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Gospel of John - Chapter Sixteen
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The Lord continues with His final instruction to His eleven disciples. As mentioned, this is one of the more doctrinal chapters of this book of John.
The arrest of Christ is going to take place this very night. He is going to be separated from these men, with no more chance to instruct them. He will be crucified, and will ascend on to heaven. This chapter is part of the preparation for His departure.
We must keep in mind is the context of this message: 1) it is to the eleven (and at times they are spoken to as the representatives of the whole church which is going to be built "upon them"); 2) it is spoken very shortly before the arrest, trial and death of Christ, and 3) these men are Jews in a Jewish society, which lasted another forty-years before being destroyed. Thus some of the statements are referring to their period of time, yet they easily apply to our period of time.
1. What is a purpose of Jesus' instruction here to the eleven men, v.1?
We know that a large portion of this passage refers to the Apostles in the period of time between when Christ words here and the destruction of the Hebrew (Jewish) religion and race about 70 A.D. We know the time frame for a couple of reasons:
First, the reference to the Jewish synagogues (v. 2)the Jews (Hebrews) were scattered world-wide when Assyria and Babylon destroyed them as recorded in 2 Kings 24, 25 and 2 Chronicles 36. The "official" temple, or place to worship God, could only be at Jerusalem. These Hebrews, who were everywhere, could no longer go to the temple as they once could when they lived in Palestine (the land of Canaan or Israel). Therefore, they built meeting places wherever in the world they were scattered. The meeting places could not offer sacrifices and offerings, but they met here to worship God and hear the Word of God read and explained. There are many records of these meetings in the New Testament. Those who desired to know God met in these synagogues, and from the synagogues, the gospel started its world-wide spread. When the new preachers (the Apostles) went into a new or strange community, they went to the local synagogue on the Sabbath where the people were gathered to hear the Scriptures read. There they preached the new gospel of the death, burial, resurrection and enthronement of Jesus.
Second, the warning of the hatred toward the new preachers, as recorded in Acts.
a. As the apostles went into the synagogues with the new gospel, what does Jesus say will happen to them, v. 2?
b. What will their enemies think they are actually doing, v. 2?
As we saw from v. 1, Jesus did not want this thinking to catch these new preachers by surprise.
1. Though Stephen was not one of the twelve apostles, he had been commissioned by them, Acts 6:5. Stephen preached the message of Christ in one of these synagogues. What did those in charge of the synagogue do to him, Acts 6:9-15; 7:58-60?
2. Paul, before he was saved, was named Saul. Paul was the man added to the original eleven apostles, bringing the number back to twelve. He replaced Judas who betrayed Christ. What did Paul (as Saul), do before he was saved, Acts 8:1; 22:19?
Twelve: The old Israel of God was built upon the twelve patriarchs; the new Israel of God, the church, is built upon the twelve apostles.
c. The Lord tells these apostles what will happen. Why will they be treated this way when they try to preach the gospel, Jn. 16:3?
Vv. 1-4. He spends four verses here telling them not to be surprised by what will take place. In fact, not just in these four verses, but He continually warned them.
V. 5. He is preparing them for His departure, and expresses His surprise that they have not asked where He is going.
2. They do understand that He is leaving. How do they feel about his departure, (remember 14:1), v. 6?
a. What will Christ do after He departs, v. 7?
b. This is the Holy Spirit. What will the Holy Spirit do after He is come, (the word reprove means convince), v. 8?
c. Vv. 9-11 tells how and why He will do this. What is the very basis of sin, v. 9?
3. Though Jesus would like to have told them more, why could He not, v. 12?
a. Continuing: Christ cannot explain everything to them they need to know at this time, yet they will be instructed into all truth. Who will instruct them, v. 13?
First we see that the Holy Spirit is required in order to properly understand God's word. Next we see here that God, through the Holy Spirit, will not give us more of the truth than what we can understand at the time. He starts out with the simple things and builds, and He requires His people to get past the simple things of the Christian faith. (Heb. 6:1-2.) There is something wrong with those who cannot or will not "grow" past the bare basics of the Scripture. Increasing in knowledge of and practical application of the word of God is called "maturing" in Christ or "maturing" in the Christian faith.
4. Here is a very important point in our confusing day of many false teachings in the area of the Holy Spirit. What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit, v. 14?
Verses 16-20, Christ tells them that He is going to be put to death and that He is going to the Father. There will be a period of time between His ascension to the Father (Ac. 1:9) and their death, when they will not see Him bodily. Yet after their death, they will see Him again. During this time they will face many difficult trials and sorrows.
5. To what dos Christ compares the short interval between His death and their death, and the sorrows which they will face, v. 21?
a. What will they have after this period of sorrow, v. 22?
6. Undoubtedly, the eleven would have the same feelings we would have in similar circumstances. For over three years, all they had to do was cry out to the Master for His help or direction. But now He is leaving. No doubt the thought crosses their mind, viz, "Now what will we do since He isn't going to be here?" What does Jesus promise them, vv. 23, 24?
V. 25, proverbthe alternate reading here is parable. A definition of parable is, "A heavenly story with an earthly meaning." That is, a story we can understand that has a spiritual meaning to itexplaining spiritual truths with easily understood physical stories.
7. Why does the Father love them, (remember the definition of love, Jn. 15:10), v. 27?
8. What does He plainly tells them, v. 29, (see v. 28)?
a. What do the disciples say that they believe, v. 30?
9. What does Jesus tell them will happen when He is arrested, v. 32, (see Mk. 14:50)?
Overcome... How did Christ overcome the world? The world (sinful men) "threw" everything they could at Him, attempting to get Him to back down from doing the will of the Father. They offered Him every opportunity from the glory of this world (a king) to the very worse (death in the most horrible way known at that time. It took hours to die in this manner). Yet He did not even consider not doing the Father's will. He overcame everything that came at Him to hinder or prevent Him doing the Father's will. In His victory lies His people's victory. Can we overcome all that the world, flesh and the devil offer to us to hinder our obedience to the will of God for us? (Read I Pet. chp. 2.)
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