Gracefully Truthful

Digging Deeper,Genuine,God,Holy Spirit,Hope,Jesus,Love,Relationship

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

John 16:5-15

5 But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.

The Original Intent

1) What does Jesus’ statement in verse 5 imply at first reading?

At first reading, it appears Jesus is bothered that His disciples have not questioned Him about His departure. Had they ignored His previous mentions of going away? Since the Bible indicates they had previously asked Jesus about His departure, it seems Jesus was making another point to them about His leaving.

In John 13:36 and John 14:5, Peter and Thomas inquire about where Jesus is going. On both occasions, there is much evidence that the disciples are asking from concern for themselves. What will happen to them when Jesus goes?

In all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we read the subtle, and not-so-subtle, predictions by Jesus regarding His future death and resurrection. Even though they heard His words, the disciples were either confused, in denial, or afraid to question Him further. (Mark 9:32) Maybe, like any human who has grown to depend on someone, they didn’t really want to consider what life would be like without the presence of their beloved Jesus.

Their responses, coupled with the fact that Jesus knew their heart motives (John 2:24-25), likely revealed their self-interest only. In this passage, Jesus prods them to consider something beyond themselves. Why had they not considered what would happen to Him when He goes? Though He does not give an answer concerning where He is going, He assures them He will not leave them alone.

The Everyday Application

1) What does Jesus’ statement in verse 5 imply at first reading?

Jesus resumes the conversation He had previously begun about His departure. (John 7:28-36) Though the disciples had heard it before, this time seems different. More real.

Christ’s time was pending! Can you imagine the scene? You have walked by the side of your cherished mentor for three years and have learned so much. Yet, you know there is infinitely more to learn! You can’t imagine anyone teaching you like them.

When someone we share life with must go from our lives, in our own humanity we feel the sting for ourselves at first. We can relate to the disciples’ pain and sorrow. In our own frailty, we don’t consider asking questions related to their next journey. We simply know it hurts that they are leaving.

Here is where we must remind ourselves to think like Jesus, who did “nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider(ed) others as more important… Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Jesus knew His friends were suffering. We can learn from His experience, to ask our kind Father to teach us how to demonstrate selfless concern for those who may need to pass from our lives.

The Original Intent

2) How does Jesus know the disciples’ hearts are filled with sorrow? (verse 6)

Jesus said some extremely hard things as He walked with His followers along the Sea of Galilee and surrounding areas. The crowds loved His miracles of healing, but some of His teachings were challenging to hear and some were difficult to understand.

Jesus once said to those around Him, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.” (John 6:53) Who wouldn’t be confused?!

John tells us in John 6:66 that many people left at that point, and no longer followed Jesus. When He turned to question the Twelve (Matthew 10:2-4), Peter spoke up and said sincerely, “You’re all we have. We believe in You. Where would we go?” (John 6:68-69)

There is such insight to be gained in this scene. The relationship between Jesus and His chosen disciples was intimate and genuine. They had seen more in three years with Jesus than some would experience in a lifetime. (John 21:24-25) Even when they did not fully understand what He was teaching or showing them, they had grown to trust Him and believe He was truly the way to LIFE!

When Jesus spoke about His leaving, He knew their hearts were concerned and sorrowful. He knew them well. He had seen their confusion and fears through His years of ministry. (Mark 4:35-41Matthew 14:22-32) He knew they would be fearful of facing the future without His physical presence to guide them.

The Everyday Application

2) How does Jesus know the disciples’ hearts are filled with sorrow? (verse 6)

Jesus showed mercy to His disciples despite their lack of interest in His future. Knowing their great sorrow, He did not dwell on their misguided, self-focused concern.

Friends, what a precious Savior we have! The disciples could only see the sorrow in His leaving them. Yet, Jesus knew His departure was essential for them to become dependent on God for saving and sustaining grace by His Spirit.

The disciples’ sorrow represents the sentiment we often have when a loved one who has trusted Jesus is dying. We may tell family and friends it will be better for them to go with Jesus, and we are comforted for the soon-coming relief from current suffering on earth. We know they will be with Jesus! But in these times of grief, we rarely consider it to our benefit that their presence will no longer be with us.

The disciples were a bunch of human fellas standing with their fearless leader, the Coach of a lifetime, Who had revealed Himself as the very Son of God. Even though much of what they had witnessed was beyond their understanding, they knew they had been in the presence of the Messiah. (Matthew 16:15-20)

Oh Sister, there was nothing in them that felt like celebrating. But Jesus knew more. Jesus knew better.

The Original Intent

3) What hopeful words does Jesus share with His disciples when He tells them He is going away? (verse 7)

The disciples could not comprehend how Jesus’ departure could possibly benefit them. (Other translations use words like “advantage”, “expedient,” “better” and even “best”.) Again, Jesus’ words fell on confused hearts. They had never met anyone like the Master, Jesus. Surely, they felt the deep and painful sting of separation at this point. “It is for your benefit that I go away …” (verse 7)

Maybe Peter remembered his own words to Jesus on the day He had asked them if they were leaving too, like those who had decided it was too costly to follow Jesus. Perhaps he considered the same question now. “To whom would they go without Jesus?”

But Jesus did not want them to fret. “If I go, I will send Him to you,” He said. Jesus had never reneged on a promise He’d made. They confidently knew He was faithful and true.

Still, this felt so different. Jesus must have seen this anxiety in their eyes and on their faces. So, He highlighted His words in verse 7 with “I am telling you the truth.” Although the coming of the Counselor was beneficial, it wasn’t necessary for Him to come until Jesus left. He wanted them to believe that the benefits of Him leaving and the Counselor coming would far outweigh what they could ever imagine.

The Everyday Application

3) What hopeful words does Jesus share with His disciples when He tells them He is going away? (verse 7)

Some of us may have experienced our parents using a phrase when they disciplined us. “It’s for your own good.” Maybe you even used it with your own kids. Thankfully, there has been some wisdom passed down through the years of parenting suggesting better ways to guide our kids in realizing the benefits of boundaries and consequences. Still, we all know the four words “it’s for your good” aren’t always easy to take.

Knowing Jesus as I have come to know Him (from His Word), I think He probably said this as gently as possible. But it is probable that the only words the disciples heard ringing in their ears were “I am going away.” (verse 5) Jesus was focused on His words “for your benefit.” (verse 7) David Guzik gives such insight into their humanity as he imagines the disciples’ dismay if they were to really understand all that was to come. 

To our benefit that Jesus is arrested? To our benefit that Jesus’ ministry of teaching and miracles is stopped? To our benefit that Jesus is beaten? To our benefit that Jesus is mocked? To our benefit that Jesus is sentenced for execution? To our benefit that Jesus is nailed to a cross? To our benefit that Jesus dies in the company of notorious criminals? To our benefit that His lifeless body is laid in a cold grave? (Enduring Word John 16)

Jesus gives to His sorrowing disciples, and to all who know Him, a resounding YES! It is better. “The Spirit inside of us is greater than even Jesus beside us.” (Jesus Continued by JD Greear)

The Original Intent

4) What did Jesus teach the disciples in verses 8-15 about the coming Counselor and His work in the world?

In John 14:26, we discover the Counselor (paraclete) is God, the Holy Spirit. Bible scholars tells us that finding an appropriate English translation for the Greek word (paraklētos) is quite difficult because no single English word conveys its depth of meaning. (Netbible.John14.37)

When the word paraclete is used of Jesus in 1 John 2:1, translations almost exclusively use the word “advocate.” Jesus and the Father and the Spirit work together on our behalf.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus had guided His disciples to think rightly about God. He had protected them through miracles, shared with them the very thoughts of God toward sin, and had demonstrated courage when faced with opposition. Now He assures them that the Comforter, the very Spirit of God, will always be with them rather than Christ’s own limited physical presence.

Although verse 8 does not begin with a positive spin (the New English Translation says that “when He comes, He will prove the world wrong”), these ARE words of hope. We read in Luke about a tax collector named Zacchaeus who gained his wealth on the backs of his fellow Jews. Jesus told Zacchaeus that the very reason He came was to rescue people just like him. (Luke 19:1-10)

Even though the Pharisees looked upon Jesus’ loving rescue with deep disgust (Luke 15:2), we know Jesus came to earth to rescue tax collectors and pious religious leaders. (Luke 19:39-44)

The benefit of the Spirit’s presence is that He carries on Jesus’ message of truth and mercy in and through the lives of every believer! (verses 12-13) No one must climb a tree to get to Jesus. Through the work of the Spirit of God, hearts are convicted about “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (verse 8) so that no one needs to die without knowing the grace of Jesus. (2 Peter 3:91 Timothy 2:3-42 Corinthians 5:20-21)

The Everyday Application

4) What did Jesus teach the disciples in verses 8-15 about the coming Counselor and His work in the world?

In answering this question regarding the passage’s original intent, I said “the benefit of the Spirit’s presence is that He carries on Jesus’ message of truth and mercy in and through the lives of every believer.” Jesus told His disciples that the Spirit knows what the Father thinks and will reveal it to His followers. (John 16:13) But it is essential to take this truth in the context of John’s book, the New Testament, and all of Scripture.

In no way was Jesus saying or implying that our salvation makes us all-knowing. Nor are we to conclude that we can have a word from God that is incompatible with Scripture. The Spirit teaches us everything we need to know about how to be saved and how to live for God. He does so through the Spirit-inspired words of the Bible’s writers. (2 Peter 1)

When Zacchaeus took Jesus into His home he was convicted to turn from his wrong ways. (Luke 19:1-10) “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord. And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much.” Jesus told him, “Today salvation has come to this house.” 

After Jesus ascended to the Father, and the Spirit came at Pentecost, Jesus was continued through the acts of the Spirit living within every Believer! (Acts 2:37-41)

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