Text: John 15.26-16.33 (Read it here.)
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.
(John 16.33, NIV)
Help for Our Struggles as We Live in the World
Author: Charles Stephenson
This section begins with a repeat of the promise stated in John 14:26 (ESV). The Helper, which is the Spirit, was to be sent when Jesus left his disciples to return to his Father. John 15:26-27 (ESV) states that the Spirit will bear witness about Jesus along with the witness of Jesus’s disciples. In our study of Acts in our adult Bible classes we saw that Peter stated (Acts 5:32), “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Peter’s statement indicates the fulling of that promise given in John 14 and 15. He also stated the Spirit, our Helper, is given to all those who obey God. As God’s obedient kingdom people we have the Helper sent from the Father by Jesus, the risen Christ.
We should note the Greek word translated Helper is translated as advocate when referring to the enthroned Jesus (1 John 2:1, ESV). Jesus referred to the Spirit as another Helper sent to those who love and obey him (John 14:16, ESV). The Spirit is our helper like Jesus was when he was on earth. John 16 contains warnings from Jesus about how the Jews and the world would treat his disciples when he went away. He forewarned the disciples so they would not be caught off guard when these things happened.
Jesus not only forewarned his disciples he sent them a helper like himself, the Spirit of Truth. The fact that Jesus was leaving them did make them sad. They did not understand what was happening. Jesus said to them when they were filled with sorrow, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
And, what help the Helper offers! He comes to convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. What help this is for our witness about the power of God in Christ! Those early disciples were struggling to understand what they witnessed happening in Jesus Christ. The Spirit led them to the truth, the good news. THE truth that they preached, taught, and wrote, which is still available to us in the record of what they preached, taught, and wrote, the Bible. (John 14:1-7, Jesus, the only way to God) Compare John 5:19-20 where Jesus spoke of how he received this knowledge from God with John 16:12-15 where he spoke of how the Spirit received his knowledge from Jesus, which is from God.
Look at what Jesus said in John 14:13-17: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” In these words, Jesus said to ask him for anything in his name. Then, he said he would ask God for the disciples needs.
Now, note what Jesus said in John 16:23-24: “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Jesus continues in John16:26-28: “In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” In these words, Jesus said to ask for anything in his name. Then, he said he would not ask God for the disciples needs. Jesus stated that the Father loves us because we have loved Jesus, the one who came from God the Father.
Jesus and the Father know that we have struggles in our world because the world does not believe in Jesus as the One who came from God and returned to God where he remains in glory until his return in glory. Knowing that, they have offered us great help: the presence of the Helper in our lives and a close loving relationship with our Father. In Christ, we can go directly to our Father who loves us!
What are the kinds of struggles mentioned by Jesus in John 16?
Where do you see these struggles in the world around us?
What are the implications for understanding Jesus and the Spirit when you know that they can both be called helper, advocate, counselor, and comforter?
What is implied about the Spirit in the lives of Christians and the life of the church when Jesus said that it is to our benefit that he returned to be with God?
What are the implications of the prayer life Jesus described for us? Do you want that prayer life? How can you have such a prayer life?