A study in John 16

Sam Taufeek, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [SEE PROFILE BELOW]

Precious Seed

Since the time sin entered this world a new ‘order’ started. There would be no conception without sorrow and no birth without pain. Before man could enjoy food on his table his face would need to sweat and in sorrow he would eat. Pain became the gate to benefit. This gate is usually dark, fearful, and hard to see through. Shortly before going to the cross, the Lord Jesus wanted to encourage the disciples. In John chapter 16, He addressed His coming suffering and death, but like never before, for the cross was very near. 

In Matthew chapter 16 verse 21 we read, ‘From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day’. The gate to the glorious resurrection was a gate of the greatest pain. It seems that the only words that rang in Peter’s ears were ‘suffer many things’ and ‘be killed’; his reaction indicates that the latter part of the Lord’s speech, ‘and be raised again the third day’, meant very little to him.

We are exhorted in Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2 to look unto the Lord Jesus, as our perfect Example, to be able to run with patience the race that is set before us, for He could see the joy that was set before him, even through the pain and darkness of the cross.

In a brief study of John chapter 16 we might divide it into two main parts. The first is to focus on the Lord’s explanation of the necessity of the coming pain and how to face it, and the second is in regards to the promised glories to follow.

  1. The information He was going to share with them in this chapter was vital for their faith and endurance during this coming period and thereafter, John 16. 1, 4, 25, 33.
  2. It would be of greater benefit for them to enquire of Him for an explanation, rather than to succumb to heavy sorrow. In His love and patience He would explain what was coming regardless of their limitations, vv. 5-6.
  3. Parables are not suitable for this solemn situation, but rather straight talk, v. 25.
  4. His departure was in their best interests, although they could not see this, or even have any desire to find it out, v. 7.
  5. He understood and appreciated their difficulties as a com-passionate shepherd, vv. 12, 20, 22.
  6. He gave them a practical example of the feared pain of delivery that separates between temporal, limited joy, and much greater joy to come, v. 21.
  7. When the Lord was with the disciples in the flesh they were fully dependent on Him to fill all their needs. Still, that was not the best set up the loving Father had in His grace for them, v. 4.

Now let us examine the comparison the Lord Jesus made between the blessings they had during His ministry in the flesh and the blessings His death and resurrection would bring.

  1. They would gain new knowledge and appreciation of the love of the Father, v. 27.
  2. They would be ready to receive and broadcast the living word of God without any limitations of the human mind, vv. 12, 13.
  3. They would know the secret of overcoming the world, v. 33.
  4. Sight would be replaced by faith, v. 26.
  5. Circumstantial happiness would be replaced by eternal joy, v. 22.
  6. They would receive the power of the Holy Spirit and the world would be convicted and ready for the message of salvation, vv. 7-11.
  7. They would have peace in Him, regardless of tribulations and circumstances, v. 33.
  8. All the resources of the Heavenly Father would be made available to them in His name, vv. 15, 23.
  9. They would learn how to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ beyond the limitations of the flesh, v. 14.
  10. They would never deny the risen Lord again, vv. 31, 32.
  11. In general, they would understand the perfect plan of God in regards to their salvation.

Later, Peter would explain to us in his First Epistle about the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.

My dear brother or sister in Christ, you may be facing a painful situation and your mind may be clouded with many questions. I pray that the Holy Spirit would use the simple thoughts above to encourage you. The empty tomb confirms beyond doubt that God is always in control. All pain is part of His perfect plan, as it was on the cross. You might not understand this now, but you can be assured that you will understand later on, and will then be fully satisfied through His love and grace. 

AUTHOR PROFILE: SAM TAUFEEK is an elder and Sunday school teacher at the Eglinton Avenue Gospel Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.