GET ACQUAINTED: If you were a cartoon character, who would you be? Why?
REFLECT: What does Jesus tell us that we, as His disciples, can expect as we live in this world? “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 )
At the close of this chapter (verse 33) Jesus firmly warns us that, for the Christian, tribulation is the distinguishing characteristic — of this world. Tribulation, as used in the New Testament refers to the opposition one encounters because of his identification with Christ. The Greek word translated “tribulation” literally means “pressure, intense pressure”; in John 16:21 the same word is used to describe a woman’s birth pains during the time of delivery. The world is constantly trying to squeeze the Christian into its mold (Romans 12:2 ), or, trying to squeeze the Christian out of its presence (Luke 6:22-23 ).
REVIEW: Who does Jesus promise to send to His disciples? “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 )
What is one thing this person will do for the disciples? “12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot 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 authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:12-13 )
In verse 7, referring to the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus promises to send His disciples “the Counselor” (or “the Helper.”) The Greek term that is used is referring to someone who appears on another’s behalf as a mediator, intercessor, and helper (Arndt and Gingrich”s New Testament Lexicon, pp.623-624). In verses 12-15, the Lord Jesus assures His disciples that the Holy Spirit—in His capacity as the Spirit of truth—will guide them into all the truth. By means of the apostles, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, has given the church the deposit of God’s truth, the completed Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. By means of teachers and preachers, and by means of the personal study of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit leads the church into a deeper understanding of the truth, and a deeper discernment between truth and error.
GET IT: What does Jesus tell His disciple? “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” (John 16:16 ) What effect will these things have on the disciples (v. 20)?
“20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has
delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:20 - 22) What is Jesus speaking about in these verses?
In verse16, Jesus speaks of a brief period of separation to be followed by a reunion between Himself and the disciples who He loves and who love Him. In verse 20, Jesus promises that what lies ahead for His disciples is a moment of great grief. Jesus emphasizes the fact that His disciples will weep and mourn—they will experience the type of grieving commonly found at funerals (read John 11:33 ). At the same time, what is a cause of grief to His disciples shall prove to be an occasion of joy for the world. But this period of deep grief experienced by the disciples shall be replaced by great joy. What Jesus is speaking about, of course, is His impending crucifixion and following resurrection.
DIG DEEPER: What promise does Jesus make to His disciples? “23 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. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full ... 26 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; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:23-24 & John 16:26-27 )
During the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry we find Him praying for His disciples and teaching them how to pray. But we do not find the disciples personally addressing the heavenly Father themselves (note Jesus’ words in John 16:24 a). But now Jesus assures them (and us) of their direct access to the Father’s throne (v. 23b) and exhorts them to make use of that access (v. 24b). Here at the close of His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus reminds His disciples of their access to the heavenly Father—their privilege to come before the Father in the name of Jesus Christ the Son.
APPLY: Although we as Jesus’ disciples may expect tribulation in this world, what does He exhort us to do and why? “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ) What does this look like in your life personally?
Our Lord closes this talk by encouraging us to take courage because He has conquered [overcame] the world. As our Lord Jesus Christ anticipates the cross of Calvary and His faithful acceptance of His Father’s will to endure the cross, He declares to His disciples, “I have [overcome] - conquered the world.” Notice the combination of our Lord’s statements recorded in verse 33: “in the world you have tribulation,” “but have courage… I have [overcome] - conquered the world.” As we live our lives for Christ in this present world the spiritual battle at times may rage; but we don’t need to fear, for our Lord Jesus Christ has already secured the victory. For now, Christ employs His divine power and authority to protect and preserve His church against the assaults of the devil. At the end, when He reveals Himself in glory, Christ shall exercise His divine power and authority to dispatch the devil and send him and all of his legions to the lake of hellfire.
Some excerpts from: biblestudycourse.org