The Gospel of John – Lesson 41 – John 16:1-16

“I have told you these things so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who murders you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. But I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you may remember that I told them to you. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. “But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Yet because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth: It is good for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but whatever he hears he will speak. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I said that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you. 16 “In a little while you are not going to see me anymore, and again in a little while you will see me, because I am going away to the Father.”

Jesus had some bad news for his disciples. Already in John 15, he told them the world would hate them just as they hated Jesus. But it wouldn’t only be unbelievers who hated them. Some of the people who hated them would believe they were serving God by doing so. People would kick Jesus’ disciple out of the local synagogues. Some would have the apostles thrown into prison. Others would try to put them to death. The book of Acts provides us with numerous examples of how this prophecy came true. Jesus’ words continue to be true today. Christians throughout the world face many forms of hatred from this sinful world.

Jesus had an important reason for telling his disciples these things. Experiencing such hatred could easily cause them to fall from faith in Jesus. If this is what they were expected to endure why would they want to be Christians? Jesus told them in advance that these things would happen so they wouldn’t fall from faith. They could think back to how their Lord Jesus was persecuted in the same way. As Jesus prepared his disciples for the difficult times that lay ahead, he also prepares us for difficult times. Opposition to Jesus and the Gospel ministry will continue as long as this world continues. Not all persecution will lead to arrest or death, but it will lead to many struggles and sufferings for God’s people. Our Lord tells us this in advance so we won’t be caught off guard when it comes.

But take heart, Jesus also had good news for his disciples. Once again he promised that he will send the Counselor. (The Holy Spirit) No matter what opposition Jesus faced in doing his work, he would be triumphant. His suffering and death would be used by God to bring about our salvation. The Holy Spirit would follow Jesus and teach about the importance of everything Jesus accomplished.

The coming of the Holy Spirit will be bad news for those who hate Jesus and his followers. Our Lord explained how the Spirit will convict his enemies in three ways. He will convict the world of sin. They did not believe in Jesus as their Savior. Therefore, there is no forgiveness for their sins. They must atone for their own sins before God, which they can never do. He will convict them in regard to righteousness. God demands that we must be righteous just as he is righteous. This is impossible for us because of sin. Jesus came to cloth us in his own righteousness. But those who rejected Jesus remain covered with sin. They remain unacceptable in God’s sight. He convicts the world in regard to judgement. Jesus explained that the ruler of the world (Satan) is condemned by what Jesus accomplished. Those who reject Jesus are children of Satan. Satan is declared guilty and condemned by God. Those who follow Satan stand condemned also. They will face the same eternal punishment that the devil faces.

But when the Holy Spirit came, he brought good news to us. He came to Jesus’ disciples on Pentecost to lead them to the truth of Jesus Christ. He came to us through our baptism. From that day forward we became children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Spirit will not convict us of sin, because Jesus paid for our sins. He does not convict us of righteousness because Jesus clothed us in his righteousness. He does not convict us of judgement. On the Last Day, when Jesus returns he will call our bodies from the grave, reunite us with our souls and take us to heaven forever.

Jesus said these things as he was preparing to finish his work of our salvation. When he died his disciples wouldn’t see him for a little while. But on the third day he rose from the grave and his disciples saw him again. For now we do not see Jesus either. He has ascended into heaven. But this will last only for a little while. We will soon see Jesus when he takes us to dwell with him in peace and joy forever.

Discussion Questions

1 – Jesus told his disciples that the world would hate them just as they hated Jesus. That condition still exists today. Why does Jesus tell his followers these things?
Jesus wants us to understand that the life of a Christian will often be difficult. We shouldn’t expect to be loved by the world. The sinful world wants nothing to do with Jesus’ message. They hated him, so they will hate his followers. Jesus tells us these things so that we will not be caught off guard when persecution happens. We will remember what Jesus told us and hold fast to his Word, knowing that he will one day deliver us to eternal life in heaven.

2 – Jesus told his disciples he had things to tell them they could not bear to hear at the time. (Verse 12) Some have used this verse to claim they have received additional revelations from God that need to be added to the Holy Scriptures. What should we remember whenever we hear such claims?
Any message that someone claims is from God must agree completely with the Holy Scriptures. We know that all Scripture is from God. Any message that contradicts Scripture did not come from God. Also remember that Jesus promised when the Holy Spirit came, he would guide them in all truth. (Verse 13) The truths Jesus still needed to reveal to his disciples were made clear by Jesus after his Resurrection and by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The whole revelation of God’s Word is brought to us in Scripture alone.

3 – How would the Holy Spirit glorify Jesus?
The message of the Holy Spirit agrees completely with what Jesus taught. Through Word and Sacrament he leads us to believe that Jesus is the true Son of God and our Savior.

4 – What are the two ‘little whiles” that Jesus spoke about in verse 16?
He refers to his death and resurrection. For a little while (while he was in the grave) his disciples didn’t see him. But soon he rose from the dead and they saw him alive again.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to: