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Bible Commentaries
John 16

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 To stumble is from BKANDALIZO, and Thayer defines It at this place, "To cause a person to begin to distrust arid desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away." Jesus warned his apostle! of what they would have to encounter in their service for Him. The information was to forearm them so that they would not be surprised Into errol' when it came.

Verse 2

2 They refers to the people, especially the leaders of the Jews, of whom Jesus had been saying much in the preceding chapter. Being put out at the synagogue is explained at chapter 9: 22, 23. Paul was a prominent case of this form of persecution as is revealed in Act 26:9-11. Verse 3. Jesus always emphasized the close relationship between his F atber and Himself. He maintained that aU treatment that was accorded eith er of the two, was to be considered as being done to the other. Not knowing the Father mearit not to acknowl· elge him and not to accept bis truth. The Jews had rejected the teaching of Jesus, and he used tha t tact as evidence that they did not know his Father.

Verse 4

4 That ... ye ma.y remember. A prediction becomes evidence atter It haa been fulfilled. (See Exo 3:12 and Luk 21:13.) Said not . .. waa with you. Being with the dIsciples In person, Jesus did not consider it necessary to go into 8.8 much detail with his teaching as he did when he was about to leave them.

Verse 5

5 Jesus knew about the question asked in Joh 13:36 and Joh 14:5, but he meant they were not re¬peating it; the explanation is in the next verse.

Verse 6

6 Their great sorrow so over-whelmed the apostles that they did not “have the heart" to inquire into the subject of their lord's departure.

Verse 7

7 This verse through 15 forms the Anal link in the chain that was suggested at chapter 14; 16, 17. This passage gives a more itemised statement of what was to be accom-plished by the Spirit through the apos-tles. I shall comment on the present verse, also the others in their order. Expedient means "to help or be profit-able," according to Thayer. As long as Jesus was with the apostles in per¬son, the Comforter or Holy Spirit would not come to them, for it was not the Father's will that two persons of the Deity should be working per¬sonally on the earth at the same time. That being true, It was necessary for Jesus to "retire” from the scene and give way to the other. The Spirit would come to stay with the apostles through¬out their work, which would give Him the opportunity to accomplish certain ends that it was not intended for Christ to da

Verse 8

8 This verse is a general statement of the work of the Spirit after it has come upon the apostles. Reprove is from euegoho and has vari¬ous shades of meaning, including the conviction of those who are guilty of wrongdoing, and bringing to light what constitutes a life of righteousness. The work of the Spirit (through the mouths and pens of the apostles) that is stated in general terms in this verse, will be considered in its several parts in some verses to follow.

Verse 9

9 Of sin. The Holy Spirit was to convict the world of the sin of unbelief. John 3; John 18 teaches that un-belief In Christ constitutes sin, and the apostles were to bring that truth before the attention of the world, in¬spired by the Comforter which Is the Holy Spirit.

Verse 10

0 We have seen at verse 8 that a part of the definition of reprove is to bring to light what constitutes a life of righteousness. While Jesus was in the world personally, he taught such principles orally. But after going back to his Father, that teaching would have to be done otherwise, and He purposed to do it through the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles.

Verse 11

1 The prince of this world is Satan (chapter 12: 31; 14: 30; Duke 4:6; Ephesians 2; 2) who is to be Judged. But Mat 25:41 states that unsaved men and women will be cast Into the same place as the devil and his angels. That denotes the unsaved will be Judged likewise, hence the Comforter was to teach and warn mankind of the judgment day and the only way to prepare for it.

Verse 12

2 Bear is from BASTAZO, which Thayer defines at this place, "To take up In order to carry or bear ; to put upon one’s self something to be carried.” Things which would be spoken are not literal or material such as would be taken by one upon his body. The meaning of the state¬ment, then, is that their understand¬ing and memory would not be able to embrace all of the things that Jesus wished his apostles to hear. This thought will be verified by the follow¬ing verse.

Verse 13

3 With the Spirit to guide them into all truth, the apostles would not need to he overburdened with the load, but could always have the assur-ance that no truth would be omitted that was necessary for their work. The Holy Spirit is the third being in the Godhead, and is wholly subject to the authority of God and Christ who are the two other members thereof. That is why Jesus said that he would not speak of himself. Will show you things to come. Rom 8:27 and 1Co 2:10-11 teaches ub that the Holy Spirit is fully aware of the purposes and desires of God. That Is why he was able to tell the apostles things to come; he would learn it from God.

Verse 14

4 The Holy Spirit would glorify Jesus by receiving the truth, then passing it on to the apostles. Jesus called this truth his (jiine), and by giving it over to the ones whom He had chosen, it would redound to the glory of the Son.

Verse 15

5 This verse is Christ’s ex-planation of the statement he made in the preceding verse. The Father and Son were so united In the great scheme of human redemption, that what pertained to one was a concern of the other.

Verse 16

6 A little while Is uttered twice; the first means the time until Jesus was to be crucified and buried; the second is the time of three days he would be in the grave. After Jesus went to his Father the disciples could not see him, it is true, but in order for him to go to the Father, it was neces¬sary for him to come forth from the grave, and then would come the period that would make the second absence a little while also to which Jesus re¬ferred in this important conversation.

Verse 17

8 These remarks were made among the apostles, unknown to Jesus (as they thought), but he al¬ways knew what men were thinking about.

Verse 19

9 Knowing the tension in the minds of the apostles over his re¬marks, Jesus relieved it by taking up the subject without waiting for them to ask him.

Verse 20

0 This verse was said in view of the same periods of time that were meant in verse 16. When Jesus was dead, his disciples wept and la¬mented (Mar 16:10). At that time the enemies of the Lord were In rejoic¬ing because they thought they had conquered the man who exposed their wickedness. But after the resurrec¬tion, and the disciples came to realize that their Lord had risen again, their sorrow was turned into joy. (See Mat¬thew 28: 8; Luk 24:41; Joh 20:20.)

Verse 21

1 The original word for sorrow also means "pain,” so that it applies to the bodily feeling In tills case, as well as the state of nervous anxiety of a woman at such a time. That condition would make the con¬trast all the more apparent when the joy of the happy termination was ex¬perienced, Likewise, the sorrow of the disciples at the death of their Master was more than overbalanced by the rejoicing that came upon his resur¬rection and reappearance among them.

Verse 22

2 Joy no man taketfh from you. The enemies could plunge the disciples into sadness by slaying their Lord, but the joy that would follow could not be taken from them. That was because He would be the final victor over the grave, and ascend to the Father after having filled them with joy over the resurrection.

Verse 23

3 The ascension of Jesus was soon followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. That was to guide them in all truth, so that they would not need to ask Jesu3 personally for information, as they did when he was with them. That was the time meant by that day. When that time arrived, instead of asking Jesus for favors and Informa¬tion directly, they were to ask the Father, but were to do It in the name of Jesus or by bis authority,

Verse 24

4 Hitherto they had not asked anything in His name which would mean by his authority. The time finally was to come when he would have “all power” (Mat 28:18), to which he refers here by words ask, a-itd ye shall receive.

Verse 25

5 Proverbs means a figure of speech, and Jesus evidently refers to his comparison of the expectant mother. The time cometh meant the occasion when the apostles were to receive the Holy Spirit In baptismal measure. As that would guide them "into all truth," they would not re¬quire any explanatory passages.

Verse 26

6 At that day still has refer-ence to the complete inspiration of the apostles, at which time they would make their requests in the name or by the authority of Jesus. Say not . . . will pray the father, yet chapter 14; 16 expressly says that he would pray the Father. We are sure that Jesus never contradicted himself, but the next verse will show he meant that the favor of God Upon the apostles did not depend solely on the prayer of his Son.

Verse 27

7 The love of the Father for the apostles of his Son, would be a sufficient motive for sending the Spirit upon them for their guidance.

Verse 28

8 The former intimate as-sociation of Jesus with his Father, agrees with the idea that God would be inclined to honor his Son's apostles by sending them the Spirit. It also would make it appropriate for the Son to return to his Father, after his work on earth was finished.

Verse 29

9 The apostles grasped the meaning of the words of Jesus, and they admitted that he had already ful-filled the prediction made in verse 25, to speak to them in direct language, and not depend upon figures of speech.

Verse 30

0 The apostles did not mean to express any previous doubt. The passage denotes that the conversation of Jesus had strengthened their faith and understanding.

Verse 31

1 Jesus knew the weakness of the human being. He did not questlon the sincerity of their faith when he tiBked them do ye now believet But he was using that as an intro¬duction for the ead prediction about to be made when their human weakness would prevail over their faith far a time.

Verse 32

2 Every man to his own. The margin adds the word "home" to the pronoun, and Moffatt’s translation does the same. Jesus predicted that the apostles would desert him In his hour of trial, and Mar 14:50 states the fulfillment of the prediction. Leave me alone meant as far as the apostles were concerned Jesus would be alone, but he would still have the comfort of his Father.

Verse 33

3 All of the foregoing conversation of Jesus was for the purpose of preparing the minds of his apostles for the great crisis that was near. He knew it would be a severe trial of their courage, and he wished to leave them all the consoling assurances they were able to comprehend.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on John 16". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/john-16.html. 1952.
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