidence. Yet even this would be possible only because of who Jesus was and what he had done (John 16:25-28).
The disciples’ faith was strengthened by Jesus’ words, but they did not realize that a few hours later their faith would be put to the test. Frightened and confused they would forsake their Lord in his final hours. But the lapse would only be temporary; through his victory, they also would triumph (John 16:29-33).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 16". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29