John 16:16-33 Jesus: The God Who Overcomes

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1 John 16:16-33 Jesus: The God Who Overcomes Scripture Focus John 16:16-33 Key Verse John 16:33 TDM Competency Live Biblically: Understand and apply biblical principles to all areas of life. Jesus prepares His disciples to live in faith even after He would no longer be with them. Last week s lesson taught that Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit after He ascended back to the right hand of God. Jesus is the God who helps by sending the Holy Spirit who is our Helper. In this text we see that Jesus is the God who overcomes. He promised His followers that although He would be arrested, beaten, crucified and buried, seemingly undefeatable actions, He would overcome. Based on His promise and perfect action on the cross and in the resurrection, Jesus calls His followers to live biblically. Understanding that sorrow would be temporary (only three days!) and that their suffering would be temporary (for the short span of life), they were to live in joy, hope and certainty that they too would overcome through Jesus Christ. Overview The disciples were fearful of being alone. Jesus had told them that He would soon depart. He then spent time preparing them for His departure. He promised them the Holy Spirit. He promised them that sorrow would be temporary. He promised them that everlasting joy would soon come. He promised them that belief in Him would bring persecution; but that just as He would overcome the grave, they too would overcome through Him. Theme The certainty of the resurrection is the same certainty by which believers are to face fears, persecution and death for the cause of Christ. Our certainty to overcome is not in any way based on anything in us, but fully on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have certainty that the pain and suffering for the cause of Christ in this world is temporary and that the joy of Heaven through Jesus is eternal. Desired Learner Response [Aiming at the Heart for Life Transformation] To place their faith in the promises of Jesus and to alter their life in order to live in a way that demonstrates they believe the suffering of today is temporary and that the eternal promises of Jesus are certain. Outline How Did Jesus Prepare His Disciples for His Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension? 1. Clarifying His Promise (vv ) 2. Providing Access to God (vv ) 3. Promising a Secure Future (vv ) 1

2 Lesson I. Clarifying His Promise (vv ) v. 16 Jesus continues to prepare the disciples for His arrest, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. In the previous lesson we saw that Jesus promised He would send the Holy Spirit after He ascended back to Heaven. In this verse He promises that although He will be gone for a season, then He will return. Since this text is in the context of the Holy Spirit s coming, we cannot conclude that Jesus was only talking about His arrest and burial when referring to being away from the disciples. The context tells us that Jesus was preparing His immediate audience of disciples, as well as all of His followers for all ages, not only to trust in Him while physically absent but to also look in certain faith to His physical return for His church. The phrase a little while refers to a season of time rather than a specific time stamp. vv The disciples still cannot make sense out of His going and another coming. We often have a tendency to criticize the disciples for their lack of understanding. However, remember that we have the benefit of the complete story of God s redemption of mankind. The cross had not yet occurred, the resurrection was yet to come, the ascension was still in the future, and the coming of the Holy Spirit was a promise yet to be fulfilled. We look back at the completed story and are called to have faith. The disciples were called to have faith in that which was yet to come. v. 19 Jesus comes to His followers, interrupts their conversation and corrects their discussion. His question implied a corrective tone. They were discussing with one another issues that only Jesus could answer. Notice in verse 19 Jesus said, Are you asking one another? ; then in verse 20 said, I tell you the truth. It is a sinful tendency of man to converse over the meaning of the Word of God without ever consulting the Word of God. The disciples were guilty of seeking meaning of God s Word in each other rather than simply going to Jesus, the Living Word, and asking Him to clarify their confusion. Ask: Who do we often go to when we are looking for direction in life? Ask: Where should we always go first? Note that since the Bible is sufficient for all of life, our default source of direction should always be Scripture. Ask: Why do we often go to the Bible as a last resort? Note that we often neglect looking in the Bible for direction because: 1) we do not want to do what it tells us to do; 2) we are unwilling to be corrected by Scripture; 3) we simply do not believe the Bible is what it claims to be; and 4) we are fearful that God s Word will call us to act in a way that makes the situation more difficult rather than bringing comfort to our lives. The disciples experienced reason #4. When Jesus told them the meaning of His words, they began to realize that faithfulness to His Word and trust in His promises would require much, even their own lives. vv Jesus draws the disciples attention to the immediate moments of grief that would soon come when He died. It is significant to note the two emotional responses to Jesus death in this text. The word world is a reference to all those that did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, rejected the idea that they were guilty of breaking God s law and therefore to blame for their sin, and stood guilty before God. How does such a person respond to the sacrificial death of Jesus on 2

3 the cross for the sins of the world? The text says that they rejoice. Unregenerate people (all of them and all of us before salvation) are enemies of God. Jesus death on the cross was viewed as a great victory by His enemies, but such a perception of victory was short-lived. As the disciples would sorrow for a season, the enemies of God would only rejoice for a season. The cross was not a moment of defeat, but rather the greatest victory in the history of warfare. Jesus bore the wrath of God that was due to each one of us because of our rebellion against God. It was on the cross that Jesus defeated all sin by becoming sin and conquered the power of death by dying a death that all His followers would not have to endure. His resurrection ended the rejoicing of His enemies for it demonstrated the victory of the cross, and it began the rejoicing of His followers for they then knew that all He had promised was fully accomplished on the cross. The promise of joy coming to the disciples after a time of mourning would spring only from Christ s resurrection. First Corinthians 15:12-28 is a helpful text for you to demonstrate to your class the significance of the resurrection and why the disciples had such joy over an empty tomb. Just as Jesus did throughout His mission to make disciples out of these men, as He taught, He gave a simplistic illustration to help His followers understand a greater truth. In this text He compares the pain of a woman in childbirth with the pain the disciples will face when He dies. Not that they will experience physical pain but that the emotional pain will be short and the joy of life will be forever. Jesus promises a joy that would come to them after the resurrection, and that joy would be eternal. The resurrection was not merely an isolated event but the dawning of a new age in redemption history. Two key reference texts: Isaiah 26:16-21; Isaiah 66:14 II. Providing Access to God (vv ) vv The word day is a reference to the last days. Remind your class that the last days are not times yet to come, but that we are living in the last days. The resurrection of Christ began the period in biblical history known as the last days or end times. The next great event in history is the rapture of the church. In these last days we have direct access to the throne of God through Jesus Christ. It would have been shocking to these Jewish men when Jesus told them that they could speak to God. He repeatedly uses the phrase in My name. The idea of name in Hebrew thought was far more complex than in our Western idea of a name. A name in our culture most often is simply the way we refer to an individual or identify someone. A name in Hebrew culture defined the essence of that person s nature and character. When Joseph obeyed God and named the God-man, Jesus, he was making a profession of faith. Many Jewish boys were named Jesus as a testimony that their families believed that one day God would send a savior to Israel. When Joseph named Jesus, he was professing his belief that the child in the manger was indeed fully God and fully man, the Messiah. So, when Jesus told the disciples to ask in His name and promised that God would give whatever they asked, it was not a formula for His followers to get what they selfishly desired. To ask in Jesus name was to ask in a way that demonstrated a heart that was chiefly concerned with that which Christ was concerned, namely the redemption of mankind and making converts disciples. To ask in His name is to ask in a way that is completely consistent with His Word, for His glory and with a heart willing to suffer if necessary for the gospel of Jesus Christ. 3

4 Ask: How can we be sure we are asking God for the right things and with the right heart motive? Note: we can only be sure if we clearly align our hearts and words with the Word of God. Lead your class to understand that praying Scripture is a valuable discipline that will help them truly ask in Jesus name. Help them to choose a few passages of Scripture and turn them into prayers this week. Example: all of us are in daily need of repentance. We can pray a prayer that sounds repentant, but measuring the content of our prayer and condition of our heart against Psalm 51 may reveal that our prayer, although in Jesus name, really did not get to the heart of the issue of our sin. Using Psalm 51 as a model for daily prayers of repentance helps us pray in Jesus name or in a manner that rightly represents that which God has revealed in His Word. v Jesus did not merely clarify figurative speech. The ultimate significance of Christ s preaching was clarified through His death, burial and resurrection, which displayed the sinless nature, perfect character, deity and humanity, and purposes of God through Jesus Christ. The cross was the pivotal event in all world history that also gave clarity and meaning to all former prophecies and all future gospels and epistles that would be penned by the apostles after Christ s ascension. In the immediate context Jesus would speak after His resurrection, and the Holy Spirit would speak after Jesus ascension. vv Jesus ascension would not distance them from God, but on the basis of the mediating role of the Son in redemption, they (and all believers) were accepted by God. Jesus does intercede for us but is not the middleman guarding the way to God, but rather is the open door to the throne. Remember who Jesus audience was in this text. It was a group of men that lived a religious life before Christ, viewing God as completely unapproachable, and had never considered it within their ability to have a conversation with God. As the veil in the temple would be torn upon Jesus death to symbolize that all barriers (sin) between God and man were removed through Christ, Jesus is preparing His disciples to come into the presence of God in prayer after He is no longer physically with them. Jesus connects the love of God with the faith response of man in describing the access to God. Without God s initiatory love in giving His Son to bear His wrath in place of sinful man, there would be no access to God. Without man believing that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior, he will not be saved thus will not have access to the Father. v. 28- The primary purpose of John s Gospel is to demonstrate that Jesus is God. Throughout the Gospel the Holy Spirit inspired John to make specific statements that leave no room for doubt that Jesus declared Himself to be God. To come from the Father was more than just being a messenger sent from God. The context of John s Gospel will not allow for Jesus to be viewed as merely a messenger or representative of God. John s Gospel offers the one dimensional view of Jesus as God. Just as Jesus would send the Spirit, God sent the Son; and in each sending the text testifies that there is one God in three persons. The disciples were taught that Jesus would not be with them physically, but would be with God the Father to whom the disciples would have direct access through Jesus Christ. Ask: What encouragement do you receive from knowing that Jesus is with the Father and that God the Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of all believers? Why is that so vitally important? Guard 4

5 your class from man-centered responses and lead them to see that the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit enables us to be faithful to God in times of suffering, tribulation and great distractions. Emphasize that these promises of God s presence and access to God are for the purpose of encouraging believers to fully live for Christ. III. Promising a Secure Future (vv ) vv Jesus supremely reveals God and the disciples testify to that truth. Had the disciples only said, We believe that You came from God, some people may contend that they did not understand that He was indeed God. But, they also said, We know that You know all things. These men knew that no one could claim omniscience (all-knowledge) or that omniscience could not be ascribed to anyone but God alone. They knew that only God knows all things. Their statement of Jesus omniscience was a declaration of faith that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. Ask: How do we sometimes live in a way that does not reflect our belief that Jesus knows all things? Note that biblical living reminds us that God sees and knows all that we think and do. vv The disciples were forced to face their fears. They had already expressed their desire to stay with Jesus and concern about being left alone. He promised them, as we saw in the last lesson, the presence of the Holy Spirit. He also addressed His own abandonment by those that were closest to Him. However abandoned, He will be by His disciples; they can be assured of His presence just as He assured them of God the Father s presence with Him. Dodd states, The church s foundation members were discredited men; it owed its existence, not to their faith, courage, virtue, but to what Christ had done with them; and this they could never forget. All disciples did flee at the arrest of Christ. Jesus looked beyond their collapse to their restoration and ends the discourse with encouragement. In this world Christians will face trouble, but the foundation of our perseverance is the triumph of Christ. The decisive battle has been waged and won. The world may attack and kill believers, but it cannot eternally harm the believer. We know in Christ that we are victorious and in this we have His peace. Ask: What caused the disciples to finally believe that Jesus was the Son of God? What reason does Jesus give them for telling them all these things about Himself? Note that He did not promise freedom from suffering, but to the contrary promised that they would suffer for believing and living out the belief that Jesus is God. He revealed these things to the disciples in order that in the midst of persecutions, suffering, violence, heart turmoil and even death, they would have courage. Because they were in Christ and Christ had overcome the world, they and we could be assured that they would (and we will) overcome this world. Because of Jesus death, burial and resurrection we who have confessed that we are wickedly guilty before God, repented and trusted Jesus alone for salvation can live with confidence that the troubles of this world are temporary and the joy of heaven is eternal. 5

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