John 16

* Persecution foretold. (1-6) The promise of the Holy Spirit,

and his office. (7-15) Christ's departure and return. (16-22)

Encouragement to prayer. (23-27) Christ's discoveries of

himself. (28-33)

1-6 Our Lord Jesus, by giving his disciples notice of trouble,

designed that the terror might not be a surprise to them. It is

possible for those who are real enemies to God's service, to

pretend zeal for it. This does not lessen the sin of the

persecutors; villanies will never be changed by putting the name

of God to them. As Jesus in his sufferings, so his followers in

theirs, should look to the fulfilling of Scripture. He did not

tell them sooner, because he was with them to teach, guide, and

comfort them; they needed not then this promise of the Holy

Spirit's presence. It will silence us to ask, Whence troubles

come? It will satisfy us to ask, Whither go they? for we know

they work for good. It is the common fault and folly of

melancholy Christians to look only on the dark side of the

cloud, and to turn a deaf ear to the voice of joy and gladness.

That which filled the disciples' hearts with sorrow, was too

great affection for this present life. Nothing more hinders our

joy in God, than the love of the world, and the sorrow of the

world which comes from it.
7-15 Christ's departure was necessary to the Comforter's

coming. Sending the Spirit was to be the fruit of Christ's

death, which was his going away. His bodily presence could be

only in one place at one time, but his Spirit is every where, in

all places, at all times, wherever two or three are gathered

together in his name. See here the office of the Spirit, first

to reprove, or to convince. Convincing work is the Spirit's

work; he can do it effectually, and none but he. It is the

method the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to

comfort. The Spirit shall convince the world, of sin; not merely

tell them of it. The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin; of the

fault of sin; of the folly of sin; of the filth of sin, that by

it we are become hateful to God; of the fountain of sin, the

corrupt nature; and lastly, of the fruit of sin, that the end

thereof is death. The Holy Spirit proves that all the world is

guilty before God. He convinces the world of righteousness; that

Jesus of Nazareth was Christ the righteous. Also, of Christ's

righteousness, imparted to us for justification and salvation.

He will show them where it is to be had, and how they may be

accepted as righteous in God's sight. Christ's ascension proves

the ransom was accepted, and the righteousness finished, through

which believers were to be justified. Of judgment, because the

prince of this world is judged. All will be well, when his power

is broken, who made all the mischief. As Satan is subdued by

Christ, this gives us confidence, for no other power can stand

before him. And of the day of judgment. The coming of the Spirit

would be of unspeakable advantage to the disciples. The Holy

Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with

us by continued aids and influences. To be led into a truth is

more than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notion

of it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of it

in our hearts. He shall teach all truth, and keep back nothing

profitable, for he will show things to come. All the gifts and

graces of the Spirit, all the preaching, and all the writing of

the apostles, under the influence of the Spirit, all the

tongues, and miracles, were to glorify Christ. It behoves every

one to ask, whether the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in his

heart? Without clear discovery of our guilt and danger, we never

shall understand the value of Christ's salvation; but when

brought to know ourselves aright, we begin to see the value of

the Redeemer. We should have fuller views of the Redeemer, and

more lively affections to him, if we more prayed for, and

depended on the Holy Spirit.
16-22 It is good to consider how near our seasons of grace are

to an end, that we may be quickened to improve them. But the

sorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as those

of a mother, at the sight of her infant. The Holy Spirit would

be their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neither

sufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of

their joy. Believers have joy or sorrow, according to their

sight of Christ, and the tokens of his presence. Sorrow is

coming on the ungodly, which nothing can lessen; the believer is

an heir to joy which no one can take away. Where now is the joy

of the murderers of our Lord, and the sorrow of his friends?
23-27 Asking of the Father shows a sense of spiritual wants,

and a desire of spiritual blessings, with conviction that they

are to be had from God only. Asking in Christ's name, is

acknowledging our unworthiness to receive any favours from God,

and shows full dependence upon Christ as the Lord our

Righteousness. Our Lord had hitherto spoken in short and weighty

sentences, or in parables, the import of which the disciples did

not fully understand, but after his resurrection he intended

plainly to teach them such things as related to the Father and

the way to him, through his intercession. And the frequency with

which our Lord enforces offering up petitions in his name, shows

that the great end of the mediation of Christ is to impress us

with a deep sense of our sinfulness, and of the merit and power

of his death, whereby we have access to God. And let us ever

remember, that to address the Father in the name of Christ, or

to address the Son as God dwelling in human nature, and

reconciling the world to himself, are the same, as the Father

and Son are one.
28-33 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.

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