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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
John 16

Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of JohnHarvey's Notes on John

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Verse 1

John 16:1

During this conversation, Jesus had told His disciples that He would be leaving them (John 13:33, John 14:2, John 14:28). Additionally, He told them they would be hated (John 15:18-19) and persecuted (John 15:20) for His sake. Although He promised them a comforter to teach them and encourage them after He was gone (John 14:16-18, John 14:26-27), what Jesus told them about the future was unexpected. Whatever their hopes and dreams for their futures were with Christ before, they were finding out that there would actually be difficult trials and troubles ahead.

When things don’t go our way, and we think that the Lord should have kept us safe from harm, it is easy for us to blame God. Jesus told them in advance how it would be after He was gone, so that they would continue in the faith (John 14:29) and wouldn’t be surprised when it happened. If we are paying attention, the Lord will give us advance warning of upcoming difficulties. With such a good and caring God, how can we be offended by Him?

Our God does care for us, but sometimes we doubt whether God really is watching out for us. After John the Baptist’s arrest (Matthew 14:3), he began to doubt Jesus. While in prison, John sent messengers to Christ asking if Jesus was the one after all (Matthew 11:2-3, Luke 7:17-20). Jesus responded by pointing out the miracles done in the Father’s name (Matthew 11:4-5, Luke 7:21-22), and then He said that we will be blessed if we are not offended in Him during troubles (Matthew 11:6, Luke 7:23). Doubts can come naturally, but we can trust God and not believe our doubts (see notes on John 8:47). Remember all the good things the Lord has done for us.

Verse 2

John 16:2

To the tribulations Jesus already foretold them they would experience (see notes on John 16:1), he added that they would be excommunicated from Jewish affiliation and killing them would then be seen as a purging of God’s people.

Verse 3

John 16:3

See notes on John 16:1-2.

People who truly know the Lord, love Him and those whom He loves (John 8:42, John 13:35, Romans 13:9, James 2:8, 1 John 4:11, 1 John 4:12). With the love of God in our hearts, how could we persecute anyone (1 John 4:20)?

Verse 4

John 16:4

See notes on John 16:1.

Verse 5

John 16:5

Wait a minute... Peter asked Him in John 13:36, and Thomas was interested, as we see in John 14:5. What then did Jesus mean, “none of you asketh me?” Well, Jesus had said again in John 14:28 that He was leaving, but no one had asked again, because they were less concerned about Jesus’ leaving than they were about their own upcoming troubles (John 16:1, John 16:6).

Verse 6

John 16:6

See notes on John 16:5.

Verse 7

John 16:7

The disciples didn’t want Jesus to leave them, but He explained that it was both necessary and advantageous to them and their mission (John 16:8-9) that He go.

Apparently, the Holy Spirit would not be inside us (John 14:17) while Jesus was among us (John 7:39) and until Jesus sent Him (John 15:26, Luke 24:49). Also, Jesus wouldn’t send the Holy Spirit until He went back to the Father.

Verse 8

John 16:8

Jesus had told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was the comforter (John 14:16, John 16:7), testifier (John 15:26, Acts 5:32, Acts 15:8, 1 John 5:6-10), and teacher (John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 1 John 2:27). To those ministries in the lives of believers (Matthew 16:17, John 7:39), He added that the Spirit would also serve to strike remorse in the hearts of the unbelievers (because of their sins), show them true righteousness (because they think that they are good) and enlighten them about the consequences of continuing in sin (because they don’t fear God).

Verse 9

John 16:9

Jesus had shown them their sins (John 1:4-5, John 3:18-21), but they didn’t believe Him (John 8:24, John 8:46).

Verse 10

John 16:10

Jesus was righteous (in right-standing with God) and an example to all of us (Romans 3:25-26, Romans 5:17-21, Romans 10:4, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 1:11, 1 Peter 2:21-24, 2 Peter 2:20-24, 1 John 2:1). Unfortunately, many in the world will not believe in Jesus or follow His example (see notes on John 16:9), but the Holy Spirit will put the righteousness of Christ within the hearts and upon the deeds of all those who do believe (Romans 14:17, Galatians 5:5, Ephesians 5:9, Philippians 3:9, 1 John 1:9).

See notes on John 3:18 and John 7:18.

Verse 11

John 16:11

See John 12:30-32.

Satan, that great deceiver and the father of lies (John 8:44), is judged continually and is constantly found full of sin and devoid of righteousness. His evil is widespread, and his influence over the hearts of men has kept him in authority over them.

A ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the deception (Isaiah 25:7, 2 Corinthians 3:13-16), convince the captive that heshe is in sin (see notes on John 16:9), that they can be free (John 8:36) and made the righteousness of God (see notes on John 16:10).

Verse 12

John 16:12

Jesus told us a lot, but we need to understand how to put it all into action. We need to apply it to our everyday lives. How do we live day-to-day lives in the flesh without Him here to teach us how to do it right through what He meant? We can learn some things right away through reading a little of His word, i.e., the Bible (Hebrews 5:13, 1 Peter 2:2). However, as we grow in Christ, we need more information to further our development (Hebrews 5:12-14). We learn about abiding on the vine (see notes on John 15:1-9) in stages (Isaiah 28:10, 2 Corinthians 3:18) as we are ready for it (1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:13-14, 1 Peter 2:2-3). The Apostles were not yet ready to hear some of what they would need to know.

Jesus is with the Father, but the Holy Spirit is here (Acts 2:1-4), and the Spirit teaches us what we need to know (John 16:13).

Verse 13

John 16:13

See notes on John 14:17, John 15:26.

The Holy Spirit will teach us and guide us throughout our lives with Christ (see notes on John 16:12). He will do and say, as Jesus did (see notes on John 12:44), only what the Father tells Him to do and say. It is as though the Holy Spirit continues Jesus’ teaching ministry in an intrapersonal way.

Part of what the Spirit shows us is the prophetic (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-18, 1 Corinthians 12:9-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 14:29-31.

Verse 14

John 16:14

The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and will do and say what the Father tells Him to do and say (see notes on John 16:13). Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is glorified, and the Lord’s presence is verified (John 15:26, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, 1 John 4:13, 1 John 5:6).

By saying, “he shall receive of mine,” Jesus didn’t mean that He would tell the Spirit what to say (John 16:15). He meant that the Holy Spirit would receive information from the same source as Jesus had; the Father.

Verse 15

John 16:15

See notes on John 16:14.

The Father has given His son and heir authority over everything in His kingdom (John 3:35, John 13:3, John 17:7). Jesus’ princely rights are not surprising to us and make perfect sense to us. What amazes us is that the Father would adopt us (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:5) and make us joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17 2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Peter 1:3).

Some people ask, “How could a loving God send people to hell?” The movie, “The Bind Side,” was released in 2009 which told the story of Michael Oher. Mr. Oher had been “adopted” by the Touhy family of Memphis Tennessee. One of thirteen children, whose father was in prison and whose mother was fighting a drug addiction, Michael Oher had been neglected and pushed aside by his community. With the love of, and acceptance into, the Touhy family, Oher blossomed. He went on to graduate from the University of Mississippi, and he was drafted into the NFL on the first round. Those who witnessed the movie saw the incredible results of love undeserved through the willingness of the Touhys to adopt a hopeless stranger.

God has shown us His matchless love, in that He willingly adopts even the most undeserving of us and takes us into His home, because He actually does love us. He doesn’t want anybody to go to Hell (2 Peter 3:9). Accordingly, He sent His own son to die so we wouldn’t have to go to Hell (John 3:15-16).

Verse 16

John 16:16

Jesus was going to die, but He was going to be resurrected (Matthew 12:40, Matthew 27:62-63, Mark 8:31, Mark 14:58, John 2:19, Acts 4:33). In the tomb He would not be seen by the disciples, but they would soon see Him as the risen Lord (Acts 1:22, Acts 2:32, Acts 3:15, John 20:19-28).

However, Jesus was speaking of their deaths. After He would go to the Father, they wouldn’t see Him until they too would die and go to the Father (John 14:2-3, John 14:19). They would, as shall all of us, experience the resurrection in their own bodies (Isaiah 26:19, John 6:39, Acts 24:15, Romans 6:5, Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 15:13, 1 Corinthians 15:42, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Jesus was the firstborn from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20-21, Colossians 1:18, 1 Peter 1:3).

Verse 17

John 16:17

They began to ask one another if the other understood what Jesus had said, because they did not. It is as though Peter, for example, might have asked Andrew, “Do you get it?”

Jesus’ statement though was plainly understood given other things He had said before (see notes on John 16:16).

Verse 18

John 16:18

Smaller, interpersonal conversations between pairs of disciples (John 16:17) began to break out into open discussion in the room. However, the discussions were still in hush tones, because otherwise they would have been easily heard by Jesus (John 16:19).

Verse 19

John 16:19

Although the disciples had been quietly discussing (see notes on John 16:17-18) Jesus’ last remarks (John 16:16), the Lord knew what was on their hearts (see notes on John 6:43).

Verse 20

John 16:20

Jesus’ death will bring sorrow to those that love Him (Matthew 9:15, Mark 16:10, Luke 24:15-17, John 20:11, John 20:20), but His enemies will celebrate their supposed victory (Matthew 27:39-42, Mark 14:11, Mark 15:29-32, Luke 22:5-6). His disciples will grieve the loss, but Jesus will rise after having been in the grave only a little while (John 16:19). At the sight of the risen Lord, their hearts will again be full of gladness (Psalms 30:11, Matthew 28:8-9, Luke 24:52).

Additionally, enemies of Christ, and those that despise the message of the cross, will be glad when His apostles suffer (Isaiah 66:5, Acts 5:41, Romans 5:2-3, 1 Peter 1:6-8).

Verse 21

John 16:21

Jesus would labor through the pain and grief of His passion (Acts 1:3) to receive with exceeding joy the birth of new children into the family of God (Isaiah 61:7, Micah 4:10, Hebrews 12:2).

Verse 22

John 16:22

See notes on John 16:20-21.

Verse 23

John 16:23

His disciples were used to asking Jesus questions hoping that He’d enlighten them. Before they asked this time what He meant moments before (John 16:16), Jesus explained it to them (John 16:19-28). Additionally, Jesus told them that, after He is gone, they should ask for what they need from the Father ... not Him. He said to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:6-9, Luke 11:1-2), but added to ask the Father for your needs in Jesus’ name (see notes on John 14:13-14, John 15:16).

Verse 24

John 16:24

The disciples would ask things from Him or from the Father (see notes on John 16:23), but they had never asked the Father in Jesus’ name. Jesus instructed them to use His name when they pray to the Father, and He motivated them to do so with a promise of answered prayers and full joy.

Verse 25

John 16:25

Their understanding of Godly things was hampered by their physical limitations (1 Corinthians 13:11-12). However, when they too go to Heaven, they would see the Father clearly.

Verse 26

John 16:26

Since His ascension into Heaven, Jesus has been with the Father making intersession for those that believe in Him (Isaiah 53:12, Romans 8:34, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:25). However, when we too go to be with the Father, we will no longer need an intercessor between us and the Father. The Father loves us and will hear our petitions directly from us (John 16:27).

Verse 27

John 16:27

See notes on John 16:26.

Verse 28

John 16:28

“Again,” because Jesus had already told them He was preparing to leave Earth and return to Heaven (John 8:14, John 13:33, John 14:1-3, John 14:12, John 14:19, John 14:28, John 16:5, John 16:16). However, the disciples hadn’t quite grasped that His whole life had been a mission from God, and that He was sent into the world to begin the work. This clear summary of the Son’s advent tore the veil, and they were finally able to see (John 16:30).

The disciples were still in denial though about the timing of Jesus’ departure from Earth. The mission was in its final hour, and Jesus tells them so in John 16:32.

Verse 29

John 16:29

It was Jesus’ custom to veil His lessons in parables and proverbs (Matthew 13:10-13, Matthew 13:34-35, Matthew 21:45, Matthew 22:1, Mark 3:23, Mark 4:10-11, Mark 4:33, Mark 12:1, Luke 8:9-10, John 16:25).

Verse 30

John 16:30

See notes on John 16:28-29.

Verse 31

John 16:31

See notes on John 16:28.

Verse 32

John 16:32

Jesus’ disciples will all run away (Zechariah 13:7) and leave Him to face the trial and scourging without them (Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:50).It will comfort Jesus to know though that the Father is with Him.

At the end of Jesus’ physical life on Earth, when the sins of all of us were placed upon Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Father withdrew Himself from the sin stained man on the cross. At that moment, when the Father’s presence was no longer sensed, Jesus cried out in agony over the spiritual death (separation from God ... see notes on John 5:24, John 11:25) He experienced (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). The spiritual death of Christ was prophesied about in Psalms 22:1. Jesus’ spiritual resurrection (reunification with God, a “quickening” ... Psalms 119:25, Psalms 119:37-40, Psalms 119:93, John 6:63, 1 Corinthians 15:36, Ephesians 2:1-5, Colossians 2:13, 1 Peter 3:18) was prophesied about in Psalms 16:10 and referred to in Acts 2:27. Give glory to the only true and living God, and to His Son, Jesus. Praise His holy name.

Verse 33

John 16:33

The bad news is; we will experience trials (Matthew 13:21, Luke 21:12, Revelation 2:10) and troubles (Matthew 23:34, Acts 14:22, 2 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 3:4, 2 Thessalonians 1:4) and persecutions (Matthew 5:44, John 15:20, Acts 8:1, 2 Timothy 3:12). The good news is; we can have peace even in the middle of our tribulations (Matthew 5:10-12, John 14:27, Romans 5:3, Romans 8:35, Romans 12:12, 2 Corinthians 1:4, 2 Corinthians 4:9, 2 Corinthians 7:4, Philippians 4:7).

Actually, having tribulation is an indication that we are His (Philippians 1:29), and we were found worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name sake (Acts 5:41, James 1:2-4). Therefore, glorify God at all times. Glorify Him when He blesses you, and praise Him when you are tried (Psalms 71:8, Psalms 71:14-15, Isaiah 24:15, Acts 16:25, Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Notice that Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.” He didn’t say, “When I am done with what I am about to do, I will have overcome the world.” Jesus spoke as though He were already in the future. In the present, speaking of the future, He said, “ye shall have tribulation.” He then adds, “but be of good cheer.” When? When they experience the tribulations He was prophesying about (1 Peter 4:16). During tribulation, it will comfort us to know that we serve a risen Lord that has overcome the world (Psalms 34:1).

Our Lord sees past the here and now. He looks at all things in all times at every moment. With His glorious vision focusing on our behalf, we are wise to trust Him and foolish to doubt Him. Why do we look at our situations and study our situations, as though with our limited understanding we can perceive an answer? God’s vantage point is the only clear view at how things really are. Give it all over to His capable hand.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 16". "Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of John". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shj/john-16.html.
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