John 16:1-3 (NIV) 1 “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 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. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.
On verses 1-3: John was probably writing this Gospel at a time when the Church, i.e. Christians everywhere, had already experienced a great deal of persecution. To comfort and reassure his fellow brothers and sisters, John recalls what Jesus said to him and the other disciples about not being surprised when they face severe persecution. Jesus tells them not to be surprised if their persecutors even think that destroying Christians is the right, noble, God-pleasing thing to do. Jesus tells his disciples that the reason an unbelieving persecute Christians is because they actually do not know God the Father or Jesus the Son.
What can we learn from this? As a Christian don’t be surprised when you face persecution for your faith. Remember also that when a person does not know Jesus or the Father, they will tend to misunderstand what it is that God wants them to do. That is why having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Father is so crucial.
John 16:4 (NIV) 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.
On verse 4: At the beginning when Jesus first led his disciples, there were certain things he didn’t need to say to his disciples because he was with his disciples and could personally protect them. But now that Jesus was going away to the Father, Jesus is preparing his disciples for his departure. As part of this Jesus introduces his disciples to a most important Person who will protect them and guide them when Jesus is no longer with them: the Holy Spirit.
John 16:5-7 (NIV) 5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 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.
On verses 5-7: The disciples are understandably sad that Jesus is going away, but Jesus encourages them to choose an attitude of gratitude and to count their blessings. One of the great blessings the disciples got to enjoy is that Jesus’ departure meant that now the disciples had the opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit working in and through their lives. It’s a reminder that in every difficult circumstance, there are blessings to be thankful for and opportunities to capitalize on.
John 16:8 (NIV) 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
On verse 8: Here Jesus describes an important function that the Holy Spirit would fulfill: he would convict the world in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. Let’s take a look below at what each of these means.
John 16:9 (NIV) 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
On verse 9: The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, meaning he shows us where we have gone astray and broken God’s commands. Sin at its core is not believing Jesus and not trusting Jesus’ Word — “because men do not believe in me”. Sin is putting our trust in ourselves instead of in Jesus. Because sin separates us from God, the Bible describes God as on a mission to rescue sinners like us, to bring us back to Himself. The Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in God’s mission to rescue us.
John 16:10 (NIV) 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;
On verse 10: The Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness. Jesus is righteousness, the one who meets all of God’s requirements. In other words, the Holy Spirit convinces us about who Jesus is, that He is righteous, blameless and holy, and that we need Jesus if we ourselves want to be righteous. The Holy Spirit does this work of convicting us about Jesus, since Jesus himself is now with the Father in heaven where we cannot see him.
John 16:11 (NIV) 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
On verse 11: The Holy Spirit convicts us of judgment, meaning that the Holy Spirit leads us to the belief that God is just and victorious while Satan (“the prince of this world”) is defeated and condemned. If Jesus had not yet gone to the cross and had not yet resurrected, how could Jesus consider Satan to be already condemned? It is because Jesus saw his soon coming betrayal, death and resurrection as a sure thing. Thus in Jesus’ mind Satan’s defeat and condemnation were a done deal. May we have a similar attitude toward the challenges we face. May we speak to that challenge in front of us and say with faith “it’s already defeated”. Believe that God will work out that tough situation and help you overcome that challenge in just a matter of time.
Holy Spirit, thank You for being the One who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment. Thank You that in the most difficult challenges I face, You are with me as my protector, my guide and my best friend. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!