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THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
PREPARING HIS APOSTLES FOR THE FUTURE
[“Truth, Plain Speech, and Desertion”]
Key Word: Truth
John 16:1-4 – Persecution Foretold
JN16:1“I have spoken these things to you [apostles] so that none of you will be stumbled.841
So that none of you will be stumbled: Or, offended, falling away, upset your faith. The Greek is the root for the English “scandal.”
The more one understands the teachings of Christ, the less the possibility of being stumbled.
JN16:2The [Jews] will expel you [apostles] from the synagogue.842 The hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think they are offering holy worship to The God.843
The [Jews] will expel you [apostles] from the synagogue: Or, put you out, excommunicate. Jesus had foretold such difficulties earlier
in his Olivet Discourse to four of his apostles. [Mark 13:9] This has already started. [John 9:22]
kills you will think they are offering holy worship to The God: Or, does God’s service, offering sacrifices, doing God’s pleasure. Sincerity is not enough! When Jesus says “everyone” he refers to religious Jews who were the first
to persecute Christians. [Acts chapters 4, 5, 9] Compare Acts 8:1; 12:2; 26:11]
JN16:3They will do these these things because they never knew me or the Father.844
They never knew me or the Father: Despite the Law of Moses, the Jews in general were an “adulterous generation” [Mark
8:38] and “a generation of vipers.” [Matthew 23:1ff] Despite their Law they did not come to know the Messiah or God. [John 8:19; 15:21; Romans 10:2; 1 Corinthians 2:8]
JN16:4I have spoken these things to you [apostles] so that whenever their hour arrives you will remember that I told you.845 But, I did not tell you these things from the beginning because I was with you [apostles].846
Whenever their hour arrives you will remember that I told you: That is the hour or time of the Jews and their persecution of the Nazarene and his disciples.
This would continue until the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. Jewish persecution of Christians continues even in the state of Israel. [John 13:19; 14:29]
I was with you [apostles]: The focus of Jewish persecution was primarily against Jesus. However, with his execution Jewish hatred of the Nazarene disciples would explode.
John 16:5-11 – The Helper’s Convincing Evidence
JN16:5“However, now I am departing toward the One who sent me,847 and yet none of you [apostles] is asking me, ‘To where are you departing?’
I am departing toward the One who sent me: Or, go my way to. Jesus is to return to his celestial home with his heavenly Father. [John
JN16:6Now, because I have said these things to you, your hearts are filled with grief.848
Your hearts are filled with grief: Or, sorrow, distressed. The approaching execution of Messiah is dawning upon them. This grief would swell until they would seek relief in sleep. [Luke 22:45]
JN16:7But I am telling you [apostles] the truth because it is for your benefit that I am leaving.849 For if I should not leave, the Helper will never come toward you [apostles]. But, if I should leave, I shall send him850 toward you [apostles].
For your benefit that I am leaving: Jesus tries to encourage his apostles. It is interesting that in his explanation of his departure
to the Father, he does not mention either the ransom or salvation. He emphasizes the promised spirit Helper and how it can be characterized. About a week early he had said that he was surrendering his soul as a ransom. [Matthew 20:28]
JN16:8Then, having arrived, that one will reprove the world
of humankind851 regarding sin,852 righteousness,853
That one will reprove the world of humankind: Or, convict, rebuke. This is primarily done through the inspired Christian Scriptures.
[2 Timothy 3:16, 17] Such Scriptures are now scattered throughout the world of humankind.
Regarding sin: Jesus lists three subjects that the pneumatic Helper will make known to people from the world, including that Jewish world. These are sin, righteousness, and judgment. These three subjects are found in all of the inspired epistles. The word “sin” occurs 15 times in the Gospel of John, and 20 times in 1 John. It occurs 46 times in Romans, and another 33 times in other epistles. It is interesting to note what the Nazarene omits from the Helper’s guidance: salvation. Though the Bible is about salvation, the theme of judgment is a premier theme running throughout the Christian Bible.
Righteousness: The word occurs 63 times in Romans and another 54 times in Paul’s other epistles. Righteousness means the observance of law, so a righteous person is a law-abiding person.
JN16:11And, regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world of humankind has been condemned.857
Because the ruler of this world of humankind has been condemned: Compare John 3:18; 12:31; 14:30. Satan is the “god of this world.”
[2 Corinthians 4:4] He has been judged already, and now awaits his final condemnation. [2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 20:3, 10]
John 16:12-16 – Guided into All the Truth
JN16:12“I have yet many things to tell you [apostles], but you are unable to bear them at the moment.858
JN16:13However, whenever that [Helper] arrives – the Truthful Pneuma – he will guide you [apostles] into all the Truth,859 for he will not speak from himself,860 but everything he hears he will speak.
Also, he will proclaim to you [apostles] future things.861
He will guide you [apostles] into all the Truth: Or, everything that is true, the whole truth. Jesus does not speak to all future
Christians, but only to his apostles. The Helper will guide these and a handful of other pre-selected men who will be inspired to write the Christian Bible. Paul will yet be one of these major instruments. See notes on John 16:7. All truth will be revealed
with the close of the Christian canon and John’s final writings. Truths will not thereafter be progressively revealed as though there will be “new light.”
For he will not speak from himself: Or, his own accord, his own initiative, his own authority, his own originality. Like Christ, the personification of the holy Pneuma originates nothing from
Proclaim to you [apostles] future things: Or, things to come. The greatest example of this is the
Book of Revelation, recorded by the apostle John. Those who claim to rely on the spirit Helper for their understanding will comprehend Biblical prophecies. [1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 1:1]
JN16:14That Helper will glorify me, because he will receive from my own things,862
and these he will proclaim to you [apostles].
He will receive from my own things: The Helper is not equal to the Father or His Son.
JN16:15All the things my Father possesses are mine. This is why I said that [the Helper] receives from my own things, and he will proclaim [these] to you [apostles].JN16:16A little longer and you will not see me,863 and yet again in a little longer you [apostles] will see me.”864
You will not see me: During his period in the grave, or Hades. [Psalm 16:8-10; Acts 2:24-32]
You [apostles] will see me: After his resurrection and throughout the nearly 30 days among his disciples. [Acts 10:39-41; John 21:1]
John 16:17-24 – Grief Will Turn to Joy
JN16:17 As result some of Jesus’ disciples said to one another, “What is this that he is saying to us, ‘A little longer and you [apostles] will not see me, and yet again in a little longer you
[apostles] will see me’? Also, ‘Because I am departing toward the Father’?”
JN16:18 So, they were asking, “What is this saying, ‘a little longer’? We have no idea what he is saying!”
JN16:19 Jesus was aware that they wanted to question him, and so he told them:
“Are you inquiring with one another because I said, ‘a little longer and you will not see me’ and also, ‘again a little longer and you will see me’?JN16:20I tell you this truth: you [apostles] will weep and wail,865 but the world of humankind will rejoice.866 You [apostles] will be grief-stricken,867 but your grief will become joy!
You [apostles] will weep and wail: Or, lament. There grief must have been considerable since they did not altogether comprehend God’s
The world of humankind will rejoice: Particularly the Jewish world with its religious hierarchy.
Grief-stricken: Or, sorrow, plunged into grief. They will be unable to eat. [Luke 5:35]
JN16:21The woman, when about to give birth, has considerable grief,868 because her hour has arrived. However, when she becomes a mother to the little boy,869
she remembers her affliction no longer because of her joy in giving birth to a human870 into the
world of humankind.
Considerable grief: Or, travail, anguish, labor pains. [Genesis 3:16] There may be an echo of Isaiah 26:17 here.
Becomes a mother to the little boy: Though some versions say “child” or “baby” the Greek is “little boy.”
Her joy in giving birth to a human: Compare Job 3:3.
JN16:22Just so, you also certainly are having grief now. But I shall see you [apostles] again, and your hearts will rejoice,871 and your joy no one will take away from you.
Your hearts will rejoice: Compare Luke 24:52.
JN16:23And in that day you will not question me at all. I tell you this truth: Certainly, anything you [apostles] ask the Father in my name He will give to you.872
Anything you [apostles] ask the Father in my name He will give to you: The promise is specifically to his apostles.
JN16:24Up until now you [apostles] have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive873 so that your joy will be complete.874
Ask and you will receive: Compare Matthew 7:8-11; 21:22.
Joy will be complete: Or, gladness in full measure, overflowing.
John 16:25-28 – Metaphors and Plain Language
JN16:25“I have spoken these things in metaphors.875 The hour is coming when I will no longer use metaphors, but rather I shall report back to you [apostles] in plain language876 regarding the Father.
I have spoken these things in metaphors: Or, proverbs, dark sayings, similitudes, veiled speech, figurative language, comparisons.
Thus, the masculine Helper personified is not literally a person, but a language instrument to illustrate a point. [Matthew 13:34; John 10:6]
Report back to you [apostles] in plain language: Or, plain words, plainly, openly.
JN16:26In that day you [apostles] will ask in my name. I am not saying
that I will request the Father regarding you.877
I am not saying that I will request the Father regarding you: His meaning is likely to assure the apostles that the Father cares for them directly as His sons.
JN16:27For the Father has affection for you, because you [apostles] continue to have affection for me and you have believe that I came out from alongside the Father.JN16:28I came out from the Father878
and [then] came into the world of humankind. I am again leaving the world of humankind and returning to the Father.”879
I came out from the Father: Likely a reference to his pre-existence before coming into the world of humankind. [John 6:62; 17:5]
I am again leaving the world of humankind and returning to the Father: Or, NAS: I am leaving the world again; PME: return to the Father.
Compare notes on John 6:62; 17:5. In his pre-existence as the Angel of Yahweh, Michael, he had descended and re-ascended numerous times.
John 16:29-33 – All Will Soon Scatter
JN16:29 His disciples said to Jesus: “See! Now you are speaking in plain language and not in metaphors.
JN16:30 Now we realize you know everything880
and so you do not need to have anyone question you. We continue to believe this that you came out from God.”
We realize you know everything: This is not completely accurate, for the Nazarene himself knows there are some things he does not
know. [Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7; Revelation 1:1]
JN16:31 Jesus responded to them:
“Do you [apostles] believe at the moment?JN16:32Look! The hour is coming – and it has already arrived – so that all of you [apostles]will be scattered,881
[Zechariah 13:7] each one to his own home,882 and all of you will desert
me. And yet I will not be alone, because the Father is with me.
You [apostles] ‘will be scattered’: Jesus alludes to Zechariah 13:7. Both Matthew and Luke directly quote this verse from the prophets. [Matthew 26:31, 56; Mark 14:27]
Each one to his own home: Or, place, houses. Evidently the apostles returned to their fishing business and other activities.
JN16:33I have spoken these things to you [apostles] so that you may have peace in me. In the world of humankindyou will be oppressed,883
[Daniel 12:1] but all of you remain courageous.884 I have conquered885 the world of humankind.”
Remain courageous: Or, good cheer, confident, never lose heart. Despite
this godly encouragement, all the apostles do scatter out of fear. Compare John 20:19. [Mark 16:7, 8]
I have conquered: Or, overcome, won the victory. Having heard this, the apostle John goes on to use “conquered” several times. [1 John 2:13, 14; 4:4; 5:4, 5; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 12:11; 17:14; 21:7]