Jesus: The One Who Empowers Us (John 16)
Anyone who has ever dropped off their child at college knows the anxiety and advantage of separation. Just a few years ago, we packed all of my daughter’s things in our SUV and drove to a city three hours away for her freshman year at college. I remember (1) how full our SUV was, (2) how bitter-sweet that last hug was, and (3) how hard I cried as I watched her face disappear from the rear-view mirror.
As a parent, you know that this is a necessary step, in fact, an advantage to them, but that doesn’t make it easy. You prepare them, you equip them, you love them, and you leave them on the curb... and then you call them about 5 minutes later to make sure they are okay
Jesus is leaving his disciples in a difficult situation, one that will bring loneliness, fear, persecution, and even death. But the situation with Jesus in John 16 is far more extreme than leaving a child at college. This is more like a general dropping a platoon of soldiers behind enemy lines. He has trained them, and supplied them, but he knows that this is going to get really bad really quick.
We will see two major themes in this chapter: (1) What Jesus wants for his disciples during this separation and (2) What Jesus gives to his disciples during this separation.
Jesus: The One Who Empowers Us
1. What Jesus wants for His disciples during this separation:
a. Jesus wants us to persevere in the faith. (1)
b. Jesus wants us to endure persecution. (2-4)
c. Jesus wants us to maintain our joy. (20-22)
d. Jesus wants us to experience peace. (33)
*This is what the world needs from Christians! Because each of these things is a powerful witness to the world of the worthiness of Christ. What the world needs from the church and from individual Christians is UNWAVERING FAITH, and UNENDING JOY and UNSHAKABLE PEACE in the midst of persecution and suffering. When we have joy in the midst of persecution, it says to the world: “Jesus is worth it.” It says, “I don’t care what you say to me or do to me, what I care about it was Jesus says to me and what He has done for me.”
When we cower, or cover, or quit in the face of someone throwing verbal rocks at us because we are a Christian, we make a bold statement: “Jesus isn’t worth this.”
Peter reminded the Christians of his day of this same truth:
1 Peter 3:14–15 “Have no fear of them (who cause you to suffer for righteousness sake), nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 4:12–19 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (13) But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (14) If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you... (16) If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name....(19) Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
2. What Jesus gives to His disciples during this separation:
a. Jesus has given us the HELP OF HIS SPIRIT. (16:7-15)
i. The Spirit will CONVICT the world (8-11)
1. The Spirit convicts the world of their sin of unbelief.
2. The Spirit convicts the world of their empty righteousness.
3. The Spirit convicts the world of their impending judgment.
ii. The Spirit will GUIDE you into all truth. (12-15)
1. The Spirit helps by giving the Word through inspiration (13)
2. The Spirit helps by revealing the Word through declaration (14)
b. Jesus has given us the PROMISE OF HIS RETURN. (16:16-22)
c. Jesus has given us the RESOURCE OF PRAYER. (16:23-28)
d. Jesus has given us the CONFIDENCE OF HIS VICTORY. (16:29-33)