John 16:23-33

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 23) The disciples were so full of fear, disappointment, doubt and questions. They asked, 'Where are you going?' How can we know the way?' 'Show us the Father.' 'How shall we see you and the world not see you?' Now he says to them, 'In that day, ye shall ask me nothing.' In that day, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will not be at a loss to understand the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension of the Son of man. You will know, as you are taught by the Spirit and the Scriptures, why Christ came to die (vv. 13-15; I Cor. 15:1-2). All spiritual blessings, knowledge, grace, peace and rest which you ask of the Father in my name will be given you.' All spiritual blessings are in Christ, through Christ and because of Christ (John 3:35-36; Eph. 1:3-6). There is nothing the law requires, justice demands, or the believer needs or wants that is not met and given in Christ and for the glory of Christ.

(Vs. 24) The disciples had prayed to the Father, for they asked the Lord to teach them to pray. Yet up to this point they had not asked the Father for anything because of Christ's blood, righteousness, sacrifice and mediation, for up to this point they did not have a clear understanding of his redemptive work. 'Ask, and ye shall receive' (Matt. 7:7-11), that is, 'in my name, because you will receive of me all you need, and your joy, assurance and peace will be full and complete.'

(Vs. 25) The expression 'these things' refers to all the teachings of Christ spoken to the disciples that night (John 13-16). 'These thing' were made clear to the disciples after they had come to pass and by the Holy Spirit who indwelt them, as they are plain to us who live on this side of the cross (I Cor. 2:8-12). But at this particular time 'these things' seemed like proverbs or veiled sayings which they did not comprehend. They are clear to the believing heart (John 7:16-17). The seed of the gospel has become an open flower revealing the glory and wisdom of God in Christ (Rom. 3:19-26).

(Vs. 26-27) The Lord is saying, 'After I am crucified, risen and ascended to the Father and the Holy Spirit comes to guide you in a clear understanding of me and my work, you will pray to the Father in my name and he will hear and bless you (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), not only because I intercede for you and stand for you, but because the Father himself loves you.' Christ came because God loves his own (John 3:16). He loves us with an everlasting love because of Christ; we are in Christ, and we love Christ (Rom. 8:35-39).

(Vs. 28) This passage records three central facts in the purpose of redemption.

(Vs. 29-30) When the Saviour said, 'The Father loves you because you love me and believe that I came from the Father into the world, and I leave the world and go to my Father,' the disciples replied, 'Now we understand! This is clear to us and not a mystery any more. We are sure that you know all things. There is no reason for any man to doubt you or question you, for we believe that you came forth from God.' The matter is settled, they seem to indicate. But they had said this before (Matt. 16:16; John 6:67-69).

(Vs. 31-32) 'Do ye now believe?' 'Do you really believe?' Though they professed to believe a trying time was upon them when this faith would waver. Peter would deny him, and all would forsake him and return to their homes and friends, even to their old vocation as fishermen (John 21:3). For when Peter said, 'I go fishing,' he actually meant, 'I return to my old profession.' It was on that occasion that our Lord asked Peter if he loved him more than these – the sea, boats and nets (John 21:15). Yet, though forsaken of them, Christ was never without the Father – his love, his approval and his presence.

(Vs. 33) 'All of these things have I spoken to you this night that in me ye might have peace.' It is true that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:20-21); and in Christ we have peace of conscience and heart, knowing that our sins are forgiven. But in this case he refers to the trials, troubles and tribulations the disciples and all believers will have in a world which hates God and hates the gospel of grace (2 Tim. 3:12). 'I have conquered Satan and the world.' His victory is our victory, and we have no cause to fear the men of this world nor the forces of evil in this world (Matt. 10:28; II Cor. 2:14; I John 4:4; 5:4-5).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.