Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 16:32

Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Apostles;   Jesus Continued;   Thompson Chain Reference - Church;   Flock, God's;   Friendship-Friendlessness;   Inconstancy;   Loneliness;   Scattering the Flock;   Seven;   Uncertainties, Seven;   Uncertainties-Certainties;   The Topic Concordance - Happiness/joy;   Jesus Christ;   Peace;   Tribulation;   Trouble;   Victory/overcoming;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Comforter;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jesus christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Children (Sons) of God;   God;   Holy Spirit;   John, Theology of;   Joy;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Agony;   Begetting;   Boyhood of Jesus;   Communion (2);   Dereliction;   Endurance;   Foresight;   Friendship;   Home (2);   Love (2);   Omnipresence;   Premeditation;   Quotations (2);   Seven Words, the;   Worldliness (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Fruit;   Pentecost;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Salvation;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for April 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The hour cometh - Ye shall shortly have need of all the faith ye profess: ye now believe me to be the Omniscient; but ye will find difficulty to maintain this faith when ye see me seized, condemned, and crucified as a malefactor. Yea, your faith will be then so shaken that ye shall run away, each striving to save himself at his own home, or among his kindred.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 16:32". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-16.html. 1832.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The event corresponded with this prediction, as recorded Matthew 26:56.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-16.html. 1878.

A.W. Pink's Commentary on John and Hebrews

Christ's Concluding Consolations

The following is an Analysis of the dosing section of John 16:—

1. Asking the Father in the name of Christ, verses 23, 24.

2. Christ's promise to show the Father plainly, verse 25.

3. The Father's love made known, verses 26, 28.

4. The confession of the apostles, verses 29, 30.

5. Christ's challenge of their faith, verse 31.

6. Christ's solemn prediction, verse 32.

7. Christ's comforting assurance, verse 33.

Our present section contains the dosing words of our Lord's Paschal Discourse. We trust that many readers have shared the writer's sense of wonderment as we have passed from chapter to chapter and verse to verse. A truly wondrous one was this address of Christ. It stands quite by itself, for there is nothing else like it in the four Gospels. Here the Savior is alone with His own, and most blessedly does He reveal His tender affections for them. Here He speaks no longer to those whose hopes were to be realized in Judaism. Here He anticipates what is treated of in fuller detail in the Epistles, speaking as He does of the Christian's position, portion, privileges and responsibilities. There is a fulness in His words which it is impossible for us to exhaust, a depth we can never completely fathom in this life. Every verse will richly repay the most diligent and prolonged study.

In the closing verses of John 16 the Lord Jesus proceeds to set forth even more fully the blessings and privileges which were to issue from His going to heaven, declaring, too, the Father's love for those whom He had given to the Son. First, He assures believers of the readiness of the Father to grant unto them whatsoever they asked Him in the Son's worthy name. Next, He tells them that in thus asking, their joy should be made full. Then He announces that the time would come when He should no more speak in dark sayings, but He would show plainly of the Father. This is followed by the declaration that the Father loveth them because they loved the Son. Then He reminds them again that, having come forth from the Father into the world, He would leave the world and return to the Father. After this there is a break made by the disciples affirming their faith in Him. This is met by the solemn warning that, nevertheless, they would forsake Him. Then He closes by His never-to-be-forgotten words, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." May the Spirit of the Truth grant us His sorely needed guidance as we ponder this passage together.

"In that day ye shall ask me nothing" ( John 16:23). This short sentence has proven a sore puzzle to many of the commentators. There is wide difference of opinion, both as to what "day" is in view here, and as to what is signified by "ye shall ash me nothing." That Christ was here looking forward needs not to be argued; but how far forward is what many have not found it easy to decide. Did He mean that day, after the brief interval of separation when they should meet again, of His resurrection? Did He mean the day of pentecost, when the Spirit was to descend upon them, enduing them with power? Did He mean the whole period of Christianity, the "day of salvation?" Or, did He employ this term in the sense that it has in so many Old Testament prophecies (see Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 11:10, etc.),the day of His public manifestations? Or, did He look beyond the bounds of earth's history to the unending perfect "day", the Day of glory? Each of these meanings has been severally contended for by able expositors, and in view of the profound fulness of our Lord's words, we would hesitate to limit them to any one of these possible alternatives: probably several of them are to be combined.

"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing." This is not the first time that this expression was used by Christ. In John 14:20 we find that He said, "At [in] that day ye shall know that I am in my Father and ye in me, and I in you." But even there this expression can hardly be limited to one specific reference. If the reader will turn back to our comments on that verse he will find that we have explained it to signify: first, the day when the Holy Spirit was given to guide believers into all the truth; second, and ultimately, to the clay of glory, when we shall know even as we are known. It is thus that we understand "In that day" here in John 16:23; having both a narrower and wider meaning, a nearer and a remoter application.

"When in immediate connection with what has just been said, we find the greatest promise connected with the strikingly prominent ‘in that day' it becomes needful to mark carefully the meaning of this formula. It is obvious that it cannot mean any individual day; and we cannot avoid seeing that the time signified by it begins with the day of the resurrection, if we rightly understood the great turning point of the future, which our Lord since John 14:3 has had always before His eyes, has its commencement in the resurrection-morning after the night of suffering and death. But as certain as we have seen embraced in John 16:20-22, a comprehensive glance at all the future of the Church, must we in this connected but heightened conclusion of all, give the words their furtherest reach of signification. The Lord, as we think at least, intends this ‘in that day' to include tint of all, the whole period of the dispensation of the Spirit, which already typically commenced in His first return and seeing them again:—and then, pre-eminently, the end of this time, the consummation of the fulness of the Spirit in His own when He shall have unfolded and imparted all that is Christ's to His people. This is plain from the greatness of the promise connected with it, which can never have its full realization till that goal is reached. ‘And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Great and unfathomable word.'" (Stier.)

But what is meant by "ye shall ask me nothing?" Strangely and deplorably has this been perverted by some. There have been a few who have argued from this verse that we are here forbidden to address Christ, directly, in prayer. But Acts 1:24; 7:59, to say nothing of many passages in the Epistles, dearly refutes such an error.

"Ye shall ask me nothing." The first key to this is found in the particular term our Lord here employed. In the Greek another word is used in the latter part of this same verse where He says, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." While it is true that these two words are used, in some passages, almost interchangeably, yet that they have a distinct meaning is clear from several considerations. If the usage of each word be carefully traced through the New Testament it will be found that the former (erotao) is expressive of familiar entreaty, whereas the second (aiteo) signifies a lowly petition. Hence, whilst the Lord Jesus is found employing the former in His asking the Father on behalf of His disciples, never once does He use the latter term. Even more significant is it to find that Martha—who had not sat at His feet and learned of Him as had her more spiritual sister—used the latter word when she said, "I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee" ( John 11:22); failing to discern the Divine glory of His person, she supposed that He would have to appeal to God as a suppliant.

According to its classical usage, "erotao" signifies "to ask questions, to make inquiry in order to obtain information." It is employed in this sense in a number of passages: to seek no further, we find it bearing this meaning in John 16:19. "Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do you inquire among yourselves?" But like the words "in that day," so "ye shall ask me nothing" seem to have a double significance here—a relative and an absolute, an immediate and remote, a primary and an ultimate.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you" ( John 16:23). Here is the second key to the first part of this verse, so far as its primary meaning and immediate application is concerned: asking the Father everything, is contrasted from asking the Son nothing. "In that day" refers primarily to the time when, the Holy Spirit was given to them, in which "day" we are now living. But when the Holy Spirit came, Christ would be absent; then, instead of asking the Savior questions (as they did constantly while He was with them), they would petition the Father. "The Lord is really signifying the great change from recourse to Him as their Messiah on earth for every difficulty, not for questions only, but for all they might want day by day, to that access to the Father into which He would introduce them as the accepted Man and glorified Savior on high" (Mr. W. Kelly). This accounts for the "Verily, verily" with which Christ introduced this second statement: it emphasized the certainty and sufficiency of the new recourse of the disciples which He now made known unto them. And how this emphasized His "it is expedient for you that I go away" ( John 16:7)! Petitions in Christ's all-prevailing name the apostles would be permitted to present to the Father, which was something no saint before the Cross had ever been instructed to urge. As the God of Israel He had been known: but now believers were to approach Him in the conscious relationship of children addressing their Father!

But if we look forward to the ultimate fulfillment of Christ's words "in that day ye shall ask me nothing," they signify that in the Glory we shall know even as we are known, and there will no longer be any need to interrogate Him about any of the problems which now so sorely perplex us. Then we shall—to speak in the language of the context—understand the meaning of our present "sorrows" and "rejoice" forever, for the wise Love that appointed them. Having thus pointed us forward to the final goal, the Lord provides encouragement for us as we journey toward it—"Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it you." The "whatsoever" must be qualified by whatever is for the Father's glory, will promote His Son's interests, and is for our good.

"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name" ( John 16:24). The Lord was not reproving His disciples for a failure in their prayer-life, but was announcing one of the consequences of the great change then at hand. If the reader will note carefully what we said on John 14:13, 14, he will see how impossible it was for saints to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus before His ascension. In the previous verses we have learned what the results of the coming of the Spirit would be saintwards, here we are shown the effects Godwards. Consequent on Christ's exaltation, the Spirit in and with believers would draw out their hearts in prayer, teaching them to present their petitions to the Father in the all-prevailing name of the Son.

"Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" ( John 16:24). "I enjoin you thus to pray, that not only may you be delivered from all despondency and heart-trouble, but that in the enjoyment of all heavenly and spiritual blessings, and in the possession of all that is necessary and sufficient to secure the success of the great enterprise on which you are about to enter, you may be filled with holy happiness, heavenly joy—joy in the Holy Spirit. There is a close connection between the two advices given by an apostle under the influence of the Spirit of His Master: ‘Rejoice evermore: pray without ceasing' ( 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17). The second is the means of securing the first. If we cease to pray, we are likely to cease to rejoice—we must ‘pray without ceasing' that we may ‘rejoice evermore': and were we, instead of being anxious, careful, and troubled about many things, to ‘be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, make our requests known unto God, with thanksgiving' ( Philippians 4:6), assuredly the ‘peace of God, would keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus'; and, amid external troubles, our joy would be full" (Mr. John Brown).

"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in Proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" ( John 16:25). It will be noted that the margin gives "parables" as an alternative for "proverbs." In this word of Christ there Isaiah, again, a fulness of meaning which no brief definition can comprehend. In the Greek there are two words used (for the one Hebrew word "mashal")—"parabole" and "paroimia": the former is never used in John's Gospel: the latter occurs in John 10:6 and here. Possibly it had been better to render it "dark saying" in the present instance, as the Lord sets it in antithesis t rom "showing plainly of the Father." And yet the thoughts connected with "proverbs" is not to be excluded. The wisdom of Solomon is recorded in his "Proverbs." So the Lord here intimates that Hebrews, the Truth, the "greater than Song of Solomon," would not do otherwise than speak in sentences with a fulness of meaning which no mere mental acumen can penetrate. But again, the Greek word here may properly be rendered "parables," and the distinctive idea connected with this term is probably to be included as well.

"Parables are truths given and yet concealed from those who cannot or will not receive them; but to the ready heart that can take them in, they can be made known, as we see in . The parables there were not understood by His enemies and would not have been by the disciples, but He opened them. A parable is not a story to illustrate a truth; it is the truth itself. As though He would say, ‘It will not be received, but I will speak it nevertheless.' It is like a nut, needing to be cracked open, but the kernel is there; and rich too. Now He had spoken to them in that way. Many of the incidents that occur have truth in them that would be open only to the ear and eye of the new Prayer of Manasseh, enligntened and exercised by the Holy Spirit.

"He had said these things, whether they understood them or not; but the hour was coming when He would no more speak unto them in parables, but would show them plainly of the Father. That is now by the Holy Spirit. ‘There is no book in me Scripture that is more full of teaching that requires fellowship with the subject, and the mind of the writer—the Sprat—than the Gospel of John. Wherein we fail, it is that we are so little in fellowship with Him. The deeper the fellowship, the more thoroughly we would understand all that has been told. That Isaiah, men, me reason for speaking in parables, but not doing it when the Holy Spirit comes (there are no parables in the Epistles, and note 2Corinthians : A.W.P.). The Holy Spirit's business is to take of the things of Christ and tell them out and make them actually ours." (Mr. Malachi Taylor).

The Lord went on to say that the time (hour) was at hand when He would speak no more obscurely to the disciples, but would plainly "show them of the Father." This promise began to be accomplished even before Pentecost. On the very day of His resurrection, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded" to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, "the things concerning himself" ( Luke 24:27). To Mary Magdalene He made known that His Father was His brethren's Father ( John 20:17). So in Luke 24:45 we are also told, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." But the complete fulfillment was given in the coming of the Spirit to guide them into all the Truth: then the veil was completely taken off their hearts, and with open face they contemplated the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. In John 16:14 the Lord had said the Spirit would "show," here He says "I will show"; there He had spoken of the Spirit showing the things "of mine," here "I will show of the Father." This interchange strikingly attests the unity of the three Persons in the Godhead.

"At that day ye shall ask in my name" ( John 16:26). In the day of the Spirit believers would ask the Father in the name of Christ, not only plead His name as a motive, but come to God in the value of His person. What an incentive is this for each Christian reader to engage in this holy exercise! "The benefit of prayer is so great that it cannot be expressed. Prayer is the dove which, when sent out, returns again, bringing with it the olive-leaf, namely, peace of heart. Prayer is the golden chain which God holds fast, and lets not go until He blesses. Prayer is the Moses' rod which brings forth the water of consolation out of the Rock of Salvation. Prayer is Samson's jawbone, which smites down our enemies. Prayer is David's harp, before which the evil spirit flies. Prayer is the key to heaven's treasures" (John Gerhard.)

"And I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you." The first design of Christ in these words was to repel a false notion which many have entertained, namely that the Father must be besought by Christ before He will notice us. It is not that Christ here denies that He would intercede for us, but He would assure us that such intercession on His part is not needed to induce the Father to love us—the next verse makes it very clear. It was Christ assuring His disciples that, following His exaltation ("in that day"), the way would be open for them to come into the Father's presence. "I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you." "This no more denies Christ's intercession for us, than John 16:23 forbids the servant praying to his Lord about His work or His house. It is not an absolute statement, but it is simply an ellipse, which the words following explain." (Mr. W. Kelly.)

"For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God." ( John 16:27). This at once indicates the line of thought in the Savior's mind at the close of the previous verse. It was not that He had to coerce the Father either to hear our prayers or to love us. The favors which we receive from the Father are not extorted from Him by the importunate pleading of the Savior. So far from the Father having no regard for our happiness He loves us, loves us with a special love of approbation because we love His Son: therefore is He ever ready to minister to our welfare, watching over us with paternal affection and care. The Father does not love us because Christ intercedes for us; but Christ intercedes for us because we are the objects of the Father's special love. What a blessed word is this! Spoken for our assurance and comfort as we journey homewards. Whatsoever they ask in Christ's name shall be given them, is secured by the love of the Father, no less than by the intercession of Christ; nay, even more Song of Solomon, inasmuch as the only fountain is more than the only channel, though both are equally necessary in their own places." (Mr. John Brown.)

"For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God." It is to be noted that "love" is here placed before "believing." One reason for this was because Christ had just been speaking of love in the previous verse; now He proceeds to speak of faith so as to prepare the way for that profession of faith which the disciples at once made. But no doubt the word "believe" here is used as in John 14:1. It was not the initial act of faith in the Lord Jesus, but the confiding in and on Him after His return to the Father.

"I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." ( John 16:28). "Having been led to mention His coming forth from God, our Lord concludes His explicatory remarks by stating in the fewest words the truths which, above all others, it was of importance that the disciples should hold fast in the hour of temptation, which was just coming on them to try them." (Mr. John Brown.) These are the vital facts for faith to lay hold of. First, Christ came forth from the Father. He is the heavenly One come down to earth; not only "sent" officially, but "come" by voluntary consent. Second, He came into the world; and why? That He might be the Savior of sinners. Third, He has gone back to the Father. How? Through death and resurrection. With what intent? To diffuse from on high the benefits of His redeeming work. Christ's design here was to show the apostles how fully warranted was their confidence in Himself.

"His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou earnest forth from God." ( John 16:29, 30). This confession of the apostles looks back to what Christ had just said in John 16:27, 28. The assurance that the Father Himself loved them had comforted their hearts: the declaration from their Master's own lips that they "loved and believed" in Him gave them new confidence. As Calvin beautifully puts it: "The disciples did not fully understand the meaning of Christ's discourse; but though they were not capable of this, the mere odor of it refreshed them." All was no longer dark to them; their faith was confirmed. When they declared, "now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb" (obscure saying), they were looking back to what He had said in John 16:25. It seems clear that the apostles imagined the "day" the Lord mentioned had already arrived, and that their Master was now making good His promise to them. This is the more evident from their statement, "Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask. thee," which looks back to John 16:23: "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing."

"Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou earnest forth from God." The disciples perceived that the Lord had accurately discerned their thoughts, and, unasked, had solved their difficulties. Yet it is dear that they failed to take in the fulness of what He had just said. They believed that He had come forth from "God" ( John 16:27). So far, so good. But He had spoken of coming forth from "the Father" and of returning to Him ( John 16:28). Upon this they were silent, and for a very good reason: at that time they neither believed nor understood that deeper point of view. The "Father" is God truly. But God speaks of the one Divine Being who is over all Creator, Governor, Sustainer, Judge. Father speaks of relationship, the relationship of God to His children. Of this the disciples, as yet, understood little, perhaps nothing.

"We believe that thou camest forth from God." Really this went no further than a confession that He was the promised Messiah. Nicodemus said, "Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher come from God" ( John 3:2). The woman of Samaria exclaimed, "Come see a man who told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" ( John 4:29). Those who witnessed the miracle of the loaves avowed, "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world" ( John 6:14). Peter testified, "We believe, and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God"—not "Father"! ( John 6:69). Martha said, "Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." ( John 11:27). The word of the apostles here in John 16:30 went no farther than these other confessions. "We believe that thou camest forth from God." In truth they had apprehended nothing that raised them above the effect of Christ's rejection; only the realization that He came forth from the Father and was returning to Him, could give this.

"They had no conception of the mighty change from all that they had gathered of the Kingdom as revealed in the Old Testament, to the new state of things that would follow His absence with the Father on high and the presence of the Holy Spirit here below. It sounded plain to their ears; but even up to the ascension they feebly, if at all, caught a glimpse of it. They to the last clung to the hopes of Israel, and these surely remain to be fulfilled another day. But they understood not this ‘Day,' during which, if the Jews are treated as reprobate, even as He was rejected of them, those born of God should in virtue of Christ and His work be placed in immediate relationship with the Father. His return to the Father was a parable still, though the Lord does not correct their error, as indeed it was useless: they would soon enough learn how little they knew. But at least even then, they had the inward consciousness that He knew all, and, as He penetrated their thoughts had no need that any should ask Him. ‘Herein we believe that thou camest out from God.' Undoubtedly—yet how far below the truth He had uttered (in John 16:28), is that which they were thus confessing! The Spirit of His Son sent into their hearts would give them in due time to know the Father; as redemption accomplished and accepted could alone provide the needful ground for this" (The Bible Treasury). No wonder the Lord had just previously announced to the apostles: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now"!

"Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?" ( John 16:31). It seems to us that the Lord was here challenging their faith. In a real sense they did believe that He was the promised Messiah—"come out from God." But their faith was on the eve of being severely tested, and under that testing it would be shaken to its very foundations; though fail it would not. He with His own omniscient foresight, knew what lay ahead of them. The indignity, the sufferings, the crucifixion of their Master would indeed cause them to be "offended." Their faith was genuine; but it was not strong as they supposed. This explains, we think, the "now"—"Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?"; ye believe Me while I am with you and things are going according to your minds, but what will you do when I shall be taken from you, delivered into the hands of the Gentiles, die, and be buried! The Lord then was warning them against their self-confidence.

"We need not doubt that the profession of the Eleven was real and sincere. They honestly meant what they said. But they did not know themselves. They did not know what they were capable of doing under the pressure of the fear of men and strong temptation. They had not rightly estimated the weakness of the flesh, the power of the Devil, the feebleness of their own resolutions, the shallowness of their own faith. All this they had yet to learn by painful experience. Like young recruits, they had yet to learn that it is one thing to know the soldier's drill and wear the uniform, and quite another to be steadfast in the day of battle. Let us mark these things and learn wisdom. The true secret of spiritual strength is self-distrust and deep humility. ‘When I am weak, then am I strong' ( 2 Corinthians 12:10). None of us, perhaps, have the least idea how much we might fall if placed suddenly under the influence of strong temptation. Happy is he who never forgets the words, ‘Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,' and, remembering our Lord's disciples, pray daily, ‘Hold thou me up and then I shall be safe.'" (Bishop Ryle).

"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone" ( John 16:32). This was spoken For the disciples' sakes, that His prediction of the heavy hour of pressure might prepare them for it. It was said to humble them, to destroy their present self-confidence. Note the opening, "Behold" to arrest their attention! "Ye shall be scattered!" Without the Shepherd, they would be dispersed abroad. "Every man to his own"—his own shelter or hiding-place. Each of them would provide for his own safety. When the storm burst there was shelter for all but Christ. He performed His Work of Atonement alone, because He alone was qualified to do it.

"And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me" ( John 16:32). How gracious of the Savior to address this word for the comfort of their hearts! Moreover, the consciousness of the Father's presence was the stay of His own heart. This is clear from Isaiah 50:7, "For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed." "Let us here, in transition to the following verse mark how all this is a type for the entire future of the Church. Often is this scattering of the disciples from His presence repeated, in various degrees and with various manifestations, but He is not alone. And even if in this day all men were to leave Him, He abides what He Isaiah, and the Father is with Him. His holy cause can never be forsaken or lost" (Stier). Similarly Calvin remarks: "Whosoever well ponders this will hold firm his faith though the world shake, nor will the defection of all others overturn his confidence; we do not render God full honor unless He alone is felt to be sufficient to us."

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace" ( John 16:33). Having made a final reference to the awful "hour" then at hand, the Lord winds up His matchless discourse with a parting word of encouragement and victory. He here condenses into a single sentence the instruction which He had given them in the upper room. The "peace" of His own was what His tender heart was concerned about. "Ever thinking more of others than of Himself, even in this near prospect of the bitter Cross, He forgets His own grief in the grief of His disciples. He is occupied in comforting those who ought to have been His comforters" (Mr. G. Brown). The "peace" of which He spake can be enjoyed only by communion with Himself. In the previous verse He had mentioned their forsaking Him; but He had not forsaken them. Three days later He would return with His "peace be unto you" ( John 20:19), then did they learn, once for all, that in Him alone was peace to be found. But He does not hide from them the fact that "in the world" they should have "tribulation,'' but He first assures them that, notwithstanding this, there was peace for them in Him.

"In the world ye shall have tribulation" ( John 16:33). This is not to be restricted to the violent enmity of the ungodly. It is a general term for distress of any kind. The Latin word from which our "tribulation" is taken, was used of the flail which separated the wheat from the chaff. There are temptations, trials, troubles in the world as well as from it. "In the world" is to be in the place of testing. While the Christian is left down here he suffers from the weakness and weariness of the body, from temporal losses and disappointments, from the severing of cherished ties, as well as from the sneers and taunts, the hatred and persecution of the world. But though "in the world" is tribulation, "in Christ" there is "peace." The world cannot rob us of that, nor can its evil "prince" destroy it. But let us never forget that this "peace" is only enjoyed by faith. It is only as we abide in conscious communion with the Savior that we can anticipate the unclouded and unending joys of the future. The peace which is for us in Christ is appropriated just so far as faith lays hold of our perfect acceptance, our eternal security, and our wondrous portion in Him.

"But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" ( John 16:33). The influence and power of "the world" is powerful, but not all-powerful. It has been fought and overcome. One greater than it, mightier than its "prince," has been here, and vanquished it. The world did its utmost in the battle, but the Son of God prevailed. Noah condemned the world ( Hebrews 11:7), but Christ conquered it. It has no longer any power left but what He permits. It was in the way of temptation, suffering and obedience that He fought and won. Therefore let us "Be of good cheer." The world is a conquered world; it has been conquered for us by Christ. Then let us take courage. The storms of trial and persecution may sometimes beat fiercely upon us; but let them only drive us closer to Christ.

"But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." What a glorious close for this Discourse! The foundation of peace is our Savior's personal victory, here anticipated by Him before the conflict! How this should stimulate us. The world is still essentially the same; but so is Christ! And our Lord is still saying, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." There must be no surrender, no compromise, no fellowship with the world. Here is our Lord's war-cry: him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" ( Revelation 3:21). Ere long the conflict will cease by the victory gained, for "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" ( 1 John 5:4). The day is nigh at hand when Christ shall come to reward His servants. Then shall the victor be crowned. "And oh, the delight of casting these crowns at His feet, and ascribing forever and ever, glory, and honor, and dominion and blessing to the Great Overcomer, to Him who conquered for us, who conquered in us, who made us more than conquerors! It is sweet to anticipate this glorious result of all our tribulations and struggles; and in the enjoyment of peace in Him amidst these struggles and tribulations, to raise, though in broken accents, and with a tremulous voice, the song which, like the sound of great waters, shall unceasingly, everlastingly, echo through heaven, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain'" (Mr. John Brown).

Let the student work on the following questions as preparation for our next lesson:—

1. What does the "lifting up of His eyes" teach us, verse 1?

2. What did Christ refer to in "glorify thy Song of Solomon," verse 1?

3. How is verse 2related to Christ's petition?

4. Does verse 3give a definition of "eternal life" or—?

5. Why did Christ refer to the Father as "the only true God," verse 3?

6. What was Christ's "glory" before the world, verse 5?

7. By how many different pleas (in verses 1, 4) does Christ support His petition in verse 5?

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Bibliographical Information
Pink, A.W. "Commentary on John 16:32". "A.W. Pink's Commentary on John and Hebrews". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/awp/john-16.html.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

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).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/john-16.html. 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The hour cometh - To wit, on the next day, when he was crucified.

Ye shall be scattered - See Matthew 26:31.

Every man to his own - That is, as in the margin, to his own home. You shall see me die, and suppose that my work is defeated, and return to your own dwellings. It is probable that the two disciples going to Emmaus were on their way to their dwellings, John 21:1-14; Matthew 28:7.

Leave me alone - Leave me to die without human sympathy or compassion. See the notes at Matthew 26:31, Matthew 26:56.

Because the Father is with me - His Father was his friend. He had all along trusted in God. In the prospect of his sufferings he could still look to him for support. And though in his dying moments he suffered so much as to use the language, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” yet it was language addressed to him still as his God - “My God, my God.” Even then he had confidence in God - confidence so strong and unwavering that he could say, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” Luke 23:46. In all these sufferings he had the assurance that God was his friend, that he was doing his will, that he was promoting his glory, and that he looked on him with approbation. It matters little who else forsakes us if God be with us in the hour of pain and of death; and though poor, forsaken, or despised, yet, if we have the consciousness of his presence and his favor, then we may fear no evil. His rod and his staff, they will comfort us. Without his favor then, death will be full of horrors, though we be surrounded by weeping relatives, and by all the honor, and splendor, and wealth which the world can bestow. The Christian can die saying, I am not alone, because the Father is with me. The sinner dies without a friend that can alleviate his sufferings - without one source of real joy.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-16.html. 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Behold. Greek. idou. App-133.

the hour = an hour (no art.) All the texts omit "now".

shall be scattered = should be dispersed. Greek. skorpieo. Occurs elsewhere John 10:12. Matthew 12:30. Luke 11:23. 2 Corinthians 9:9. A stronger word in John 11:52. Matthew 26:31.

every man = each.

to = unto. Greek. App-104.

his own = his own (home). Greek. to idia. Compare John 1:11, where it means his own possessions.

and yet = and.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 16:32". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-16.html. 1909-1922.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

32.Yet I am not alone. This correction is added, in order to inform us that, when Christ is forsaken by men, he loses nothing of his dignity. For since his truth and his glory are founded on himself, and. do not depend on what the world believes, if it happen that he is forsaken by the whole world, still he is in no degree impaired, because he is God, and needs not any assistance from another.

Because my Father is with me. When he says that the Father will be with me, the meaning is, that God will be on his side, so that he will have no need to borrow anything from men. Whoever shall meditate on this in a proper manner will remain firm, though the whole world should be shaken, and the revolt of all men will not overturn his faith; for we do not render to God the honor which is due to him, if we are not satisfied with having God alone.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-16.html. 1840-57.

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

  1. INTRO:
    1. Aryanna Caligiuri - Edge(cross cultural studies); El Disneo(gathering place, art gallery)
    2. Prayer: Job 26:14 Indeed these are the mere edges/fringes of His(God’s) ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?
    3. How do you brace yourself to face life without the one you love? How can sorrow really be turned into joy? If we’re promised tribulation, how can we be of good cheer?
      1. Let’s find 4 words to hang our Hopes on: Joy, Love, Faith, Peace.
        1. Sorrow to Joy; Access from Love; Knowledge to Faith; Tribulation to Peace.
      2. Hope - A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “18 to nothing, we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”
  2. 4 WORDS ON WHICH TO HANG YOUR HOPES!
    1. SORROW TO JOY! (16-24)
    2. Explanation Overview: “You won’t see me anymore” - refers to his death, which will bring about great grief. “You will see me again” - refers to his resurrection, which will bring about great joy.
    3. Example: To illust how their sorrow will turn to joy, Jesus refers to a woman giving birth.
    4. (19) They had talked the matter over among themselves w/o consulting or asking Him.
      1. Wow, how often do we do that? - Yet still, He knows, He is aware, He cares.
    5. (20) The Lord does not replace our sorrow with joy; He transforms our sorrow into joy!
      1. The same baby that gives the mother pain also brings her joy.
    6. (21) Some of you might take the as soon as to task! But “soon” you do get over it...otherwise mommy’s wouldn’t ever have a second child!
    7. (22) He wants to clarify that this isn’t the end of their relationship.
      1. Just as a violent thunderstorm turns the desert into a bed of wildflowers, so the sorrowful storm to pass over the disciples would bloom joy in abundance.
      2. But this flower has deeper roots (read 23,24).
        1. It isn’t like some flowers, here today, gone tomorrow. It is permanent & complete, a fully blossomed flower.
      3. Ps.30:5b Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
    8. (23) In that day you will ask Me nothing - What day? Why nothing?
      1. In that day probably refers to the day when the Spirit would come and begin His ministry among them. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT; Jn.16:23.)
      2. While Christ was on earth, the disciples were accustomed to taking their questions & needs to Him personally.
      3. When Christ returned to heaven, He sent the Spirit to assist them in their praying (Rom. 8:26–27), & instructed them to pray to the Father personally.
      4. Bible prayer is to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.
        1. It will not be necessary for Christ to beg the Father on our behalf (26) because the Father is willing to answer our requests (27).
    9. (24) Among those who served in the court of Alexander the Great was a famous philosopher who had outstanding ability but little money. He asked Alexander for financial help and was told he could draw whatever cash he needed from the imperial treasury. When he submitted to the treasurer a request for an amount equal to $50,000, he was promptly refused. The treasurer had to verify that such a large sum was indeed authorized. But when he asked Alexander, the ruler replied, “Pay the money at once. The philosopher has done me a singular honor: By the largeness of his request he shows that he has understood both my wealth and generosity.”
      1. ​​​​​​​Be Large in your request: for your own personal generosity towards others; to live the missional life(missionary lifestyle); for your own character transformation; to encounter God daily; to grow a merciful heart towards others. Pray Large!
    10. C. S. Lewis: Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink & sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
    11. ACCESS TO LOVE! (25-29)
    12. (26,27) The coming new day would give the disciples direct personal intimate access to the Father through Jesus.
      1. Jesus would no longer need to pray on-their-behalf, they could ask for themselves
        1. This truth doesn’t negate the promise of Christ’s intercessory work.
      2. The disciples were now in a personal love-and-faith relationship with the Father. Only children have this privilege of access to their Father.
        1. Wow, someone up there likes me! - Being assured of God’s love does wonders to keep us going. It keep us mentally/emotionally/spiritually whole.
        2. It’s spiritual adrenaline. It supplies us with reserves of encouragement.
    13. (28) Jesus summarized His mission in one sentence: His Incarnation (I came forth from the Father), His Humiliation (and have come into the world), andHis Res, Ascension, & Exaltation (again I leave the world and go to the Father)
    14. KNOWLEDGE TO FAITH! (30,31)
    15. Faith & knowledge are connected throughout Scripture.
      1. Our faith in the Lord directly influences our growth in knowledge.
    16. TRIBULATION TO PEACE! (32,33)
    17. (32) What does that mean for you & I when those closest to us abandon us in our greatest time of need? - We are not alone!
    18. (33) The Bad news & the Glad news! [2 opposing spheres, in which they/we live!]
    19. You will have tribulation!
      1. Mosquitos are said to bite strangers more than natives.
    20. The believers 2-fold Life: In Christ & in the world. The believers 2-fold Experience: In Christ peace; & in the World tribulation.The believers 2-fold Secret: The Fact, I have overcome & the Feeling, be of good cheer. (Griffith Thomas; John; pg. 218.)
    21. I have overcome the world - Really? I look around and...really? Overcome what?
      1. Victory over a moral & spiritual world of evil. When you & I see through the external to the internal & spiritual, we recognize Jesus as the greatest conqueror in history. I have overcome this present world-system!
        1. ​​​​​​​He overcame the world’s flatteries [from satan(if you’re the Son of God...), or men (when they were going to take Him by force to make Him king, Jn.6:15)]
        2. He overcame the world’s hostilities (all they could get from him in the end was “Father forgive them…”)
        3. He overcame the world’s principles (principles like...never using His power for selfish ends; or modify His message to avoid opposition)
        4. He overcame the world’s prince (From the wilderness to the final wrestle in Gethsemane, “the prince of this world has nothing in Me”...Lucifer had met his waterloo!)
      2. Who comes to mind of one who conquered the world? Alexander the Great.
        1. ​​​​​​​Yet, he died prematurely, in a drunken state of debauchery.
          1. Alex was overcome by the world!
        2. The true victor & hero is the man who overcomes the world within himself.
          1. How are you doing with the world charming you? With its self-seeking? With its prejudices? With its evil genius?
      3. Satan has usurped a temporarily permitted power over men, & has organized the world of mankind upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, & pleasure.
        1. He has organized it so as to push God out, & to keep men’s minds chained for mundane things. The world is anything that shuts God out.
    22. In the next few hours, the disciples would watch their world fall apart, & yet Jesus assured them that He was the winner!
      1. ​​​​​​​I have overcome the world is a fact, not a promise. (note: have, not will)
        1. The force of this verb indicates a continuing victory!
      2. It also applies to us today,(1 Jn.5:4,5) for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [We are overcomers through Him]
      3. Q: Is your world coming apart at the seams? Remember, you win (By obtaining: His Joy, His Love, His Faith, His Peace,) He wins (Having obtained the Victory!) If God made your cup sweet…drink it w/Grace. If God made your cup bitter…drink it in communion w/Him. As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians— and I am one of them.”
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These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cbb/john-16.html. 2017.

The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide

Ver23.—And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. The word ε̉ζωτήσετε signifies either, ye will ask Me no questions, or ye will ask Me for nothing, make no request.

1. S. Cyril explains it in the first sense: There will be no need to ask Me anything, when I have risen and sent the Holy Spirit. For I by my rising, and He by His coming, will teach you all things which concern your office. They had in their ignorance asked Him many things: "Whither goest Thou?" "How can we know the way?" "Show us the Father." "Why dost Thou manifest Thyself to us, and not unto the world?" see chap. xiv5, 8, 22. And here too as to the meaning of the words "a little while." He fittingly replies, the Holy Spirit will so enlighten you, that ye will have no need to ask questions, as ye did before." So also Euthymius.

2. S. Chrysostom (Hom78), Theophylact, Ribera, and others explain it thus, "After My Resurrection ye will have no need to pray to Me, ye will have only to ask the Father in My name. This is supported by what next follows." (3.) S. Augustine combines both these explanations, and refers to the day of heavenly glory. "He was asked by the disciples," he says, "when He would restore the kingdom to Israel. He was asked by S. Stephen to receive his spirit. I therefore think that what He here says must be referred to the time when we shall see Him as He is, when nothing will remain to be desired, no secret will have to be inquired about."

Verily, Verily, I say unto you (I most surely promise you, S. Augustine says, "I swear," regarding the words as an oath, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you. This is a fresh consolation of the Apostles, a fresh instruction given by Christ that they should use His aid, though absent, to obtain all that they needed from the Father, viz., by asking in His Name. Be not distressed at My absence. For I solemnly promise that the Father will give whatever ye ask in My Name. Ye used to ask everything from Me. I am going away, and I put the Father in My place. What ye used to ask of Me, ask now of the Father. He will as readily, as lovingly, and as fully, hear and understand you as I used to do. And object not to the absence or the distance, the Father being in heaven, and you on earth. For the Father is on earth also (since He is everywhere). Nay, He is within you, in your mind and soul, and that not merely by His essence, presence, and power, but also by His Grace. For your soul is His abode and temple, in which He desires to be praised, worshipped, and invoked by you. Therefore invoke Him there as most familiarly and intimately present, and He will hear you then.

Each word is emphatical. (1.) I promise you, because ye are My intimates, My disciples and Apostles, whom I specially love, that I will have a special care of you, and provide for you in everything. And this is said through the Apostles to the faithful in every age, as represented by them. (2.) Whatsoever, that is, which is profitable for you, and for the honour of God. "Something which is something, and not a mere nothing," (Gloss Inter.) And as S. Augustine says (in loc.), "something, which is not "nothing" in comparison with the Blessed Life." He therefore who asks for anything unlawful or hurtful is not heard. And though we may ask for things temporal, as health, wealth, &c., yet ye ought to ask them for a good purpose, that by them we may the more please God, and perform more good works. (3.) We should ask in a proper manner: that is, humbly, reverently, confidently, ardently, perseveringly. (4.) The Father, as sons asking a father, for He loves you supremely with fatherly affection5. "In My Name," by Me and My merits, not your own6. "He shall give it you," surely and certainly, if ye ask aright.

In My Name. Plead this with the Father, and it will obtain everything. "He sets forth the virtue of His Name" (says S. Chrysostom), "for when He is merely "named" before the Father, He worketh marvellous things. Think not that ye will be left; My Name will give you full confidence."

But what is it to ask in the Name of Christ? S. Gregory (Hom. xxvii.) tells us "Jesus is the Name of the Son. It means Saviour. He therefore asks in the Name of the Saviour, who asks that which pertains to real salvation, for if that is asked which is not expedient, it is not asked in Christ"s Name. The Lord therefore says to the Apostles, who were still weak in the faith, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name, because ye know not how to seek for eternal salvation. And hence it is that S. Paul was not heard, because if he had been freed from temptation it would not have profited him" (2Cor. xii.) And further on, "Weigh well your petitions; see if ye ask in the Name of Jesus. For ye seek not Jesus, in the house of Jesus, if in the temple of eternity ye pray importunately for temporal things; for a wife, a house, clothing, or food." And S. Augustine. "A thing is not asked in the Name of the Saviour, if it be asked contrary to the purpose of salvation; and he who thinks of Christ what he ought not to think of the only Son of God, does not ask in His Name. But he who asks as he ought receives when he ought to receive. For some things are not denied but deferred, in order that they may be given at a fitting time." So Bede, Rupert, and S. Thomas. All this is quite true, not literally but symbolically.

2d. S. Cyril, and after him Jansenius, say more literally, "He speaks in My Name who so speaks that Christ may manifest Himself as the Mediator, and, together with the Father, the Giver of grace. For as God He and the Father together confer gifts upon us, but as Mediator He presents our prayers to the Father, for He gives us boldness and confidence to approach the Father."

3d. Euthymius says "In My name" means as My people, as Christians.

4th. The genuine meaning is given by S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Toletus, and others, who say, "To ask in the Name of Christ is to ask through the merits of Christ. For He, by His death, merited for us that we should obtain whatever we ask of God. This with respect to us is grace, with respect to Christ is but justice. His name signifies in Scripture His strength, virtue, merits, grace, dignity, and authority. To ask in the Name of Christ, is in asking to allege His merits, and to trust in them, not in our own; that God may thus look, not on our unworthiness and our sins, but upon the face of His Anointed, and for His holiness and merits grant us that which we do not deserve. Christ therefore points here not merely to God, but to God Incarnate, and obedient as far as unto the death of the Cross. For He merited for us, that the Father should. hear our prayers. And thus the Church ends all her prayers "through our Lord Jesus Christ."" The Jews, in like manner, used to pray through the merits of Abraham, &c. We through the merits of Christ, which infinitely surpass theirs.

Fifthly, Ribera explains thus, "Ask as sent by Me, as though I through you ask this of the Father. Ask not as though it were to be given to you, but to Me, as a king makes request to the Pontiff through his legate, and as the brethren of Joseph prayed him for their father"s sake to forgive their iniquity, as though He had taken it upon himself, and demanded that it should be forgiven. In like manner Christ confers on us His merits, the authority and grace which He has with the Father, that we may ask the Father through them."

Again, to ask in the name of Christ, is to ask those things which He wishes and desires to be given us, those namely which concern the salvation of the soul. Hence such a prayer is effectual, and is heard by God. And so too the prayers which many use, "0 Lord, give me that which my Lord Christ desires to be in me, which He wishes to be given me, for which He prayed when dying on the Cross, and entreated should be given me: again, what the Blessed Virgin wishes for me, and asks for me, for she greatly longs for my salvation, and knows better than myself what is best for me." This is a pious meaning of the words, but the fourth is more literal, and to the point.

He will give it you. But you will say, "We find that many ask of God, and obtain not; how then can this be said?" I answer, The reason they obtain not, is because they ask not the things which they ought, nor in the way they ought. As S. James says (iv3). For many affirmative propositions in Scripture require certain conditions. And prayer requires: (1.) Humility and reverence, and therefore he who has it not, but prays proudly and presumptuously, like the Pharisee, gains nothing. (2.) It requires contrition for sin, so that he who prays may be, or may heartily wish to be, a friend of God. Sinners therefore, wilfully persisting in sin, are not heard by God. Dost thou wish God to hear thee? Do thou first obey His will, and so God will do thy will, and fulfil thy desires. See Isa. i15. (3.) It requires great faith and confidence that we shall obtain what we ask for through the merits of Christ. This confidence many have not, and therefore they obtain not (James i6). Hence S. Basil (Constit. Monast. cap. ii) assigns the reason for our not being heard, "Thou hast not asked rightly, for thou askedst either with doubting, or when engaged on something else." (4.) It requires perseverance (see Luke xi7,8). S. Augustine (Tract. lxxiii.) rightly observes, "God occasionally refuses what we ask for, because this is more expedient for our salvation and His glory: God therefore hears us, not according to our wishes, but as it is best for our salvation. And thus He hearkened not to S. Paul when he prayed to be delivered from the thorn in the flesh, because it was more profitable to him, to humble him, and that he might continually struggle with and overcome it." See2Cor. xii9.

Give it you. Hence S. Augustine (in loc.) thinks that the result of prayer is promised only when we pray for ourselves, but not when we pray for others; for, says he, "The Saints are heard for themselves, not for all. For it is said, "I will give it you."" But S. Basil (Reg. brevier, 261), Toletus, and others, more correctly, and in a more liberal sense, think that the promise holds good, whether we pray for ourselves or for others. For God gives us that which He gives to others for whom we pray. When we pray, He gives us the fruit of our prayer. And this more accords with the very bountiful beneficence of God. Besides, to pray for others, is a work of greater charity, especially if we pray for our enemies. And such a prayer as this is wont to be heard, as Christ was heard in behalf of His crucifiers, and S. Stephen when praying for Saul. S. Gregory (Hom. xxvii.) gives the reason: "The virtue," he says, "of true prayer is the very sublimest charity. And a man obtains that which he rightly asks for, when his mind is not darkened when he prays, even by hatred of his enemy. But we often overcome the reluctance of our mind to pray, when we pray for our enemies."

Moreover, when occasionally we are not heard when we pray for others, it is either our own fault, or the fault of them for whom we pray, who by their sloth or evil disposition render themselves unworthy of the grace of God, and at times rail against Him, and despise His call.

There is an instance in the Lives of the Fathers. A certain man tempted with the spirit of lust, asked the prayers of a holy anchoret, that he might obtain deliverance. He prayed again and again, but to no purpose. When he wondered at this, God replied, He does not deserve to be heard, because by lazily cherishing obscene thoughts and trifling with them, he is the cause of his own temptation. The anchoret told him this, and then, moved with compunction, the man gave himself to prayer, watching and fasting, and obtained deliverance from his temptation. Those who are tempted should therefore co-operate with those who are praying for them, in order that they may be heard. Just as a sick man should co-operate with his physician, in order to his cure. But if he refuses to do so, all the labour of the physician is useless.

Ver24.—Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name. Because ye have trusted in My presence, have asked all things of Me in person, and I have gained them from My Father. But now, as I am about to leave you, I refer you to My Father, that ye may obtain from him all that ye require, through the intervention of My Name. For though the Apostles cast out devils, &c., in Christ"s Name, yet they did so by asking help from Him who was present with them.

Ask, and ye shall receive. Because I have obtained this from the Father by My merits. Be not sorrowful at My departure, for He will give you greater things than I have ever given, if invoked in My Name. So Euthymius, Maldonatus, &c.

That your joy may be full. (1.) S. Augustine (in loc.) explains thus, "Ask of God to comfort you in My absence, and to confer on you fulness of joy in eternal happiness." (2.) S. Cyril. If ye ask of God, He will give you the fulness of joy, namely, remission of sins and plenteous grace. (3.) The word "that" signifies the effect and result of your prayers. Ye will rejoice at My Resurrection, but in order to perfect your joy, ask of the Father in My Name all the graces ye need, so that by obtaining them from the Father ye may have fulness of joy, and wish for nothing more in this life. So Ribera, Toletus, Jansenius, and others. This is the true meaning.

Ver25.—These things have I spoken to you in proverbs; but the cometh when I shall no longer speak unto you in proverbs, but shall show you plainly of the Father. I said (Preface to Prov.) that a proverb, parable, and adage often meant the same thing, viz, some occult, obscure, and mysterious saying, though it does not contain a parable. This is the meaning here. What I have said about "a little while," "the Holy Spirit," "My departure to the Father," "your joy," &c., seems to you now obscure and enigmatical. But you will soon have full experience of them, both by My own teaching in the forty days, when I shall make known to you the meaning of Holy Scripture (Acts i3), and more fully by the Holy Spirit, whom I will send to you at Pentecost, to teach you clearly and distinctly the mysteries of the faith, and to inflame you with the love of them. So S. Augustine, Bede, Maldonatus, and others. S. Gregory (Moral. xxx5) refers this promise to the state of blessedness in heaven, for there it will be most abundantly fulfilled, when we shall see God face to face.

Ver26.—In that day ye shall ask in My Name; and I say not unto you that I shall pray the Father for you. I said (xiv16), "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter." But now there will be no need of My praying, for I shall soon send the Holy Spirit, who will teach you to pray to God in My Name with such great earnestness, that the Father will grant you all things at your prayer, and therefore ye will not then need such prayers as I offered to God when present with you. Hence some Fathers think that Christ does not pray for us in Heaven with prayers, properly so called, but merely by presenting His wounds to the Father. (See Vasquez, par. iii. tome1, Quæst21). But it is more probable that Christ does pray for us in heaven with prayers properly so called, as I have explained in Rom. viii24. Christ means that His earthly presence was not needed in order to pray for them as He used to do.

Ver27.—For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me. He first loveth us, in calling and urging, us sinners to repentance and love of Him. And we then begin to love Him, and He then pours into us charity and justifying grace, making us His sons and friends. Hence it is clear that charity is the bond between God and man for it causes us to love God, and God in turn to love us, as a friend loves a friend and is loved by him in return.

And have believed that I came forth from God: that is, that I am the Son of God, sent by Him into the world for your and others" salvation. But you will say: "If God loves us, why does not He give of His own accord those things He knows we need, but wishes to be asked?" (1.) Because the reverend Majesty of God demands of us that we should reverence Him by our prayers, and testify that we need His bounty, and that no one can relieve our wants but Himself. We owe to Him the tribute of our prayers.

(2.) The state of man requires us to acknowledge that we depend on Him, are fostered and protected by Him, and that in all things we need His aid and bounty. "Nay, let him openly confess," says S. Augustine, "that he is God"s mendicant. Let him humble himself before Him, and with bended neck beg from Him what he needs."

(3.) The greatness of the thing asked for demands it. For we ask of God grace and glory, and there is nothing more excellent than these. God wishes us therefore to buy them by prayer, as it were by a price, that we may value them the more, and carefully preserve them. See S. Basil (Conat. Monast. chap. ii.)

(4.) The utility and the excellence of prayer demands it. For therein we exercise, 1. Faith, in believing that God is Almighty, All-wise, and Most Good2. Hope, for we hope that He will give as all things necessary for this life and the next3. Love, whereby we as children ask all these things from a most loving Father. S. Chrysostom says thus on Ps. iv., "Prayer is no slight bond of our love towards God: for it accustoms us to speak to Him, and leads us on to the study of wisdom. For if he who holds much converse with some great and wonderful man, gains thereby great benefit, how much more does he who holds perpetual converse with God?" For "prayer" (as he says elsewhere) "is a talking with God, which makes man a kind of familiar angel with God." See his book "De orando Deum," and Climacus (gradu xxviii), where he gives many excellent testimonies in favour of prayer, and adds, "Prayer is a kind of holy tyranny over God," for it compels Him, as it were, to grant those things which are asked for.

Ver28.—I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world. Again I leave the world and go to the Father. I came forth, not by birth of the Virgin, as Jansen maintains, but by My Eternal Generation from the Father. So say the Fathers. Listen to S. Augustine (in loc.), "He came forth from the Father, because He is of the Father, and He came into the world, because He showed to the world the Body which He took of the Virgin." And Cyril, "To have come forth from the Father, is nothing else than to have been born, and to have shone forth from the Substance of the Father by that going forth by which He is, and is thus understood to be as in proper subsistence." Euthymius, "I came forth from the Father, signifies that He is of the Substance of the Father, or by every right the Son of the Father." So also Bede, S. Thomas, Lyranus, Ribera, Toletus, and others. This will be more clear from verse30. And so, too, it is said "they came forth from the Joins of their father" ( Hebrews 7:10; and Isaiah 39:7). To go forth from the Father is the same as being begotten of Him.

Ver29.—His disciples say unto Him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly and speakest no proverb: we now clearly understand that which we did not comprehend before. For Thou spakest obscurely, "A little while, and ye shall not see Me," &c. But now thou explainest it clearly.

Ver30.—Now we know that Thou knowest all things. "From our seeing and hearing that Thou understandest our secret thoughts, our doubts, and our desires to understand the meaning of Thy words, for Thou hast anticipated our questionings, and hast of Thine own accord cleared up our doubts. And for this cause we believe the more firmly that Thou art in truth the Son of God, and183begotten by Him, because Thou knowest all things, and seest the secrets of hearts; which is the property of God." So Cyril; or as Toletus says, "This alone is sufficient to make us believe that Thou camest forth from God, because Thou discoverest our secret thoughts, and makest answer to, them. And if other arguments (many as they are) were wanting, this alone would suffice to make us believe in Thee."

Ver31.—Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

Ver32.—Behold the hour cometh; yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. This first clause is read either as a question (with Theophylact, Euthymius, Jansenius, and others) or as an affirmation. The meaning is the same in either case. Do ye believe? But ye will soon show how little and feeble is your faith. Or else, Ye now have faith in Me, but much feebler than you think, for you will flee away, and leave Me. Each of you hasting away to the place which is nearest, and none of you waiting for any others.

I am not alone. I say not this for My own sake, but for your sake. I need not your protection, as I have the Almighty Father withi Me.

Ver33.—These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. The things I said before (ver5, and ch. xvi18,19). That ye might trust confidently in Me, with a mind calm and tranquil, unmoved, and unterrified by the waves of persecution.

In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. I have begun to overcome it, by My holy Life and heavenly doctrines, but I will now fully and completely overcome it by My Passion and Death. Be confident then, that as I have overcome it, so will ye overcome it if ye persevere in faith and love. If therefore ye abide in Me, ye also, by My example, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, which I will give you, will overcome the world; i.e., all the hatred, persecutions, &c., of the Jews (see1John5.). Understand by the world, the prince of the world, and all other adversaries of Christ. So Toletus, Ribera, and others. Be assured then, under every worldly trial, that I have overcome the world, not for Myself but for your sakes I have overcome, that ye might overcome, that I might give you a rule and pattern, that I might obtain from God the grace of victory for you. Contend therefore resolutely, because I will contend in you, and overcome in you, by making you conquerors. For, as S. Augustine says here, He would not have overcome the world, if the world were to conquer His members.

Montanus, and his fellow-martyrs, the disciples of S. Cyprian, trusting in these words were strengthened by them, and exulted in their dark and gloomy prison; for they said, "Where the temptation is great, there is He, the Greater One, who overcomes it in us, and there is no contest in which, by the protection of the Lord, there is not victory." See their Acts in Surius, Feb24. And S. Cyprian himself (Ep. ad. Fortunatum) says, "If any one, keeping the commands of the Lord, and boldly cleaving to Christ, has stood against the adversary, he must needs be conqueror, for Christ is unconquerable." Also in Epist. to Donatus, "He can seek for nothing from the world who is above the world." And again (Epist. to people of Thibaris), e.g. "The Christian soldier, instructed by His precepts and warnings, trembles not at the battle, but is ready for the Crown." And just before, "The Lord wished we should rejoice in persecutions, because when they come, then the crowns of faith are given, the soldiers of God are proved, the heavens are opened to martyrs." And again, "He is not alone, whose companion in flight is Christ, who keeping the temple of God, wherever he may be, is not without God. And should a robber assault him when flying in solitude, or on the mountains, or a wild beast attack, or hunger, or thirst, or cold afflict, or when hastening over the sea storm and tempest overwhelm him, Christ everywhere beholdeth His soldier, and if he dies in persecution for the honour of His name, He gives Him the reward He has promised He will give in the resurrection." And also in the Treatise de Mortal., "He who is a soldier of God, who, stationed in the heavenly camp, is already hoping for things above, should recognise what He is, in order that there may not be any trepidation or faltering in us at the storms and tempests of the world. For the Lord foretold that these things should come to pass, instructing and teaching us beforehand by His word of encouragement, and preparing and strengthening us to meet them." And he says (Epist. i. ad Cornelium): "That the soldiers of Christ cannot be conquered, though they can die, and that they are unconquered because they are not afraid to die." And the Confessors, too, who were in prison and destined to martyrdom, wrote thus touchingly to S. Cyprian, as the encourager of Martyrs:-"What more glorious or what more happy can be granted to any man by Divine favour, than fearlessly to confess the Lord God in the midst of his murderers, and that while the various and exquisite torments of the secular power are raging, even with a racked, tortured, and mangled body, to confess Christ the Son of God with his departing but still free spirit? having broken through all worldly hindrances, to present himself before God freed from them all,—than to win the heavenly kingdom without delay, than to become a fellow-sufferer with Christ by suffering in His Name?" And so too S. Chrysostom, when his banishment was in debate, addressed to his people eleven discourses, beginning thus:- "Many are the floods, and huge the waves, but I fear not drowning, for I stand on the rock. But what think they? Lest I should fear death, to whom to live is Christ and to die is gain? lest I should be afraid of exile, though I know that the earth is the Lord"s, and the fulness thereof? or the proscription of my goods, though I know that I brought nothing into the world, neither can I take anything out? The terrors of the world—I despise them; its pleasures—I deride them. I desire not riches, I dread not poverty, I fear not death."

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Bibliographical Information
Lapide, Cornelius. "Commentary on John 16:32". The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clc/john-16.html. 1890.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Shall we turn to John"s gospel, chapter16.

Now, these words in the sixteenth chapter have to be understood with the background as Jesus has been in the upper room with His disciples. He has told them as He had the Lord"s supper with them that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drank it anew in the kingdom. After supper, He has washed their feet, giving to them an example of what the ministry is all about; it"s that of a servant. And then there in the upper room He speaks to them of that beautiful relationship that they would have with the Father and with the Son, through the Holy Spirit; that He is going away, but He"s going to come again. And He"s going to the Father. And then they leave the upper room. Now, the cross is in front of Him. At this point He knows it. They"re not sure. But He realizes that this will be His last chance to just really talk with them of the things that are in His heart. And so, in the fifteenth chapter, somewhere between the upper room and the Garden of Gethsemane, maybe while they"re walking, Jesus is talking to His disciples, declaring that He is the vine, the true vine, the Father, the husbandman, and that God"s purpose for their lives was that they might bring forth fruit. And that fruit that God is looking for is love. He wants us to love one another even as He loves us. And this emphasis upon bearing fruit, bringing forth that love one for another. Now in chapter16 Jesus said,

I"m telling you these things, so that you"ll not be offended ( John 16:1 ).

Telling them, actually, of the things that are going to happen to them. "When you go out into the world, they"re going to persecute you. They"re not going to receive you. If you are of the world, then they would receive you and accept you, but you"re not of the world. Now, I"m telling you this," Jesus said, "so that you won"t get wiped out when you are not received by the world." It is interesting how that somehow in our minds we are idealists and we"re prone to think if a person lives an honest, righteous kind of a life, everybody will respect them and appreciate them. But if you ever read of the hassles that these people have to go through who find money and turn it in, and are honest enough to turn it in, how that they get all kinds of hate mails, threatening...a lot of them have just had to move from their neighborhoods. Their neighbors were so totally upset with them for being honest. Harassed them, called them fools and harassed them, because of their honesty. And so, Jesus said, "Look, I"m going to tell you this before it happens, telling you these things now, so that you won"t be offended."

For they"re going to put you out of their synagogues: yes, the time is coming, when whoever kills you will think that he is doing God"s service ( John 16:2 ).

This was surely true with Paul the apostle when he was a zealous Pharisee. And as they were stoning Stephen, Paul said, "I consented unto his death." Paul was holding the coats of those that were throwing the stones, urging them on, no doubt, in the stoning to death of Stephen. Declaring in Philippians chapter3that it was a part of his zeal towards God was persecuting the church. He thought he was doing God"s service.

And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me ( John 16:3 ).

Interesting that these people who were so steeped in traditions of the Hebrew religion. Jesus said of them, "They really don"t know the Father." I believe that it is possible to become steeped in the traditions of Christianity so much so that you don"t really know the Son. You know all of the traditions. You know all of the church traditions and you"re bound up and caught up in the traditions. But it is possible to be very religious in a Christian sense as far as attendance in church and all, and be very religious, but not really know Jesus in a true and intimate way. And we"ve got to guard against that. That we don"t get caught up in religion, but we get caught up in Jesus Christ, in the relationship, the personal relationship with Him. And many times, becoming religious is a real barrier to that relationship. God, keep us open! God, keep us flexible! Not rigid in a religious system and, God, prevent that we should ever devolve into a religious system and lose the real relationship with Jesus.

Jesus said, "They"re going to do this thinking they"re doing God a service when they kill you, but it"s because they really don"t know the Father, nor His Son."

But these things I have told you, that when the time shall come, you will remember that I told you them. And these things I did not tell you in the beginning, because I was with you ( John 16:4 ).

"I was there to shield, I was there to take their buffeting and to answer their charges, and I didn"t tell you this at the first because you had me with you. But I"m going away now. You"re going to be on your own. And now they"re going to be persecuting you for My sake, because of what you"re going to be doing in My name." And truly, as we read the book of Acts, we find out that this did indeed happen. They were persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ, and for their ministry in His name.

But now I am going my way to him that sent me ( John 16:5 );

Going back to the Father.

and none of you have asked me, Where are you going? ( John 16:5 )

Now, Jesus said to the disciples in the fourteenth chapter, "I"m going away, and if I go I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also. And where I go you know and the way, you know." And Thomas said unto Him, "Lord, we don"t know where You are going and how can we know the way?" He didn"t say, "Where are You going?" He just said, "Lord, we don"t know where You are going." None of them asked, "Well, Lord, where are You going?" He kept saying, "I am going away." But they didn"t say, "Where are You going?" And He said,

But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart ( John 16:6 ).

"Now, I said, "I"m going," and you"re all sorry, but you haven"t asked, "Where are you going?"" If they"d asked, "Where are you going?" and they knew that He was going to the Father and, of course, it"s revealed here in the seventeenth chapter, then they would not be so sorry for Him. In fact, they would rejoice for Him, though they would still probably be sorry for themselves.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; [It is necessary,] it"s expedient for you that I go away ( John 16:7 ):

This is necessary.

for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you ( John 16:7 ).

Now, when Jesus took on a human body, of necessity He took on certain limitations of a human body. And one of the limitations of a human body is that of locality. Your body can only be in one place at one time. Now, that is frustrating at times. There are times when I wish my body could be two or three places at the same time, but as long as I am in this body I can"t be. Now, there are sometimes my body is one place and my mind is another. And that happens to you sometimes when you"re sitting here. I see your bodies, but sometimes I wonder, "Where are you?" But the body is limited to locality. Now, they are soon to be dispersed. They"re to take the gospel into all the world. And it would be impossible for Jesus to be with them all if He were still in the body.

When Paul was heading out for Cypress and for Ephesus and all, if the Lord went with Paul, He couldn"t be with Peter and John back in Jerusalem. So, the fact that they were now to take the gospel and go out with it, it was necessary that Jesus leave them and go back to the Father, back to the spiritual state no longer limited by the body, in order that He might send the Holy Spirit who can be with them wherever they go, because He is not bound to locality. And Jesus now in the Spirit is not bound to locality. So He said to His disciples, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world . . . the end of this age. But it"s necessary in order to be with you in this manner that I go away to be relieved from the limitations of this body." In order that again, as God, He might be omnipresent. And so, in order that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, might come. "When I depart," He said, "I will send Him unto you." He said, "I"m going to pray the Father and He will give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, that He may abide with you forever." And so here again, the promise of the Spirit.

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment ( John 16:8 ):

Now Jesus at that point, amplifies what He said the reproof of the Holy Spirit would be and, to me, the amplification is very interesting because it"s not at all what I would think in just reading of the Spirit reproving the world of sin. When He reproves the world of sin, I think of all the horrible things that men are doing. I think of the murders, the cheating, the lying and all of these things. But Jesus said,

Of sin, because they believed not on me ( John 16:9 );

Interesting statement. Because you see, there is only one deadly sin, and that is the sin of not believing in Jesus Christ. I care not what you have done; it isn"t necessary that I know what you have done, what your past may hide. I know this, that the blood of Jesus Christ, God"s Son, cleanses a man from all sin, no matter what"s there. There is only one sin that really condemns a man when they stand before God, and that is the sin of not believing in Jesus Christ. "He will reprove the world of sin because they believed not in Me."

Jesus said to Nicodemus, "For I did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through might be saved. And he who believeth is not condemned, but he who believes not is condemned already" ( John 3:17-18 ). Not because he"s a cheater, a thief, an adulterer, a murderer; he"s condemned already seeing he hath not believed on the only begotten Son of God. This is the condemnation. Light came into the world, but men would not come to the light. So that thing for which God will bring you into judgment is your not believing in His provision for your salvation through Jesus Christ. He will testify of righteousness.

Now, it would seem to me that the testimony of righteousness to us would be saying, "Now, this is the way a person should walk. You should walk in love, you should walk in truth, you should walk in mercy, you should walk in honesty..." and all of these things, showing us the right path and the right relationship that we should have to each other, testifying or reproving the world of righteousness. But, Jesus said,

Of righteousness, because I go unto the Father, and you see me no more ( John 16:10 );

Interesting statement. What Jesus means by that is that we have many varying standards of righteousness that men have established today. And even within the church body, there are different standards of righteousness. In some church bodies, it is very unrighteous for a woman to wear any kind of makeup or try to make herself look halfway decent at all. I"m glad I don"t belong to those churches. But, to them that constitutes unrighteousness. Oh, the guys dress flashy, to be sure. But they try to put the women in very dull and unattractive garb and hair pulled back in a bun and so forth. And that to them is righteousness.

It is interesting to me that overall the church here in the United States is opposed to drinking any alcoholic beverage. I personally am. But in Sweden, the Christians there see nothing wrong with drinking beer, and when we were in Sweden and we were out to dinner with the ministers and all, they always said, "Do you want a beer?" And I always was shocked by that. But some of them were very shocked that my wife drank coffee. "Oh, my! Brother, we"ll pray for you. What a poor witness, your wife drinking coffee!" While they were drinking their beer!

So, there are different standards of righteousness that quite often are cultural. The morals of a particular society and the standards of righteousness by which men set are usually standards of comparison. When I think of a righteous standard, I look around and I say, "Well, I"m better than he is. I wouldn"t do that." And by looking at the faults of others, I can sometimes feel very smug and self-righteous. "Father, I thank you that I am not like other men, because I don"t do the things they"re doing and I do this, Lord." But Jesus said, "You do err when you compare yourself with men." Because I don"t care how righteous you are, or how righteous I am, unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, we"re not going to enter the kingdom of heaven. And as far as outward righteousness and as far as a righteousness according to the law, they were so far beyond anything we ever dreamed of being, they practiced their whole lives trying to obey the finest points of the law, interpreting them and obeying the finest points of the law. And Paul the apostle was able to testify of his own experience as a Pharisee concerning the righteousness which is in the law. He said, "I was blameless." Jesus, though, said, "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you"re not going to enter into the kingdom of heaven" ( Matthew 5:20 ). Don"t you know that that blew the mind of the disciples? And caused them to say, "Well, pooph, what"s the use? Let"s go back fishing again. No way we"re going to make that. I give up!" If you think that"s tough, Jesus ended that message by saying, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" ( Matthew 5:48 ). That does it, I"m through! Washed up! Hate to admit it, but I"m not perfect. And you don"t have to take my word for it. My wife will be glad to confirm that.

Now, if my righteousness must exceed the scribes and the Pharisees, if I can"t create a standard looking around at men, where is the standard of righteousness that God will accept? If He won"t accept that rigid standard of the scribes and Pharisees, what standard will He accept? And Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit will reprove the world of righteousness because I go to the Father." Now, Jesus, ascending into heaven unto the Father, the Holy Spirit bears witness by that that this is the righteousness that God can accept. So, the righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is imparted to us by our faith in Him. And so, when Paul talked of the righteousness of the law being blameless, he then said, "Yet those things which were gain to me, this righteous standing I had as a Pharisee, blameless, those things which were gain to me I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ; for whom I suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may know Him and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of Christ through faith" ( Philippians 3:7-9 ). The righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, and the righteousness that the Father will accept. If I want the Father to accept me, if I want to enter the kingdom of heaven, I must enter in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Nothing less will do.

Now that, for the moralist, once and for all declares that no matter how moral, honest, good a person, benevolent, charitable you may be, you cannot make it on your own. We all need Jesus Christ. We all need to believe in Him. For believing in Him, my sins are forgiven. I"m no longer condemned. Believing in Him, I now have the righteousness of Christ imputed unto me. And,

Of judgment ( John 16:11 ),

Jesus said. Now, I read in Revelation that there is a great white throne judgment where God sits upon the throne to judge the world. "And the nations, small and great, will stand before Him. And death and hell will give up the dead which are in them; the sea will give up the dead which are in them, and all the small and great will stand there before God to be judged out of the things that are written in the books. Whosoever"s name is not found written in the book of life will be cast into the lake burning with fire, and this is the second death" ( Revelation 20:11-14 ). That"s not the judgment that the Spirit is testifying about. Well, there"s another judgment.

There"s the judgment seat of Christ, before which all of the Christians have to appear to receive the things done in their bodies, whether good or evil. Where our works are to be judged by fire and whatever remains will be rewarded for, what sort of works we have done. There will the motives of the hearts be tested. Jesus said, "Take heed to yourself, that you do not your righteousness before men to be seen of men. For I say unto you, you have your reward."

If you"re only doing it for a show so people can look at you and say, "Oh, my, isn"t he sweet, isn"t he wonderful? Isn"t he good?" And if that"s your motive in doing it, those plaudits and applause and all that you receive from men is all the reward you"ll ever get. We are to do our righteousness before God in such a way as to not try to draw attention to ourselves. "Let your light so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they will glorify your Father which dwells in heaven" ( Matthew 5:16 ).

And so, we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. And there we will be rewarded for the way that we have run the race. But that isn"t the judgment that the Holy Spirit is speaking about.

"Of judgment," Jesus said,

because the prince of this world is judged ( John 16:11 ).

Interesting. He doesn"t talk about our judgment, but He talks about the prince of the world being judged. And where was the prince of the world judged? He was judged upon the cross. Paul tells us in Colossians, chapter2, that Jesus spoiled those principalities and powers, which are rankings of evil spirits. He spoiled them there on the cross, making an open display of His victory, triumphing over them through the cross. Therefore, let no man judge you. The prince of this world has been judged. There on the cross Christ defeated Satan.

Satan has tremendous power. When God created the world and placed man upon it, God gave to man the dominion over the world. God said unto Adam, "You"re to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, over every living and moving and creeping thing; for I have given it unto you." But man, in the Garden of Eden, gave it unto Satan. So that man was no longer the ruler of the world, but Satan became the ruler over the world. And we see today the disastrous consequences of Satan"s rule, in the wars, the suffering. All of these things, disastrous consequences of Satan"s rule. We pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." But you do not see that yet. As in Hebrews, we read God has put all things into subjection unto Jesus, but we do not yet see all things in subjection unto Him. We still see a world in rebellion against God, and we still see the fruit of that rebellion in this world in which we live.

One day, by the grace of God, we will live in a world that God intended. And there are marvelous descriptions of that world in the Old Testament, where the lion will lie down with the lamb, and a little child will lead them, and the deserts will blossom like a rose, and there will be streams in the deserts and rivers in dry places, and the lame will leap for joy and the dumb will be singing praises unto God, and the blind shall behold the glory of our Lord. No physical maladies, for the former things will be passed away and all things become new. And there"ll be no sorrow or suffering, for you"ll see the world in harmony with God, and you"ll see the world as God intended it and wants it to be. But right now, we see a world in rebellion. And we see men under Satan"s control. The Bible tells us that Satan has taken them captive even against their wills. Paul said "that we might take them from the captivity of the enemy, who has taken them captive against their wills" ( 2 Timothy 2:26 ). Paul tells us that the God of this world has blinded their eyes that they cannot see the truth. There are men today who cannot see the truth; they are bound by Satan"s power. They are blinded by him.

We see men in bondage of corruption, bondage of sin. We see it holding men in its power and we"ve seen the vain futile struggle of man to try and free himself from that power of darkness.

Now, the Holy Spirit is reproving the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment because the prince of this world was judged. What that means is that you don"t have to be under Satan"s power. You don"t have to be under the bondage of corruption. But because of the cross of Jesus Christ, His victory over Satan there at the cross can become your victory. And through the power of Jesus Christ, you can have complete victory and power over the world, the flesh and the devil. You don"t have to be under his power. Actually, what Satan holds today, he holds by what is called "usurped power and authority." It"s not really his. He still usurps it.

You remember that when God rejected Saul from being the king of Israel, because of his disobedience, God said to Samuel, "How long are you going to grieve for Saul? Let"s move on. Go down to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the king over Israel." So Samuel snuck down to the house of Jesse for fear of Saul. And he said to Jesse, "Would you bring your sons before me?" And the first son Eliab came in, a big guy and handsome, and Samuel thought, "Alright, this surely is the one that God has chosen for the king." And God said unto Samuel, "Samuel, don"t look on the outward appearance. For I don"t look on the outward appearance, I look on the heart." Eliab"s not the one. So, one by one the sons of Jesse marched in and marched past Samuel, and each one the Lord said, "No." Finally, Samuel turned to Jesse and he said, "Don"t you have any other sons?" "Oh, yeah, I have one more, but he"s just a kid, he"s out watching the sheep." "Well, call him in." And when David came in, this ruddy little kid, the Lord said to Samuel, "That"s the one." And he took his oil and he poured it over David"s head, and anointed him as king of Israel.

Now, as far God was concerned, David was the king. God anointed him as king. However, Saul didn"t believe that. And we read in the next few chapters how that Saul did his best to destroy David and to hang on to the kingdom which God had taken away. "Because you have rejected God from ruling over you, God has rejected you from the kingdom," the prophet had told him. But he did his best by force to hold on to that which God had taken away.

Now, the same is true today in the lives of people. Jesus, you see, has died for the world. But Satan still holds people under his power, but it is like Saul; it"s usurped power, it"s no longer legally, rightfully his. Jesus has purchased them by His blood. And therefore, we can enter into that victory of Jesus over Satan, and we can also lay claim to lives that Satan is holding, that we might take them from the captivity of the enemy who has taken them captive. And I can bring these people before the Lord, case by case, and I can say, "Now, Lord, I claim the power of Jesus Christ and His victory over the power of Satan that is holding them and blinding them. Lord, deliver them from the power of the enemy and from the blindness."

Now, I can"t save them through my prayers, but I can at least bring them to the freedom of choice. We talk about free moral agency, and it"s almost a misnomer. There is no way you can say of a sinner that he is a free moral agent. He"s the most bound person in the universe. His eyes are blind and he"s being held by the power of Satan. How can you say he"s a free moral agent? He"s a slave unto the tyranny of the enemy! But through prayer, I can make him a free moral agent. Through prayer, I can break the bondage in which he is held by Satan"s power, and through prayer, I can open his eyes to the truth. At that point, being a free moral agent, he can then choose, without this oppressive work of Satan blinding his eyes and twisting and perverting his logic. And so, that really is the thrust of prayer towards the sinner, is that of setting them free from this bondage of Satan, because Satan was judged at the cross and he has no legal rights over them any more. And we can claim the victory of Christ life after life, setting them free from the bondage of darkness.

Jesus said,

I have many things to say, but you can"t bear them now ( John 16:12 ).

They"re not ready for them.

So, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth: for he will not speak of himself ( John 16:13 );

Talking of the Holy Spirit, He declares that He will be a guide for us into all truth, and He will not testify of Himself,

for whatsoever shall he hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He will glorify me ( John 16:13-14 ):

So, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not to exalt Himself. And I do think that when as a church we start making a big emphasis upon the Holy Spirit, we are placing an emphasis where God hasn"t placed an emphasis. For the emphasis of the Holy Spirit is upon Jesus Christ. He doesn"t testify of Himself, but He glorifies and seeks to glorify Jesus Christ. "And He will tell us things to come." Paul the apostle was directed by the Holy Spirit in his ministry. And he was shown by the Spirit the things that were going to happen in his life. I have had a very marvelous experience of having the Holy Spirit lay out for me the things that God had in store and was planning to do in my life. And the Holy Spirit will testify of things to come and will glorify Jesus Christ.

for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you ( John 16:14 ).

In other words, "He will receive from Me and reveal to you."

All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore I said, that he shall take of mine, and will show it to you. A little while, and you will not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father ( John 16:15-16 ).

Now He"s talking about the cross and about His death. "A little while and you"re not going to see Me, but yet, a little while and you will see Me, because I go to the Father."

Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What in the world is he trying to say to us, A little while, and you will not see me: and again, a little while, and you will see me: Because I go to the Father? And they said therefore, What is this that he is saying, A little while? ( John 16:17-18 )

I don"t know what he"s saying.

Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and he said unto them, Do you inquire among yourselves of what I said, A little while, and you will not see me: and yet a little while, and you shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That you are going to weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice ( John 16:19-20 );

Talking again of His crucifixion. "You"re going to weep, you"re going to lament, and the world around you is going to be rejoicing."

and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy ( John 16:20 ).

Can you imagine the joy of Easter morning? The resurrection, when they saw the risen Lord? Their sorrow turned into joy.

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour has come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world ( John 16:21 ).

And so, Jesus uses this as a graphic illustration of what He was about to go through; the travail of His soul, the anguish of the cross. But in order that men might be born into the kingdom, all of the pain and the suffering and all is so quickly forgotten when you"re swallowed up in the joy of the birth of a new child. You forget. They say that it is one of the hardest pains to bear, and one of the easiest to forget. A child has been born into the kingdom. "And for the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross though He despised the shame" ( Hebrews 12:2 ). And so, He"s talking really of Himself, the anguish that He was to go through. But for the joy of those being born into the kingdom He was willing to do it.

Ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man can take from you ( John 16:22 ).

You"re going to go through this time of sorrow, but, oh, you"re going to rejoice because I"m going to see you again.

And in that day you will ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you ( John 16:23 ).

"You"re not to ask Me, your prayers are to be unto the Father. They are to be in the name of Jesus Christ." And our prayers today should actually be addressed to the Father in the name of Jesus.

Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name: ask ( John 16:24 ),

In the Greek it"s imperative, "Please ask..." intensive.

and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full ( John 16:24 ).

So, the Lord is saying, "If you"ll ask in My name, you will receive." And through this prayer life, receiving, brings such fullness of joy to the life of the believer.

These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time is coming, when I will no longer when I will no longer speak unto you in proverbs, but I will show you plainly of the Father. And that day you will ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God ( John 16:25-27 ).

And so our prayer is to the Father. We have direct access to the Father. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we might make our needs known before God. In the name of Jesus, I can approach the Father, and yet, I really fear and tremble for those who think that they have direct access to the Father apart from Jesus Christ. They have lost the consciousness of the holiness of God. The Jewish people today say, "We do not need Jesus. We can go directly to the Father." They forget that their fathers did not go directly to the Father, but they came through much sacrifices through the priests. And the priests went to the Father for them. Jesus said, "I"m not going to say that I"m going to ask the Father for you. You can go directly to the Father." If I can go directly to the Father, then surely I don"t need to go to Mary to ask Jesus to go to the Father for me. Or any of the other saints. And prayers to Mary and the saints are church dogma and tradition without scriptural foundation. There"s no value in praying to Mary. In fact, I would be a little hesitant to do so, lest Jesus said, "Who is my mother?" For when Mary was outside and could not make her way to Jesus because of the crowd, she sent a message in and said, "Tell my son I"m out here...his mother is out here with his brothers." And Jesus, when they brought the message, "Your mother"s outside, she wants you," He said, "Who is my mother? Who is my brother?" Now, if I was going to Mary in heaven and said, "Dear Mary, intercede for me," and Jesus would say, "Who is my mother?" I would be in trouble. I don"t have to go through Mary. I can come directly to the Father through and in the name of Jesus.

I came forth from the Father, and I am coming to the world: again, I am leaving the world, and going to the Father ( John 16:28 ).

"I came from the Father, I came into the world." "He who was in the beginning with God thought it not robbery to be equal with God" ( Philippians 2:6 ). "In the beginning was the Word," ( John 1:1 ). "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" ( John 1:14 ). "I came into the world . . . " "The world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not. He came to His own, His own received Him not." " . . . but I am going back now to the Father." You see, He said, "You haven"t asked Me where I"m going." Now, He"s telling them, "I"m going back to the Father."

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now you are speaking to us plainly, and not in a proverb. Now we are sure that you know all things, and you need not that any man should ask you: by this we believe that you came forth from God ( John 16:29-30 ).

You see, they were asking among themselves, "What is He talking about, "You"re going to see Me in a little while"?" And then He says, "Why is it that you"re inquiring among yourselves what am I talking about when I say this?" And they said, "Hey, we don"t know what"s going on, and you don"t need that any man should ask thee."

Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, yes, is now come, when you"re going to be scattered, every man to his own, and you"re going to leave me alone ( John 16:31-32 ):

Here they are affirming, "Lord, we believe." And Jesus said, "Well, yes, but in just a little while you"re going to be scattered. Your faith is going to be tested like you can"t believe. And you"re going to leave Me alone." And Jesus said,

yet I"m not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that ye might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world ( John 16:32-33 ).

And so, Jesus said, "I"m telling you these things because I want you to have peace. In the world, you"re going to have tribulation." Now, He is not saying here that the church is going through the Great Tribulation. And there"s a vast difference between the tribulation that I experience as a child of God and the Tribulation that the world is going to experience as a rebel against God. "In the world you will have tribulation." Why? Because you"re not of the world. Where does the tribulation originate against the child of God? From Satan. From the world itself. Where does the Great Tribulation originate? Its origin is God, as God comes to judge the world for the rejecting of His Son. So there"s a vast difference between the tribulation that the church faces in the world and the Great Tribulation that the world will face when God has removed His righteous remnant out of the world, and then begins to judge it for its rejection of His Son.

X "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/john-16.html. 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible


The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ Will Prove the Disciples' Comfort in Time of Persecution

1-6. The Persecution of the Apostles predicted. This section repeats many of the ideas of the previous chapter (see John 15:18-24). The reason of the anticipated persecution is 'because they (the persecutors) have not known the Father nor Me' (John 16:3); i.e. because they have mistaken the character of the service which the Father requires of them. They think that He requires strict observance of the Ceremonial Law; what He really requires is worship in spirit and in truth, according to My teaching.

1. Offended] i.e. that your faith should not be shaken (RV 'made to stumble').

2. Out of the synagogues] i.e. excommunicate you: see John 9:22, John 9:34; John 12:42 and cp. Matthew 10:17. Doeth God service] more precisely, 'offereth sacrifice to God.' There was a Jewish saying, 'Every one that sheddeth the blood of the wicked, is as he that offereth a sacrifice.'

4. The time] RV 'their hour,' i.e. the hour of your enemies' apparent triumph. Ye may remember] The Apostles' persecutions would be easier to bear, if it was clearly understood that they were foreordained by God and foretold by Christ: cp. John 13:19; John 14:29. I said not unto you at (RV 'from') the beginning] Some intimations of the coming persecutions had been given in the earlier charge to the Twelve (Matthew 10:16),.but only now does our Lord bring the matter prominently forward. Because I was with you] While Christ was with the Apostles, they were in no danger of persecution, and therefore there was no need to speak to them about it. But since persecution was to begin after His death, and His death was now impending, it was necessary for Him to begin to speak to them about it.

5. None of you asketh me] The Apostles were so much disturbed by the thought of Christ's imminent death, and their own approaching persecutions, that they had no heart to enquire about the glorious abode to which Christ was going, and to which they also would one day go.

7-15. The work of the Comforter in the world and in the Church.

7. It was better for them that Christ's personal presence should be withdrawn, in order that His spiritual presence might be nearer to them than ever, or, rather, might for the first time truly begin. This would be effected by the coming of the Holy Ghost, when He. who was now 'with' them, would be ever 'in' them. If I go not away] The glorification of Christ's humanity through the indwelling Spirit was not complete till the Resurrection and Ascension, hence not till after the Ascension could the Spirit of the glorified Christ be given. Comforter] see on John 14:18.

8. Reprove] RV 'convict.' The Gk. word, which also occurs John 3:20; John 8:9; (AV) John 8:46, means to prove a person in the wrong, hence to convict. The Holy Ghost will 'convince' or 'convict' the world, by placing before it the claims of Christ with a force and clearness that cannot be evaded. The result will be twofold. Some will be 'convicted by their own consciences' (John 8:9), or 'pricked to the heart' (Acts 2:37), and so repent and believe (Acts 2:38). Others will be hardened in their sin and unbelief (Romans 11:8), and be 'convicted' of wilful blindness in the sight of God and good men.

9-11. The Holy Ghost, through the apostolic preaching, and through the new power of holiness manifested in the lives of believers, will convince mankind, (1) of their sin and folly in rejecting Christ; (2) that Christ is a sincere and righteous teacher, and not, as they had thought, an impostor, as will be clearly demonstrated when the Father has raised Him from the dead and set Him at His right hand in heaven; (3) that the unspiritual system of religion which they have hitherto professed, and which has led them to reject Christ, is of the devil and not of God, that God Himself has condemned it, and that therefore they must condemn it too.

This passage is an extremely difficult one, and various other interpretations of it are given.

11. Judgment] i.e. condemnation. The prince] i.e. Satan: see John 12:31; John 14:30. The Resurrection is the proof that Satan and the world (i.e. the opponents of Jesus) are condemned by God.

12, 13. This promise of divine guidance to the Apostles as teachers, justifies us in accepting their writings as specially inspired. The promise, however, is not exclusively to them, for in all time (and not least in our own) the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church into all truth.

13. Into all truth] RV 'all the truth,' i.e. all that is necessary to the salvation of souls and to the well-being of the Church. It should be noticed that the Church's apprehension of truth is regarded as progressive.

Things to come] Here the prediction of events is regarded as one of the functions of true prophecy.

14, 15. One of the leading Trinitarian passages in the NT. In it (1) the three Persons are clearly distinguished; (2) their relative subordination is clearly taught, the Father giving His all to the Son, and the Son communicating His all to the Spirit; (3) their equality of nature is distinctly affirmed, for the Son receives from the Father 'all things whatsoever the Father hath' (see RV), i.e. His whole nature and attributes, and communicates them to the Spirit.

14. The Spirit would glorify Christ, by progressively revealing the full sense of what Christ had taught them.

16-24. The Apostles' Sorrow turned into Joy.

16. Ye shall see me] (1) with bodily sight during the forty days; (2) with spiritual vision after Pentecost (see on John 14:18-19).

20. But the world shall rejoice] 'My enemies will rejoice at My death, and the apparent failure of My designs.'

22. I will see you again] The reference is both to the Resurrection and to the coming of the Spirit.

23. In that day] i.e. the time beginning at Pentecost. Ye shall ask me nothing] RM is preferable, 'Ye shall ask me no question,' i.e. about the true meaning of My words, for all will then be clear to you. He will give it you] RV adds 'in my name,' i.e. for My sake.

24. Hitherto.. name] because prayer in the name of Christ presupposes His glorification.

25-33. Last Words. Temporary defeat in the present will be followed by final victory.

25. In proverbs] RM 'in parables.' Very many of our Lord's discourses were dark and enigmatical to the Apostles, until the coming of the Holy Spirit furnished the key to their meaning. Mere words can only hint at, not fully express, the things of God. It requires the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit to bring home to the soul God's message of salvation. The time] i.e. the dispensation of the Spirit beginning at Pentecost.

26. I say not.. that I will pray the Father for you] 'After Pentecost you will have direct access to the Father. You will ask directly for what you need in My name, and no longer will it be needful for you, as it is at present, first to come to Me, and to ask Me to bring your needs before the Father.' This text does not deny Christ's heavenly intercession (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1), but only such a view of it as would make it a barrier between the Father and the prayers of His children.

30. Needest not that any man should ask thee] Thou didst answer our questions before we asked them, for Thou didst know what questions were in our minds.

30, 31. Jesus shows that He can read the thoughts of their hearts in a deeper sense than they imagined. He knows precisely what their faith is worth, and prophesies their immediate desertion of Him. In Matthew 26:31 = Mark 14:27 this prophecy is said to have been delivered at the Mount of Olives, or at least on the way thither. This favours the view that the discourses John 16:15-17 were delivered on the way to the Mount of Olives.

32. To his own] i.e. to his own house; see John 1:11; John 16:32; John 19:27; Luke 18:28; Acts 21:6. Yet I am not alone] Only for a few awful moments upon the cross (Matthew 27:46) was our Lord's conscious communion with His Father interrupted.

33. I have overcome the world] See the sublime vision in the Revelation, where Christ goes forth 'conquering and to conquer' (Revelation 6:2). The victory of Christ over the world, and the victory of believers through that victory, are favourite themes of the fourth evangelist (see 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 3:21; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 21:7).

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on John 16:32". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/john-16.html. 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

8. The clarification of Jesus" destination16:25-33

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-16.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus questioned the fact that the disciples now believed fully because of what He had just explained. The NIV translation, "You believe at last!" is an interpretation that the reader should understand as ironical. The events surrounding Jesus" arrest and crucifixion would show that their faith was still weak. They would desert Him in His hour of testing. That hour was coming very soon, but Jesus could speak of it as already present because Judas was even then planning with the religious leaders for His arrest. Jesus" confidence in His Father comes through in that He found consolation in the fact that the Father would not desert Him even though the disciples would. Jesus gave this gentle rebuke because the disciples again overestimated themselves (cf. John 13:38).

It is true that Peter and probably John followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. It is also true that John stood near Jesus" cross during His crucifixion ( John 18:15; John 19:26-27). Nevertheless all the disciples abandoned Jesus at His arrest and returned to their own things temporarily ( Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50; John 18:17; John 18:25-26; John 21:3). It is also true that the Father abandoned Jesus on the cross ( Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). However that was only temporary too. The Father remained with Jesus throughout all His trials and only departed from Him when He judged sin, which Jesus took on Himself as our substitute ( 2 Corinthians 5:21).

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These files are public domain.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-16.html. 2012.

Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

John Chapter 16

In chapter 16 a further step is taken in the revelation of this grace. The Holy Ghost is looked upon as already here below.

In this chapter the Lord declares that He has set forth all His instruction with regard to His departure; their sufferings in the world as holding His place; their joy, as being in the same relationship to Him as that in which He had been while on earth to His Father; their knowledge of the fact that He was in the Father and they in Him, and He Himself in them; the gift of the Holy Ghost, in order to prepare them for all that would happen when He was gone, that they might not be offended. For they should be cast out of the synagogues, and he who should kill them would think that he was serving God. This would be the case with those who, resting in their old doctrines as a form, and rejecting the light, would only use the form of truth by which they accredited the flesh as orthodox to resist the light which, according to the Spirit, would judge the flesh. This would they do, because they knew neither the Father nor Jesus, the Son of the Father. It is fresh truth which tests the soul, and faith. Old truth, generally received and by which a body of people are distinguished from those around them, may be a subject of pride to the flesh, even where it is the truth, as was the case with the Jews. But fresh truth is a question of faith in its source: there is not the support of a body accredited by it, but the cross of hostility and isolation. They thought they served God. They knew not the Father and the Son.

Nature is occupied with that which it loses. Faith looks at the future into which God leads. Precious thought! Nature acted in the disciples: they loved Jesus; they grieved at His going away. We can understand this. But faith would not have stopped there. If they had apprehended the necessary glory of the Person of Jesus; if their affection, animated by faith, had thought of Him and not of themselves, they would have asked, “Whither goest thou?” Nevertheless He who thought of them assures them that it would be gain to them even to lose Him. Glorious fruit of the ways of God! Their gain would be in this, that the Comforter should be here on earth with them and in them. Here, observe, Jesus does not speak of the Father. It was the Comforter here below in His stead, to maintain the testimony of His love for the disciples, and His relationship to them. Christ was going away: for if He went not away, the Comforter would not come; but if He departed, He would send Him. When He was come, He would act in demonstration of the truth with regard to the world that rejected Christ and persecuted His disciples; and He would act for blessing in the disciples themselves.

With regard to the world, the Comforter had one only subject of testimony, in order to demonstrate the sin of the world. It has not believed in Jesus-in the Son. Doubtless there was sin of every kind, and, to speak truth, nothing but sin-sin that deserved judgment; and in the work of conversion, He brings these sins home to the soul. But the rejection of Christ put the whole world under one common judgment. No doubt every one shall answer for his sins; and the Holy Ghost makes me feel them. But, as a system responsible to God, the world had rejected His Son. This was the ground on which God dealt with the world now; this it was which made manifest the heart of man. It was the demonstration that, God being fully revealed in love such as He was, man would not receive Him. He came, not imputing their trespasses unto them; but they rejected Him. The presence of Jesus was not the Son of God Himself manifested in His glory, from which man might shrink with fear, though he could not escape; it was what He was morally, in His nature, in His character. Man hated Him: all testimony to bring man to God was unavailing. The plainer the testimony, the more he turned from it and opposed it. The demonstration of the sin of the world was its having rejected Christ. Terrible testimony, that God in goodness should excite detestation because He was perfect, and perfectly good! Such is man. The testimony of the Holy Ghost to the world, as God’s to Cain of old, would be, Where is my Son? It was not that man was guilty; that he was when Christ came; but he was lost, the tree was bad. (62)

But this was God’s path to something altogether different-the demonstration of righteousness, in that Christ went to His Father, and the world saw Him no more. It was the result of Christ’s rejection. Human righteousness there was none. Man’s sin was proved by the rejection of Christ. The cross was indeed judgment executed upon sin. And in that sense it was righteousness; but in this world it was the only righteous One condemned by man and forsaken by God; it was not the manifestation of righteousness. It was a final judicial separation between man and God (see chapters 11 and 12:31). If Christ had been delivered there, and had become the King of Israel, this would not have been an adequate consequence of His having glorified God. Having glorified God His Father, He was going to sit at His right hand, at the right hand of the Majesty on high, to be glorified in God Himself, to sit on the Father’s throne. To set Him there was divine righteousness (see chapter Psalms 32:1-11, and Psalms 17:1, Psalms 4:1-8,, Psalms 5:1-12). This same righteousness deprived the world, as it is, of Jesus for ever. Man saw Him no more. Righteousness in favour of men was in Christ at God’s right hand-in judgment as to the world, in that it had lost Him hopelessly and for ever.

Moreover Satan had been proved to be the prince of this world by leading all men against the Lord Jesus. To accomplish the purposes of God in grace, Jesus does not resist. He gives Himself up to death. He who has the power of death committed himself thoroughly. In his desire to ruin man he had to hazard everything in his enterprise against the Prince of Life. He was able to associate the whole world with himself in this, Jew and Gentile, priest and people, governor, soldier, and subject. The world was there, headed by its prince, on that solemn day. The enemy had everything at stake, and the world was with him. But Christ has risen, He has ascended to His Father, and has sent down the Holy Ghost. All the motives that govern the world, and the power by which Satan held men captive, are shewn to be of him; he is judged. The power of the Holy Ghost is the testimony of this, and surmounts all the powers of the enemy. The world is not yet judged, that is, the judgment executed-it will be in another manner; but it is morally, its prince is judged. All its motives, religious and irreligious, have led it to reject Christ, placing it under Satan’s power. It is in that character that he has been judged; for he led the world against Him who is manifested to be the Son of God by the presence of the Holy Ghost consequent on His breaking the power of Satan in death.

All this took place through the presence on earth of the Holy Ghost, sent down by Christ. His presence in itself was the demonstration of these three things. For, if the Holy Ghost was here, it was because the world had rejected the Son of God. Righteousness was evidenced by Jesus being at the right hand of God, of which the presence of the Holy Ghost was the proof, as well as in the fact that the world had lost Him. Now the world which rejected Him was not outwardly judged, but, Satan having led it to reject the Son, the presence of the Holy Ghost proved that Jesus had destroyed the power of death; that he who had possessed that power was thus judged; that he had shewn himself to be the enemy of Him whom the Father owned; that his power was gone, and victory belonged to the Second Adam, when Satan’s whole power had been arrayed against the human weakness of Him who in love had yielded to it. But Satan, thus judged, was the prince of this world.

The presence of the Holy Ghost should be the demonstration not of Christ’s rights as Messiah, true as they were, but of those truths that related to man-to the world, in which Israel was now lost, having rejected the promises, although God would preserve the nation for Himself. But the Holy Ghost was doing something more than demonstrating the condition of the world. He would accomplish a work in the disciples; He would lead them into all truth, and He would shew them things to come; for Jesus had many things to tell them which they were not yet able to bear. When the Holy Ghost should be in them, He should be their strength in them as well as their teacher; and it would be a wholly different state of things for the disciples. Here He is considered as present on the earth in place of Jesus, and dwelling in the disciples, not as an individual spirit speaking from Himself, but even as Jesus said, “As I hear I judge,” with a judgment perfectly divine and heavenly: so the Holy Ghost, acting in the disciples, would speak that which came from above, and of the future, according to divine knowledge. It should be heaven and the future of which He would speak, communicating what was heavenly from above, and revealing events to come upon the earth, the one and the other being witnesses that it was a knowledge which belonged to God. How blessed to have that which He has to give!

But, further, He takes here the place of Christ. Jesus had glorified the Father on earth. The Holy Ghost would glorify Jesus, with reference to the glory that belonged to His Person and to His position. He does not here speak directly of the glory of the Father. The disciples had seen the glory of the life of Christ on earth; the Holy Ghost would unfold to them His glory in that which belonged to Him as glorified with the Father-that which was His own.

They would learn “in part.” This is man’s measure when the things of God are in question, but its extent is declared by the Lord Himself: “He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. An that the Father hath is mine: therefore, said I, He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Thus we have the gift of the Holy Ghost variously presented in connection with Christ. In dependence on His Father, and representing His disciples as gone up from among them, on their behalf, He addresses Himself to the Father; He asks the Father to send the Holy Ghost (chap. 14:16). Afterwards we find that His own name is all powerful. All blessing from the Father comes in His name. It is on His account, and according to the efficacy of His name, of all that in Him is acceptable to the Father, that good comes to us. Thus the Father will send the Holy Ghost in His name (chap. 14:26). And Christ being glorified on high, and having taken His place with His Father, He Himself sends the Holy Ghost (chap. 15:26) from the Father, as proceeding from Him. Finally, the Holy Ghost is present here in this world, in and with the disciples, and He glorifies Jesus, and takes of His and reveals it to His own (chap. 16:13-15). Here all the glory of the Person of Christ is set forth, as well as the rights belonging to the position He has taken. “All things that the Father hath” are His. He has taken His position according to the eternal counsels of God, in virtue of His work as Son of man. But if He has entered into possession in this character, all that He possesses in it is His, as a Son to whom (being one with the Father) all that the Father has belongs.

There He should be hidden for a while: the disciples should afterwards see Him, for it was only the accomplishment of the ways of God; it was no question of being, as it were, lost by death. He was going to His Father. On this point the disciples understood nothing. The Lord develops the fact and its consequences, without yet shewing them the whole import of what He said. He takes it up on the human and historical side. The world would rejoice at having got rid of Him. Miserable joy! The disciples would lament, although it was the true source of joy for them; but their sorrow should be turned into joy. As testimony, this took place when He shewed Himself to them after His resurrection; it will be fully accomplished when He shall return to receive them unto Himself. But when they had seen Him again, they should understand the relationship in which He has placed them with His Father, they should enjoy it by the Holy Ghost. It should not be as though they could not themselves draw nigh to the Father, while Christ could do so (as Martha said, “I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, he will give it thee”). They might themselves go directly to the Father, who loved them, because they had believed in Jesus, and had received Him when He had humbled Himself in this world of sin (in principle it is always thus); and asking what they would in His name they should receive it, so that their joy might be full in the consciousness of the blessed position of unfailing favour into which they were brought, and of the value of all that they possessed in Christ.

Nevertheless the Lord already declares to them the basis of the truth-He came from the Father, He was going away to the Father. The disciples think they understand that which He had thus spoken without a parable. They felt that He had divined their thought, for they had not expressed it to Him. Yet they did not rise really to the height of what He said. He had told them that they had believed in His having come “from God.” This they understood; and that which had taken place had confirmed them in this faith, and they declare their conviction with regard to this truth; but they do not enter into the thought of coming “from the Father,” and going away “to the Father.” They fancied themselves quite in the light; but they had apprehended nothing that raised them above the effect of Christ’s rejection, which the belief that He came from the Father and was going to the Father would have done. Jesus therefore declares to them, that His death would scatter them, and that they would forsake Him. His Father would be with Him; He should not be alone. Nevertheless He had explained all these things to them, in order that they should have peace in Him. In the world that rejected Him they should have tribulation; but He had overcome the world, they might be of good cheer.

This ends the conversation of Jesus with His disciples on earth. In the following chapter He addresses His Father as taking His own place in departing, and giving His disciples theirs (that is, His own), with regard to the Father and to the world, after He had gone away to be glorified with the Father. The whole chapter is essentially putting the disciples in His own place, after laying the ground for it in His own glorifying and work. It is, save the last verses, His place on earth. As He was divinely in heaven, and so shewed a divine heavenly character on earth, so (He being glorified as man in heaven) they, united with Him, were in turn to display the same. Hence we have first the place He personally takes, and the work which entitles them to be in it.

Footnotes for John Chapter 16

62: Man is judged for what he has done; he is lost by what he is.

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Darby, John. "Commentary on John 16:32". "John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsn/john-16.html. 1857-67.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(32) Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come.—Comp. Notes on Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:56.

Every man to his own.—Or, his own lodging in Jerusalem, which must be here intended. That is, as the margin renders it, “to his own home.” (Comp. Note on John 1:11.)

And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.—They would each flee to his own place of sojourn. He, too, though apparently left alone, had His own home in the presence of the Father, which was ever with Him. The fact of their leaving Him could not in truth have added to His sense of loneliness. He must, even when surrounded by them, have always been alone. The thoughts of His mind were so infinitely beyond them, that the true sympathy which binds souls in companionship could never have had place. And yet He was never alone, for His life was one of constant communion with the Father. (Comp. the consciousness of this in John 8:29.) Once only do we find the vision of the Father’s presence eclipsed for a moment by the thick darkness of the world’s sin; but the wail of agony, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) is straightway followed by the assurance of His presence, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46.)

Alone and not alone. It was so in the human life of our Lord; it is so in the life of His followers. There is a sense in which each one is alone; and there is a depth of being into which no human friend can ever enter. There is a loneliness which of itself would lead to despair, were it not that its very existence tells of and leads to the never-failing communion with God:—

“Who hath the Father and the Son

May be left—but not alone.”

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-16.html. 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Why Christ Must Depart

John 16:7

I. The first thing to strike one is the way Jesus took to break the news. It was characteristic. His sayings and doings always came about in the most natural way. Even His profoundest statements of doctrine were invariably apropos of some often trivial circumstance happening in the day"s round. So now He did not suddenly deliver Himself of the doctrine of the Ascension. It leaked out, as it were, in the ordinary course of things.

II. Notice His reasons for going away. Why did Jesus go away. (1) The first reason is one of His own stating. "I go away to prepare a place for you." And the very naming of this is a proof of Christ"s considerateness. The burning question with every man who thought about his life in those days was Whither is this life leading? The present, alas! was dim and inscrutable enough, but the future was a fearful and unsolved mystery. So Christ put that right before He went away. But that does not exhaust the matter. Consider the alternative. If Christ had not gone away, what then? We should not either. (2) Another reason why He went away was to be very near. It seems a paradox, but He went away really in order to be near. The visible Incarnation must of necessity be brief. Only a small circle could enjoy His actual presence, but a kingdom like Christianity needed a risen Lord. (3) Another reason why He went away—although this is also a paradox—was that we might see Him better. When a friend is with us we do not really see him so well as when he is away. We only see points, details. Christ is the most gigantic figure of history. To take in His full proportions one must be both near and far away. The same is true of all greatness. (4) He went away that we might walk by faith. The strongest temptation to every man is to guide himself by what he can see, and feel, and handle. (5) But the great reason has yet to be mentioned. He went away that the Comforter might come. And yet Christ did not go away that the Spirit might take His place. Christ is with us Himself, He is with us and yet He is not with us, that Isaiah, He is with us by His Spirit. The Spirit does not reveal the Spirit. He speaks not of Himself, He reveals Christ.

III. Finally, if all this was expedient for us, this strange relation of Jesus to His people ought to have a startling influence upon our life. These three great practical effects at least are obvious. (1) Christ ought to be as near to us as if He were still here. (2) Then consider what an incentive to honest faithfulness this is. Christ was sure of us: He felt the world was safe in our hands. He was away, but we would be Christs to it; the Light of the world was gone, but He would light a thousand lights, and leave each of us as one to illuminate one corner of its gloom. (3) lastly, He has only gone for a little while. So we wait till He come again—we wait till it is expedient for Him to come back.

—Henry Drummond, The Ideal Life, p61.

The Expediency of Christ"s Departure

John 16:7

The Master was gone; a cloud had received Him out of their sight. We might quite have expected that the disciples would have returned with hearts overwhelmed with sorrow. But no. In the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke, and in the fifty-second verse, we read that "They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God". This was a magnificent triumph of faith. They had just seen the Master enter the cloud, but they believed that, beyond that cloud, that ascending body was greeted by ten thousand times ten thousand angels, and conducted up to the very central Throne of the Universe. And further, they had this assurance, that this same Jesus was soon to come back again. I think you will be able to admire this triumph of faith on the part of the disciples all the more when you realise how difficult it is for ourselves to believe that it is expedient for us that Jesus Christ should have gone away. We sometimes imagine what a glorious thing it would have been to have had the continued bodily presence of our Lord here on earth! We can imagine, if we would allow imagination to run riot, not only what a joy, but also what a power in our work the continued presence of Christ would be! And yet we can see that it would never have done.

I. We can see, that Jesus Christ being truly Prayer of Manasseh, as far as His humanity was concerned, could only inhabit one certain place; and therefore it would have been necessary, if we wanted to have communion with Him, to travel to His residence; if He had been in Jerusalem or upon the Mount of Olives, to have flocked thither. By His ascension into heaven Jesus Christ has terminated the carnal and visible, and he has established the spiritual and the true.

II. It is expedient for us because it lifts our thoughts up above earth and earthly things. If Christ is risen, then we, too, must rise and set our affections upon the things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Lay hold of this great truth, that whereas the Incarnation shows you that Jesus Christ cares if or all earthly things, yet at the same time the Ascension lifts you up into a higher and purer life. You must see that Christ comes by His Incarnation to bless and sanctify our earthly life, but He wants to unite us to His Father above that we may be living in communion with our God in heaven.

—E. A. Stuart, The Communion of the Holy Ghost and other Sermons, vol. x. p33.

References.—XVI:7.—H. Alford, Easter-tide Sermons, p92. J. Keble, Sermons for Easter to Ascension Day, p406. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No674, and vol. xxviii. No1662. H. M. Butler, Harrow School Sermons, p50. W. F. Shaw, Sermon Sketches for the Christian Year, p63. R. W. Hiley, A Year"s Sermons, vol. i. p242. T. Whitelaw, Preacher"s Magazine, vol. v. p228. R. W. Church, Village Sermons (2Series), p162. H. P. Liddon, Sermons on Some Words of Christ, p325. Bishop Boyd-Carpenter, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p345. H. P. Liddon, University Sermons, p288. Archbishop Plunket, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p24. W. H. Evans, Sermons for the Church"s Year, p130. J. C. Hare, The Mission of the Comforter, p1. C. O. Eld ridge, Preacher"s Magazine, vol. iv. p223. T. F. Crosse, Sermons (2Series), p82. H. E. Manning, Sin and its Consequences, p3. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in a Religious House, vol. i. p94. A. M. Fairbairn, Christian World Pulpit, "vol. lxi. p330. John Kelman, Ephemera Eternitatis, p138. Expositor (4th Series), vol. i. p348; ibid. (7th Series), vol. v. p500. XVI:7, 8.—W. H. Green, The Record, vol. xxvii. p564. J. J. Blunt, Plain Sermons (2Series), p266. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p89. XVI:7-9.—F. W. Farrar, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlv. p392.

The Holy Spirit Reproving the World

John 16:8

"When He is come, He will reprove." When Hebrews, that Isaiah, who is the Spirit of Truth is come, He will reprove or convict. That He who is to reprove is the Spirit of Truth, and that He is to reprove by conviction, suggests at once that it is of no mere arbitrary exercise of authority of which I desire to speak, and of no mere blind obedience, but rather of attention to reasonable reproof, and of the need of corrective discipline.

I. If I am right in my inference, there is at the present time in the world both a too great unwillingness to be corrected, and also a too great unwillingness to correct. This is perhaps partly due to the impatience which is a natural result of the hurrying age in which we live. The rise of the great commercial world in the present century has spread a spirit of competition over us all. It is indeed a new and marvellous manifestation of the secret forces which an Almighty Father has prepared to promote the brotherhood of Prayer of Manasseh, but, like all other forces in the hand of Prayer of Manasseh, it may be used injuriously. A desire for quick results, and rapid exchange, leads us naturally to impatience under correction, and tempts us to give up too quickly some of those higher treasures, the excellence of which time and experience would show. We cut down the vine and plant another instead of pruning it Another and wider-reaching cause of our dislike of reproof or corrective discipline will be found in the prominence of pleasure.

II. God in Christ, by the power of the Divine nature, wrought out in His manhood all that was necessary to reconcile God to man; and God in Christ, through the life-giving Humanity, is working out in man"s nature all that is necessary to reconcile man to God. Thus the satisfaction and the justice and holiness of God is a reality; but in both we pass beyond the limits of mere human reasoning, and must be content to acknowledge with the Apostle, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"

In part our difficulties in recent years have arisen from the attempt to retain the old words of the Christian faith, but to explain them by a rationalistic meaning. We must remember that the Christian faith implies not only an object of belief but an act of believing; and both are a gift from God. In part also we have brought difficulties upon ourselves by not considering the whole counsel of God as He has made it known to us, but by choosing what appears to be a simple and easier way. Thus the doctrine of the Atonement has been considered apart from the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Church, and so the effect of God"s redeeming love upon Prayer of Manasseh, and of man"s share in his reconciliation with God, have been unduly forgotten, till at last that one mysterious act which made man"s reconciliation possible is regarded as derogatory of man"s greatness and possible perfection.

III. "Though He were yet a Song of Solomon, learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." Nay more, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me".

If we are to be conformed to His likeness, there must be self-mastery, self-denial, and the spirit of self-sacrificing love. Of the nine fruits of the Spirit, the first and the last are ἀγάπη and ἐγκράτεια. The world has become entangled by the abundance of the good things which it possesses. The work that we ask of you in your day is to go forth to show men by your words and by your example wherein man"s truer happiness lies—to show men, as well as teach men that it is more blessed to give than to possess—that selfishness is the ruin of self; that the full happiness of each is to be found in the happiness of all; that "if one member is suffering, all in their measure must suffer with it"; that mankind is a brotherhood: nay more, that mankind is intended to be one body, even the Body of Christ, and every one of us members in particular.

—Bishop Edward King, The Love and Wisdom of God, p83.

The Moral Witness of the Church

John 16:8

Concerning righteousness—it is to that great word that we pass on today. The office of the Holy Spirit was to convict the world concerning righteousness. No doubt some historical significance attaches to the phrase. Jesus Christ had come to a nation which had had distinct thoughts about righteousness, which had aimed at righteousness, which had found it in the sphere of law and ceremonial; and He had told the Jew that his righteousness was a dead thing because it lacked heart and impulse and motive and sincerity. The Pharisees, we must constantly remind ourselves, were the religious and respectable element in the nation, its orthodox teachers, its chosen representatives of piety and devotion. And Jesus called them "whited sepulchres"; "God knoweth your hearts," He cried in that flame of indignation which the sight of the Pharisees seemed always to quicken in Him; and solemnly He warned His own disciples that unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness which they saw about them they would never enter the Kingdom of God. The Pharisee had failed, had drawn upon himself the fiery rebuke of Christ, because he had a false ideal of righteousness from the first. Why was he righteous? Why did he aim at righteousness? Partly, it may be, from blind obedience to a law about which he had never thought in a large, human way, but still more out of regard for appearances. Like many church-people and church-goers today, he cared for a certain reputation. He fasted, he prayed, he gave alms that he might be seen of men. He was contented with the shows and shams and unrealities of things. He lived for the world"s opinion, and apart from the world"s opinion righteousness would have had no charm, no meaning, no fascination for him.

I. And Jesus stands there, first in the shadow of the cross and then in the glory of the Risen and Ascended Life, to tell us that righteousness is wholly independent of the opinion of the world, that it has a Divine beauty and eternal vitality of its own, that righteousness, in a word, is life.

II. When we lift our eyes and watch Him go to the Father and see Him no more, and yet know in our hearts that He is still here—when we think of what once a human life has been in power and loveliness, set like a star for our feet to follow, though we cross the world to reach it—can we wonder if He calls us to something more than compromise and mediocrity? Like the world, we shall be convicted concerning righteousness if we have nothing better than the world"s thoughts and desires. Righteousness in the Gospel is compared with salt and fire; and salt stings and fire burns—you cannot hope to be always pleasant and popular if you mean to be a follower of Christ The great prophets of Israel, who dreamed of Christ but knew Him not, were, I should imagine, the most unpopular men who ever lived. They had no smooth and easy path in their antagonism to the world; and yet it was they who kept alive and handed on to us the torch of faith. And it is such today that we greatly need among us—men and women who can be strong and independent; who can show moral vitality and enthusiasm and imagination; who can bring to the service of Church and State principle and high-mindedness; who will not let their life, their one chance of living, be lost in "eddies of purposeless dust," or drift, aimless and meaningless, along the stream of time.

III. And this righteousness, whether we think of it or not, is here in our midst, once and for all, a great and shining ideal, since He passed our way with His pitiful eyes and radiant face. We cannot escape it; we cannot deny it It is here, for our undying inspiration or our perennial rebuke. It is here, "a glory like one pearl; No larger, though the goal of all the Saints". This is what a Man has been; this is how a Man has lived and died. And when we set it in contrast with the standards of the world we see the greatness of the moral claim it makes upon us. Righteousness, we shall do well to remember, is in the Greek only another word for justice. Who can question in our social life the need of justice—justice, that rare, that half-forgotten virtue? Are we just to those from whom we differ in matters of politics or religion? are we just, above all, to the poor by whom we live and to whom we owe so great an obligation? The clothes you wear—they were woven and made by the hands of the poor. The church in which you worship—it was the poor that laid its deep foundations and reared its pinnacles. The bread you eat was sown and gathered and harvested and kneaded by the poor. The books and newspapers that you read were printed by the poor. When you go your journeys, it is the nerve and skill and patience of the poor that speed you to your work—that drive the express train against the north wind all night, or keep the ship"s helm steady in the darkness and the storm. We owe them, therefore, in simple justice, a great debt And I do not see how we can hope to arrive at a really happy and stable social order until justice takes the place of Song of Solomon -called charity in our normal attitude to those who do so much for our happiness and our life.

IV. But more, righteousness means also truth—truthfulness, honour, integrity, sincerity in speech and action. It means that reality of life and thought which enables a man to win the confidence of others, which enables him to pierce through the shows of the world and see things as they are.

V. And in the claim of righteousness I hear also at the present day the call to a greater simplicity of life. In an age of pleasure and luxury, when the growing demands for ease and comfort leave but too little room for the high adventures of faith and heroism, the Church is set as a witness to something divinely simple, austre, disciplined, unworldly—the Church, and especially its clergy, and above all its Bishops. "Be ye not conformed to this world," was the challenge of St. Paul; are we not conformed to the world if our daily life—our dress, and food, and occupations, and habits of living—show no traces of the cross, are in practically no respect different from those of men and women who never make our tremendous profession; if the self-discipline and self-devotion which distinguished the old Puritans of our history on the one side and the Tractarians on the other pass like a cloud, and leave no mark in us, their degenerate successors?

The Church is the lamp of righteousness that is to shine in the dimness of the world. It is the forge of heroism, the home of Saints, the storehouse of high aspiration and of serious resolve. It is something remote, consecrated, set apart. It bears the oriflamme of a Christ Whose watchwords are those of simplicity and truth, of liberty and justice. He has gone to the Father, and we see Him no more; yet He lives still, and it is in the grace and power of His victorious life that we find, each one of us, the secret of our own righteousness.

—S. A. Alexander, The Guardian, 18th March, 1910.

Conviction of Sin

John 16:8

God, when He made Prayer of Manasseh, made man a spirit, but He gave to man a body, a glorious body, to be the obedient servant of his spirit, so that he might work out the Divine will in this material world. But Prayer of Manasseh, preferring the lower to the higher nature, allowed the servant to become the master, and the animal sensibilities to lord it over and to stamp down the Divine in his nature. Alas! again and again we meet with men who say, "Wherein have we offended?" and therefore the first thing which God has to do is to convince man of sin. Now He seems to me to try and do this by three forces.

I. There Isaiah, first of all, the force of conscience. But, alas! powerful as is the force of conscience, it was not enough to convict men of sin. (1) Because conscience speaks in a still, small voice. Amid the din and glitter of the world, with all the multitudinous voices of our fellow-men constantly dinning in our ears, the voice of conscience is sometimes unheard. (2) And then, conscience, unless it is regarded, grows weaker and weaker. You want another power than the power of conscience, you want a power that you cannot play with, a power that you cannot change, that you cannot alter, that you cannot drug, you want some power outside yourself.

II. Therefore God makes use of a second power to convict men—the power of His law. In the third chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and in the twentieth verse, the Apostle says, "By the law is the knowledge of sin". But the law is not sufficient, powerful as is this force, to convict men of sin. (1) Because the law appeals to fear. The law would make men avoid sin not because of its hatefulness in itself, but because of the pains and penalties which this sin will bring. (2) And then, also, by its very nature the law deals with outward acts; it does not deal with the heart.

III. We need a third force. "When He"—the Spirit of truth—"is come, He will convince the world of Sin". How does the Holy Spirit convict of sin? (1) It lifts up Christ. But that is not all. Not even the perfect life of Jesus shown you by the Holy Spirit will convict you of sin. (2) The Holy Spirit goes further; the Holy Spirit shows you the Father"s love, shows you Christ upon the cross; it bids you remember that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. There is no other power which will convince a man of sin.

—E. A. Stuart, The One Mediator and other Sermons, vol. xi. p137.

References.—XVI:8.—F. W. Macdonald, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p120. H. P. Liddon, Sermons on Some Words of Christ, p342. E. Bayley, Sermons on the Work and Person of the Holy Spirit, p25. Bishop Winnington-Ingram, A Mission of the Spirit, p37. XVI:8, 9.—J. C. Hare, The Mission of the Comforter, p31. E. Bayley, Sermons on the Work and Person of the Holy Spirit, p273. W. Robertson Nicoll, Sunday Evening, pp13, 21. XVI:8-10.—Ibid. p207. J. C. Hare, The Mission of the Comforter, p73. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p414. XVI:8-11.—F. Harper, Preacher"s Magazine, vol. iv. p225. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix. No1708. J. C. Hare, The Mission of the Comforter, pp110, 138. W. Robertson Nicoll, Sunday Evening, p197. Expositor (4th Series), vol. vi. p319.

John 16:9

All the words, institutions, and judgments of God are levelled against sin, either that it may not be committed, or that it may be abolished.

—Wesley.

References.—XVI:9-11.—H. Bushnell, Christ and His Salvation, p98. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p99.

The Divine Teacher and His Message

John 16:12

There seems from one point of view something almost infinitely sad about these words of our Lord. You know that they are among His last words, spoken either in the upper room, or, more probably, on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane. His ministry in the world was over. He had withdrawn from it to the inner circle of His own. And He had not been talking long to them before it became perfectly clear that they were bewildered by His words. Pained and puzzled, partly incredulous, partly uncomprehending. And He had to stop, to keep the burden of His message on His own heart. He could not communicate Himself to them as He had desired to do. When He spoke they did not listen, or they listened without taking in. And the Master had to keep back what He had intended to impart—"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now".

I. Consider what led up to this saying of our Lord? Significantly enough, the verse comes between the two sections of the chapter which deal with the Holy Spirit. And that had partly puzzled them. What did they want, if I may put their feelings in this way, what did they want with the Comforter?

Who could ever be to them what their Master had been? Why should He go away, when they had learned to love Him, and had left all for His sake, and had learned to lean upon Him? He had been their sun and shield, and what should they do when He was gone? How can you or I in our stricken hours understand the necessity of any good being taken away from us?

We can see today, of course, that the Christ in spiritual presence with His disciples was far more and more precious than the Christ in bodily presence, but they could not see it then, and probably we should not have seen it if we had been in their place.

II. Note the principle contained in these words of our Lord.

(a) And first of all there is the sympathetic gauging of the mental and spiritual condition of His pupils. Every true teacher will have that characteristic, and the Divine Teacher has it pre-eminently.

(b) We can limit and frustrate the purposes of Christ by our attitude and our condition. The progress of a learner, or one who professes to be a learner, in school or business depends not only on the teacher, it really depends much more on himself. And this is entirely true in the spiritual realm. No teacher, not even the Divine Teacher Himself, can give you more than you are able or willing to receive.

III. Observe our Lord"s patience with those incapable of receiving His teaching. He can never tell them face to face now the things that He intended to say. He is going away with them unsaid. But He is not going to shut the door of opportunity. The text is followed by "Howbeit". In days to come there may be the desire which does not now exist. Then though He is absent, the Spirit will be at hand to bring to memory the things of Christ—to take of the things of Christ which they were now unable to receive and show them to them. So our Master is exceedingly gracious and patient. He stands at the door and knocks. "Has waited long, is waiting still," as our hymn says. Tarrying for His slow and reluctant disciples, and in infinite grace waiting for their mood of willingness, that He may return and impart His blessing.

—Charles Brown, God and Prayer of Manasseh, p136.

The Persistent Influence of First Ideas

John 16:12

Capacity must determine revelation. That is the vital principle enshrined in my text. The food is to be adopted to the system, the doctrine to the years. We neglect that principle at our peril.

I. If this is to be the principle of instruction, if we are to recognise the law of reserve in our declaration of truth, if the harder teachings must be kept for the maturer years, it is of infinite importance that the simpler teachings be scrupulously true. Alongside the principle of reserve this second principle must be given an equal place, that nothing must be taught in childhood which will need to be unlearnt in manhood. We cannot exaggerate the intensity of first impressions; they bite deep into the mind and are almost ineffaceable. The first impressions persist through the life. Our teaching must assume the need of subsequent expansion; it must never assume the need of subsequent expulsion.

II. Now, of these simple, germinal teachings, the most vitally important are the conceptions of the being and character of God. Where do our children obtain their first ideas of God? Sometimes from a picture. Sometimes from a hymn.

III. What, then, shall be our first and elementary teachings about God? What shall be the character of the earliest revelations? (1) They should be brimming with soft and inviting sunshine. (2) When we have taught the little lives what God Isaiah, I know of nothing more exceedingly precious than to teach them how to recognise God"s touch. We may tell them that in the inner and unseen life of each there is something called thought, and something called feeling, and something called will, and that when the great and unseen God comes near to us He dwells especially round about these three, and that in these three we may recognise His presence and feel His touch. How may we know the touch of God in our thought? Cannot we tell our children that when they engage in the worship of the sanctuary, or when they pray in the privacy of their own home, or when they are walking in the common way, in school or at play, and find a little thought giving place to a larger thought, a self-seeking thought yielding to a brother-seeking thought, it is the touch of the Lord God. How may we know the touch of God in our feeling? When malice changes into goodwill, when envy is transformed into unselfish rejoicing, when irritable-ness becomes a cordial patience, when the waters sweeten, and vulgar passion of any kind is refined into exquisite love, we may know that the great God is at work in the wells of our being, and by all these evidences may we recognise His touch. How may we know the touch of God in our wills? Let this be our beginning. When the sense of weakness yields to the sense of power, and when in the presence of duty "I can"t" gives place to "I can," and "I can" ripens into "I will," we may be assured it is the touch of the Lord.

—J. H. Jowett, Apostolic Optimism, p126.

References.—XVI:12.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliii. p10. W. C. Wheeler, Sermons and Addresses, p172. J. C. Houchin, The Vision of God, p49. C. Brown, God and Prayer of Manasseh, p136. S. A. Brooke, Sermons (2Series), p294. Expositor (4th Series), vol. x. p121; ibid. (6th Series), vol. i. p467; ibid. vol. vii. p93; ibid. vol. viii. p24. XVI:12, 13.—Bishop Welldon, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lx. p232. T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. ii. p64. XVI:12-14.—Bishop Wordsworth, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlviii. p244. XVI:12-15.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p110.

The Earthly Life of the Holy Ghost

John 16:13

I. The coming of the Holy Ghost was no mere isolated event in the history of the kingdom of God; it was a great epoch, the opening of a new era in the life of Prayer of Manasseh, the ushering in of a new dispensation. No operation of the Divine power can ever be determinable in itself. It has in it of necessity the element of continuous duration. (1) Even the primal work of Creation, although pictured for us in poetic language which suggests the idea of completion and conclusion, was not so much a finished work as an initial impulse, of which the creative energy should extend and operate through all the coming ages, ever renewing the face of earth, and perpetuating the life of the creatures which find on it their dwelling-place from generation to generation. (2) So it was also in the Incarnation of the Son of God. The union of the two natures in His Divine Person was not a mere fact in history. It was the initiation of a new purpose of love, by which not only humanity itself, but its individual members, should be brought into closer union with the living God. (3) And so it is with the coming of the Holy Ghost. He did not come as one that would come and go. He came to stay, to abide with us for ever. Although never within sight, He is never out of call. He came not to die for us, but to live with us. He was to be the interpreter of the Divine truth.

II. The history of the Church of Christ has furnished a continuous illustration of the fulfilment of Christ"s promise. We see it in the gradual growth and development of Christian doctrines and of Christian worship. From age to age we can hardly fail to trace in the development of Christian faith and Christian life the overruling guidance of the Holy Ghost, directing the minds of men to some particular aspect of the truth, according as His infinite wisdom and love discerned a convenient season or foresaw some coming; need.

III. It may be well for us to consider one or two directions in which the Church of Christ at the present time, and we its makers, need more especially the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1) Take, for instance, the question stirring in so many hearts, and more and more from year to year, the question of the unity of the Church of Christ and the reunion of its divided branches. (2) There are other questions. To take but one instance: who is not conscious of the ever widening and deepening desire among all sorts and conditions of men and women to gain some knowledge of the condition and the experience of those who are hidden from us by the drapery of death, who have passed into some inner mansion of the Fathers house? Everywhere our people are asking what are their relations to the departed; what community of spiritual fellowship is possible between them; what intercourse of thought or of feeling; what personal affection; what mutual knowledge, above all what reciprocity of prayer? On all these questions the Word of God is very remarkably silent, and we can hope for no further revelation to enlighten our minds and comfort our hearts; but in the words of our Lord and His Apostles, and in the instincts of the enlightened consciences, and in the aspirations of sanctified hearts, there are suggestions and intimations which need only to be fully and readily understood to shed light upon the dimness, or even the darkness of that hidden world, and to guide both our thoughts and our prayers into the way of peace. And the Holy Spirit will not fail us.

—Archbishop Maclagan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxviii. p5.

References.—XVI:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i. No50. J. Keble, Sermons for Easter to Ascension Day, p396. Archbishop Maclagan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. p1. E. A. Bray, Sermons, vol. i. p303. T. F. Crosse, Sermons, p182. E. H. Hopkins, The Record, vol. xxvii. p797. C. E. Beeby, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lv. pp97, 132. John Kelman, Ephemera Eternitatis, p150. Expositor (5th Series), vol. i. p189. XVI:13,14.—H. Emmerson, A Book of Lay Sermons, p109. W. Robertson Nicoll, Sunday Evening, p59. XVI:14.—E. Griffith-Jones, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvii. p120. C. Perren, Revival Sermons in Outline, p255. E. Bayley, Sermons on the Work and Person of the Holy Spirit, pp139, 201. A. R. Ashwell, God in His Work and Nature, p94. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No465, and vol1. No2907. W. Alexander, Primary Convictions, p302. Expositor (6th Series), vol. vii. p94. XVI:14,16.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvii. No2213, and vol. xl. No2382.

A Little While

John 16:16

The disciples did not know what our Lord meant. Our Lord heard their reasonings, and He came and explained to them that "little while".

I. The "Little While"—Yet it is not so easy for us to understand it perfectly, and we must reason with ourselves even as the disciples did. Some people have thought that our Lord merely meant that there should be a spiritual seeing of Him, and that in that spiritual seeing they should have perfect rest and perfect joy; that Christ should be all in all to them. But can we limit it in that way? Our Lord was speaking of the time when the Jews should rejoice because Hebrews, the great Destroyer of the peace of Jerusalem, the One Who attacked all the corruptions of the Jewish Church, was hanged upon the cross. Did the disciples see Him? Was not that a little time? Did He not rise again on the third day, did He not at once appear to them? So that we have an explanation of the first little while perfectly clear to our minds and thoughts. It was simply this, the world rejoiced because the Christ was dead; the disciples wept because the Christ was dead. They looked upon Him now, they saw Him with them, they heard His words, and He had told them that a little while hence He would be passing away, and they should see Him no more. Is not that the explanation of the first little while?

II. God"s "Little While".—But when we come to the second "little while," there is a difficulty as to what our Lord meant. He was to go to the Father, vet do we not see Christ now? The disciples saw Him as He rose from the dead. We, too, see Him upon that cross which is our glory, and He is to us the living One, because He was the dead. When He rose from the grave He only proved to us that the Father accepted His sacrifice, and because He had borne the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors, therefore He had come out victorious with a victory that would last for ever and ever. Christ is to us a source of constant blessing, the source of all our consolation. He lives in our faith, and, if we have any hearts, He lives in our love, He lives in our life. So when the disciples saw Him again their joy was full, because they knew that Christ had risen. And their joy was to remain that which no one could take from them; it was to last for ever. So it has ever been; and all the greatest and most devout thinkers upon this verse have been of opinion that the "little while" in which Christ promised to be seen again is the "little while" of God which lasts on in the Christian Church until Christ shall come again. There was a little while, and He was hidden; there is this little while, and he lives with us, in us.

III. The Sight of Christ.— Song of Solomon, too, do we not see Christ? What do we mean by saying at the end of our prayers, "Through Jesus Christ," unless we see Him? It Isaiah, indeed, a sight of faith, but it is the sight the Spirit gives us of all the love, power, beauty, and work of Christ. Let us ask God the Holy Spirit to paint for us the living Christ more perfectly, to show us the praise of that endless love, and to cast His bright beams upon our own reading concerning the blessed Lord. It is just so that we must pass the little while here until there comes, in the soft shades of night, the Voice which says "Come up hither," and we go and meet our Lord in the bright beams of His own light.

The Ascended Lord

John 16:16

I. The Ascension of the Lord is a help to the true vision of Him.

II. The Christian life on earth is one of joy in the risen Lord.

III. The Christian life is a course of instruction from an inward Teacher.

IV. The Christian life is a course of fulfilled desires and abundant gladness.

—A. Maclaren.

References.—XVI:16.—F. St. John Corbett, The Preacher"s Year, p85. W. P. S. Bingham, Sermons upon Easter Subjects, p76. Bishop Westcott, Village Sermons, p166. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. iii. p356. XVI:16-18.—H. S. Holland, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liv. p17. XVI:16-19.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p120.

The Point of Perplexity

John 16:18

That is a point in the history of the soul which often passes without recognition. We are great on infidels, we deliver courses of lectures upon blatant and vulgar infidelity; some men have made their reputation along those lines. And others are great on triumphant faith; some ready skilful writers have written hymns of victory for the use of the Church in its highest mood. We thank God for such poets and prophets. But the we-cannot-tell period—has that period any lyrist, any poet of high and worthy aim? We are all now and then in the we-cannot-tell period, and has any man arisen to turn our cannot-tell into some kind of joyous and hopeful psalm? Will you kindly suspend your lectures to absentee infidels, and come to these poor souls who are fumbling and groping and crying, We cannot tell whether this should be, or that should be, or whether we are now going exactly to the right or somewhere to the left. What a field there is unoccupied for the souls in the cannot-tell period! We dare not mention it even in prayer; and yet here we are with all these problems round about, all these great unsolved enigmas; yet we would like to know what the answer is.

I. "We cannot tell what He saith;" we come to the point of perplexity. It may be thus, or it may be so; what thinkest thou, John,, James, Peter? are you all silent? So am I. "A little while, and ye shall see Me: a little while, and ye shall not see Me, because I go unto the Father." What is this that He saith? we cannot tell what He saith. We are at the cannot-tell period. No infidels are we and no doubters; it is still He—that wondrous pronoun that gathers into its ample meaning and its glowing love all the nouns that have ever represented Him in the grammar of history. What is this that He saith? we cannot tell what He saith. It is still Hebrews, the living, beautiful One, the brother-sister, the Prayer of Manasseh -woman of the race, who carries the crown and a cross; for He is the Lord that saved the world.

Many of us are at this point, we cannot explain the words of Jesus; we are glad that many of them are yet without explanation: we have no confidence in those people who know all about it, as they would vulgarly say. We want to have knowledge enough to make us silent; we want to know enough that we may pray in a humble tone.

II. There are Scriptures we can hardly read, let them alone for the time being; there are other Scriptures that we can only partially explain, and we go to them now and then to see if the buds be opening and if we can inhale fresh fragrance in the King"s garden; there are other passages that mothers can speak to children, and children can understand by their hearts, and in these passages we revel and triumph and hold sweet sacrament. Why do you not confine yourselves to those things that you can really take hold of and apply and profit by? Why will you be endeavouring to read books you cannot read? Let them alone; not for ever, mayhap, but for the time being, and keep to your Psalm, your sweet Jesus words, to the smile of the Master, to the encouragement of the Apostles. I hope some day some strong Prayer of Manasseh, who is ready to be slain by the Church, will arise, and read us the Bible by the distribution of progressive steps, so that we shall end with Moses, and thus understand what Moses meant, go back to roots and origins and plasms, and thus interpret the Old Testament by the New and the New by the Old, and find that they are the same sacrament, and the same Testament, and the same covenant with the souls of men.

III. Now how did Jesus Christ treat this point of perplexity? First of all, He did not rebuke it; He said, What ye know not now ye shall know hereafter; I keep a great school known by the name Hereafter, and you will be promoted to that higher school in due time; do not expect to do everything in twelve hours, do not expect to do everything within the little span of your, life; hereafter ye shall see, hereafter ye shall know; I have many things to say unto you, but you could not bear them now; why, you could not even hear them now, you would not understand them now; for My revelation is gradual and progressive, it is like the path of the just Prayer of Manasseh, shining more and more unto the perfect day,—and we forget that we ever saw the grey, cold time of winter. He does not do away with the point of perplexity; He says, it is good for you to have this puzzle, work away at that in the meantime; do not be impatient, do not tear the organ to pieces in order to see where the music comes from, and do not be taking up the roots of the flowers to see how the roots are getting on. Simply wait; O, wait upon the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and He will come with the morning star. Yes, Jesus Christ satisfies perplexity with a promise; Not now, but in another time.

—Joseph Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. in. p194.

What Is This

John 16:18

There is a discipline in bewilderment You have not lost religion because you cannot explain it, and you are profited by many a sermon you do not understand. What wild men they are who suppose that everything goes through the channel of the understanding, and that no man is scholarly or learned who does not know five-and-twenty alphabets and all their lore.

There is a discipline of bewilderment. The disciples said, We cannot understand this talk: today He says something that appears to be very clear, and yet there is a great cloud upon it before we have time to consider what it is. "What is this that He saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me: and, Because I go to the Father?... What is this that He saith, A little while? We cannot tell what He saith." To-day we are lost, but in an infinite ocean of truth and love and suggestion.

I. We should pause here and there in the great teaching of the sweet One, and ask, What does this really mean? We should apply this inquiry to many of the scenes in Christ"s life and to not a few of His words. He spake in riddles, He talked in parables, He dreamed in metaphors. Unless we are of the same mental breed we cannot follow Him, we do not belong to His kith, He does not speak our mother-tongue. Hence it is that some are wise and some are foolish in the things of the kingdom of heaven; that which is poetry to one man is prose to another, and that which is prose in some instances may be burning, throbbing poetry in others. All things are not the same things to two people; each takes his own view, each has his own God. Perhaps we have lost a great deal of the true theology by supposing that there is only one God, in the sense that all men must take the same view of Him or be lost. There is only one God—that is the glory of the Christian religion—but in how many phases does He reveal Himself, to how many ministries in the heart does He appeal, at what various points He knocks if haply the door may be opened and entrance effected.

II. There is discipline in bewilderment. Many people find heterodoxy in it. Many persons think that religion consists of clear views. What is a view? and what are clear views? and what are the chances of clear views in grey days and cloudy times, and times of unrest to the soul, and sadness because of sin, and hopelessness because the last door we battered at did not open? We measure ourselves by false standards, and we especially measure others by standards of our own creation. We may be singing the same great truth in a thousand different tunes. It is not the tune but the truth, not the rhyme but the hymn that we should be careful and anxious about.

III. It is marvellous at how many places we may stop and say, "We know not what He means, what He saith". We have been with Him, the disciples might have said, now a year, two years, and three years, and He has given us hints that He is going away, and yet in all those days He never asked a man amongst us to pray for Him. Two or three of us have gone up mountain-paths step for step with the Son of God; we have seen the wrinkles of sorrow deepen His cheeks, we have seen His eyes melt in tears, but He never called Peter or James or John, and said unto one of them, "Ask all the others to join you in praying for Me"—never. Who was this Son of man? who is this Majesty who asks no prayer on His own account, yet who prays for His enemies, and dries the tears of others" sorrows?

Jesus Christ never rebuked anybody for merely intellectual errors. He expected them; intellectual errors must attach themselves to finite thinking. Jesus Christ did not pay any attention whatever to mere opinions as simple products of an undisciplined and unchastened intellect. He did not say, "Be good enough to show me your theological statement, and I will see whether you are right or wrong". As if any man could be either right or wrong by a written certificate of anything whatsoever. He cared for the heart, He looked into the soul, He offered the soul cleanness, and I will follow Him. It is good to be where Jesus is.

—Joseph Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. vi. p2.

Reference.—XVI:18-26.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. ix. p297.

Unspoken Inquiries

John 16:19

He saw their lips shape into a question. But they dare not go any further. This presents Christ to us in a most interesting and pathetic aspect. He knows the unspoken prayer—blessed be God! There are prayers we dare not put into words; there are wonders and problems to which we dare not give expression. We do not know one another sufficiently, or we would know that behind many an utterance of faith there is a deep moan of unbelief. We put our best selves forward on many occasions, and we do so without pretence or conceit; we try to think ourselves into better selves, and in advance we speak the great words we shall one day speak as part of the current experience and reality. Sometimes we store our prayers; they are the prayers that are going to be answered in a month, perhaps next year; we have many entries into the execution of which we have not yet come. We have pledged to meet the Lord under a hawthorn bush, in a wide, green field, in some little bay by the sea that nobody knows of but ourselves. We must not be taken just at the moment as always realising the high triumphs which we venture to express in words; they are the triumphs that are going to be, the victories of the long-coming tomorrow. We can only enter into these mysteries and eternities by prolonged, deep long-suffering and long-torturing experience.

The happiness is that Jesus Christ knows all about this; He knows the questions we would like to ask, how many they are, how urgent. This is the comfort, that Jesus knows every one of them. Let us witch Him coming along; He may interpret our attitude and give it words. The Lion of the tribe of Judah hath the power to open all seals; He may rend the seal of our ignorance and our agonising desire. Let us tarry awhile here and there. Jesus will find us out, and we can so look that He will understand the expression, and so kind is He that He may find words for our silence and our distress.

I. Jesus finds us sitting by the grave, and He knows that we are desirous to ask Him, and we dare not So we can only look; but what a look it is! how it tears the heavens in twain, how it pleads with the eloquence of miserable silence! He pauses, He draws near; He also looks as well as we do; there is a masonry of facial expression; He knows the meaning of the dumbness, and knows that it is the biggest eloquence we ever poured out of our lips, and yet we dare not but restrain the growing flood lest we should grieve Him by unintentional impiety. Dare you ask Him? You are on terms of great familiarity with this Jesus who is now almost bending over us—dare you tell Him our desire? The grave is so little, and it is the first grave we ever dug in our house; it is the burial-place of a little flower. I am desirous to ask Him why the flower ever budded; I am desirous to ask Him how He thinks we can partake of the sacrament of silent misery when we go back this summer afternoon to our lonely home. Can Jesus reach a case like mine? you say. Yes, He can; there is nothing we ever suffered that He has not suffered, only a thousand times more intensely in all that strains the very nerves of the soul. If any one else has suffered this, I have already divided my misery; find me my companion-sufferer; Jesus knows that I am desirous to ask Him, and perhaps through this companion He may send me an answer: O come thou, sent by the Son of God. You do not know how much of real comfort and strength you would part with if you asked all your questions in plain words. There is a comfort in reservation; reticence has its own sanctuary into which it retires as into a deeper self-preservation. Sometimes misery is the very jewel of joy.

II. If we review the whole scheme and economy of life, there are many things we would like to ask Jesus. How is it that this man prospers, and he never prays? How is it that I have to make all my life a hard study so as to keep out of debt and misery, and I try to pray? Jesus knows that I am desirous to ask Him; I want to know about the mystery of the Divine going, I want to know why the garden of the atheist brings forth flowers abundantly, and the garden of the suppliant has not a single flower within its four borders. I should like to ask my Lord that question, but I do not know how to put it; I might imperil my own faith by inquiring into the metaphysics of other people"s unbelief. Oh, if He would start the subject I would tell Him about twenty whose lives are complete mysteries as viewed from a Christian standpoint; they bet and gamble and swear, and riot and revel and dance, and cannot get through their money. I would tell Him then of the poor woman who cannot make money enough to pay her rent. If He would begin the subject! He may do some day; then I will venture upon it, and embrace the opportunity of having all my doubts cleared up, and I will be glad to have some Divine illumination upon the plan of Providence. Meanwhile I am an Asaph with a song he dare not sing, a harp he dare not use, a question he may not ask.

III. The very desirousness to ask is a proof of the existence of some faith in the soul. That is a delightful and most vital point. Our very perplexities may be evidences of our faith. If we had no faith, who would care to ask any questions about this chaotic, tumultous world.

IV. Unasked questions need not mar believing prayers. After all, the unasked questions may not be necessary to the edification of the soul. God may educate us by not allowing us to tell everything we want to tell. Self-control is the last result of true power. Not to ask may be to ask. Sometimes not to pray may be the best prayer. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Oh, if He would begin! He will some day, and it will be a long day, a day without an evening star.

References.—XVI:20.—J. Keble, Sermons for Easter to Ascension Day, p335. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. lii. No2983. R. J. Campbell, City Temple Sermons, p74. XVI:20-22.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiv. No1442. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p131. XVI:21.—J. M. Neale, Sermons for the Church Year, vol. ii. p29. XVI:21, 22.—D. Fraser, Metaphors in the Gospels, p360.

Comfort in Sorrow

John 16:22

I. In this text and in the surrounding verses and chapters indeed, Jesus Christ is a minister to human sorrow. How gentle He is in all these verses! We ought to have them in the memory of the heart; they would strew summer flowers on the way from the house to the grave, ay, and back again. But we are men, poor, brokenhearted men, so cold is the bereaved air, so lonely the solitary footfall on the house stair, and all things breathe, if they breathe, a sigh of conscious orphanage. What word can help us in that dread moment? No word so lovely as the word of Christ spoken in view of the heartache of men, "I will see you again". Oh, write that on every tombstone, "I will see you again"; write it in the chamber where the separation took place, that awful unwed-ding that was murder, "I will see you again"; write it on the pillow where the poor head sank in its exhaustion, final and complete as to the body. Oh, thou angel, who hast a pen and dost write things for men to read, write upon that tomb, "I will see you again". There is no finality in the sorrow which is experienced by those who love the Lord of Immorality; then every moment is immortal in its ideality, its suggestion, and its ineffable solace. Who will write this upon the little child"s tombstone? Oh, those little tombstones! I always go to the children"s section of God"s acre, the stones that are almost flowers, that will be flowers presently in the warmer summer that is promised to the soul. Write on your dear little child"s tombstone, if with invisible ink, write it so that your own heart can see it, "I will see you again". How long? That is the question of unbelief; it is the question which we all ask, but really it is not the question of living, loving faith. "Again:" how long? and I hear amid the aisles of the eternal infinite Church, where the saints gather for their matins, "For there is no night there... for ever with the Lord".

II. Who is it that talks about coming again? Who is it that says, "Let not your heart be troubled "? Who is it that says, "Sorrow shall be turned into joy"? What was His qualification for touching upon the subject at all? Sometimes we feel that a speech is being well handled by the speaker; he knows it, he has passed through all that it means so far as that is possible within the compass of time. At other moments we feel that the speaker does not know his theme; it is not in him a well of water; he can only speak about it, his language never breaks into music. What was Christ"s qualification for addressing the sorrow of the world? It was complete. Taking the Scriptures prophetically and experimentally, and treating them with the idealism which is justified of history and experience, we know that Jesus is the sufferer who holds the only answer to the enigma of sorrow. What do I hear respecting Him? He is "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Oh, let me see Him! This is the man I long for and have been seeking for; I have prayed my heart out to the heavens that I might catch some sight of His figure. This is He; He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Then His voice would be soft with tears. It is. He will not look hardly at me as if He were a severe Judges, looking at the crimes and sins which my poor soul represents. No; He will look with eyes of light and love and pity; why, hear me: "Jesus wept". That is His qualification. Come, see if there is any sorrow like unto My sorrow. Sorrow only can speak to sorrow. You know by the voice whether the sympathiser has suffered. The want of suffering cannot be concealed; the presence of suffering turns the occasion of sympathy into a sacrament, where there is bread and blood-wine and all the solace of the infinite heart.

III. Ye shall be sorrowful, said the dear Prayer of Manasseh -woman Christ, the brother-sister Jesus; ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy, I will see you again,—in many a way, in many a dream, in many an event degraded into an accident, in many a junction of circumstances which you thought was manipulated and consummated by the skill of Prayer of Manasseh, but which was originated and determined in heaven; I will see you again. The spring helps the blood; the May-blossom does not lay its finger on the pulses of the world but quickens them; then we are conscious that even yet in these graveyard hearts there may be primroses typifying resurrection. Here is the promise; do not abate it, do not modify it, do not allow a frivolous disposition or any austere temptation to rob you of your Divine estate; ye are sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. What does Paul say about sorrow? He follows his Master always and most steadily, and he may have at least some echo if not an original tone. He said, lifting up himself for a moment"s relaxation and with a smile on his face, "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" ( 2 Corinthians 6:10). What a mixture! what a reality! It is the very reality of our own experience. What is the sub-tone? "Sorrowful" What is the other tone. "Rejoicing." Are you in the night? Yes, but the night is full of stars, talking stars, flashing, descending, spiritual stars. How often we can only see the darkness, not the jewels that glitter on its robe!

References.—XVI:22.—R. J. Campbell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. p403. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year (2Series), vol. i. p225. R. W. Church, Village Sermons (3Series), p324. J. Keble, Sermons for Easter to Ascension Bay, pp345, 355. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliii. No2525.

John 16:23

Last night, after seeking out this Saint and that, methought, Why not applie unto the Fountain Head? Maybe these holie Spiritts may have Limitations sett to the Power of theire Intercessions—at any Rate, the Ears of Mary-mother are open to alle.

Soe I beganne, Eia mater, fons amoris....

Then methoughte: But I am only asking her to intercede—I"ll mount a Step higher still....

Then I turned to the greate Intercessor of alle. But methoughte, Still he intercedes with another, although the same. And his owne saying was, In that Day ye shall ask me nothing. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, he will give it you. Soe I did.

—Miss Manning"s Household of Sir Thomas More.

References.—XVI:23.—W. P. S. Bingham, Sermons on Easter Subjects, p189. The Record, vol. xxvii. p508. W. H. Evans, Short Sermons for the Seasons, p138. J. Keble, Sermons for Easter to Ascension Day, pp445, 482. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year (2Series), vol. i. p243. J. N. Bennie, The Eternal Life, p84. XVI:23, 24.—T. F. Crosse, Sermons, p39. R. C. Trench, Sermons New and Old, p184. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p140. XVI:24.—W. H. Evans, Short Sermons for the Seasons, p134. C. G. Finney, Penny Pulpit, No1562, p129. J. Keble, Sermons for Easter to Ascension Bay, pp436, 456, 466. XVI:25.—J. J. Blunt, Plain Sermons (2Series), p277. Bishop Westcott, Village Sermons, p186. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in a Religious House, vol. i. p85. Expositor (6th Series), vol. i. p235. XVI:25-27.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p150. XVI:26, 27.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlviii. No, 2800. W. M. Sinclair, Difficulties of our Bay, p136. XVI:27.—R. J. Campbell, City Temple Sermons, p173. XVI:28.—A. P. Stanley, Canterbury Sermons, p350. F. T. Bassett, Christ in Eternity and Time, p67. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p159. XVI:28-33.—S. Hall, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlv. p5. XVI:29-32.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p168. XVI:30.—A. G. Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. li. p26. XVI:31, 32.—T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. i. p246. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxviii. No2271, and vol. liii. No3052.

Loneliness

John 16:32

A deep sense of loneliness was one of the sorrows which the Son of man endured for us throughout His earthly life. Such loneliness is the lot of every one who is in advance of his generation, and therefore it pressed most heavily upon our Lord. Therefore we find Him seeking so often communion with the Father in prayer.

I. The Loneliness of the Cross.—But as the end drew near, we gather from the text that His affectionate human nature shrank from that hour of intense and utter loneliness, and He finds unfailing comfort in the abiding presence of the Father. It is true that in one awful sense He could not be alone, even when His friends fled and forsook Him, for at His trial when He stood before Pilate He would hear a thousand voices crying harshly for His blood, and see a thousand faces turned to Him; but when there is no sympathy between the individual and the multitude the loneliness of a large crowd is more painful and more absolute than that of a desolate mountain range, or even of the Great Sahara. Now each life that is brought into harmony with that of the Divine Master will reproduce, more or less, His sorrows, and generally the more faithfully that life is followed the more will the sorrows be intensified. We see in the life of St Paul the working out of this principle. His personality was strongly marked, and his isolation proportionately great. He led and maintained a ceaseless struggle for the liberty of the Gospel. His missionary labours brought the same consequence. Yet, from his own testimony we know that he was not alone, for the Lord stood by him.

II. The Loneliness of Human Life.—So far we have considered the loneliness which results from taking up the cross; but we must not forget that there is the loneliness which is a condition of human life, apart from religion. We have all experienced this in our own lives, or witnessed it in others. We must have felt it when we have visited houses where death has lately entered. We have realised that between ourselves and the mourners there was a great gulf which we could not cross! They were cut off from us in their grief! We could speak heartfelt words of sympathy, yet we knew that in their anguish they were alone—that all we did or said left them still alone.

III. The Loneliness of Old Age.—Old age brings inevitably a deep sense of loneliness. The friends and companions of early days one by one cross into the Beyond, and each year grows more lonely. We enter into a new generation—a new age in which we have no part or interest. It is as if we stood on a hill overlooking a familiar landscape, in the calm evening hour, and as twilight deepened into night we saw the well-known objects disappear in the darkness till we stood alone.

IV. The Loneliness of Death.—There is the loneliness of death. It is this which gives it the impress of solemnity—which keeps it ever from the touch of the vulgar and commonplace. In that last journey none may go with the traveller. None can bear him company in the valley of the shadow of death. We may hold the hand of the departing one, but when the head droops and the heart ceases to throb, the soul must go out alone. None can follow, none can comfort except the Father. Truly in the awfulness of that moment the feeling of an utter loneliness will fall on that soul, unless in life Christ has been the guide and teacher, the hope and Saviour—then, if Song of Solomon, that soul will be comforted with the comfort with which the Saviour comforted Himself—the "Father is with Me".

References.—XVI:32.—Walter C. Smith, Sermons, p312. Bishop Gore, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. p97. R. W. Hiley, A Year"s Sermons, vol. i. p254. R. J. Campbell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p309. G. T. Newton, Preacher"s Magazine, vol. vi. p355. J. Martineau, Endeavours after the Christian Life, p75. R. J. Campbell, A Faith for Today, p137. XVI:32, 33.—J. C. M. Bellew, Five Occasional Sermons, p64.

Secrets of Peace

John 16:33

These words have very special force for us in the fact that they were some of the last words of teaching on the part of our Lord. We appreciate them, then, as the summing up of His teaching, and He tells us that their very purpose is a practical one. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace." What is peace? We associate it in our minds with what we call calm or quietness, but it is the peace which Jesus had which He offers to give to us, and we must learn from Him how He obtained it. Go back then to His words, the last spoken just before He was taken from them, just before Gethsemane.

I. To Learn God"s Will.—First of all He reminded them that although He is going away in person, He will be with them in thought. His whole idea was to be preparing for them. Jesus was full of the consciousness that His Father was preparing for Him. He lived with God. We all fly to God in the time of trouble and distress, but we do not live with Him as Jesus did. So often people in times of trouble say, "If only I knew what to do". They hurry here and they hurry there, they cannot remain still to learn God"s will. How different with Jesus! When His brethren came to Him and asked Him if He were not going up to the feast, He answered them that He was not, because He had not yet received His orders and must wait. His time had not yet come. He wished to do God"s will; He lived with God in the perfect consciousness that God was preparing every step that He should take. And so in the midst of tribulation there were no anxieties with Christ; He had cast them all upon His Father and in Him He found His peace.

II. To Realise the Power of Prayer.—And then as you follow His words there is more. Not only was the Spirit promised them, but if ever they thought that God had forsaken them, or if there were anything they felt they lacked, they had the power of prayer: everything they asked in His name God would be prepared to do for them. Whatever they asked they should receive. If you look back in the life of Jesus it was the same. It was that power of prayer which kept Him full of peace. If He had work to do, He went in prayer upon the mountain, before He took in hand the great work; if He had Apostles to choose, He went to God first. If He had a long day of care and anxiety and work, He went to God to find refreshment in the power of prayer. He speaks to us from the heart of His own experience, and bids us know that in prayer we may find the basis of our peace.

III. To Rest in God"s Love.—Christ knew that His Father loved Him, and in that knowledge He found His peace amid the coldness and calumny of the world of men. Jesus has gone behind a veil, but He is not forgetful of those He has left behind. He is thinking of us every moment. He is thinking of us as we go into the world, so that our difficulties are in the mind of Jesus already. There will be times when it will be hard to see His hand and to understand His purpose, yet it will be behind it all that we shall find our peace.

John 16:33

Dr. A. C. Bradley writes in his Oxford Lectures on Poetry (p47): "The words "I have overcome the world" are among the most sublime on record, and they are also the expression of the absolute power of of the Spirit".

Luther quoted these words in one of his letters from Coburg in1530, while the Diet of Augsburg was sitting. In the letter to Melanchthon of June30, he said, in his favourite mixture of Latin and German: "Confidite, ego vici mundum. Es wird ja nicht falsch sein, das weiss ich frwahr, quod Christus sit victor mundi. Quid ergo victum mundum sic formidamus quasi victorem?" [Why should we then fear a conquered world as if it were the conqueror?] He added in German: "A man might fetch such a saying on his knees from Rome and Jerusalem".

—Enders, Luther"s Briefwechsel, vol. viii. p52.

References.—XVI:33.—Archdeacon Colley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlv. p154. A. G. Mortimer, The Church"s Lessons for the Christian Year, pt. iv. p339. E. J. Boyce, Parochial Sermons, p93. A. Maclaren, Christian World Pulpit, xliv. p104; vol. lviii. p260. Brooke Herford, Courage and Cheer, p114. R. W. Church, Village Sermons (3Series), p214. E. M. Geldart, Echoes of Truth, p132. J. J. Blunt, Plain Sermons (2Series), p105. Bishop Creighton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. p345. J. B. Brown, The Divine Mystery of Peace, pp1, 21, 42, 65, 99. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii. No1327; vol. xxxiii. No1994. F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, p203. R. J. Campbell, City Temple Sermons, p134. W. G. Rutherford, The Key of Knowledge, p151. N. H. Marshall, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxx. p313. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. John, p179. Expositor (7th Series), vol. v. p416. XVI:38.—Ibid. (6th Series), vol. viii. p212.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 16:32". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/john-16.html. 1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 16:29-33. Last words.

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 16:32". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-16.html. 1897-1910.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Disciples of Christ may at some times possess and manifest strong confidence in him, and at others act as if they had none: were it not for his grace, all would utterly forsake him and perish.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

To his own; notwithstanding the strong faith in him which they had expressed, they would soon desert him and return to their homes, or places of abode; and so far as human friends were concerned, he would be left alone.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

FURTHER WORDS OF warning follow in the opening verses of this chapter, lest the disciples should be stumbled by being unprepared for persecution. Acts 8:3; Acts 9:1, Acts 9:2; 1 Timothy 1:13, furnish us with a commentary on verses John 16:2-3 of our chapter. Saul of Tarsus persecuted this way unto the death, and he did it ignorantly in his unbelief. At that time he certainly knew neither the Father nor the Son.

Jesus was going to Him that sent Him, and the disciples had sufficient sense of the loss they would suffer to be filled with sorrow, but if only they had enquired more as to where He was going, and what would be involved in His presence with the Father, they would have seen things in a different light. His departure was going to be profitable for them. Loss there was going to be, but also gain which would outweigh the loss. This was a startling statement, but the Lord proceeds to support it by giving further unfoldings of the benefits which would flow from the coming of the Comforter, which coming was contingent on His departure. He speaks first of what His coming would mean as regards themselves.

Being come, He will, by His very presence and activity, be a standing witness against the world. The word “reprove” does not mean that He will bring such conviction to the world as would result in its conversion, but that His coming will bring such a demonstration of these three great realities as shall leave the world without excuse. He comes as the direct consequence of the going on high of Jesus, the One cast out by the unbelieving world. Perfect goodness embodied in the Son of God had been before their eyes and had been totally rejected. Here was sin, an outrageous missing of the mark—and demonstrated by the presence of the Comforter, who came because He was gone.

But Jesus was going through death and resurrection and by ascension into the glory of the Father. Thus Divine righteousness would be vindicated and displayed. The point here is not remission of sins and justification for us, as it is in Romans 3:1-31, but of righteousness to be publicly established in every sphere that has been touched and marred by sin. Christ’s death was the supreme act of the world’s unrighteousness: His glorification was the supreme act of God’s righteousness, and the guarantee that ultimately righteousness shall everywhere prevail, in keeping with Paul’s words in Acts 17:31. Now the Spirit is come from the glorified Christ as the standing Witness to this. To have merely demonstrated sin would not have been enough: righteousness its antithesis, and that which will ultimately abolish it, must be demonstrated too.

The third thing, judgment, follows as the appropriate sequence. If human sin be dealt with in Divine righteousness, judgment cannot be avoided. Paul reasoned before Felix of “judgment to come” and the Roman governor trembled, but the point in our passage is that the prince of this world has been judged by his attitude to Christ, and in the power of His cross. In John 12:1-50, Jesus had spoken of the judgment of the world and the casting out of its prince. These solemn facts are demonstrated by the presence of the Spirit, for if the prince and leader of the world is judged, the world that he controls is judged too. Satan is also called “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), as men ignorantly worship him in turning aside to all the things that they idolize: he is “the prince” as being the originator and leader in the world’s great schemes.

Now it is indeed expedient and profitable for us that the Comforter should have come with plain demonstration of these things. To see the devil in a true light, to see the world as it really is, to have things brought to an issue as between sin and righteousness, are matters of the deepest moment. The witness truly is against the world but it stands for our benefit and instruction. Had it been more fully heeded by ourselves, and by the church all through its history, we should have kept ourselves far more unspotted from the world than we have done. The strong words that we read in James 4:4 are more easily understood in the light of the Lord’s words here.

How profitable too is that ministry of the Spirit indicated in verses John 16:13-15. It seems to fall under three heads— “He will guide you... He will shew you... He shall glorify Me.”

He is to guide the disciples into all truth. In the previous verse the Lord indicated that there were many things yet to be revealed, but that they were not yet in the condition to receive them. When by the reception of the Spirit they should have that anointing, spoken of in 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27 they would have the capacity to understand. So, when the Spirit of Truth was come, the Lord said through Him the many things He had yet to say, and all truth was revealed, and into that the Spirit guided them. The Apostles doubtless are primarily in view here, but as the fruit of this guiding into all truth, the Epistles were written, and thus the saints of all ages down to our own have had all truth brought within the circle of their knowledge. With what diligence have we given ourselves to these things so as to be guided into them?

Then He was to show the disciples “things to come.” As the fruit of this particular ministry to the Apostles, we have the book of Revelation as well as certain passages in the Epistles, and thus this ministry has been made available to us. By these prophetic writings the drift of things both in the church and in the world is made known to us, and hence we are not in darkness, though the rejection and absence of Christ has introduced an epoch in the world’s history characterized as “the night.”

Then, thirdly, the mission of the Comforter is to glorify the Christ who has been dishonoured by the world. This He does by announcing to us the things that are Christ’s, so that we make the discovery that all the Father’s things are also His. Let us not miss the tremendous scope of this great declaration. We have already heard twice that the Father has given all things into His hand (John 3:35; John 13:3), but that might carry us no further than the fact that, like Joseph in Egypt with Pharaoh’s things, all administration is committed to Him. This does carry us further. All the Father’s things ARE HIS! And this was said by the Son whilst on earth in His pathway of humiliation. That “ARE” is timeless: it breathes the air of eternity. The Father’s things ever were His, they are, and ever will be. He who speaks thus lays claim to Deity, One in the unity of the Godhead. The acknowledgment of this by the ministry of the Comforter does indeed glorify Him.

The transition of thought from verse John 16:15-16 may not be apparent at first sight, but we believe the Lord is still pursuing the thought of how profitable for them would be His departure because it involved the advent of the Comforter. Soon they would no longer see Him, and then again a little while and they would see Him. But this second seeing was to be “because I go to the Father”; that is, because then the Spirit would be given. In this remarkable statement the Lord used two different words: the first meaning to behold or view as a spectator, the second to perceive or discern. A little while and they would no longer see Him, beholding His ways and works as spectators; then another little while and the Spirit being given, they would see Him in this new fashion, perceiving Him by faith with the inward eye of their Spirit-filled hearts, in a measure unknown before. Blessed be God that it is possible for us too to say, “But we see Jesus... crowned with glory and honour” (Hebrews 2:9).

This saying of His was dark at the moment to the disciples and therefore further explanation was given. The world was going to have its way with Him and His death was impending. It would rejoice in getting rid of Him, but for them the outlook was one of weeping and lamentation. Yet beyond death lay resurrection and His ascension to the Father. This would reverse everything. The travail of childbirth is used as an illustration, for not only does it set forth the idea of joy supervening on sorrow, but also that of new life springing up. Now their sorrow was just a reflex of His sorrow, and His was so deep and of such a nature as to be called “the travail of His soul” in Isaiah 53:11, whilst the previous verse predicts, “He shall see His seed,” evidently in resurrection and in glory. They could not share His atoning sufferings yet they were dimly sharing His sorrow, though largely, without a doubt, in a selfish way. They should soon very really share His joy.

The context of verse John 16:22 would indicate that the Lord was referring, not only to the gladness that would fill the disciples when they met Him in resurrection, but also to their joy when, by the Spirit given, they should have the knowledge of His glory. This is yet more plain when we consider verse John 16:23, for “In that day” does not indicate merely the forty days during which they saw Him before Pentecost, but rather the whole period characterized by His absence and the Spirit’s personal presence in the church. That day has not yet run its course, and it is still our privilege to pray in the Holy Ghost, and thus to ask of the Father in the name of the Son.

The word “ask” occurs twice in this verse, but actually the Lord used two different words, which might be distinguished by using “demand” or “enquire” for the first and “ask” or “petition” for the second. The Lord had been meeting all their demands, and they had run to Him with all their enquiries, but now that day was closing. But He had revealed the Father before them, and directly the Spirit should be given that revelation would become effective in them. They would be empowered to take their place as representatives of the Son, and so ask in His Name. Asking thus under the direction of the Spirit, their prayers would be sure of an affirmative answer, as being according to the Father’s mind. Striking instances of prayers of this kind are given us in the latter part of Acts 4:1-37, and again in Acts 12:1-25. Indeed the prayer of the dying Stephen, in the last verse of Acts 7:1-60, illustrates it; for the conversion of the man who presided, like an evil genius, over his martyrdom was an answer to the spirit of the request, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

The change that would be introduced by the coming of the Comforter is still the dominant thought in verse 25. It would affect the very way in which the truth as to the Father was to be presented. He had been making known the Father by doing the Father’s works. All the miracles, or “signs” recorded in this gospel, had been a setting forth of the grace and power and glory of the Father, in a parabolic or allegorical way. When we turn to the Epistles we read plain declarations of the Father, His purposes and glory and love, given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost. All this came to pass in the day of which the Lord was speaking, when they should be able to ask with all freedom in His Name as knowing the Father’s love.

The words in the latter part of verse John 16:26 are no contradiction of the fact that Jesus is our Intercessor on high. They only emphasize the fact of the Father’s love for the saints and the place of intimacy that they have in His presence. The attitude of the disciples to Jesus was, as verse John 16:27 shows, one of love and faith. Is that our attitude? Then we too come under the benediction of the Father’s love. Hence, though we deeply need Christ’s gracious intercession for us, in view of our weakness and constant failure, as those in this place of love and favour, yet we have no need for intercession that we may be in this place. Souls brought up in the darkness of Romanism may imagine they need just the kind of intercession that is precluded here, only so often they sink still lower by thinking that the Virgin Mary or some lesser “saint” must undertake it. Blessed be God, we need no intercessor of that kind at all!

The disciples believed that He had come forth from God, but as yet they had hardly risen to the thought of His coming forth from the Father, though, as their words show, they did not as yet realize their limitations. Until the Spirit was given they were limited in understanding, as verse John 16:31 shows, and also in power and courage, as verse John 16:32 shows. The very men who were groping in their minds here, and in a few hours’ time were scattered and running away, were gathered with minds of clear understanding, and with hearts as bold as lions, when the Day of Pentecost was fully come. Understanding and courage: these two things should characterize us today. But do they?

Though the Lord had no support from His disciples in the dark hour before Him, He could go forth in perfect dependence on the Father and in the assurance of His abiding presence. Hence He confronted the world’s hatred and opposition in perfect peace and wholly overcame it. Now all these communications the Lord had made that His disciples in their turn might have peace in Him, just as He had possessed peace in the Father. His overcoming the world, moreover, was the pledge that overcoming power was also at their disposal. He had just been speaking of the world’s hatred and persecution. To us perhaps its seductions and smiles are more dangerous. But, whichever it be, our safety lies in Christ. Only as begotten of God and as believing that Jesus is the Son of God do we overcome the world, as 1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:5, tells us.

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Bibliographical Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on John 16:32". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/john-16.html. 1947.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

GOOD CHEER FOR HOURS OF TRIAL

John 16:25-33

God still speaks to us in proverbs. We could not understand or receive the perfect discovery of Himself. These are but part of His ways, Job 26:14. But in a little while, when the entire mystery of His will has been fulfilled, we shall see Him face to face, and He will speak to us plainly about the things that we do not now understand.

There is a close connection between prayer and joy. In the midst of a battle, when the soldiers are weary, galled with fire and grimed with smoke, if the general rides into their midst, to cheer them with hearty words and to assure them that the key to the position is already taken, they fight with the inspiration of victory. So down the line our Leader and Commander sends this encouragement. Let us carry His peace in our hearts, and be of good courage, 1 John 5:4-5.

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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on John 16:32". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/john-16.html. 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

CHAPTER 16

1. Persecutions Predicted. (John 16:1-6.)

2. The Comforter and His Demonstration. (John 16:7-15.)

3. Sorrow and joy. (John 16:16-22.)

4. The Father Himself Loveth You. (John 16:23-27.)

5. His Final Word before His Prayer. (John 16:28-33.)

Again He announced coming persecutions. The world is the same today as then, and before this age ends these predictions of our Lord will be again fulfilled, during the great tribulation.

The coming of the Comforter is once more announced by Him. He could not come unless the Lord departed. He is to be sent to His own and when He comes He will make a great demonstration to the world. The word “reprove” in John 16:8 is incorrect; the Greek word is difficult to express in its full meaning. Some have translated it by “rebuke,” others use the word “convince” or “convict.” The word “demonstrate” seems to be the nearest to the original. “And when He is come He will bring demonstration to the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment.” The presence of the Holy Spirit in believers is the proof to the world that the whole world is guilty of the death of Christ; the whole world is under sin and therefore not on probation but under condemnation. The Holy Spirit is also the demonstration to the world of righteousness. This does not mean that He brings righteousness to the world, or makes the world righteous, as so many erroneously believe. Our Lord adds: “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father and ye see me no more.” The Holy One was rejected by the world, cast out as an unrighteous One. But He, Who owned and satisfied God’s righteousness in dying as the substitute of sinners, is now exalted to the right hand of God; there He is the witness of righteousness. The presence of the Holy Spirit on earth demonstrates this fact. God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory; the world sees Him no more as a Saviour personally on earth; but will see Him again as Judge, when He comes to judge the world in righteousness. Righteousness is fully displayed in the glory, where He is. The hope of righteousness is to be with Him there. (Galatians 5:5.) The Holy Spirit also brings demonstration to the world of judgment “because the prince of this world is judged.” Sentence of judgment is pronounced against Satan, but not yet executed. He is the god of this age, but he was judged in His Cross. Judgment must come upon the world and its prince. The Holy Spirit now present upon the earth in the believers demonstrates this fact.

Many things He had to say unto His disciples, which they could not bear. The many things He mentioned were made known in due time by the Holy Spirit come down from heaven. Of this He speaks in the verses which follow. Note the seven things spoken of the Spirit of Truth: 1. He will guide you into all truth. 2. He shall not speak of Himself. 3. Whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak. 4. He will show you things to come. 5. He shall glorify Me. 6. He shall receive of Mine. 7. He shall show it unto you. This is the work He does now among and in the Saints. In all His work His gracious aim is to glorify Christ. When we glorify Christ, exalt Him, obey Him, follow Him and are devoted to Him, the Holy Spirit fills and uses us.

Then He spoke of the little while; the little while when they would see Him not; the little while, when they would see Him again. His final words before His great prayer are full of comfort and assurance. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you.”--”For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” These are words precious to faith. Once more He speaks of His leaving the world to go back to the Father. But before that homegoing takes place they all were to be scattered and leave Him alone. He added: “Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Our Lord was never forsaken by His Father; He was forsaken of God, the Holy God, when He stood in the sinner’s place.

The last utterance to His own is the assurance of peace in Him, the tribulation in the world, and the shout of victory: “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.” And then His prayer.

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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/john-16.html. 1913-1922.

Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels

His disciples said to him, Lo, now you speak plainly, and speak no proverb. 30. Now are we sure that you know all things, and need not that any man should ask you; by this we believe that you came forth from God. 31. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?32. Behold, the hour comes, yea, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.

CHRYS. The disciples were so refreshed with the thought of being in favor with the Father, that they say they are sure He knows all things: His disciples said to Him, Now you speak plainly, and speak no proverb.

AUG. But why do they say so, when the hour in which He was to speak without proverbs was yet future, and only promised? Because, our Lord"s communications still continuing proverbs to them, they are so far from understanding them, that they do not even understand their not understanding them.

CHRYS. But since His answer met what was in their minds, they add, Now we are sure that you know all things. See how imperfect they yet were, after so many and great things now at last to say, Now we are sure &c. saying it too as if they were conferring a favor. And need not that any man should ask you, i.e. you know what offends us, before we tell You, and you have relieved us by saying that the Father loves us.

AUG. Why this remark? To one Who knew all things, instead of saying, you need not that any man should ask You; it would have been more appropriate to have said, you need not to ask any man; yet we know that both of these were done, viz. that our Lord both asked questions, and was asked. But this is soon explained; for both were for the benefit, not of Himself, but of those whom He asked questions of, or by whom He was asked. He asked questions of men not in order to learn Himself, but to teach them: and in the case of those who asked questions of Him, such questions were necessary to them in order to gain the knowledge they wanted; but they were not necessary to Him to tell Him what that was, because He knew the wish of the inquirer, before the question was put. Thus to know men"s thoughts beforehand was no great thing for the Lord, but to the minds of babes it was a great thing: By this we know that you came forth from God.

HILARY. They believe that He came forth from God, because He does the works of God. For whereas our Lord had said both, I came forth from the Father, and, I am come into the world from the Father, they testified no wonder at the latter words, I am come into the world, which they had often heard before. But their reply shows a belief in and appreciation of the former, I came forth from the Father. And they notice this in their reply: By this we believe that you came forth from God; not adding, and are come into the world, for they knew already that He was sent from God, but had not yet received the doctrine of His eternal generation. That unutterable doctrine they now began to see for the first time in consequence of these words, and therefore reply that He spoke no longer in parables. For God is not born from God after the manner of human birth; His is a coming forth from, rather than a birth from, God. He is one from one; not a portion, not a defection, not a diminution, not a derivation, not a pretension, not a passion, but the birth of living nature from living nature. He is God coming forth from God, not a creature appointed to the name of God; He did not begin to be from nothing, but He came forth from an abiding nature. To come forth has the signification of birth, not of beginning.

AUG. Lastly, He reminds them of their w weak tender age in respect of the inner man. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?

BEDE. Which can be understood in two ways, either as reproaching or affirming. If the former, the meaning is, you have awaked somewhat late to belief, for behold the hour comes, yea is now come, that you shall be scattered every man to his home. If the latter, it is, That which you believe is true, but behold the hour comes, &c.

AUG. For they did not only with their bodies leave His body, when He was taken, but with their minds the faith.

CHRYS. You shall be scattered; i.e. when I am betrayed, fear shall so possess you, that you will not be able even to take to flight together. But I shall suffer no harm in consequence: And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

AUG. He wishes to advance them so far as to understand that He had not separated from the Father because He had come forth from the Father.

CHRYS. These things have I said to you, that you might have peace; i.e. that you may not reject Me from your minds. For not only when I am taken shall you suffer tribulation, but so long as you are in the world: In the world you shall have tribulation.

GREG. As if He said, Have Me within you to comfort you, because you will have the world without you.

AUG. The tribulation of which He speaks was to commence thus, i.e. in every one being scattered to his home, but was not to continue so. For in saying, And leave Me alone, He does not mean this to apply to them in their sufferings after His ascension. They were not to desert Him then, but to abide and have peace in Him. Wherefore He adds, Be of good cheer.

CHRYS. i.e. raise up your spirits again; when the Master is victorious, the disciples should not be dejected; I have overcome the world.

AUG. When the Holy Spirit was given them, they were of good cheer, and, in His strength, victorious. For He would not have overcome the world, had the world overcome His members. When He says, These things have I spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace, He refers not only to what He has just said, but to what He had said all along, either from the time that He first had disciples, or since the supper, when He began this long and wonderful discourse. He declares this to be the object of His whole discourse, viz. that in Him they might have peace. And this peace shall have no end, but is itself the end of every pious action and intention.

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Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcc/john-16.html.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Throughout these discourses our Lord was preparing His disciples for all that He saw coming to them. He told them that they would have sorrow resulting from their suffering. Because of this, it was necessary that they have the Comforter, and He could come only after the bodily departure of the Lord Himself.

The world was still in the heart of Jesus, and He told His disciples in very clear terms what the office of the Spirit would be in the world. To gather up the teaching, we see that the testimony of the Spirit is to be wholly concerned with Christ, and is to convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. As to His own, the Comforter will guide them into the truth, and into the perfect knowledge of Christ Himself. Here we see they displayed their ignorance, not understanding what He meant by "a little while." This, with great patience, He interpreted to them.

In the closing section of His discourse our Lord told them that He had been speaking in proverbs, but undoubtedly again referring to the coming Comforter, He declared that He was henceforth speaking to them plainly of the Father. All ended with the august words, "I came out from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father." In those sentences we have a declaration of the whole redemptive progress of the Son of God. From the Father into the world; from the world unto the Father.

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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on John 16:32". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/john-16.html. 1857-84.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold the hour cometh, yea, is now come,.... The time is at hand, yea, it may, in a sense, be said to be already come, it was within an hour: and indeed the following prayer might be delivered in less than an hour's time; when he went immediately into the garden, and was apprehended; or at least in a very little while it would come to pass,

that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own; to his own friends, relations, and acquaintance; to his own house and home; to his own country, Galilee, whither they all went, and to their trade of fishing again; see John 21:3; and so was fulfilled the prophecy in Zechariah 13:7;

and shall leave me alone; as they did in the hands of his enemies; for they all forsook him and fled, some one way, some another; though one or two of them, Peter and John, followed him at a distance; and all came together again, but not to Christ, until his resurrection from the dead.

And yet I am, not alone; he was not alone at this time; and his meaning is, that he should not be alone then when they should be scattered from him:

because the Father is with me; not only as the Son of God, by virtue of union to him, and as one with him; but as Mediator, in consequence of his promise to uphold him, and assist him in his human nature; and though he withdrew his gracious and comforting presence from him, he bearing the sins, and standing in the room and stead of his people, yet not his powerful and supporting presence.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 16:32". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-16.html. 1999.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

CHAPTER 23

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 names 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 youi.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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Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on John 16:32". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/john-16.html.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

The Work of the Spirit — - After Jesus has taught His disciples about servanthood ( ), and the need to receive the Holy Spirit when He comes ( John 14:1-31), and how to abide in the Spirit ( John 15:1 to John 16:4). If they will be obedient to His teachings thus far, they will be ready to do the works that Jesus did. This is the theme of John 16:5-33.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Convicting the World of Sin —

2. The Authority of the Believer —

— Convicting the World of Sin - In order to do the works that Jesus did, the disciples must preach the Gospel. In preaching the Gospel, the Holy Spirit must come and empower them to do this great work. As they preach, the Spirit will convict the world of sin, and perform signs and wonders to testify of the truth of the Gospel.

John 16:6Comments- Jesus has just comforted them with an exhortation not to let their hearts be troubled ( John 14:1; John 14:27) because He knew that the news of Him departing would bring sorrow.

John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."

John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

John 16:7Comments- When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of us, this fellowship and life with the Spirit will become more real than the temporal things that we see on the earth. It was necessary for Jesus to depart so that we, too, could taste of the life of God here on earth. It is the only way that we can have the power to overcome.

John 16:8Comments - The role of the Holy Spirit in God's plan of redemption for mankind is to convict the sinner of three aspects of his relationship to God. He will convict man that he is a sinner in rebellion against God, and that Jesus Christ demonstrated God's standard of righteousness, and that he is destined for hell. The Holy Spirit will not convict the sinner of his need to go to church, to tithe, to read his Bible, etc. These are aspects of sanctification that a new believer conforms to during his Christian growth.

John 16:9Comments - The Holy Spirit will convict men of their sin, which I singular. This sin is that of rejecting Jesus Christ as His Saviour. The atonement of Jesus Christ paid for all of man's sins. The offense that cannot be forgiven is the rejection of Jesus Christ as one's Savour. The Holy Spirit will testify to unbelievers that Jesus Christ is Lord ( Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 12:3), God revealed in the flesh, the only way to salvation ( John 15:26). The Holy Spirit will convict men to believe on Him. Our job is to tell others that only through Jesus can forgiveness of sins be found. The Holy Spirit will convict the man's heart of sin and of the truth of our Gospel witness. We cannot convict a man's heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. In light of this truth, Andrew Wommack says that sinners are not going to Hell because of their individual sins, thus the Holy Spirit does not convict the sinner of all of his individual sins. He convicts the unbeliever of one sin, singular, that of not believing on Jesus. The unbeliever is essentially going to Hell for rejecting Jesus Christ. 250] Jesus Christ has paid for their sins on Calvary, and they go to Hell for rejecting His payment.

250] Andrew Wommack, "Sermon," Andrew Wommack Leadership Conference, Kampala, Uganda, 18 July 2009.

Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

1 Corinthians 12:3, "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

John 15:26, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"

Illustration- Note how conviction came upon Peter in Luke 5:8 because of his unbelief in the words of Jesus to launch out into the deep and cast his nets to catch fish, "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus" knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful Prayer of Manasseh, O Lord."

Illustration- In the early 1980"s, Jack Emerson was in a Sunday School class in which a visitor was attending. The visitor was not saved, but has been invited to church. Jack began to witness to this visitor, and became very aggressive in his words. Then, in the middle of this witnessing, the Holy Spirit spoke to Jack and said, "Now you have entered into My office." Jack, in his zeal, had tried to bring conviction upon this lost person. That is not the office of the believer. The Holy Spirit will do the convicting, if we will simply speak His Word.

Scripture References- Note:

John 15:22, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."

John 16:10Comments - The Holy Spirit will reveal to the sinner God's standard of righteousness, which every man has failed to achieve. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, mankind is able to see God's standard of righteousness. Jesus lived a sinless life, and He was crucified by sinful men. His resurrection demonstrated to the world that true righteousness is seen in Him and Him alone.

How does the Holy Spirit convict the world of the righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ? John 15:26 says, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"

Illustration- If Calvary convicted the centurion of Jesus' righteousness, how much more his resurrection and ascension will convict a man.

Luke 23:47, "Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Note how Noah's righteous acts condemned the world:

Hebrews 11:7, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."

Also, the repentance of Nineveh will condemn the world:

, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."

John 16:11Comments - The Holy Spirit will convict men of eternal judgment because of their sinful behaviour. God will reveal to a person that he is going to hell.

Illustration - Jack Emerson was a man who was unchurched before he was saved. He lived a sinful life without the knowledge of the Holy Bible. One day he fell under a deep conviction and sought advice from several pastors as to what he needed to do to get right with God. During this time, he dreamed that he was going to hell. The Holy Spirit was revealing to Jack the reality of his depraved soul and his need to look to God for help. He soon found a pastor that took the time to explain to him God's plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He later came to know the Scriptures and to learn about hell. However, the Holy Spirit revealed this reality to him before he was saved.

Scripture References- Note:

John 12:31, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."

John 16:12Comments- John 16:12 tells us that the message of the Gospel that Jesus Christ taught His disciples was incomplete. Therefore, Jesus will speak to them later by His Spirit. We find the full message of the Gospel in the New Testament epistles, and it is the Pauline epistles that lay down the doctrines of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, when we receive Revelation, it can overwhelm our flesh, so that we cannot bear it. I remember an experience as a Seminary student where the Scriptures seemed to overwhelm me. I was reading in the book of Isaiah. As I read, every word seemed to leap out at me with life and meaning. I found myself shutting the Scriptures and walking away with the feeling of being overwhelmed with revelation. Also, Jesus Christ taught His disciples divine insight and revelation a little at a time, so that they could digest and mediate upon these truths a little at a time and not be overwhelmed.

John 16:13 — "Howbeit when Hebrews, the Spirit of truth, is come" - Comments- The Greek word πνευ̂ μα normally takes a neuter subject because it is a neuter noun. However, in John 16:13 the Greek text uses the masculine word " ἐκει̂ νος" for "he" rather than the neuter " ἐκει̂ νον" (it). Thus, Jesus is revealing to His disciples that the Holy Spirit is person, and not a thing, or simply a power.

John 16:13 — "he will guide you into all truth" - Comments- Note that the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit is to be out teacher and guide:

John 17:17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man"s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

John 16:13 — "and he will shew you things to come" - Comments- Kenneth Hagin makes a wise comment about this verse in John 16:13. The Lord has spoken to him many times and in many ways during the course of his long ministry. Hagin says that the Lord will show us things to come in our future. 251] Because we are to walk by faith and lean on Him daily, the Lord is not going to show us the beginning to the end. When the Lord knows we need supernatural guidance, He will certainly show us things that are coming to pass in the future.

251] Kenneth Hagin, How You Can Know the Will of God (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1983, 1985), 6-7.

John 16:13 Comments- A child of God must learn to be led, or taught, by the Holy Spirit in all things, or else he will stumble and be deceived ( John 16:1).

John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"

Romans 8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

The Holy Spirit works in our lives to enable us to do those things that are impossible in the natural. Even the natural man can encourage himself to some great feats, but the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to enable us to do that which the natural man cannot do. We, as believers, can walk in love when others cannot. We can be strong when others become weak from the trials of live. We can walk in health, when others are sick. We are to walk in victory every day, and not defeat with this world.

Comments- Testing the Holy Spirit's Words:

1. He will speak what He hears. (from above, from Jesus and the Father)

2. He will proclaim (report) things coming (i.e, it will come to pass). The Greek word αναγγελεϊ means that the Holy Spirit is bearing a message. See .

3. He will glorify Jesus. Why? Because the Holy Spirit receives from Jesus and speaks to us. The Father has given things to Jesus. Jesus is heir. See John 12:32. It is Jesus speaking to us through the Holy Spirit.

4. John 14:26 - The Holy Spirit will teach us all things and bring to remembrance Jesus' words.

5. John 15:26 - The Holy Spirit shall testify of Jesus.

, "And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."

John 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

— The Authority of the Believer: Jesus Testifies of His Departure More Clearly- In John 16:16-33 Jesus tells His disciples more about His departure. This passage is important in that we have a record of the confession of disciples' faith and understanding in the teachings of Jesus during the Lord's Supper ( John 16:29-30). Jesus acknowledges their faith and ends His teachings ( John 16:31-33). As a result of their understanding, Jesus realizes that He has accomplished His purpose of having this last supper and He turns to the Father in prayer ( John 17:1-26). Note Jesus' acknowledge to the Father during His prayer of their faith and understanding in Him.

John 17:8, "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."

John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

John 16:16Comments- In John 16:16 Jesus makes a reference to His death and resurrection, at which time He would come back for forty days prior to His ascension and appear to His disciples on a number of occasions. It is unlikely that this verse refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit or the Second Coming of Jesus ( John 14:3) because the context of this passage clearly discusses Jesus' Passion and Resurrection. Jesus makes an earlier reference to His death and return visit to the disciples in John 14:28, "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."

John 14:3, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I Amos, there ye may be also."

John 16:20Comments - The weeping and lamenting mentioned in Johnb John 16:20 is a reference to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, while the sorrowing being turned to joy is a reference to His resurrection.

John 16:21Comments- The illustration that Jesus uses in John 16:21 follows the line of thought that Jesus Christ is the "first-begotten" from the Father.

John 16:22"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice" - Comments - John 16:16; John 16:22 make a clear reference to the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, at which time the disciples will sorrow greatly at His suffering and death, but their sorrow will be turned to joy at His resurrection.

"and your joy no man taketh from you" - Scripture Reference- See John 10:29, "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father"s hand."

John 16:24 — "that your joy may be full" - Comments- This phrase means that God has made a way for us to live in all of the fullness of heaven's joy while we are still hear on this earth. The very fullness of joy that we will have when we are living in heaven is ours today because Jesus has made the way for us into "full" fellowship with the Father and the Son.

Comments The Prayer of Authority- We find in John 16:23-25 that Jesus teaches us to pray and petition ( ἐ ρωτά ω) (G 2065) the Heavenly Father. In contrast, Kenneth Hagin notes that the passage in John 14:12-14 is teaching us to use the name of Jesus Christ when taking authority over the works of darkness rather than praying to Jesus Christ to do something for us. 252] Jesus tells us when He departs we can ask anything in His name and it shall be done. He is talking about taking spiritual authority upon the earth within the context of this statement, so that the word "ask" ( αιτέ ω) (G 154) should carry the stronger translation of "demand." The Greek text uses an entirely different word for "ask" in both passages.

252] Kenneth Hagin, Bible Prayer Study Course (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1991, 1999), 158-9.

Thus, Hagin translates this passage in as "whatever you demand as your rights and privileges…" For example, when Peter and John entered the Temple in Acts 3:1-11, the apostle did not pray for the lame man to be healed, but rather, he demanded that the lame man stand up and walk by the authority of the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus will later teach us to ask the Father in Jesus' name for our requests in John 16:23-24.

, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."

John 16:31Comments- In John 16:31 Jesus does not ask His disciples if they understood, but rather, if they believed His words. This final discourse ( John 13:1 to John 16:33) could not fully be understood until after His resurrection and the revelation of Church doctrine that was given to Paul the apostle. Thus, all that Jesus now required of them was that they believe His words.

John 16:32Comments - Jesus refers to His Passion in John 16:32.

Comments- The Disciples Acknowledge Their Understand Jesus' Teachings- John's Gospel gives us a lengthy record of the Lord's Supper as Jesus prepares the disciples for His departure. He washes the disciples' feet, then testifying to them of His deity using figurative language ( John 16:25), such as the Way, the Truth, the Life and as the True Vine. Jesus also discusses His betrayal, His departure and glorification and gives testimony of the coming of the Holy Spirit. He tells them that He has spoken these things in order that they continue in His joy and not stumble ( John 13:17; John 14:25; John 15:11; John 15:17; John 15:21; John 16:1; John 16:4; John 16:6; John 16:25; John 16:33; John 17:13). John 16:29-33 is important in that we have a record of the confession of disciples' faith and understanding in the teachings of Jesus during the Lord's Supper ( John 16:29-30). Jesus acknowledges their faith and ends His teachings ( John 16:31-33). As a result of their understanding, Jesus realizes that He has accomplished His purpose of having this last supper and He turns to the Father in prayer ( John 17:1-26). Note Jesus' acknowledge to the Father during His prayer of their faith and understanding in Him ( John 17:8).

John 17:8, "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 16:32". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/john-16.html. 2013.

Geneva Study Bible

10 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

(10) Neither the wickedness of the world, neither the weakness of his own, can diminish anything of the virtue of Christ.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 16:32". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-16.html. 1599-1645.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

III. The Last Farewell: 16:16-33.

From these distant prospects which He has just opened to the disciples with respect to their future work (John 15:1 to John 16:15), Jesus returns to the great matter which occupies the thought of the present moment, that of His impending departure. This is natural; thus He should close. At the same time, the conversational form reappears, which is no less in the natural course of things.

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Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Vv. 25-33.

1. That the time referred to in John 16:25 ff. is the same with that described in John 16:20-24 is indicated by the fact that the same great characteristic of the period mentioned is here set forth as in the previous verses:—the communication with the Father in the name of Christ. It is also indicated by the fact that after the ταῦτα λελάληκα of John 16:25 there is no distinct suggestion of a new subject, such as we find in John 15:12; John 15:18.

2. The force of the words καὶ οὐ λέγω κ.τ.λ. of John 16:26 is undoubtedly this: that the presentation of a request from Himself would not be necessary, because the Father would have an independent personal love for them on the ground of their acceptance of Him and love towards Him. The words "I do not say," instead of an expression such as "I deny that I will, or say that I will not," as well as the very nature of the relation between Jesus and the disciples—we may add, the indications elsewhere given of Jesus as an intercessor—show that He does not mean to deny that He will thus ask the Father for them. He did not need, indeed, to assure them of this, for they could not doubt that it would be so. But the one thought here is, that they might have confidence, when approaching the Father in prayer, that He had a personal love for them, and, by reason of this, would be ready to answer their petitions—and this would be a vital element in their future permanent joy.

3. The words of the disciples in John 16:29-30, which have a special reference to John 16:28, in its connection with what precedes, are a new declaration and measure of their belief. Coming, as this declaration does, at the close of the discourses and conversations of Jesus in chs. 13-16, it must be regarded as their profession of faith in view of this latest and most remarkable σημεῖον, in the sphere, not of works, but of words; and, by its position and its contents taken together, it shows an increase in their belief beyond any former utterance.

4. In John 16:31-32 Jesus acknowledges their faith ( ἄρτι πιστεύετε is an affirmation, not a question), and, at the same time, reminds them that it is not yet perfected. It will show its remaining weakness as the approaching evils and dangers come. Therefore He has spoken to them all the words of this discourse (the ταῦτα λελάληκα of John 16:33 points back to the whole of chs. 15, 16), that they may have peace and good courage in the midst of tribulation, being assured that He has overcome the world.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-16.html.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Vv. 31-33. "Jesus answered them: Now you believe. 32. Behold, the hour is coming, and is now come, when you shall be scattered every one to his own home, and when you shall leave me alone; but I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace; in the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good courage, I have overcome the world."

Here is for Jesus a moment of unutterable sweetness; He is recognized and understood—He Jesus—by these eleven Galileans. This is for Him enough; His work is for the moment ended; the Holy Spirit will finish it by glorifying Him in them, and through them in mankind. There remains nothing further for Him but to close the conversation and give thanks. John alone understood the greatness of this moment, and has preserved for us the remembrance of it. The words: Now you believe, must not therefore be understood in an interrogative, and in some sort ironical sense, as if Jesus would call in question the reality of their faith. I do not think even that ἄρτι, now, forms a contrast with the very near want of fidelity to which Jesus is about to allude, as if He would say: "True, you believe now; but in a short time, how will you be acting!" Could Jesus, in ch. 17, give thanks to His Father with such outpouring of heart for a faith which He had just characterized in such a way? Comp. especially John 17:8 : "They have known truly ( ἀληθῶς) that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me," words in which Jesus certainly alludes to our John 16:30. The word now, therefore, seems to me rather to mean here: "Now at last you have reached the point to which I have been laboring to lead you: you have recognized me for what I am, and have received me as such."

The connection in John 16:32 is not a but; it is a simple no doubt; in John 16:33 will be found the final but answering to this no doubt. This scarcely formed faith is about to be subjected, it is true, to a severe test; the bond will be broken, at least externally. But the spiritual bond will remain firm and will triumph over this trial and all others.

The νῦν, now, which we have rendered by already, is omitted by the Alexandrian authorities; it may have been rejected because it seemed that the moment indicated was not yet present.

The first aorist passive σκορπισθῆτε, you shall be scattered, is more suited to extenuate than to aggravate the fault of the disciples; it is, as it were, a violent blow which will strike and stun them. These words recall the quotation from Zechariah in the Synoptics: "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered" (Matthew 27:31). It is in the following words: "you will leave me alone," that the idea of culpable desertion is expressed, but in the tone of sadness rather than of reproach.— ῞εκαστος εἰς ἴδια, each one to his own; each to his respective abode. Weiss finds in this expression the idea of the breaking off of the communion between them, as a sign of the shaking of their faith in the Messiah. It indicates rather the seeking of a secure shelter, far from the danger which touches their Master.— καί, evidently in the adversative sense: and yet.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-16.html.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Vv. 32 reassures the disciples as to the person of their Master; John 16:33 tranquillizes them for themselves. Everything that Jesus has said to them on this last evening should breathe into them a complete quietness, resting upon the foundation of the faith which they have in Him (John 14:1). No doubt, He could not conceal from them that they would have to sustain a struggle with the world (John 15:18 to John 16:4). But in the presence of the tribulations which this struggle will bring, it is necessary that their peace should take the character of assurance and become courage, θάρσος .

There is an opposition between the two limiting terms: in me and in the world; the first designates the sphere from which peace is drawn; the other, the domain whence anguish arises. ᾿εγώ, I, brings out with force the unique personality of Him who, having already overcome for Himself, makes His victory that of His followers. — Thevictory which Jesus has already gained is, above all, internal; He has resisted the attractions of the world and surmounted its terrors. But there is more: this moral victory is about to be realized externally in the consummation of the redemptive work, on the cross accepted in advance, which will be henceforth the cause and the monument of the world"s defeat. This victory will be continued by means of the Eleven, who will be the bearers of it here on earth.

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Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

1–33.] The promise of the Comforter expanded in its fulness. And herein, John 16:1-15, the conditions of His coming and His office.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 16:32". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-16.html. 1863-1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

25–33.] Their present real weakness and imperfection, though fancied strength: their future high blessedness and share in His triumph, though in tribulation in the world.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 16:32". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-16.html. 1863-1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

32.] See Matthew 26:31, to which same prophecy the reference here is.

εἰς τὰ ἴδ., “quæ antea propter Me reliquistis.” Bengel: see Luke 18:28.

καὶ οὐκ εἰμὶ μ.] and (not but: it is a pathetic use of the copulative, and a favourite one with St. John: cf., besides ref., ch. John 3:11; John 3:32; John 6:70; John 7:19; John 8:38; John 8:49; John 10:25; John 13:33; John 14:30; John 17:11; John 17:14; John 17:25) I am not alone: the Father can never leave the Son, even in the darkest hour of His human suffering:—the apparent desertion implied in the cry “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” being perfectly consistent with this, see note, Matthew 27:46.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 16:32". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-16.html. 1863-1878.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Chap. John 16:12-33

After the Lord had regulated the Apostles' views of their fundamental relations. He now turns to His specific farewell discourse. This character we find in John 16:12-15. As Moses, when he departed, pointed to Joshua, Deuteronomy 31:23, so Jesus pointed to the Holy Ghost, who should lead His disciples into all the truth. With this is connected in John 16:16 an allusion to His immediate departure, and that seeing Him again which should follow upon it. So also the words of Christ in John 16:20-28, anticipating the question of the disciples as to the meaning of these words, lead back, according to the explanation given, into the track of the farewell discourse, inasmuch as they point to the impending departure of the Lord, and the advantage which should accrue from it to the disciples. So also the third paragraph, occasioned by the interruption of the disciples, bears a farewell character; it predicts to the disciples their approaching dispersion, but intimates that such calamities should never have the power to depress their spirit.

The fact that in John 16:12-15, just as in John 16:7-11, the Holy Spirit is the subject, has misled many expositors, leading them to think that a new section does not begin here. We have already pointed out, that, with John 16:11, there is a conclusion first of the section ch. John 15:18 to John 16:11, and then also of the whole discourse from ch. John 15:1 onwards. There is, indeed, a connection between the discourse beginning with John 16:12 and the general strain of the whole, inasmuch as here the internal work of the Spirit's edification follows the Spirit's operation as it respects the word. But that is only the connection of transition from one section to another; it serves only to connect what follows with the general body of the one discourse, and to show that it is not an absolutely new commencement that follows. That the work of the Holy Spirit, spoken of in John 16:12-15, is essentially distinguished from that of John 16:7-11,—and, therefore, that the link of connection is not very strict,—is plain from the fact that, in ch. 14, these two operations of the Holy Ghost are exhibited as totally distinct. As John 16:7-11 of this chapter refer back to ch. John 14:15-17, so John 16:12-13 refer back to ch. John 14:25-26.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 16:32". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-16.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Vers. 31, 32. "Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me."

It makes no essential difference whether we take ἄρτι πιστεύετε as a question or as a declaration. For, even in the former case, Jesus concedes to His Apostles that they do now believe, and only warns them not to lay too much stress upon that uncontestable fact (comp. ver. 27, ch. John 17:8). The question simply intimates that all was not yet quite right with their faith, that there was some reason why they should not so very confidently build upon it: Are ye so absolutely assured that ye now believe? The interrogatory construction is favoured by a comparison with ch. John 6:70, John 13:38, where our Lord tests the confident faith of Peter by a similar question. If we drop the interrogation, and make it a simple affirmative, the antithesis seems too violent, Jesus could hardly declare the Apostles absolutely to have faith, and then forthwith, without anything intervening, attach to it a prediction of their utter weakness.

‘The announcement of their coming infirmity was not designed solely as a reproach. According to ch. John 18:8, our Lord Himself paved the way for the flight of His disciples. It was, as it were, in the order of things that their company was scattered. Christ must die for them and rise again before they were to be equipped with invincible assurance and boldness. Cowardice in the cause of Christ could be objected to only after His death and resurrection. To require that the Apostles should have sacrificed themselves for Christ before He had sacrificed Himself for them, would be to demand from a child the work of a man. The word σκορπισθῆτε points back to Zechariah 13:7, and suggests the Lord's recent quotation of that passage and application of it to the Apostles, Matthew 26:31-32. The passage contained in it an element of consolation, since there was connected with their dispersion, both in the original passage and the quotation, the renewal of the bond between the Shepherd and His scattered flock. τὰ ἴδια, the individual refuges of the disciples, in contradistinction to the one rallying-point, Christ. For "leave Me alone," comp. Matthew 26:56. ΄όνος points to Psalms 22:21, where the Righteous One cries, "Deliver My soul from the sword, My darling (My only one) from the power of the dog."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 16:32". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-16.html.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 16:31-32. Since ἄρτι must bear the emphasis, and since Jesus could not and would not doubt of(184) the faith of the disciples at this moment, ἄρτι πιστ. is not to be taken interrogatively, with Euth. Zigabenus, Calvin, Wetstein, and several others, including Kuinoel, Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Tischendorf, Hengstenberg, Ewald (according to the analogy of John 1:51, John 13:38, John 20:29), but concessively:Now, just now, ye believe, but how soon will ye become vacillating?” οἱ λέγοντες πιστεύειν φεύξεσθε ΄ικρὸν ὓστερον, κινηθείσης ὑ΄ῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ φόβου τῆς πίστεως, Apollinarius. The faith itself did not pass away (hence there is no contradiction to John 16:27, comp. Luke 22:32), but it did not stand the test of self-denial and of heroism. This must first appear in the school of conflict and experience.

καὶ ἐλήλυθεν] so immediately at hand is it.

ἵνα] See on John 16:2.

εἰς τὰ ἴδια] into His own, i.e. His own place of sojourn (John 19:27; Plat. Pol. 8, p. 543 B). Opposite of κοινωνία, which is thus rent asunder: ἀπόσσυτος ἄλλος ἀπʼ ἄλλου, Nonnus, comp. Plat. Gorg. p. 502 E: ἕνεκα τοῦ ἰδίου τοῦ αὑτῶν ὀλιγωροῦντες τοῦ κοινοῦ. On the prediction itself comp. Matthew 26:31, and on its fulfilment Matthew 26:56.

καί] The emphatic and …, which (with a pause to be supplied in thought) unexpectedly introduces the contrast. See on John 7:28.

οὐκ εἰμὶ μό νος, κ. τ. λ.] The calm, clear self-consciousness of the Father’s protection, elevated above all human desertion, comp. John 8:29. The momentary feeling which appears in Matthew 27:46 is not in conflict with this.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 16:32". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-16.html. 1832.

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Do you now believe?

John 16:23-33

John 16:23. The disciples were so full of fear, disappointment, doubt and questions. They asked, 'Where are you going?' How can we know the way?' 'Show us the Father.' 'How shall we see you and the world not see you?' Now he says to them, 'In that day, ye shall ask me nothing.' In that day, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will not be at a loss to understand the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension of the Son of man. You will know, as you are taught by the Spirit and the scriptures, why Christ came to die (John 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2). All spiritual blessings, knowledge, grace, peace and rest which you ask of the Father in my name will be given you.' All spiritual blessings are in Christ, through Christ and because of Christ (John 3:35-36; Ephesians 1:3-6). There is nothing the law requires, justice demands, or the believer needs or wants that is not met and given in Christ and for the glory of Christ.

John 16:24. The disciples had prayed to the Father, for they asked the Lord to teach them to pray. Yet up to this point they had not asked the Father for anything because of Christ's blood, righteousness, sacrifice and mediation, for up to this point they did not have a clear understanding of his redemptive work. 'Ask, and ye shall receive' (Matthew 7:7-11), that is, 'in my name, because you will receive of me all you need, and your joy, assurance and peace will be full and complete.'

John 16:25. The expression 'these things' refers to all the teachings of Christ spoken to the disciples that night (John 13-16). 'These thing' were made clear to the disciples after they had come to pass and by the Holy Spirit who indwelt them, as they are plain to us who live on this side of the cross (1 Corinthians 2:8-12). But at this particular time 'these things' seemed like proverbs or veiled sayings which they did not comprehend. They are clear to the believing heart (John 7:16-17). The seed of the gospel has become an open flower revealing the glory and wisdom of God in Christ (Romans 3:19-26).

John 16:26-27. The Lord is saying, 'After I am crucified, risen and ascended to the Father and the Holy Spirit comes to guide you in a clear understanding of me and my work, you will pray to the Father in my name and he will hear and bless you (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25), not only because I intercede for you and stand for you, but because the Father himself loves you.' Christ came because God loves his own (John 3:16). He loves us with an everlasting love because of Christ; we are in Christ, and we love Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

John 16:28. This passage records three central facts in the purpose of redemption.

1. 'I came forth from the Father.' This refers to our Saviour's deity, his pre-existence and the Father's will to redeem (Hebrews 10:9-10).

2. 'I am come into the world.' This is his incarnation (John 1:14; Galatians 4:4-5) and his representative work as the second Adam (Romans 5:19).

3. 'I leave the world and go to the Father.' The Lord Jesus is ascended, exalted and seated at the right hand as our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14-16).

John 16:29-30. When the Saviour said, 'The Father loves you because you love me and believe that I came from the Father into the world, and I leave the world and go to my Father,' the disciples replied, 'Now we understand! This is clear to us and not a mystery any more. We are sure that you know all things. There is no reason for any man to doubt you or question you, for we believe that you came forth from God.' The matter is settled, they seem to indicate. But they had said this before (Matthew 16:16; John 6:67-69).

John 16:31-32. 'Do ye now believe?' 'Do you really believe?' Though they professed to believe, a trying time was upon them when this faith would waver. Peter would deny him, and all would forsake him and return to their homes and friends, even to their old vocation as fishermen (John 21:3). For when Peter said, 'I go fishing,' he actually meant, 'I return to my old profession.' It was on that occasion that our Lord asked Peter if he loved him more than these – the sea, boats and nets (John 21:15). Yet, though forsaken of them, Christ was never without the Father – his love, his approval and his presence.

John 16:33. 'All of these things have I spoken to you this night that in me ye might have peace.' It is true that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus (Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20-21); and in Christ we have peace of conscience and heart, knowing that our sins are forgiven. But in this case he refers to the trials, troubles and tribulations the disciples and all believers will have in a world which hates God and hates the gospel of grace (2 Timothy 3:12). 'I have conquered Satan and the world.’ His victory is our victory, and we have no cause to fear the men of this world nor the forces of evil in this world (Matthew 10:28; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4-5).

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Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on John 16:32". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/john-16.html. 2013.

The Bible Study New Testament

29–32. Do you believe now? They thought they did, but the next day they would be scattered, and Jesus would stand alone.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 16:32". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-16.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

John 16:23-33

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou earnest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

In the first part of this section our Lord brings before us in a truly illuminating way the privilege now extended to us, as believers, to go directly to the Father in prayer in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not think that there is any subject on which there seems to be more confusion than that of prayer. So many people have an idea that prayer is the effort to overcome God’s unwillingness, to make Him willing to do something for us which He does not desire to do. That is not the case.

We are not told to pray in order to overcome God’s unwillingness. Our God delights to bless, but He chooses to bless in answer to prayer, and that for a number of reasons. You see, when I go to God directly, when various things are pressing upon heart and mind, and they drive me to Him, I find that just speaking to Him of the things that burden me has a sanctifying effect upon my own soul. The psalmist said, “It is good for me to draw near to God” (Psalms 73:28). If some of us did not have some special exercises to make us go to God, we would probably move on from day to day forgetting the privilege of speaking to the Father. Our needs send us to Him, and if we talk things over with Him, oh what blessing it gives, what a change a little time in His presence will make!

Perhaps pressure has been brought to bear. You have been worried and anxious about many things, concerned about loved ones going astray perhaps, and the more you have thought about these things the more distressed you have become. And then you have said, “How foolish I am to be worried. Why not act upon the verses that reads, ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’“ (Philippians 4:6-7)? And so you have pressed into His presence and poured out your heart to Him. You have told Him about the financial worries, family affairs, the loved one whose salvation you long for, and as you unburdened your heart, He drew near. Then you went out to take up the affairs of life again with a lightened heart and mind, and more than that, such a spiritual sense of blessing, for as you were pouring out your heart, you felt constrained to talk about yourself and confessed your own failure and your own sin. And after you had confessed, you had the joy of knowing that He forgave.

So prayer was meant to be a means of sanctification, but more than that, God chooses to give in answer to prayer what He may not give apart from prayer, in order that we may have constant proof that we have to do with a living God. You see, when I go to God in secret, tell Him my story, then go forth to meet the world and see Him working in His wonderful way, I know by practical experience that I have to do with a living God.

I read a remarkable testimony that I think will be a blessing to all who hear it. It had to do with a money matter. Down in Columbia, South Carolina, is located the Columbia Bible College of which Dr. Robert McQuilken is the president. Some time ago they started to buy a large building to be used as a men’s dormitory. They put the amount of money needed before the Lord, and it came in. Then the next year they were to pay ten thousand dollars on October 1. This letter came telling us that on the last day of September, singularly enough, the balance needed was exactly $2,121.21. They took it to the Lord in prayer, and then went out and opened a little box into which donations had been dropped. When they counted the money put in that morning, it was $21.21. That left $2,100 to be made up. They had a day of prayer, and as they waited before the Lord that day, gifts began to come in from different sources. The largest gift that morning was one hundred dollars. Later a gift of five hundred was received. By evening they had received in all, exactly $2,121.22, just one cent more than they needed.

What a wonderful bookkeeper God is. He gave all they needed and one cent more toward the next ten thousand dollars! How could anyone doubt but that they had to do with a living God. It was as they were gathered together waiting upon God that the money came from different places, from people who did not know they were praying for it at that time. Prayer then is a God-ordained method of demonstrating the reality of God and His definite interest in the affairs of His people.

Now see how our blessed Lord puts it in this passage in verse 23, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you [he will give it you in my name].” Notice, I have changed the position of “in my name,” and I will explain why. It says in our Authorized Version, “Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name.” Another verse shows us we are to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, but the best manuscript read this way, “Whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in my name.” Notice then what the Lord is saying: “In that day,” that is, after His death, when the Comforter has come, when the present day of grace is brought in-the day in which we are living-“ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you.”

Now it is very interesting to note that there are two different Greek words here that are translated “ask,” and they have quite different meanings. In the first place where He says, “In that day ye shall ask me nothing,” the word means literally “familiar entreaty,” as you might go to a very loved friend and put a case before him definitely. Whereas, in the other sentence, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you,” the word there means literally, “petition,” “taking the place of a suppliant,” “begging for the help you need.” And you notice the difference. The Lord says, “In that day ye shall ask me nothing.” You see, when here on earth, they went to Him, and He answered their questions and made things clear. Now He says, I am going away, and I won’t be here for you to come to Me in that free, familiar way. I won’t be here for you to ask for My personal help in the way you could then.

For nineteen hundred years our Lord has been absent in heaven. You take some of the questions that have troubled the church. Would it not be delightful if we could go to Him and ask, saying, “Master, there has been a great deal of difference in the church concerning baptism. Would you tell us plainly whether you mean we are to sprinkle or baptize by immersion, or whether we should immerse only once or three times? Should we put them in forward or backward?” Now wouldn’t it be delightful if we could just go to Him and ask Him? Why, He could tell us in a moment. But He isn’t here, and so we have to study His Word and act in accordance with what we gather from our meditations upon it.

Though we cannot go directly to Him, He says there is something even better than that. “In that day ye shall [make no ‘familiar entreaty’ of me]. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask [and here the word means to plead for something you need] the Father in my name, he will give it you.” So we are invited there to go directly to God, the Father, with our petitions. Are you in need of financial help, comfort, and health, and so forth? What is there that is pressing upon your heart? He says, “You cannot come to Me personally, but you can go to the Father and bring your request to Him, and He will give you what you ask for in My name. He will do it for Me.” The Father loves the Son and has committed all things into His hand, and He delights to do things for us because it pleases His blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He does it in His name.

You may have heard the story of that poor boy who was dying on the battlefield after one of the great conflicts in the war between the States. Another soldier nearby crawled to him and found this poor boy in a dreadful condition and did everything he could to help him. They talked together, and then the other said, “Now, if I get out alive, is there anything I could do for you?” “Well,” he said, “maybe I can do something for you. My father is wealthy. If you get through this conflict alive and are ever in need, take this little card (and he wrote a few words upon it) and go to see my father. I know he will be ready to help you out.” The soldier did not think he would ever use the card, but the time came when he was in dire need, and he remembered the conversation. He went and found this wealthy man. Through the underlings and secretaries, he sent in his own card and got no response. And then he thought of the other card and got it out, and on it was written these words, “Father, if you can ever do anything for my friend who helped me when I was dying, please do so.” And it was signed “Charlie.” In a moment, out came the big business man and he said, “Oh, why didn’t you send that in before? I will do anything that I can for you for Charlie’s sake!”

That is the way God feels about His Son. He wants us to come with our questions, our sorrows, our heartbreak, and our need. He will do anything for us for Jesus’ sake, anything, of course, which is consistent with His righteousness and holiness. So how encouraged we ought to be to draw near to God in prayer.

Then, notice, the Lord continues to open up this subject. Now He uses that word which means to beg for something: “Ask, and ye shall receive” (v. 24). While He was here on earth they could come directly to Him, and He did not urge them to go to the Father in His name. Even the Lord’s Prayer (really the Disciples’ Prayer) does not conclude in the name of the Lord Jesus. He did not ask them to do that when here on earth, but now He was going away, and He says, “Ask, [and ask in my name], and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (v. 24). It means to ask by His authority. He has authorized me to come to the Father and present His name and say, “Father, Thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, told me to come, and so I am coming in His name to present my petition.”

That was difficult for them to understand. “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father” (v. 25), because God the Father and the Son are One. He does not mean that they are not to address Him in prayer. The disciples called on the name of the Lord Jesus. Stephen cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (Acts 7:59). Paul, when he had the thorn in the flesh, said, “I besought the Lord [three times], that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8). It was perfectly right and proper for him to go to Jesus. The last prayer in the Bible is addressing Him: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

But that our finite minds might grasp it, He uses this allegory of going to the one person of the Godhead in the name of the other. “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.” That was the time of resurrection when He said, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). He would have us understand that we can go to God the Father, just as you go to your own father.

“At that day ye shall ask in my name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (16:26-27). Do you get the implication of it? Do you know, if we could just see this, it would do away with all intermediaries, and we would go directly to God for whatever we want? It is a strange thing that very early in the history of the church people began to feel that God was so great and far removed from us, and that we are such sinful people that we dare not call on the Father directly. So men thought of our Lord Jesus Christ as an intermediary who seeks to persuade the Father to help us. We hear people pray in this way, “We ask, Lord Jesus, that You will entreat for us.” Or, “we pray that You will plead with the Father for us.” WJiy, you need not do that! You don’t need to go to the Lord Jesus and say, “Won’t you please ask the Father to do something for me?” No, because the Son and the Father are really One, not in person, but in essence.

And if we should not even go to Jesus as an intermediary in this sense, then what shall be said of those who have put a whole lot of mere creatures in between the soul and God? Did you ever hear this? “Holy Mary, pray for us. St. Jude, pray for us. St. Mark, pray for us. St. Paul, pray for us.” Did you ever hear people pray like that? Wliat does that imply? That they do not realize that the veil has been rent. We do not need any intermediaries.

“Well,” you say, “isn’t the Lord Jesus Christ our Mediator?” Oh, yes, that is what we are told. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). But that does not mean that we have to go to Him about our ordinary affairs of life and ask Him to persuade the Father to do something for us. He is there ever bearing us up before God, but we are invited to bring our petitions as to the details of life directly to God Himself in the name of the Son.

Look at the verse again and get the good of it. “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you.” Are you afraid of God then? Afraid to go to Him directly? Why, the Father Himself loveth you.

Suppose here is a family with a loving father, a wayward son, and a sweet daughter. This son comes to his sister and says, “Mary, I wish you would go to Dad and ask for money for a new suit of clothes for me.” WTiat would that imply? Why, that the son did not have confidence in his father’s love, and so he says, “Mary, won’t you please go in and plead with father to give me the money.”

If he had confidence in his father’s love he would go to him direct, confess his sin, and say, “But, Dad, look at my suit of clothes. I need new ones.” And then father would say, “Come, my boy, we will go down and get a suit.” He would not need anybody to go to his father for him. You and I should understand that we need not go to the Son to pray to the Father for us. “The Father himself loveth you.” And notice why, “Because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” That is what the world does not believe. “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (v. 28).

And they were quite sure now that they understood, but they did not really see what He meant. “His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou earnest forth from God” (vv. 29-30). Well, they did understand later on, but actually at that time, they were overconfident, as their future behavior shows. “Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (vv. 31-32). Who would have thought that such a thing would be true? And yet, within a very few hours’ time His words were fulfilled.

He says, “And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” The time soon came when they all forsook Jesus, but even in that dark hour He was conscious of the Father’s will and His presence with Him.

And now He closes His valedictory discourse that has covered chapters 14-16, and says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (16:33).

It took some of us a long time to find that peace. We tried to find it ourselves and could not. But at last we turned to Him, confessing our sin, and we found peace with God. We came to Him about our care and found the peace of God filling our hearts. Have you learned that? God is light and love. Trust in Him and you will have peace, a peace that the world knows nothing of. In the world you will have tribulation. You will have your share of it. And yet, think of it, you can go through every trial triumphantly. He says, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Just trust Him, and everything will come out right at last. Does the present war condition trouble you? Do you ask, “Why doesn’t God stop it all?” Listen, God is taking everything into consideration. These conditions are the direct result of sin. God did not bring them about. They were brought about by the Devil. God is letting them go on and on until they come to their fullness. Soon He is going to send His Son back again who will reign for a thousand glorious years. Be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world! And we can take everything to God in prayer.

Its hours all have fled, dear Lord,

I bring the day to Thee.

Wilt Thou in love cleanse of its sin

And give new strength to me.

Forgive its failures, its defeats,

Its sorrow, and its loss,

When I would prideful be, dear Lord,

Show me Thy shameful cross.

May I in gentleness and love

Walk patiently my way,

And live Thy glory from this hour

To everlasting day.

-Lucille Anderson Trimmier

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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on John 16:32". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/john-16.html. 1914.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 16:32. ἰδοὺ, behold) The Saviour fortifies the faith of the disciples against the impending storm.— εἰς τὰ ἴδια, to His own) which previously ye have left for My sake. The treachery of Judas, who had carried the purse, was added to the other greater causes of their being scattered.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 16:32". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-16.html. 1897.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Do ye now believe? — that is, “It is well ye do, for it is soon to be tested, and in a way ye little expect.”

the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone — A deep and awful sense of wrong experienced is certainly expressed here, but how lovingly! That He was not to be utterly deserted, that there was One who would not forsake Him, was to Him matter of ineffable support and consolation; but that He should be without all human countenance and cheer, who as Man was exquisitely sensitive to the law of sympathy, would fill themselves with as much shame, when they afterwards recurred to it, as the Redeemer‘s heart in His hour of need with pungent sorrow. “I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none” (Psalm 69:20).

because the Father is with me — how near, and with what sustaining power, who can express?

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-16.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Behold, the hour cometh ('there cometh an hour,') that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, [ eis (Greek #1519) ta (Greek #3588) idia (Greek #2398)] - 'his own [home'] as in John 19:27, what he formerly left for My sake, as Bengel explains it.

And shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone. A deep and awful sense of wrong experienced is certainly expressed here, but how lovingly! That He was not to be utterly deserted-that there was One who would not forsake Him-was to Him matter of ineffable support and consolation; but that He should be without all human countenance and cheer, who as Man was exquisitely sensitive to the law of sympathy, would fill themselves with as much shame, when they afterward recurred to it, as the Redeemer's heart in His hour of need with pungent sorrow. "I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none" (Psalms 69:20.)

Because the Father is with me - how near, and with what sustaining power, who can express?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-16.html. 1871-8.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Blessings In Unexpected Ways

John 16:7

The text calls us to meditate upon some of the sudden and unexpected changes in divine movements. Sometimes heavenly blessings come to us, so to speak, by steps so clearly marked, so orderly, and so natural, that we can almost calculate how and in what measure they will descend upon us. Sometimes God gives us blessings to our reason; we have thought about them, prepared for them, felt assured that by a kind of gracious necessity they must be ours, and sometimes he has given us blessings in sudden and startling ways. We have been in a position, again and again, to expect our blessings. We have looked for them as for friends that were pledged to come; and we have been able to say, almost with positive certainty, when they would come, and how they would come, because God has appointed channels of communication with his creatures. There Isaiah, then, if I may say Song of Solomon, a division in the divine government about which men can calculate, and reason, and foretell with almost perfect certainty; and there is another division in the divine government about which we know nothing—sudden breakings out upon us, startling innovations upon our life, voices that we never heard before, and manifestations for which we were entirely unprepared. So I am not going to look at the commonplace and ordinary method of the divine movement, but to turn aside, and look at some of what are to us God"s sudden, unexpected, mysterious visitations, in ways that we never thought of as being accessible, except in the way of judgment and retribution. Sometimes you can say in the morning that it will rain today. You say that the wind is in this quarter, or in that, and the clouds are gathering, and there are evident signs that we shall have rain; and sometimes we say, "Oh that rain would come!" "Oh that out of this great Arch of Summer a baptism of rain would come!" but there is no sign of any such blessing. And perhaps quite suddenly, baffling all the speculations and calculations of the meteorologist, as if out of the very fire of the scorching summer, there has come down upon us an unexpected and gracious rain. So it is in the divine movement. Sometimes we are enabled to say, We shall have a blessing today. Such and such preparation has been made; such and such endeavours have been maintained, and the natural result of this process is blessing, grace, peace, triumph. And then, again, on the other hand, we have said, "There shall be nothing today." "The heart is barren, the inner voice is smitten with sudden dumbness; there will be nothing for us today but stony silence. It will be a day of fasting and sorrow." And, quite unexpectedly, God has sent his angel with blessings we had never thought of; and when we looked for a dreary day, a day of fasting and gloom, God has opened the windows of heaven for us, and given us blessings that it had never entered into our calculations to imagine. It is so with many of the divine movements; and yet we often vex God when he comes to us by unwonted ways. Though he has come to us through the pathway of a thousand storms, yet we still tremble before the gathering gloom, as if God had forgotten to be gracious. Though he has come to us with the wings of many a fire, we have still dreaded, the flame, as if it tabernacled no God. Have you thought about that department of your sins I have thought of it many a time. We will not let God have any extraordinary methods of manifestation to us. We will have yesterday repeated today, and today is to be the image and prophecy of the morrow. And yet God will not have it so. He will come to us, not always by the great grand staircase of his daily providence, when we can see him as it were descending in all the pomp of his infiniteness; but he will come to us along passages, and down by lanes, and will start up before us suddenly and unexpectedly; and it is then we become so weak as oftentimes to grieve him, as if he had not ten thousand ways into his universe beside the one way that we speak of as his peculiar path.

Now, here is one of the instances of unexpected blessing, of unexpected movements, of movements that escape all calculation, and set aside all that the heart would have predicted. I propose, therefore, to look at this text in the first instance as reversing our own notions of the divine movement. "It is expedient for you that I go away." We cannot see that. It does not look so to us. Let us, therefore, be fair and candid with the spirit of the text. It looks to us exactly the contrary of that; and we should therefore say it is inexpedient for us that Christ should go away. It the blackest and direst calamity that can befall us that Christ should go away; and yet he says expressly, in words that a little child may understand, It is expedient for you that I go away. Here, then, is an upset of our ordinary notions. We should have said this, viz, "Jesus Christ must remain upon the earth until the very last soul is saved. He must be the last to go away. He must stand by the grave until he sees every saint pass through it—until the last little child is winged as a cherub—and then, when he has seen all this done, let him go." That is how we should have talked; and not, I think, without common-sense, viewing the subject in a purely earthly light. Walking in the light of our own understanding—in the light of daily fears, in the light of what is called prudence and discretion—we should have said, Blessed Saviour, thou must remain until the very last gleam of day, and when thou hast seen the very last of thy recovered lambs enfolded in the high mountains of Israel, then thou must also come and complete the great assembly in heaven. Instead of that he says, I must go first; I must go now, and it is expedient for you that I go away. And so God is constantly, in all the processes of our daily life, upsetting our notions; this we do not like, and it takes a great deal of hard and terrible drill to bring a man to this point, viz, "God is King, let him do what seemeth good in his sight." It would appear that God will not have our calculations. It would appear as if he took special delight in proving our calculations to be mistakes. So we can never get on two days at a time. We say, To-morrow shall be as this day, and more abundant, and the third day we shall go into this and yonder city; and God says, No, I will break your days in two, and where you expect prosperity you shall find a grave. So God will not have our long-headed calculations, and he will not have our deluded predictions as to this event and that. It would seem, I repeat, as if he took special delight in reversing all our ordinary methods, and training us to wisdom by first convicting us of folly. It is Song of Solomon, for example, in our social life. We should have said this, "God will never take away the head of a house until all the children have been trained, educated, and established in life. God will certainly see that the father of the family remain until his last little child leaves his roof a Prayer of Manasseh, a woman." And yet God says, "No, the head of the family must go first;" and he says this also, "It is expedient for you that your father go;" and the heart cannot say, "It is well." No, that cannot be. But God is always doing that; always turning our ideas upside down, and appointing us blessings where we expected despair. We should have said that God will allow every man to bring his work to something like completion; he will never go and break the little bud off the stem; he will never allow a man to work up his column, and not to put the capital on; he will never allow an author to begin a volume without allowing him also to finish it, to revise it, to attach his signature to it by way of endorsement, and to hand it to society as a complete thing. And yet he is doing exactly the opposite of this. You say, Here is a beautiful little bud, and it shall be nourished with light and with dew, and become the best flower in the garden; and God comes in at night, and nips it off, and in the morning we have tears and sorrow. We begin to build our pillar, and it is growing under our touch, and we say, This shall be a beautiful column, a noble pillar; it shall be capped in the most elaborate style of sculpture; and God takes us away just as we are putting on the head, and our purposes are broken off. And as for the author, poor man! just as he dips his pen to finish a sentence, God says, That will do; and he punctuates the paragraph with Death. That is a fact; but this is what we are perplexed by, viz, when God takes away the little blushing bud, and breaks the column in twain, and arrests the hand of genius in its wondrous fabrications, and then says, It is expedient for you that it be so. And it is at this point that we either become strong men by the triumph of faith, or we succumb as the captives of unbelief.

Let us look at the text, then, in another light, viz, as showing the superiority of the spiritual over the material. It was a great thing to have the visible Christ; it is a greater to have the spiritual Christ. This is a most difficult point in human education, viz, to proceed from the letter to the spirit—from the material to the immaterial. And this is the difference in scholarship—one man is learned in the letter, another is learned in the spirit; the one is a reader, the other is a genius. In proportion as we get spiritual power are we rich for ever. You lose your friend, but you never lose his friendship. Death breaks up the assembly, but he never impairs the fellowship. Death hushes the communications of the lips; he cannot silence the more eloquent interchanges of the heart. Those whom we truly love are always with us—not always audible, but always present. You have not lost that child of yours you buried years ago. The little creature is still with you. And oh, what talks you have together now! When you go out alone, the little one seems to know where you are and to come to you; and your face does so brighten, and your breast does so heave with unwonted and blessed emotion, as you talk over the days that are gone. And even that prodigal child of yours is with you today. You cannot see him—you may not, perhaps, know his address—you may be unable to write to him, yet the lad is close to your heart. You see him when you retire to rest; you look at him in the morning as he is standing by your bedside; and he is with you all the day, notwithstanding his sin, and perhaps (so wonderful are the mysteries of the heart) the nearer because of his sin. There seems to go out after him a realising love, deep and agonising; and if he would but come back again, there would be more joy in your heart over that recovered one than over all the family that never gave you a moment"s pain. But I want to fix the mind upon this point, viz, the realising power of love. My friend has gone away from me over the sea and beyond the mountain, but I have him in my heart; his thoughts, his views of life, his behaviour under given circumstances, his noble impatience, magnanimous scorn of all that is low and mean, never leave me; they will mould my life, they will save me in many a temptation. He is with me always because of the realising power of love. And this that we know something about in friendship, in the family circle, in literature, reaches its highest consummation in Jesus Christ; for though he has gone away from us, he says, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Though we cannot see him, yet he says, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Though we would gladly lay hold of his wounded hand, he says it is better not. It is expedient for you that fleshly contact cease, and that you lay hold of him by the tendrils of your love. For what if we did grasp hands, Death would break up our union; but if we grasp hearts, we are one for ever.

Now, do not expect young Christian people at once to get up into that high line of Christian experience. I am not unwilling that you should continue the child"s Song of Solomon,

It is a poor prayer that you will come to dislike more and more the longer you live, though it is a beautiful song for children. You will come to know what it is to say you are glad that Christ is known to you no more after the flesh, but now is known to you through the hunger of eager love, through the thirst of your heart, through the desires of an unquenchable life.

Then let us look at this text in the third place, as conveying blessing to us through the medium of a trial. It must have been a trial for these simple, unlettered men to lose the presence of the visible, personal Jesus Christ. It could not have been an easy thing for such men. Try to realise their circumstances, if you would get really into the spirit of the text. It could not have been an easy thing for them to acquiesce in this bereavement, and yet Jesus Christ distinctly points out that he was going away for their sakes, and not for his own. He did not say, "My brethren, I am weary; this world is too heavy a load for me; I have seen you for a little while, and my heart is sickened and sore and weary, and I must go away again." He did not speak about himself at all. He said, "It is expedient for you that I go away." And do not let us think this strange, because we ourselves have had experience that may help to illuminate the mystery of this separation. For example, here is a mother who is teaching her little child to walk. You know what a pleasure it is to see a little creature taking its first walk from one chair to another! I do not think I shall ever forget the first time I taught a little child to walk, and the joy I had in seeing the little toddling creature manage to go three steps without my help. There came to me a sense of triumph, a sense of something done. Well, here is a mother teaching her child to walk from one chair to another, and she begins by holding the child"s waist gently with both hands, and as the little thing steadies itself, and seems to have found its feet, she just takes away her hands little by little. Why does she take away her hands? Does she say, "I am tired; I do not like this posture of embracing thee, or of holding thee"? No, but she says in effect, "It is expedient for thee, my little child, that I take away this motherly support; thou must learn to walk by thyself;" and so the hands go away, not because the mother is weary, but because the child must bo taught, sooner or later, self-reliance.

Here is a father sending his boy to school, and there is such a dreary night before he must go. The father and the mother half think they may never see him again. He has never been out of their sight for twenty-four hours, and now they are going to send him away to a distant school, and the mother hardly sleeps all night, and the father gets up at an unusually early hour, and altogether there is a general sense of a sort of domestic earthquake in the house, because the youth is going to be sent to school. Now, why all this discomfort? Why do they not keep him at home? Why do they not keep him constantly in their sight? They say it is expedient for him that our presence be withdrawn; it is expedient that he escape the temptations of home; it is expedient for him that he undergo drill and discipline; it is expedient for him that he meet his equals in the great scholarly contest; it is expedient for him, and on that principle the father strengthens himself, and the mother makes herself a strong woman, and they bid him good-bye, not with delight, and yet with a secret comforting conviction that it is for the youth"s good that he should undergo this separation. So then we know something of this—we know something of trial in this direction; and this kind of trial reaches the perfection of its meaning in Jesus Christ"s bodily separation from his Church. He says, It is expedient for you that I go away; I shall always be with you, nevertheless; yet by my bodily absence you will be trained to thought, you will be trained to spiritual realisation; the highest faculties of your nature will be called into exercise; and in order that this may be Song of Solomon, I shall no sooner go away than I shall send down upon you the Holy Ghost, for the Holy Ghost is better than the dying body; the Holy Spirit of God better than these pierced feet and these wounded hands.

We shall have a poor notion of life if we regard it as being a blessing only in proportion as it is a succession of sunny scenes. That is not life; it is but one aspect of it. No great life is made up of all sunshine; we get strong by discipline, we grow by strife. The great storm rocks us into rugged power, and by this power of endurance we come into the grace of gentleness. Great sorrows make tender hearts. We are softened and refreshed by the dew of tears. When we are weak, then are we strong. You never can be great and reliable, full-grown men, till your hearts have been crushed within you, and God has taught you in the gloomy school of a thousand disappointments.

This leads me to say, no true manhood can be trained by a merely intellectual process. You cannot train men by the intellect alone; you must train them by the heart; and this shows the fundamental mistake which is being made by some modern teachers. You can never train a Church out of the head; you may have a Church Song of Solomon -called, and you may open halls and bring to them the most scientific men in Europe, and you may lecture on all scientific topics, yet you can never make a Church out of the head. You must take hold of manhood by the heart, if you would train it into strength and dignity and usefulness. A Church, then, can only come out of the heart. Song of Solomon, if you have been training yourselves only by the intellect, I do not wonder at your being a poor and shrivelled Church. I never find a Church that takes hold of the head alone going forward, I find it progressing backwards; and I thank God that I see it shrivelling out of existence. But in a Church whose fundamental principle is this, With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, I find tenderness, nobleness, benevolence, and divinity; and this is the secret of Christ"s power over man. He does not come to discuss with them some empty conundrum, some wretched enigma, that challenges only the intellect; he sets himself down in the heart, and trains that, brings that, into the liberty of his blessed captivity, and out of the heart there comes his kingdom, which never can be moved. So I have no fear about people who are setting up Churches of Progress, and Churches of Science, and Churches of Literature; I have no fear of them emptying Christian sanctuaries, because a man is not all head. If he Isaiah, he is not all man. You must lay hold of his heart, and by his affections and by all his moral sympathies you must train him, and then he will be ready to receive all the light, all the knowledge you can possibly convey to him; but if you train only his intellect, you do but plant flowers upon a ghastly tomb,

One word, finally. The text may be regarded as giving the proper explanation of Jesus Christ"s bodily absence—I go away. The words must be regarded as revealing part of a plan—I go away; I am not sent, I am not surprised away; I am moving according to a scheme, a plan. There are no unexpected thoughts in the mind of God. The changes that are strange and startling to us are links in the chain of God"s own fashioning. Lay hold of this, and you escape the atheism of chance, and come into the peaceful region of familiar trust. Therefore, in proportion as I think of God"s government as a plan am I at rest. In proportion as I take it to pieces and discuss it in detail am I vexed, and troubled, and disappointed. When I think of God building a great temple, I say, Give him time till he brings the topstone on, and says it is finished. And be careful, too, lest you mistake the scaffolding for the temple. God often requires, as it were, laborious scaffolding; and when I come to look at his unfinished temple and see nothing but these great beams, and posts, and planks, I say, "There is no temple here; there is nothing but confusion;" but God says to me "Wait, wait." And I come back and back; and when I return on the last day to look at it, all the scaffolding is gone. Then shall I find the floor laid with fine gold, and the roof lighted with such beauty as was never painted by the brush of the artist.

Some need this lesson. I speak in the presence of some among us who are mourners, and they need to be gently reminded that God is working out a plan—one thing belongs to another—that there is nothing fragmentary and detached and isolated in God"s movement. Where we see confusion, he sees a plan, and he is working it out. You need that gentle hint. May it fall like morning-light on your troubled hearts!

Though the Saviour has gone away, he has made a path into the heavenly kingdom for us. He will not suffer us to rest short of his own Throne. "Where I Amos, there shall ye be also." Could we but see things as they are, we should see the whole Church all over the world move in one grand procession towards the gate of the Upper City, a band of freemen, an army of conquerors, having banners dipped in light, and singing of the Cross that gives them the right of way to their Father"s house. We cannot see things as they are. This is the day of cloud and gloom; the full brightness is not yet.

The Conviction of Sin

John 16:8

When Hebrews, that is the Spirit of truth, is come, he will reprove, he will convince the world of sin. He will show the sinfulness of sin; he will work in every sinner"s heart the torment of self-conviction. He will accuse the world of sin, and will prove the accusation. The work of the Holy Ghost, in reference to sin, is first a work of revelation and then a work of conviction. He will show sin to the sinner—show it until the sinner is startled, ashamed, self-pierced, self-condemned. The Holy Ghost will reveal the unholy man. The revelation of sin is distinctly and specially a spiritual act. It can be done completely, with all necessary clearness and terribleness, only by a Ghost, and only by a Ghost that is Holy, and only by a holiness that is perfect as God. The Ghost of God sees things as they are; sees essences, realities, hidden tendencies, remote possibilities; sees the soul in its nakedness, and knows the thought of man afar off. When that Ghost comes into any heart, he will reprove, convince that heart of sin.

Let us try to work our way to some approximate idea at least of the intensity and agony of that conviction. Take the case of a man who is reeling in the streets under the influence of strong drink. That man does not require the Holy Ghost to convince him of sin. There is no common man on the road side that would not instantly turn upon him and say, "That is a sinner." No ghost is needed to make such a revelation. Every child, seeing the reeling man coming near, will instantly feel that he is in the presence of a sinner. God is not required to come down to the earth and say to the drunkard in his drunkenness, "You are a sinner;" to the blasphemer in the madness of his profanity, "You area sinner;" to the adulterer in his uncleanness, "You are a sinner." All these things are known by the common morality, the non-christian instinct which is in every Prayer of Manasseh, and which teaches him to distinguish—though not always minutely and spiritually—between right and wrong.

Let us dismiss all those foul and vicious characters whose moral nature is plainly written on their foreheads, and look in the next place at a person of the utmost social respectability. Examine his conduct from week to week in the marketplace, and there is not a man who comes in contact with him who can justly bring any charge against his behaviour. The man is diligent in business, punctual in his appointments, straightforward in all his dealings; a man who, by the continuousness of his probity, has earned for himself a position of confidence in the commercial world; his speech is the speech of an honourable Prayer of Manasseh, so far as all the affairs of this world are concerned, and so far as his intercourse on matters of business is concerned. He is a member of a Christian church; he sometimes engages in prayer; he contributes to charitable objects. Altogether, I repeat, he is a man of the utmost social respectability. What is required to convince that man of the real state of his heart? A ghost! If you and I were to speak to him, taking cognisance of his character, he might resent the intrusion, and dare comparison of our own life with his daily conduct and behaviour. The Holy Ghost enters him, and finds in him a faint trace of lust, evil desire, having reference to some forbidden object or other. The man never named it, never confessed it to himself, never ventured to whisper it in the most subdued breath; but there it Isaiah, in the depths of his nature; and the Ghost of God works upon that, reveals it, develops it, shows what it really Isaiah, expands it in all its horribleness—until the man whose outward character was irreproachable, whose behaviour could challenge comparison with the average behaviour of the world, trembles, burns under the influence of an internal fire, and dare hardly fall down upon his knees to ask God to forgive an enormity so great! He never would have known what that faint, hardly describable vein of evil desire was but for the ministry of the Holy Ghost. He would shrink from the presence of an unclean person; he would denounce in the most emphatic terms the irregularities of the drunkard; he would shudder when he heard the profanities of the blasphemer. But the Ghost of God cut him in twain, and pierced even to the dividing asunder of all within him that was secret and most compact, and took up this vein and said, "That is you!" until a speck became a mountain, until a single speck, an atomic, microscopic speck—nay, such a microscopic speck as the eye of God alone could discern—grew into proportions overshadowing and overwhelming. And the Prayer of Manasseh, outwardly so respected, praying in prayer-meetings and giving to charities, cried out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" No man can come to that experience—can know anything at all about it in its torment, in its killing agony—until the Holy Ghost has been at work upon his heart.

Here is a man who is equally respectable—a man of excellent standing, a man against whom nobody can utter a single reproach justly, a man equally honourable and upright and straightforward with the man whom we have just delineated. The Holy Ghost comes into him and shows in him a secret, subtle, unexpressed selfishness, in ways that the world cannot take note of. Remote acts of selfishness? Nay, not acts; when it comes to acts then anybody can sit in judgment upon them. But thoughts of selfishness,—little, tormenting, urging, importuning dreams of selfishness,—something between a thought and a thing, trembling, hovering in that border-land,—sometimes almost personifying itself, then shrinking back again into impalpability! The Holy Ghost shows him what he would be under certain circumstances, if certain fears could be taken away, if certain possibilities could be set aside,—all that unspeakable atmospheric spiritual pressure which never can be defined and only can be felt. And when he sees the thing in its reality, as illuminated and expanded by God the Holy Ghost, all his cry Isaiah, "God be merciful to me a sinner! Nobody thinks me a sinner. I can walk up the main aisle of the church to-morrow and there would be subdued applause at my presence. Many a man would speak well of me if called to testify in open court concerning my standing. But oh! thou God the Holy Ghost—thou piercing, cleaving Spirit—thou hast shown in me one hidden vein that I never knew of, and I see it in the blaze of thy fire! God be merciful to me a sinner!"

The great difficulty in conducting spiritual education in our own hearts, and in the hearts of those who wait upon our ministry, is this: To see the difference between sin and phases of sin; between wickedness in the heart, in the thought, unexpressed and unconfessed to ourselves, and the mere accidents of wickedness which relate to time, place, or form. There are many men to be found who would condemn worldliness of spirit, Song of Solomon -called; condemn, perhaps, certain amusements which other people accept with all innocence and with legitimate enjoyment. There are those who say the Church is fast becoming like the world; men who will not play at this game, or go to that amusement, or sit in this society, or identify themselves with yonder movement, because they suppose that all these things savour more or less of worldliness. Very well. One of these men who is so unworldly and so exemplary shall be heard in his tea-table talk. He says unkind words about his neighbour; slanders his minister, is a sneak when sneaking will win him what he calls success; he is a traitor when treachery will bring him thirty pieces of silver, more or less; there is no meanness he would not stoop to; there is no length of censure and censoriousness to which he will not go. Yet that man condemns another who rides on a fine horse and goes to find some of his amusement in a painted house! What is required to show the man what he really is? The Ghost of God, to show him that an unkind whisper may be murder; that a shrug of the shoulder may be incipient assassination; to take him by the hand, and condemn him in the sight of God, for a villainy too refined for common morality and too subtle to be taken note of by any of the magisterial tribunals of the land! Only the Holy Ghost can pierce a man with such reflections and convictions as these. It is not the profane oath, it is the profane heart; it is not the open, overt, deadly deed, it is the feeling of needless, exaggerated, unrighteous anger; it is not the hand wet with blood, it is the spirit that longs for some measure of revenge and some degree of retaliation. It is when we get into these essences of thought that the Holy Ghost alone can be our perfect teacher, showing us what sin is without its accidents of time, place, and form,—the wickedness of sin in the sight of the holiness of God.

We have to guard against seeing the sinfulness of other people without seeing the beam that is in our own eye. We need the Holy Ghost to enlighten us on these matters. We are so sensitive in some particulars, we shudder so revoltingly in the presence of certain forms of sin, without perhaps feeling that sin, if it never took form at all, or was never heard in speech at all, is as hateful in the sight of God as if it came out in the blaze of day and defied the judgment of nations. The religion of Christ is spiritual, the religion of Christ is intense; the word of God searches the heart, and tries the reins of the children of men. Who then can be saved? If the blink of an eye may mean profanity, uncleanness, rebellion against law, determination of secret enjoyment of sin; if the holding up of a finger be in God"s estimation, under some circumstances, terrible as the drawing out of a sword and the defiance of the Most High; if he searches our thoughts, if he reveals the secrets of our hearts,—who then can be saved? "I never oppressed the poor; but I once had a thought which must have broken the heart of God. I never uttered a profane word; but once I gave a look that was blasphemy! I have prayed long vehement prayers; in my heart I have had desires I dare not name to woman, priest, or God." If a man"s experience be anything like that, and that experience be illuminated by the Holy Ghost, and forced back again upon the Prayer of Manasseh,—oh! how terrible the accusation,—how heart-breaking! Who then can be saved?

Now, if this doctrine be laid down, and in the heart be deeply and intensely realised, four consequences will follow. All attempts to establish life upon a basis of mere morality will be abandoned. Morality is impossible apart from theology. Theology is impossible apart from the direct spiritual continuous teaching of God the Holy Ghost. You say, "I challenge you to criticise my deeds." I reply, " Sirach, it is not first and last a question of deeds: it is a question of motive, intent, impulse, secret desire." "Have not I given fifty pounds to this charity?" You have with your hand, but not a penny with your heart: it is what is given with the heart God accepts. "Have not I prayed often and long?" Yes; but never a word went beyond the roof under which you uttered your empty mocking words, because whilst your lips were eloquent your heart was dumb. The Lord seeth not as man seeth. Man looketh on the outward appearance; the Lord looketh on the heart. Where, then, is our morality? which, being interpreted, is our system of manners, our way—often, indeed, a skilful and artistic way—of putting our life into certain angles and showing it under given lights. Morality is often but an effort of art. Morality is often a study of the way of putting things. But the sincere man—the man who lives in the tabernacle and sanctuary of God—never says, "How will this look?" His life gushes out of him into activity and form and service; and knowing that his spirit and motive are right, he says, "It is a small thing to be judged of man"s judgment."

Some of us have taken a long time to be persuaded that our morality is less than nothing and vanity,—our chief sin. Not until we get rid of our morality can we be made moral. It is that overweening conceit about our own nice way of doing things that keeps us back from the Cross of Christ, from the mystery of the Atonement. "If the light that is in us be darkness, how great is that darkness!" If our very morality be our curse, how ponderous is the millstone which will drag us into the depths of the sea! Not until a man comes without price in his hand, without self-hope in his heart, without self-praise in his mind and says, "God be merciful to me a sinner," can he ever know how worthless is his own morality, how despicable and vain are his noblest deeds.

The man confesses himself a sinner—not much of a sinner; not a sinner in certain lights and in certain degrees; not a sinner hardly so sinful as other people—but a sinner! Vast in its concentration is that confession. Overwhelming is that utterance in its very simplicity. When men feel themselves to be what the Spirit of God describes them as being, they want no epithet, no qualifying adjective, to define their position. "A sinner" expresses more in its simplicity and concentration than could be said by the minutest elaboration of speech.

Where the true idea of sin is realised under the ministry of God the Holy Ghost, the necessity of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ will be understood, realised, and will form the one foundation of human hope. I have much to say on this point and I cannot say it. The idea has long been floating before my mind, and I have found no words to speak it to others; but it is the stay of my life, it is the strength of my ministry, it is the secret of any earnestness I may feel in preaching the everlasting gospel, namely this: The Atonement I do not receive merely as a grammarian, logician, metaphysician, theologian. I cannot understand that Cross—great, rugged, melancholy Cross—if I look at it only from the eminence occupied by the scholar, the philosopher, the theologian. But when I feel myself in my heart of hearts a sinner, a trespasser of God"s law and God"s love; when I feel that a thought may consign me to everlasting destruction, that a secret unexpressed desire may shut me out of heaven and make me glad to go to hell to be out of the way of God"s shining face,—and some man tells me that Jesus Christ was wounded for my transgressions,, bruised for my iniquities, that the chastisement of my peace was laid upon him; I press my way through all the grammarians, logicians, philosophers, theologians, saying, "If I perish I will pray, and perish only at the foot of the Cross; for if this be not sufficient, it hath not entered into the heart of man to solve the problem of human depravity and human consciousness of sin."

The sinner does not ask for explanation—minute, critical, and technical—when he comes into that state of heart before the dear bleeding Christ. He leaves all questions of criticism, technical and formal theology, to be settled by-and-by. In the meantime he feels this: That if the blood of the Son of God cannot reach those secret sins, those unexpressed desires, then no river thai flows through the earth can wash him clean, no detergent discovered by industrious morality can ever take out of him the deep stain and taint! Sometimes we look at the work of the Lamb of God without feeling that we are sinners. Then we have a thousand difficult questions to put about it. At other times the burden of our sin is so heavy upon us, we see the sinfulness of sin so clearly, we get away so entirely from all mere accident of time, place, and shape, so far as they relate to sin,—we see sin as God saw it and as God ever must see it, then we say, "O Lamb of God, thou didst not shed one drop too much of thy precious blood; thou didst not endure one needless pang! We see sin now in some measure as thou didst see it. We understand what thou meanest when thou didst say, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." We know what is meant by the glorious gospel that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!"

If I might address brethren in the ministry, students of letters, grammars, philosophers, theorists, and speculators, I would venture to say, that there is much in such studies that may be fruitful of good; they are not to be contemned and passed by as utterly valueless. At the same time we ourselves as preachers cannot understand the Cross of Christ till we understand ourselves as sinners. No man can be led to the Cross by the hand of mere philosophy. He must go up the dolorous way, with his eyes blinded with penitential tears, his heart choked and suffocated by inexpressible emotion, then there will be a writing above the superscription of Pilate; "This is the Son of God. Whoso cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."

Wherever this view of sin is truly realised and received in all its simplicity, an intense earnestness for the world"s salvation will be excited. Do you ask, "Are the Chinese not happy without your gospel?" I say, Probably they are happy without the gospel, so far as they understand happiness. "Are the people of India not rich and prosperous without the gospel?" Probably they are. Why should you go and break up households and separate the father from the Song of Solomon, and the mother from the daughter, and the daughter-in-law from the mother-in-law? Why should you send fire upon the earth and a sword through the nations of mankind? I tell you, because of what the Holy Ghost has taught us about sin. It is not a question of civilisation, of a gilded surface, of a material prosperity and of a Song of Solomon -called social happiness. If the Holy Ghost has correctly revealed to us the nature of sin, then I must go; I cannot rest until I have taught other people what has been communicated to me of the spiritual, not of a terrible enormity, not of a bloody deed, not of an outspoken blasphemer, but of secret thoughts and unexpressed desires which are foreign to the nature of God.

This is the secret of our missionary enterprise,—this is the inspiration of our moral service. If it were a question of this world only, let the Chinese alone! They enjoy themselves after a certain fashion; they have their own notions of civilisation and success. Do not trouble them. The same with Africa and India; the same with the most distant portions of the globe. Let them alone! But when we know, by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, what sin Isaiah, a responsibility conies along with the revelation; and in proportion as we realise it, that responsibility will never tire of breaking up households if need be, of sending a sword into families, and kindling fires upon the earth!

Then, last of all, if we had truly spiritual notions about Sirach, we should regard one another with a gentler charity. You do not sin as I sin. Shall I therefore vehemently condemn you, and seek a character for my own morality by the urgency and impetuosity of my condemnation of your particular sin? I do not do as you do when you criticise worldliness, but I may speak an unkind word about a brother minister. I will not speak an unkind word about a brother minister, but I may stoop to any ignoble deed in order to realise my own schemes. I will not stoop to any sneaking, underhand method of doing things; but I may never forgive an enemy; I may pursue him to the death, and half a century after the deed my anger shall burn as on the first day. Is it so with us? You would not go to a theatre, but you are vain as a peacock. I am not vain, but I will do things in secret that I would not like my dearest, truest earthly friend to know. So indeed it is. We must get to know what sin Isaiah, not the accident of sin! We must not be vehement about the accident when we are comparatively indifferent about the essence. When we feel sin to be what it Isaiah, our mouths will be shut; there will never be an hour of unkind judgment in our whole lives; we shall all be in the same condemnation. Who art thou that speakest against another man? will be a sore question that will pierce us and cut us in two whenever words censorious and slanderous shall rise to our lips.

May God the Holy Ghost show us sin till we hate it,—show us the reality of sin until we feel our need of the Cross! May he show us the fulness of the love of Christ, until we know what is meant by Christ"s ability to take up our sin, our secret sin,—take it up in his pierced bleeding hands and cast it away for ever, and present us unto himself a glorious Church! This is a great mystery, but in Christ all such mysteries are solved. He Isaiah, in very deed, the Light of the World!

Note

"The third example of our Lord"s discourses is that which closes his ministry—"Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him" ( ). This great discourse, recorded only by St. John, extends from the thirteenth to the end of the seventeenth chapter. It hardly admits of analysis. It announces the Saviour"s departure in the fulfilment of his mission; it imposes the new commandment on the disciples of a special love towards each other which should be the outward token to the world of their Christian profession; it consoles them with the promise of the Comforter who should be to them instead of the Saviour; it tells them all that he should do for them, teaching them, reminding them, reproving the world; and guiding the disciples into all truth. It offers them, instead of the bodily presence of their beloved Master, free access to the throne of his Father, and spiritual blessings such as they had not known before. Finally, it culminates in that sublime prayer (ch. xvii.) by which the High Priest as it were consecrates himself the victim; and so doing, prays for those who shall hold fast and keep the benefits of that sacrifice, offered for the whole world, whether his disciples already, or to be brought to him thereafter by the ministry of apostles. He wills that they shall be with him and behold his glory. He recognises the righteousness of the Father in the plan of salvation, and in the result produced to the disciples; in whom that highest and purest love wherewith the Father loved the Son shall be present, and with and in that love the Son himself shall be present with them. "With this elevated thought," says Olshausen, "the Redeemer concludes his prayer for the disciples, and in them for the Church through all ages. He has compressed into the last moments given him for intercourse with his own the most sublime and glorious sentiments ever uttered by human lips. Hardly has the sound of the last word died away when Jesus passes with his disciples over the brook Kedron to Gethsemane; and the bitter conflict draws on. The seed of the new world must be sown in death, that thence life may spring up.""—Smith"s Dictionary of the Bible.

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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on John 16:32". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/john-16.html. 1885-95.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

The Difference Between Christ and Christians

"All things that the Father hath are mine." We often speak of the union between Christ and his disciples, as if these terms were mutually equivalent. It may be well to look upon the distinctions which separate Christ from his disciples, in order that we may learn our true relation to the Son of God. This may turn out to be but another aspect of union, though at first sight the discourse will seem to be one upon the divisions and contrasts which separate so widely the Lord and his followers. We must not get into that easy way of thinking that Jesus Christ and his people are practically one, in any sense which denotes equality as between them; as if a Christian were a Christ, and as if Christ were but a Christian, differing in some sense in degree, it may be, but identical in quality. All that line of thought needs sifting, defining, and guarding, lest we lose reverence, and loyalty, and sense of what is due in worship, and trust, and sacrifice. Jesus Christ was very condescending, but in his condescension there was a majesty, unequalled and uncomprehended. The very stoop of Christ was more majestic than the enthroned attitude of any monarch. We should therefore dwell now and again, yea, frequently, upon the contrast which is established between Christ and his supreme apostle; we should, as it were, calculate the difference, which is really incalculable in degree and in quality, between the Son of God and those whom he has saved by the shedding of his blood. His words are full of significant accent and meaning when he dwells upon this subject. Hebrews, himself, is indeed now and again most frank about it; if he should appear to come near to us, and associate with us on terms of equality, he suddenly rises from the feast, and leaves us to feel for a moment what we should be were he to withdraw altogether. We become so accustomed to the light that we take no heed of it: we expect it; we reckon upon it, as one of the certain quantities in the whole arithmetic of life; but the sun has only to hide himself for a few moments, and he stops the traffic of the world.

Let us hear some words of Jesus Christ bearing upon this matter, in which he will not allow any one to share his glory; in which his personality shall stand out in its singular and unapproachable solitude. We think so often of Jesus Christ as meek, and lowly, and condescending, that we are apt to forget his majesty. The sight of the noonday sun may be instructive and gladdening.

"I am the Vine, ye are the branches." There is no identity there in the sense of equality. The vine can do without the branches, but the branches cannot do without the vine. "Without me ye can do nothing." It is as if a unit were talking to all the ciphers in creation; the unit says to the assembly of ciphers, "Without me ye can do nothing": you may put yourselves into a great line, and you will signify at the end what you signified at the beginning, and that is nothing; but when I stand at your head my relation to you fires you every one, gives you personality and value and meaning. This was the speech of the meek and lowly in heart, the poor in spirit, the Man of sorrows, the Man acquainted with grief. He would not have shed tears with us upon an equality, saying, Your sorrow is great, and so is mine, and we are found in a world of woe together, and therefore together we must mourn and weep. In his tears he was alone; when his soul was sorrowful he threw into nothingness the grief of all other life.

"I am the good Shepherd." Is there only one? Jesus Christ assures us that there is only one Shepherd, and that he is the one himself. Then all the apostles and martyrs, apologists and missionaries, preachers, teachers, Christians—what are they? They are the flock, the sheep, under his care. Is the flock equal to the Shepherd? Can any sheep in all the flock say to the Shepherd, I will take thy place, and thou mayest rest awhile? Is there a more pitiable spectacle upon the earth than sheep without a shepherd? Are not sheep chosen as the very image of silliness, helplessness, imbecility, when God describes his people after they have detached themselves from his government and shepherdliness? Observe always that this was the speech of him who was meek and lowly in heart Yet never does he allow his singularity to be pluralised.

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." There again Christ stands alone. There is none to divide his honour; there is none even to reflect his glory in some of these higher ranges of his personality and priesthood. Where now the thought of condescension, lowliness, abjectness, self-immolation, in the sense of putting away crown and sceptre and throne, and being only a man? These terms are not permissible in any one who is in any sense only equal to his brethren. They cannot be passed by without notice, or regarded as hyperbolical, or as being coloured with a poetical imagination; they are too distinct and graphic and practical. They are only to be accepted on one of two theories: either the man was mad, or he was God. When a man describes himself saying, "I am the Light of the World; I am the Vine; I am the good Shepherd; I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," he does not offend against modesty; he violates truth, and he violates the reverence which is due from the finite to the infinite. We ourselves have no difficulty about going up to him and saying, My Lord and my God, if I have any crown I will take it and cast it at thy feet, for thou only art worthy of the honours of infinite and eternal sovereignty."

Hear, however, how he speaks: "All things that the Father hath are mine." No man must be allowed to talk that language without rebuke. If there is some hidden sense in which it may be made to appear to be true, that hidden sense must be revealed and defined; otherwise we shall have spreading amongst us the very spirit of presumption, infallibility, and mock divinity. Who can claim to hold in his hands what God holds? Who dare say, "All things that the Father hath are mine," without qualification, and yet only be meaning in some far-off and semi-spiritual sense that he is part-proprietor of the universe? There is a morality of language. Men ought not to be allowed to speak hyperbole which is falsehood. Within the acknowledged limits of rhetoric, they may take what figures of speech they like, but they must declare them to be figures of speech, that we may distinguish between truth and falsehood. "Therefore said I, that he [the Paraclete] shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." Even the Holy Spirit is here represented as the minister of Christ. Ask for the text upon which the Holy Spirit discourses, and the answer Isaiah, he speaks evermore upon one text, namely, Jesus Christ. When he speaks of doctrine, it is the doctrine of Christ; of righteousness, it is the righteousness of Christ; of sin, it is the sin for which Christ died. Ought we to allow a man to speak Song of Solomon, with no other than a merely rhetorical meaning? A book, part of a larger volume, containing such words ought to be torn out of the volume of which it is a part, and burned with unquenchable fire. If we admit a rhetorical criticism we may have to admit by-and-by a rhetorical Christianity, which means a rhetorical morality: words will be emptied of their meaning, and all speech will become but sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. According to the twenty-third verse, prayer is to be offered in Christ"s name. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you."

Where is meekness and lowliness of heart in any sense which means simple equality with human nature? Observe what Jesus Christ does in these words: he pledges the Father. The words are most emphatic, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you": I pledge his existence, and his honour, and his throne. Again and again we must remark, This is not the language which any man must be allowed to use unless he can vindicate its use by qualities so sublime as to make the use of that language obviously appropriate. The language must fit him like a robe; there must be no discrepancy between the word and the thing, the symbol and the substance; here and there in this life there must be an outshining of glory which justifies the use of language so sublime—nay more, which shows that even language so sublime pitifully fails of its object in expressing a dignity ineffable. Jesus Christ guarantees the answer. He speaks as the inhabitant of eternity, as the custodian of the riches of the universe, as one who lays his hand familiarly upon everything and says, Ask for it, and the Father, through me, will give it; I will take it up with my own hand and pass it down until it reaches your hand. This is not the language of a mere man; it must not be admitted as such. We must not get into the frame of mind which will allow us to pass a man like this, saying, He does not mean what he says, or he has some signification far short of the obvious interpretation of the common language. Then we could only retain our religion at the expense of our morality; we could only cling to Christ by giving up the first principles of honesty.

Then, again, he declares a divine descent for himself. "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world." This cannot be a mere commonplace. If there is a sense in which every man may be said to have come from the Father, then the words of Jesus Christ lose all their special significance. He does not say, Brethren, we all came forth from the same Father, and we are all returning to him. He speaks in his own name, and speaks of a common human nature, and declares that he "came forth from the Father, and am come into the world"—implying a kind of accommodation to the smallness of the space, as if he should say, I have so related myself to the world that I can find room enough in it for the little time that I shall be here. Having built the world, I have built a door into it, through which I have passed through momentarily visible ministry, and presently I shall be gone again, and leave what little room there is to be occupied by yourselves. This is blasphemy if it is not divinity. This is rant if it is not infinite reason. The Church will lose all vigour when it comes to the paring down of words so as to rid them of their rhetoric, in order to give them commonplace meanings.

The weak-minded disciples thought their opportunity had come. They were but children—half-grown, untaught, inexperienced. What faces they wore when the Master talked to them! They wanted to appear to be intelligent when they were not fully comprehending the meaning of the speaker; they loved him with strange admiration and passion; they were quite sure he was right, though they could not follow his high strain of thought and speech—looking as they might have looked upon an eagle gradually mounting into the dim air, keeping sight of him for awhile, and now the great black wings passing away from the visual line; they are quite sure he is flying, and the moment they see the reappearing wing they will exclaim as children utter their delight. So in this case. Jesus Christ has been taking a flight into the highest regions of spiritual thought, and his disciples have been looking on with awed amazement, and half-anticipation that they might never see him any more; but now he is coming within their horizon, and when he says, "I leave the world, and go to the Father," they exclaim, "Lo, now thou speakest plainly "—now we know what thou dost mean; now we are quite sure about thee; now we feel as if upon a measured equality with thee: remain on that plane of thought, and never leave us alone any more. It was a momentary bubble on the river of their life. They looked at one another with a kind of vacant delight. They could only exclaim; they could not explain. Jesus—piteous, tender, compassionate—descended to their level, and said, "Do ye now believe?" You think you do: poor souls, you cannot understand a word I have spoken to you. God"s method is to lay up a great deal in the mind which history has to explain in due time; so that the Old Testament is searched by the New Testament, and is read in the illuminating glory of the latter days. You think you understand me, and I see your childish pleasure. Now listen, "The hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone." You will know whether you understand me or not when you have to suffer for me. Do not imagine that heaven has begun; I observe your delight, I cannot but feel sympathetically with you. It is no pleasure of mine to rid you of your immediate joys, but as I look upon you I see you already being driven forth into desert places. I observe your condition, and it is that of sheep being pursued by wolves; in the dark night you must receive explanation of all this mystery.

So the contrast remains as broad at the end as at the beginning. Jesus Christ never mingles with others as an equal. When he is counted one of a number, he is the one, the others are the unmeaning ciphers. This being the case, some practical questions immediately rush upon the mind, and some fears, indeed, threaten to leap upon the spirit and quench its trembling hope. There need not be any alarm of that kind. Though the difference between Christ and his disciples is the difference between infinity and infiniteness, there need be no hindrances to communion. The little earth communes with the great sun: the earth never found room for the sun, or hospitality, or entertainment, for one brief day. The difference between them is an abiding distinction which can never be lessened; they never change places. The earth is always little, and cold, and naked, and the sun is always what he is in the summer-time and in the winter, the origin of such heat as the earth receives and utilises, and such light as makes earth"s poor little grey day. The earth might say, were we to personalise it and give: it faculty, and reason, and speech, "I am so little and can do nothing. I will take myself away, and fall into the oblivion which best becomes my insignificance." But the earth makes no such speech; rather does it say, "I am little and the sun is great; the sun might do without me, but I cannot do without the sun. O thou great Light, let me see thee every morning; let me feel thee when I cannot see thee; warm me, cheer me, enlighten me, bless me, and make me fruitful, that I may grow all that is needful for the hunger of man and beast. I am but little, spurn me not, but rather fill me with thy light, and make me do my duty in my little sphere with gladsomeness and music and gratitude." It has pleased Christ to make his people the light of the world, but only in some reflective sense. The moon is the light of the world, but only at night. She knows the time and the limit of her shining, and sweetly does she run the round of her gentle ministry. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Not only is this distinction no hindrance to communion, it is a positive guarantee of blessing—"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace." I have not shown you my majesty that I might dazzle you, but that I might comfort you; I have not blazed and burned upon you from heavenly heights that you might close your eyes and run away into the congenial and healing darkness, but to show you that whatever may come of you, in me ye shall have day and summer, and light and beauty, riches unsearchable. When the rich man displays his wealth to the poor man it may be to keep the poor man at arm"s length, saying, Who are you? for you have no wealth to compare with this. Be satisfied with your situation, and keep at the other end of the staff, nor venture to look upon me as an equal. But when Jesus Christ displays his riches he says, These are yours because ye are mine; and because of your faith and love, your trust and service, my wealth shall be at your disposal, and you can never be really poor whilst I live. Some such word as this was needed at the end of such a discourse. Having companied with Christ so long, if we put ourselves into the place of the disciples, we may say we had become almost familiar with him: we have seen him when he was weary and weak; we have seen the great tears standing unshed in his gentle eyes; many a time we have helped him and done our best to comfort him amid the woes darkening upon his life, and so accustomed have we been to his coming and his going that we have looked upon ourselves as in some sense his equals and fellow-labourers. But now, suddenly, he has become a strange man to us; he has changed the whole tone and scale of his speech; he does not even use the common simple little words that used to pass between us as the currency of love. He seems to be seated upon a throne, and to be talking from heaven to earth, and gradually separating himself from us, and we cannot bear it. Whilst such hearing overpowers the listener, the great divine Speaker says, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace, assurance of plenty, confidence of unexhausted spirit, and the tranquillity which arises from these profound assurances. Say now, Christ is mine, and I am his; and because of the union between us, all that he has I have, and so long as he can lift an arm no foe shall overwhelm me. I have no confidence in myself, in my poor little strength, in my mean resources, but I live in Christ; I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me. If we make that reply to the sermon which Christ delivered, we shall understand what he meant when he said, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace."

Then he concludes with an assurance that the conquest is already won. "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Why should we be of good cheer on that account? Have we ourselves not yet to overcome the world? Why should we joy in another"s gladness because he has triumphed when we ourselves are left in the thick of the fight? Therein we reason erroneously, and altogether mistake the real condition of the case. When Jesus Christ says that he has overcome the world, he means that his conquest is the pledge of ours. If he had failed we could not have succeeded. It is because he has succeeded that we cannot fail. These are Christian promises; these are Christian delights; these are the joys of the sanctuary. My soul, when thou art afraid because of the war, put thyself into the keeping of the all-conquering Lord; when the chariots against thee are a million, and are all made of iron, and when the horses are down upon thee like lightning, hide thyself in the Rock of Ages, draw upon the stock of the infinite store. "What time I am afraid I will trust in God." I know by this meditation how vast is the difference between Jesus Christ and myself. If I had been guilty of the presumption of thinking that he had made me an equal, I feel that the mistake has been entirely on my own side. He has not made me an equal, nor can omnipotence do so. There is but one infinity. The difference between the creature and the Creator can never be reduced to nothingness. But this can be made of it: a means of communion, a fountain of blessing, an assurance of protection. That is enough! Poor little earth, do not distract thyself because thou canst not be the great sun. Keep in thy place; roll on in thy peaceful course, and keep thyself open to receive morning messages of light and evening assurances of defence.

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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on John 16:32". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/john-16.html. 1885-95.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

John 16:1. These things have I spoken, that ye should not be offended, so as to stumble and shrink back from the cause in which you are engaged. Expulsion from the synagogue was to a jew next to death, being accounted an expulsion from the covenant of mercy, and from the paradise of God.

John 16:6. Because I have said these things, sorrow hath filled your heart. The disciples were so astounded at the extended view of their persecutions, and at the departure of their Lord, that they had not presence of mind to ask whither he was going. The discourse, for the moment, almost deprived them of recollection.

John 16:7. Nevertheless, it is expedient for you that I go away. Such is the order of the heavenly kingdom, and one dispensation must not interfere with another. I must go to the Father: otherwise the long-promised פרקלט parakolit, παρακλητος, the advocate, the Comforter will not come. And if he do not, you will be destitute of those divine endowments and powers from on high by which the world is to be converted. Dr. James Cappell, who has given us Lexicons to the Polyglot Bible, quotes here the ancient rabbi Osaias, on Genesis 1:2, where he says that the Spirit of God which moved on the face of the waters, was the Spirit of the Messiah. Hic est Spiritus Messiæ.

John 16:8-9. When he is come he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment — because they believe not on me. The sin of unbelief has already been noticed as the cause of the rejection of the whole jewish nation. The Lord the Spirit will remonstrate with them on the glaring crime of their incredulity in the rejection of Christ, whose mission was clothed with so much glory of wisdom, of signs and wonders, and mighty deeds. In rejecting Christ, they rejected their own prophets, and the testimony of God himself.

John 16:10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father. How would the apostles understand these words? — Answer. That he was the Son of God, the Messiah, and that he had fulfilled all righteousness in his grand mission for the redemption of the world. They would associate the words with the ideas of the prophets, that the Messiah should bring in “everlasting righteousness,” and so copiously as to rain it down upon the earth. They exulted in the hope of righteousness by faith. Behold my salvation is near, and my righteousness to be revealed. Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 66:1.

This is the righteousness of God, the gift of righteousness by faith, which is upon all them that believe. This is what the fathers mostly call the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which our guilt is removed, and righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost are opened in the heart. Surely then shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. Let us ever hunger and thirst after this.

John 16:11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. The Vulgate reads, is “already” judged. The Mons testament is the same: est deja juge. The death and resurrection of Christ gave a grand defeat to the devices of Satan and the malice of the jews. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14. He provided the glorious gospel to chase away the darkness of this world; he prepared the reign of righteousness to supersede the reign of crime, and the grandeur of the Mediatorial scheme to draw all men from idolatry to worship him who is Lord both of the living and the dead. The wicked and rebellious he awed by the terrors of a future judgment, seeing their prince is already judged.

John 16:13. He will guide you into all truth. That is, into all truth that can be necessary for your apostolical office, and to direct the christian church to the end of the world in all saving truth. For, as Irenæus notes, the doctrine which they taught, they afterwards delivered in the scriptures to be the pillar and foundation of our faith. And, as St. Austin adds, Christ having committed to them the writing of these things which he would have us read, they chose out those things to write which they judged sufficient to be written for the salvation of the faithful. It is therefore certain that the apostles, in compiling the canon of scripture, were so assisted by the Holy Spirit as to write all truths necessary to salvation; all things necessary to be believed or done by christians are contained in the holy scriptures.

This is a principal text which the papists bring for their doctrine of infallibility, but without any foundation. For this promise was made to all the apostles, as well as to Peter; and not only to the apostles, but to all their successors, and to all believers to the end of the world.

In order to discern and distinguish this Spirit of truth, and when it is He that speaketh in any one, the best way seems to be to search out the nature and office of this Spirit, from the several expressions in our Lord’s last discourse to his disciples; and from this it will appear that those doctrines have a good sign of the spirit of truth which are contrary to worldly, carnal, sensual respects, and not conceivable by the natural and carnal man: John 14:17. Those which stick by us when worldly comforts leave us: John 14:18. Those which are according to Christ’s word and example, accompanied with meekness and obedience: John 14:26. Those which teach us charity and love to one another: John 15:16. Those which inform us rightly in the prime articles of the faith: John 15:26. Those which witness Christ a universal Saviour, as Adam was the universal sinner: John 15:26-27. Those which reprove the sins and infidelities of the world, and teach us how to be acquitted from them: John 16:28. Those which are in harmony with all other truths, under whatever term or name, though ever so odious or contrary to worldly interest and honour. Those which are not advanced to raise a man’s ownself, to get him a name, or set up a faction; but are consonant to the ancient fathers and primitive antiquity. Those which lift up all our thoughts to heaven: John 16:13. Those which by all means possible can give God the glory, and deny nothing to them that is theirs, under a foolish pretense only to abate and vilify man beyond the truth: John 16:14. These doctrines are truth; such of them at least as agree with these rules are from the Spirit of truth, and manifestations that the Spirit of truth is come to that soul that embraces them.

John 16:20-21. Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. The cloud of the crucifixion was impervious; but joy followed on his resurrection, and on the descent of the Holy Ghost, with powers which gave them joys surpassing those of a woman who after parturition embraces a son.

John 16:23-24. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. The importance of prayer for ministers in all their sufferings and labours may be inferred from the duty and the promise being five times repeated: John 14:13-14; John 15:7.

First, we have here the nature of prayer described, by asking grace of our heavenly Father, which may be done in silence by lifting up the soul to heaven. Psalms 25:1. By pleadings in secret, when the voice utters the heart; and by social prayer in all the forms of worship.

Secondly, we have the order of prayer; it must be in the name of Christ. This is a new argument of devotion: “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name.” If God, when angry with Israel, yielded to Elijah’s prayers on mount Carmel, which were presented in the name of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, patriarchs in covenant with God, how much more will he yield to the name of his beloved Son, who ever lives and intersedes for us at his right hand. Let us therefore ask in faith, and plead with importunity.

Thirdly, we may here notice the enlargements of prayer. “Whatsoever” ye shall ask the Father in my name. Here all the blessings of the new covenant in all their classifications are comprised, whether they regard the body or the mind, the church or the nation. The great and precious promises are given us in Christ, to make us partakers of the divine nature.

Fourthly, we have the assurance of prayer. “He will give it you.” From the great love of God in not sparing his own Son, St. Paul infers that he will freely give us all things; and from the tender and exuberant language of the promises, we may be assured of answers of peace. Isaiah 55:5; Isaiah 55:10. And if we appeal to facts and circumstances, in which the church has cried in trouble, the propitious character of the Deity is fully established. “Oh thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.”

REFLECTIONS.

The valedictory discourse of our Redeemer is unique in character, the circumstance being without example. It discloses his divinity without reserve, for the sorrows of the heart required divine support, and the presence of Him who caused his ancient cloud to brighten in the time of trouble. He confirmed the faith of the apostles to bear the tragedy of the cross, a word he then concealed, for so the case required, lest it should rouse them, as when Peter drew his sword, to interfere with the work of our redemption.

But the Saviour having acted the high part of a comforter in a series of the most consolatory arguments, next promised them another comforter, who indeed is called the promise of the Father, being so often described as refreshing rain on the parched lands. But the offices and operations of the Holy Spirit have a double object. The one regards the world, whom he should reprove, vanquish with argument, and convince of sin; to whom also he should disclose his righteousness in the gospel from faith to faith, and whose consciences he should alarm by the terrors of a future judgment.

The second mission of the Paraclete is to console and adorn the church with glory and grace. When we have a friend in trouble, we go and draw from him the sad tale of all his woes; for grief, like a river, is diminished when the stream is divided. The Comforter brings promises to our remembrance, and sweetly sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts. He pours a flood of light on the preacher’s mind, and opens a fountain of eloquence in his heart; and heaven once opened there, becomes a key to all the latent treasures in the bible. We then read that book with new eyes and warm affections. He inspires us in all our studies with the word of knowledge of the sacred text, and with the word of wisdom in evangelical eloquence. He gradually draws aside the curtain, and shows us the things of the Father, otherwise called the things of the Saviour. Being thus a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, he also becomes a spirit of grace and supplication in the heart. Endowed with this unction, the man of prayer pours out his soul in pleadings full of energy, which leave him inspired with the earnests of heaven, and with seals of salvation to the day of redemption.

In fine, the Saviour uplifts a little of the curtain which veils the most holy place, into which he has entered, and discovers the eternal Mind, ever one in essence, under the idea, to use the Greek of Hebrews 1:3, of three hypostases, Father, Son, and Paraclete. What other ideas can we attach to the words — sending — reproving — guiding — and revealing future things, than that of Person, subsistence, or hypostasis? Thus the revelation enlarges our apprehensions of the deity in all the glorious economy of grace. Oh that our love might correspond with his love, by whom we are thus divinely taught.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on John 16:32". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/john-16.html. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Ver. 32. Behold, the hour cometh, &c.] So bladder-like is the soul, that filled with earthly vanities, though but wind, it grows great and swells in pride; but if pricked with the least pin of piercing grief, it shriveleth to nothing.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 16:32". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-16.html. 1865-1868.

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Peace in the Son

The disciples believe that they now understand the Lord and they tell Him that. From their explanation it appears that they are still not able to realize the full scope of what He has said. They speak about their faith in Him as the One Who came from God, while the Lord spoke about the Father. It is still faith in Him as God's anointed King. Despite their failure to truly understand that He tells all about His relationship with the Father, they know that He totally knows them.

The Lord says nothing about their failure to understand what He has told them about Himself and the Father. He takes their confession seriously. Then He speaks about the consequences of their confession. Their faith in Him will confront them with the opposition of the world. When they come to capture Him, they will be scattered, they will flee in all directions and they will leave Him all alone. In the belief that everything is over, they will return each to his own, each to his own activities and daily circumstances (Jn 21:3). The Lord speaks about this without a trace of reproach in their direction. For Him it is sufficient that the Father is with Him.

His disciples may all leave Him, He knows that He is not alone after all, but that the Father is with Him. This marks His peace and at the same time it is the peace He wishes for them. So instead of reproach, He has words of peace in His wonderful grace for His disciples. In spite of their failure that will soon be apparent from their flee, He has their peace in mind. That is why He has spoken to them. They will find that peace in Him if they keep His words in mind.

And as for the world, He gives them good courage. He has conquered the world for them. That means they don't have to fear the world with all its threats and horrors. By believing in Him, they can be sure that the world has been overcome for them (1Jn 5:4-5).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.
Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op John 16:32". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kng/john-16.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

The close of the discourse:

v. 29. His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

v. 30. Now are we sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee; by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.

v. 31. Jesus answered them: Do ye now believe?

v. 32. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

v. 33. These things I have spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The last statements of Jesus had been so clear and unmistakable, of the love of the Father, of Christ's coming from, and going to, the Father, that the disciples thought they understood Him perfectly. There was neither parable nor proverb in these sayings, and they had the conviction, which they also freely expressed, that He had a full knowledge of all things, and that His teaching was free from all obscurity. The implication of the disciples is that they need not wait for some future manifestation and revelation, when everything would be clear to their minds. They were persuaded now of His divine Sonship. But the enthusiasm of the disciples was premature; the time of Pentecost had not yet come; they must first experience sorrow and suffering. Jesus tells them that the test of their faith, of which they now seemed so sure, would come very soon. And the result would be most disappointing. They would be scattered, they would flee from His side, leaving Him all alone in His great Passion. Their own interests, their life and safety, would claim their first consideration. So would they fail Him in the critical hour. But as for Him; the prospect did not fill Him with terror; He would not be alone, since His Father would be with Him. His presence would at all times be sufficient for all needs. And now the Lord once more summarizes His loving sayings of the evening in one short sentence. He has spoken to them, He has given the all the necessary assurances, in order that in Him they might have peace. He places Himself and His sphere of activity in contrast to the world and her sphere of influence and activity. In the world, in the midst of the unbelievers, the disciples of all times have tribulation; from them they may expect only persecution and torment. That is the inevitable lot of the confessors of Christ. And yet they should feel happy and be of good cheer. For in Jesus they have peace. Amidst all the turmoil and hatred and persecution of these latter days the Christians have peace with God, peace in Christ the Savior. For He, Jesus, our Champion, has overcome the world. Though His Passion proper had not yet begun, the Lord knows that He will be Conqueror in the battle with sin, death, and hell, that all His enemies will be made His footstool. And therefore He will make the necessary provisions that His disciples will not be overcome by enmity and persecution. "Behold, that is the kind farewell and comforting last word which Christ leaves to His disciples; He would fain talk into their hearts. Although the apostles at that time did not understand it and even we do not yet understand it,... yet we have seen, by the grace of God, that the Holy Ghost reminded many hearts of these words when it came to the battle, and strengthened them that in the memory of that victory they endured everything, and died a peaceful death. May God help also us and give us that mind that we also cling to this fact in misfortune and death!"

Summary.Jesus teaches concerning the office of the Holy Spirit, both in rebuking and in comforting, and of His own going to the Father, and the blessed results which would thereby come to the believers.

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Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/john-16.html. 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

             DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

(On John 16:16-33.)

1. In the preceding section Christ clearly distinguishes His presence with the disciples from the future presence of the Holy Ghost with them. But now He reveals to them the prospect of Himself speedily being with them again in a new form. By this can be meant, in the first instance, nothing else than the Resurrection, with its manifestations; that, however, is at the same time a symbol and pledge of the general fact of their future meeting;—of their meeting by means of viewing Christ in spirit, of their meeting on the way to the Father and in the Father’s House, and of their meeting in the Parousia. With the Holy Ghost He Himself shall Revelation -appear to them in His glory. The new day of Christ is but one day, and also the eternal seeing of Him again in faith is essentially one seeing.

2. A little while [ John 16:16]. The one and the other μικρό ν are symbolical of the alternation of Good Friday and Easter periods in the Church; an alternation regularly continuing until the day of Christ’s appearing. The Apostles studied this μικρόν their whole lives long; but when proclaiming, as they did, ever and anon, during the tribulations of the early Church: the Lord cometh quickly, it is the last time, the last hour, they announced a religious date, established through the fellowship of the Christian spirit with the Spirit of God and Christ, before whom a thousand years are as one day and one day as a thousand years ( 2 Peter 3:8); and it is a decided mistake of modern exegetes to be continually regarding this religious date of a lofty, apostolic view of the world, as a chronological date of chiliastic error. The same Paul who, in a religious sense, proclaimed: “The Lord cometh quickly” (1Thess.), in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians opposed the chronological misunderstanding by the declaration: The Lord cometh not so soon; and the same John who wrote the words: “It is the last hour” ( 1 John 2:18), did in Revelation likewise depict the grand succession of the ages until the appearing of Christ.

3. John 16:20. The distress of the disciples, the joy of the world. And the joy of the disciples? Here the Lord has not carried out the parallel, for the joy of the disciples is to be the Evangel for the world, and only to the impenitent portion of the world shall it be an occasion of lamentation. Hence homilists, in completing the second antithesis also, are but conditionally correct. Only the impenitent world with its distressful Lamentations, forms a contrast to the joy of the disciples.

4. [ John 16:21] The sufferings of Christ were the birth-pangs of the Theocracy, which made themselves felt in the disciples, the true children of the Theocracy. Christ’s resurrection, however, was, in reality, the birth of the eternal man into the eternal world, simultaneously with which birth the new mankind, as a whole, was born into the world. When He died, the great work of God was finished; when He rose, the eternal God-Man was perfected. With Him the Church, the new mankind, was born. On this birth see Revelation 12:1; on the First-born, Colossians 1:18; on the congenitive humanity, Colossians 3:1. Comp. the note on Cl 1 of John 16:22, p497.

5. John 16:22. All Christianity is an alternation of mourning and joy, as the natural life is an alternation of joy and sorrow; parting grief and joy of meeting, in the highest sense. Joy not to be taken away. An alternation in spiritual, as in natural things, but in an inverse order.

6. Verily, verily, etc. ( John 16:23): the solemnly asseverated, absolute hearableness of prayer in that degree in which it is prayer; and His Amen a prophecy of a hearing, spoken by the Spirit of prayer.

7. The Christian life is a spiritual life in which inquiries and researches are transformed into entreaties and experiences, John 16:24. That great day of New Testament spiritual life is a day when men shall live in the communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, a day when men shall walk in the manifestation of heaven upon earth. See notes to John 16:23.

8. Perfect joy, and life in the Spirit are one. An exhortation to Pentecostal prayer. See note to last clause of John 16:24.

9. [ John 16:25.] To a man in an unenlightened state, every discourse, even one which in a direct manner presents ideas to the mind, becomes a parabolic speech; to a man in a condition of enlightenment, every discourse, even the figurative, parabolical one, becomes an undraped word of revelation; just as the unconverted man has, in addition to the [Mosaic] Law another Law in the Gospel, while the converted man finds, added to his Gospel, another Gospel in the Law. Law and symbol are the indivisible forms of revelation for the pious of tender age; the law for the heart and conscience, the symbol for the understanding; whereas, on the other hand, the Gospel and spiritual speech are the inseparable forms of revelation for the believer who has attained to maturity; see note to John 16:25. Life in the Spirit is a life in the ever new Revelation, in the everlasting Gospel, Revelation 14:6.

10. [ John 16:26.] In the life of the faithful, Christ’s intercession coincides with the immediate prayer of the Holy Spirit within the heart ( Romans 8:25), in which latter prayer the manifestations of the Father’s love are announced.

11. [ John 16:28.] The one half of the life of Christ,—namely, His personal coming, as the Son of God, from the Father—is the key to the other half—His going, in divine glory, to the Father.

12. [ John 16:29-30.] The disciples, in obtaining from the Lord their first general view of His entire life and course, also experienced a foretaste of the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is the divine life in its central unity. Hence the first illumination touching the life of Christ and of all the divine manifestations in general, completed in the ascension, is the instrumentality for the reception of the Holy Ghost; as the anointing of the Holy Ghost is the instrumentality for the full, undivided view of the life of Jesus in its unity. The unit is needful and unity indispensable. This is so much a law of life, that always with the dismemberment of the patchwork of knowledge, life takes its departure, but with its centralization, life is evolved. For this cause, poly-history is an inanimate, true science a living, thing. For this cause, legality through ordinances is lost in death, while from central saving faith it develops an abundant life in God-like virtues. Even the pantheistic feeling of all-oneness (Alleinsgefühl) displays a rich shimmering of spirit; but a shimmering as false as pantheism itself, in its antagonism to personality. We do not doubt that the disciples had, in that moment, a glimpse of Pentecost.

13. This glimpse was, however, the last moment of their pre-Pentecostal enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the blossom of the new life—a blossom, in prophetic times, so gloriously unfolding in the prophetic word. But enthusiasm must first pass through mortal suffering, to the end that it may set into fruit, into fire-proof disposition of mind. Such trial, therefore, was now imminent even upon the disciples, according to John 16:32.

14. John 16:33. Christ’s peace in the faithful on earth, is heaven upon earth. They have this peace in Him; in the world they have anguish. What is yet wanting to the fulness of peace, shall be supplied by the courage and confidence inspired by the thought that He has overcome the world. Peace is made entire by cheerful confidence, as salvation through patience, Romans 8:26; see 1 John 5:4.

15. Christ alone, and yet not alone in His hour of suffering. See note to last clause of John 16:32.

16. The farewell-discourses of Jesus: discourses speaking peace, warning, consolation, victory. John 16:33.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

(On John 16:16-33.)

How heaven and earth are now through Christ already made one in reality, with a view to their one day becoming one in actual manifestation also.—The great word of the Lord: a little while; 1. A little while and ye shall not see Me; 2. a little while and ye see Me again.—How we, in company with the disciples, have to make a lifelong study of the words: a little while.—Alternation betwixt Good Friday and Easter periods: 1. In the life of Christ, 2. in that of the Church, 3. in that of the individual Christian, 4. in that of the whole present age of the world.—The history of the natural birth of Prayer of Manasseh, a symbol of the history of the higher life.—Christ, as the First-born from the dead, is the First-born for the kingdom of everlasting life.—The blossom of the highest heavens in the low, earthly world.—The brightest day ( John 16:23), preceded by the darkest hour ( John 16:32).—The Christian life as the joy of fresh seeing: 1. The seeing of Christ again, perfect joy; 2. perfect joy a pledge of all Christian Revelation -seeing, John 16:22.—And on that day: 1. Easter-day as Sunday, 2. Sunday as Easter-day.—The new and great God’s Day of the Resurrection: 1. One day as a thousand years; 2. a thousand years as one day.—How all our questioning and searching should terminate in faithful prayer, John 16:23.—Acceptable prayer, John 16:23-24.—Prayer in the name of Jesus.—The distinction of parabolic speech and spiritual speech: 1. In the word of Revelation 2. in the word of the Church; 3. in the ear of the Christian.—Tokens of salvation in fidelity to Jesus: 1. Prayer urged in His name guarantees us His intercession; 2. love to Him is our guaranty that the Father loves us; 3. the belief that He has come unto us from the Father is our guaranty that He has gone for us to the Father; 4. the word that He has spoken unto us is our guaranty that He will tell us all things.—The blissful moment of the disciples a foretoken of their darkest hour.—Even though the congregation be scattered, Christ standeth firm on the battle-ground.—Christ alone and not alone.—How Christ hath armed His people for their warfare, John 16:33.

The Christian’s peace in the tribulation of the world: 1. How the peace of Christ and tribulation in the world demand one another; 2. the peace of Christ a source of tribulation in the world; 3. tribulation in the world a token of the peace of Christ.—The peace of Christ as a victory over the tribulation in the world: 1. How, as peace in Christ, it calls forth tribulation in the world; 2. how, as peace through Christ, it inspires courage and cheerfulness, and exalts a man above the tribulation of the world.

On the Pericope Jubilate (Gospel for the Third Sunday after Easter), John 16:16-23. Christianity, as the highest vicissitude betwixt sorrow and joy, contrasted with the worldly life as the highest vicissitude of joy and sorrow.—The word of the Lord, a little while: 1. An enigma to the disciples ( John 16:16-19); 2. a prophetic type in the mouth of the Lord ( John 16:19-22); 3. a blissful contemplation and experience in the new life of the children of His Spirit.—The natal hour of the natural man a type of the natal hour of the kingdom of God: 1. Symbol of the woman; 2. symbol of the child.—Every human being a token of the change between sadness and joy in the kingdom of God: 1. With anguish expected and born; 2. jubilantly received and welcomed into life.—The winning of life from out the peril of death: 1. In the natural life; 2. in the spiritual life.—Out of supreme renunciation the fulfilment of all desires, John 16:23.—The weeping and lamenting of the godly,—how it is changed into filial entreaties, proffered with heavenly confidence.—In the way of Christ all lost, all gained.—The heaviest hour ( John 16:21), the womb of the most glorious day ( John 16:23).—The word of the Pericope: Be joyful!

On the Pericope Rogate (Gospel for the Fifth Sunday after Easter), John 16:23-30. The new life of the faithful in the day of salvation: 1. A new speaking of believers to the Lord (ask nothing, ask in the name of Jesus); 2. a new speaking of the Lord to believers (not through parables, but through the immediate word of the Spirit); 3. a new order of conversation (He anticipates all their questions with His answers).—The day of salvation: 1. A day of blissful silence in view of the revelation of Christ ( John 16:23); 2. a day of blissful prayer in view of the revelation of the Father ( John 16:26).—The new life a praying in the name of Jesus: 1. A new craving, in contemplating His heavenly personality, for the full manifestation of the personal kingdom; 2. a new praying, trusting in the victorious right of His personality; 3. a new striving in the strength emanating from His personality.—The old and the new order of things in the Kingdom of God: 1. A communion of disciples, a communion of apostles ( John 16:23); 2. a praying in general, an asking in His name; 3. an asking for the renunciation of all things; an asking for the granting of all things; 4. a parabolic word, a word of spirit and knowledge; 5. the consciousness of human love to the Lord, the consciousness of being divinely loved by the Father; 6. belief in the mission of Christ, belief in the life of Christ as perfected in the humiliation and exaltation.—How Christ’s discourse concerning the Pentecostal time procured for the disciples the first blissful ante-celebration of that Pentecostal time.—The word of the Pericope: Pray!

Starke: Of the disciples’ state of mourning and rejoicing.—Hedinger: Our tribulation is temporal, 2 Corinthians 4:17; Isaiah 54:7; Psalm 30:5.—Men are always desiring to know how it shall fare with them in the world; here they are informed: They shall experience a constant alternation of joy and sorrow.—Men often do not understand the best consolation, it being, for the most part, enveloped in what appears to them the greatest cross.—Cramer: It is a vexatious order of things in this world, that the godly weep, and the wicked laugh, believers mourn, and sinners rejoice, Job 21:7; Jeremiah 12:1; Psalm 73:3. But there shall follow a different alternation in which all will be reversed.—The best cometh last.—Woman is saved through child-bearing, if she abide in the faith, 1 Timothy 2:15—If the physical birth be so hard, what must the spiritual be!—O blissful pains, blessed labor! 2 Corinthians 12:10.—Worldly joy is unstable, and an evil hour sweepeth all away, but the joy of eternal life hath no end, 1 Peter 1:4.—On John 16:26. Teachers particularly, as also other Christians, must accommodate themselves to the weak as much as is possible, and deal with them according to their simplicity, if they desire that their labor should not be in vain among them.—Hedinger: God leads from one glory to another, until the face of Christ is fully uncovered.—There is still much of the knowledge of God, our heavenly Father, in arrears to us; but what we do not learn here, we shall certainly know in heaven.—As wine issues from grapes when they are pressed, and as spices, when bruised, give forth a powerful odor, so the tribulation of believers beareth glorious fruits, Ephesians 6:13.—Nowhere in the world is there rest for a child of God, but (everywhere) anguish only; in Christ, however, his Redeemer, he finds peace.

Lisco: The spiritual (and not simply spiritual) Revelation -seeing, i.e. the new spiritual fellowship with Jesus, is for His people the ground of an indestructible joy.—Gerlach: The death of Christ, with all its effects upon His people, was the birth-pain of the new man upon earth; from His death there issued forth a new mankind unto the resurrection.—The joy which at that time sprang up, was an imperishable one, for the new man was, through Christ’s resurrection, born forever, i.e. the redemption, with its infinite, eternal results, might not cease, but must grow into infinitude. The last words (ye shall ask me nothing) are to be understood similarly to Jeremiah 31:34. The condition upon which ye then, after the Holy Ghost has led you into the whole truth ( John 16:13), shall enter, sustains the same relation to your present one that the condition of a mature and intelligent man bears to that of a child, who must frame a separate question with regard to each thing, because he is ignorant of the centre and connection of the whole.—The whole, full meaning of the name of Jesus was first explained to them by His death and glorification.—In the filial relationship itself, the free love of the Father is sovereign, so that in that relationship we have free access to Him.—Braune: Jesus does not say: a child; He says,—that a man is born—a Prayer of Manasseh, still undeveloped, yet present, with all his hopeful powers, dispositions and destinies, in the child. The very pangs pierced the spring of out-gushing joy.—Tears are oft-times the dew-drops on the grass and the flower, by which names man is designated, Isaiah 40:7; Isaiah 26:17; Isaiah 66:7; Jeremiah 4:31.—Every affliction (religiously applied), is a birth, in which the new Prayer of Manasseh, or some gracious addition to the new Prayer of Manasseh, is born.—Where religion Isaiah, there is prayer; but as the one varies, so also does the other. In Homer the Priest is called a Pray-er.

Heubner: The application of this saying to parting and meeting is very obvious and almost worn out. But the saying is deeper. It is the key to the knowledge of divine Providence.—(In sooth, the highest meeting of blessed spirits in the kingdom of Christ has the most perfect depth and is a final aim of Providence.)—The words: “A little while,” contain much consolation for those who are in bodily distress, poverty, sickness,—for those who sorrow, etc.—The impatient Prayer of Manasseh, indeed, would fain object: that is no μικρό ν—it is a μακρόν—Why does God part good men?—Hear His word, 1. Thou mourner; 2. thou child of fortune; 3. thou presumptuous sinner, 4. thou faithful and godly Christian!—We should regard the thought of the future meeting not simply as a joyous one, but also as a thought full of solemnity and warning. For many a one the Revelation -seeing of others will be fearful.—Our spiritual life, also, is subject to vicissitudes. At one time we see Christ; at another we see Him not. The Christian’s art is patiently to wait.

John 16:17-18. God’s ways are often dark sayings to us also. The joy of the world is a brief joy, the suffering of the just is a brief suffering.—The recollection of sufferings endured out of love to, and for the sake of, God, is that which gives sanctity and dignity to joy.

John 16:21. This simile reveals the tender interest which Jesus felt in mother-woes and mother-joys. Hence it must be refreshing to sensitive and pious mothers. Jesus bestowed a glance upon them. (Veith.)—Worldly joy and the dead Christ; spiritual joy and the living Christ.—Vigorous pangs are an indication of vigorous births; it is so also in spiritual things.—(Fenneberg): The children of God have three kinds of birthdays: 1. The natural one. Then they weep; their kinsmen rejoice, 2. The new birth. Then, also, do they often weep piteously; the angels in heaven rejoice3. The day of death (celebrated among the martyrs in the ancient Church as a birth-day). Their end is not without tears and woe, but after that an eternal rejoicing begins.

Jubilate-Pericope. [ John 16:16-23.] Heubner: The grief of the Apostles at their separation from Jesus: 1. Description (source, effects). 2. Application.—The tender love of Jesus for His weak, mourning disciples.—Of prayer in Jesus’ name: No Christian prayer remains unheard.—Kant would not pray; but in his last hours he folded his hands. Spinoza could not pray, and wept because he could not.—Ability to pray is a sure indication of our own inner life, of our Christian condition. When we pray and learn to pray in Christ’s name, there begins a new period in our life.—Prayer makes the spirit serene.

John 16:25. (Luther): His words were dark and recondite to the disciples; it was as if He spoke with them in an unknown tongue; for as yet they had no experience of what He told them and knew not what sort of a kingdom Christ would establish. Hence, in accordance with the judgment of Jesus, an entirely new life-period must set in at such time as we begin to pray in Jesus’ name, nay, to call upon Himself.—In the same sense in which He now leaves the world—personally, therefore—He had come forth from God.

John 16:30. Now we know, etc. Whence did they know this? Because Jesus could thus read their hearts.

Rogate-Pericope. 23–30.] Heubner: Spirit of Christian prayer.—Close connection of our praying with our whole Christian piety,—Prayer the breath of spiritual life.—Doubts as to the blessing of prayer.—Causes of the non-hearing of prayer.—Prayer as the highest honor.

John 16:32. When thou art deserted of all, fear not, so God but be with thee.—Who stands with Christ, and cleaves to Him, takes part in His victory.

Gossner: The humble and ingenuous Prayer of Manasseh, failing to understand some passage in God’s word, asks and learns; the proud and disingenuous man takes occasion thereat to despise or reject that word.

John 16:19. Jesus advances to meet those who honestly desire truth and helps them out of their doubts. He anticipates their questions.—All is brought forth in anguish.—He Was taken from them then (at His ascension); not so joy, Luke 24:52.—Since that time they do ever see Him in spirit; He is at home with them; they are His house and His dwelling-place, John 14:23; Hebrews 3—There is a saying that people who have seen spectres are never glad any more, so long as they live. One who has seen Him can never grow sad. It is a privilege of God’s children to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name.—This promise: Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, etc., presupposes that our hearts and minds are in harmony with the Saviour.

John 16:27. Men, have such sorry thoughts about the Father, as if He were a hard Prayer of Manasseh, with whom a legion of intercessors must speak for us and constrain and compel Him, as it were. But the Son of the Father tells a very different tale about Him.

John 16:28. Thus must we too leave the world, if we would approach the Father.—His eternal outgoing, or birth from the Father, His coming and being born in the flesh as Prayer of Manasseh, His regeneration (birth of glorification)—by means of His death, resurrection and ascension—unto an everlasting, divine-human life in glory, are three births worthy of our wonder and admiration and constraining our worship.

Schleiermacher: The glorifying of the Lord forms part of the essential and imperishable work of the Holy Ghost.—The form of the Redeemer is set up for all ages in imperishable glory within the souls of the faithful, through the work of the Spirit whom He has poured out upon His Church.—The Father loveth you because, etc. The Father loveth us in the Son and will also be loved only in the Son.—I am not alone. He would comfort us with this truth,—that though we, from weakness, should leave Him alone, He yet is not alone, but His Father is with Him.—How could we derive comfort from the thought that the Lord has overcome the world, if we were not assured that He has overcome the world in our hearts.

Besser: The final aim of all God’s dealings with Christians, especially of all our experience in prayer, is this: “that our joy may be perfected.” Not seeing occasions sorrow, seeing occasions joy. It is a blessed thing that back of the little while of sorrowful not seeing, so soon over and gone, there lies a future of joyful seeing which shall never pass away.—The seeing again: The Pentecostal coming and seeing forms the central point, that of Easter is preparatory thereto, that of the last day is its completion.—And thus did the ancient Church understand the matter, for she has taken the Gospels for the four Sundays from Jubilate to Exaudi all out of the farewell-discourse in which Easter and Pentecost tones ring out together.—His speech is triply incomprehensible to them: in the first place, they know not what sort of a seeing shall succeed the not seeing; in the second place, they meditate fruitlessly upon the marvellous because (“because I go to the Father”) and are unable to lay hold on the glorious fruit of His departure; lastly and thirdly (this they purposely thrust forward as particularly enigmatical), the hasty alternation between seeing and not seeing, the little while, they regard as wonderful exceedingly.—The sigh of St. Bernard: O thou little, little while, how long thou art! And the still more ancient sigh of David: Lord, how long! ( Psalm 6:3; Psalm 13:1-2; Psalm 89:47).—We must have patience if we would arrive at the true Jubilate.— Psalm 30:11.— Isaiah 26:17-20.—In those forty hours of travail the disciples wept and wailed as if there were on earth none but sinners godlessly laughing in their sin and sinners helplessly weeping over their sin (Stier).—“There is none whom the heavenly Father calleth Benjamin (son of my right hand), whom the Church, his mother, hath not first called Benoni (son of my sorrows)” (J. Gerhard).— Revelation 12John 20:20, comp. with Luke 24:52.—A white sheet (carte blanche), says Spener, subscribed beneath with His holy name, to be filled in above by ourselves with our petitions.—“If I do not deserve that my prayer should be heard, nevertheless Christ, in whose name I offer the same, doth abundantly deserve a hearing.” (Luther).—If ever a request is denied us, it is because it is out of tune with the grand petition: Grant us but salvation.—“Whoso saith ‘Our Father,’ doth embrace in this one prayer the forgiveness of sins, justification, sanctification, redemption, sonship and heirship to God, brotherhood with the Only-begotten One, and the whole plenitude of the gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Chrysostom).

John 16:26-27. How should He not love those who become one with Him in the love of the Beloved?—“Threefold is the way which Christ trod for the salvation of the children of men: The way of love (from heaven to earth), the way of obedience (unto the death on the cross), the way of glory (return to the Father”).—J. Gerhard. (According to John 16:28, however, the way is a twofold one.)—Ye shall be scattered, Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31.—The Father is with me. John Huss comforted himself with this saying in his lonely dungeon.

John 16:33. It is the peace of Shiloh ( Genesis 49:9-10; Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 5:6), of the celestial Song of Solomon, Song of Solomon 8:10.—“Peace in Christ is that on which all Christian essence reposes. This peace shall have no end in time, but is itself the end of all our holy endeavors” (Augustine).—In order that we might have peace in Him, did the Lord speak these things. His word brings us peace.—Peace must triumph over anguish.—“’Tis won! ’Tis won! He crieth; danger and trouble are over. We need not struggle and war. All is done already. The world, death and the devil lie vanquished and prostrate; heaven, righteousness and life are victorious” (Luther).[FN36]

[Craven: From Augustine: John 16:16-22. The bringing forth is compared to sorrow, the birth to joy, which is especially true in the birth of a boy.—And your joy no man taketh from you: their joy is Christ.—Nor yet in this bringing forth of joy, are we entirely without joy to lighten our sorrow, but, as the Apostle saith, we rejoice in hope: for even the woman, to whom we are compared, rejoiceth more for her future offspring, than she sorrows for her present pain.

John 16:23. The word whatsoever, must not be understood to mean anything, but something which with reference to obtaining the life of blessedness is not nothing. That is not sought in the Saviour’s name, which is sought to the hindering of our salvation; for by, in My name, must be understood not the mere sound of the syllables, but that which is rightly signified by that sound. He who holds any notion concerning Christ, which should not be held, does not ask in His name. But he who thinks rightly of Him, asks in His name, and receives what he asks, if it be not against his eternal salvation: he receives when it is right he should receive; for some things are only denied at present in order to be granted at a more suitable time.

John 16:24. This full joy is not carnal, but spiritual, and it will be full when it is so great that nothing can be added to it.—And this is that full joy, than which nothing can be greater, viz. to enjoy God, the Trinity, in the image of Whom we are made.

John 16:26. At that day ye shall ask in My name: What shall we have to ask for in a future life, when all our desires shall be satisfied? Asking implies the want of something.

John 16:30. He asked questions of men not in order to learn Himself, but to teach them.

John 16:31. He reminds them of their weak tender age in respect of the inner man.

[From Chrysostom: John 16:21. He shows that sorrow brings forth joy, short sorrow infinite joy, by an example from nature; A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, etc.—By this example He also intimates that He loosens the chains of death, and creates men anew.

John 16:23. It was consolatory to them to hear of His resurrection, and how He came from God, and went to God: the one was a proof that their faith in Him was not vain; the other that they would still be under His protection.

[From Gregory: John 16:33. As if He said, Have Me within you to comfort you, because you will have the world without you.—From Bede: John 16:21. As a man is said to be born when he comes out of his mother’s womb into the light of day, so may he be said to be born who from out of the prison of the body, is raised to the light eternal.—From Alcuin: John 16:20. This speech of our Lord’s is applicable to all believers who strive through present tears and afflictions to attain to the joys eternal. While the righteous weep, the world rejoiceth; for having no hope of the joys to come, all its delight is in the present.

John 16:21. The woman is the holy Church, who is fruitful in good works, and brings forth spiritual children unto God.—As a woman rejoiceth when a man is born into the world, so the Church is filled with exultation when the faithful are born into life eternal.—From Theophylact: John 16:24. For when your prayers shall be fully answered, then will your gladness be greatest.

John 16:27. The Father loves you, because ye have loved Me; when therefore ye fall from My love, ye will straightway fall from the Father’s love.

[From Burkitt: John 16:16-22. How unreasonable it is to arrogate to man’s understanding a power to comprehend spiritual mysteries, yea, to understand the plainest truths, till Christ enlightens the understanding.

John 16:20. The different effects which Christ’s absence should have upon the world, and upon His disciples.

John 16:22. The joy of the saints may be interrupted, it shall never be totally extinguished.

John 16:28. To pray in the name of Christ, Isaiah, 1. To look up to Christ, as having purchased for us this privilege; 2. To pray in the strength of Christ, by the assistance of His grace, and the help of His Spirit; 3. To pray by faith in the virtue of Christ’s mediation and intercession.

John 16:25. The clearest truths will be but dark mysteries, even to disciples themselves, till the Holy Spirit enlightens their understandings.

John 16:30. The knowledge and experience of Christ’s omniscience, may and ought fully to confirm us in the belief of His Deity.

John 16:32. God was with Christ, and will be with Christians in a suffering hour, in His essential presence, in His gracious and supporting presence.

John 16:33. Hence learn, 1. That the disciples of Christ in this world must expect and look for trouble; 2. The remedy provided by Christ against this malady: In Me ye shall have peace. Christ’s blood has purchased peace for them, His word has promised it to them, and His Spirit seals it up to their souls.—I have overcome the world, I have taken the sting out of every cross, the venom out of every arrow.

[From M. Henry: John 16:16. It is good to consider how near to a period our seasons of grace are, that we may be quickened to improve them while they are continued.—The Spirit’s coming was Christ’s visit to His disciples, not a transient, but a permanent one, and such a visit as abundantly retrieved the sight of Him.—Thus we may say of our ministers and Christian friends, Yet a little while, and we shall not see them. It is but a good night to them whom we hope to see with joy in the morning.

John 16:18. The darkness of ignorance and the darkness of melancholy commonly increase and thicken one another; mistakes cause griefs, and then griefs confirm mistakes.—Though we cannot fully solve every difficulty we meet with in scripture, yet we must not therefore throw it by, but revolve what we cannot explain, and wait till God shall reveal even this unto us.

John 16:19. The knots we cannot untie, we must bring to Him who alone can give an understanding.—Christ takes cognizance of pious desires, though they be not as yet offered up.—This intimates to us who they are that Christ will teach: 1. The humble that confess their ignorance2. The diligent that use the means they have.

John 16:20. Believers have joy or sorrow, according as they have or have not a sight of Christ.—The disciples were sorrowful and yet always rejoicing ( 2 Corinthians 6:10); had sorrowful lives, and yet joyful hearts.

John 16:21-22. Applicable to all the faithful followers of the Lamb, and describes the common case of Christians—1. Their condition and disposition are both mournful; sorrows are their lot, and seriousness is their temper2. The world, at the same time, goes away with all the mirth3. Spiritual mourning will shortly be turned into eternal rejoicing.—The sorrows of Christ’s disciples in this world are like travailing pains, sure and sharp, but not to last long, and in Order to a joyful product.—Christ’s withdrawings are just cause of grief to His disciples. When the sun sets, the sunflower will hang the head.—Three things recommend the joy: 1. The cause of it; I will see you again. 2. The cordialness of it; Your heart shall rejoice. 3. The continuance of it; Your joy no man taketh from you.—Note—1. Christ will graciously return to those that wait for Him, though for a small moment He has seemed to forsake them, Isaiah 54:7. 2. Christ’s returns are returns of joy to all His disciples.—Joy in the heart is solid, secret, sweet, sure.

John 16:23-27. An answer to their askings is here promised, for their further comfort. Now there are two ways of asking, asking by way of inquiry, that is the asking of the ignorant; and asking by way of request, and that is the asking of the indigent. Christ here speaks of both—1. By way of inquiry, they should not need to ask2. By way of request, they should ask nothing in vain.—The promise itself is incomparably rich and sweet; the golden sceptre is here held out to us, with this word, What is thy petition, and it shall be granted?—We are here taught how to seek; we must ask the Father in Christ’s name.—Perfect fruition is reserved for the land of our rest; asking and receiving are the comfort of the land of our pilgrimage.

John 16:24. Here is an invitation to them to petition. It is thought sufficient if great men permit addresses, but Christ calls upon us to petition.

John 16:26-27. Here are the grounds upon which they might hope to speed, which are summed up in short by the Apostle ( 1 John 2:1). We have an Advocate with the Father—1. We have an Advocate; 2. We have to do with a Father.

John 16:27. The character of Christ’s disciples; they love Him, because they believe He came out from God.—See what advantage Christ’s faithful disciples have,—the Father loves them, and that because they love Christ.—Believers, who love Christ, ought to know that God loves them, and therefore to come boldly to Him as children to a loving Father.

John 16:28-33. Two things Christ here comforts His disciples with: 1. An assurance that, though Ho was leaving the world, He was returning to His Father; 2. A promise of peace in Him, by virtue of His victory over the world.

John 16:29-30. Two things they improved in by this saying ( John 16:28): 1. In knowledge, Lo, now Thou speakest plainly; 2. In faith, Now we are sure.—When Christ is pleased to speak plainly to our souls, and to bring us with open face to behold His glory, we have reason to rejoice in it.—Observe—1. The matter of their faith; We believe that Thou camest forth from God; 2. The motive of their faith—His omniscience.—Those know Christ best, that know Him by experience.—These words, and needest not that any man should ask Thee, may speak either: 1. Christ’s aptness to teach; or, 2. His ability to teach.—The best of teachers can only answer what is spoken, but Christ can answer what is thought.

John 16:31-32. As far as there is inconstancy in our faith, there is cause to question the sincerity of it, and to ask, “Do we indeed believe?”

John 16:32. Many a good cause, when it is distressed by its enemies, is deserted by its friends.—If we at any time find our friends unkind to us, let us remember that Christ’s were so to Him.—Those will not dare to suffer for their religion, that seek their own things more than the things of Christ.—Even then, when we are taking the comfort of our graces, it is good to be reminded of our danger from our corruptions.—A little time may produce great changes, both concerning us and in us.—Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. A privilege common to all believers, by virtue of their union with Christ—1. When solitude is their choice; 2. When solitude is their affliction.—While we have God’s favorable presence with us, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all the world forsake us.

John 16:33. It has been the lot of Christ’s disciples to have more or less tribulation in this world. Men persecute them because they are so good, and God corrects them because they are no better.—In the midst of the tribulations of this world, it is the duty and interest of Christ’s disciples to be of good cheer.—Never was there such a conqueror of the world as Christ was, and we ought to be encouraged by it; 1. Because Christ has overcome the world before us; 2. He has conquered it for us, as the Captain of our salvation.

[From A Plain Commentary (Oxford): John 16:16. He shows that on His departure depended His mysterious presence.

John 16:29-30. Faith admits of degrees; and one of the periods is here marked when the disciples made a clear advance in this heavenly grace.

John 16:33. It was not the object of the present Divine Discourse to gratify curiosity, or to solve doubts (for that was reserved for the Holy Ghost); but to administer heavenly consolation.

[From Stier: John 16:16-24. There Isaiah, as for Himself the breaking through death into life, so for the disciples a deeply penetrating, fundamental change from sorrow to joy.—As this way of the disciples through sorrow to joy between the cross and the resurrection of our Lord was already for themselves something preparatory and typical, it becomes to us a type of the way which all His future disciples have also to pass through;—a way through that godly sorrow which at first distinguishes them fully from the world, into the joy of faith, and life in the Holy Ghost.

John 16:20. This rejoicing of the world is the keenest sword to weakness and unbelief, as well as to the true dependence of the sorrowful disciples trusting in God ( Psalm 42:10).—The sorrow is itself to become joy; it is not merely to be lost in, or exchanged for, joy, but the subject and ground of the sorrow becomes the subject and ground of the joy. The cross of our Lord is glorified into an eternal consolation; out of the sorrow at the cross and the sepulchre, because in it there was the believing and loving seeking of the Crucified, is born their joy in the Living, Risen One.—Those who weep, bear already the precious seed which rises again into sheaves of joy—“on the flood of tears we float out of ruin.”

John 16:21. Under the cross of their Lord the disciples learned to sorrow for sin, as they had never been taught before. They saw and they tasted with Christ, as far as in them lay, the sin of the world, and they saw, moreover, their own sin in it.—The way from sorrow to joy was to the first disciples as the pangs of birth for the outburst of resurrection-gladness. None of us appropriates, in true personal experience, the joy of Easter and Pentecost until the passion-sorrow has first prepared the way.

John 16:22. “One feast followed another after the passion, in which they had Sorrow: at the resurrection He saw them again, but (we would add) they saw not Him yet in full clearness, they had not their full joy through fear of the Jews; first at the ascension, when they saw Him go to the Father (βλεπό νων αὐτῶν, Acts 1:9), their hearts rejoiced; but this also would have vanished as a beautiful dream if the Comforter had not assured them at Pentecost that no man should take from them their joy.” (Beck.)—The last fulfilment of this promise reaches forward to the end of the church’s victory, and this joy of the heart is the contrast of the world’s joy turned into mourning ( Isaiah 45:13-14).—The world which, with or without Christ, would evade the thought of sin and death, the deepest ground of all sorrow, can secure its joy only by the dissipation of its inmost nature, and by becoming deaf to its voice. Therefore its joy is loud, while yet silent joy is alone genuine and profound.—The world is satisfied without satisfaction.—We lose not the heart’s peace in the midst of all the tribulation which may befall.—The root and principle and strength of their joy cannot be touched, however afflictions may come.—The child bearing woman is (further) the Church through the Spirit within her.—As the sum of all: Every disciple of Jesus through his entire life, the Church of Christ as a whole down to the end of the days, learns and experiences in the cross of Christ that true sorrow which genders joy, receives and enjoys this as the fruit of the resurrection and Pentecost in a progressive measure ever approaching perfection—until the great Day dawns, which will be followed by no night. John 16:23. In the eternal glory, which will be the final issue of all temporal adversity, all our past doubts will be solved, all our complaints silenced, and all our questioning answered for ever.

John 16:23-24. Now, in the bright hope of that great day, ask and pray as ye have never done before!—As in the Old Testament way of holiness the problem had ever been to learn better how to pray, so also we have in the practice of prayer in the name of Jesus the only way of progress toward perfect holiness, knowledge and joy of heart. All the discourses, exhortations, encouragements of our Lord, find their ultimate aim in directing us to perfect prayer.—Ask, so shall ye receive! Many, alas, who only half pray, and do not urge their knocking even to pressing in, cannot afterward receive even what they have prayed for! But persistent prayer “obtains for me the blessing that I can receive, and appropriates that which the Father gives,—actually obtains the hand which enables me to lay hold of and receive the heavenly gifts.” (Rieger.)

John 16:26. The state of perfection which knows no need is not yet; there is still the asking, and yet it is the same day. We seal every prayer with a doxology reaching forth, in confident and tranquil trust, toward the future eternity; and thus it is already the same day in the light of which we ask and receive the answer.

John 16:27. This word most decisively overturns that false notion concerning the redemption which attributes to the Father a wrath which is to be extinguished, and not also that reconciling love which from eternity needed not first to be propitiated.—Christians who believe, to whom Christ has revealed this in all its clearness, cannot too often be reminded of this; “think not too little of the love wherewith ye are loved!” Not merely has the Father Himself already loved them as He loves all the world and every creature, but He loves them with that especial love which He bears to those in whom He finds Christ’s word, and through faith in it Christ Himself, who stand before Him clothed in the garment of the righteousness of His Son.

John 16:28. To what end did He come into the world, but to become the Saviour of sinners? Again, to what end and in what way does He return to the Father, but that He may accomplish eternal redemption through death, and diffuse from on high the fruits of His redeeming work?

John 16:31-32. It is true that ye do believe, but how soon will my passion make manifest your real and great weakness!

John 16:32. “Whosoever well ponders this, will hold firm his faith though the world shake, nor will the defection of all others overturn his confidence; we do not render God His full honor, unless He alone is felt to be sufficient to us.” (Calvin.)

John 16:33. In these last words He “condenses the sum of the instruction which He had ministered to the disciples at the last supper.” (Nitzsch.)—Tribulation is certainly not alone “the violence and enmity of the world, which causes grief and anxiety to the disciples.” For all this would not interrupt our peace, if the persecution did not meet with and excite weakness of faith, and the temptation sinful desire, in us. We must call to mind the θλίψις of the woman in child-birth, a tribulation from within and of herself.—Who is he, where is there one, that overcometh the world, except he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? “In Him all overcome who rejoice to be the world overcome by Him.” (Nitzsch).

[From Barnes: John 16:20. The apparent triumphs of the wicked, though they may produce grief at present in the minds of Christians, will be yet overruled for their good.

John 16:31. When we feel strong in the faith, we should examine ourselves. It may be that we are deceived; and it may be that God may even then be preparing trials for us that will shake our faith to its foundation.

John 16:32. Pain is alleviated, and suffering made more tolerable by the presence and sympathy of friends; He died forsaken.—It matters little who else forsakes us, if God be with us in the hour of pain and of death.—The Christian can die, saying, I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

John 16:33. The world is a vanquished enemy. Satan is an humbled foe. And all that believers have to do is to put their trust in the Captain of their salvation, putting on the whole armor of God.—From Owen: John 16:30. There was doubtless much darkness and error in their mind, much unbelief and sin yet to be eradicated from their heart; but yet their words were sincere, their love deep and tender, and their faith, imperfect as it was compared with its power after their baptism of the Spirit, embraced all His declaration.

John 16:32. God the Father did not leave His beloved Son to enter alone upon His great redemptive work, but was with Him through all the scenes of His bitter agony. [The Father was ever with the Son; but was not His presence hidden from the consciousness of Jesus in the last hour, when He exclaimed, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?—E. R. C.]. John 16:33. Here is the ground of all faith, confidence, and hope; only as the soul rests in Jesus, can it attain to that spiritual peace which is the foretaste of blessedness above.]

Footnotes:

FN#36 - Here follow a number of themes for sermons, which are omitted.—P. S.]

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/john-16.html. 1857-84.

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

All that the Lord spoke on that memorable night was intended for the preparation of His disciples for what would face them in view of His death, resurrection and return to the glory. There would be stern tests for them such as they had not yet seen, and He prepares them that they should not be stumbled and faint under the trial. They would be put out of the synagogues (v.2), just as had the man recovered from blindness (John 9:34), a dreadful experience for a Jew, for this meant rejection by his own people. More than this, there would be those who considered that they were really serving God by the murder of believers. Saul of Tarsus is one example of this perverse attitude (1 Timothy 1:13).

But let believers not be embittered or discouraged by such persecution, for it stemmed from ignorance, not merely ignorance of certain principles, but of the Father and the Son personally (v.3). The Lord was forewarning them in order that, when these things occurred, they would remember His perfect wisdom as being really in control of all that transpired. What calmness and rest this would give in the face of such tribulation!

It had not been necessary at the beginning of His ministry to speak to them of these things, for He Himself had been their support in person. Now He was returning to the Father: they would be left to be tested without His personal presence to sustain them: therefore His word was of vital importance. But He says, "none of you asks Me, Where are You going?" (v.5). This may seem a contradiction of John 13:36, but in that case Peter's interest was not really awakened at all in reference to the Father's presence, of which the Lord spoke. The Lord had sought many times to exercise them as to what it meant that He was going to Him who had sent Him, but they had not sufficient concern to enquire about this. They thought only of a mere location.

If they had realized that His return to the Father's presence would be pure joy and bliss to Him, this should have given them joy too; but instead sorrow had filled their heart. Yet His leaving was profitable even for them. He insists that in this He is telling them the truth, for they were dull of hearing. He must go away in order that the Comforter, the Spirit of God, would come (v.7). For the Spirit's coming to dwell in the Church is the result of redemption accomplished and Christ raised and glorified at the Father's right hand. Only then would He send the Spirit to them.

The profit of this is wonderful. Christ in bodily form could be present only in one place at any time. The Spirit has indwelt every believer of the present age the world over, providing inward grace and strength for all. Moreover, this inward power gives understanding of the word of God such as they could not have before. Also, the saints have now an Intercessor within them and one above them, Christ in glory. All this would stimulate within them the vital exercise of faith.

Having come, the Spirit would present to the world a clear demonstration as to the serious facts of sin, righteousness and judgment, facts that the would would rather ignore, but which God requires to be faced (v.8). First, sin is demonstrated by the fact that the world does not believe in Christ. For Christ is the Son of God, the Creator: refusal of Him is dreadful sin. The names of men generally are not treated with contempt, as His is. Sin is the plain reason for this. But if sin exists, so does righteousness, and righteousness is demonstrated by the fact that, though man has crucified the Son of God, yet God has raised Him from among the dead, and He is received at the Father's right hand (v.10). Righteousness has triumphed and vindicated Him whom sin had slain. So the Spirit of God directs attention to Christ glorified in order to demonstrate to man the fact of righteousness.

Moreover, if there is such a thing as sin and such a thing as righteousness, then there must be such a thing as judgment. This is demonstrated by the fact that Satan, the prince of this world, has been judged by Christ's triumphant death and resurrection (Compare chapter 13:31). This judgment is now accomplished, not that which is future. To this the Spirit of God bears witness, He Himself being the power by which believers present this present-day demonstration to the world. It is good to pay close attention to these things if we are to be in the current of the Spirit's present work in testimony to the world.

But the Lord could not tell the disciples all that He desired them to know: they were not at that time able for it (v.12). He must first suffer and die, and be raised again, and the Spirit of God be sent to indwell them. It was He, the Spirit of truth, who would guide them into all truth. Also, just as Christ had not spoken from Himself, that is, independently, so is this true of the Spirit. He is in perfect concord with the Father and the Son. As Christ had heard from the Father, so He spoke. Just so, the Spirit speaks as He hears, and He would reveal, not only things for the dispensation of grace, but things to come, which certainly includes the rapture and what the book of Revelation declares.

As Christ had glorified the Father, so the Spirit today glorifies Christ: He is the special Object of the Spirit's testimony (v.14). The Spirit receives of all that belongs to the Son and reveals this to believers. Also, all that the Father has belongs to the Son. Compare Genesis 24:2, the servant of Abraham's house ruling over all that Abraham had. This is typical of the Spirit of God, Abraham being a type of God the Father. Verse 36 adds that unto Isaac (type of Christ) Abraham had given all that he had. The unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is again clearly emphasized here. The work of the Spirit will certainly lead to deepest reverence toward the Father and the Son.

THE MINISTRY OF OBJECTIVE POWER - CHRIST IN GLORY

(vs.16-32)

We have seen in the first part of this chapter the subjective (inward) power given to believers in their having the Spirit of God. In this latter part of the chapter our attention is focused on Christ in glory, who is the objective power to enable us for meeting whatever needs may arise. As an illustration of this, though Stephen, when he bore witness before the Jewish council, was filled with the Holy Spirit, yet this was not his object (Acts 7:5-56). Because Christ was his Object in glory, this imbued him with the living energy of faith. Thus, the Spirit worked in conjunction with Stephen's appreciation of Christ.

For a little while now they would see the Lord Jesus. He speaks of His being in death, when they would leap and lament. but again they would see him, for He was going to the Father, which involved His resurrection and ascension in bodily form. Note however that at this time He does not say that again they would not see Him. For their seeing Him in resurrection would give them fully opened eyes, to see Him by faith at God's right hand. Compare John 14:19 and Hebrews 2:9.

But they are perplexed by His words (v.17). How little could they understand at the time! When this had taken place, however; and the Spirit given at Pentecost, His words surely would come back to them in precious reality. Yet at the time they were reticent to ask Him, though desirous to do so. So He gently asks as to their inquiring among themselves, and seeks further to prepare them for the ordeal of their seeing Him taken by wicked hands and crucified (v.20). Though He had told them this before, they had not taken it in. Compare Luke 9:21-22; Luke 9:44-45.

Now He tells them only that they would weep and lament while the world would rejoice. This of course would be at the time of their not seeing Him. "But," He hastens to add, "your sorrow shall be turned into joy." His illustration of the travailing of a mother in childbirth is lovely (v.21). The pain and sorrow must come before the joy. How wonderful though that the Lord speaks here of the sorrow of His disciples, not at all of His own sorrow, which in fact was infinitely deeper than theirs. In the face of all that He knew lay before Him, He occupied Himself in tender grace on behalf of them in their sorrow This is pure, unaffected love. He encourages them in the knowledge that the result of the travail in birth of a child is such joy that the sorrow is forgotten.

They now had sorrow in being told He would leave them. Of course that sorrow would increase greatly in their witnessing the dread experience of His crucifixion. But He would see them again in resurrection and bring great joy to their hearts such as none could ever take away (v.22). This was true though He Himself would then leave them to return to His Father. For His seeing them implies a nearness continued throughout this dispensation of grace, by the power of the Spirit of God.

They would no longer have Him present to bring to Him their concerns and requests, but He tells them to ask the Father in His name, insisting that the Father will definitely answer such prayer (vs.23-24). We must remember, of course, that this does not mean merely the formal expression in prayer, "in Christ's name," but rather if truly in His name, our prayers will be consistent with all that His name implies, therefore in true subjection to His authority.

While He was with them, they of course had not asked in His name: now they are encouraged to find such delight in that name that they ask with firm, holy confidence for that which will honor that name. In this their joy would be full.

He had used a parabolic form of speaking, for they could not have in any measure understood if He had spoken in abstract terms as to the Father and matters of spiritual import (v.25). No doubt their understanding of the significance of His parables was very limited, but they were intended to awaken exercise that would eventually have its answer when the Spirit of God should come. By the Spirit the Lord would then show them plainly of the Father, for it is only by spiritual means that spiritual things are properly communicated (1 Corinthians 2:13).

Christ being then personally absent, they would ask in His name. He does not mean that He would be the Mediator in their asking, but rather that they would have direct access to the Father in His name. For He encourages their confidence in the Father's love for them. He does not want them to feel that He Himself is more accessible than is the Father. He has revealed the Father, whose love is certainly the same as His own, and who loves them because of their faith and love toward His Son.

In verse 28 He speaks, as they themselves say, "plainly." Proceeding from the Father, He had come into the world: now He would leave the world and return to the Father. While there is no doubt as to the simplicity of His words, as they acknowledge, yet how little did they take them in! When He actually was taken and crucified, they were so unprepared as to be utterly crushed and uncomprehending.

Yet they confess their certainty that He knows all things, and that His greatness is therefore beyond all questioning of men. This can be true of none but God, and they at least acknowledge that they know He had come from God (v.30). It is precious that their faith went beyond the limits of their understanding, for it is evident that they were far from understanding the significance of all that was involved in the Lord's words.

The Lord asks the disciples, "Do you now believe?" For they little understood all that was involved in His words. Is He really God manifest in flesh? If so, then nothing could possibly defeat His wisdom and purpose. He is to be absolutely depended upon. But He says that the hour was upon them that they would scatter from Him, each in his own independent direction, leaving Him, the Son of God, alone! Which of us would have been any different? How sadly weak is the faith we profess!

"Yet," He adds, "I am not alone, because the Father is with Me" (v.32). When the test came they would all fail, but in the Father and the Son all faithfulness and stability remained unshaken. The prince of this world could find nothing in Him, no slightest proclivity to yielding to temptation. This too was the basis of their peace. Though in themselves was weakness and confusion, yet in Him they had peace (v.33). Blessed resting place for faith! Though in the world they could expect persecution, He exhorts them to be of good cheer, for He (not they) had overcome the world. Confidence was to be, not in themselves, but fully in Him.

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Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on John 16:32". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/john-16.html. 1897-1910.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

John

GLAD CONFESSION AND SAD WARNING

John 16:29 - John 16:32.

The first words of these wonderful discourses were, ‘Let not your heart be troubled.’ They struck the key-note of the whole. The aim of all was to bring peace and confidence unto the disciples’ spirits. And this joyful burst of confession which wells up so spontaneously and irrepressibly from their hearts, shows that the aim has been reached. For a moment sorrow, bewilderment, dullness of apprehension, had all passed away, and the foolish questioners and non-receptive listeners had been lifted into a higher region, and possessed insight, courage, confidence. The last sublime utterance of our Lord had gathered all the scattered rays into a beam so bright that the blindest could not but see, and the coldest could not but be warmed.

But yet the calm, clear eye of Christ sees something not wholly satisfactory in this outpouring of the disciples’ confidence. He does not reject their imperfect faith, but He warns them, as if seeing the impending hour of denial which was so terribly to contradict the rapture of that moment. And then, with most pathetic suddenness, He passes from them to Himself; and in a singularly blended utterance lets us get a glimpse into His deep solitude and the companions that shared it.

My words now make no attempt at anything more than is involved in following the course of thought in the words before us.

I. Note the disciples’ joyful confession.

Their words are permeated throughout with allusions to the previous promises and sayings of our Lord, and the very allusions show how shallow was their understanding of what they thought so plain. He had said to them that, in that coming day which was so near its dawn, He would speak to them ‘no more in proverbs, but show them plainly of the Father’; and they answer, with a kind of rapture of astonishment, that the promised day has come already, and that even now He is speaking to them ‘plainly,’ and without mysterious sayings. Did they understand His words when they thought them so plain? ‘I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world? Again I leave the world and go unto the Father,’ that summary statement of the central mysteries of Christianity, which the generations have found to be inexhaustible, and which to so many minds has been absolutely incredible, seemed to the shallow apprehension of these disciples to be sun-clear. If they had understood what He meant, could they have spoken thus, or have left Him so soon?

They begin with what they believed to be a fact, His clear utterance. Then follows a conviction which has allusion to His previous words. ‘Now’, say they, ‘we know that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee.’ He had said to them, ‘In that day ye shall ask Me nothing’; and from the fact that he had interpreted their unspoken words, and had anticipated their desire to ask what they durst not ask, they draw, and rightly draw, the conclusion of His divine Omniscience. They think that therein, in His answer to their question before it is asked, is the fulfilment of that great promise. Was that all that He meant? Certainly not. Did He merely mean to say, ‘You will ask Me nothing, because I shall know what you want to know, without your asking’? No! But He meant, ‘Ye shall ask Me nothing, because in that day you will have with you an illuminating Spirit who will solve all your difficulties.’ So, again, a shallow interpretation empties the words which they accept of their deepest and most precious meaning.

And then they take yet a further step. First, they begin with a fact; then from that they infer a conviction; and now, upon the basis of the inferred conviction, they rear a faith, ‘We believe that Thou camest forth from God.’ But what they meant by ‘coming forth from God’ fell far short of the greatness of what He meant by the declaration, and they stand, in this final, articulate confession of their faith, but a little in advance of Nicodemus the Rabbi, and behind Peter the Apostle when he said: ‘Thou art the Son of the living God.’

So their confession is a strangely mingled warp and woof of insight and of ignorance. And they may stand for us both as examples to teach us what we ought to be, and as beacons teaching us what we should not be.

Let me note just one or two lessons drawn from the disciples’ demeanour and confession.

The first remark that I would make is that here we learn what it is that gives life to a creed-experience. These men had, over and over again, in our Lord’s earlier utterances, heard the declaration that ‘He came forth from God’; and in a sort of fashion they believed it. But, as so many of our convictions do, it lay dormant and half dead in their souls. But now, rightly or wrongly, experience had brought them into contact, as they thought, with a manifest proof of His divine Omniscience, and the torpid conviction flashed all up at once into vitality. The smouldering fire of a mere piece of abstract belief was kindled at once into a glow that shed warmth through their whole hearts; and although they had professed to believe long ago that He came from God, now, for the first time, they grasp it as a living reality. Why? Because experience had taught it to them. It is the only teacher that teaches us the articles of our creed in a way worth learning them. Every one of us carries professed beliefs, which lie there inoperative, bedridden, in the hospital and dormitory of our souls, until some great necessity or sudden circumstance comes that flings a beam of light upon them, and then they start and waken. We do not know the use of the sword until we are in battle. Until the shipwreck comes, no man puts on the lifebelt in his cabin. Every one of as has large tracts of Christian truth which we think we most surely believe, but which need experience to quicken them, and need us to grow up into the possession of them. Of all our teachers who turn beliefs assented to into beliefs really believed none is so mighty as Sorrow; for that makes a man lay a firm hold on the deep things of God’s Word.

Then another lesson that I draw from this glad confession is-the bold avowal that always accompanies certitude. These men’s stammering tongues are loosed. They have a fact to base themselves upon. They have a piece of assured knowledge inferred from the fact. They have a faith built upon the certitude of what they know. Having this, out it all comes in a gush. No man that believes with all his heart can help speaking. You silent Christians are so, because you do not more than half grasp the truth that you say you hold. ‘Thy word, when shut up in my bones, was like a fire’; and it ate its way through all the dead matter that enclosed it, until at last it flamed out heaven high. Can you say, ‘We know and we believe,’ with unfaltering confidence? Not ‘we argue’; not ‘we humbly venture to think that on the whole’; not ‘we are inclined rather to believe’; but ‘we know-that Thou knowest all things, and that Thou hast come from God.’ Seek for that blessed certitude of knowledge, based upon the facts of individual experience, which ‘makes the tongue of the dumb sing,’ and changes all the deadness of an outward profession of Christianity into a living, rejoicing power.

Then, further, I draw this lesson. Take care of indolently supposing that you understand the depths of God’s truth. These Apostles fancied that they had grasped the whole meaning of the Master’s words, and were glad in them. They fed on them, and got something out of them; but how far they were from the true perception of their meaning! This generation abhors mystery, and demands that the deepest truths of the highest subject, which is religion, shall be so broken down into mincemeat that the ‘man in the street’ can understand them in the intervals of reading the newspaper. There are only too many of us who are disposed to grasp at the most superficial interpretation of Christian truth, and lazily to rest ourselves in that. A creed which has no depth in it is like a picture which has no distance. It is flat and unnatural, and self-condemned by the very fact. It is better that we should feel that the smallest word that comes from God is like some little leaf of a water plant on the surface of a pond; if you lift that you draw a whole trail after it, and nobody knows how far off and how deep down are the roots. It is better that we should feel how Infinity and Eternity press in upon us on all sides, and should take as ours the temper that recognises that till the end we are but learners, seeing ‘in a glass, in a riddle,’ and therefore patiently waiting for light and strenuously striving to stretch our souls to the width of the infinite truth of God.

II. So, then, look, in the second place, at the sad questions and forebodings of the Master.

‘Do ye now believe?’ That does not cast doubt on the reality of their faith so much as on its permanence and power. ‘Behold the hour cometh that ye shall be scattered’-as He had told them a little while before in the upper room, like a flock when the shepherd is stricken down-’every man to his own.’ He does not reject their imperfect homage, though He discerns so clearly its imperfection and its transiency, but sadly warns them to beware of the fleeting nature of their present emotion; and would seek to prepare them, by the knowledge, for the terrible storm that is going to break upon them.

So let us learn two or three simple lessons. One is that the dear Lord accepts imperfect surrender, ignorant faith and love, of which He knows that it will soon turn to denial. Oh! if He did not, what would become of us all? We reject half hearts; we will not have a friendship on which we cannot rely. The sweetness of vows is all sucked out of them to our apprehension, if we have reason to believe that they will be falsified in an hour. But the patient Master was willing to put up with what you and I will not put up with; and to accept what we reject; and be pleased that they gave Him even that. His ‘charity suffereth long, and is kind.’ Let us not be afraid to bring even imperfect consecration-

‘A little faith all undisproved’-

to His merciful feet.

Then another lesson is the need for Christian men sedulously to search and make sure that their inward life corresponds with their words and professions. I wonder how many thousands of people will stand up this day and say, ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His only Son,’ whose words would stick in their throats if that question of the Master’s was put to them, ‘Do ye now believe?’ And I wonder how many of us are the fools of our own verbal acknowledgments of Christ. Self-examination is not altogether a wholesome exercise, and it may easily be carried too far, to the destruction of the spontaneity and the gladness of the Christian life. A man may set his pulse going irregularly by simply concentrating his attention upon it, and there may be self-examination of the wrong sort, which does harm rather than good. But, on the other hand, we all need to verify our position, lest our outward life should fatally slip away from correspondence with our inward. Our words and acts of Christian profession and service are like bank notes. What will be the end if there is a whole ream of such going up and down the world, and no balance of bullion in the cellars to meet them? Nothing but bankruptcy. Do you see to it that your reserve of gold, deep down in your hearts, always leaves a margin beyond the notes in circulation issued by you. And in the midst of your professions hear the Master saying, ‘Do ye now believe?’

Another lesson that I draw is, trust no emotions, no religious experiences, but only Him to whom they turn.

These men were perfectly sincere, and there was a glow of gladness in their hearts, and a real though imperfect faith when they spoke. In an hours time where were they?

We often deal far too hard measure to these poor disciples, in our estimate of their conduct at that critical moment. We talk about them as cowards. Well, they were better and they were worse than cowards; for their courage failed second, but their faith had failed first. The Cross made them dastards because it destroyed their confidence in Jesus Christ.

‘We trusted.’ Ah! what a world of sorrow there is in those two final letters of that word! ‘We trusted that it had been He who should have redeemed Israel.’ But they do not trust it any more, and so why should they put themselves in peril for One on whom their faith can no longer build?

Would we have been any better if we had been there? Suppose you had stood afar off and seen Jesus die on the cross, would your faith have lived? Do we not know what it is to be a great deal more exuberant in our professions of faith-and real faith it is, no doubt-in some quiet hour when we are with Him by ourselves, than when swords are flashing and we are in the presence of His antagonists? Do we not know what it is to grasp conviction at one moment, and the next to find it gone like a handful of mist from our clutch? Is our Christian life always lived upon one high uniform level? Have we no experience of hours of exhaustion coming after deep religious emotion? ‘Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone’; there will not be many stones flung if that law be applied. Let us all, recognising our own weakness, trust to nothing, either in our convictions or our emotions, but only to Him, and cry, ‘Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe!’

III. Lastly, note the lonely Christ and His companion.

‘Ye shall leave Me alone’; there is sadness, though it be calm, in that clause, and then, I suppose, there was a moment’s pause before the quiet voice began again: ‘And yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.’ There are two currents there, both calm; but the one bright and the other dark.

Jesus was the loneliest man that ever lived. All other forms of human solitude were concentrated in His. He knew the pain of unappreciated aims, unaccepted love, unbelieved teachings, a heart thrown back upon itself. No man understood Him, no man knew Him, no man deeply and thoroughly loved Him or sympathised with Him, and He dwelt apart. He felt the pain of solitude more sharply than sinful men do. Perfect purity is keenly susceptible; a heart fully charged with love is wounded sore when the love is thrown back, and all the more sorely the more unselfish it is.

Solitude was no small part of the pain of Christ’s passion. Remember the pitiful appeal in Gethsemane, ‘Tarry ye here and watch with Me!’ Remember the threefold vain return to the sleepers in the hope of finding some sympathy from them. Remember the emphasis with which, more than once in His life, He foretold the loneliness of His death. And then let us understand how the bitterness of the cup that He drank had for not the least bitter of its ingredients the sense that He drank it alone.

Now, dear friends! some of us, no doubt, have to live outwardly solitary lives. We all of us live alone after all fellowship and communion. Physicists tell us that in the most solid bodies the atoms do not touch. Hearts come closer than atoms, but yet, after all, we die alone, and in the depths of our souls we all live alone. So let us be thankful that the Master knows the bitterness of solitude, and has Himself trod that path.

Then we have here the calm consciousness of unbroken communion. Jesus Christ’s sense of union with the Father was deep, close, constant, in manner and measure altogether transcending any experience of ours. But still He sets before us a pattern of what we should aim at in these great words. They show the path of comfort for every lonely heart. ‘I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.’ If earth be dark, let us look to Heaven. If the world with its millions seems to have no friend in it for us, let us turn to Him who never leaves us. If dear ones are torn from our grasp, let us grasp God. Solitude is bitter; but, like other bitters, it is a tonic. It is not all loss if the trees which with their leafy beauty shut out the sky from us are felled, and so we see the blue.

Christ’s company is to us what the Father’s fellowship was to Christ. He has borne solitude that He might be the companion of all the lonely, and the same voice which said, ‘Ye shall leave Me alone,’ said also, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the world.’

But that communion of Christ with the Father was broken, in that awful hour when He cried: ‘My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ We tread there on the verge of mysteries, beyond our comprehension; but this we know-that it was our sin and the world’s, made His by His willing identifying of Himself with us, which built up that black wall of separation. That hour of utter desolation, forsaken by God, deserted by men, was the hour of the world’s redemption. And Jesus Christ was forsaken by God and deserted by men, that you and I might never be either the one or the other, but might find in His sweet and constant companionship at once the society of man and the presence of God.

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Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 16:32". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-16.html.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Christ's Discoveries of Himself.

28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.

Two things Christ here comforts his disciples with:--

I. With an assurance that, though he was leaving the world, he was returning to his Father, from whom he came forth John 16:28-32, where we have,

1. A plain declaration of Christ's mission from the Father, and his return to him (John 16:28): I came forth from the Father, and am come, as you see, into the world. Again, I leave the world, as you will see shortly, and go to the Father. This is the conclusion of the whole matter. There was nothing he had more inculcated upon them than these two things--whence he came, and whither he went, the Alpha and Omega of the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16), that the Redeemer, in his entrance, was God manifest in the flesh, and in his exit was received up into glory.

(1.) These two great truths are here, [1.] Contracted, and put into a few words. Brief summaries of Christian doctrine are of great use to young beginners. The principles of the oracles of God brought into a little compass in creeds and catechisms have, like the beams of the sun contracted in a burning glass, conveyed divine light and heat with a wonderful power. Such we have, Eccl. xii. 13 1Tim. i. 15 Tit. ii. 11,12 1John v. 11 much in a little. [2.] Compared, and set the one over against the other. There is an admirable harmony in divine truths they both corroborate and illustrate one another Christ's coming and his going do so. Christ had commended his disciples for believing that he came forth from God (John 16:27), and thence infers the necessity and equity of his returning to God again, which therefore should not seem to them either strange or sad. Note, The due improvement of what we know and own would help us into the understanding of that which seems difficult and doubtful.

(2.) If we ask concerning the Redeemer whence he came, and whither he went, we are told, [1.] That he came from the Father, who sanctified and sealed him and he came into this world, this lower world, this world of mankind, among whom by his incarnation he was pleased to incorporate himself. Here his business lay, and hither he came to attend it. He left his home for this strange country his palace for this cottage wonderful condescension! [2.] That, when he had done his work on earth, he left the world, and went back to his Father at his ascension. He was not forced away, but made it his own act and deed to leave the world, to return to it no more till he comes to put an end to it yet still he is spiritually present with his church, and will be to the end.

2. The disciples' satisfaction in this declaration (John 16:29,30): Lo, now speakest though plainly. It should seem, this one word of Christ did them more good than all the rest, though he had said many things likely enough to fasten upon them. The Spirit, as the wind, blows when and where, and by what word he pleases perhaps a word that has been spoken once, yea twice, and not perceived, yet, being often repeated, takes hold at last. Two things they improved in by this saying:--

(1.) In knowledge: Lo, now speakest thou plainly. When they were in the dark concerning what he said, they did not say, Lo, now speakest thou obscurely, as blaming him but now that they apprehend his meaning they give him glory for condescending to their capacity: Lo, now speakest thou plainly. Divine truths are most likely to do good when they are spoken plainly, 1 Corinthians 2:4. Observe how they triumphed, as the mathematician did with his heureka, heureka, when he had hit upon a demonstration he had long been in quest of: I have found it, I have found it. Note, When Christ is pleased to speak plainly to our souls, and to bring us with open face to behold his glory, we have reason to rejoice in it.

(2.) In faith: Now are we sure. Observe,

[1.] What was the matter of their faith: We believe that thou camest forth from God. He had said (John 16:27) that they did believe this "Lord" (say they) "we do believe it, and we have cause to believe it, and we know that we believe it, and have the comfort of it."

[2.] What was the motive of their faith--his omniscience. This proved him a teacher come from God, and more than a prophet, that he knew all things, which they were convinced of by this that he resolved those doubts which were hid in their hearts, and answered the scruples they had not confessed. Note, Those know Christ best that know him by experience, that can say of his power, It works in me of his love, He loved me. And this proves Christ not only to have a divine mission, but to be a divine person, that he is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, therefore the essential, eternal Word, Hebrews 4:12,13. He has made all the churches to know that he searches the reins and the heart, Revelation 2:23. This confirmed the faith of the disciples here, as it made the first impression upon the woman of Samaria that Christ told her all the things that ever she did (John 4:29), and upon Nathanael that Christ saw him under the fig-tree, John 1:48,49.

These words, and needest not that any man should ask thee, may bespeak either, First, Christ's aptness to teach. He prevents us with his instructions, and is communicative of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hid in him, and needs not to be importuned. Or, Secondly, His ability to teach: "Thou needest not, as other teachers, to have the learners' doubts told thee, for thou knowest, without being told, what they stumble at." The best of teachers can only answer what is spoken, but Christ can answer what is thought, what we are afraid to ask, as the disciples were, Mark 9:32. Thus he can have compassion, Hebrews 5:2.

3. The gentle rebuke Christ gave the disciples for their confidence that they now understood him, John 16:31,32. Observing how they triumphed in their attainments, he said, "Do you now believe? Do you now look upon yourselves as advanced and confirmed disciples? Do you now think you shall make no more blunders? Alas! you know not your own weakness you will very shortly be scattered every man to his own," &c. Here we have,

(1.) A question, designed to put them upon consideration: Do you now believe? [1.] "If now, why not sooner? Have you not heard the same things many a time before?" Those who after many instructions and invitations are at last persuaded to believe have reason to be ashamed that they stood it out so long. [2.] "If now, why not ever? When an hour of temptation comes, where will your faith be then?" As far as there is inconstancy in our faith there is cause to question the sincerity of it, and to ask, "Do we indeed believe?"

(2.) A prediction of their fall, that, how confident soever they were now of their own stability, in a little time they would all desert him, which was fulfilled that very night, when, upon his being seized by a party of the guards, all his disciples forsook him and fled, Matthew 26:56. They were scattered, [1.] From one another they shifted every one for his own safety, without any care or concern for each other. Troublous times are times of scattering to Christian societies in the cloudy and dark day the flock of Christ is dispersed, Ezekiel 34:12. So Christ, as a society, is not visible. [2.] Scattered for him: You shall leave me alone. They should have been witnesses for him upon his trial, should have ministered to him in his sufferings if they could have given him no comfort they might have done him some credit but they were ashamed of his chain, and afraid of sharing with him in his sufferings, and left him alone. Note, Many a good cause, when it is distressed by its enemies, is deserted by its friends. The disciples had continued with Christ in his other temptations and yet turned their back upon him now those that are tried, do not always prove trusty. If we at any time find our friends unkind to us, let us remember that Christ's were so to him. When they left him alone, they were scattered every man to his own not to their own possessions or habitations, these were in Galilee but to their own friends and acquaintance in Jerusalem every one went his own way, where he fancied he should be most safe. Every man to secure his own himself and his own life. Note, Those will not dare to suffer for their religion that seek their own things more than the things of Christ, and that look upon the things of this world as their ta idia--their own property, and in which their happiness is bound up. Now observe here, First, Christ knew before that his disciples would thus desert him in the critical moment, and yet he was still tender of them, and in nothing unkind. We are ready to say of some, "If we could have foreseen their ingratitude, we would not have been so prodigal of our favours to them " Christ did foresee theirs, and yet was kind to them. Secondly, He told them of it, to be a rebuke to their exultation in their present attainments: "Do you now believe? Be not high-minded, but fear for you will find your faith so sorely shaken as to make it questionable whether it be sincere or no, in a little time." Note, even when we are taking the comfort of our graces, it is good to be reminded of our dangers from our corruptions. When our faith is strong, our love flaming, and our evidences are clear, yet we cannot infer thence that to-morrow shall be as this day. Even when we have most reason to think we stand, yet we have reason enough to take heed lest we fall. Thirdly, He spoke of it as a thing very near. The hour was already come, in a manner, when they would be as shy of him as ever they had been fond of him. Note, A little time may produce great changes, both concerning us and in us.

(3.) An assurance of his own comfort notwithstanding: Yet I am not alone. He would not be thought to complain of their deserting him, as if it were any real damage to him for in their absence he should be sure of his Father's presence, which was instar omnium--every thing: The Father is with me. We may consider this, [1.] As a privilege peculiar to the Lord Jesus the Father was so with him in his sufferings as he never was with any, for still he was in the bosom of the Father. The divine nature did not desert the human nature, but supported it, and put an invincible comfort and an inestimable value into his sufferings. The Father had engaged to be with him in his whole undertaking (Psalm 89:21, &c.), and to preserve him (Isaiah 49:8) this emboldened him, Isaiah 50:7. Even when he complained of his Father's forsaking him, yet he called him My God, and presently after was so well assured of his favourable presence with him as to commit his Spirit into his hand. This he had comforted himself with all along (John 8:29), He that sent me is with me, the Father hath not left me alone, and especially now at last. This assists our faith in the acceptableness of Christ's satisfaction no doubt, the Father was well pleased in him, for he went along with him in his undertaking from first to last. [2.] As a privilege common to all believers, by virtue of their union with Christ when they are alone, they are not alone, but the Father is with them. First, When solitude is their choice, when they are alone, as Isaac in the field, Nathanael under the fig-tree, Peter upon the house-top, meditating and praying, the Father is with them. Those that converse with God in solitude are never less alone than when alone. A good God and a good heart are good company at any time. Secondly, When solitude is their affliction, their enemies lay them alone, and their friends leave them so, their company, like Job's, is made desolate yet they are not so much alone as they are thought to be, the Father is with them, as he was with Joseph in his bonds and with John in his banishment. In their greatest troubles they are as one whom his father pities, as one whom his mother comforts. And, while we have God's favourable presence with us, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all the world forsake us. Non deo tribuimus justum honorem nisi solus ipse nobis sufficiat--We do not render due honour to God, unless we deem him alone all-sufficient.--Calvin.

II. He comforts them with a promise of peace in him, by virtue of his victory over the world, whatever troubles they might meet with in it (John 16:33): "These things have I spoken, that in me you might have peace and if you have it not in me you will not have it at all, for in the world you shall have tribulation you must expect no other, and yet may cheer up yourselves, for I have overcome the world." Observe,

1. The end Christ aimed at in preaching this farewell sermon to his disciples: That in him they might have peace. He did not hereby intend to give them a full view of that doctrine which they were shortly to be made masters of by the pouring out of the Spirit, but only to satisfy them for the present that his departure from them was really for the best. Or, we may take it more generally: Christ had said all this to them that by enjoying him they might have the best enjoyment of themselves. Note, (1.) It is the will of Christ that his disciples should have peace within, whatever their troubles may be without. (2.) Peace in Christ is the only true peace, and in him alone believers have it, for this man shall be the peace, Micah 5:5. Through him we have peace with God, and so in him we have peace in our own minds. (3.) The word of Christ aims at this, that in him we may have peace. Peace is the fruit of the lips, and of his lips, Isaiah 57:19.

2. The entertainment they were likely to meet with in the world: "You shall not have outward peace, never expect it." Though they were sent to proclaim peace on earth, and good-will towards men, they must expect trouble on earth, and ill-will from men. Note, It has been the lot of Christ's disciples to have more or less tribulation in this world. Men persecute them because they are so good, and God corrects them because they are no better. Men design to cut them off from the earth, and God designs by affliction to make them meet for heaven and so between both they shall have tribulation.

3. The encouragement Christ gives them with reference hereto: But be of good cheer, tharseite. "Not only be of good comfort, but be of good courage have a good heart on it, all shall be well." Note, In the midst of the tribulations of this world it is the duty and interest of Christ's disciples to be of good cheer, to keep up their delight in God whatever is pressing, and their hope in God whatever is threatening as sorrowful indeed, in compliance with the temper of the climate, and yet always rejoicing, always cheerful (2 Corinthians 6:10), even in tribulation, Romans 5:3.

4. The ground of that encouragement: I have overcome the world. Christ's victory is a Christian triumph. Christ overcame the prince of this world, disarmed him, and cast him out and still treads Satan under our feet. He overcame the children of this world, by the conversion of many to the faith and obedience of his gospel, making them the children of his kingdom. When he sends his disciples to preach the gospel to all the world, "Be of good cheer," says he, "I have overcome the world as far as I have gone, and so shall you though you have tribulation in the world, yet you shall gain your point, and captivate the world," Revelation 6:2. He overcame the wicked of the world, for many a time he put his enemies to silence, to shame "And be you of good cheer, for the Spirit will enable you to do so too." He overcame the evil things of the world by submitting to them he endured the cross, despising it and the shame of it and he overcame the good things of it by being wholly dead to them its honours had no beauty in his eye, its pleasures no charms. Never was there such a conqueror of the world as Christ was, and we ought to be encouraged by it, (1.) Because Christ has overcome the world before us so that we may look upon it as a conquered enemy, that has many a time been baffled. Nay, (2.) He has conquered it for us, as the captain of our salvation. We are interested in his victory by his cross the world is crucified to us, which bespeaks it completely conquered and put into our possession all is yours, even the world. Christ having overcome the world, believers have nothing to do but to pursue their victory, and divide the spoil and this we do by faith, 1 John 5:4. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on John 16:32". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/john-16.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Here is a plain declaration of Christ's coming from the Father, and his return to him. The Redeemer, in his entrance, was God manifest in the flesh, and in his departure was received up into glory. By this saying the disciples improved in knowledge. Also in faith; “Now are we sure.” Alas! they knew not their own weakness. The Divine nature did not desert the human nature, but supported it, and put comfort and value into Christ's sufferings. And while we have God's favourable presence, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all the world forsake us. Peace in Christ is the only true peace, in him alone believers have it. Through him we have peace with God, and so in him we have peace in our own minds. We ought to be encouraged, because Christ has overcome the world before us. But while we think we stand, let us take heed lest we fall. We know not how we should act if brought into temptation; let us watch and pray without ceasing, that we may not be left to ourselves.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on John 16:32". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/john-16.html. 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Though you profess that now you do believe, you had need look to your faith; there is yet a trying time coming upon you, when your faith will waver, and you, who have been so long my followers, will leave me to shift for myself, and every one of you shift for yourselves: this came to pass presently after, Matthew 26:56. Those who think they stand, had need take heed lest they fall; those who think their faith strongest, ought to be thinking with themselves, what they shall do, how they shall be able to stand, in a day of sharp trial. Many in a calm time appear to be professors and believers, who, when affliction and persecution ariseth for the gospel’s sake, will fall away, and leave Christ alone.

Yet (saith our Saviour) I am not alone, because the Father is with me. No man is alone who hath the presence of God with him. Christ knew that in all his sufferings he should have the presence and assistance of his heavenly Father.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 16:32". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-16.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Warning and Assurance for the Future (John 16:16-33).

As the time for them to go to Gethsemane approaches Jesus now begins to prepare them for what is to happen there. They are to recognise that what is to happen there will in fact be truly of God, and that through what will happen in that Garden will be carried out the grandest and most supreme of the purposes of God. The Son will accomplish His work of redemption and will return to the Father.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-16.html. 2013.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? behold the hour is coming, yes it is here, that you will be scattered every man to his own and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.”

Jesus calms their enthusiasm by facing them up with the truth. He is not rebuking them but giving them a gentle warning. He wants them to realise that their faith is not as strong as they think it is. They think that now they truly believe in what He is, but this is not true, for shortly they will desert Him for the safety of their homes and friends, leaving Him strictly alone. It is noteworthy that Peter says nothing. Is he still remembering Jesus’ words in John 13:38? Note how their lack of belief is to be indicated by their lack of faithfulness. It is ever so.

Yet in a strange way this will later be a source of comfort. They will be disappointed in themselves but they will be aware that He knew all the time what they would do and loved them still.

‘You will be scattered.’ Compare on this Zechariah 13:7. The striking of the shepherd always results in the scattering of the sheep. But in this case He will be able to gather them together again, just as in Zechariah it led to the people saying ‘the Lord is my God’.

‘And yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.’ There is One Who will not fail Him, Who will be with Him through all He has to face. He has full confidence in the Father. Even when He cries in His agony feeling the lack of the Father’s presence, His Father will be there. He will not be left totally alone.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-16.html. 2013.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

John 16. There is no break between chs. 15 and 16. Jesus has told them beforehand, so that His death and their suffering may not daunt their faith, as the Baptist was "offended" by the course of the ministry, which did not correspond to his Messianic expectation. They must expect actual excommunication. Their execution will be thought an acceptable sacrifice to God (cf. the Jewish comment on Numbers 25:13, "He who sheds the blood of a transgressor should be thought of as if he had offered an offering"). There is no reference in John 16:2 to the rebellion of Bar-Kochba (John 5:43*). This hostile attitude will be due to men's ignorance of God and His Messenger. In after time they will remember His warning. It was not necessary to give it while He was with them. But now He must go to the Father. Instead of thinking of the purpose of His departure they are merely overcome with grief. But in reality His going is their gain, for He will send the Paraclete (cf. John 15:26). When He comes He will convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The fate of God's Messenger would raise the questions. On whose side was the sin, and on whose the righteousness? It would thus involve a judgment. The Spirit of truth would convince men of sin, for it would become clear that the error lay with those who had rejected God's appointed Messenger; of righteousness, for it would appear that the death was not a malefactor's just punishment, but a going "to the Father" (cf. Isaiah 57:1), who pronounced in His favour by receiving Him, and so their loss in being no longer able to see Him would prove real gain, of judgment, for the verdict which the Prince of this world would succeed in getting passed against the Christ would be seen to be in reality the condemnation of those who passed it. The Paraclete's work would be not only to convince but also to teach. The earthly teaching was not final. It had been limited by the disciples' capacity to understand. The Spirit of truth would lead them into all truth. (Cf. the saying in the Hermetic literature of Hermes Nous (Mind): "Nous entering the pious soul leads it into the light of knowledge"; cf. also Wisdom of Solomon 9:11.) Like the Christ, the Spirit does not speak on His own authority, but what He hears, including the meaning of the events about to happen. He will glorify the Christ by taking of His and showing to the disciples. "Glory" in this gospel generally means the true nature of a thing, which shines out from it, as the radiance of the sun. The Spirit will continue Christ's task of making known to men His nature and work, and therefore the nature and work of God, so far as men can grasp it. But Jesus will Himself return (John 16:16). All the language used in these discourses cannot be interpreted of His coming "in the Spirit" as a substitute for the common expectation of the Parousia, which is thus supposed to be altogether spiritualised. They contain something beside "transmuted eschatology." After a little while absence, but only for a little while, after which they shall see. There is here nothing inconsistent with the hope of an almost immediate return in glory. The disciples are perplexed. How are they to reconcile this with what He has said of a journey to the Father? Does not that involve more than a little while? Jesus replies to their difficulties, which He perceives, that length is relative to the issues involved. The night of sorrow, like the hours of travail, is long till it is forgotten in the joy of morning, in the light of which it shrinks into insignificance. Even the thought of His going causes them sorrow, much more the reality. But His return will bring heartfelt joy (Isaiah 66:14), and permanent, compared with which the sorrow will indeed be "a little while." Whatever the interval, it will be such as to secure the desired results. And in that day of reunion, they will not have to go on asking Him questions (mg.). The Father Himself will give whatever they ask in His name." Hitherto His language has been veiled in parable. Hereafter He will be able to speak plainly. And in that day of final reunion, they shall ask for what they need "in His name," and He will not have to ask the Father for them. Their intercourse with the Father will be direct, who loves them for their love of the Christ. He left the Father to come into the world, and now He leaves the world to go to the Father. In these words the disciples see the fulfilment of His promise to speak plainly. His reading of their perplexity has convinced them of His knowledge. Now they need not question. They are convinced of His Divine mission. Their assertion is met by the warning that very soon they will be scattered and desert Him. But the Father is with Him. Now He has taught them all that is necessary for their peace. The affliction which must come while they are in the world need not destroy it. He has overcome the real power of the world.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/john-16.html. 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

EXPLANATORY AND CRITICAL NOTES

Joh . Proverbs, or parables.—Such as the vine, the woman in travail, etc. The time cometh, etc.—The Spirit after Pentecost would guide them clearly into all truth.

Joh . At that day.—How different were the preaching and the prayers of the disciples after they were inspired of the Spirit! Then they did not ask so much as commit themselves joyfully to God (Act 4:23-31).

Joh . I came forth, etc.—Here the whole prologue is condensed into one sentence, and the passion into another. He was sent; He became incarnate (Joh 1:14); He died (Joh 19:30); He ascended to glory (Luk 24:50-51) (see Westcott, in loc.).

Joh . Now we are sure, etc.—The faith of the disciples was weak and grew slowly (Joh 2:11). They believed Jesus to be the Son of God; but they had not yet fully apprehended all that this implied. Yet His reading of their thoughts (Joh 16:19) was a further cause of strength to their faith. But they had much to learn, which the events at hand and the Spirit alone could teach, ere they understood clearly.

Joh . Do ye now? etc.—As if He had said to them, "Search your hearts." You have faith; but is it strong enough and clear enough to endure what is to come? "Watch and pray."

Joh . Behold, the hour cometh, etc.—An hour of testing to the faith of all—especially of one. Scattered to his own occupations (Joh 21:3).—Christ must tread the winepress alone. All fell away at this supreme hour. The multitudes who shouted Hosanna—those who believed at the tomb of Lazarus. Judas bad gone forth a traitor; Nicodemus, Nathanael, and others are unseen. The eleven remain, and the devout women. But in Gethsemane all forsake and flee; only John and Peter follow. Peter fell, and at the cross John and Mary, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene alone heard His last words as the lowly "Man of Sorrows," "It is finished."

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Joh

Joh (see also Joh 15:11, Christian Joy). "Ask, and ye shall receive."—A passage like this should rivet the attention of believers. The miner who has laboured for months in vain at his claim and who suddenly lights on a rich vein of the precious metal, the labouring man who suddenly falls heir to a fortune, think they have occasion to rejoice. Yet it may turn out that their fortune brings anything but a blessing to them, and even at the best they may never afterward enjoy the rude health and freedom they had before. But in these words of our Lord there is a promise of greater wealth than Burma's mines, etc. "Whatsoever ye shall ask," etc. Here is the promise of all true peace, joy, "every good and perfect gift." And there is but one condition: "If ye shall ask anything in My name," etc. In order to understand the meaning of this promise, see what it meant to the disciples.

I. The disciples had not yet learned the true spirit of believing prayer.—

1. The disciples were troubled. In spite of the grand promise of the Comforter, "sorrow had filled their heart." They could not understand why Jesus must depart, even though He promised that they should see Him again. They had to learn that the time was coming when their fellowship with Jesus, though no longer material, would be yet more close.

2. The disciples had known Christ only "after the flesh" hitherto. The idea of His spiritual kingdom had not been fully grasped by them. Their thoughts and aspirations were still for the temporal and material manifestation of His kingdom. It was only when the day of enlightenment came, and the Spirit descended, that all became plain, and they went forth to preach Jesus and the Resurrection with power, and to labour to extend His spiritual kingdom.

3. Just because of all this they could not yet pray in the spirit of the Redeemer, i.e. the spirit of complete submission to the divine will. But when they went forth to do His work in His name after their spiritual enlightenment, then it was evident that they had learned to pray in His spirit as well as in His name.

4. Their whole after-history reflects this change in the spirit of their prayers. They had asked the Saviour to teach them to pray, but had not learned fully the meaning of the petition, "Thy kingdom come." Hence their strife about priority, their anxiety to dissuade the Saviour from the way to the cross, etc. But read their recorded prayer after Pentecost (Act, etc.), and see how they had now learned to submit to the divine will, and thus to pray in the name of Jesus.

II. How may we realise this promise?—

1. The mere use of the form "for Jesus' sake" is not sufficient. This may become a mere superstitious formula. We must realise that it is possible for us to approach God acceptably only through Jesus. God is the hearer of prayer; but before Jesus came men could come only in fear and trembling to Him. But Jesus has made the way open to the throne of grace, and men can come through Him with holy boldness and confidence as children to a father. Christ's people are one with Him, partakers of the divine nature,—God loves them, and there is no need that Jesus should entreat for them (Joh ). That love, in all its wealth and fulness, is theirs in Him.

2. Prayer in the name of Jesus is prayer in His spirit of trustful confidence in the love of the Father and His almighty power and providential care. Material and temporal blessings are to be asked for. It is said, "God does not stop the working of His laws to answer the man who prays." God does not violate His laws in carrying out His purposes; but surely He can control those laws, which He has framed, to carry out His great and good designs. We must not limit the meaning of our Lord's word whatsoever. The material as well as the spiritual, the temporal as well as the eternal, are included.

3. Prayer in the name of Jesus implies the spirit of submission to the divine will. We are not to seek selfishly for things and gifts merely for our own self-interest. We have a mediator with the Father; but will He intercede for what would merely increase our vanity, or minister to earthly ambition? Better that such prayers remain unanswered. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." We must banish from our desires and prayers all that will not fit in with our endeavours to advance the heavenly kingdom. The Spirit will help us to such unselfish prayer. In approaching God let us remember the weakness of our humanity (Jas ), and ask the guidance of the Spirit in our intercessions.

III. This divine promise has been and is being daily fulfilled.—

1. Would the kingdom of God have advanced so far had believing prayer in Christ's name not been answered? In our Christian lands to-day we are rejoicing in the answers to believing prayer. And it is because we do not ask earnestly enough that our joy is so far from full. We lament the poverty of our prayers. Let them be unselfish and sincere and they will be answered. God reads our thoughts, He translates our poor stammering words into heavenly speech, and gives, not as the world, but freely, bountifully in His love.

2. Those who thus come in faith to God, in the spirit of submissive confidence, will be filled with joy. They shall realise that all must be well, that even out of trial and sorrow good will come, and heavenly light rise on darkness.

3. Rejoice, because true prayer in the name of Jesus will in every way be answered. The vast all, the great universe, with all its mysteries of law and being, is under the guidance of the eternal Father, working out His purposes of love and mercy. So that all who are in Christ are in the line of His purposes, and will, must, receive everything needful to fit them for their place and action, in reference to the divine plan. In Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and they are complete in Him (Col ).

Joh . What prayer in the name of Jesus leads believers to hope for.—The principal points for consideration in the passage are: prayer in Jesus' name and the hearing of such prayer; the free access to the Father, and the love of the Father to those who believe in the Son; the increase of the knowledge and joy of believers through the clear revelation of Jesus and their experience of prayer heard.

Introduction.—Prayer is the vital breath of the soul; a soul which does not pray is dead. In prayer communion between man and God is carried into effect, and this communion is further deepened through prayer. It is therefore because men do not pray that they have no true inner spiritual life. The generation of to-day, to a great extent, professes to be ashamed of prayer, as foolishness. But is there ever a true child who in his father's house speaks no word to his father, or is ashamed to speak with him before strangers? Others, again, do pray, but they pray like the Pharisee in the temple—rehearse before God their (supposed) goodness and benevolence; in their hearts also death reigns. They who would pray aright must pray in the name of Jesus, must not appeal to their own righteousness, but must lay hold by faith of the righteousness of Christ. They must also pray only for what is for their weal, submit to the divine will, and live in confidence that God will grant to His reconciled children according to their needs. Such prayer opens up a most joyful prospect. It leads them to hope for—

I. Free access to the divine Father's heart.—

1. Without Jesus we stand as unreconciled sinners before God, whose holiness turns away His face from us.

2. Through faith in Jesus we are brought into the unity of His mystical body and are clothed with His righteousness, so that the Father, in beholding His Son, visits us also with His good pleasure and vouchsafes us a way of access to Himself—nay, calls and allures us to His heart of love.

II. Assured help in every time of need.—

1. Of themselves men are so weak and helpless, inwardly and outwardly, however highly they may be tempted to think of themselves, that without the divine protection they are not secure, and without the divine help they cannot be delivered from material or spiritual trouble.

2. But to those who pray in the name of Jesus the Father will give what is needful. Through prayer in Jesus' name men fly under cover of God's wings, where they are protected from all danger; they hasten to the heart of divine love, whence there flow to meet them streams of heavenly consolation; they speed to the refuge of divine strength, which will enable them to overcome all tribulation, and extricate them from all temporal and spiritual trouble.

III. Unspeakable joy at every new experience of prayer heard.—

1. God protects and saves those who call on Him in the name of His Son—not only giving them enough to satisfy their wants, so that they should not ever live in want and sorrow: He makes the life of His people pleasant; He desires also to bring joy into their hearts.

2. Every renewed experience of prayer heard assures Christians of their divine sonship, and shows them the glory of their heavenly King and the final victory of His kingdom.

3. Every new gift received strengthens them in the assurance that He will make all their enemies His footstool. This fills their hearts with heavenly joy, and makes them feel secure and contented on their pilgrimage through life.—J. L. Sommer, "Evang. Per."

Joh . The loneliness of Christ.—There is no thought connected with the life of Christ more touching, none that seems so peculiarly to characterise His Spirit, than the solitariness in which He lived. Those who understood Him best only half understood Him. Those who knew Him best scarcely could be said to know Him. On this occasion the disciples thought, Now we do understand, now we believe. The lonely Spirit answered, "Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone."

I. The loneliness of Christ was caused by the divine elevation of His character.—His infinite superiority severed Him from sympathy; His exquisite affectionateness made that want of sympathy a keen trial. There is a second-rate greatness which the world can comprehend. If we take two who are brought into direct contrast by Christ Himself, the one the type of human, the other that of divine excellence, the Son of man and John the Baptist, this becomes clearly manifest. John's life had a certain rude, rugged goodness, on which was written, in characters which required no magnifying glass to read, spiritual excellence. The world on the whole accepted him: Pharisees and Sadducees went to his baptism; the people idolised him as a prophet; and if he had not chanced to cross the path of a weak prince and a revengeful woman, we can see no reason why John might not have finished his course with joy, recognised as irreproachable. If we inquire why it was that the world accepted John and rejected Christ, one reply appears to be that the life of the one was finitely simple and one-sided, that of the Other divinely complex. To the superficial observer Christ's life was a mass of inconsistencies and contradictions. Hence it was that He lived to see all that acceptance which had marked the earlier stage of His career, as, for instance, at Capernaum, melt away. First the Pharisees took the alarm; then the Sadducees; then the political party of the Herodians; then the people. The apostles quailed; one denied, another betrayed, all deserted. They "were scattered, each to his own," and the Truth Himself was left alone in Pilate's judgment hall. Now learn from this a very important distinction. To feel solitary is no uncommon thing; to complain of being alone, without sympathy and misunderstood, is general enough. In every place, in many a family, these victims of diseased sensibility are to be found, and they might find a weakening satisfaction in observing a parallel between their own feelings and those of Jesus. But before that parallel is assumed be very sure that it is, as in His case, the elevation of your character which severs you from your species. Let us look at one or two of the occasions on which this loneliness was felt. The first time was when He was but twelve years old, when His parents found Him in the temple hearing the doctors and asking them questions. High thoughts were in the Child's soul, expanding views of life: larger views of duty and His own destiny. That is a lonely, lonely moment, when the young soul first feels God—when this earth is recognised as an "awful place, yea, the very gate of heaven"—when the dream-ladder is seen planted against the skies, and we wake, and the dream haunts us as a sublime reality.

II. That solitude was felt by Christ in trial.—In the desert, in Pilate's judgment hall, in the garden, He was alone; and alone must every son of man meet his trial-hour. The individuality of the soul necessitates that. Once more the Redeemer's soul was alone in dying. The hour had come; they were all gone, and He was, as He predicted, left alone.

III. The spirit or temper of that solitude.—The solitude of Christ was the solitude of a crowd. In that single human bosom dwelt the thought which was to be the germ of the world's life—a thought unshared, misunderstood, or rejected. Can you not feel the grandeur of these words, when the Man, reposing on His solitary strength, felt the last shadow of perfect isolation pass across His soul?—"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Learn from these words self-reliance. "Ye shall leave Me alone." This is self-reliance: to repose calmly on the thought which is deepest in our bosoms, and be unmoved if the world will not accept it yet. Remark the humility of this loneliness. Had the Son of man simply said, I can be alone, He would have said no more than any proud, self-relying man can say. But when He added, "because the Father is with Me," that independence assumed another character, and self-reliance became only another form of reliance upon God. Be sure that often when you say, It is only my own poor thought, and I am alone, the real correcting thought is this, Alone, but the Father is with me; therefore I can live that lonely conviction. The practical result and inference of all this is a very simple, but a very deep one, the deepest of existence. Let life be a life of faith. Do not go timorously about, inquiring what others think, what others believe, and what others say. It seems the easiest, it is the most difficult thing in life to do this: believe in God. God is near you. Throw yourself fearlessly upon Him.—F. W. Robertson.

Joh . In the world tribulation.—All men must bear this yoke, some in greater degree than others. How then should it be borne so that it may become a discipline for the higher life in the case of God's people?

I. As a means of strengthening faith.

1. This may seem a strange statement, almost a paradox. Does not affliction on the contrary often lead to despair? And do not many, when a load of tribulation weighs them down, lay violent hands on their own lives even? Not if they are genuine Christians, in whom the light of reason has not been extinguished. Despair, in its full meaning, is a word excluded from the Christian's vocabulary. The healthy spiritual nature, which lives in conscious union with the Invisible, is all unharmed by tribulation. As the tests applied to bridges, and like structures in mechanical engineering, prove the strength of the structure; so tribulation tests the believer's faith. But it does more than this. Like the keen mountain air amid the ice and snow of alpine regions, or the sharp medicine, it gives tone to the spiritual being, strengthening the believer for future trials and for more earnest work. There cannot be a doubt that this is so. An appeal to universal Christian experience will establish the truth of these affirmations. The seeming curse is turned into a blessing; the bane is transformed into a healthful and healing balm. But the faith that so transforms affliction must be a real unwavering faith, a trustful resting on the divine Father's love and care. It was of His true children that Isaiah spoke when he said, "In all their afflictions," etc.; and it was to those who had become members of the heavenly family in Himself that Christ said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

2. Now, as of old, it is through faith, through resting on the divine strength, that we can endure; and our faith should be deeper in view of the greater manifestation of divine love granted to us. The angel of His presence saved God's people in the morning of the Church's history. But now the Son, become incarnate, suffered and died, gave the ultimate and unspeakable proof of divine love. Shall tribulation harm those who are in Him? Shall it separate them from the love of Christ? No, nor death with all its sorrows, nor life with all its troubles, can loosen the roots and fibres of faith that have sunk down to and twined about the eternal Rock. For "the world, the evil one, and death are vanquished and lie prone; heaven, righteousness, and life have the victory." … Therefore we are not to "despise the chastening of the Lord," but to remember that "whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth" (Heb ); and that from it all He will bring blessing and the strengthening of our faith. As in storms the oak and other trees, with deep, spreading roots, only strike their roots more deeply down, to enable them to withstand the fiercest blasts; so through affliction, tribulation, trial, will He who sympathises with His own in all their sorrows strengthen their spiritual life, transform them into His image, and prepare them for His glory.

II. It should be an incentive to prayer.

1. For if our true strength and hope in tribulation are in God, then every trial should lead us into closer and more earnest fellowship with Him. So "in the days of His flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears" (Heb ), as in the garden He cried, "Father, save Me from this hour" (Joh 12:27), our Redeemer pointed us the way in which to obtain "grace to help in time of need." And here again universal spiritual experience comes to us with corroborative evidence. There come to many seasons of tribulation, when no philosophic calmness of temper can sustain the soul, when even the convictions and reasonings of faith would be of no avail, unless the soul had this way of access to the holiest. And it has frequently been in an hour of overwhelming tribulation and sorrow that some, "to whom the cross of Christ had been a stumbling-block and foolishness, have been led to bring their sorrows there." Oh what comfort is there here for the children of sorrow! When the pressure of affliction comes, when courage fails, when succour lingers, and the weight of care becomes intolerable, what solace to lean

"on Him who not in vain

Experienced every human pain:

He sees my wants, allays my fears,

And counts and treasures up my tears!"

2. For we know that the approach of faith to Him will not be in vain. Is it want that afflicts? Then the faithful have only to remember that the divine treasuries are full and overflowing, and that God is the benign giver of all good. Therefore the apostolic promise may be joyfully appropriated, "My God shall fully supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Php ). Is it tribulation from the unrighteousness and enmity of men? Then let it be remembered that the Lord shall deliver His people from every evil work (2Ti 4:18). Is it physical pain and trouble? "Your light affliction," etc. (2Co 4:17). Is it spiritual perplexity and darkness? Even the psalmist could triumph in this: "The Lord my God shall enlighten my darkness" (Psa 18:28). Is it bereavement and loneliness? He who is able to save us in our afflictions was touched with "the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb 4:15). He cried on the cross "Eloi, Eloi," etc. Thus tribulation leads God's children to prayer. "Oh, well for the souls who permit themselves to be driven, by these storms of affliction, to the haven of eternal peace in their God and Redeemer!"

III. It should lead to deeper love to God and more earnest service.—Why so?

1. Because it is a proof and evidence to us of our Father's love and care. "Whom the Lord loveth," etc. (Heb ). Were He to leave us unreproved when we needed correction, to go on without hindrance in some way of danger, then we might be led to ask, Has God forgotten us? When the vine-branches are left unpruned to waste their strength in useless leafage, this should be a warning rather than a cause of joy. For the heavenly Husbandman prunes—purges—the true and living branches of His vine, so that they may bring forth fruit. The tribulation, therefore, permitted to enter the lives of God's children is a token of His love, for "God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men" (Lam 3:33).

2. But at the best all suffering, all affliction, all tribulation, are the result of sin. Were there no sin there would be no tribulation, no suffering; and as much of the affliction of individuals arises from, or is consequent on, personal sin and folly; so the best way in which to get rid of this element of personal responsibility for tribulation is to seek to rise ever higher in the divine service, ever nearer to the primal object of man's creation, i.e. that he might glorify God and enjoy Him for ever.

3. But even though this element were eliminated, there would remain the tribulation that arises to Christ's people from this present evil world. It was this that Christ endured; and His people in enduring also may be upborne and comforted with the thought that He has overcome the world to redeem His people—that now exalted on high, in all their afflictions He is afflicted, and sends help in time of need. Great cause then for warmer love and zeal, for more heart-felt service.

Joh . The purposes of tribulation.—Christ in His incarnation has become only more blessedly to His people, what He has been from the beginning—"the Saviour and the friend of man." Of old, as the "angel of Jehovah's presence," He saved God's people in their affliction and tribulation; but now in Him tribulation becomes no more a punishment, as it was frequently of those of old, but a discipline of the soul. So that as He Himself was "made perfect through suffering," He gives His people power to triumph even through tribulation.

I. Affliction—tribulation—to the worldly man is not only unwelcome, but dreaded and execrated.—It conflicts with his ideas of happiness, which are bound up with the pleasures of this passing scene. Therefore the watchword of materialistic ethics is "The greatest happiness of the greatest number." But this is a fatal, fundamental error. It is to put the effect in the place of the cause. "The greatest good of men" is the chief end to be aimed at; and this greatest good is to be found in concord with God, and a consequent divine service. When this is attained to, then the greatest happiness will be the result.

II. Toward this happy end of our greatest good, in our present imperfect state, affliction is often an important means (Psa ).—The enduring of tribulation—of the "great fight of afflictions"—when borne in the divine strength, tends to brace and strengthen our spiritual nature. It is like the purifying flame refining the true and pure metal of our being from the dross and slag of earthly and impure elements. It is part of the Father's discipline of His children, in training them for a better and higher life. Nor will He permit them to be overwhelmed by affliction. Now as ever it is true, "In all their afflictions He is afflicted," and their Saviour is not afar.

III. But we must guard against misconception by pointing out that not to all men, and not in view of all afflictions, is this comfort sure.—There is express mention made of circumstances in which there can be no true peace in view of tribulation. "Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters." "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently?" (1Pe ; 1Pe 2:20). Let us remember also that, although men might be horrified at the idea of some of those sins mentioned by the apostle, yet dispositions and thoughts may be cherished which in the sight of Heaven may be equally guilty. And let men be thankful when the restraining hand of God, even through affliction, prevents the growth in their nature of such hateful, poisonous plants, "roots of bitterness," that if permitted "to spring up" would assuredly "trouble them."

IV. But the tribulation and affliction which the children of God have to meet for the most part are those which arise, either from the nature of things, as at present constituted, such as bereavement, sickness, and so forth, or from the present evil world, the world of sinful men inimical to Him and His gospel, and therefore to His followers. This world it is which "by wicked hands has crucified and slain" the Lord Himself. And as He said to His disciples, "If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (Joh ). But He did not leave them to imagine that tribulation was without its compensations; for among His closing words to His disciples were those so full of comfort, "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'

HOMILETIC NOTES

Joh . Asking and receiving.—King William III. of Prussia was once unable to sleep in consequence of the pain caused by a broken bone. Whilst lying awake he thought, "Who has been most inimical to me during my life? I desire to forgive him, to do him a kindness." It then occurred to him that perhaps it was one Colonel Massenbach, who, on account of his caricatures of the king, had been imprisoned long years. Immediately he gave the order for Massenbach's release. The latter had now been for ten years confined in the fortress of Glatz, and during that time had left no stone unturned to procure his release, but all in vain. But as he was reading the story of a wonderful answer to prayer, he suddenly remembered that he had never prayed to the Lord of lords for freedom. He did so without delay; and next day an order came to the governor of the fortress for his release.

The power of Jesus' name.—The name of Jesus is nothing less than the fulness of all the work of Jesus; and especially of that work wrought for us in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, and through which we are reconciled to God, not figuratively, but really and truly.

The spirit of prayer.—When the ancient Persians prayed, they had neither gold in their pockets nor gold rings on their fingers. And if thou wilt pray so that thou wilt be heard, thy heart must be withdrawn from the world and worldly things.

Praying in Jesus' name guides our prayers.—Jesus means "Saviour": how can you then ask in the name of your Saviour what would be inimical to your salvation and blessedness?

Prayer and labour.—Prayer is thy heavenly vehicle, labour thy earthly carriage—both bring many good gifts when they prosper on their journey.

Learn to understand fully what you pray for.—You will thus be able more easily to prevent wandering thoughts.

If you cannot find words for your prayer, let your thoughts speak, the anguish of your heart cry out. God will hear you. You must acknowledge that He knows your heart, and will give you not only what you ask with your mouth, but what your heart desires.

Those who pray best.—The best payers are those who pay their debts in few pieces or notes of great value; and those who pray best are those who present their prayers in few words, but in great earnestness and devotion.—J. J. Weigel.

Joh . Not to pray aright is as futile as not to pray at all.—If you desire not to bring down upon you God's displeasure in your prayers, then ask from Him what such a King as He is is willing to bestow. Your worthiness will not help you, your unworthiness will not hinder you; and whilst mistrust will condemn you, confidence will bring you favour and success.

Joh . No prayer without true, faith in Christ.—Faith in Jesus—

I. Awakens the true impulse to prayer;

II. Points out the true way in prayer;

III. Reveals the true spirit of prayer;

IV. Inspires with the true hope and expectation in prayer.

Prayer in the name of Jesus—

I. All powerful with God;

II. Possible to faith alone (Joh );

III. On earth strong and invincible.—M. Herold.

Joh . There are two actions of Christ we should never forget.—The coming of Christ from heaven into the world; for by this He prepared a way for us: and the going of Christ from the earth into heaven; for by this He brings us on that way.

Joh . Why we need to ask of Christ.—Christ does not need that you should ask Him; but you yourself need to do so. For you do not ask Him in order that He should learn from you, but that you should learn from Him.

The faith of the holiest weak in its beginning.—Even among the saints faith does not become at once a great tree, but is like a grain of mustard seed. Yet a sick man is a man, a weak faith is still faith. But we must not be contented with this weakness; rather we should give diligence that the weak faith should be strengthened. And it will grow on the word of God as a child grows on the breast of his mother.—From various German sources.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Joh . No prayer "in the name of Jesus" unanswered.—To prayer in the name of Jesus an answer will be accorded—an answer consistent with the divine wisdom and omniscience, and with our need. There is no such thing in the long history of God's kingdom as an unanswered prayer. Every true desire from a child's heart finds some true answer in the heart of God. Most certain it is that the prayer of the Church of God since creation has not been the cry of orphans in an empty home, without a father to hear or answer. Jesus Christ did not pray in vain, or to an unknown God; nor has He spoken in ignorance of God or of His brethren when He says, "Ask and receive, that your joy may be full."—Dr. Norman Macleod.

Joh . Coming to the throne of grace "in the name of Jesus" a prerequisite of Christian prayer.—"A prayer without faith is like the firing of a gun with blank cartridge, or like a painting—without life." "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Mat 21:22). Whilst tears fall to the ground, faith must mount heavenwards. It is written of Samuel that he offered a sucking lamb to the Lord as a burnt offering, and cried unto the Lord for Israel, and the Lord heard him (1Sa 7:9). The sucking lamb was a type of Christ. If we desire to come to God in prayer, we must not leave behind the Lamb who bears away the sin of the world (Joh 1:29). Luther says somewhere, "If our prayer is founded on our own worthiness it is worthless, although we should sweat our hearts' blood." As Joseph's brethren were to bring with them their brother Benjamin, as otherwise they would not see Joseph's face, so when we in prayer would behold God's gracious countenance we must not leave our brother Jesus behind. This He impresses upon our souls when He says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If ye shall ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."—Translated from G. Nitsch.

Joh . The heavenly Father loves His children.—I do not say I will pray for you, says Jesus. There is no need for Me to act as Moses did on Mount Sinai. He had to pray lest the wrath of God should sweep away these people Why? Because God was dealing with them on the ground of their own disobedience. But now, through the perfect work of Jesus Christ, the saints are in such a position of blest security that there is no need. Jesus says: There is no need for Me to pray the Father to love you—He does; there is no need for Me to stand between you and an avenging Deity—that avenging Deity is now become your Father. Dear brethren, it is possible, I believe, for God's children to fall into an error of Roman Catholicism in this respect: Rome put the Son in the place of the Father. What is the next thing? Rome has put the Virgin Mary in the place of the Son, and appeals to the awful mother to speak to the awful Son. Yes, and now they appeal to holy Joseph to intercede with holy Mary that she may speak to her holy Son. We have nothing whatever to do with that. We are free from that. But there is such a thing as a child of God failing to realise his position in Jesus, that he may appeal unto Jesus in almost as meaningless a way as the Roman Catholics do. There is no need for me to cry, Jesus, oh, speak for me to God! No, Jesus has accomplished the work. He has gone in as high priest there. He is Himself the intercessor. His presence there is the intercession. And so Jesus says: You may come with boldness; there is no need for Me to pray the Father to love you—He Himself does. Now take the word, "The Father Himself loves you." Do not water it down. Do not dilute it. I know how difficult it is to realise it. There are times when I can only know it because God has said it; but it does seem so wonderful of God to love me. I could think of Him putting up with me, I could imagine His forgiving me, I could imagine His forbearing with me, but I cannot think of His loving me. Dare to take it because Jesus said it! If you believe Jesus because of His testimony, if you are one of the saints, the Father Himself loves you; yes, with an abiding love. He does not love you to-day and dislike you to-morrow, and then be reconciled to you on the Wednesday, and then drop His love on the Friday; He loves you day in, day out. It is unalterable love. There is such a thing as love being killed. Perhaps you may have loved, and you may have loved intensely, and the one you loved killed the love, and you felt a cold dagger go into your heart and your life, and then the love died in you. What a mercy it is that God's love cannot be killed! God's love does not die, although sometimes I seem to have done my best to murder it. It is like Himself, "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." I believe that the Father's love to His children is as perfect as His love to Christ Himself. It is Christ who says, "As the Father hath loved Me," so dear soul, very dear to God, the love wherewith He loved His Son, such is His love to you. The Father Himself loveth you.—Rev. Arch. G. Brown, in "British Weekly," August 31st, 1893.

Joh . Believing and abiding.—To feel the burden of our captivity is not the same thing as to be free from it; to love God in our better mind, or, as St. Paul calls it, according to the inward man, is not the same thing as to walk according to that love, and to show it forth in our lives and actions. So that though we may now believe, yet if the hour cometh when we shall be scattered every man to his own, assuredly we cannot reckon ourselves as belonging to that flock of the good Shepherd, who hear His voice, and also follow Him whithersoever He goeth, so that they never go astray from the fold. Then how shall we be made free? how shall we be able to love Christ always, to walk as well as to feel according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh? The answer is, that we must attain to the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus; that the Spirit of God must abide in us, and change us into His own image, that we may be delivered from sin and the flesh, and serve them no more at all. And yet this great truth, on which our whole salvation depends, and without which Christ has died in vain for each of us, as far as we ourselves are concerned—this great truth is for ever forgotten; and of all the points which the gospel teaches us, this is, perhaps, the least regarded. So true are our Lord's words of that blessed Spirit whom we thus continually despise, "that the world cannot receive Him, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him." We pray to God; few, very few, none of us there are, I trust, who do not pray to Him; but I greatly doubt whether the prayer for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the prayer for the real enjoyment of that blessing which Christ has promised to His true disciples, that the Comforter should abide with them for ever—whether this be so often the part of our addresses to God as it ought to be. But this is the very main thing of all. We are living, if I may so speak, under the dispensation of the Spirit: in that character God now reveals Himself to His people, as He did of old, by conversing visibly with the prophets and patriarchs; or in the latter times, when He became manifest in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ. He who does not know God the Holy Ghost cannot know God at all. Though we have known Christ after the flesh, says St. Paul, yet henceforth know we Him so no more: the divine presence is henceforth to be of a different kind, not less real, but only revealing itself to our minds instead of our bodily senses. We must pray, then, for the Spirit—the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of liberty, the Spirit of peace and love and joy. As the apostles were changed by His influence, so even shall we be. When He had once entered into their hearts, we hear no more of their being scattered every man to his own, and leaving their Saviour alone. The words of Peter, which, spoken in his own unaided strength, were but an idle boast soon reproved by the event, "Lord, I will lay down my life for Thy sake," were, after the Spirit had once made him free from the bondage of corruption, the words of truth, and soberness; and, according to his words, so did it happen to him. And may we not hope the very same thing in our own case; that we, who now make vain professions of faith and love to our Lord in the Church—vain, because they are so soon broken, however sincerely they were uttered at the time; that we who are scattered every man to his own, each after his several idols, which he worships with the service of his daily living; that we may no more go astray from our Shepherd; but even as we believe in Him when our hearts are most warmed within us, so we may also keep the assurance of our faith steadfast to the end?—Dr. T. Arnold.

Joh . Classes in the school of affliction.—It has been well said that there are four classes in the Christian school of affliction. In the first class men learn to say, I must endure tribulation. Suffering affliction is there regarded as a bitter necessity, an oppressive yoke, which men must be contented to bear, although murmuring and complaining, because it cannot be otherwise. In the second class the scholars learn by degrees to say, I will endure. There, bearing affliction becomes a duty which is willingly undertaken, a burden which truly is felt to be heavy, but which is taken up and borne in God's name, with devout patience, and in childlike obedience. In the third class the purport of the lesson is better still: I am able to bear affliction. The enduring of tribulation has here become a discipline in which advance can be made from day to day. Whilst enduring the weight of the cross, the Christian experiences more and more the power of God, which is made perfect in our weakness; the comfort of the Holy Ghost, who is the true Comforter in every time of need; the refreshment of the divine word, which is a light on all our ways, even on the darkest; and the peace of Christ Jesus, which the world cannot give nor take away, and which becomes ever more blessed. The Lord lays a burden on us, but He helps us to bear it. And thus the believer is advanced into the fourth and highest class, in which the solution of all problems is reached, when he learns to say, I need to bear affliction. Here tribulation is seen to be an honour and even a cause of joy. The burden is no more a burden, but an honour, a mark by which God's children are known and Christ's disciples recognised; and they learn with St. Paul to say, "We glory in tribulations" (Rom 5:3), and understand the exhortation of another apostle (Jas 1:2), "Count it all joy," etc.—After Gerok.

Joh . Marah.—In the history of the Exodus we read that the children of Israel on their desert march came to a water-supply which they could not drink, for it was very bitter. Because of this the place was called Marah, "bitterness." The people murmured and complained, and said to Moses, "What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet" (Exo 15:23-25). In this ancient history may be found a beautiful parable for us all. We, too, on our pilgrimage through the deserts of this life come to many a place "Marah," and many bitter springs of tribulation, where we murmur and complain and cry, How can we drink this? And not only before individuals among us (to you or me) may a bitter cup of tribulation be set, from which our inner nature shrinks back—a whole people also may come to such a field of Marah, where to them the sweet springs of well-being and enjoyment are made salt and bitter; when what seems a sea of troubles lies before them, and thousands, young and old, cry out, How can we come through it? For such bitter floods of tribulation and springs of tears, my brethren, the Lord our God has given us also a tree, by means of whose wood the bitter waters may become sweet. This tree is the cross of Christ. Through the cross of the Redeemer the cross of His people is made light, and even pleasant. From His Gospel flow such sweet and powerful rills of comfort, that whole seas of affliction are thereby made sweet, the unbearable is made bearable, what is insipid agreeable, and His people experience in reality what the hymn expresses:

"With sighs, and oft with weeping,

Is marked My journey here;

Yet Christ, in peace me keeping,

Thus sweetens every tear."

Idem.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on John 16:32". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/john-16.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb (30) Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. (31) Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? (32) Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (33) These things I have spoke n unto you, that in me ye might have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

It should seem by those acknowledgements of the Apostles, that now they understood plainly all that Jesus meant, and his sweet words were no longer proverbs; as Jesus just before had said they were, (John 16:25) but plain, and suited to their apprehension. And hence I venture to suppose, (but by no means to speak positively,) that the Lord was pleased as he drew near the close of his sermon to enlarge their minds, that they might have more clear and extended views of this great subject, on which he had been speaking to them. And, Reader! it will be our mercy in like manner, on this glorious view Jesus hath here given of the Person, Work, and Offices of God the Holy Ghost; if you and I can join issue with the Apostles, and say, Now speaketh our Lord plainly, and speaketh no parable. Now are we sure that Jesus knoweth all things, and needeth not that any man should ask him. By this we believe that He came forth from God!

It will form I hope no unprofitable conclusion in our Commentary upon this blessed sermon of Christ, if we briefly gather into one point of view, some of the precious things which Jesus hath left in it to his Church, concerning the Person and love-offices of God the Holy Ghost. Sure I am, the review of the whole will be profitable, if so be, (and which I humbly beg both for, myself and Reader,) that the Almighty Spirit of whom I write, shall graciously condescend to be our teacher.

We have beheld in these chapters, with what a world of tenderness the Lord Jesus hath introduced the subject of the coming of the Holy Ghost, and how Jesus before his departure brought them into an acquaintance with his person, and nature, and offices. We have seen how minutely the Lord Jesus hath dwelt upon the many distinguishing testimonies of character, by which the Holy Ghost should be known. And we have discovered at the close of our Lord's discourse on this most interesting subject, that so much grace from the Lord accompanied his divine instruction on the same, that the Apostles entered into a perfect apprehension both of the person and coming of the Holy Ghost. Here then I would beg the Reader to pause, and before we pass away from our review of the same sermon of Christ, which was made so blessed to them; I would very affectionately ask the Reader, as I desire to put the same question to my own heart, with what sentiments do we close the Lord's discourse, concerning the same momentous truths of God, in our apprehensions of God the Holy Ghost?

Behold him in the eternity of his, nature, and essence, and God-head. One of the Holy undivided Three, which bear record in heaven. 1 John 5:7. Contemplate Him in the numberless, undeniable testimonies, which have been brought before you of his Person, through both volumes of Scripture. Mark well his special offices, in his covenant character as relating to the Church. And here most eminently, and indeed as comprehending every other, in the great work of regeneration; which sovereign and Almighty act becomes so essential to every child of God to partake in, that not a single spiritual mercy can we lay claim to, until this is wrought, and when done, Christ with all his blessings and benefits are ours. For so it is written in the scripture. To them, (saith the Apostle,) that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied; according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; being made partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:1-4.

And when this gracious act is wrought in the soul of him, who is the highly favoured object of Jehovah's love, in his Threefold character of Person; all the after manifestations of the Holy Ghost, as might be expected, are made to maintain and carry on that divine nature, of which, as the Holy Ghost by the Apostle hath said, the regenerated are made partakers. From this commencement of the renewed life, when quickened by the Spirit in the souls of those who were before dead in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1.

Reader! what saith your experience to these things! Are the Apostles conclusions our conclusions? their views of the Holy Ghost our views of the Holy Ghost? Or, after all, the Lord Jesus hath said in this most blessed Chapter concerning Him, do we say of Jesus, as they did of the Prophet's Sermon, Ah, Lord God! doth he not speak parables ? Ezekiel 20:49.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/john-16.html. 1828.

People's New Testament

Do ye now believe? The disciples had just asserted that they did, because they thought they understood him, but before morning their faith would give way and, instead of clinging to him in the hour of trial, they would leave him alone.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 16:32". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-16.html. 1891.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

John 16:29-32. His disciples — Struck with the correspondence of what he said to what was secretly passing in their own minds; said, Lo, now speakest thou plainly — We acknowledge that now thou speakest in such a manner as we can easily understand; and speakest no proverb — Usest no obscure form of expression; now we are sure that thou knowest all things — Now, by this further token, even by discerning our inmost doubts on this subject, we are persuaded that nothing is hid from thee; and thou needest not that any man should ask thee — “By the things which thou hast now spoken to us we clearly perceive, that thou so perfectly knowest the hearts of men, that in conversing with them thou hast no need that they should tell thee their thoughts, by asking any question. For, although no question is asked thee, thou answerest the thoughts of every one. In short, thy knowledge of our hearts fully convinces us that thou art come from God.” It seems, through the whole of this discourse, Jesus had obviated the objections and answered the questions which his apostles were going to propose, or would gladly have proposed to him. Jesus answered, Do ye now believe — Are ye now at length fully persuaded that I am the promised Messiah? — Be on your guard. Your faith in me is not so firm but it may be shaken. Behold the hour cometh that ye shall be scattered, &c. — The time is coming, nay, is come already, when every one of you shall desert me, fleeing wherever you think to be in safety from approaching danger; so that I shall be left singly to encounter mine enemies. Nevertheless, I am not alone, because my Father is with me continually.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 16:32". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/john-16.html. 1857.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Cometh (ερχεταιerchetai). Futuristic present middle indicative of ερχομαιerchomai

Yea, is come (και εληλυτενkai elēluthen). Explanatory use of καιkai and the perfect active indicative as in John 12:23. The long-looked-for hour (ωραhōra) is so close that it has virtually begun. The time for the arrest of Jesus is near. See also John 17:1.

That
(ιναhina). See John 16:2 for this same use of ιναhina (not οτεhote) with ερχομαι ωραerchomai hōra

Ye shall be scattered
(σκορπιστητεskorpisthēte). First aorist passive subjunctive of σκορπιζωskorpizō used in John 10:12 of sheep scampering from the wolf. Cf. Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:33.

To his own
(εις τα ιδιαeis ta idia). “To his own home” as in John 1:11; John 19:27. So Appian VI. 23.

Shall leave
(απητεaphēte). Second aorist subjunctive of απιημιaphiēmi with ιναhina

And yet
(καιkai). Clear case of καιkai in adversative sense, not just “and.”

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

"I have told you these things in obscure figures of speech; a time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in obscure figures, but will tell you plainly about the Father. At that time you will ask in my name, and I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered into the world, but in turn, I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

His disciples said, "Look, now you are speaking plainly and not in obscure figures of speech! Now we know that you know everything and do not need anyone to ask you anything. Because of this we believe that you have come from God."

Jesus replied, "Do you now believe? Look, a time is coming--and has come--when you will be scattered, each one to his own home, and I will be left alone. Yet I am not alone, because my Father is with me. I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but have courage--I have conquered the world."

The passage we have now read is a very remarkable portion of Scripture, for two reasons. On the one hand, it forms a suitable conclusion to our Lord's long parting address to His disciples. It was fit and right that such a solemn sermon should have a solemn ending. On the other hand it contains the most general and unanimous profession of belief that we ever find the Apostles making--"Now are we sure that You know all things . . . by this we believe that you came forth from God."

That there are things hard to be understood in the passage it would be useless to deny. But there lie on its surface three plain and profitable lessons, to which we may usefully confine our attention.

We learn, for one thing, that clear knowledge of God the Father is one of the foundations of the Christian religion. Our Lord says to His disciples, "The time comes when I shall show you plainly of the Father." He does not say, we should mark, "I will show you plainly about myself." It is the Father whom He promises to show.

The wisdom of this remarkable saying is very deep. There are few subjects of which men know so little in reality as the character and attributes of God the Father. It is not for nothing that it is written, "No man knows the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him." (Matthew 11:27.) "The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." (John 1:18.) Thousands imagine that they know the Father because they think of Him as great, and almighty, and all-hearing, and wise, and eternal, but they think no further. To think of Him as just and yet the justifier of the sinner who believes in Jesus--as the God who sent His Son to suffer and die--as God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself--as God specially well-pleased with the atoning sacrifice of His Son, whereby His law is honored; to think of God the Father in this way is not given to most men. No wonder that our Master says, "I will show you plainly of the Father."

Let it be part of our daily prayers, that we may know more of "the only true God," as well as of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Let us beware alike of the mistakes which some make, who speak of God as if there was no Christ; and of the mistakes which others make, who speak of Christ as if there was no God. Let us seek to know all three Persons in the blessed Trinity, and give to each One the honor due to him. Let us lay hold firmly of the great truth, that the Gospel of our salvation is the result of the eternal counsels of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that we are as thoroughly debtors to the love of the Father, as to the love of the Spirit, or the love of the Son. No one has learned of Christ so deeply as the man who is ever drawing nearer to the Father through the Son--ever feeling more childlike confidence in Him--and ever understanding more thoroughly that in Christ, God is not an angry judge, but a loving Father and Friend.

We learn, for another thing, in this passage, that our Lord Jesus Christ makes much of a little grace, and speaks kindly of those who have it. We see Him saying to the disciples--"The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God."

How weak was the faith and love of the Apostles! How soon, in a very few hours, they were buried under a cloud of unbelief and cowardice! These very men whom Jesus commends for loving and believing, before the morning sun arose, forsook Him and fled. Yet, weak as their graces were, they were real and true and genuine . They were graces which hundreds of learned priests and scribes and Pharisees never attained, and, not attaining, died miserably in their sins.

Let us take great comfort in this blessed truth. The Savior of sinners will not cast off those who believe in Him, because they are babes in faith and knowledge. He will not break the bruised reed or quench the smoking flax. He can see reality under much infirmity, and where He sees it, He is graciously pleased. The followers of such a Savior may well be bold and confident. They have a Friend who despises not the least member of His flock, and casts out none who come to Him, however weak and feeble, if they are only true.

We learn, for another thing, in this passage, that the best Christians know but little of their own hearts. We see the disciples professing loudly, "Now You speak plainly--now we are sure--now we believe." Brave words these! And yet the very men that spoke them, in a very short time were scattered like timid sheep, and left their Master alone.

We need not doubt that the profession of the eleven was real and sincere. They honestly meant what they said. But they did not know themselves. They did not know what they were capable of doing under the pressure of the fear of men and of strong temptation. They had not rightly estimated the weakness of the flesh, the power of the devil, the feebleness of their own resolutions, the shallowness of their own faith. All this they had yet to learn by painful experience. Like young recruits, they had yet to learn that it is one thing to know the soldier's drill and wear the uniform, and quite another thing to be steadfast in the day of battle.

Let us mark these things, and learn wisdom. The true secret of spiritual strength is self-distrust and deep humility. "When I am weak," said a great Christian, "then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10.) None of us, perhaps, have the least idea how much we might fall if placed suddenly under the influence of strong temptation. Happy is he who never forgets the words, "Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall;" and, remembering our Lord's disciples, prays daily "Hold me up and then I shall be safe."

We learn, lastly, from this passage, that Christ is the true source of peace. We read that our Lord winds up all His discourse with these soothing words--"These things have I spoken unto you, that you might have peace." The end and scope of His parting address, He would have us know, is to draw us nearer to Himself as the only fountain of comfort. He does not tell us that we shall have no trouble in the world. He holds out no promise of freedom from tribulation, while we are in the body. But He bids us rest in the thought that He has fought our battle and won a victory for us. Though tried, and troubled, and vexed with things here below, we shall not be destroyed. "Be of good cheer," is His parting charge--"Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Let us lean back our souls on these comfortable words, and take courage. The storms of trial and persecution may sometimes beat heavily on us; but let them only drive us closer to Christ. The sorrows, and losses, and crosses, and disappointments of our life may often make us feel sorely cast down; but let them only make us tighten our hold on Christ. Armed with this very promise let us, under every cross, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Let us often say to our souls, "Why are you cast down, and why are you disturbed?" And let us often say to our gracious Master--"Lord, did not You say, Be of good cheer? Lord, do as You have said, and cheer us to the end."

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Bibliographical Information
Ryle, J. C. "Commentary on John 16:32". "J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ryl/john-16.html.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 16:26-32

Love the Evidence of Faith

I. Our Lord here speaks of His disciples' belief in Him as one of the reasons why the Father loved them. But He puts it second. He puts their belief after their love. This is the true and only sure order of the growth of faith in the soul. It begins with love. That which leads a man to the belief in Christ, that which supplies, as it were, the root of his faith, is love. Faith is worth little, can stand little temptation, unless it is rooted in love. The true Christian finds in the character of the Lord that which his heart can love, and because of that he believes. Faith rests on the correspondence between the revelation of God and the soul of man. And the beginning of this correspondence is the love of the heavenly.

II. Nothing is more common than the fancy which leads men to rest their faith on some striking event, on some remarkable experience, or fulfilment, or apparent fulfilment, of prophecy. Nor is there anything wrong in allowing such arguments to strike our minds, provided we recognise how poor and shallow is the faith which rests on any such foundation. Let these things help us if they can, but let us know, too, that if we rely on them, and fancy that the truth of God can be proved by such arguments as these, we should be making the same mistake as the disciples just before our Lord's arrest. The faith which rests on what is outside is at the mercy of what is outside.

III. The man, whether young or old, who is storing up in his soul a real love of what is good, is building within him a sure faith. He may have to change some of his opinions; he may have to give up some that he has cherished much. He may find that arguments that seemed to him weighty are worth nothing. He may at times be sorely tried, and perhaps his faith may even fail, as the faith of the Apostles failed when they saw their Master led off unresistingly to prison. But his faith has a real root, a root deep in the very inmost soul. And he shall not be taken away from God, nor lose his hold on God's truth. He may wander, but he will return; for God's finger has touched him.

Bishop Temple, Rugby Sermons, 3rd series, p. 107.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-16.html.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 16:31-32

The Work of the Comforter

I. Many, perhaps, cannot understand how the condition of Christians now is better than that of the disciples when our Lord was upon earth; how the Comforter, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, can be a greater blessing than the visible presence of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Yet if we look at the character of the apostles, we shall see that our Lord's words were exactly true. It was expedient for them that He should go away, because while He was with them their faith often wavered, and their hearts were more often turned to earthly things than to heavenly; but when He went from them, and the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, visited them in His room, they were led into all truth and their whole minds were renewed by that spiritual baptism, so as to be fit for the kingdom of God. That Comforter is now ever working in the hearts of Christ's true servants, and therefore to them, as was promised, Christ still manifests Himself. Though now they see Him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; a far happier state than theirs who saw Him and yet did not believe in Him.

II. To feel the burden of our captivity is not the same thing as to be free from it; to love God in our better mind, or, as St. Paul calls it, "according to the inward man," is not the same thing as to walk according to that love and show it forth in our lives and actions. So that though we may now believe, yet if the hour cometh when we shall be scattered every man to his own, assuredly we cannot reckon ourselves as belonging to that flock of the good Shepherd, who hear His voice, and also follow Him whithersoever He goeth, so that they may never go astray from the fold. We must attain to the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus; the Spirit of God must abide in us and change us into His own image, that we may be delivered from sin and the flesh, and serve them no more at all.

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. i., p. 246.


References: John 16:31-33.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 171.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-16.html.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 16:32

Loneliness

I. There is a loneliness inseparable from the spiritual life. To cherish such loves and hopes of heaven, such desires for God's honour, such delight in Jesus' grace, as you dare not drag from the sacred silence of the heart, is not that the burden of all the saints? "Yet not alone." Let it console us under our hidden hopes and fears, under weariness of sin, and under unappreciated efforts to do good, to remember not only that Christ felt it all, but that in the midst of it all He drew into His bosom the sweet companionship of a heavenly confidant and Father. To us, as to Him, shall the sense of such society prove balm to our pain and solace in our loneliness.

II. A special variety of spiritual solitude arises when a Christian is called to endure temptation. In such assaults a Christian can expect little aid and hardly any companionship from man. But it is when no man stands by us that our Joseph discovers himself to His brethren, and the presence of Jehovah is a secret place.

III. There is a loneliness in sorrow. Deep grief loves silence and retirement. When a man would weep, he goes apart to do it. Where is the mourner who has not experienced the twofold desire—desire for a solitude within, that is felt to be indispensable; desire for fellowship within reach, as near at hand as may be, about a stone's cast off. He who could face His trial with the assurance that One above would never leave Him entirely alone, knows how to save you by the angel of His presence.

IV. Exactly in proportion to the preciousness of the Divine presence is the unspeakable solitude of the Divine absence. Yet, has the forlorn soul, under such loneliness of desertion, any right to say that it is passed beyond the fellow-feeling of the Son of God? Out into an absolute loneliness of outer darkness He peered; He crossed the line; He lost the consciousness of that Presence, and felt Himself for the first time alone indeed, bereft of that secret inward instinct whose conscious sympathy had sustained Him in every earlier solitude. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" If He too went through such an awful experience, must He not be drawn to watch you in it with the interest of fellow-feeling?

J. Oswald Dykes, Sermons, p. 326.


References: John 16:32.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 363; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 81; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 367; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 10th series, p. 9; E. Bersier, Sermons, 1st series, p. 299; Church of England Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 253.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-16.html.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 16:31-32. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, an hour cometh and is come, that ye should be scattered, each one to his own, and leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. The view taken of the preceding verse leads to the conclusion that the first clause of this verse is interrogative, not affirmative, and the conclusion is favoured by chaps, John 6:70, John 13:38. The meaning of the reply is, ‘You anticipate the time, you deceive yourselves; this faith of yours, sincere and real up to a certain point though it be, needs deepening and perfecting. It will be deepened and perfected in such a way that no trial will be too hard for it—but not yet: rather the hour cometh, and is come, when you shall all forsake Me in the time of My greatest need, and shall think only selfishly of yourselves. Yet, notwithstanding, even then, when to all appearance alone, I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.’

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-16.html. 1879-90.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

John 16:1. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

The temptation is, when Christ is despised and rejected, for our hearts to begin to sink, and for our faith to fail. Therefore did Christ warn his disciples that they “should not be offended.”

John 16:2. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

The best of men are but men at the best, and they are very apt to fail when they find persecution hot against them, especially when even religious men, of a certain kind, count it to be a religious duty to persecute the people of God.

John 16:3. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

This verse reminds us of our Lord’s prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Persecution of God’s people usually arises from ignorance of God the Father and God the Son.

John 16:4. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

“I was your Protector; by my personal presence, I so sustained your hearts that it did not matter what trouble you fell into; but now I am going away, and therefore I give you this warning.”

John 16:5-6. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

We sometimes endure a needless sorrow, for the asking of a single question might remove it. Our Lord says to his disciples, “If you knew where I was going, and understood my motive in going, your sorrow at my departure would be assuaged.”

John 16:7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:

“It is for your profit to lose my personal presence, precious as that has been to you.”

John 16:7. For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

The word “Comforter” might just as well have been translated “Advocate.” The Holy Spirit is that Divine Advocate who pleads the cause of God in us, and for us, and so comforts us. He it is who is now with Us. If Jesus Christ were still upon earth in the flesh, he could only be in one place at one time. If he were in this assembly, he could not also be in Jerusalem or in New York; but the Comforter can be in all the gatherings of the Lord’s people, and with each individual believer, the wide world over.

John 16:8-12. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Teachers, learn wisdom from Christ. He did not try to teach his disciples everything at once; but, by teaching them one truth, he prepared them for another truth. Let us do the same with those whom we try to teach, let us dispense to them the simpler truths first, and afterwards those that are deeper and more mysterious.

John 16:13-14. Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

That spirit, which does not glorify Christ, is not the spirit of God. Hereby shall ye discern between the spirit of error and the Spirit of truth.

John 16:15-16. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

This is what our whole life is: “a little while.” But in that little while there are little whiles of sadness, and little whiles of gladness, — little whiles in which we have Christ with us, and little whiles in which we see him, but find him not. Blessed be God, we are going away from the land of these changing little whiles up to the place where the sun shineth in its strength for ever and ever.

John 16:17-18. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and, again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

Sometimes, when you are reading the Bible, you will come across a text of which you will say to yourselves, “What is this? We cannot tell what he saith.” But do not give up reading the Bible because you cannot understand it. There is a great deal that a father says which his child cannot comprehend, yet it is a part of the child’s education to be with his father, and to hear some things that he does not at first understand; but by-and-by, it all becomes clear. So, believer, what thou knowest not now thou shalt know hereafter.

John 16:19. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him

They did not ask him, but they desired to do so, and a desire is a prayer. Where our blessed Master is present, the very desires of his people are prayers, even though their lips remain closed.

John 16:19-20. And said unto them, Do you enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Oh, what a blessed promise!

John 16:21-24. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall, receive, that your joy may be full.

They had asked very little, and they had never asked even that little in Christ’s name; and there are but few Christians who do so even now. They ask for Christ’s sake, which is a good plea, but to ask in Christ’s name is better still, — when you feel conscious that you have Christ’s authority to use his name, and so can put the King’s own signature at the bottom of your petitions. There are some prayers to which a man dares not to set Christ’s seal; but when the prayer is such that Christ himself might have offered it, then we may present it in his name, and we may be certain that we shall receive what we have asked.

John 16:25-28. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself teacheth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

Here are four unfathomable depths: “I came forth from the Father,” —there is Christ’s eternal pre-existence. “And am come into the world,” —there is his incarnation. “Again, I leave the world,” — there is his death, resurrection, and ascension into the glory of God. “And go to the Father,” — there is his exaltation to the Father’s right hand.

John 16:29. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

Did you never, when reading the Bible, come across a text, that was opened up to you so sweetly that you vied out just as these disciples did “Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.”

John 16:30-31. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

Listen, you who imagine that you are so strong in faith, and every grace, that you think you are almost perfect: “Do ye now believe?”

John 16:32. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone:

Ah, me! these were the men who said they believed in him; yet, in his time of trial, they fled like cowardly unbelievers. God help us, and sustain us, or we shall do as they did!

John 16:32-33. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-16.html. 2011.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

John 16:16. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

Remember that the disciples were on the verge of great trouble. Their Leader and Friend was about to be taken away from them by a cruel death. They were to be tried as they had never been tried before. The Saviour therefore prepared their minds for the trial. I have often noticed that, before a great trouble comes, the Spirit of God secretly comforts in a very remarkable manner those who are to be tried. Perhaps, tonight, without knowing it, we may be near some great affliction or sorrow. If so, may the Lord store us with comfort and strength for the coming hour of need!

John 16:17-18. There said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shalt see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

It was only too plain. We often do not understand our Master because we imagine that there is some deep significance in his words when their meaning lies upon the very surface. If you would understand the gospel as you understand the common talk of life, it would be wise. If we could but bring men to believe God as a child believes its mother, practically and really, then their salvation would be a very simple and speedy matter.

John 16:19-20. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice:

Sometimes the world appears to have the best of it. Its mouth is full of laughter while the child of God cannot speak for sorrow. Ah! well, there is time enough for a change. We may very well let those laugh today who will have to gnash their teeth for ever. Judge not God by your present circumstances. Take the rough with the smooth. Be willing to go to heaven up the bleak side of the hill.

John 16:20. And ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

So, the more of it the better. If your sorrow is to be turned into joy, then the more sorrow, the more joy. Happy is he who endureth trial, since his trial is to be turned into happiness.

John 16:21-22. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow:

But your sorrow is the pang of life.

John 16:22. But I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

The joy that comes by sorrow in connection with Christ is the joy of which we shall never be bereaved. Let us thank God that there is a joy which no man can take away. Happy are they who have it.

John 16:23. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. This is a grand promise. If we dare ask in the name of Christ, and it is not everything that we could ask for in his name ¾if our petition is such that we honestly judge that we may put Christ’s name to it; if it is a thing that Christ would have asked; if it is a thing that Christ could have asked, let us ask in Christ’s name, and the Father will give it.

John 16:24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name:

You have not been bold enough. You have asked a few petty things, but you have never fully made use of Christ’s name. How many Christians have never learned to pray in the name of Christ! They say at the end of their petition, “For Christ’s sake.” That is good as far as it goes. I may ask a man to give me such and such a thing for the sake of another; that is good pleading so far as it goes. But if I dare to use the authority that my friend gives me to put his name at the bottom of my request, that is another and a higher thing. To ask in the name of Christ, to plead under his authority, this is to pray indeed.

John 16:24. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

“That your joy may be full,” a ripe joy, a joy that fills your being, that sparkles in your eye, dances in your feet, leaps in your heart, an unutterable, inexpressible joy: “That your joy may be full.”

John 16:25-26. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

Though that be true,

John 16:27. For the Father himself loveth you,

What a delightful little sentence! “The Father himself loveth you.”

John 16:27. Because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

God’s first love to us is from himself alone. Then there is another love that grows in his heart because of our love to his Son. You love your child. The reason lies in your own heart. After a while, that dear, loving, affectionate child has won a farther place in your affection, and you love him because of his choice and special love to you. Remember that Psalm, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” Our love of God wins from him another love, of a different sort, although it comes from the same fountain as the first: “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”

John 16:28-30. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

One does not see any reason why they should have been made so strong in faith just then. But we were not there to hear Christ’s words. There is many a message, which depends upon the tone and manner of the speaker for its influence over the people who hear it. When you read the story afterwards, without the earnest manner and the living tone of the speaker, you do not see why it had such a strange effect upon his hearers. So we do not quite see here, by the calm reading of this narrative, why the disciples leaped all of a sudden into such confidence.

John 16:31. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

He did not feel so sure of their faith as they did. We often think we have great heaps of the gold of faith; and it glitters very brightly, but it is not the precious metal after all. So Jesus said, “Do ye now believe?”

John 16:32. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

These poor creatures, who were so bold and so oversure, would all be runaways. If persecution were to arise in our day, I wonder how many of us would be found true men. Ah! you think you are true blue; but you would run at the first touch of water, not to mention fire. Are there not many of us who are but poor believers? If our faith were sharply tried, would it stand the test?

John 16:33. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Christ wants his disciples to have peace. Are you fretting tonight? Are you afraid of Monday? Are you fearful about the trials of the week? Christ wants you to be at peace. Be quiet. Be quiet. Let all be still within your heart, and wait your Father’s will. “In the world ye shall have tribulation:” on God’s threshing-floor the flail will be kept going. If you are a child of God, you will have to suffer. The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings; and good soldiers of Jesus Christ must expect to pass through the same experience. As long as you are here, you will be tried: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Think of that; the Christ who is about to sweat great drops of blood, and to die on the cross of Calvary, says, “I have overcome.” It is not Julius Caesar’s” Veni, vidi, vici;” but it is Christ’s “Veni, vidi, vici;” ¾“I came, I saw, I conquered:” “I have overcome.” And as he has overcome, so shall you, if you be his true follower.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-16.html. 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 16:32". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 16:29-32

Now speakest Then plainly

The disciples’ confession and the Master’s warning

The first words of these discourses were, “Let not your heart be troubled.
” The aim of all was to bring peace and confidence to the disciples. And this joyful burst shows that the aim has been reached. The last sublime utterance had gathered all the scattered rays into a beam so bright that the blindest could not but see, and the coldest could not but be warmed But yet the calm, clear eye of Christ sees something not wholly satisfactory in this out-pouring of the disciples’ confidence.

I. THE DISCIPLES’ JOYFUL CONFESSION. Their words are permeated with allusions to previous sayings of our Lord, and show how shallow was their understanding of what they thought was plain. He had said to them that in that coming day He would speak to them no more in proverbs; and they answer that the promised day has come. If they had understood what He meant could they have spoken thug, or bare left Him so soon?

1. They begin with what they believed to be a fact, His clear utterance. Then follows a conviction. He had said, “In that day ye shall ask Me nothing.” And from the fact that He had interpreted their unspoken words they rightly draw the conclusion of His Divine Omniscience. And they think that therein is the fulfilment of that great promise. Was that all that He meant, No! He meant, “Ye shall ask Me nothing because you will have an illuminating Spirit.” And so, again, a shallow interpretation empties the words which they accept of their deepest and most precious meaning.

2. They take a further step. They begin with a fact; then they infer a conviction; and now, upon the basis of the inferred conviction, they rear a faith. “We believe that Thou camest forth from God.” But what they meant by “coming forth from God” fell far short of what He meant. And so their confession is a strangely mingled warp and woof of insight and of ignorance.

3. Note the lessons. We learn

II. THE SAD QUESTIONS AND FOREBODINGS OF THE MASTER. He does not reject their imperfect homage, though He discerns its imperfection and transiency; but sadly warns them to beware of the fleeting nature of their present emotion; and would seek to prepare them, by the knowledge, for the terrible storm that is going to break upon them. Note, then, that

1. The dear Lord accepts imperfect surrender. If He did not, what would become of us all? He was willing to put up with what you and I will not put up with; and to accept what we reject; and be pleased that they gave Him even that.

2. The need for Christian men to make sure that their inward life corresponds with their words and professions. Our words and acts of Christian profession and service are like bank notes. And what will be the end if there is a whole ream of such going up and down the world, and no balance of bullion in the cellars to meet them? Nothing but bankruptcy. Do you see to it that your reserve of gold, deep down in your hearts, always leaves a margin beyond the notes in circulation issued by you. And in the midst of your professions hear the Master saying, “Do ye now believe?”

3. Trust no emotions, no religious experiences, but only Him to whom they turn. These men were perfectly sincere, and there was a glow of gladness in their hearts, and a real though imperfect faith when they spoke. In an hour’s time where were they? “We trusted.” Ah! what a world of sorrow there is in those two final letters of that word. “We trusted that it had been He who should have redeemed Israel.” But they do not trust it any more, and so why should they put themselves in peril for One on whom their faith can no longer build? Would you and I have been any better if we had been there? Suppose you had stood afar off and seen Jesus die on the cross, would your faith have lived? Let us all, recognizing our own weakness, trust to nothing, but only to Him, and cry, “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.”

III. THE LONELY CHRIST AND HIS COMPANION.

1. Jesus was the loneliest man that ever lived. All other forms of human solitude were concentrated in His. He knew the pain of unappreciated aims, unaccepted love, unbelieved teachings, a heart thrown back upon itself. Solitude was no small part of the pain of His passion. Remember the pitiful appeals in Gethsemane. Now, some of us no doubt have to live outwardly solitary lives. Physicists tell us that in the most solid bodies the atoms do not touch. Hearts come closer than atoms, but yet after all, we die alone, and in the depths of our souls we all live alone. So let us be thankful that the Master knows the bitterness of solitude, and has Himself trod that path.

2. Then we have the calm consciousness of unbroken communion. Jesus Christ’s sense of union with the Father was deep, close, constant, in manner and measure altogether transcending any experience of ours. But still He sets before us a pattern of what we should aim at in these great words. They show the path of comfort for every lonely heart. If the world with its millions seems to have none in it for us, let us turn to Him who never leaves us. If dear ones are torn from our grasp, let us clasp God. It is not all loss if the trees which with their leafy beauty shut out the sky from us, are felled and so we see the blue. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Faith in the chamber and faith in the world

I. THE DISCIPLES PROFESSED TO BELIEVE, BUT THEY DID NOT KNOW WHY.

1. Here was a great, though natural mistake.

2. And yet they did believe. They believed more than they thought, and better. They knew the Teacher, if not the lesson. While they were basing their faith on knowledge of His meaning, they had a faith already built on a surer foundation than that; and while they were rejoicing in a confidence which had no support but a mistake, they felt a deeper, stronger confidence which rested on no mistake at all. We too feel more than we understand. It were a poor thing if our confidence in Christ and Christianity were based on learning and logic, or even distinct opinions. A man may believe in Christ, and cleave to Him, and follow Him, and yet be miserably at a loss if asked for a scientific or a satisfactory exposition of his faith.

II. THEY BELIEVED, BUT THEY DID NOT KNOW HOW. Christ did not mean to question the reality of their faith but its intensity. They always had believed, and, under the influence of this affecting scene, and thinking that they understood His meaning, believed more than ever. But they little knew how frail and feeble was their faith in comparison with the burden it would have to bear. They felt strong, like a convalescent invalid, but as soon as strain and pressure were on them, their strength was that of a little child. Apply this thought

1. To the faith of contemplation and the faith of action; to man looking on truth as an object, and obeying it as a claim. While the disciples had Christ before them, and had only to listen to and behold Him, they believed; but when they had to follow Him, to show their practical regard, “they all forsook Him and fled.” And still there is a difference between the quiet thought of truth, and its embodiment in act. “Faith worketh by love.” No other faith can save a man. How “can faith save,” if it does nothing? How can it save from sins, if it does not destroy sin? Truth is given us, not to be a pleasant object but a living power. The Word of God is “a lamp to the feet,” not only to the eye. It is very possible to have faith in Christ when beholding the graces of His character, the credentials of His mission, and the glory of His work, and to be sadly wanting in loving and daily obedience to His will; possible to have faith in propositions, with practical unbelief in duties; and yet the faith which is “more precious than gold,” must bear the test of gold.

2. To the faith which receives Christ in peace and prosperity, and that which receives Him when His claims conflict with our fond beliefs and wishes. We can think calmly and speak eloquently of the goodness and equity of Providence when “the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places,” but how mysterious it becomes when He “destroyeth the hope of man.” What was a pleasant study becomes s perplexing, perhaps insoluble problem. We can recommend so persuasively the cheerful drinking of the cup of sorrow when in the hand of others, but what wry faces we make when put into our own! It is as it was in that upper room: Jesus in peace and safety, speaking of a dear Father, His joyful home, His love to His disciples, and great comforts in store for them, is one Christ; but Jesus betrayed and seized is quite another.

3. To faith in enjoyment of strong and stimulating privileges and faith deprived of them. There was everything in that upper room to excite and gratify every religious and Christian feeling. As men, the disciples were with brethren; as Jews, they had observed one of the most solemn and delightful festivals of their nation; as friends of Jesus, they had seen Him open His heart as He had never done before. But when this scene had passed as a dissolving view, and wintry barrenness had taken the place of summer loveliness--when the spell had been broken, and nature was left to its ordinary action--faith failed. We know what times of unwonted spiritual impression and excitement are, when the spiritual world seems opened to our view; when “alone” with Jesus, “He expounds all things to His disciples;” and when they “know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” But these times do not last. And how soon the fair vision vanishes! A return to the worldly lot and the society of man dissipates it all; and it requires all our effort and care not to “leave,” in heart, the Jesus we had felt to be our “Life,” and “Peace,” and “Hope.” Conclusion: The subject teaches us how to try ourselves and others. Not by clearness of views or sensibility of feelings, but life. (A. J. Morris.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 16:32". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 16:32

Ye shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me

Solitude

1.
There are two kinds of solitude--visible and inward. When we are not seen, we say that we are alone; however, it is not always a true isolation. The fisherman does not feel himself alone when he passes his nights on the immense ocean; he thinks of his family quietly sheltered; it is for them he is working, their love fills his heart. The watching soldier, in the lonely picket, does not feel himself alone; for he feels that on him rests the honour of the flag and the safety of his fellow-soldiers. The workwoman, in her garret, is not alone, for the work which she will finish before dawn will procure for those she loves the next day’s bread.

2. One can, on the contrary, be surrounded by the busiest crowd, and feel more isolated than in a desert. There are persons whose contact causes no sympathetic cord to vibrate in the soul. There have been days in which, coming back from the cemetery where you have buried a part of your heart and your life, the noise, the movement of the world seemed empty, cold and derisive.

3. Of these two solitudes I need not say which is the hardest to bear. To feel oneself lost in this vast universe, knowing that there is no one to whom we are dear, is there a more miserable condition? Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged there is a class of men who would willingly take their part in it. To have nothing in common with others, to climb a summit inaccessible, to sit there in pride, is a destiny which attracts them. Such is the greatness of selfishness, of Satan! But the gospel offers us in Christ a greatness of another nature. It does not tread sympathy under foot; it lays claim to it, it needs it. Look at Gethsemane; the Son of Man going three times to His disciples and asking them to watch with Him. How small the solitary pride of the egoist is beside that greatness!

I. WHAT THE CAUSES OF CHRIST’S SOLITUDE ARE.

1. When a man wishes to serve truth or righteousness, he must expect sooner or later to be lonely. Every truth has begun by being misunderstood; it has been a subject of reproach to those who have been its first apostles. This is above all realized in religious truth, which, by its very holiness, humiliates and bruises our pride, and consequently all human passions are leagued against it. The witnesses of eternal righteousness here below have all been at times lonely, misconstrued, slighted. Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and St. Paul. Imagine, then, the holy and the just One and you may well divine that He will be lonely amongst men. He is alone when seeking the glory of God amid people who are forgetting Him; when preaching His spiritual law in the midst of a nation attached to forms; when denouncing iniquity and hypocrisy amid a crowd whom the Pharisees dominate; amongst His disciples who do not understand His sublime mission; and in the last hour. Now, what happens to the Leader must happen to all His disciples.

2. Now, this inevitable solitude brings with it

II. HIS CONSOLATION. “I am not alone,” &c. There is what made the strength of Jesus. What are all the desertions of earth in presence of communion with God? He might well feel that precious communion, for He only wanted, loved, accomplished the Father’s will; but can we forget that there was a mysterious, dreadful day when the Father Himself failed Him? But if Jesus has known that terrible forsaking, it was that we should never know it. When faith united us to Him we obtained the right to come to God, and to call Him our Father; then in our turn we could repeat those words. That is what constitutes the Christian’s strength and consolation.

1. You are alone, and perhaps are doubting. Who are you to oppose your thought to the thoughts of the crowd, to believe what others deny? In that sorrowful anxiety, I know of only one refuge; it is this thought: “The Father is with me.” If it was your thought only the waves of doubt would soon carry you away; but when you have God for you nothing should stop you. It was that which made all God’s prophets strong, when they had to protest against some dominant iniquity? Neither Moses, nor Elijah, nor St. Paul have drawn from their own character that superhuman energy which made them giants in the moral order; they themselves tell us that it is God who calls them and sends them. So Luther. To divine the secret of his strength, he should be seen on his knees before going to the Diet of Worms, saying: “My God, Thou dost know well that I do not wish to resist such great lords, but it is Thy cause not mine.” And behold, he, the son of a peasant, overthrew in his weakness the secular yoke of Rome which philosophy had not been able to move!

2. There is that barrenness which isolation produces. Ah! if the affection of men fail us, do you not believe that the love of God is infinite enough to fill our heart? Is not God the very source of love? Do you believe that God would leave empty, arid, and barren, a heart which the world forsakes?

3. As opposed to discouragement nothing is more powerful than the thought that the Father is with us. “My right is with the Lord, and my work is with my God;” yes, his work, small, hidden, obscure as it may be, if that work is only a prayer, a sigh, a tear, which seems lost. What immense encouragement such a thought is! If I am alone, that work will not perish with me, I have brought my stone to an eternal building which is continued along the centuries; for it is God’s work. (E. Bersier, D. D.)

Loneliness

Many a one is cast down and weary because he feels alone; nought so dispirits as loneliness; add yet one may be more alone in a crowd than anywhere when all unknown and uncured for. All must feel it in some shape: the old who sit and gaze in the fire, and see many a cherished scheme lying in the dull white ash; old friends, loved ones, gone, one by one; new faces and new ways, belonging to a new generation, cluster round, and loneliness pours in upon the soul--a loneliness too deep for human words to describe. When you have a sorrow, you feel that he that hath known a little sorrow will give the warmest sympathy. The memory of the trial, illumined by the after-knowledge of its blessing, will give a loving, tender power to the counsel of the friend. Whose sorrow like that sorrow! Whose loneliness as that of Jesus, when His bitter cry startled the assembled throng! He knows it all. Bring, then, thy care here, and gather comfort. Not very long ago one of our English officers, when riding full speed across the sand after the enemy, saw one of his men laid on the ground with his side torn open by a shell, and fast sinking. Reining up his horse he said, “My lad, you must not think me unkind if I leave you alone in your agony; but you know I must ride on, Duty commands me!” I shall never forget, said that officer, the answer I got. “Sir,” said he, “I am not alone. I have with me the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother!” That brave English soldier knew the glorious truth of the ever-present Jesus, who, by the memory of that bitter cry, would never leave a child of His to be alone in the hour of need. Oh, Jesus, let me glean and keep that precious thought. I am not left as an orphan alone to fight and struggle in the great battle of life. The fierceness of the pain full often makes men long for something to lull the pain; the heart gives way before the long future that seems to stretch on and on without a ray of hope. “Face it,” says the doctor, “the pain may be for a time the fiercer, but the operation will relieve.” Or if it be a soul-agony, and sin to crucify, nails to be driven through our tenderest places. “Face it,” cries the Great Physician, “suffer, but win!” Deluded souls fly to the giddy throng, and try by pleasures to drown thought, or by the fatal wine cup to forget in a momentary false excitement, the hard facts of every-day life. Let us at least meet our trials awake. Meet them in the power of the Crucified and His example. A great Italian bishop was noted for his calm resignation, and when asked how it was, replied, “I look around and think how many are worse off than I am; I look down and think how soon it will all be over; I look up and think how happy it will be there!” (W. H. Jones.)

Charms of solitude

Charles the Fifth, after a life spent in military exploits and the active and energetic prosecution of ambitious projects, resigned, as is well known, his crown, sated with its enjoyment. He left these words, as a testimony behind him: “I have tasted more satisfaction in my solitude in one day than in all the triumphs of my former reign. The sincere study, profession, and practice of the Christian religion have in them such joy as is seldom found in courts and grandeur.”

The loneliness of Christ

1. There are two kinds of solitude: that of insulation in space, and that of isolation of spirit.

2. And there are two kinds of men who feel this last solitude.

I. THE LONELINESS OF CHRIST.

1. This loneliness was caused by the Divine elevation of His character.

2. That solitude was felt by Christ in trial. In the desert, in Pilate’s judgment-hall, in the garden, He was alone--and alone must every son of man meet his trial-hour. The individuality of the soul necessitates that. Each man’s temptations are made up of a host of peculiarities which no other mind can measure. You are tried alone--alone you pass into the desert--alone you must bear and conquer in the agony--alone you must be sifted by the world. And there are trials more terrible. A temptation, in which the lower nature struggles for mastery, can be met by the whole united force of the spirit. But it is when obedience to a heavenly Father can be only paid by disobedience to an earthly one: or fidelity to duty can be only kept by infidelity to some entangling engagement: or the straight path must be taken over the misery of others: or the counsel of the affectionate friend must be met with a “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” It is then, when human advice is unavailable, that the soul feels what it is to be alone.

3. The Redeemer’s soul was alone in dying. The hour had come--they were all gone, and He was, as He predicted, left alone. All that is human drops from us in that hour. “I shall die alone”--yes, and alone you live. No atom in creation touches another--they only approach within a certain distance; then the attraction ceases, and an invisible something repels--they only seem to touch. No soul touches another soul except at one or two points; and those chiefly external. Death only realizes that which has been the fact all along. In the central deeps of our being we are alone.

II. THE SPIRIT OR TEMPER OF THAT SOLITUDE.

1. Observe its grandeur. I am alone, yet not alone. There is a feeble and sentimental way in which we speak of the Man of sorrows. We turn to the cross and the loneliness to arouse compassion. You degrade that loneliness. Compassion for Him! Adore if you will; but no pity: let it draw out the firmer and manlier graces of the soul. Even in human things, the strength that is in a man can be only learnt when he is thrown upon his own resources and left alone. It is one thing to defend the truth when you know that your audience are already prepossessed, and another to hold it when met by unsympathizing suspicion, It is one thing to rush on to danger with the shouts of numbers, and another when the lonely captain of the sinking ship sees the last boatful disengage itself, and folds his arms to go down into the majesty of darkness, crushed, but not subdued. Such and greater far was the strength and majesty of the Saviour’s solitariness. It was not the trial of the lonely hermit. There is a certain pleasing melancholy in his life. But there are the forms of nature to speak to him, and he has not the positive opposition of mankind if he has the absence of actual sympathy. But the solitude of Christ was the solitude of a crowd. In that single human bosom dwelt the thought which was to be the germ of the world’s life: a thought unshared, misunderstood, or rejected.

2. Learn from these words self-reliance. Alone the Son of Man was content to be. He threw Himself on His own solitary thought: did not go down to meet the world; but waited, though it might be for ages, till the world should come round to Him. This is self-reliance--to believe that what is truest in you is true for all: to abide by that, and not be over-anxious to be understood, or sympathized with, certain that at last all must acknowledge the same, and that while you stand firm, the world will come round to you. There is a cowardice in this age which is not Christian. We shrink from the consequences of truth. We ask what men will think--what others will say. He who is calculating that will accomplish nothing. The Father--the Father who is with us and in us--what does He think?

3. Remark the humility of this loneliness. Had the Son of Man simply said, I can be alone, He would have said no more than any proud man can say. But when he added, “because the Father is with Me,” that independence assumed another character, and self-reliance became only another form of reliance upon God. Distinguish between genuine and spurious humility. There is a false humility which says, “It is my own poor thought, and I must not trust it. Is not trust in self the great fault of our fallen nature?” Very well. Now remember something else. There is a Spirit which beareth witness with our spirits--there is a “Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” The thought of your mind perchance is the thought of God. To refuse to follow that may be to disown God. To take the judgment and conscience of other men to live by--where is the humility of that? From whence did their conscience and judgment come? Was the fountain from which they drew exhausted for you? (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Cure of loneliness

A poor woman living alone in a small cottage in the forest was asked if she did not feel the loneliness of the place. “Oh no,” was her reply, “for Faith closes the door at night, and Mercy opens it in the morning.” (Sunday at Home.)

Alone, yet not alone

I. WE HAVE NO REASON TO SAY THAT IT IS WRONG TO RECOIL FROM BEING ALONE.

1. Adam was unfallen when God saw that it was “not good for him to be alone.” Sin has always a tendency to isolate--grace to draw out the social affections. Whoever thinks of solitude in heaven?

2. Therefore, it is nothing strange that Christ should place solitude among His sorrows. The desire which brought Him down here was a longing to have a people with Him. He could not be that “grain of wheat which abideth alone.” No wonder, then, that the first act of His public life was to secure companionship. And there is not a more touching trait of His whole life than that yearning after human sympathy, in the agony of Gethsemane. And, plainly, it was not for His disciples’ sake that He loved to take them about with Him everywhere. Even the transfiguration would have been incomplete without the three. And after the resurrection, the only thought on which we know that He dwelt with pleasure is, “I will meet you in Galilee.” And do you think that it was only for us He said it, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also?” We can quite understand, therefore, that in the enumeration of His sorrows, such stress was laid upon the fact that “He trod the wine-press alone;”--and how that desertion of His friends struck so cold and so painfully, that He at once looked out for a refuge, “Ye shall leave Me alone, and yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.” And then, you remember, presently came that passage which was the most tremendous of all solitude “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” I say, then, that we have the highest warrant to affirm that solitude is to be deprecated, and that one great end of our religion is to provide the exemption.

II. THE GREATEST PART OF HIS LIFE EVERY MAN IS ALONE.

1. Count up the hours of life, and most of them are passed alone. Besides, there is a moral solitude far greater than physical. Who has not felt the deep solitude of a crowd?

2. The most dangerous, because the most subtle, temptations come to us when we are alone. An unoccupied state is sure to foster what is bad in us, and our lonely hours are generally our most unoccupied ones. It was in a solitude that even our Lord had His fiercest attacks. See how it is.

you become dreamy, unpractical--an easy prey to cankerous thought, delusion, doubt, and all unhealthy things

III. IT IS OF IMMENSE IMPORTANCE TO HAVE A REMEDY FOR SOLITUDE. If Jesus Himself, in His perfect innocence, felt it--how much we? What shall we do?

1. Occupy solitude. Never allow sheer solitude for solitude’s sake. Let there, for instance, be a distinct subject of thought. Solitude should always be preparatory to something which is to follow it--never an end, always a means. Jesus’ solitudes appear to have been always preparatory to work.

2. People your solitudes with realized presences; bring in the communion of saints. It is not necessary that they be actually there. And that will make solitude more than safe--holy, helpful.

3. Far more than both, feel the close presence of a living Saviour. Christians do not attach sufficient weight to the actual presence of Christ as a brother. Most minds are occupied with the death of Christ, but it is the few who think as they ought of the actual, living, present Christ. Then, where is solitude? What the Father was to Jesus, that, Jesus, or rather the Father in Jesus, is to you.

IV. LIFE WILL BE A VERY DIFFERENT THING TO YOU FROM THE TIME THAT YOU HAVE LEARNT THIS SECURITY OF SOLITUDE.

1. Your own room will then be another place to you. To go up there will not be to go up to be “alone.” Rather, no other place upon this whole earth so sweetly full--no company so good, no fellowship so rich. It will not be dull, it will not be unwholesome, it will not be perilous, to be there. And it will be a very poor thing, in comparison, to go down from angels, and from saints, and from Jesus, to the common-places, the presences of life.

2. And yet, even in these common-places, the presences will be there.

3. And in things more testing still. If there be a desolating moment, it is when you are first called to do alone something which you have been wont to do with one with whom you can never do that thing again. The pleasant part is gone, for that dear one is gone. But those spirits are not gone--Jesus is not gone. It is a true word--you are “alone;” but it is truer still, “not alone.”

4. And presently you will have to die. And it is a very solitary thing to die. Those who love you may go with you to the brink, but they cannot cross with you. I shudder to think of the solitariness of the feeling of the death of the man of the world. But you will not be “alone”--never so tended, never so encompassed with the loving, the lovely, and the true--“Alone, yet not alone, for the Father is with you.” (J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Alone, yet not alone

I. THE LONELINESS OF JESUS.

1. In the mystery of His person.

2. In the elevation of His Spirit.

3. In the intensity of His suffering.

4. In the character of His work.

5. In the extent of His influence.

II. THE SOCIETY OF JESUS. The Father was with Christ

1. In personal union with His Godhead.

2. In active co-operation with His Divine manhood.

3. In the exercise of spiritual communion.

4. In the manifestation of paternal sympathy. (T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 16:32". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 16:32. Every man to his own, Εις τα ιδια : To his own habitation and employment. Dr. Heylin renders it, Every man to take care of himself.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 16:32". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-16.html. 1801-1803.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

XV. LAST WORDS.

"A little while, and ye behold Me no more; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me. Some of His disciples therefore said one to another, What is this that He saith unto us, A little while, and ye behold Me not; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that He saith, A little while? We know not what He saith. Jesus perceived that they were desirous to ask Him, and He said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, A little while, and ye behold Me not, and again a little while, and ye shall see Me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world. And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you. And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in My name. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be fulfilled. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but shall tell you plainly of the Father. In that day ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father. His disciples say, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now know we that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee: by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."-- John 16:16-33.

In the intercourse of Jesus with His disciples He at all times showed one of the most delightful qualities of a friend--a quick and perfect apprehension of what was passing in their mind. They did not require to bring their mental condition before Him by laboured explanations. He knew what was in man, and He especially knew what was in them. He could forecast the precise impression which His announcements would make upon them, the doubts and the expectations they would give rise to. Sometimes they were surprised at this insight, always they profited by it. In fact, on more occasions than one this insight convinced them that Jesus had this clear knowledge of men given to Him that He might effectually deal with all men. It seemed to them, as of course it is, one of the essential equipments of One who is to be a real centre for the whole race and to bring help to each and all men. How could a person who was deficient in this universal sympathy and practical understanding of the very thoughts of each of us offer himself as our helper? There is therefore evidence in the life of Jesus that He was never non-plussed, never at a loss to understand the kind of man He had to do with. There is evidence of this, and it would seem that we all receive this evidence; for are we not conscious that our spiritual condition is understood, our thoughts traced, our difficulties sympathised with? We may feel very unlike many prominent Christians; we may have no sympathy with a great deal that passes for Christian sentiment; but Christ's sympathy is universal, and nothing human comes wrong to Him. Begin with Him as you are, without professing to be, though hoping to be, different from what you are, and by the growth of your own spirit in the sunshine of His presence and under the guidance of His intelligent sympathy your doubts will pass away, your ungodliness be renounced. He is offered for your help as the essential condition of your progress and your growth.

Seeing the perplexity which certain of His expressions had created in the minds of His disciples, He proceeds to remove it. They had great need of hopefulness and courage, and He sought to inspire them with these qualities. They were on the edge of a most bitter experience, and it was of untold consequence that they should be upheld in it. He does not hide from them the coming distress, but He reminds them that very commonly pain and anxiety accompany the birth-throes of a new life; and if they found themselves shortly in depression and grief which seemed inconsolable, they were to believe that this was the path to a new and higher phase of existence and to a joy that would be lasting. Your grief, He says, will shortly end: your joy never. Your grief will soon be taken away: your joy no one shall take away. When Christ rose again, the disciples remembered and understood these words; and a few chapters further on we find John returning upon the word and saying, "When they saw the Lord, they were glad,"--they had this joy. It was a joy to them, because love for Christ and hope in Him were their dominant feelings. They had the joy of having their Friend again, of seeing Him victorious and proved to be all and more than they had believed. They had the first glowing visions of a new world for which the preparation was the life and resurrection of the Son of God. What were they not prepared to hope for as the result of the immeasurably great things they had themselves seen and known? It was a mere question now of Christ's will: of His power they were assured.

The resurrection of Christ was, however, meant to bring lasting joy, not to these men only, but to all. These greatest of all events, the descent to earth of the Son of God with all Divine power and love, and His resurrection as the conqueror of all that bars the path of men from a life of light and joy, became solid facts in this world's history, that all men might calculate their future by such a past, and might each for himself conclude that a future of which such events are the preparation must be great and happy indeed. Death, if not in all respects the most desolating, is the most certain of all human ills. Anguish and mourning it has brought and will bring to many human hearts. Do what we will we cannot save our friends from it; by us it is unconquerable. Yet it is in this most calamitous of human ills God has shown His nearness and His love. It is to the death of Christ men look to see the full brightness of God's fatherly love. It is this darkest point of human experience that God has chosen to irradiate with His absorbing glory. Death is at once our gravest fear and the spring of our hope; it cuts short human intercourse, but in the cross of Christ it gives us a never-failing, divinely loving Friend. The death of Christ is the great compensation of all the ill that death has brought into human life; and when we see death made the medium of God's clearest manifestation, we are almost grateful to it for affording material for an exhibition of God's love which transforms all our own life and all our own hopes.

Lasting joy is the condition in which God desires us to be, and He has given us cause of joy. In Christ's victory we see all that is needed to give us hopefulness about the future. Each man finds for himself assurance of God's interest in us and in our actual condition: assurance that whatever is needful to secure for us a happy eternity has been done; assurance that in a new heavens and a new earth we shall find lasting satisfaction. This true, permanent, all-embracing joy is open to all, and is actually enjoyed by those who have something of Christ's Spirit, whose chief desire is to see holiness prevail and to keep themselves and others in harmony with God. To such the accomplishment of God's will seems a certainty, and they have learned that the accomplishment of that will means good to them and to all who love God. The holiness and harmony with God that win this joy are parts of it. To be the friends of Christ, imbued with His views of life and of God, this from first to last is a thing of joy.

That which the disciples at length believed and felt to be the culmination of their faith was that Jesus had come forth from God. He Himself more fully expresses what He desired them to believe about Him in the words: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father." No doubt there is a sense in which any man may use this language of himself. We can all truthfully say we came forth from God and came into the world; and we pass out from the world and return to God. But that the disciples did not understand the words in this sense is obvious from the difficulty they found in reaching this belief. Had Jesus merely meant that it was true of Him, as of all others, that God is the great existence out of whom we spring and to whom we return, the disciples could have found no difficulty and the Jews must all have believed in Him. In some special and exceptional sense, then, He came forth from God. What, then, was this sense?

When Nicodemus came to Jesus, he addressed Him as a teacher "come from God," because, he added, "no man can do these miracles which Thou doest except God be with Him." In Nicodemus' lips, therefore, the words "a teacher come from God" meant a teacher with a Divine mission and credentials. In this sense all the prophets were teachers "come from God." And accordingly many careful readers of the Gospels believe that nothing more than this is meant by any of those expressions our Lord uses of Himself, as "sent from God," "come forth from God," and so on. The only distinction, it is supposed, between Christ and other prophets is that He is more highly endowed, is commissioned and equipped as God's representative in a more perfect degree than Moses or Samuel or Elijah. He had their power to work miracles, their authority in teaching; but having a more important mission to accomplish, He had this power and authority more fully. Now, it is quite certain that some of the expressions which a careless reader might think conclusive in proof of Christ's divinity were not intended to express anything more than that He was God's commissioner. Indeed, it is remarkable how He Himself seems to wish men to believe this above all else--that He was sent by God. In reading the Gospel of John one is tempted to say that Jesus almost intentionally avoids affirming His divinity explicitly and directly when there seemed opportunity to do so. Certainly His main purpose was to reveal the Father, to bring men to understand that His teaching about God was true, and that He was sent by God.

There are, however, some expressions which unquestionably affirm Christ's pre-existence, and convince us that before He appeared in this world He lived with God. And among these expressions the words He uses in this passage hold a place: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." These words, the disciples felt, lifted a veil from their eyes; they told Him at once that they found an explicitness in this utterance which had been a-wanting in others. And, indeed, nothing could be more explicit: the two parts of the sentence balance and interpret one another. "I leave the world, and go to the Father," interprets "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world." To say "I leave the world" is not the same as to say "I go to the Father": this second clause describes a state of existence which is entered upon when existence in this world is done. And to say "I came forth from the Father" is not the same as to say "I came into the world"; it describes a state of existence antecedent to that which began by coming into the world.

Thus the Apostles understood the words, and felt therefore that they had gained a new platform of faith. This they felt to be plain-speaking, meant to be understood. It so precisely met their craving and gave them the knowledge they sought, that they felt more than ever Christ's insight into their state of mind and His power to satisfy their minds. At length they are able to say with assurance that He has come forth from God. They are persuaded that behind what they see there is a higher nature, and that in Christ's presence they are in the presence of One whose origin is not of this world. It was this pre-existence of Christ with God which gave the disciples assurance regarding all He taught them. He spoke of what He had seen with the Father.

This belief, however, assured though it was, did not save them from a cowardly desertion of Him whom they believed to be God's representative on earth. They would, when confronted with the world's authorities and powers, abandon their Master to His fate, and "would leave Him alone." He had always, indeed, been alone. All men who wish to carry out some novel design or accomplish some extensive reform must be prepared to stand alone, to listen unmoved to criticism, to estimate at their real and very low value the prejudiced calumnies of those whose interests are opposed to their design. They must be prepared to live without reward and without sympathy, strong in the consciousness of their own rectitude and that God will prosper the right. Jesus enjoyed the affection of a considerable circle of friends; He was not without the comfort and strength which come of being believed in; but in regard to His purpose in life He was always alone. And yet, unless He won men over to His views, unless He made some as ardent as Himself regarding them, His work was lost. This was the special hardship of Christ's solitariness. Those whom He had gathered were to desert Him in the critical hour; but the sore part of this desertion was that they were to go "each to his own"--oblivious, that is to say, of the great cause in which they had embarked with Christ.

At all times this is the problem Christ has to solve: how to prevail upon men to look at life from His point of view, to forget their own things and combine with Him, to be as enamoured of His cause as He Himself is. He looks now upon us with our honest professions of faith and growing regard, and He says: Yes, you believe; but you scatter each to his own at the slightest breath of danger or temptation. This scattering, each to his own, is that which thwarts Christ's purpose and imperils His work. The world with its enterprises and its gains, its glitter and its glory, its sufficiency for the present life, comes in and tempts us; and apart from the common good, we have each our private schemes of advantage. And yet there is nothing more certain than that our ultimate advantage is measured by the measure in which we throw in our lot with Christ--by the measure in which we practically recognise that there is an object for which all men in common can work, and that to scatter "each to his own" is to resign the one best hope of life, the one satisfying and remunerative labour.

In revealing what sustained Himself Christ reveals the true stay of every soul of man. His trial was indeed severe. Brought without a single friend to the bar of unsympathetic and unscrupulous judges: the Friend of man, loving as no other has ever loved, and craving love and sympathy as no other has craved it, yet standing without one pitying eye, without one voice raised in His favour. Alone in a world He came to convince and to win; at the end of His life, spent in winning men, left without one to say He had not lived in vain; abandoned to enemies, to ignorant, cruel, profane men. He was dragged through the streets where He had spoken words of life and healed the sick, but no rescue was attempted. So outcast from all human consideration was He, that a Barabbas found friendly voices where He found none. Hearing the suborned witnesses swear His life away, He heard at the same time His boldest disciple deny that he knew any person of the name of Jesus. But through this abandonment He knew the Father's presence was with Him. "I am not alone, because the Father is with Me."

Times which in their own degree try us with the same sense of solitariness come upon us all. All pain is solitary; you must bear it alone: kind friends may be round you, but they cannot bear one pang for you. You feel how separate and individual an existence you have when your body is racked with pain and healthy people are by your side; and you feel it also when you visit some pained or sorrowing person and sit silently in their presence, feeling that the suffering is theirs and that they must bear it. We should not brood much over any apparent want of recognition we may meet with; all such brooding is unwholesome and weak. Many of our minor sufferings we do best to keep to ourselves and say nothing about them. Let us strive to show sympathy, and we shall feel less the pain of not having it. To a large extent every one must be alone in life--forming his own views of things, working out his own idea of life, conquering his own sins, and schooling his own heart. And every one is more or less misunderstood even by his most intimate friends. He finds himself congratulated on occurrences which are no joy to him, applauded for successes he is ashamed of; the very kindnesses of his friends reveal to him how little they understand his nature. But all this will not deeply affect a healthy-minded man, who recognises that he is in the world to do good, and who is not always craving applause and recognition.

But there are occasional times in which the want of sympathy is crushingly felt. Some of the most painful and enduring sorrows of the human heart are of a kind which forbid that they be breathed to the nearest friend. Even if others know that they have fallen upon us they cannot allude to them; and very often they are not even known. And there are times even more trying, when we have not only to bear a sorrow or an anxiety all our own, but when we have to adopt a line of conduct which exposes us to misunderstanding, and to act continuously in a manner which shuts us off from the sympathy of our friends. Our friends remonstrate and advise, and we feel that their advice is erroneous: we are compelled to go our own way and bear the charge of obstinacy and even of cruelty; for sometimes, like Abraham offering Isaac, we cannot satisfy conscience without seeming to injure or actually injuring those we love.

It is in times like these that our faith is tested. We gain a firmer hold of God than ever before when we in actual life prefer His countenance and fellowship to the approbation and good-will of our friends. When in order to keep conscience clean we dare to risk the good-will of those we depend upon for affection and for support, our faith becomes a reality and rapidly matures. For a time we may seem to have rendered ourselves useless, and to have thrown ourselves out of all profitable relations to our fellow-men: we may be shunned, and our opinions and conduct may be condemned, and the object we had in view may seem to be further off than ever; but such was the experience of Christ also, till even He was forced to cry out, not only Why have ye, My friends, forsaken Me? but "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" But as in His case, so in ours--this is only the natural and necessary path to the perfect justification of ourselves and of the principles our conduct has represented. If in obedience to conscience we are exposed to isolation and the various loss consequent upon it, we are not alone--God is with us. It is in the line of our conduct He is working and will carry out His purposes. And well might such an one be envied by those who have feared such isolation and shrunk from the manifold wretchedness that comes of resisting the world's ways and independently following an unworldly and Christian path.

For really in our own life, as in the life of Christ, all is summed up in the conflict between Christ and the world; and therefore the last words of this His last conversation are: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good courage. I have overcome the world." When Christ speaks of "the world" as comprising all that was opposed to Him, it is not difficult to understand His meaning. By "the world" we sometimes mean this earth; sometimes all external things, sun, moon, and stars as well as this earth; sometimes we mean the world of men, as when we say "All the world knows" such and such a thing, or as when Christ said "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son." But much more commonly Christ uses it to denote all in the present state of things which opposes God and leads man away from God. We speak of worldliness as fatal to the spirit, because worldliness means preference for what is external and present to what is inward and both present and future. Worldliness means attachment to things as they are--to the ways of society, to the excitements, the pleasures, the profits, of the present. It means surrender to what appeals to the sense--to comfort to vanity, to ambition, to love of display. Worldliness is the spirit which uses the present world without reference to the lasting and spiritual purposes for the sake of which men are in this world. It ignores what is eternal and what is spiritual; it is satisfied with present comfort, with what brings present pleasure, with what ministers to the beauty of this present life, to the material prosperity of men. And no soul whatsoever or wheresoever situated can escape the responsibility of making his choice between the world and God. To each of us the question which determines all else is, Am I to live for ends which find their accomplishment in this present life, or for ends which are eternal? Am I to live so as to secure the utmost of comfort, of ease, of money, of reputation, of domestic enjoyment, of the good things of this present world? or am I to live so as to do the most I can for the forwarding of God's purposes with men, for the forwarding of spiritual and eternal good? There is no man who is not living for one or other of these ends. Two men enter the same office and transact the same business; but the one is worldly, the other Christian: two men do the same work, use the same material, draw the same salary; but one cherishes a spiritual end, the other a worldly,--the one works, always striving to serve God and his fellows, the other has nothing in view but himself and his own interests. Two women live in the same street, have children at the same school, dress very much alike; but you cannot know them long without perceiving that the one is worldly, with her heart set on position and earthly advancement for her children, while the other is unworldly and prays that her children may learn to conquer the world and to live a stainless and self-sacrificing life though it be a poor one. This is the determining probation of life; this it is which determines what we are and shall be. We are, every one of us, living either with the world as our end or for God. The difficulty of choosing rightly and abiding by our choice is extreme: no man has ever found it easy; for every man it is a sufficient test of his reality, of his dependence on principle, of his moral clear-sightedness, of his strength of character.

Therefore Christ, as the result of all His work, announces that He has "overcome the world." And on the ground of this conquest of His He bids His followers rejoice and take heart, as if somehow His conquest of the world guaranteed theirs, and as if their conflict would be easier on account of His. And so indeed it is. Not only has every one now who proposes to live for high and unworldly ends the satisfaction of knowing that such a life is possible, and not only has he the vast encouragement of knowing that One has passed this way before and attained His end; but, moreover, it is Christ's victory which has really overcome the world in a final and public way. The world's principles of action, its pleasure-seeking, its selfishness, its childish regard for glitter and for what is present to sense, in a word, its worldliness when set over against the life of Christ, is for ever discredited. The experience of Christ in this world reflects such discredit upon merely worldly ways, and so clearly exhibits its blindness, its hatred of goodness, its imbecility when it strives to counterwork God's purposes, that no man who morally has his eyes open can fail to look with suspicion and abhorrence on the world. And the dignity, the love, the apprehension of what is real and abiding in human affairs, and the ready application of His life to a real and abiding purpose--all this, which is so visible in the life of Christ, gives certainty and attractiveness to the principles opposed to worldliness. We have in Christ's life at once an authoritative and an experimental teaching on the greatest of all human subjects--how life should be spent.

Christ has overcome the world, then, by resisting its influence upon Himself, by showing Himself actually superior to its most powerful influences; and His overcoming of the world is not merely a private victory availing for Himself alone, but it is a public good, because in His life the perfect beauty of a life devoted to eternal and spiritual ends is conspicuously shown. The man who can look upon the conflict between the world and Christ as John has shown it, and say, "I would rather be one of the Pharisees than Christ," is hopelessly blind to the real value of human life. But what says our life regarding the actual choice we have made?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 16:32". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/john-16.html.

The Fourfold Gospel

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come1, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone2: and [yet] I am not alone, because the Father is with me3.

  1. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come. He contrasts the faith which his disciples then professed with that utter lack of it which they would manifest in a few hours.

  2. That ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone. All their confidence in his divinity would vanish when they saw him arrested, etc., and they would seek their own safety, leaving him to his fate.

  3. And [yet] I am not alone, because the Father is with me. Much as he would feel their desertion, he would not be left utterly comfortless, because the Father would be with him. Paul speaks in a similar strain (2 Timothy 4:16-18).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 16:32". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

The Pulpit Commentaries

EXPOSITION

John 16:1-6

(c) The bitter issues of the hostility of the world.

John 16:1

These things. What things? Primarily the explanation he had given of the opposition and hatred of the world, and the vast consolation which he had promised in the identification of the disciples with himself, and the witness which would be borne by the Paraclete; but not exclusively, for they include all the preparatory instructions based on his own Person, his going to the Father, his return in the power of the Spirit. Have I spoken to you, that ye should not be offended; that you should not be made to fall over the stumbling block of persecution, and the refusal of the people to hear your message concerning me. For the moment he passes over the terrible stumbling and falling of that very night, whose shadows were deepening as the hours moved on, and he anticipated their future temptations and the source of their ultimate heroism.

John 16:2, John 16:3

They (used impersonally, as the German man, or the French ou) shall make you excommunicateἀποσυναγώγους "put you out of the synagogue," expel you from the fellowship of your country's worship (cf. John 9:22 and John 12:42)—nay, further (the ἀλλὰ abruptly introduces a very much stronger assertion) an hour cometh, thatἵνα is here, by Meyer and many others, said to involve a Divine order, purpose, or destiny, intended by the drawing on of the foreordained crisis; but it seems enough to convey by it the contemplated result—whosoever killeth you will deem that he is offering service—sacrificial homage—to God ( προσφέρειν; both these words are persistently used with this meaning. See, for προσφέρειν, Matthew 5:23; Matthew 8:4; Acts 7:42; Hebrews 5:1). The well-known quotation from 'Bammidbar Rabba,' fol. 329. 1, "Every one shedding the blood of the wicked is equal to him who offers sacrifice," may throw light on the expression. The intensity of the fanaticism was well exhibited in the persecution in which Stephen fell, and which St. Paul deemed worthy service, and one which he ought to have rendered (Acts 26:9; Galatians 1:13, Galatians 1:14). The curse was long and deep and tragic, and Christ explains it by the awful reiteration, These things will they do £ because they have not known the Father, nor me (see John 15:22, etc.). He reiterates the explanation already given of the manner and form as well as the fact of the world's hatred.

John 16:4

But—the ἀλλὰ suggests a kind of pause, as if he had said, "I will go into no further details" (Meyer)—these things—these prophecies of approaching persecution—I have spoken to you, that (here ἵνα has its proper relic force) when [their] hour is come, ye may remember [them] how that I told you. £ This awkward form is that due to the perplexities of the position of αὐτῶν in the text. Frequently our Lord thus prepared his disciples for the future, called upon them to remember his predictions as pledges of his Divine mission, but still more as consolations and supply of strength when they would most of all need it. These things I told you not from the beginning; not "at the beginning," ἐν ἀρχῆ, nor ἀπ ἀρχῆς, but ἐξ ἀρχῆς (cf. Isaiah 40:21; Isaiah 41:26; Isaiah 43:9), from the beginning of my ministry, and continuously throughout it. If "these things" are restricted to the prediction of cruel persecution, they are certainly contradicted by the language of Matthew 10:17, Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10:28; Luke 6:22; Matthew 5:10, etc.; Matthew 21:36; Matthew 24:9; Luke 12:4, etc. The numerous explanations of the commentators, that Christ had now given a more detailed, particular, and tragic outlook, cannot be sustained. Nor does the supposition that John is here the corrector of the synoptic narrative satisfy (Meyer); nor that of Godet, that Matthew, in his tenth chapter, was gathering together all that Christ had said of this nature, antedating instructions that the Lord had given, at all explain the corresponding passages in Luke's Gospel. The language of the last clause, because I was with you, throws more light upon it. This does not surely mean "because I was bearing for you the brunt of the opposition,"—it would be unnecessary altogether to say that. All along they must have bitterly felt the antagonism which their Lord encountered. The difficulty is removed by including in the ταῦτα of verse 4 what certainly is involved in the ταῦτα of verse 1; and the reference is to the whole of his instructions touching his departure and the coming of the other Paraclete, and the principle from which the hatred of the world would spring; the explanation of the anticipated hostility which he had now offered, and the way in which they might overcome it. So long as he was with them they could not be made to understand the Divine riches of the consolation which was now so near. From the beginning he had not given all this class of instruction, because he was with them. While at their side, it was premature to speak of the special help they would require in their bereaved condition.

John 16:5, John 16:6

Now—at this very moment—I go away to him that sent me. I have completed his work, and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? This seems at variance with Peter's inquiry, "Whither goest thou?" (John 13:36), and with Thomas's question (John 14:5), "We know not whither thou goest," etc.? yet they are only opposed in appearance. Peter's question had obviously turned the whole matter back upon himself, and the way in which the Lord's departure affected his own duties and position; and the same may be said of Thomas. They had both lost sight of the "whither" in the pain and anguish of the departure. Our Lord had great difficulty in inducing them to realize the blessedness that would befall themselves from his own exaltation, and even now, after all that he had said about this great power and glory which awaited him, he added, Because I have spoken these things to you—since all along you are taking the dark side, and looking on the anguish of my departure and desolateness of your own condition, instead of the grandeur of the new kingdom and dispensation of which you will be witnesses and organs—sorrow hath filled your heart; the one heart which I throughout have been seeking to comfort. You are not looking on the end of my departure, or on the fullness of my glory, or on the addition to your own blessedness, but on your own loss, disappointment, and chagrin.

John 16:7-33

(9) The promise of the Paraclete.

John 16:7-11

(a) The threefold conviction of the world. The extraordinary fullness of suggestion in the following words, and the strong opinions entertained by different theological schools, render interpretation a difficult task.

John 16:7

Though you are crushed with a sense of your approaching bereavement, and so imperfectly apprehend the conditions of your future power and the method which it is incumbent upon me to adopt for your consolation and the completion of my earthly work, nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is wonderful that he who is the Truth itself should have needed, in such various forms, to have reiterated and affirmed the supreme right he possessed to claim their acceptance of his veracity. The truth, then, thus solemnly asserted, because in their then frame of mind it was so utterly unpalatable and incredible notwithstanding all that he had said—the truth is, It is expedient for you that I go away. The ἵνα ἀπέλθω clause simply defines that which is expedient, profitable to the disciples. Many commentators, holding everywhere the relic force of ἵνα, say, with Meyer and Lange, that " ἵνα marks fact considered with regard to the purposes destined to be accomplished by it." Here, however, the profitableness to the disciples is the chief and solitary thought. "For you:" here lies the gist of the mystery. They might have accepted his own assurance that, bitter as the mode of his departure must be, yet they ought, to and would rejoice because he was going to the Father. How was it possible for them to rejoice so far as they were personally concerned? He answers the question, For if I go not away—and surely this solemn departure meant, as he had recently told them, by the way of death and glorification—the Paraclete, of whom I have spoken, the Spirit of truth (see John 15:26, John 15:27), will not come to you; but if I go ( πορευθῶ, to my Father; observe the form of the two conditional sentences, the degree of uncertainty as to the issue, to be determined by the result), I will send him to you (see notes on John 7:39. "The Holy Spirit," as the Divine dispensation of grace to men bringing a renewed humanity into living incorporation with its great Head, was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified). Jesus could not become the Divine Life-center of the human family, radiating from himself the full glory of a universal harmony, until he had been taken up, until he had been glorified in God. Unspeakably precious as many of our earthly gifts and friendships are, we do not apprehend them, nor profit by them to the full, until they are taken from us. The youth, submitted to the condition of perfect dependence on a parent's care and guidance, can scarcely ever reach the fullness of his manhood until he is thrown back upon the spirit of his father's counsel, apart from that father's presence, and brings into daily practice from a new standpoint the principles he has learned. So, without any hyperbole, nothing had ever been so wonderful and blessed to the human spirit as the fellowship which had prevailed between the Son of man and his disciples. They were with him, they sat at his feet, they watched his countenance, they experienced a continuous series of Divine surprises at his judgments and his mercies. They were walking by sight, as the children of Israel did, following the pillar of fire and cloud, and drinking of the living water; but they were nevertheless living by sight. Nevertheless, there was something more wonderful and gracious still, when, in his physical absence, they would have the sense of his spiritual presence. They would lose him as an earthly Friend, but they would regain him as a Divine Reality; they would discover more than his humanity in his God-Manhood. They would wield his Divine Word as their weapon, and would become the channels of his healing and convincing and judging powers. The promise, "I will send him," is the guarantee of something more than a "Christ after the flesh" could ever be.

John 16:8

And he, when he is come ( ἐλθών). A right royal assurance. The Holy Spirit will come, as my grace and the result of my sending. He will convict the world. Little doubt is now entertained that this ἔλεγχος implies the refutation of error, the discovery of wrong-doing, the bringing it home to the person convinced, and thus convicted (John 3:20; John 8:9, John 8:46; 1 Corinthians 14:24; Titus 1:9; James 2:9); making such a one see that he is open to the condemnation of conscience, or of men, or of the Law of God. This conviction may in some cases lead to conversion and deliverance, but is distinct from it, and sometimes also may issue after such a manifestation in hardness and impenitence. The patristic interpretation (Authorized version and Hengstenberg), "He will reprove," might pass as a fair translation of the word, in its reference to sin, but would have small meaning as applied to righteousness or judgment. Meyer, Godet, Luthardt, Lange, Westcott, Stier, and Moulton agree that ἔλεγξει means more than "reprove," less than "convince." The world is spoken of, not Jews merely, or their leaders. Humanity itself, with its false standards of judgment, and its self-complacency, is to be convicted of being in the wrong; all kings, princes, potentates, priests, and publicans, who are out of harmony with God, wilt be convicted by the Paraclete. The conviction of the world is threefold—in respect of sin, in respect of righteousness, and in respect of judgment. The three great categories of thought, custom, and conduct; the three themes where the world is in infinite need of being compelled to see that it is altogether in the wrong. The disciples are to overcome the whole world by the intensity with which they will be instrumentally the occasion of this conviction. The world under the depressing and distracting influence of its own principles, as well as its passions, has misconceived the whole nature of "sin," the entire mystery of "righteousness," the certainty of retribution, and the things and principles on which condign "judgment" must fall. The Advocate, the Divine, indwelling Spirit of the truth, whom Christ will send into his disciples as compensation for his own absence, will through them do this strange and tremendous work. Our Lord does not hero promise the conversion of mankind, but such a conviction that the blessed consequence may follow. The first great step will be taken.

John 16:9

The three elements of this conviction of the world are separately treated. In respect of sin, because they believe not on me. The ὅτι, has been restricted by Meyer to "so far as," as though the conviction with respect to sin was limited to a charge of specific unbelief; and Hengstenberg would render it "consisting in this, that," etc. But surely the full causal force of the particle is to be pressed, "because they believe not on me." The essence of all sin is unbelief, a refusal to surrender heart and will to the Divine will and authority, though the world generally had taken different views of it: supposing "sin" to be disobedience to some particular class of duties, or the neglect of certain specific ceremonial. Christ declares that the Spirit which has always been striving with men to bring them into reconciliation with God, will now convict the world that its sinful tendencies and principles have reached their highest and most willful expression in unbelief εἰς ἐμέ, towards me. The most complete manifestation of God has received from the world the most utter and insensate repudiation. The very nature of sin thus stands revealed, the leprosy of sin will come out on the smiling self-complacency of the world. It will no longer be able to charge upon Adam, nor the devil, nor upon natures nor upon temptations of the flesh, the blame of sin; but will take the guilt home, and see that, in this crowning act of human folly, unbelievers have rendered themselves personally liable to condemnation, and, by rejecting infinite love as well as eternal law, have left themselves without excuse.

John 16:10

In respect of righteousness, because I go to the Father, £ and ye behold me no more. Not merely that the world will be led to form a new conception of righteousness, seeing that God has exalted him whom they have condemned as a malefactor,—that would really, with Lucke and Meyer, limit this "righteousness" to a judgment concerning the guiltlessness of Christ; nor can we, with Luther, etc., regard it as equivalent to the δικαιοσύνη of Romans 1:17, the righteous attribute and righteous process by which God is able to treat as righteous those who believe. This is the only place in the Gospel where the word occurs, and it can scarcely bear the technical significance of the great theological discussions with which it was afterwards associated. Schaff has called attention to the vulgate translation justitia, which is represented in the Rheims English version by "justice," and reminds us how Archdeacon Hare urges that "righteousness" and "justice" correspond to the entire theology of the Protestant and Romanist Churches. The Protestant sees in "righteousness" an ideal never reached by the human will in its own strength; the Romanist, by the term "justice," embodies itself in outward acts. The idea of righteousness involves the demand for purity; the idea of justice, one for cleanness. But seeing that Christ had all along called urgent attention to the fact that that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God, and that the righteousness of his kingdom must exceed "the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees," it becomes clear that his exaltation to the right hand of the Father would exhibit God's ideal of righteousness; and by the aid of the Holy Spirit working through the word of the apostles, the world's view of these things would be utterly subverted, the world would be silenced, convicted of being utterly in the wrong in its idea of righteousness as well as in its judgment upon the nature of sin. The idea of righteousness will be expanded and transfigured; the idea of sin will be deepened and intensified and brought home. Stier has, with great eloquence and power, pressed the other view, which makes the ἐλέγχος of the Holy Ghost nothing short of this—that there is no other righteousness for men than the righteousness of God in Christ and the righteousness of Christ before God. Notice, nevertheless, the occasions on which the world was brought to recognize the triumph of Christ's righteousness and confusion of its own prejudices (Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31; Acts 3:14; Acts 7:52).

John 16:11

In respect of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. The conviction of sin will have a peculiarly and specially subjective cause; that of judgment will, like that of righteousness, be preceded by two stupendous objective facts—the exaltation of Christ and the judgment of Satan. The glorification of the Son of man, to the extent of his being declared to be the Son of God with power, will be the grand event which human nature will be powerless to counteract or ultimately to resist. "Know assuredly that this same Jesus whom you have crucified is both Lord and Christ." The judgment of the prince of this world is also a fact lying outside the politics of the world, which may fume and rage as it will; it is beyond the reach of the philosophy or literature, the courts or armies, the fashions or the force, of this world. The central prince and spirit of the world is judged by the Lord Jesus, and condemned; and the time is coming when the old standard of judgment will be cast out, and the world will be compelled to admit that it has been vanquished (John 12:31). The conviction concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment, by the aid of the Advocate whom Christ will send, will become the great work of the apostles and of the Church, until he comes again in his glory. While commenting upon this sublime assurance the awful process must not be forgotten, nor the fact that the prince of the world dies hard. The atrocious wickedness which burst out after the exaltation of Christ among the people who had rejected their Lord, and the consummation of the mystery of iniquity in the Roman empire, was a part of the providential conviction of the world. Archdeacon Hare, in his ' Mission of the Comforter,' insists that the entire conviction of judgment, righteousness, and sin must be the work of "the Comforter;" that all the objective facts, all the teaching of example, all the thunder of prophecy, nay, all the outward demonstration of sin, righteousness, and judgment, made in and by the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ, must be complemented by the grace of the Holy Spirit on individuals, nations, and humanity at large; and that it is in the capacity of human "Comforter," or "Advocate," that this conviction is wrought.

John 16:12-15

(b) The power of the Paraclete on the disciples themselves. From the twelfth to the fifteenth verse the relation of the Paraclete to the disciples themselves makes yet more evident the expediency of the glorification of the Son of man, and demonstrates the authority of the apostolic teaching.

John 16:12

Notwithstanding the abundance of the revelations which Christ had given, still, said he, I have many things yet to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now ( ἄρτι); i.e. at this epoch of your training. Christ (John 14:18, etc., in a passage which he proceeds to enlarge and deepen) has already said that the coming to them of the Paraclete would be one method of his own Divine approach to them for purposes of consolation and instruction; consequently he does not now allow them to suppose that, though separated from them by death, he would ever cease to instruct them. They could not in their present condition, and before the great events should have happened—events on which so much revealing fact would turn—bear the revelation of these "many things." Pentecost will enable them to appreciate the full mystery of love. The word used for "bear" is that which is used (John 19:17) to describe the bearing of the cross by Christ himself. Some have found in these "many things" new articles of doctrine which have been preserved by tradition; and others, a development of truths already presented in germ; and others, again, much of the future order of the world and the Church, such as gradually evolved itself to the vision and insight and spiritual wisdom of apostolic men. But they could not, on the eve of the Passion, have borne the full mystery of the atonement, or sufficiently have comprehended the glory of the enthroned King.

John 16:13

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come. This points to the definite promise already made (conditioned by his own departure, and so rendering that departure "expedient") when the Spirit of truth is come, having been sent by me from the Father. He will be your Guide into the truth in all its parts. £ As Godet says, "The reading εἰς suits ὁδηγήσει better than ἐν." A most glorious promise this, for as days of darkness and perplexity draw on, fresh needs will arise. The "many things" which would thus be said must be presumed to have been said on highest authority; and hence the unapproachable dignity of the apostles themselves; hence the secret of all their binding and loosing power; hence the revelations they have been able to supply with reference to Christ and salvation, glory, duty, and eternal life, and all the laws of the kingdom. From this vast promise we see the sufficiency of the apostolic teaching, and by implication the portion of it which is committed to writing. Our Lord had delivered to his disciples "nothing but the truth;" but from the nature of the case they must wait for the truth in its completeness, the whole truth of salvation and deliverance. But our Lord proceeds to show that the infallibility of the Holy Spirit is not that he will be a secondary, or tertiary, or independent Divinity. Like Christ, the Son of God, who was in the bosom of the Father (see John 7:17, John 7:18; John 8:28), so he who proceedeth from the Father will not speak from himself, as from any spontaneous, independent source. He is, in his gracious operations, no rival Deity, but the Spirit of the Father and the Son (comp. John 8:44, where the essence of the lie is that the devil speaketh of his own), and whatsoever things he shall hear £ (or, heareth, or, shall have heard), that shall he speak. The verb "hear" is used absolutely, and has been variously completed with the words, "of me" or "of the Father," whether verbally supplemented or not. We learn that the Holy Spirit is limited by the revelation already involved in the great fact of the Incarnation. "He will speak" of that which he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are coming. The revelation will concern Christ and the future. The whole New Testament, so far as it is apostolic, is here declared to be the work inspired by the Spirit's guidance of the apostles' mind into the truth in all its completeness and in all its parts. Some, like Westcott, refer the ἐρχόμενα to "the constitution of the Christian Church;" but the most satisfactory view is that the Spirit would himself be the Source of the prophetic hope and wondrous vision of the future which pervades the apostolic writings. Hengstenberg runs here into great detail. His remark is of deep interest—that such a promise should be found in the Fourth Gospel, preluding those sublime premonitions which the beloved disciple, when "in the Spirit," received and recorded concerning the things which are and are to come (Revelation 1:19). Not only in the writings of John, but of Peter, and in the prophetic spirit given to Paul, we see how the Lord the Spirit fulfilled the promise.

John 16:14

He shall glorify me. Christ has spoken of being straightway glorified, lifted into the fullness of the Godhead, glorified in God himself (John 13:32). This statement is partly explanatory of that, but is also an addition to the previous assurance. The Spirit will glorify the God-Man, will augment the luster of his blessed Name, will crown him with honor, and multiply the mirrors of his majesty and the subjects of his power; and the reason is given: For he shall take of mine, and (for the second time, ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν) declare it to you. Christ is here profoundly conscious of the abundance of truth and reality involved in himself and in his functions, in the work he is doing and will continue to do. He is mournfully alive to the fact that the disciples were not able to perceive what there was in him without supernatural aid. The Spirit of God will augment Christ's glory in the Church, seeing that he will reveal to men the Person and glory of the Christ, by inward processes, by vivid spiritual intuitions, by mental exercises which we are quite ready to confess are far beyond the compass of logic, and break through all laws of induction or evolution. This is the high function of the Spirit in inspiration—to take of that which belongs to the Son of God, and so to quicken the spiritual faculty of men that they can and do understand it. "The Spirit searcheth all things, even the depths of Deity," and reveals them to those who receive the Holy Ghost. Our Lord declares that all truth is implicitly contained in himself. In John 14:1-31. he said, "I am the Truth" about God and about man, and about the relation of man to God. The Spirit will draw aside the veils which hide this truth, will draw forth the hidden harmonies contained in this wondrous Personality. Such continuous revelation is from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18). St. Paul at the close of his ministry was aware of unfathomed treasures still hidden in the Christ, and he put before himself, as the goal of his highest ambition, "that I may know him" (Philippians 3:10).

John 16:15

In this verse our Lord makes a still more superlative claim. All things which the Father hath ( ὅσα ἔχει) are mine. Perhaps no sentence recorded by St. John is more difficult to reconcile with the mere humanity of our Lord, even of the loftiest kind. The "mine" of the previous verse is declared to embrace something more than the mystery of his Person and sacrifice. "All that the Father hath," all his fullness of being, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, all the power, all the effulgence of the glory of the Father, of the human race, and of all things, "are mine." This makes a spiritual apprehension of Christ include a perfect revelation of all the Father's character and work. Therefore said I, that he (the Spirit of truth, in being your Guide into all the truth) £ taketh of mine, and will declare (it) unto you. Because "mine is the Father's, and the Father's is mine;" because, i.e., he is the Center, and Agent, and Motive, and Force in all the Divine self-revelation, and because he possessed as his own this vast range, this infinite fullness of Divine operations, he promised them this spiritual teaching, and assured them that his highest glory was simply to be made known as he is. Calvin, "We see how the greater part of men deceive themselves; for they pass by Christ, and go out of the way to seek God by circuitous paths."

In these verses we have a very abundant exhibition of the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, coupled with a very remarkable setting forth of the tri-personality. The Father "hath" ( ἔχει) that which is in very. essence the Son's ( ἐμα); and the Spirit, whose purpose is to glorify the Son by making him known to men ( λαμβάνει), takes of "mine" and will declare it (see Stier, Schaff, note to Lange). Luthardt once thought with Stier, but now limits the reference, without giving any reason for it, to what he calls "the deposit of Divine truth in the humanity of Jesus." The sum of this astonishing assurance is that the Holy Spirit of truth, an essential element if not Personality in the Godhead, will lead these apostles into the fullness of truth, and of knowledge of the future, by taking up the essential realities of the Christ in the fullness of his being and work, and disclosing them by spiritual insight and supernatural quickening. These realities of the Christ will prove to be the fullness of the Father's heart—all that the Father hath. Again we ask—Does St. John even here travel beyond his prologue?

John 16:16-24

(c) The sorrow turned into joy. In these verses he approaches the final farewell, in which the whole body of the disciples are introduced as inwardly or among themselves perturbed by the special difficulty of the words. Before the Spirit can do all this, a separation must be experienced.

John 16:16

A little while. A phrase repeated seven times in this brief passage, emphatically encouraging his own disciples to rise above the limitations of time, and enjoy the habits of eternity. Ye behold me no more. The first puzzle of this utterance lies in this—that (John 14:19) he had told them that, though the world would see him no more, they would behold him in the power of the Spirit, and that they would moreover have adequate preparation for such spiritual beholding in the resurrection; yet now he says, "Ye behold me no more." True, he has associated this phrase already, in John 16:10, with the conviction of the world touching true righteousness and his "going to the Father," so that henceforth he would be hidden in God; but now he increases the perplexity by adding, And again, a little while, and ye shall see me. The commentators differ greatly as to the reference, but (with Hengstenberg, Weiss, Stier, Westcott, Ebrard, Ewald) the most obvious explanation is that he is referring to the resurrection, which in itself would be in part a glorification of Christ, and which, from its entire method of manifestation to them, would prove a preparation for the spiritual sense of his continual presence. This was perfected at Pentecost, and will be completed when he shall come again in his glory. £

John 16:17

Then said (some) of his disciples one to another, not daring to utter it to him, What is this that he saith to us, A little while, and ye behold me not: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? This clause now aggravates their difficulty, whether they associate it with the idea already uttered, or whether they repeat the Lord's word. The program of the future—e.g.

form a group of ideas very difficult even for us now to realize or "to know" fully what he saith. Who need wonder that these disciples should have been in doubt, since one of their number intimately acquainted with them and their state of feeling records it of them?

John 16:18

They said, What is this little while whereof he speaketh? £ ( λέγει; Vulgate, dicit). (The R.T. and Westcott and Hort invert the τοῦτο and τί, and thus greatly increase the simplicity of the passage.) What are these two short periods of which he speaks, so full of mysterious significance? We know not what he saith ( λαλεῖ; Vulgate, loquitur). We do not apprehend the wonderful interchange of vision and blank darkness—of presence and absence and presence again!

John 16:19

Now £Jesus knew (perceived by his Divine penetration of human thought here quickened by their anxious look and hurried whisperings) that they were wishing to question him, and he said to them, Are you inquiring among yourselves concerning this that I said, A little while, etc.? In his repetition he does not quote the clause which they had added—i.e. added if the clause, John 16:16, is not genuine. He proceeded to meet their difficulties.

John 16:20

There is no exact or categoric reply to the very inquiry which he has heard and cited, but there is more of prophecy and help than if he had said, "Tomorrow I die and shall be laid in the grave, and on the third day I shall rise again." He had often said this, and they refused to understand. It was not merely a resurrection of the body, but the glorification in the Father of his entire Personality, for which he wished them to be prepared. A simple restoration like that of Lazarus would not have secured him from the malice of those who sought to put Lazarus also to death. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that weep and lament you shall, and the world shall rejoice. Here is his own account of the effect upon them of that he said, "A little while," and you will behold me, as you think, no more. The world will rejoice, because to some extent it will be the world's doing, and it will fancy for a little while that it has got its way and succeeded excellently well The world will roll a stone to his sepulcher, and make it as sure as they can, sealing the stone and setting a watch. Pharisaism will exult that this deman