Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 41

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 16:1-11
I acknowledge this is a long one, but once again, there is an awful lot covered in these 11 verses.

Previously, in the concluding verses of Chapter 15, Jesus had been explaining to His disciples, their relationship to the world, and to Himself, and how this was all interconnected with God our Father and His Father. And in closing for chapter 15, Jesus introduces the promise of the Holy Spirit, who will be sent to testify and bear witness of Jesus Himself and how the disciples themselves, those who had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry, would also be His witnesses.

Beginning in Chapter 16 Jesus starts to explain why He is explaining these things now and you will note Jesus uses the word “because” or “so that” frequently.

John 16:1-3 NASB reads: “These things I have spoken to you so that you will not be led into sin. They will ban you from the synagogue, yet an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering a service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father nor Me.” (Emphasis is mine)

John 16:1 is translated as follows in the Amplified Study Bible “ I have told you these things so that you will not stumble or be caught off guard or fall away.” In the New English Translation (NET) it is translated as follows: “I have told you all these things so that you will not fall away.” The following footnote is included:”John 16:1 tn Grk “so that you will not be caused to stumble.” sn In Johannine thought the verb σκανδαλίζω (skandalizō) means to trip up disciples and cause them to fall awayfrom Jesus’ company (John 6:61, 1 John 2:10).” In the ESV Bible it is translated as: “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.” So we can easily see that Jesus is telling them what is going to happen next, because He wants them to be aware of the reality of what is about to happen.

I can’t help but think that the totality of what is about to take place, that being the death of Jesus and His resurrection, was not fully realized until they saw Jesus, face to face, after His resurrection and even more so, after Pentecost. Consider that initially Jesus had to prepare His disciples for His own death. Keeping in mind all that they had been witness to, the healings, the deliverances, His command of nature, the transfiguration, the teachings etc, the task at hand to prepare them was considerable. Not only did Jesus have to prepare them for His death but He also had to forewarn them of what they themselves could expect to encounter and the benefits of His departure. I find it interesting how Jesus mixed some of each aspect into this verbal narrative He gave them, as recounted by the Apostle John. Let’s continue.

And from the “why” or “because” Jesus switches to some of the particulars such as they will ban them from the synagogue, which is basically excommunication, that included both economic (members of the synagogue were forbidden to buy or sell food or clothing items to them) as well as religious implications. And Jesus forewarns them that there will come a time in the future when those who kill them will think that they are offering a service to God. And of course we see this happening when Stephen was killed in Acts 7:54-60 where Saul (Paul) was in attendance.

John 16:4-6 NASB reads as follows: “But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. However, I did not say these things to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, grief has filled your heart.” (Emphasis is mine) Notice that Jesus is approaching His own hour but now He is addressing their hour to come.

Notice the initial “so that” in verse 4. “… so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” And then Jesus explains why He did not tell them about this previously or during the beginning of His ministry but has waited until now. And the reason Jesus gives them is that He was with them then but now He will soon be leaving them. And because they do (partially) understand what He is saying, they are saddened or grief has filled their hearts.

John 16:7-11 NASB reads as follows: “But I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment: regarding sin, because they do not believe in Me; and regarding righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you no longer are going to see Me; and regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (Emphasis is mine)

The source of the following information is from and I am placing it here because it is vitally important to understand what is about to take place. The previous norm is about to change.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was given selectively and temporarily to indwell certainly individuals for special ministries. It was not universal nor was it permanent. David’s words in Psalm 51:11 make sense in light of 1 Samuel 10:5-13, where the Spirit came mightily upon Saul, enabling him to serve as King of Israel. We know from 1 Samuel 16:14 and 18:10 that the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, and was replaced by an “evil spirit” sent by God. God was taking away Saul’s kingdom, and so too the Spirit that empowered him as king. The Spirit then came upon David (1 Samuel 16:13). We can see, then, why David would be concerned about the Spirit leaving him, as the Spirit departed from Saul. God did not take the kingdom from David, nor His Spirit.

Christ explained the difference in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14:17 when He told the disciples, “but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” The change in prepositions (“with” and “in”) and tense (present versus future) suggests a difference in the ministry of the Spirit in Old Testament times (Pentecost had not yet occurred and the church had not yet begun when the Lord spoke these words) and New Testament times when the Spirit came to indwell all believers permanently. If you note, in John 14:16, Christ said, in relation to the Spirit, “that He may be with you forever.” Then in Ephesians 4:30, Paul exhorts believers, “grieve not the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for [until] the day of redemption.” The Holy Spirit is not the one doing the sealing, but the He is the seal. God the Father is the one who seals us with the Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 1:21-22) and Paul teaches us this is “unto the day of redemption.” We are assured that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), by whom we have been baptized (1 Corinthians 12:13). We are also assured, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5—interestingly a citation of Deuteronomy 31:6 and Joshua 1:5). Christians may quench the Spirit and grieve the Spirit, but so far as I understand it, the Spirit never departs from us in the sense that He did Saul, and in the sense that David mentioned in Psalm 51:11.

With this significant insight in mind, we can appreciate to a greater extent, what Jesus says in John 16:7-11. In particular where Jesus explains the functions of God’s Holy Spirit where it involves conviction and witnessing, as it pertains to His disciples.

Jesus explains the benefits of His departure. I am aware that some of the verses go beyond what this particular post covers but I did want to include them here, at the beginning of where Jesus explains the benefits of His departure.

(1) When Jesus leaves, believers would have the provision of the Holy Spirit (verses 7-15)
(2) The potential of full joy (verses 16-24)
(3) The possibility of fuller knowledge (verses 25-28)
(4) The privilege of peace (verses 29-33)

Notice also what Jesus identifies that God’s Holy Spirit will convict the world about:

(1) sin, the true nature of sin and the need for a Saviour, because they do not believe in Jesus and His message;

(2) righteousness, (personal integrity and godly character), which is only found in Jesus (God) Himself, who is now returning to the Father and they will no longer see Him;

(3) judgement, wherein the certainty of it is solidified by the fact that the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.

And the death of Jesus, wherein the reality of what sin brings about, is now conquered or defeated by the righteousness of God Himself, paying the full price for our sins, and thereby freeing or redeeming us from its penalty, by giving us His own righteousness and His resurrection, which is the demonstration of the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life given by God the Father, for those who have faith and trust in Jesus, being the firstborn of many brothers and sisters through faith.

More to follow.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


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