John Chapters 13 to 17, Part 7
by Karl Kemp
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We continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapters 13-17 here in Part 7, starting with John 16:10.
(10) and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me [[The primary idea here is that, even though the Jews (the world) had condemned Jesus to death for His supposed sinfulness against God, the fact that He was resurrected and went back to the Father, to sit at His right hand, effectively demonstrated His righteousness, His righteousness according to verdict of the ultimate Judge, God the Father. ((I had a footnote: Many Jews, including the apostles, testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-21:25; 1 Cor. 15:4-8; also see Matt. 27:51-53), and the apostles (and apparently other disciples) even saw Jesus ascend from the Mount of Olives in a glory cloud when He returned to the Father (Luke 24:50, 51; Acts 1:9-12). The fact that Christ was reigning at the Father's right hand was manifested in many ways, starting with His pouring forth the promised gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.)) If He was righteous, which He certainly was, then they must have been seriously blinded by the god of this world and in serious bondage to sin (and in desperate need of the Savior) since they rejected the Righteous One as a sinner (cf., e.g., Acts 2:14-42; 3:13-15; and 7:51-60). Satan, the god of this world, was actively involved in the murder of Christ Jesus (cf. Luke 22:3-6; John 13:2, 27; 14:30; and 1 Cor. 2:8).
Christ is the Righteous One, and He has the authority to make alive (starting with the new birth) and make righteous those who submit to Him and the gospel in faith (cf., e.g., John 1:12, 13, 33; 3:1-21; 5:19-29; 7:39; Rom. 6:1-23; 8:1-17; and 1 Pet. 2:24). Christ imputes and imparts His righteousness (the righteousness of God) to believers.]]; (11) and concerning judgment [or, "condemnation"; the NAB has "condemnation"], because the ruler of this world has been judged [or, "has been condemned"; the NAB; NRSV have "has been condemned"; the NEB "stands condemned"; the Amplified Bible has, "is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed on him"; the Jerusalem Bible "being already condemned"]. [[The ruler of this world was judged/condemned (judged/condemned in a preliminary sense; his final overthrow is still future, but it is a settled issue and it will be manifested at the right time) by the cross of Christ (cf. John 12:31-33; Heb. 2:14-18). Both of the references just cited go on to speak of salvation coming to the world (that is, the salvation of the people of the world who submit to Christ and the gospel in faith) because of Christ's overcoming sin and spiritual death and stripping the devil of his authority through His atoning death on the cross. When people become Christians they leave the world and its ruler behind and become part of the kingdom of God (cf., e.g., Eph. 2:1-10; Col. 1:13).
Many of the Jews who had rejected Christ when He ministered on the earth (or at least who had not submitted to Him in faith) would now have their eyes opened to the fact that they were sinners who desperately needed the Savior from sin (the Lamb of God), through the work of the Holy Spirit, including His convicting work and the anointed (by the Spirit) preaching of the apostles (which was also convicting).
What happened on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:1-42, provides an effective illustration of what Jesus prophesied here in John 16:8-11. The apostle Peter, as he preached on the day of Pentecost, emphasized the fact that the Jews had (rejected and) crucified God's Christ, even though He was righteous in every way (cf. Acts 2:22, 23). Peter showed that God the Father had attested to Christ's righteousness by raising Him from the dead, in accordance with the prophetic Scriptures (Acts 2:24-32) and by exalting Him to His right hand and giving Him the promised Holy Spirit to pour out on His disciples, in accordance with the prophetic Scriptures (Acts 2:33-36).
Acts 2:37-42 go on to speak of the remarkable results as thousands of Jews were convicted of their sins, repented, and submitted to God's new-covenant plan of salvation. In Acts 2:38 Peter spoke of their being saved from their sins (not just from the one sin of having rejected Christ). In Acts 2:40 he spoke of the need to "be saved from this perverse generation." They were being saved from the state of being aligned with (being part of) the kingdom of this sinful world that is headed up by Satan. It is to be understood that if Satan has been judged/condemned, all those who continue to be aligned with him and part of his kingdom will also be judged/condemned along with him. That's what the lake of fire is all about (cf. Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:10, 14, 15).]] (12) I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [Things would be different after Jesus was raised from the dead and the disciples were born again (through His atoning death) by the Spirit, etc.] (13) But when He, the Spirit of truth [cf. John 14:17], comes [[The promised life-giving, sanctifying (making holy), gift-dispensing, anointing Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost (cf., e.g., John 7:37-39; Acts 2:33). Jesus Himself also taught them more during the time He spent with them after His resurrection and before His ascension and the coming of the Spirit (cf. Luke 24:13-49; John 20:19-21:23; and Acts 1:1-11).]], He will guide you into all the truth [cf. John 14:26]; for He will not speak on His own initiative [[literally, "He will not speak from Himself." (I had a footnote: In John 12:49 Jesus said, "For I did not speak on My own initiative [more literally, "from Myself"], but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.") What the Spirit will speak to them is, in a very real sense, Jesus continuing to speak to them. Note that Jesus said in verse 12 that "He [had] many more things to say to [them]." Also, everything that Jesus (or the Spirit) spoke to them was from the Father. Jesus is emphasizing the continuity (and full agreement) of what the Spirit will teach them (or, we could say, what He will teach them through the Spirit) with the things that He had already taught them. Jesus did not, of course, intend to communicate the idea that if the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of TRUTH," spoke from Himself the disciples could not be sure that He was speaking the TRUTH - God the Spirit doesn't lie!
Verses 14, 15 emphasize the point that the Spirit (who comes to believers from the Father through the Son) comes to exalt and glorify Christ Jesus, which includes revealing truths about Him, who He is, what He has, and the things He will accomplish in the following days and years. In brief, He, the Messiah/God the Son, will fully save and take to eternal glory those who align themselves with Him through faith. And He will judge and totally remove the devil and those who continue to be aligned with him (evil angels, demons, and a large number of people).]], but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. (14) He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. (15) All things that the Father has are Mine [cf. John 17:10]; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. (16) A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.' [[The disciples will no longer see Him because He will be crucified, buried, raised from the dead on the third day, and go back to the Father (cf. John 13:33, 36; 14:2, 3, 28; 16:10, 28); but then they will see Him because He will return to them in a very real spiritual sense by the Spirit (cf. John 14:18-23, 28). That's probably what Jesus meant here (see under John 14:18, 19.) ((I had a footnote: Jesus had known for a long time that He would be raised from the dead on the third day with a glorified body (cf., e.g., John 2:19-22); He was the first man (though He was much more than just a man; He was the God-man) to be raised with a glorified body, never to die again. The apostles didn't really understand that Jesus was to be raised from the dead until after He had been raised (cf. John 20:1-29).))
Anyway, whether He meant that here, or not (cf. Mark 14:28; 16:7; Matt. 28:7, 10, 16 [Mark 14:28 indicates that on that same evening Jesus spoke of going ahead of them to Galilee after He was raised from the dead]), the Gospels make it clear that the resurrected Christ appeared to His disciples on several occasions before He went back to the Father (starting on the day of His resurrection and culminating some forty day later when He was taken up to heaven from the Mount of Olives before their watching eyes). Even if we're not sure exactly what Jesus meant here (as He spoke with His apostles on the night before He was crucified), we (thankfully) know what happened in some detail, based on the scriptural record.
There is much difference of opinion regarding what these words "and again a little while you will see Me" meant. As we discussed under John 14:18-23, the disciples would see Jesus again in a very real spiritual sense when He came back to them through the Person of the Holy Spirit, after He had gone back to the Father. Some commentators, but not the majority, opt for that view here. There can be no doubting that spiritual coming is emphasized in John chapters 13-17. Anyway, the New Testament (very much including the Gospel of John) makes it clear that the disciples also saw the resurrected Christ on several occasions before He was taken up to heaven (cf., e.g., John 20:11-21:23; Acts 1:1-11). Many commentators opt for the viewpoint that Jesus was speaking of His appearing to His disciples before He goes back to the Father in John 16:16-22. Mark 14:28; 16:7; Matt. 28:7, 10, 16 fit that viewpoint well.
JOHN 20:11-18, the verses that speak of the resurrected Christ's appearing first to Mary Magdalene on the morning of His resurrection (resurrection Sunday), lend some support to the idea that the apostle John did not include a record of Jesus' mentioning that He would appear to His disciples on a very temporary basis before ascending to the Father, but only that He would come back to them on a permanent (age-long) basis after He had returned to the Father. (He would come back to them in a very real spiritual sense, by the Spirit.) I'll quote JOHN 20:17 and make a few comments. "Jesus said to her, 'Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, "I ascend to My Father and Your Father, and My God and your God." ' "
The KJV translates "Touch Me not" (in John 20:17); the NKJV is very close to the NASB, "Do not cling to Me." These words from the KJV have often (wrongly) been understood to teach that the reason Mary Magdalene was not permitted to touch Jesus was that He was UNTOUCHABLE until after He had ascended to the Father to present His atoning blood to the Father and complete the plan of redemption. However, for one thing, Jesus had already presented His atoning blood before the Father ON THE CROSS. (Jesus certainly did not carry a container of His physical blood with Him when He went to heaven.) That view (wrongly) contends that Jesus was at that moment on His way to the Father and that, after He presented His blood in heaven, He would come back that same day and then be touchable (cf. Luke 24:39-43; John 20:20-27). Matthew 28:9 confirms that the idea that Jesus was untouchable at the time He appeared to Mary Magdalene is wrong.
Jesus' being untouchable wasn't the idea. What Jesus was saying to Mary Magdalene in John 20:17 was something like this: "Mary, stop clinging to Me. I am not here in the permanent (age-long) sense that I spoke of, for example, in John 14:18, 19, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also [They begin to live when the Spirit comes and they are born again, starting on the day of Pentecost]." (I had a footnote: Also see John 14:21-23, 28.) This is not that! I am here now on a very temporary basis that will consist of several appearances to various disciples (over a forty-day period). Then I will go back to the Father. After that I will come to you in a very real spiritual sense (by the Spirit), and I will remain with you in that sense throughout this age. At the end of this age, I will return to the earth to fully save My own (including taking them to heaven [cf. John 14:3]) and to judge the world.
It was very important that the apostles clearly see the resurrected Christ, and all the more so since they all doubted His resurrection until after it had come to pass (cf., e.g., John 20:8, 9). For one thing, His resurrection, of which they were witnesses, was a necessary foundational part of the new-covenant gospel that was to be proclaimed (and written) by the apostles (cf., e.g., Acts 1:15-26). His resurrection demonstrated that He had conquered death (and sin and Satan), and it foreshadowed and initiated the spiritual resurrection of Christians (when they are born again/resurrected in a spiritual sense); cf., e.g., Rom. 6:1-11; Eph. 2:1-10; and Col. 3:1-11) and their ultimate bodily resurrection (when they will be glorified; cf., e.g., Rom. 8:11, 17-25; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 42-53; and Phil. 3:20, 21).]] (17) Some of His disciples then said to one another, 'What is this thing He is telling us, "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me"; and, "because I go to the Father" [cf. John 13:36; 14:2-6, 12, 28; 16:7, 10, 28]?' (18) So they were saying, 'What is this that He says, "A little while"? We do not know what He is talking about.' (19) Jesus knew that they wished to question ["ask him about this" NIV; Greek verb "erotao"] Him, and He said to them, 'Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, "A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me"? (20) Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament [Compare Mark 16:10; Luke 23:27; and John 20:11, 13, 15. Jesus' disciples will grieve over the blasphemous mistreatment, crucifixion, and death of their Master.], but the world will rejoice [[The world, including Satan, rejoices for a while, because they think they have gotten rid of Christ Jesus. Before long Satan (and eventually the world) will realize that rather than get rid of Christ, they have sealed their doom through crucifying Him (cf. 1 Cor. 2:8; Col. 2:10-15; and Heb. 2:14-18).]]; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. [[As it turned out, the grief of the apostles turned to joy when they realized that Jesus had been raised from the dead (cf., e.g., John 20:20). Another major installment of joy came when they received the life-giving, sanctifying, gift-dispensing, anointing Spirit from/through the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost. Christians rejoice in the cross too (not just in the salvation that resulted from the cross), knowing the super-great victory that was accomplished on the cross and the price that was paid to save us.]] (21) Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. (22) Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again [see under verse 16], and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. [As it turned out, Jesus saw the apostles again for the first time on the evening of the day of His resurrection, and He saw them again a week later (see John 20:19-29; cf. Luke 24:33-49), etc.] (23) In that day you will not question [Greek verb "erotao"] Me about anything. [[I prefer a translation like, "In that day you will not ask Me for anything." ((I had a footnote: See F. F. Bruce ("Gospel of John" [Eerdmans, 1983], page 323). I should point out that John used two different Greek verbs for ask in this verse ("erotao" then "aiteo"). The first verb is sometimes used of asking for things in the New Testament (including the last verb in John 16:26), and there is widespread agreement that John sometimes uses two different words with the same meaning. There would be times that the disciples would ask the Father for information, direction, etc., which is the equivalent of asking Him questions.)) The NIV has, "no longer ask me anything."
"That day" begins when the disciples receive the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which lends support to the idea that the words of Jesus recorded in John 16:16-22 speak of His being seen by His disciples in a very real spiritual sense after He has gone back to the Father and come again through the coming of the Spirit (on the day of Pentecost).]] Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask [Greek verb "aiteo"] the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. [See John 16:24-27; 15:7, 16; and 14:13, 14. Their asking the Father would relate mostly to the fulfilling of their ministries, but it would not be limited to that dimension.] (24) Until now you have asked for [Greek verb "aiteo"] nothing in My name; ask [Greek verb "aiteo"] and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full [cf. John 15:11]. [The "now" of this verse doesn't really start until Pentecost.] (25) These things I have spoken to you in figurative language [cf. John 10:6; 16:29]; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. [Things will greatly change when Jesus goes back to the Father (having accomplished our redemption and overcome the world and its ruler at the cross) and the disciples are born again through Jesus sending the Spirit (the new-covenant Spirit).] (26) In that day you will ask [Greek verb "aiteo"] in My name [ask the Father], and I do not say to you that I will request of [or, "I will ask"; Greek verb "erotao"] the Father on your behalf [See John 16:23, 24. This doesn't mean that Jesus, our great high priest, never intercedes on our behalf (cf. Rom. 8:34), but it does mean the we, in union with Him and in His name, have direct access (an open door) to God the Father.]; (27) for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father [cf. John 14:21, 23]. (28) I came forth from the Father and have come into the world [cf., e.g., John 3:13, 17; 8:42]; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father [cf. John 13:1; 14:2-6, 12, 28; and 16:5, 10].' (29) His disciples said, 'Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech [See John 16:25.]. (30) Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question [or "ask"; Greek verb "erotao"] You [See John 16:17-19.]; by this we believe that You came from God.' [[Apparently the disciples were prematurely assuming that the time had arrived that Jesus spoke of in verse 25. As I mentioned under verse 25, that day will not arrive until after Christ has been crucified and they have received the Spirit and been born again. The faith of the apostles, though real, wasn't as solid as they thought, as Jesus points out in verses 31, 32.]] (31) Jesus answered them ["responded to them"], 'Do you now believe? [They were genuine believers (cf. John 17:6-8), but subsequent events demonstrated that their faith left something to be desired. For one thing, they had not yet received the life-giving, sanctifying, strengthening Spirit.] (32) Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered [cf. Matt. 26:31 with Zech. 13:7; Mark 14:50-52; and John 13:37, 38; 18:8, 9.], each to his own home and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me [cf. John 8:29]. (33) These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace [see John 14:27]. In the world you have tribulation [cf. John 15:18-25], but take courage; I have overcome the world.' " [[Jesus has overcame the world and its ruler through being who He was/is (God the Son who became the God-man), through His sinless life, His atoning death, His resurrection, and then His ascension and present ministry as our great high priest at the right hand of God the Father. He will complete His work of saving and of overcoming the world when He comes back to judge the god of this world and all the persons/beings who remain aligned with the world.]]
"Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven [cf. John 11:41], He said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, (2) even as You gave Him authority over all flesh [cf., e.g., Matt. 28:18; John 3:35], that to all whom You have given Him [cf., e.g., John 6:37, 39; 10:28, 29; and 17:6, 9, 20-24], He may give eternal life. [[On Jesus' being glorified see John 17:5 and see under John 13:31, 32. The Father glorifies the Son by raising Him from the dead (He was the first man, though He was much more than just a man, to be raised with a glorified body), by exalting Him to His right hand, by giving Him authority over all flesh (all mankind), etc. "Authority over all flesh" includes Christ's "[giving] eternal life" to those chosen by God ((the elect (I had a footnote: Taken in the fullest sense, God's elect includes all the people who will have a place in the new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem, very much including all the believers who lived in the days before the new covenant was ratified through the atoning death of the Lamb of God. The names of the elect are written in the Lamb's book of life [cf. Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; and 21:27].) )) and His judging and removing all who persist in rebellion, without repentance (cf., e.g., John 5:21-29). We enter eternal life through the new birth by the Spirit (cf. John 3:3-8, 15, 16, 36; 5:24).]] (3) This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent [cf., e.g., John 3:17; 17:8, 21, 23, 25]. [[God (the triune God) is the only source of life (cf., e.g., John 1:4; Rom. 8:2), very much including spiritual/eternal life, and of everything else that is good. We must be right with God the Father and know Him and Jesus Christ through new-covenant salvation (which includes being united with the Son and the Father by the indwelling Spirit) to partake of spiritual/eternal life.
To know the Father (and the Son) includes knowing about Him (who He is, what He is like, what He has done and what He will do, especially His plan of salvation and His judgment of all who persist in rebellion) and having an experiential knowledge of Him (person to Person) by the Spirit. Christians partake of spiritual/eternal life in a preliminary sense from the time they are born again by the Spirit of God, but most of the glory of eternal life is reserved for the end of this age, when we will be born into the fullness of eternal life (cf., e.g., Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:42-57; Col. 1:27; Titus 3:7; and Rev. 12:5).]] (4) I glorified You on the earth [cf. John 13:31, 32], having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. [[Compare John 4:34; 6:38. The Lord Jesus Christ always perfectly obeyed the Father and perfectly accomplished the work assigned to Him. His greatest work involved His atoning death, which hadn't been accomplished when He spoke these words, but there is widespread agreement that Jesus spoke here from the point of view that it had been accomplished in that the time had now arrived for His crucifixion and He was fully committed to carry out that one last great work on the earth (cf., e.g., John 1:29, 36; 3:14-18; 10:11-18; 12:20-33; 13:21-33; 18:11; and 19:28-30) - it would be, and it was accomplished!]] (5) Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself [cf. John 13:31, 32], with the glory which I had with You before the world was. [[Compare John 1:1-3, 14; 17:24; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-17; and Heb. 1:1-3. It is very important to see that a whole lot more is taking place here than God the Son's being restored to the glory He had with the Father before He condescended to become a man, the God-man (cf. Phil. 2:7, 8; John 1:14). Now the Lord Jesus Christ (the God-man), having overcome sin and God's enemies through His sinless life and atoning death, was to be glorified by the Father. Now He (the God-man) would have the authority and commission to save (with a very full salvation) all believers and to judge and remove all unrepentant rebels. Genesis 3:15 had prophesied that Satan and his followers would be defeated by man.
Those of mankind who are united with the Lord Jesus Christ (the God-man) by faith will ultimately be glorified with Him and reign with Him (cf., e.g., Rom. 8:17, 18, 29; Rev. 3:21; 20:4; 22:5). If He had not become a man (the God-man), we could not have become united with Him and be glorified in union with Him. Christ Jesus exalted mankind far above what Adam had before the fall (cf., e.g., 1 Cor. 15:45-52). We will be glorified with Him and reign with Him forever - what a salvation plan! We will not, of course, become deity/God with Christ. We will be worshipping and serving God forever (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapters 13-17 in Part 8, starting with John 17:6.
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