Being led through the world

Life is filled with many twists and turns.  The constant movement towards an unknown future brings uncertainty and fear.  Thankfully we are not alone.  The Holy Spirit is with us to guide us and lead us toward God.


The disciples were facing a brutal future.  Jesus prepared the disciples to meet the world without His physical presence, but He would not allow them to be alone.  They had the teachings that they would be able to rely on.  “When the time shall come” (16:4) was Jesus’ way of telling the disciples that everything He has taught them would come back to them.

The lessons in life that have been taught to us by God are there for our growing.  “When suffering times come it will be of use to us to remember what Christ has told us of sufferings. That our belief of Christ’s foresight and faithfulness may be confirmed; and, that the trouble may be the less grievous, for we were told of it before, and we took up our profession in expectation of it, so that it ought not to be a surprise to us, nor looked upon as a wrong to us.” (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson).


Not only will the believer have words of Jesus to bring comfort but Jesus promised the Holy Spirit also.  Jesus told the disciples that it was “expedient” (16:7) or to their “advantage” that He return to God, for then the Holy Spirit would then be sent to their aid.  The coming of the Spirit would bring convicting power towards the world.  The disciples were given the care of delivering the gospel to the world, but the Holy Spirit is the one that makes it possible for conversion.  The Holy Spirit moves to “reprove” or convict the world of “sin,” “righteousness,” and “judgment” (16:8).  Reprove is a “legal word that means to bring to light, to expose, to refute, to convict and convince.  Believers are the witnesses, the Holy Spirit is the “prosecuting attorney,” and the unsaved are the condemned prisoners. However, the purpose of this indictment is not to condemn but to bring salvation.” (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Victor Books).

The sin that Jesus says the Holy Spirit will reprove is that of unbelief.  A person could change their entire life around from being a poor sinner to that or a good and moral person and still die loss.  The Holy Spirit convicts individuals of their unbelief in Jesus and brings to them to a place of faith.

Another area mentioned where the Holy Spirit brings conviction regards “righteousness” (16:10).  “The word refers to doing or being “what is right, straight, just” (Eugen Carpenter, Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words, Holman Publishers). The problem with so many individuals today is that people are so convinced by themselves that they have the ability to obtain righteousness.  The main adversaries of Jesus day, the Pharisees, were so proud of their self-righteousness.  The truth of the matter is that even to the best of people, our righteousness is worthless before our Holy God.  Christ, on the other hand, is truly righteous and it His own righteousness that is given to us by faith in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit shows us that our own righteousness is inadequate and leads us to Christ’s righteousness.

Lastly, Jesus points out the that Holy Spirit will convict the world of judgment, “because the prince of this world is judged” (16:11).  This scripture is a repeat of what Jesus had earlier said in John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”  In the death of Christ “judged” the prince of this world and made him powerless before Christ.  Through the Holy Spirit, “He shall convince the world that all judgment is committed to him (Jesus), and that he is the Lord of all, which is evident by this, that he has judged the prince of this world, has broken the serpent’s head, destroyed him that had the power of death, and spoiled principalities” (Henry).


Jesus knew that His time with the disciples is quickly coming to an end and assured the disciples that there was still much to be learned (John 16:12).  In their present condition of mind and spirit though they were not ready.  To their benefit, the Holy Spirit would lead them into greater depths of Jesus’ teachings of the “truth” (16:13).  The Spirit would not be a lecturer of the truth but a guide.  The Holy Spirit is our guide in life who gently leads in the way that we should go.  By being a guide, He continually abides and is always with us.

There would not be any new truths brought to them by the Holy Spirit that was not from Jesus.  For Jesus says, “For he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (16:13).  The ministry of the Holy Spirit to the disciples and towards us is a continuation of Jesus’ own ministry.  The one exception is that Jesus walked beside the disciples, but the Holy Spirit would indwell.  It is through the continuing ministry of Jesus by the Holy Spirit that He shall “glorify” Jesus.

It is wonderful to know that the Holy Spirit continues the ministry of Jesus towards us.  It is also a great blessing to have the leading of the Holy Spirit for He gives to us from Jesus who receives from the Father (16:15).

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