Jesus continues teaching the disciples five indispensible lessons they will need to know in order to live in His absence. In verse 33, Jesus clearly states that the purpose of the things He is currently teaching them is to give them peace as they continue to live on earth in His absence.
The fourth lesson (16:16-33) is the confidence they will have in light of the certainty of His return (the certainty of the future gives peace in the present).
John 16:16-22-Jesus tells the disciples that before long, He will no longer be with them. They didn’t understand what He meant. So, He tried again, and told them that He was going to leave…but would return later…and in the meantime, He would be going to the Father. The disciples told Him that now they were more confused than ever (:18). Jesus then tells them that He is going to leave and that they will be very sorrowful over His departure. But, that He will return…and when He returns their joy will be so great that they will forget the sorrow they once had and nothing will ever again be able to take their joy from them. He tells them, “…but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you” (:22). Hallelujah, Lord! Thank You for this wonderful promise.
John 16:23-27-These next verses can appear to be a little confusing…but if we read between the lines we see that there is a simple explanation. Verse 19 says that Jesus was aware that they had some questions to ask Him. It is possible, that at that very moment, the disciples were thinking, “We’ve got a problem, here. There is so much that we don’t understand. Right now, Jesus is standing directly in front of us explaining the answers to our questions. But what’s going to happen when He’s no longer with us and we’ve got a question? Who are we going to ask, then?” Jesus was totally aware of this concern. So, He tells them that at the present time when they don’t understand something they would simply ask Him. But after He has left (after His ascension into Heaven), while they will no longer be able to address Him, directly…they will be able to address the Father, directly (:23). And why is this possible? Because, as a result of their love for Him, the Father loves them, and now welcomes their questions. All they need to do is to ask in Jesus’ name. In other words, ask as one of His followers, as one who believes in Him (:27). After all, if He is with the Father and they pray in His name…He will be right there to intercede for them. It is vitally important that we understand this teaching concerning prayer. When we pray, Jesus intercedes for us (goes to the Father on our behalf) because He is our “friend” (15:14)…one who understands life from our human perspective. He is with the Father…and is our intermediary. Nowhere in the Bible are we ever told to pray to any other human, to any saint, to any deceased family member, to Mary, to any pastor or priest, to any angel, or to any other created being. We are to pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He told them specifically to pray in this manner, “Our Father…” In fact, we are commanded to never pray to anyone else other than God, Himself…and, we are told that if we do pray to anyone else, it is sin.
John 16:28-33-Jesus now tells them that He originally came from the Father into this world, and that now He is going back to the Father. The disciples seem to have suddenly caught on…”Lo, now You are speaking plainly” (:29). What opened their eyes? Jesus told them that He had come from God. Now that they realize that…they also realize that they don’t need to have all of the answers, they just need to have faith in Him. Because He came from God…He has all the answers (:30). They just need to trust Him. They are absolutely right. But Jesus warns them, that while what they say is true, a difficult time of tribulation is about to come…and they will forsake Him. At that moment, they must remember, that their peace does not come from the conditions of the world around them. Or, from having answers to their questions, being able to explain why things happen, or knowing what will come next. Their peace and courage comes from their faith in the fact that He has overcome the world. Our peace is in Him. While we may not have peace from the storm; nevertheless, we can have peace in the storm.
Prayer: Father, sometimes I allow the conditions around me to steal my peace away. I feel that I have to be able to make sense out of things…in order to have peace. To have an answer for why things happen. Please forgive me. Help me to always know that the only real and lasting peace comes from having faith in You. You are all the answer that I need. You have already overcome whatever it is that is threatening my peace. Help me to learn to live in the light of Your victory…even though I may not see it.