John 16:1-33 (hardship, Spirit And Victory)

78495448“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

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Jesus knew that the more he talked about his departure and the more the situation around him was intensifying, the sadder his disciples would become. They already understood that his arrest and execution were imminent. As was discussed in the previous section, Jesus was referring to the prophecy of Ezekiel (Ezek.37) that speaks about the resurrection of Israel – the valley of dry bones vision. There, the son of man (assumed to be Ezekiel) is told to prophecy to the wind/spirit. When he does so the wind comes and brings about resurrection.

There is no doubt that the Helper in verse 7 refers to the Spirit in Ezekiel 37. What is interesting is that Jesus is saying I must go, so the helper can/will come. The implication is that this prophecy is waiting to be fulfilled until Jesus is ascended to the heavenly throne and is able to prophecy/speak with the authority of the Son of Man (Dan.7).

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The wind of God that will come spiritually and physically to resurrect Israel will come by the authority of two powers in heaven – the Father and his royal Son.

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice.

It would be true to say that when Jesus would be crucified his followers would weep and mourn; while those who hated him and sought his death would finally rejoice that their fears were put to rest.

You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

The world’s joy will be temporary, just as the mourning of those who loved Jesus would also be temporary. Death would not be able to hold Jesus. Joy would  define Christ-following discipleship and one day, at the full restoration of heaven and earth, God would  wipe away every tear from the eyes of all those who will inherit the earth.

23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

As Jesus transforms his disciples into a company of friends and co-workers in God’s vineyard –  Israel, he now tells them that soon they will have a new and wonderful privilege. They will be able to communicate with the Father in the name of Jesus and expect a fatherly response directly from Him.

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

In this passage, Jesus predicts very harsh persecution against his disciples and those who would follow them. Several times he repeats the idea that he is warning them ahead of time not be surprised when persecution comes, but to take courage in that this was expected. In the midst of this tribulation, they can be confident Jesus has overcome the world. Because they are in him (vine and branches imagery), they share in his victory.

© By Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Ph.D.

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Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

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  1. Kat Hobaugh

    I would especially like to understand the background (language, Jewish mindset, Jewish history) and context of your comment ( found within the article) “full restoration of heaven and earth” . Your statement is unclear to me because of this scripture “We have seen the Lord!”

  2. joanne yaakov

    What really struck me in this study today was something written in the scriptures in the reference you gave to Daniel 7. In Daniel 7:25 it states “He will attempt to alter the seasons and the law”. The Christian church at large today knows very little about the Jewishness of the scripture. They know very little of the laws of G-d for they are told not to follow the Torah. They do not follow the biblical seasons or the feasts, G-d’s appointed times as Jesus would have. But have introduced other practices and feasts into their doctrines like Easter, Christmas etc. Could this be what Daniel is referring to? Have they lost through altered doctrine the truth of scripture, the beauty of His laws and the feasts which guide us in His ways throughout the year? In light of the prophesy given in Ezekiel 37, could the church be apart of those brought into the house of Joseph (Ephraim) to join with Judah as the prophesy declares. I find this whole teaching spectacular

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Joanne, shalom. I am not sure… but let’s keep thinking about this together, OK? Dr. Eli

    2. Rafael

      Interesting, my rabbi wrote a book called “God’s Appointed Times”. It explains Jewish festivals from a messianic perspective.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        For those of you interested in the book Rafael mentions here you can find it http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Appointed-Times-Edition-Understanding/dp/1880226359

        Dr. Eli

  3. Ildiko

    Shalom, DR Eli

    I have a theorie about the prophecy in Ez.:37. You will tell, it is right, almost right, or wrong.
    So, at the Pentecost the Spirit was charged to the disciples who was in the upper room in Jerusalem. They teach other jews, who became believers in Jesus’s resurection, and recive the Spirit too. After a time the jews must live Jerusalem, and the land of Israel, and they go in the four quarter of word taking whit them the faith and the Spirit. A few who remain in the Holy Land keep theirs old religions.
    In Ez 37:11/b say : “Our bones are dryed up, and our hope is lost, e are clean cut off”…
    I think, in this moment the people of Israel don’t have the Spirit. The “nations”, the gentiles had them. Now come the prophecy when the bones come together, and Yahve sad: “I will open your graves, and I cause you to come up of your graves, o my people, and I will bring you into the land of Israel” The prophecy continued “…There were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above…” But it was no breath on them. I think, here we can see a nation, one united nation, but they have no the Spirit.
    “Thus saith the Lord Yahve: come from the four winds, o breath, and breathe upon these slain, than they may live”(Ez 37:9)… “And I will put my spirit in you, and ye shall live…”(Ez 37:14)
    In Zechariah 12:10 say: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and I will pour upon inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be bitterness for him as one who is in bitterness for his first-borne.” Zach. 13:1 “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness…” I think, here the Lord speak about the conversion of Israel in “that day”, and all “inhabitants of Jerusalem (palestinians too??)” In this day the spirit will be take from us, and will be give for Israel, for the remain of Israel, and then they will have eternal life, and their king will be Jesus from Nazareth, the Messiah of Israel.This day is in the future yet, but will come. Now the Spirit is in the four corner of word, and Israel have one united nation without Spirit of God, between Ez 13:8 and Ez 13:10

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think this is the accepted way to look at this. Blessings, Dr. Eli