Empty Cross Ministries
The Gospel of John Chapter Sixteen
John 16:15 “All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
We see in this verse, the fact that the Father and the Son have joint ownership and creatorship. Jesus is showing the harmony of Spirit and intent of He and the Father. He shows the Godhead. We see in this the working of the Godhead.
In a sense Jesus sends the Holy Spirit; in another sense, the Holy Spirit comes. The wishes of Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same. Jesus was sent of God, but came to lay His own life down; no one took His life, He gave it.
Verses 16-19: Jesus was referring to His ascension (“Ye shall not see me”), and the coming of the Holy Spirit (“You shall see Me”), emphatically claiming that the Spirit and He are one (Romans 8:9; Philippians 1:19; 1 Peter 1:11; Rev. 19:10). Christ dwells in believers through the Holy Spirit, in that sense they see Him.
John 16:16 “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.”
Jesus is first speaking here of the three days between the crucifixion and the resurrection of His body. Then He will walk with, and be seen of, the disciples for forty days, before His return to the right hand of the Father.
John 16:17 “Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, and, Because I go to the Father?”
You see, these followers of Jesus did not even then realize what Jesus was about to do for all mankind. They are whispering among themselves, afraid to ask Him outright what this meant. Of course, He is speaking of the death of His body on the cross and the resurrection of that body on the third day.
Then Jesus will be seen a short time and go away again into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. This will not be a separation forever. Actually, Jesus is present even now with every believer, because the Spirit of the risen Christ dwells in the believers.
John 16:18 “They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.”
This is understandable, in that they really do not know the details of what is to happen.
John 16:19 “Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?”
You can easily see from this, that Jesus is very concerned about how this is affecting these disciples. He knows their very thoughts. He is always tenderly teaching them of His ways.
John 16:20 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
The very event that made the hateful realm of mankind (world”) rejoice and cause grief to Jesus’ disciples, will be the same event that will lead to the world’s sorrow and the believer’s joy.
The reason Jesus did not specifically tell them the details is so they could look back at this and realize that Jesus is speaking prophetically to them.
Jesus wants them to experience the death of His body, His resurrection, and then His glorious return to the Father in heaven. Their sorrow must be real, so they can experience the overwhelming joy of His resurrection.
The disciples would soon realize the marvelous nature of God’s gift of salvation and the Spirit through what He accomplished, and the blessing of answered prayer (verse 24). Acts records the coming of the Holy Spirit and the power and joy (Acts 2:4-47; 13:52), of the early church.
John 16:21 “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.”
Jesus uses an example here that everyone will understand. There is pain involved in the birth of a child, but all mothers soon forget the pain when they see the baby.
The crucifixion of Jesus is much the same. There was great pain to His flesh when they nailed Him to the cross. His suffering on the cross brought everlasting life for all who would accept Him as their Savior.
The baptism of suffering is a step on the way to everlasting life.
2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
You see, there is always a certain amount of pain on the way to life. Jesus is just explaining that the suffering is nothing compared to the joy that will follow.
John 16:22 “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
This joy that comes when Jesus is resurrected is a joy that shall never end. This joy is not or just that generation of people, but for people for all ages to come. The joy felt by these disciples in Jesus’ time is felt by everyone who receives the Lord as Savior throughout the ages.
After the resurrection, Jesus did see His disciples (20:19-29; 21:1-23; 1 Cor. 15:8). Beyond that brief time of personal fellowship (Acts 1:1-3), He would be with them permanently in His Spirit.
The Old Testament makes us all feel guilty of sin, and the only relief from this guilt is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 16:23 “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.”
This is a reference to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and sorrow turned to joy. This is a reference also to the “last days” which were inaugurated after His resurrection and the Spirit’s coming. After His departure and the Sending of the Spirit, believers will no longer ask Him since He is not present. Instead, they will ask the Father in His name.
The “in that day” means from the first resurrection morning to the end of time. Jesus is teaching them here the manner in which to pray to get results. Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and God the Father will give you whatever you ask for.
Notice the verily, verily? Those two words together tell us that the statement is absolute. It will happen.
John 16:24 “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
In this case, the believer’s joy will be related to answered prayer and a full supply of heavenly blessing for everything consistent with the purpose of the Lord in one’s life.
Their prayers, as long as they were with Jesus, had not been spoken in His name. After Jesus rises from the tomb, and goes to sit at the right hand of the Father, they are to ask in Jesus’ name.
1 John 2:1 we read “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” Jesus is on our side. He pleads our case with the Father.
Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Jesus enjoys doing things for us that will bring joy to us.
John 16:25 “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.”
The “proverbs” were indicating a “figurative” language. Meaning the word means “veiled, pointed statement” that is pregnant with meaning, i.e., something that is obscure. What seemed hard to understand for the disciples during the life of Jesus would become clear after His death, resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
They would actually understand the ministry of Christ better than they had while they were with Him, as the Spirit inspired them to write the gospels and epistles and ministered in and through them.
The parables were given so that worldly people could not understand with their natural mind. Parables are understood with the spirit of man. The Holy Spirit reveals to the believers what is to be learned in the Parable. God wants our heart and not our mind.
The Spirit of the risen Christ dwells within the Christian. This is what opens our understanding to the Father and the Son.
Verses 26-28 “I say not”. Christ was clarifying what He meant by praying in His name. He did not mean asking Him to ask the Father, as if the Father was indifferent to believers, but not to His Son. On the contrary, the Father loves Christ’s own. In fact, the Father sent the Son to redeem them and then return. Asking in Jesus’ name means simply asking based on His merit, His righteousness and for whatever would honor and glorify Him so as to build His kingdom.
John 16:26 “At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:”
There is no greater name than the name of Jesus.
Philippians 2:10-11 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Whatever we ask for in the name of Jesus, will be done if it is in the Father’s will.
John 16:27 “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”
This is a tremendously powerful statement showing that one must believe that Jesus was sent by God the Father to redeem this fallen world.
God the Father’s love for mankind shows the greatest love that has ever been known.
In Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
We did not deserve His love, but He loved us anyway.
1 John 4:9-10 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Propitiation means atonement. In other words, Jesus paid our debt for us. He died, so we might live.
John 16:28 “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”
Jesus’ Spirit is eternal. He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He was the Word of God in heaven (John 1:1). He took on the form of flesh and became Jesus (the Savior), for His stay on earth.
The Holy Spirit of God hovered over Mary, and she conceived by the Spirit of God. The flesh was only a house to live in while Jesus was on the earth. The Spirit went back to heaven in a new spiritual body.
You may read the difference in the natural body and the spiritual body (in 1 Corinthians chapter 15; beginning with verse 40 and going through to verse 50).
Jesus is even now sitting at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.
John 16:29 “His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.”
This plain speech (of verse 28), they understood. Now the disciples are asking that Jesus speak to them plainly so that they will be able to understand.
John 16:30 “Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.”
The wisdom of Jesus has thoroughly convinced them that He was much more than man. Their understanding has been opened that this is actually Messiah standing before them. They know that Jesus is God the Word, God the Son.
John 16:31 “Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?”
Jesus knows that the statement they have made here is not under pressure. He knows that their faith will be sorely tried when He is crucified. They will not be able, at the time it is happening, to believe that Jesus being nailed to the cross could be any kind of victory.
John 16:32 “Behold, 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, because the Father is with me.”
Jesus is speaking prophetically of when the authorities take Him. The disciples scatter for fear of their lives. Peter follows a way, but denies Jesus three times. The only specific mention of any of them with Him at the cross is John, Mary (His mother), and some of the women.
At one point Jesus, will even cry out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”. The Father really has not forsaken Him. Jesus dismisses His Spirit and commands it to go to the Father.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
When we did (14:27), this is what was written to describe peace: The word peace reflects the Hebrew “Shalom,” which became a greeting to His disciples after the resurrection (20:19-26).
At the individual level this peace, unknown to the unsaved, secures composure in difficult trouble (verse 1; dissolves fear, Phil. 4:7); and rules in the hearts of God’s people to maintain harmony (Col. 3:15). The greatest reality of this peace will be in the messianic kingdom.
The word “tribulation” often refers to eschatological woes and to persecution of believers because of their testimony for Christ.
The word “overcome” means the fundamental ground for endurance in persecution is the victory of Jesus over the world. Through His impending death, He rendered the world’s opposition null and void. While the world continues to attack His people, such attacks fall harmlessly, for Christ’s victory has already accomplished a smashing defeat of the whole evil rebellious system.
Jesus, in this sentence above, is telling the disciples of that day and His followers today, as well, that we are not to be discouraged when trials come. Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus won the battle. Victory is ours, because He paid the price for us.
A person who knows he will spend all of eternity in heaven with Jesus should have the perfect peace of God. These little minor problems we have in the flesh are nothing compared to all of eternity we will reign with our King Jesus. We enjoy the pleasures of the victory that Jesus has won for all of us.
John Chapter 16 Continued
1. All things that the Father has are ____________________________.
2. In verse 16, what does Jesus mean by a little while, and ye shall not see me?
3. What question were the disciples asking each other?
4. What was He trying to convey to them in verse 17?
5. In verse 19, we see that Jesus even knows what our ____________ are.
6. When the world is rejoicing, what will the disciples be doing?
7. What will their sorrow be turned into?
8. Why does a woman in travail have sorrow?
9. What does she forget as soon as the child is born?
10. When they nailed Jesus to the cross, did He suffer pain?
11. In 2 Timothy 3:12, we find that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus ____ _____.
12. Who will be able to take their joy away?
13. Who do you pray to?
14. What name must you use for God to answer?
15. What does Verily, verily show us?
16. “…ask, and ye shall receive, that your _____________ may be ________________.”
17. In 1 John 2:1, who is our advocate with the Father?
18. Hebrews 7:25, says who is our intercessor?
19. How had Jesus spoken to them in the past?
20. How would He now speak to them?
21. Who prays to the Father for us?
22. Why does the Father love us?
23. In 1 John 4:9, how did God show His love for us?
24. What does propitiation mean?
25. Whom had Jesus come from?
26. Name two sets of names Jesus is known by that shows His eternity?
27. Where do we find the Scriptures that explain the difference in a natural body and a spiritual body?
28. In verse 30, the disciples said they now understood what about Jesus?
29. What does Jesus prophecy will happen to them when He is captured and crucified?
30. Who will be with Jesus to the end?
31. In the world ye shall have __________________________.
32. Jesus says be of good cheer: I have overcome the ______________.