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 ofhimself. (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 ispossible for those who are real enemies to God's service, topretend zeal for it. This does not lessen the sin of thepersecutors; villanies will never be changed by putting the nameof God to them. As Jesus in his sufferings, so his followers intheirs, should look to the fulfilling of Scripture. He did nottell them sooner, because he was with them to teach, guide, andcomfort them; they needed not then this promise of the HolySpirit's presence. It will silence us to ask, Whence troublescome? It will satisfy us to ask, Whither go they? for we knowthey work for good. It is the common fault and folly ofmelancholy Christians to look only on the dark side of thecloud, and to turn a deaf ear to the voice of joy and gladness.That which filled the disciples' hearts with sorrow, was toogreat affection for this present life. Nothing more hinders ourjoy in God, than the love of the world, and the sorrow of theworld which comes from it. 7-15 Christ's departure was necessary to the Comforter'scoming. Sending the Spirit was to be the fruit of Christ'sdeath, which was his going away. His bodily presence could beonly in one place at one time, but his Spirit is every where, inall places, at all times, wherever two or three are gatheredtogether in his name. See here the office of the Spirit, firstto reprove, or to convince. Convincing work is the Spirit'swork; he can do it effectually, and none but he. It is themethod the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince, and then tocomfort. The Spirit shall convince the world, of sin; not merelytell them of it. The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin; of thefault of sin; of the folly of sin; of the filth of sin, that byit we are become hateful to God; of the fountain of sin, thecorrupt nature; and lastly, of the fruit of sin, that the endthereof is death. The Holy Spirit proves that all the world isguilty before God. He convinces the world of righteousness; thatJesus of Nazareth was Christ the righteous. Also, of Christ'srighteousness, imparted to us for justification and salvation.He will show them where it is to be had, and how they may beaccepted as righteous in God's sight. Christ's ascension provesthe ransom was accepted, and the righteousness finished, throughwhich believers were to be justified. Of judgment, because theprince of this world is judged. All will be well, when his poweris broken, who made all the mischief. As Satan is subdued byChrist, this gives us confidence, for no other power can standbefore him. And of the day of judgment. The coming of the Spiritwould be of unspeakable advantage to the disciples. The HolySpirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go withus by continued aids and influences. To be led into a truth ismore than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notionof it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of itin our hearts. He shall teach all truth, and keep back nothingprofitable, for he will show things to come. All the gifts andgraces of the Spirit, all the preaching, and all the writing ofthe apostles, under the influence of the Spirit, all thetongues, and miracles, were to glorify Christ. It behoves everyone to ask, whether the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in hisheart? Without clear discovery of our guilt and danger, we nevershall understand the value of Christ's salvation; but whenbrought to know ourselves aright, we begin to see the value ofthe Redeemer. We should have fuller views of the Redeemer, andmore lively affections to him, if we more prayed for, anddepended on the Holy Spirit. 16-22 It is good to consider how near our seasons of grace areto an end, that we may be quickened to improve them. But thesorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as thoseof a mother, at the sight of her infant. The Holy Spirit wouldbe their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neithersufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them oftheir joy. Believers have joy or sorrow, according to theirsight of Christ, and the tokens of his presence. Sorrow iscoming on the ungodly, which nothing can lessen; the believer isan heir to joy which no one can take away. Where now is the joyof 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 theyare to be had from God only. Asking in Christ's name, isacknowledging our unworthiness to receive any favours from God,and shows full dependence upon Christ as the Lord ourRighteousness. Our Lord had hitherto spoken in short and weightysentences, or in parables, the import of which the disciples didnot fully understand, but after his resurrection he intendedplainly to teach them such things as related to the Father andthe way to him, through his intercession. And the frequency withwhich our Lord enforces offering up petitions in his name, showsthat the great end of the mediation of Christ is to impress uswith a deep sense of our sinfulness, and of the merit and powerof his death, whereby we have access to God. And let us everremember, that to address the Father in the name of Christ, orto address the Son as God dwelling in human nature, andreconciling the world to himself, are the same, as the Fatherand Son are one. 28-33 Here is a plain declaration of Christ's coming from theFather, and his return to him. The Redeemer, in his entrance,was God manifest in the flesh, and in his departure was receivedup into glory. By this saying the disciples improved inknowledge. Also in faith; "Now are we sure." Alas! they knew nottheir own weakness. The Divine nature did not desert the humannature, but supported it, and put comfort and value intoChrist's sufferings. And while we have God's favourablepresence, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all theworld forsake us. Peace in Christ is the only true peace, in himalone believers have it. Through him we have peace with God, andso in him we have peace in our own minds. We ought to beencouraged, because Christ has overcome the world before us. Butwhile we think we stand, let us take heed lest we fall. We knownot how we should act if brought into temptation; let us watchand pray without ceasing, that we may not be left to ourselves.
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