Text: John 16
Event(s): Jesus continues His upper room discussion with the disciples
Jesus’ method of teaching was not to give a thorough explanation of one subject, then a thorough explanation of another subject, and so on. It was rather to introduce several subjects initially, then return to them and give a little more information, then return again and give even more information. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is the main subject of this next section of the discourse.
John 16:1 “that you should not be made to stumble” The word used for stumble here means to be caught unaware. In other words, Jesus didn’t want the events that would come to pass to take the disciples by surprise. Even though not everything He was teaching them would make sense, He was giving them and teaching them the pieces they would need and when the time came to intersect with the events He mentioned, the Holy Spirit would be faithful to bring back to memory what Jesus had taught them and it would all fit together and make sense (as Jesus goes on to say He would in verse 4).
John 16:5-6 “and none of you asks Me, “Where are you going?…sorrow has filled your heart.” Because the disciples were so focused on what Jesus’ leaving would mean to them, they could not even think to ask or be excited about the bigger picture of what God was doing. We can be like that too sometimes. This is great to learn from, that when we feel discouraged, perhaps we’re missing the bigger picture.
John 16:9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me” Verse 9, 10, and 11 explain what Jesus said in verse 8. Let’s break these down. The goodness and mercy of God pursues us all the days of our lives. The Holy Spirit is right now, heavily pursuing that unbelieving friend or relative. But it’s important to recognize that He’s not pursuing them to try and tell them everything they’re doing wrong. (How many times have we tried this approach with leading our friends or relatives to God and failed miserably?) The “sin” this is referring to is their unbelief. As the Holy Spirit pursues an unbeliever the conviction He’s attempting to touch their hearts with is their need for Jesus. We participate in God’s plan most effectively when we do the same, for we have been given the ministry and the message of reconciliation. We get to share the “good news”. Once we are believers, the Holy Spirit does convict us of sin in our lives, but it doesn’t drive us away from God, instead it pulls us closer towards Him.