As inexperienced travelers into an unchartered and hazardous territory, it is a necessity to have somebody with us that knows what he or she are doing. Jesus knew that the disciples would be heading into the future without His physically abiding presence and that they would need continued guidance. The Holy Spirit was ready to come onto the scene to be that Guide that they so desperately needed.
REMEMBER I TOLD YOU SO—John 16:4-6
The dark future that Jesus had been telling the disciples about sounded brutal (vss. 1-3). Jesus had taken almost three and half years to prepare the disciples for this very moment. What they were about to experience and go through was not going to be a trip to the local mall. There would be constant trials, intense persecution, and even the threat of death laying just over the horizon. What they had heard and learnt from Jesus would be all they would have to rely on. A gentle and humble reminder that Jesus is truly all we need.
I am going away (John 16:5-6). Jesus had already told the disciples that He was going away. The disciple, Thomas, had then asked Jesus, as though he rejecting or resisting, where Jesus was going (14:5). The disciples had been apparently so stunned by being unable to understand the fullness of what Jesus had been telling them that they just sat before Jesus in silence with blank expressions. Jesus in this final farewell speech and times beforehand had repeatedly told them He was going away. He now had added what would be happening to them and not one of them would dare to ask where He is going (16:5). It seems that Jesus was almost begging them to question His departure, knowing that they would discover that He had remarkably good news.
Jesus in preparing the disciples for His departure has been seeking to console them. Instead, He points out that “sorrow hath filled your heart” (16:6). In other words Jesus says to the disciples, “You are not looking on the end of my departure, or on the fullness of my glory, or on the addition to your own blessedness, but on your own loss, disappointment and chagrin” (The Pulpit Commentary, Eerdmans Publishing Company).
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE WORLD (John 16:7-11)
Since the disciples did not raise the question Jesus wanted but remained in silence, Jesus chose to answer this vital question that the disciples could not bring themselves to ask. “Expedient” is what He tells them regarding His departure. “Expedient” in the Greek means, “to be profitable” or “advantageous.” It would have been an incredible and almost ridiculous thought to the disciples that the loss of Jesus physical presence upon Earth was to the advantage of the disciples. Somehow, as Jesus would explain to the disciples, that the presence of the Comforter would be beneficial to the disciples.
The necessity of the Holy Spir coming to the disciplesis revealed in that He would assist the disciples in their mission to the world. It would be the disciples that go on to carry the message of the Gospel of Jesus to the world but it would be the Holy Spirit that will bring the conviction upon the hearts of people. “Reprove” sums up the whole work of the Holy Spirit toward the world. It brings to our mind that of a hardened convict standing before a lofty judge. “The Spirit does not merely accuse men of sin, he brings to them an inescapable sense of guilt so that they realize their shame and helplessness before God” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan).
It is only as the Spirit works and awakens man to His sinful disposition that as individuals we come to see that the roads to life and earth divide at the question of faith in Jesus. Jesus early had stated, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
The Holy Spirit and righteousness (John 16:10). The world had misinterpreted righteousness into being something that self obtains. Self-righteousness was the plight of the Pharisees. A type of works-righteousness was the hindrance many Jews placed on the early Christian gentiles. Jesus Himself was the only righteous one.
The Holy Spirit and judgment (John 16:11). All that Jesus and His disciples would endure come from the hate of the follows from the “prince of this world.” Satan though would be beaten by his own scheme to defeat Christ on the cross. It is through the cross and resurrection of the Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit works in our lives to show us the Devils defeat and our victory.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE DISCIPLES (John 16:12-15)
The preparation of worldly hearts for the Gospel is not the only advantage that the Holy Spirit brings. Jesus continues that there is much more that He has to share. It was not time for them because Christ’s death was fast approaching.
The remainder of teaching would fall on the Holy Spirit. Hence, “the Spirit of Truth” designates a title of a “guide” or teacher. The range of the Holy Spirits guidance was not only the remainder or what was left, as though the Spirit of Truth was a substitute, but that “he will guide you into all truth” (16:13). Learning would not come from lectures but from a continuing life journey over time cooperating with their guide. “He would conduct them into the unknown future as a guide directs those who follow him into unfamiliar territory” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan).
The disciples needed to be assured that the Holy Spirit was a continuation of what Jesus had been teaching and would continue to do. “Whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you thing to come” (16:13), helps the disciples understand that the Spirit teaches nothing other than the truth of Jesus. There is also no doubt that Jesus did not teach only a part of His truth to His disciples, but all of it. Jesus had told the disciples, “but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” The Spirit’s role was not concerned with revealing new truths but reminding of what Jesus had already revealed. Prior to this Jesus had told them that the Holy Spirit would “bring all things to your remembrance” (14:26). Even what Jesus had already told them in “things to come” (16:13)? This Spirit of Truth comes as a guide to the disciples to help in remembering, understanding, interpreting, and applying all the truth that Jesus taught.
By the Spirit unpacking the truths Jesus shared rather than declaring new things to the disciples, He glorifies the Son. “It was the honour of the Redeemer that the Spirit was both sent in his name and sent on his errand, to carry on and perfect his undertaking. All the gifts and graces of the Spirit, all the preaching and all the writing of the apostles, under the influence of the Spirit, the tongues, and miracles, were to glorify Christ” (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible Hendrickson, 1994).
Jesus gives to us what Father gave to him. What the Holy Spirit gives to us is what He did “receive” from Christ. “The sum of this astonishing assurance is that the Holy Spirit of Truth, will lead these apostles into the fullness of truth, and of knowledge of the future, by taking up the essential realities of the Christ in the fullness of his being and work, and disclosing them by spiritual insight and supernatural quickening” The Pulpit Commentary, Eerdmans Publishing Company).