Matthew Poole's Commentary
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.John 16:1-4 Christ warns his disciples of their sufferings for his sake.
John 16:5-15 He comforteth them by a promise of the Holy Ghost.
John 16:16-28 He intimates his death, resurrection, and
ascension, telling them that their sorrow should
soon be succeeded by joy, and that their prayers in
his name would be accepted of the Father.
John 16:29-33 His disciples confess their faith in him; he foretells
their desertion of him, and promises them peace in him
amidst their tribulation in the world.
That is, that when you see these storms of persecution arise, and fall heavily upon you, they may not give you any occasion, or be any temptation to you, to desist from your duty, and be afraid or ashamed to own me, and the profession of my gospel. Evils unthought of we are not ordinarily prepared for, so as, being surprised by them, they the more sink us.
Offended here therefore may signify, either immoderate trouble and affliction, or being tempted to any apostasy, or remission of duty.
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.The term synagogue, as it is used often in Scripture to signify those places of public worship which they had in country towns and cities, is proper to the Jews; but as it signifieth an assembly of people met together in any place, it as well agreeth to other people as to them. Our Lord here, in pursuit of the argument which he hath been upon from John 15:18, forewarns his disciples, that when he should be taken from them, the Jews first should excommunicate them as heretics, or schismatics: and I know not why what our Saviour here saith may not also be extended as a prophecy of what hath since been done, and is yet doing, under the tyranny of the pope. As also the latter clause, which, though at first applicable to the Jews, who stoned Stephen upon a charge of blasphemy, in which it is apparent that they thought they did God good service, and doubtless slew many others; yet certainly it also referred to others, even as many as shall do the same thing to the end of the world.
And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.This is but what our Lord said as to his Father, John 16:21 of the former chapter, (See Poole on "John 16:21"), and teacheth us, that all persecutions of good men speak in persecutors an ignorance both of God the Father and of Christ; and whoever they are that continue in such ignorance under the light of the gospel, though they be baptized, and make never so great a profession of religion, yet will be under daily temptations to turn persecutors; for ignorance is here made the cause of persecution. And it is some alleviation of trouble to God’s suffering people, to consider that the persons that are the cause of their sufferings neither know God the Father, nor Jesus Christ; and it is no wonder, if they know not God, that they will not know, love, nor approve of them.
But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.Whatsoever I have discovered to you formerly, of my going to my Father, the coming of the Holy Ghost, your sufferings from the world, I have told you of before; you will see that they will most certainly come to pass: then you will remember what I have said unto you; and I have told you them on purpose that you may remember them, and thereby know, that although I am in the form of a man, yet I also am God blessed for ever, and did know things that should afterward come to pass, and could tell you the truth about them. And having been with you, I have not from the first of your converse with me told you these things; that is, those which relate to the world’s dealing with you (which he had told them, Matthew 10:16, &c, but that was after some good while’s converse with them); nor yet had he spoken to them at first about his death, resurrection, and ascension, because he was with them, and to stay with them some time, during which time he bare the brunt of all; the whole hatred of the Jews was poured out upon him: and for those other things relating to his death, and ascension, and the sending of the Spirit, he, who taught his disciples as they were able to bear them, Mark 4:33, had concealed these things till by his other doctrine he had prepared them to receive this revelation, and there was a necessity of his relieving them against his bodily absence, by the promise of that other Comforter the Holy Ghost.
But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?Though I did not tell you this from the beginning, for many wise reasons; yet I now tell you, that I must die, but shall rise again from the dead, and go to my Father who sent me into the world to finish that work which I now have done, and so am returning from whence I came. And though indeed some of you have cursorily asked me whither I go, (as Peter John 13:36), yet none of you seems to understand, or so seriously as you ought to inquire, whither I go, or so much to be busied in the thoughts of that.
But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.But all your thoughts are taken up about yourselves, what you shall do for want of my bodily presence; and sorrow for that hath so overwhelmed your hearts, that you cannot enough deliberate with yourselves, as to consider either mine or your own advantages, from my death, resurrection, and ascension.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.He doth not say it was expedient for him, though this was truth; for his human nature was not till his ascension glorified, as afterward, John 17:5; but he saith it was expedient for them. The saints may desire a dissolution, but it is for their own advantage, Philippians 1:23. Christ desires it for their advantage; because the Holy Spirit could not come upon them (as in the days of Pentecost) until he by his death had made reconciliation for iniquity; and God had so ordered the counsels of eternity, that Christ should first die, rise again, and ascend into heaven, and then he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, as one eminent fruit of Christ’s meritorious death and passion, Acts 2:32,33 Eph 4:11. We are not able to give certain reasons of the counsels of God; but the reasonableness of them in this very particular may easily be concluded: that the sending of the Spirit might appear to be the fruit of Christ’s death: that the Messiah’s influence upon the sending of him jointly with the Father, might appear; for he was to be sent from Christ glorified, John 7:39: that the Spirit might glorify Christ, as we have it, John 16:14; for (saith that verse) He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you: and that the world might better understand the mystery of the Trinity. The Father was by all owned to be in heaven. The Son ascended up to heaven in the presence of many witnesses. The Spirit descended from heaven with great majesty and glory, as may be read. Acts 2:2,3.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:When the Holy Spirit is come in the days of Pentecost, he, by his inward operation in men’s hearts, and by his gifts bestowed upon you that are his apostles,
will reprove the world.
By the world here, may be meant all men and women, as it is used in some texts; neither is the operation of the Spirit here mentioned to be restrained to carnal and wicked men.
The word translated
1. Lets us know, that the Holy Ghost is here mentioned, not in the notion mentioned John 14:16, as a Comforter, but in the larger notion, (there mentioned), as an Advocate; which possibly had been a better translation of it, John 16:7, than Comforter, as we translate it; for it is not the proper work of the Spirit considered as a Comforter to reprove, but it is proper enough to the notion of an Advocate to do it.
2. The word here translated reprove doth often so signify, and is so translated, Luke 3:19 John 3:20 Ephesians 5:11,13. It signifieth real rebukes, Hebrews 12:5 Revelation 3:19. But it also signifieth to convince, John 8:9,46 1 Corinthians 14:24 2 Timothy 4:2 Titus 1:9; and in several other texts. Yet it is one thing to convince the understanding and judgment; another thing to prevail upon the will, by reason of the total corruption of our souls; so that we will not embrace what we confess is truth, nor do what we know is best; but, through the stubbornness of our will, we resist the light and conviction of our understandings.
The Holy Spirit is here promised, not only (as before) to lead men into truth, by a work of illumination, but to bow the hearts and wills of some in the world, to the embracing of it, and living up to it, while others yet remain without excuse. The things of which the Spirit is promised to convince the world, are
sin, righteousness, and judgment, which are further opened in the following verses.
Of sin, because they believe not on me;Here may arise some doubt, whether these words import that the Holy Ghost should convince the world of sin in general, or of that particular sin of not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ: the first seemeth best to agree with John 16:8, where convincing of sin is mentioned, without the addition which we have here; and it also best agreeth with the effect of the Spirit, for the Holy Spirit doth not convince the world of one sin only. The second seemeth to be favoured by the addition of those words,
because they believe not on me; which yet may be understood only as a particular great instance of sin, of which the Spirit convinceth the world. It was the great sin of that age, that, though Christ was come into the world, and had given such manifest evidence that he was sent of his Father, yet the generality of the men and women in that part of the world into which he was come, would not receive and embrace him as the true Messiah. Now, saith our Saviour, when I am gone to my Father, I will send the Spirit, and he, by his gifts given to my apostles, saith so convince a great part of the world, that they shall have nothing to say, but be wholly inexcusable in their not receiving me as the true Messiah and Saviour of the world. Others he shall, by his inward influence upon their hearts, so convince of sin in not believing on me, that they shall believe on me, and be saved.
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;A second thing of which the Spirit is promised to convince the world, is
righteousness, by which all interpreters agree is meant the righteousness of Christ. Only some would have it to be understood of Christ’s personal righteousness, which is inherent in him; upon which account he is called the just One, the righteous One, & c. Then the sense is this:
The Jews now say I have a devil, and cast out devils by Beelzebub; they accuse me as an impostor and seducer, call me a friend of publicans and sinners; but when the Holy Spirit which I will send shall come, he shall convince the world that I was a just and righteous person, and not such a one as they have vilely represented me: which was fulfilled in a great measure, Acts 2:1-3:26, when so many were converted and joined to the church.
But the best interpreters understand it of that righteousness of Christ which is communicated to men in justification, of which so much is spoken in holy writ, Isaiah 53:11 56:1 Jeremiah 23:6 Daniel 9:24; and in many other texts: so as the Spirit is here promised as instructing the world in that true righteousness by which a soul can be justified; and therein both correcting the errors of the pagan world, who thought the light of nature enough to show them the way to heaven; and also of the Jewish world, who thought the righteousness of the law sufficient; by showing them, that no righteousness would do it but the righteousness of Christ, reckoned unto them for righteousness, and apprehended by faith. Christ’s going to his Father, did both evidence him to be a just and righteous person, however wicked men in the world had represented and traduced him, for his Father would not have received him if he had not been such a person; and also evidence that, as was prophesied of the Messias, Daniel 9:24, he had finished the transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness: for it could not be imagined, that he should have an access to his Father before he had finished the work which his Father had given him to do, John 17:4.
And (saith our Saviour) ye see me no more; that is, after my ascension you shall see me no more; or after my death you shall see me no more, to have any such ordinary converse with me as hitherto you have had: for I shall not ascend to return again to you; but to sit at the right hand of my Father, till I return again to the last judgement.
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.The third thing to convince the world of which the Spirit is promised, is
judgment. There is a great variety amongst interpreters in their senses, what is to be understood by judgment in this text. Mr. Calvin thinks that by it is to be understood a right order of things: the devil, who is the prince of the world, had made a great disorder and confusion in the world; Christ, having judged him, brought in a reformation, and restored things into order again. Others understand the term, of that judicial power which Christ obtained after his ascension into heaven, when the Lord said unto him, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool, Psalm 110:1 Acts 2:34,35. Others understand it of that government which Christ exerciseth over and upon the souls of his people, once delivered out of the power of Satan by the obedience of Christ’s death. Others understand it of that all power given to Christ in heaven and earth, mentioned Matthew 28:18 Philippians 2:9,10. Others understand it of that perverse and corrupt judgment which the world exercised upon Christ and his apostles. Others understand it of the judgment of condemnation: the world should by the Spirit be convinced, that they lay in wickedness, and exposed to eternal condemnation, when they should see their father the devil, who arrogates to himself the title of the prince of the world, and exerciseth a tyranny over them, cast out, and overcome.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.Not any new articles of doctrine or faith, for, John 15:15, he had told them that he had made known unto them all things which he had heard of the Father of that nature; but some things (probably) which concerned them with reference to their office as apostles, the constitution, state, and government of the church:
but, saith he, ye cannot bear them now; in regard of their passion, or rather of their more imperfect state.
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: and he will shew you things to come.The word which we here translate guide, odhghsei, is a word of great emphasis; it strictly signifieth to be a guide of the way, not only to discover truth as the object of the understanding, but the bowing of the will to the obedience of it. It is said, that the Spirit should guide the apostles into all truth; that is, all necessary truth, whatsoever Christ had revealed to them, because in their present state they were not able to bear it; whatsoever should be fit for them to know, in order to their planting, ordering, and governing the church of God, which Christ had not, while he was with them acquainted them with; and people were to expect from the apostles, upon whom the Spirit should come in the days of Pentecost, and so influence them, that in those things they should not be at a loss to understand the will of God, which they should communicate unto others. And they ought to look upon what the apostles so revealed, as the mind of Christ; for the Holy Spirit should not speak merely of himself, but as from Christ, with whom he was essentially one; as also from the Father: whatsoever the Father and the Son willed he should communicate, that he should reveal to the apostles: and he shall reveal to you things that are to come, being in you the Spirit of prophecy. The apostles in their Epistles, and in the book of Revelation, showed not indeed all things, but many things which were and are to come to pass.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.That is, he shall make me famous in the world; as by the extraordinary gifts which he shall dispense and give out, so particularly by showing you things to come: for he shall guide and lead you into no other truth, but that which I have revealed, or which it is my will he should make known and reveal.
All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.All the Divine essence, wisdom, power, which is in the Father, are mine; I am, in all things that concern the Deity, one and equal with the Father; and that was the reason that I said that he should
take of mine, and show it to you; which is the same as if I had said, he shall take of my Father’s, and shall show it to you; for all that the Father hath is mine; I and my Father are one in essence, wisdom, power, &c.
A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.I must die, and so for two or three days you shall not see me; but after that you shall see me again, when I shall be risen from the dead: but because of the last words,
because I go to the Father, which seem to give a reason of the first clause; possibly by the little while first mentioned, our Saviour means the whole time from the speaking of those words to his ascension into heaven, for all that time was not more than six weeks; and by the little while mentioned in the latter part of the verse, our Saviour intends the whole time from his ascension until his coming to judgment: and so the reason is proper which is added, because I go unto the Father; for being so ascended, and sat down at the right hand of God, we are told that there he must sit, till God hath made all his enemies his footstool; and by the apostle, that the last enemy to be destroyed is death; and, Acts 3:21, Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?Christ had used much the same expression to the Jews, John 7:33,
Yet a little while I am with you; he had spoken the same to his disciples, John 13:33; yet it is plain from this verse, that his disciples did not understand him. What need the best of us have of the illuminations of the blessed Spirit, rightly to conceive of and understand spiritual things! These doctrines of his death resurrection, and ascension, and coming to judgment, our Lord had inculcated to his disciples, not only in the two texts aforementioned, but also John 8:21 12:33,36 14:2,4,12,28; and in this chapter, John 16:5,7.
They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.Still they do not understand what he meant. Who shall hereafter arrogate to man’s reason or understanding a power to comprehend spiritual mysteries? Had not the disciples reasonable souls? Will any say they had no mind to understand them? Certainly none can say so. Some lay the fault of the disciples not understanding these things upon the obscurity of our Saviour’s phrase, and his parabolical expression of them, others, in their ignorance of our Saviour’s resurrection from the dead; others, in their not understanding the circumstance of time: but certainly it is best imputed to the disciples inability to conceive of these things, and the prejudices of their national error concerning the temporal kingdom of the Messias. Let it lie where it will, the weakness of the disciples may be reasonably conceived not to be greater than is incident to the best of men; and if they were so dull of hearing and understanding, we may reasonably conceive that we are not free from the like impotency and infirmity.
Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?In the terms of this verse there is nothing difficult, but in the matter of it there is much instructive. We learn from hence:
1. That though good men may as to some points be ignorant as to the mind and will of God, yet they will be desirous of further instruction in it. To be willingly and contentedly ignorant, is not consistent with a root of saving grace.
2. Christ knows the desires of our hearts, before they are made known to him by the words of our lips; but yet it will not follow, that we may satisfy ourselves with inward, secret desires, without making them known by our lips; for God requireth the calves of our lips, as well as the desires and groans of our inward man.
3. Christ is very ready to teach those whose hearts he seeth desirous to learn; therefore he saith,
Do ye inquire among yourselves? &c. Are you inquisitive? I am ready to teach and to instruct you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.Our Saviour’s reply is no literal answer to their question, or exposition of the term which appeared so difficult to them to understand; but yet it is a substantial answer, by which he lets them know, that he should be absent from them for some time, which time would be to them a time of mourning and sadness, as he had before told them; that when the Bridegroom should be taken from them, then they should mourn; that that time would be to the wicked part of the world a time of mirth and jollity: but their sorrow should be turned into joy when they should see him again, both upon his resurrection, and in the general resurrection. The time of this life is the worldling’s hour, and for the most part the power of darkness to such as love and fear God; but as the worldling’s joy shall at last be turned into sorrow, (they compass themselves about with sparks, but they shall at last lie down in sorrow, Isaiah 50:11), so the godly man’s sorrow shall be turned into joy: Christ will say to the good servant, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord, Matthew 25:23.
A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.Our Lord compares the state of the church in this life, and more especially in those first and most furious times, to the state of a woman that is big with child, and in her travail; when, he saith, she hath sorrow, that is, great pain, because God, when he cursed the woman for her transgression, made this her portion, Genesis 3:16, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and when her weeks are fulfilled, her hour is come to feel the effect of this curse, the fruit of the first woman’s transgression: but no sooner is she delivered of a child, but she forgetteth all her throes and pains, for joy of a child born into the world. Such (saith our Saviour to his disciples) is your state; you are as a woman in travail; so will all those that believe in me be, to the end of the world.
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.The whole church, Revelation 12:1,2, is compared to a woman with child, crying, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. During this time of your travail you must have sorrow. All those
that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution, 2 Timothy 3:12. It is appointed for all men once to die, Hebrews 9:27. It is appointed for God’s people (especially under some periods of time) to be dying daily, killed all the day long, as the apostle expresses the state of Christians in his time, Romans 8:36, quoting Psalm 44:22, which showeth the state of the church in the Old Testament to have been the same. But (saith our Saviour) it is but as the hour of the woman’s travail; it will be sharp, very sharp, but it shall be short; for I will see you again, and then your heart shall rejoice; which cannot be understood of Christ’s seeing them again after his resurrection; for before that time we read of few or no sufferings of the apostles or other disciples. It must therefore be understood, either of the visitation of his Spirit, filling their hearts with joy and peace, or the visitation of his providence: or rather, of Christ’s coming to the last judgment, when all that have believed in Christ shall see him with joy unspeakable; and then all tears shall be wiped away from their eyes, and they shall enter into the joy of their Lord, and sigh and sorrow no more, nor shall it be in the power of all their enemies to deprive them of their joy.
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.That the day here spoken of is that before mentioned, John 16:22, when Christ promised to see them again, and that their hearts should rejoice, is without question; but what that day is (as we before showed) is not so well agreed: some understand it of the general resurrection, when Christ shall come to judgment, when all asking for satisfaction as to any thing of which we doubt shall cease; and this seemeth at first the plainest sense: You shall then be made perfect; as you shall want nothing, so you shall ask nothing, But because of the following words, which plainly refer to the time of this life, others distinguish concerning asking, and by asking here understand, asking by way of question, for further information, not by way of prayer for supply: and indeed the Greek word enforces that sense; for it is not aithsete, which signifieth to ask or beg, as in prayer; but erwthsete, which signifieth to ask for a resolution in case of doubting. Now though it be true, that in the day of judgment, when we shall see Christ as he is, and know God as we are known, we shall have no occasion to ask any questions; yet because the following words speak of an asking in prayer, which is proper to this life, it should seem that the day here mentioned is some time before the last judgment: what that should be, is the question. It is certainly best understood of the time after the effusion or pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost; of which time it was prophesied by Joel, Joel 2:28, that God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh; their sons and their daughters should prophesy, their old men should dream dreams, and their young men should see visions, Acts 2:17; and to which time Isaiah had a respect in his prophecy, Isaiah 11:9, that the earth should befall of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. So as these words,
ye shall ask me nothing in that day, signify the great light that should, upon the coming down of the Holy Spirit, shine in upon their souls, so that they should no longer have any such doubts as they now had; and sound much the same thing that we have, 1Jo 2:27, But the anointing (by which is meant the Holy Spirit) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things. We must not too rigidly interpret our Saviour’s words here, as if they were a promise of such a state in this life, when either the present or succeeding disciples of Christ should be so filled with knowledge, as they should have no further doubts, or need not to ask any thing of Christ, that is, to be resolved in any thing. Our Saviour here speaketh only comparatively, to signify the great difference there would be as to knowledge, between them in their present state, and what should be after the pouring out of the Holy Spirit: they should then fully understand what Christ meant by his saying, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father: and should not need ask him questions about that, or many other things which they were now at a loss about: as Jeremiah 31:34, where the prophet saith, They shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest. It must not be interpreted (as some have done) to signify a needlessness of ministerial teaching; so neither must this text be interpreted to signify a needlessness of an inquiry of Christ for further satisfaction; but only as signifying the vast difference in the degrees of knowledge, after the Holy Spirit should be poured forth, from what was even in the best men before that time. In the latter part of the text another word is used, it is not erwthsete, but aithsete. Our Saviour there plainly speaketh of their asking in prayer; and the promise is, that to supply the defects of their knowledge, and the want of his personal instruction, they should obtain by prayer from the Father all that was necessary for their discharge of the prophetical office, Matthew 7:7 15:7 16:24. See Poole on "Matthew 7:7". See Poole on "Matthew 15:7". See Poole on "Matthew 16:24".
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.All the prayers of believers under the Old Testament were accepted upon the account of the Mediator, who was typified by the temple, and the ark, where their solemn worship was performed by Divine appointment; but the explicit naming of him was not usual in their requests. Indeed the prophet Daniel enforced his requests for the Lord’s sake, which may peculiarly respect the Messias, the promised Mediator. Our Saviour, in the form of prayer dictated to his disciples, gave no direction of addressing themselves to God in his name. But now he was ready to accomplish the will of his Father, by offering himself as an expiatory sacrifice for sin, and thereby reconciling God to them; and the prevalence of his intercession depending upon his meritorious, all sufficient sufferings, he directs and encourages them to pray with a humble confidence in his name for all the blessings they stand in need of. And it is matter of exceeding joy, that notwithstanding their unworthiness of the least favours, yet they are assured of obtaining their petitions offered up in his name; for the Father was so pleased with his voluntary obedience to the death of the cross, that no blessing is so good or great, but he most willingly bestows for his sake to all humble supplicants.
These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.That by proverbs is meant any dark sayings, is plain from the opposition in the text of that term
plainly. Christ had spoken, though not all things, yet many things to them in dark phrases, and under many figurative expressions;
but (saith he) the time cometh, when I shall show you plainly of the Father: that time is either Christ’s second coming, or after the pouring out of the Spirit, which latter is most probably what our Saviour doth here intend, because of those great measures of knowledge which at and after that time were given out. He had before given to his disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, far beyond others, Matthew 13:11; but yet it appears by John 14:1-6, and many other texts, that they had a very confused and imperfect knowledge of the Trinity, and Christ’s oneness with the Father, and their mutual personal relation one to another.
At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:When the Spirit shall come, then you shall fully and clearly understand how to put up your prayers to the Father in my name: hitherto have you done it imperfectly, not fully understanding what you did; but when I shall have poured out my Spirit, then you shall fully understand what it is to pray in my name, and you shall accordingly do it. He doth not deny that he would ask the Father; for the Scripture elsewhere plainly expresses it, Romans 8:34 Hebrews 7:25; but he only tells them, that he said not so to them; the reason of which he tells us in the next words.
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.I need not tell you (to beget in you a confidence that your prayers should be heard) that I will pray to the Father for you; for my Father himself hath such a love for you, that you may from thence alone conclude that he will hear you. And though my Father’s love to you be an everlasting love, which hath no cause in the creature; yet as to the manifestations of my Father’s love, they are further drawn forth by the love which he seeth you bear to me, and by your receiving me, who am the Messiah, and came forth from God, to perform the work of man’s redemption.
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.Though I be in the world, yet my original is not from the world; I am one with my Father, equal with him, God blessed forever. I came forth from him, as one sent in the fulness of time, to discharge the office of the Messias; the world, the place so called, was neither my original, nor yet is my home. I am presently leaving the world again, and going to my Father.
His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.Our Saviour having now plainly told them that he was leaving the world, put an end to their inquiries whither he was going, and satisfied them that in his former expressions of going away, not for a while to be seen, he meant no earthly motion: this they confess had no obscurity at all in it; These words are so intelligible, that there is no reason for any of us to ask thee any thing about the sense of them.
Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.This confirmeth us in that faith, or persuasion, which we before had, though it was in us but weak, that indeed thou art come forth from God.
Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?Some read the words, (not as a question), You do now believe. It is well you believe at last, you had reason enough to have believed before this time.
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye 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.Though you profess that now you do believe, you had need look to your faith; there is yet a trying time coming upon you, when your faith will waver, and you, who have been so long my followers, will leave me to shift for myself, and every one of you shift for yourselves: this came to pass presently after, Matthew 26:56. Those who think they stand, had need take heed lest they fall; those who think their faith strongest, ought to be thinking with themselves, what they shall do, how they shall be able to stand, in a day of sharp trial. Many in a calm time appear to be professors and believers, who, when affliction and persecution ariseth for the gospel’s sake, will fall away, and leave Christ alone.
Yet (saith our Saviour) I am not alone, because the Father is with me. No man is alone who hath the presence of God with him. Christ knew that in all his sufferings he should have the presence and assistance of his heavenly Father.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.By peace here is not so much to be understood peace with God; which yet we have from Christ, and through Christ, according to Romans 5:1, Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; nor yet peace of conscience, which is the copy of our peace with God; as a peace of mind, a quiet, serene, calm temper, which indeed is the effect of the other, as the cause: that you might not to troubled and disturbed, neither for my sake, nor yet for your own. Though in the world ye meet with troubles, which you will certainly do, because the world hateth you,
be of good cheer, ( saith he),
I have overcome the world; where by world is to be understood, all temptations from it, whether from the flatteries or from the frowns and troubles of it. We are said to overcome the world, but we overcome it as soldiers, fighting under Christ, who is the Captain of our salvation, and his victory is our victory, 1Jo 4:4 5:4,5. Christ overcame the prince of the world, and cast him out, as we heard before; and he hath overcome sin, and we in him, in the midst of all tribulations, are more than conquerors through him that loved us, Romans 8:37. This was our Saviour’s last sermon which we have upon sacred record in holy writ.