Joh 16:1-33. Discourse at
the Supper Table Concluded.
1-5. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye
should not be offended—both the warnings and the
encouragements just given.
2. They shall put you out of the
synagogue—(Joh 9:22; 12:42).
the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will
think that he doeth God service—The words mean religious
service—"that he is offering a service to God." (So Saul of
Tarsus, Ga 1:13, 14; Php 3:6).
4. these things I said not …
the beginning—He had said it
pretty early (Lu 6:22), but
not quite as in Joh 16:2.
because I was with you.
5. But now I go my way to him that sent
me—While He was with them, the world's hatred was directed
chiefly against Himself; but His departure would bring it down upon
them as His representatives.
and none of you asketh me, Whither goest
thou?—They had done so in a sort (Joh 13:36;
14:5); but He wished more
intelligent and eager inquiry on the subject.
6, 7. But because I have said these things …
sorrow hath filled your heart—Sorrow had too much paralyzed
them, and He would rouse their energies.
7. It is expedient for you that I go
My Saviour, can it ever be
That I should gain by losing thee?
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you—(See
on Joh 7:39; Joh
8. And when he is come, he will,
&c.—This is one of the passages most pregnant with thought in
the profound discourses of Christ; with a few great strokes depicting
all and every part of the ministry of the Holy Ghost in the
world—His operation with reference to individuals as well as the
mass, on believers and unbelievers alike [Olshausen].
he will reprove—This is too weak a
word to express what is meant. Reproof is indeed implied in the
term employed, and doubtless the word begins with it. But
convict or convince is the thing intended; and as the one
expresses the work of the Spirit on the unbelieving portion of
mankind, and the other on the believing, it is better not to
restrict it to either.
9. Of sin, because they believe not on
me—As all sin has its root in unbelief, so the most
aggravated form of unbelief is the rejection of Christ. The Spirit,
however, in fastening this truth upon the conscience, does not
extinguish, but, on the contrary, does consummate and
intensify, the sense of all other sins.
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father,
and ye see me no more—Beyond doubt, it is Christ's
personal righteousness which the Spirit was to bring home to the
sinner's heart. The evidence of this was to lie in the great
historical fact, that He had "gone to His Father and was no more
visible to men":—for if His claim to be the Son of God, the
Saviour of the world, had been a lie, how should the Father, who is "a
jealous God," have raised such a blasphemer from the dead and exalted
him to His right hand? But if He was the "Faithful and True Witness,"
the Father's "Righteous Servant," "His Elect, in whom His soul
delighted," then was His departure to the Father, and consequent
disappearance from the view of men, but the fitting consummation, the
august reward, of all that He did here below, the seal of His mission,
the glorification of the testimony which He bore on earth, by the
reception of its Bearer to the Father's bosom. This triumphant
vindication of Christ's rectitude is to us divine evidence,
bright as heaven, that He is indeed the Saviour of the world, God's
Righteous Servant to justify many, because He bare their iniquities
53:11). Thus the Spirit, in
this clause, is seen convincing men that there is in Christ perfect
relief under the sense of sin of which He had before convinced
them; and so far from mourning over His absence from us, as an
irreparable loss, we learn to glory in it, as the evidence of His
perfect acceptance on our behalf, exclaiming with one who understood
this point, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is
God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died;
yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of
God," &c. (Ro 8:33, 34).
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world
is judged—By supposing that the final judgment is here
meant, the point of this clause is, even by good interpreters, quite
missed. The statement, "The prince of this world is judged,"
means, beyond all reasonable doubt, the same as that in Joh 12:31, "Now shall the prince of this world be
cast out"; and both mean that his dominion over men, or his
power to enslave and so to ruin them, is destroyed. The death of Christ
"judged" or judicially overthrew him, and he was thereupon "cast out"
or expelled from his usurped dominion (Heb 2:14; 1Jo 3:8; Col
2:15). Thus, then, the Spirit
shall bring home to men's conscience: (1) the sense of sin,
consummated in the rejection of Him who came to "take away the sin of
the world"; (2) the sense of perfect relief in the righteousness
of the Father's Servant, now fetched from the earth that spurned Him to
that bosom where from everlasting He had dwelt; and (3) the sense of
emancipation from the fetters of Satan, whose judgment brings to
men liberty to be holy, and transformation out of servants of the devil
into sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. To one class of men,
however, all this will carry conviction only; they "will not
come to Christ"—revealed though He be to them as the life-giving
One—that they may have life. Such, abiding voluntarily under the
dominion of the prince of this world, are judged in his
judgment, the visible consummation of which will be at the great
day. To another class, however, this blessed teaching will have another
issue—translating them out of the kingdom of darkness into the
kingdom of God's dear Son.
12-15. when he, the Spirit of truth, is come
… he shall not speak of himself—that is, from
Himself, but, like Christ Himself, "what He hears," what is given Him
he will show you things to
come—referring specially to those revelations which, in the
Epistles partially, but most fully in the Apocalypse, open up a vista
into the Future of the Kingdom of God, whose horizon is the everlasting
14. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of
mine and show it unto you—Thus the whole design of the
Spirit's office is to glorify Christ—not in His own Person, for
this was done by the Father when He exalted Him to His own right
hand—but in the view and estimation of men. For this purpose He
was to "receive of Christ"—all the truth relating to
Christ—"and show it unto them," or make them to
discern it in its own light. The subjective nature of the
Spirit's teaching—the discovery to the souls of men of what is
Christ outwardly—is here very clearly expressed; and, at
the same time, the vanity of looking for revelations of the Spirit
which shall do anything beyond throwing light in the soul upon what
Christ Himself is, and taught, and did upon earth.
15. All things that the Father hath are
mine—a plainer expression than this of absolute
community with the Father in all things cannot be conceived, though
the "all things" here have reference to the things of the Kingdom of
Grace, which the Spirit was to receive that He might show it to us. We
have here a wonderful glimpse into the inner relations of the
16-22. 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—The joy of the world at their not seeing Him seems to
show that His removal from them by death was what He meant; and
in that case, their joy at again seeing Him points to their transport
at His reappearance amongst them on His Resurrection, when they
could no longer doubt His identity. At the same time the sorrow of the
widowed Church in the absence of her Lord in the heavens, and her
transport at His personal return, are certainly here expressed.
23-28. In that day—of the dispensation
of the Spirit (as in Joh 14:20).
ye shall ask—inquire of
me nothing—by reason of the fulness of
the Spirit's teaching (Joh 14:26; 16:13; and compare 1Jo 2:27).
24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my
name—for "prayer in the name of Christ, and prayer to
Christ, presuppose His glorification" [Olshausen].
ask—when I am gone, "in My name."
25. in proverbs—in obscure language,
opposed to "showing plainly"—that is, by the Spirit's
26. I say not … I will pray the Father for
you—as if He were not of Himself disposed to aid you:
Christ does pray the Father for His people, but not for the purpose of
inclining an unwilling ear.
27. For the Father himself loveth you, because ye
have loved me—This love of theirs is that which is called
forth by God's eternal love in the gift of His Son mirrored in
the hearts of those who believe, and resting on His dear Son.
28. I came forth from the Father,
&c.—that is, "And ye are right, for I have indeed so come
forth, and shall soon return whence I came." This echo of the truth,
alluded to in Joh 16:27,
seems like thinking aloud, as if it were grateful to His own
spirit on such a subject and at such an hour.
29, 30. His disciples said, … now speakest
thou plainly, and speakest no proverb—hardly more so than
before; the time for perfect plainness was yet to come; but having
caught a glimpse of His meaning (it was nothing more), they eagerly
express their satisfaction, as if glad to make anything of His words.
How touchingly does this show both the simplicity of their hearts and
the infantile character of their faith!
31-33. Jesus answered … 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" (Ps 69:20).
because the Father is with me—how
near, and with what sustaining power, who can express?
33. These things I have spoken unto
you—not the immediately preceding words, but this whole
discourse, of which these were the very last words, and which He thus
that in me ye might have peace—in the
sublime sense before explained. (See on Joh
In the world ye shall have
tribulation—specially arising from its deadly opposition to
those who "are not of the world, but chosen out of the world." So that
the "peace" promised was far from an unruffled one.
I have overcome the world—not only
before you, but for you, that ye may be able to do the