John 16:1-33

1"All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

5"Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' 6Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

16"In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

17Some of his disciples said to one another, "What does he mean by saying, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" 18They kept asking, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying."

19Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, "Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'? 20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

25"Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

29Then Jesus' disciples said, "Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God."

31"You believe at last!" Jesus answered. 32"But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  (NIV)


In this section, Jesus is trying to prepare the disciples to live without him physically present.  This is how we live today.  We live in the time without Jesus’ physical presence, but we have the presence of the Holy Spirit which Jesus is promising to send.  The disciples will have to endure a short time where neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit will be present, and so Jesus is warning them.

He tells them that the Holy Spirit will speak to them and guide them.  That promise is for us today.  But Jesus also warns that people will hate them for their belief.  What he says in the first few verses is epitomized in the action of Paul prior to his encounter with Christ.  Paul actually thought his persecution of the Christians was a service to God.

In this passage, Jesus begins to tell us the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin.  When we remember that sin is what separates us from God, not just doing bad things, then the Holy Spirit helps us to see our need for God and the loss we have without God.  This is why some believe the Sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable because if we separate ourselves from the Holy Spirit, we separate ourselves from the one entity that helps us to see our need for God.

Jesus says that the Spirit will also convict or convince (as this is another use of the term John uses for the Greek words translated “convict” and makes better sense here) us of God’s righteousness.  Again, it is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to see and understand that Jesus is the Son of God and not just a human who lived long ago.  It is by the Spirit that we can come to this conclusion.

And finally, Jesus says that the Spirit will convince us of God’s judgement.  I think in our land today, this is the one aspect our culture has tuned out from hearing the Spirit speak.  We live in a world time now where many do not believe they will be judged for who they are and how they lived.  But Scripture is clear the we will be judge either for punishment or for reward.  This is the essence of the story Jesus told of the end times being like a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats.

The Holy Spirit is so critical to our faith.  Jesus told the disciples that it was good he left so that the Holy Spirit would come.  The Holy Spirit not only speaks to us, but for us.  When we don’t have words to go before God, the Holy Spirit searches our heart and speaks for us.

Do you sense the Holy Spirit alive in your life?  How do you respond to the Holy Spirit’s call on your life?

What is your understanding of persecution today, especially in our country that has not historically killed people for their belief (although we are sadly starting to see it)?  How does the Holy Spirit strengthen you in times of question? by other? By friends?

Think about the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Comments on this or anything else?

Blessings and Peace

Pastor Harry