THE VALEDICTORY SERMON
John 14-16. Now that the Passover meal has been enjoyed, and that celebrated Mosaic institution totally eclipsed by bloody Calvary, normally verified and abolished forever, and the Eucharist instituted, our Lord proceeds to preach His Valedictory Sermon to the Eleven, poor Judas no longer in his place. As this is our Savior’s Farewell, our appreciation is certainly intensified to the very utmost. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” They are all flooded with trouble over what Jesus has told them about immediately going away from them, thus upsetting their sanguine anticipations of His eternal perpetuity with them, as they believe Christ will abide forever (Daniel 7:14), applying the prophecies appertaining to the second coming to the first, really thinking the Messiah would come but once.
“In the house of My Father are many mansions.” The Father’s house includes the vast celestial universe. Astronomy has revealed one hundred and seventeen millions of suns. Our sun is attended by ten great worlds, most of them much larger than this. Hence, you see, the conclusion follows that one billion one hundred and seventy millions of worlds have proximately been reached by telescopic observation. So rest assured there are many mansions. Our earth, originally one of those mansions, but much out of kelter by reason of Satanic invasion, is even now being refitted, and will erelong be restored, shine with a luster eclipsing Eden, and become one of those bright celestial mansions, occupied by saints and angels to shine and shout forever.
“But if not, I would have told you; because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” O blessed thought, to abide with Jesus forever! “And whither I go, ye know the way.” He is now introducing a beautiful and glorious truth, which solves the problem, over which they were so much troubled, as to His departure and the possibility of following Him. “Thomas says to Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how do we know the way?” Thomas was the chronic doubter, always taking the dark side of every picture; slow, but sure; the very opposite of Peter. Both of them, however, were all right after the fires of Pentecost consumed the doubts of the one and the cowardice of the other.
“Jesus says to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.” O what a comprehensive affirmation! If you want to know the way to heaven, just take Jesus for your Paragon. He had no sin, and He says that we shall be like Him. Therefore get Him to take all your sin away, so you can live and die like Him, and you are all right. You want the truth, and can not be saved without it. You have nothing to do but to take Jesus Himself, the blessed Bible being your constant companion. Do not trouble yourself with creeds, nor human dogmatism of any kind, looking to mortal guides. You are going to an immortal heaven. None but the Immortal Jesus can lead you. You want life eternal. Jesus Himself is that Life. If you have Him in your heart, you already have the Life which can never die.
“No one cometh to the Father but through Me. If you have known Me, you shall know My Father also; and henceforth you know Him and have seen Him. Philip says to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”
St. Paul’s Church in London, occupying a whole square, is the largest in the Protestant world. When Dr. Fisk was preaching in it, endeavoring to tell his audience about their Heavenly Father, his eye, dropping on a superscription in large letters in the rear of the orchestra, read these words:
“Christopher Wren, architect, of this city and church, who lived more than ninety years, not for himself, but for the public. Reader, would you see his monument? Look around.” Then, proceeding, he said to his audience:
“Would you see the monument of your Heavenly Father? Just look around upon the glittering stars, the blazing sun, the queenly moon, moving amid the dazzling constellations; the verdant earth, with her majestic mountains, mighty oceans, and thundering seas, — and you see His monument.”
“Jesus says to him, Am I with you so long a time, Philip, and you do not know Me? The one having seen Me, has seen the Father; how do you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words which I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself; but the Father abiding in Me doeth His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; and if not, believe Me on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say unto you, He that believeth in Me, the works which I do, he shall do also; and greater works than these; because I go to My Father. And whatsoever you may ask in My name, this I will do, in order that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you may ask anything in My name, I will do it.” This prophecy was signally verified during the great Pentecostal revivals, when three thousand were converted in a day, and eight thousand within three days; when all Jerusalem was moved as never during the ministry of Jesus. Signal verifications of this prophecy mark the roll of ages down to the present day. Francis Xavier reports ten thousand converted in a day under his own ministry. Great multitudes pursued Jesus in His peregrinations, actuated by a diversity of motives — e. g., curiosity, criticism, and the loaves and fishes; while a few actually yielded to His interior spirit, gladly forsaking all for Him. You remember how that wonderful sermon, going down to the deep things of God, expounding bottom-rock sanctification, which He preached in the synagogue in Capernaum about the close of His second year, alienated a great host of His disciples, so that it seemed that He would almost be left alone?
“If you love Me with Divine love, keep My commandments.” This is the grand confirmation of discipleship — interior love, imparted in regeneration and perfected in sanctification, with a life of exemplary obedience to all of His commandments, constitute the sine qua non of New Testament Christianity.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” Parakletos, “Comforter,” is from para, “by your side,” and kaleo, “to call.” Hence it means one called by your side. O how blessed the reality to have the Omnipotent Comforter called down from heaven to walk by your side whithersoever you go! “The Spirit of truth,” because He is the Revelator of all truth, and as He alone understands it; consequently the Exponent of all truth. “Whom the world is not able to receive.” Consequently you must get out of the world before you can receive the Holy Comforter. Hence you see that the Zinzendorfian heresy, teaching that we get sanctified — i. e., receive the Holy Ghost as an indwelling Comforter — in conversion, flatly contradicts the Savior, who says the world can not receive Him. Ekklesia, “Church,” means “the called out;” i. e., those who have heard the call of the Holy Ghost and come out of the world, identifying themselves with God, constitute the Church. Hence the Comforter is given to the Church, and not to the world; i. e., sanctification is for Christians, and not for sinners. “Because it does not see Him, nor know Him.” Here you see that Jesus certifies that the unregenerate are utterly blind to the very existence of the Holy Ghost. “You know Him, because He abideth with you, and shall be in you.” Here you see plainly specified the difference between the regenerated and the sanctified, the Holy Ghost abiding with the former as an Illuminator, Teacher, Guide, and Protector; while in the case of the sanctified, He is actually dwelling in them, having taken up His abode in the heart, there to abide a blessed, Heavenly Guest, filling the soul with perennial sunshine, your life with constant victory, and your mind with glorious anticipations of the heavenly triumph the moment your work for Jesus is done. You see these facts illustrated in the case of the apostles, the Holy Ghost being with them from their conversion; but moving in and filling them in their Pentecostal experience, forever afterward dwelling in them, qualifying them all to enjoy a perpetual victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil, and go up to heaven wearing a martyr’s crown.
“I will not leave you orphans: I come to you. Yet a little while, the world sees Me no more; but you see Me: because I live, you shall live also.” He returned to them after His resurrection, putting an end to their bereavement; also, in the person of the Holy Ghost, coming on the day of Pentecost to abide with them. “In that day you shall know that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” In the day of their Pentecostal experience the blessed witness of the Spirit revealed to them the Father and the Son, inundating them with the full assurance of their personal salvation.
“The one having My commandments, and keeping them, he is the one loving Me with Divine love; he that loveth Me with Divine love shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and manifest Myself to him.” You see, the great problem of salvation is solved in the Divine agape, which the Holy Ghost alone can pour into your heart, and which is made perfect in the full sanctification, eliminating all antagonism, and giving it the undisputed dominion of soul, mind, and body.
“Judas, not Iscariot, says to Him, Lord, what was it that You are about to manifest Yourself unto us, and not unto the world?” You will find in the apostolical catalogue by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, an apostle by the name of Judas, who was also called Lebbeus and Thaddeus. This apostle is the author of the Epistle of Jude, his name being changed from Judas to Jude in order to clearly distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. You observe, also, that the brothers of our Lord were James, Judas, Simon, and Joses. It is claimed that James and Judas became apostles about the time of our Lord’s resurrection.
“Jesus responded, and said to him, If any one loves Me with Divine love, he will keep My words; and the Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” Our Savior gives a very plain specification here — the person loving Him with Divine love will keep His commandments, and the Father and the Son will make their abode with him, the Holy Spirit revealing to him the blessed, loving Father and the precious, Omnipotent Savior, the permanent, abiding Guests of his home, however humble it may be. With this description before you, you can not fail to identify the disciple of our Lord wherever you may see him.
“And he that loveth Me, keepeth My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but that of the Father who sent Me.” The specifications here are plain and unmistakable. Human love has no place in it. It is the holy agape, the very essence of God (1 John 4), which nothing but the Holy Ghost can impart, and which invariably verifies itself by a life of holy obedience.
“I have spoken these things unto you, abiding with you; but the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all things which I spoke to you.” O how infinitely precious the illumination of the indwelling Comforter, lighting up the intellect, quickening the apprehension, vivifying the diagnosis, invigorating the memory, pouring light on the blessed words of Jesus, and sending heavenly irradiations to interpenetrate every fiber of mind, soul, and spirit, thus making the precious words of Jesus a perpetual banquet to the appreciative heart!
“My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” This is an affectionate adieu He bids them, as the mob is already astir and everything in commotion, getting ready to come and lay violent hands on Him, to take His life.
“You heard that I said to you, I go, and I come to you. If you love Me, you would rejoice because I go to the Father; because the Father is greater than I.” Love always rejoices in the Divine administration, being in perfect harmony with it. You have frequently seen the identity of the Father and the Son certified, as even in this chapter. Then, how is the Father greater than the Son if they are identical, and of course equal? He is greater in position, being in heaven at that time, and the Son down on the earth, His enemies gritting their teeth with rage and thirsting for His blood.
“Now I have told you before it takes place, in order that when it may occur, you may believe.” Of course. His prophecy in reference to the treason of Judas, the denial of Peter, His own arrest, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, would prove to them an overwhelming confirmation of His Divinity after they had seen it all fulfilled, and thus become a mighty inspiration to their faith.
“I will no longer speak many things with you; for the ruler of this world cometh, and He hath nothing in Me.” That is a positive proof of our Lord’s perfectly pure humanity, as Satan really had nothing in Him. This is the standard of New Testament Christianity which all who go to heaven must reach, as Jesus says that we are to be like Him. There is but one way for us to be like Him, and that is for us to consecrate ourselves fully to Jesus, and trust Him to take everything out of us which Satan ever puts in us; and in what case we will be like Him. You also here see that Jesus pronounces Satan the “ruler of this world.” O how we see the Satanic administration in all the affairs of this world, even in the State, and so largely in the Church, multitudes of people in all countries actually worshipping Satan, believing him to be God!
“But in order that the world may know that I love the Father with Divine love, and as the Father sent Me, so do I.” The Father had sent Him into the world to redeem it by His vicarious death. O the depths of the Father’s love! “Arise, let us go hence.” Thus far our Lord has been sitting at the table, the supper having. taken place and the Eucharist having been administered. He is going away into Gethsemane, over the brook Kidron, on the slope of Mount Olivet. Now they rise up; but His heart is so flooded with these tremendous truths, and this is His last opportunity to speak to His disciples before He passes through the dark valley of death, consequently He proceeds, speaking on through Chapters fourteen and fifteen.
“I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me not bearing fruit, He taketh it away; and every one bearing fruit, He cleanseth it, in order that it may bear more fruit.” This is very plain. God takes away all backsliders — i.e., non-fruit-bearing branches — lest they encumber the Vine; meanwhile He sanctifies the regenerated — i.e., the fruit-bearing branches — in order that they may bear more fruit.
“Now, you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” This is in the present tense, denoting an existing fact, setting forth the Word as the constituted medium of spiritual purity. While the Holy Ghost is the efficient cause of sanctification, the blood is the Divine elixir, the Word the medium, and faith the condition. While this states a general truth, universally applicable, the apostles at that tithe being clean so far as the pollutions of actual transgression were concerned; yet, as the Word abundantly reveals, they needed a deeper purgation, which they received at Pentecost.
“As the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself unless it may abide in the vine, so you are not unless you abide in Me.” John Wesley says: “It is impossible for us to lay up a stock of holiness, as we really have no holiness except as we abide in Christ.” The moment we are separated from Him, our holiness evanesces, and we have nothing left but unholiness.
“I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” The Church of God is the body of Christ; i.e., all the people in the world who are really in Christ by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost. Hence the idea that religious denominations are branches of the Church of Christ is incorrect, that Church being an indivisible unit, including all the children of God; as you see here the Church is the vine, and the individual members the branches. “He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; because without Me you are not able to do anything.” Millions of Church members, who are in the world and not in Christ, vainly think they are working for God, when the devil in hell is chuckling over it, knowing that they are working for him, and actually worshipping him, believing him to be God, and delighted with him, because he puts his full approval on their sinning religion.
“If any one may not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather it, and east it into the fire, and it is burned.” The demons from the bottomless pit throng the atmosphere, gathering up the dry, withered branches, which the pruning-knife of the Holy Ghost has amputated from the Vine, and casting them into the lake of fire, where they are burned.
“If you may abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever you may wish , and it shall be done unto you.” Unutterably blessed promise! O how wonderfully consolatory! The soul abiding in Christ and Christ in him has nothing to do but ask everything he wants, and it is granted. The carnally-minded can not understand this, as they would ask for a thousand things detrimental to their spiritual good and heavenly hope. The soul blessed with this mutual abiding, desires nothing but God’s will as revealed by His Word, Spirit, and providence. This soul, lost in God’s will and blessed with the mutual abiding, actually does ask and receive constantly in the full realization of this precious promise.
“In this My Father is glorified, that you may bear much fruit, and shall be My disciples.” This blessed, spiritual fruit is the grand end for which God sent us into this world. Therefore He is more anxious to answer our prayers, and load us with the luscious grapes, like the vines of Eshcol, than we are to receive. Rest assured, He is neither poor nor stingy.
“As the Father loved Me, I indeed loved you; abide ye in My love.” This is the Divine agape all the time, here so copiously emphasized, the fruit of the Spirit, the essence and quintessence of the Christian religion, simple and plain. You seek, with radical repentance, confession, and faith, till the Holy Ghost pours into your heart the heavenly agape, and then go on till He makes that same love perfect by the complete purification of your heart from original sin.
“If you may keep My commandments, abide in My love; as I have kept the commandments of My Father, and I abide in His love.” Our Lord, as you see, makes no provision for sin. When you get this holy love, you can only abide in it by faithfully keeping His commandments, as otherwise you sever your connection with Christ, and forfeit this Divine love. You receive first- love in regeneration, which must abide till swallowed up by perfect love in sanctification, otherwise you become a backslider.
“I have spoken these things unto you, in order that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be full.” Here we see that we are to have our Savior’s joy. N. B — He never had the joy of pardon, because He never had any sins to be pardoned; but He always had the joy of purity, from the simple fact that He was always pure. Hence, you see, you must be sanctified wholly in order to receive the Savior’s joy.
“This is My commandment, That you may love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no one than that he may lay down his life for his friends.” You see here that our Lord lays a climacteric emphasis on the Divine agape, which is indigenous in Him and exotic in us, poured out into our hearts by the Holy Ghost. (Romans 5:5.) You see the Lord hangs the issues of time and eternity, heaven and hell, on “love.” Wholesale delusions sweep over the Churches like withering siroccos, Satan especially, through carnal preachers, manipulating the people into the dreamy hallucination that this is carnal human love, such as the natural man exercises toward his wife, children, comrades, and friends. The word our Savior uses constantly is not native in the fallen human heart, but in God, and can only be received when imparted by the Holy Spirit. Churches are filled up with members on a profession that they love the Lord and the brethren, which is true; but it is only carnal love, and no salvation in it. How can I know that I have the genuine Divine agape, on which the Savior here lays such tremendous emphasis? That problem is easily solved. If you have the same love which actuated Jesus to come down and die for a guilty world, who are not only aliens, but implacable enemies who conspired against Him and took His life, then you will love your enemies sufficiently to die for them. The human philia will love your friends, but allow you to hate your enemies; while the Divine agape loves friends and enemies indiscriminately.
However, in the latter case the love assumes the form of pity and sympathy, while in the former it assumes that of admiration and appreciation.
“You are My friends, if you may do whatsoever I command you.” Hence you see from this affirmation that the people who claim to love Jesus and commit sin are all liars. If they really loved Him, they would die rather than commit a known and willing sin, which you know to be the very opposite of obedience.
“I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what his lord doeth; I have called you friends, because I made known to you all things which I heard with My Father.” The Bible is a most wonderful book, revealing the deep things of God and the heavenly state. The very fact that it is appreciated, loved, and enjoyed by so few people, is demonstrative proof that the multitudes of this world are not traveling to heaven, as in that case they would be searching diligently day and night to ascertain the character of God in heaven,
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” This is a beautiful affirmation of the prevenient grace, administered by the Holy Spirit to God’s elect, calling and wooing them before they have even thought about seeking the Lord. While the election is mutual, yet grace leads the way, making the first overtures, which we have only to reciprocate in order to make our calling and election sure. “And have put you forth, in order that you may go and bear fruit, and your fruit may abide; in order that whatsoever you may ask the Father in My name, He may give unto you.” This is one of the passages on which. Church ordination is founded, as E. V. translates etheka humas, “I have... ordained you,” which is a simple effort off the part of the translators to defend Church authority, etheka having no such a meaning as ordain.
You will find the same fact true in every case where the E. V. uses the word ordain, there being no such an institution as ecclesiastical ordination in the New Testament. The only example we have is the case of the Church at Antioch, gathering around Paul and Barnabas, praying, laying hands on them, and invoking the enduement of the Holy Ghost to qualify them for the arduous and perilous evangelistic tour they were about to enter upon. This is all right, and cannot be too highly appreciated, there being no New Testament authority for the pompous, papistical, prelatical, and clerical ordination, which was foisted upon the Church during the Dark Ages, and around which a world of superstition has accumulated, and out of which have developed terrible tyranny, autocracy, ostracism, and persecution. The Lord’s people should certainly follow the example of the Antiochian saints in the consecration of brothers and sisters who feel called by the Holy Ghost to preach the living Word.
“I command these things to you, in order that you may love one another with Divine love.” This memorable farewell sermon of our Savior emphasizes, echoes, and reverberates this superlative commandment, that we shall all exercise the very love toward one another which brought Him down from heaven to die for a guilty world.
“If the world hate you, know that it first hated Me.” The love of the world has proved Satan’s chief battering-ram, demolishing the walls of Zion in all ages.
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out from the world, on this account the world hates you.” The world hated Jesus enough to kill Him, and in a similar manner hates all of His elect. So beware of the friendship of the world, lest it prove Satan’s trap-door, dropping you into hell.
“Remember the word which I spoke to you, The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept My word, they will also keep yours.” You here see the counterfeit of all popular religion, which goes with the world; as in the case of the true there never can be any harmony, but eternal antagonism, similar to that between Jesus and Satan, who is the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4.)
“But they will do all of these things to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One sending Me.” Our Lord is here forewarning His disciples of the implacable hostility, persecution, and martyrdom which will most assuredly characterize all of their contact with the world.
“If I did not come and speak to them, they had not sinned; but now they have no apology for their sin.” Responsibility is tremendously augmented by opportunity. Infinitely better for people never to hear the gospel, and take chances for God’s uncovenanted mercies, than to hear it and reject it.
“He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also.” Those preachers and Church officers who killed Him, were so deluded by Satan as to believe that they loved God, when they hated Jesus with the very venom of the bottomless pit, thus demonstrating their implacable hatred to God. And yet they stood at the head of the Church, paragon illustrations of Satanic hallucination. N.B. — The same thing is going on now.
“If I had not done the works among them which no other one did, they had not had sin; but now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father.”
The holiness movement this day is piling mountains of responsibility on the professors of Christianity in all lands.
“But in order that the word having been written in their law may be fulfilled. They hated Me without a cause. When the Comforter, whom I shall send unto you from the Father may come, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, He will testify concerning Me.” The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus, His great work being to reveal, magnify, and glorify the Son of God in the salvation of the world. “And you also testify, because you are with Me from the beginning.” The Lord’s true disciples, like the Holy Ghost, are always magnifying Jesus and witnessing to His glory.
“I have spoken these things unto you, that you may not be offended.” He knew the world, the flesh, and the devil would combine against His disciples, consequently He predicts the bloody ordeals that await them, thus putting them on their guard, lest they be jostled and their faith shaken.
“They will put you out of the synagogues;” i.e., turn you out of the Church, as we nowadays see so frequently in the case of the holiness people. Therefore you must fully consecrate your Church membership with everything else, and not be surprised, upset, nor in any way disturbed, if they turn you out of the Church simply because you are true to God. Jesus must be first, and everything else secondary and subordinate. When you are thus persecuted, ostracized, and excommunicated, Jesus says, “Leap for joy.” ( Luke 4:23.) “But the hour cometh when every one killing you may think that he is offering a sacrifice to God.” How signally has this prophecy of our Savior been verified! The pagan emperors in the ensuing three centuries killing a hundred millions, and the Romanists a hundred millions more. If this sounds extravagant, count in the Moslem martyrdoms, and they will make up all apprehended deficiency.
“They will do these things because they do not know the Father nor Me.” These martyrdoms, here predicted by our Lord, were all perpetrated by people claiming to be the true saints of God, thus illustrating the wonderful potency of Satanic delusion and intrigue.
“But I have spoken these things unto you, in order that when the hour may come, you may remember that I said them to you.” Prophecies are invaluable guarantees against surprise, unsettlement, and the delusions of the enemy in a general sense, who so adroitly tells the persecuted saints that their troubles are Divine castigations for their sins, showing that they are not right. The priest used to walk out to the burning stake with the martyr, holding up his Bible, begging her to recant and live, and at the same time assuring her that the flames of martyrdom are but the prelude of hell’s devouring fires, into which she will go down from the consuming flame. If we only know the blessed Word of the Lord, we are amply fortified at every point of the diabolical compass.
“I did not speak these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.” While He was with them, they suffered no persecution, because it was all concentrated on Jesus. But since her Divine Spouse, who protected her so heroically while with her, has ascended up to heaven, the widowed Church is awfully persecuted by the devil.
“Now I go to Him that sent Me, and no one of you asks Me, Whither are you going? But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.” They were flooded with grief because He had told them that He was going away to leave them. “But I speak the truth to you, that it is profitable to you that I may depart.” His ascension to heaven marked a grand epoch in the development of the redemptive scheme, illustrating incontestably His Messiahship, and becoming the grand fulcrum on which the lever of justifying and sanctifying faith rests through all subsequent ages.
“For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send Him to you.” The Holy Ghost had been in the world in all ages, convicting, illuminating, regenerating, sanctifying, and edifying the people. Yet the ascension and glorious coronation of Jesus marked an epoch in the history of redemption so decisive and exceedingly prominent as to bring in a new era in the execution of the redemptive economy, and actually to superinduce the new cognomen of Comforter. He comforted Abel in his dying hour; Enoch in a three-hundred-years’ walk with God; Noah, while warning the antediluvians of the coming flood, one hundred and twenty years; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, Moses, and all the prophets and Old Testament saints. Yet in their case He could only comfort them by lighting up the Messianic prophecies, pointing to the coming Savior. Now, since these prophecies have all become matter-of-fact history, O what wonderful leverage has the Holy Ghost acquired, flooding the soul with the blessed assurance that the atonement is made, the world redeemed, hell defeated, Satan cast down, God reconciled, the redemptive scheme fully accepted in heaven, Jesus, our King, enthroned at the right hand of the Heavenly Majesty, pleading for us in glory, and coming back to sweep sin and misery from the globe, imprison the prince of darkness in the bottomless pit, envelop the globe in millennial glory, populating heaven with the countless millions of the Abrahamic covenant, and finally expurgating the earth with the sanctifying fires, speaking into glorious victory the new heaven and new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness, thus restoring this fallen world to its long-vacated place in the Celestial Empire, the soldiers’ bounty of the sainted heroes, to shine and shout with unfallen angels forever! Such are the wonderful facilities of consolation, pertinent to all the children of God, that the Holy Ghost, illuminating and appropriating these tremendous realities and unutterably inspiring the human spirit, is appropriately and significantly denominated the Comforter.
“And having come, He will convict, the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.” Elenchsei, “will convict,” is a very strong word, literally meaning the arrest and prosecution of a criminal before a civil court. “Reprove,” E. V., is entirely too weak a translation of this verb, which really describes the Holy Ghost as going out, like the sheriff, arresting every criminal, and bringing him to trial. The fact revealed is really grand and glorious. When, like the Pentecostians in their ten-days’ prayer- meeting, we hold on to God with the pertinacity of unwavering faith till he pours down His Spirit on the Church in this extraordinary enduement, the result is that He goes out, arrests sinners, and brings them to trial before the tribunal of their own guilty consciences, now quickened and electrified with heavenly dynamite, thus superinducing that awful state of conviction which reveals an open hell, and the devil roaring like a lion ready to devour them without mercy, till the people fall like dead men, as on the day of Pentecost. Satan keeps the Church blinded to her wonderful availability, thus sleeping on, unconscious of her power, while the people all around are dropping into hell. You see from this statement of Jesus that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Church, in His sanctifying power, is the normal antecedent of mighty convictions on the sinners.
“Concerning sin, indeed, because they believed no on Me.” The exegesis of this is obvious. If the sinners believed on Jesus, their sins would all be taken away. Consequently they bear their own blood and seal their own perdition, as Jesus has settled the whole matter, and they have nothing to do but abandon all sin and put their trust in Him, thus becoming the happy recipients of His free, pardoning mercy.
“And concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you see Me no more.” Dikaiosune, “righteousness,” is the regular word for justification. Now, we must remember that the ascension of Jesus to His Father is the positive and unequivocal confirmation of His Christhood, thus becoming the fulcrum on which the mighty lever of justification and sanctification must rest, while we actually pry up and tilt forever away the great mountains of sin which have accumulated on us during years of black drudgery in the devil’s kingdom. When Archimedes, the illustrious Greek philosopher, discovered the wonderful lever, the greatest mechanical power, such was his assurance of its reliable efficiency that he gave himself notoriety for the bold maxim, Dos pou sto, kai ton kosmon kineso, “Give me a place where I may stand, and I will move the world,” which is literally true of the lever power. But O how significantly real do we find it in the plan of salvation, when we take the lever of sanctifying faith and toss the world out of our own heart!
“And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” Until Jesus died on the cross, Satan browbeat every sinner, either telling him his sins were too small for God to notice them, or too great to be forgiven. Consequently, in either case, the conclusion is, “Enjoy the world while you can.” While Satan thought if he could kill Jesus his dominion over the world would be settled and fixed forever, as he would then have nothing to do but reign without a rival, yet really that bloody tragedy satisfied the violated law, expiated the guilt of a lost world, consummated the redemption from under the curse of the law, and demolished Satan’s usurped claim forever, thus superinducing that preliminary fall which exposes him to signal defeat through the rolling centuries, and will culminate in his final arrest, ejectment, and incarceration in the dark pandemonium when our Lord returns in the effulgence of His glory.
“I yet have many things to say to you; but you are not able to bear them now .” Before the full salvation baptism of Pentecost they were comparatively weak, being yet in spiritual minority. “But when He may come, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you into all truth for He will not speak of Himself, but so many things as He hears He will speak, and will proclaim to you those things which are coming.” The Holy Ghost, after His descension on the day of Pentecost continued the revelation of truth which Jesus had begun giving us Acts of the Apostles and all of the wonderful epistles, winding up with that glorious book of prophecies revealed to His servant John in the Apocalyptic visions. “He will glorify Me; because He will take from Mine, and proclaim unto you” i.e., the grand office of the Holy Ghost is to reveal to us the things of Christ, which He has done in all the subsequent New Testament Scriptures, and is still doing by illuminating, expounding, and revealing the deep things of God.
“All things, so many as the Father has, are Mine; therefore I said, He takes of Mine, and proclaims to you.” You see that the office of the Holy Ghost is to reveal the wonders of the Christhood, the stupendous latitude, longitude, and altitude of redeeming love, shining down into the deep interior of the human spirit, irradiating the mind, interpenetrating the entire spiritual being, gloriously flooding us with light from heaven, and empowering us, lost in contemplation of the Divine majesty and glory, to sink away into God, the world, with all its vanities, follies, and vices, waning into total eclipse.
“A little while, and you see Me no more; and again, a little while, and you shall see Me; because I go to the Father. Then some of His disciples were saying to one another, What is this which He says to us, A little while, and you shall see Me, and that I go to the Father? Then they said, What is this little while of which He speaks? We know not what He says. Jesus knew that they wished to ask Him, and said to them, You are seeking with one another concerning this, because I said, A little while, and you see Me not; and again, a little while, and you see Me? Truly, truly, I say unto you, That you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will mourn, but your mourning shall be turned into joy.” Though He had repeatedly predicted to them His death, resurrection, and ascension, down to this date they had no light on it, and no apprehension of it. It must be predicted, in order to the completion of the prophetical curriculum, which becomes the basis of faith for all future generations. Yet is said that is was held from them. This was really necessary to prevent a popular revolution, as the disciples and hosts of others would have fought in His defense, thus precipitating on the country a bloody revolution. You see here from His talk that He is simply alluding to His interment in the sepulcher, when they will see Him no more for a little while, followed by the resurrection, rendering Him again conspicuous to their vision.
“When a woman may bring forth, she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when the little child may be born, she remembers her suffering no more, on account of her joy because a man is born into the world.” This is a very comprehensive metaphor, not only applying to Christian experience, when the agonizing penitent sweeps gloriously into life, but its application to the history of the Church is quite extensive. Terrible was the suffering of the drowning antediluvians, out of whose death-pang was born the new, postdiluvian world. Awful was the suffering amid the plagues of Egypt, the destroying angel hewing down the first-born in every home, and Pharaoh’s army drowned in the Red Sea; yet out of these death-pangs the great nation of Israel was born. Awful was the suffering: when Jerusalem was destroyed, a million slain by sword, pestilence, and famine, and a million more sold into slavery; yet out of those death-pangs was born the Gentile Gospel Church. Awful will be the suffering when the bloody billows of Armageddon shall roll over this world, putting an end to the present age; yet out of the death-pangs of the Gentile dispensation will be born the glorious millennium. How awful when this world will be all wrapped in fire, cremating out of it not only all sin, but all the effects of sin; yet out of those purgatorial fires will be born a new heaven and a new earth!
“Therefore you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one taketh your joy from you.” The joy following the resurrection was permanent and abiding, as death had no more dominion over Him. “And in that day you will not ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I say unto you, that whatsoever you may ask the Father He will give unto you in My name. Hitherto you have asked nothing in My name; ask, and you shall receive in order that your joy may be complete.” Before Jesus ascended up to heaven, the people of God did not ask in His name, because they were not certain that He was the Christ. Of course, in all bygone ages they offered their petitions in the name of the Redeemer God had promised to send into the world. But now, since they knew that this Jesus is the Christ, they all ask in His name specifically and personally.
“I have spoken these things to you in parables. But the hour cometh when I will no longer speak to you in parables, but openly will I proclaim to you concerning the Father.” The Old Testament is symbolic; the gospel of our Savior parabolic, by way of accommodation to our finite capacities, as the plan of salvation was not yet ostensibly perfected and the history of redemption complete. You see no parables in Acts, Epistles, and Revelation, but straight truth, enunciated categorically.
“In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say that I will ask the Father concerning you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.” While, of course, Jesus intercedes for us, as He here says, the Father will answer and bless us, because of His own love for us, as well as that of Christ.
“I came forth from the Father, and I have come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples say, Behold, now Thou art talking openly, and speaking no parable. Now we know that Thou knowest all things, and that Thou hast no need that any one may ask Thee; in this we believe that Thou hast, come forth from God. Jesus responded to them, Do you now believe? Behold, the hour has come when you may be scattered abroad, each one into his own place, and leave Me alone; and I am not alone, because My Father is with Me.” N.B. — They are yet in that upper chamber on Mount Zion, where they ate the Passover meal and celebrated the Eucharist. In a few minutes they go away to Gethsemane, where they all take fright, escape for their lives, and leave Him alone, literally fulfilling His prophecy here enunciated.
“I have spoken these things to you, in order that you may have peace.” The prophecies including all the perils which awaited them, of course, in due time illustrated the verity of all these wonderful, consecutive events, enabling them intelligently to apprehend and acquiesce joyfully, seeing that everything is in its place. Consequently faith has the victory. “In the world you have, tribulation but take courage; I have conquered the world.” This winds up our Savior’s valedictory sermon, following the Last Supper, the very night of His betrayal.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on John 16". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany