John 15:26-16:11


Note that we have included 16:1-4a. These verses should not be excluded. In 15:18-24 Jesus made a sharp distinction between the unbelieving world and believers. Six times the word "hate" occurs. The world hates Christ and His believers. Christians must not delude themselves but be ready for and face this hatred of the world. In fact, it was prophesied, verse 25.

In David's day, in Christ's day, in all generations, the world's irrational foundationless hatred for Christ is directed at Christians. These thoughts are repeated in 16:1-4. The Christian does not live in a world that is friendly toward, or even tolerant of, Christ and the Truth. Forewarned is forearmed.

And that is precisely why Pentecost took place; to comfort God's children and to make them cheerful and courageous in a world which utterly loathes Christ and the Truth.

John 15:26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

Plainly refers to Pentecost and we are still living in it.

"Counselor" can be translated "Comforter," "Advocate," "The one who comfortingly stands beside us at all thing, giving us all that we need. Note that it is articular; He is THE Comforter.

The work of the entire Trinity is referred to here. Jesus prayed the Father and the Father sent the Spirit. The Trinity is the saving God. Incomprehensible to us is the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son. However, that is what the verse says. That the Spirit, from eternity, proceeds also from the Son, is taught in such passages as Romans 8:9; Philippians 1:19; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 4:6; Revelation 22:1, etc.

The verse tells us what kind of Spirit He is. He gives us absolute, saving Truth. He alone. His whole work and endeavor is to witness to Christ. Any teaching about the Spirit which does not center in the Person, Word, and work of Jesus is not Truth but a delusion.

John 15:27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

In verse 26 the Spirit is emphatically stated. Here "you" is emphatically stated. "You will bear witness," might be a better translation. The Holy Spirit and the disciples are fellow-testifiers, the former by virtue of being sent, the latter by virtue of personal experience. Both tell the Truth about Jesus. That cannot be emphasized strongly enough in our day. Nothing more is needed.

John 16:1 "All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.

"All this" refers to 15:18-25, the hatred of the world for Christ and believers. Jesus is referring here to all the lasting familiar talk between Him and His disciples.

"Go astray" is also translated as "offended," "from falling away," "the breakdown of your faith," "Not caught unawares." The whole book of Acts attests to what Jesus says in these four verses.

John 16:2 They 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.

The world will actually excommunicate Christians, but it is a false excommunication. This is Jewish fanaticism at its height.

Lenski: (Quoting Rabbi Bannidbar Rabba) Everyone who sheds the blood of the reprobate is equal to the man who performs a sacrifice.

So deluded was Saul before his conversion that he actually thought he was serving God by persecuting Christians.

John 16:3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

Ignorance of Son is ignorance of Father. Think about 15:18-25 again.

Lenski: This is not said to excuse but to reveal their guilt.

John 16:4 I 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.

When these things happened later, Jesus' words of prediction actually increased their faith in Him. He is not merely speaking of prediction, but of Jesus' prediction.

Kretzmann: What Jesus has told His disciples will serve both as a warning and as a consolation.

Jesus told the disciples these things from the beginning of His ministry. During Jesus' ministry the hatred of the enemies was directly only at Him. There was no need to tell the disciples about that, they saw it. But now that He would leave, the hatred toward Christ would be directed at the disciples. Look at 15:19. So it will be with us. We are forewarned.

John 16:5 "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'

Lenski: When saying that he is returning to his Sender, Jesus makes a basic statement, one that governs all that follows in this chapter.
Luther: We have now often heard what it means 'to go to the Father'; which indeed is not a common expression, such as men usually employ and as they generally understand it, but is the language of the Lord Christ and His Christians. That Christ went forth from, or was sent by, the Father means nothing else than that He, the true Son of God from eternity, became a true man, and revealed Himself on earth in human nature, essence, and form, permitted Himself to be seen, heard, and felt, ate, drank, slept, worked, suffered, and died, like any other person. Again, that He goes to the Father, that means that He will be glorified by His resurrection from the dead, that He sits at the right hand of God and reigns with Him in eternity, as eternal, almighty God. For by His coming down or going from the Father He revealed and proved Himself a true, natural man; but by His return to the Father He declares Himself to be true, eternal God and man, and should be thus known and believed.

On this expression look at 14:12; 16:5, 10, 17, 28.

Jesus is not contradicting 13:36 and 14:5. Jesus means that, for the moment, the disciples are insensible to His true mission.

John 16:6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.

"Because" means "however." They should have been happy. However, they were not. They were obsessed by this grief.

John 16:7 But 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.

Here "but" means "nevertheless" or "be that as it may." Jesus is the origin of THE Truth which is that His going away (suffering, death, resurrection, ascension) is to their advantage, an understatement.

The Spirit cannot and will not attest to the great redemption of Jesus until the latter has completed it. Pentecost must be preceded by Calvary and the open tomb. Look at Romans 4:25.

Jesus carefully and patiently explains in detail. This is the purest Gospel.

John 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:

Ylvisaker: But this Comforter shall have a twofold task when He comes, one in relation to the world (8-11) and the other in His attitude to the believers (12-15).

Verses 8-11 refer to ALL men as in John 3:16. Verses 12-15 are spoken specifically to believers.

John 16:9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;

John 16:10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;

John 16:11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

The sin of sins is to reject the person, Word, and work of Jesus Christ. Unbelief is the mother of sins. Where that sin prevails there is no hope. Where there is repentance of that sin there is nothing but hope.

Jesus speaks of the forensic righteousness of God in Christ for all men attained by His going to the Father. Look at Romans 4:25.

The greatest judgment of all is the defeat of Satan. Note 12:31.

The testimony and work of the Holy Spirit, for all men, centers in these three items. The first involves the Law, the second and third the Gospel. If this testimony be constantly rejected, obduracy sets in.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (Beck)


Adapted from Exegetical Notes, Series C Luke-John, Festival Season Sundays Gospel Texts, by Harold H. Buls, Concordia Theological Seminary Press: Ft Wayne IN, 1979, pp. 80-82. Used with permission.

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