In John 16:8 Jesus mentioned three things that the Holy Spirit would do in the world. Jesus said, "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." After Jesus mentioned the judgment, He further clarified it by saying in John 16:11, "Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
One of the most sobering facts of life is the judgment to come. The Bible says that "itís appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." The good news about Jesus Christ is the fact that He bore the judgment of God for us so that we can be forgiven. In Jesus you can find escape from the judgment to come. Many people have come to Christ only when they realized that when they stood before God, they would be judged and condemned. If itís clearly laid upon your conscience that you are headed for hell, you should be motivated to give yourself without reservation to the mercy of Christ. According to Jesus, itís the work of the Holy Spirit to awaken people to the judgment.
In John 16:12-15 Jesus said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: for he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."
Jesus told the disciples that they had more to learn, but that He could not yet tell them all the things that they needed to know. Eventually, the Holy Spirit would teach them. The same thing is true about each of us. No one knows everything that they ought to know. No matter what happens to you, you can always learn from what you experience so that you can do better next time. Whatís going on in your life? One thing that is going on is that God is preparing you and teaching you. Jesus promised that it would happen. He promised that the Holy Spirit will guide the believers into all truth. You havenít had as many failures as you think. What you have had are opportunities to learn.
In John 16:16-20 Jesus said to the disciples, "A little while and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that he says unto us, A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me: and, because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he says, A little while? We cannot tell what he is saying. Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask him, and said unto them, Do you inquire among yourselves of what I said, A little while and you shall not see me: and again, a little while and you shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy."
Jesus said to the disciples, "In a little while you shall not see me." They did not know what He was talking about. We know that He was speaking of His crucifixion that would take place in just a couple of days. Jesus was telling the disciples just a little bit about what was going to happen, but He did not tell them all the details. Actually, most Bible prophecies follow this same pattern. Some things about prophetic events are told to us, but not all the details. Some Bible teachers make the mistake of trying to fill in the details with their own opinions. There will be many surprises when the prophetic events are finally unfolded.
God does not tell us all the details, but He does tell us what He wants us to know. What Jesus wanted the disciples to know was that He was going to be taken away from them, and that it would be a very great blow to them, and that they would be very sorrowful when it happened. This certainly was what happened when He was arrested and crucified. But Jesus also wanted to encourage the disciples by telling them that their sorrow would be short-lived: their sorrow would be turned into joy.
There may be sorrows for us in the Christian life, but God always has it planned so that the sorrows will be turned into joy. At times we may be cast down, but we are never forsaken. For the Christian every cloud has a silver lining. Make sure you look for the silver lining, because itís always there. The goodness of God, and the love of God for you will put it there. There should be no followers of God who are negative thinkers. There are too many promises from God, like this one from Jesus when He said, "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy."
Jesus gave the example of a woman going through the pain of child-bearing to explain how life sometimes works. Jesus said in John 16:21, "A woman when she is in labor has sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." There is at least one thing that women can experience that men do not: the giving of life. In this way women are more like God than men are. The female represents God in certain ways that the male does not, and vice-versa; both male and female make up mankind, and itís mankind that was created in the image of God. In order to provide spiritual life for us, Jesus suffered horrible tortures. Suffering is not in vain when itís ordained of God, because there will always be a good result to come out of it. The servant is not greater than His Lord. If Jesus suffered so that we could be saved, then our lives will follow a similar course. Each one will have his cross to bear. We will suffer at times, but there will always be a good result from it. Thatís the power of God who can take manís disasters and failure and turn them into His victories.
In John 16:22-24 Jesus said, "And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one takes from you. And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."
Itís the death of Jesus that would cause the disciples sorrow, and it was His resurrection from the dead that would cause them to rejoice. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the most important events in the history of the human race. Even the death of Jesus on the cross would lose its importance if Jesus had not risen from the dead. The reason that the disciples would rejoice so greatly on that first Easter morning was because they went from thinking that all was lost to realizing that absolutely nothing was lost but that everything was gained. Death was swallowed up in victory. The enemies of Jesus did not win, and the devil did not win in his attempt to destroy the Son of God. All believers should be able to find in the resurrection of Christ the same joy and happiness that the disciples found on the day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You can enjoy the resurrection of Jesus Christ by thinking about it and by thinking about the benefits and implications of His resurrection.
For many of the well-known people of history we can go to their graves and look at their tombstone and realize that the bones or the ashes of that person lie buried there. But no one will ever be able to find a grave where the bones of Jesus turned to dust. All that they have ever been able to find is an empty tomb. Thatís the good news. Thatís the reason to rejoice. The grave did not keep Him, and all those who believe in Jesus He will take with Him in like manner to the eternal kingdom of God. Earlier in the book of John Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die."
If you have the kind of joy that Jesus can give, then you have something that no one can ever take from you. If your sadness or happiness depends upon the material things that happen to you, then your happiness is always dependent upon something that someone can take away from you; but if you have the kind of joy that only Jesus can give, no one can take it from you. Jesus said, "Your joy no man takes from you." If a human being can take away your joy, then you have the wrong kind of joy.
Jesus told the disciples that they would rejoice when they saw Him again, and He told them that they would also be joyful because He would answer their prayers. Because Jesus rose from the dead, He is still alive; Because Jesus is still alive, you can talk to Him and you can be sure that He hears you and that He will give you the things that you ask for. God cares about us so much that He gives us what we ask for. Some people have not because they ask not. Maybe you have tried everything else to solve your problems, but have you tried talking to God about it? Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."
In John 16:25-28 Jesus said, "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time is coming, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father."
In this discourse to the disciples, Jesus had revealed enough things to them that they thought they understood what he was saying, and they also thought that they believed what he was saying. The Bible says in John 16:29-30, "His disciples said unto him, Now you are speaking plainly and are not talking in proverbs. Now are we sure that you know all things, and need not that anyone should ask you: by this we believe that you came from God."
But the disciples had a hard lesson to learn about faith: the same lesson that many of us have had to learn on more than one occasion: itís one thing to hear wonderful words, and to say that you believe them; but itís quite another thing to be able to act on those words when the chips are down, and to be able truly demonstrate the faith that you claim to have in a difficult situation. Jesus was not fooled by the disciplesí claims concerning their faith. He knew where they were at in the life of faith just like He knows where each of us are at, and the Bible says in John 16:31-32, "Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming; yea is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone because the Father is with me."
We are always right at the door of failure as soon as we think that we have arrived. Donít think too highly of yourself, or you may be setting yourself up for a great failure. In Chapter 15 Jesus told the disciples, "Without me, you can do nothing." Now the disciples were going to learn that lesson in a way that would probably end up helping them throughout the rest of their lives. Jesus knew that the disciples were going to fail: that they were going to be afraid when He was arrested. They were going to forsake Him and leave Him alone. But Jesus used their failure to teach them. Thatís the grace of God at work. If it wasnít for the grace of God we would fail even more than we do, and His grace is so great that even when we fail, He uses our failures to teach us so that we will be better prepared for the future. In a way you could say that in the service of God, there is no such thing as a failure: but there are many opportunities to learn.
The failure of the disciples would be to forsake Jesus and to leave Him alone. But Jesus said that in spite of the disciples leaving Him, He would not be alone because the Father would always be with Him. There are more people on the earth than there have ever been in the history of the human race, but there is also more loneliness. But you do not have to ever be lonely if you have a relationship with God that is possible. Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Wherever you go in life, God will always be there.
Here at the end of John Chapter 16 we are close to the time when the disciples would forsake Jesus, and Jesus would face the trial and the crucifixion. It must have been on the mind of Jesus the fact that human suffering is so often a part of life. It certainly was true about His life because He was called a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief, and it will also be true about the lives of His believers. Jesus said in John 16:33, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Jesus said that; "in the world you shall have tribulation." There is no doubt about it. There will be times of sorrow, there will be times of difficulty; there will be tribulation. In spite of that, Jesus said that we could have peace, and that we could be of good cheer. In contrast to what is going on around us in the world, we can have peace within through the Prince of Peace. Remember that Jesus said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace." Itís through thinking about and believing the teachings of Jesus that you will find the peace of mind that is obtainable no where else.
Jesus always wants His believers to be happy and so He said, "be of good cheer." Be happy; cheer up. The world is only temporary, and Jesus said, "I have overcome the world."
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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