The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)

Lesson 41


(John 16:16-28)


1.     We are now coming to the end of our Lord’s final discourse to His disciples.

2.     In John 16:7-15, our Lord told His disciples about the ministry of the Holy Spirit – “the Comforter” (16:7).

3.     Then beginning in verse 16, he says, “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.”

4.     Our Lord was referring to His death and resurrection, but His disciples did not understand what He was talking about (16:17, 18).

5.     Our Lord’s statement seemed paradoxical.  It almost sounded like a riddle.   The disciples were bewildered, but rather than ask our Lord to explain, they discussed it “among themselves” (16:17).

6.     Harry Ironside said this “suggests something of the reverent awe in which they held Him.”

7.     But of course, they did not have to ask our Lord because as the omniscient Son of God He knew their thoughts (16:19).

8.     After our Lord rose from the dead, the disciples were no longer bewildered.  Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39) reveals that soon they would understand what Jesus was saying.

9.     Our Lord’s words must be studied carefully.  He was actually looking beyond his impending death (the next day) and resurrection, to His ascension and second coming.

10. Hebrews 10:37 uses the same phrase, “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”

11. “…And will not tarry.”  We often hear people say, “If the Lord tarries…” but strictly speaking the Lord will not tarry.  The Lord has a program and everything is right on schedule (cf. John 14:1-3; 16:21).



1.     First comes the cross, then the crown.  First there comes weeping, then rejoicing (16:20).

2.     After our Lord was crucified, His disciples wept and lamented His death (16:20).   Meanwhile, as our Lord’s disciples wept, His enemies rejoiced.  Our Lord predicted all of this.  In Luke 19, our Lord gave the parable of the certain nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and then to return.

3.     Our Lord was that certain nobleman, and He said in Luke 19:14, “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”

4.     Beloved, this is the attitude people have toward the Lord Jesus Christ – “We will not have this man to reign over us.”

5.     The Jewish leaders were confident they had succeeded in eliminating Christ.  They were happy their goal had been achieved.

6.     But they were wrong. Like the hymn-writer said,

“Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose!  He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!”

7.     The disciples were now no longer weeping.  Just as Jesus had said, their sorrow had been turned into joy.

8.     After seeing the resurrected Lord, John 20:20 says, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

9.     By the way, let me say that according to the Bible, sorrow and rejoicing are not mutually exclusive.   Consider what the apostle Paul said in II Corinthians 6:10, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing…”



1.     I said first comes the cross, then the crown.  In this passage our Lord is looking beyond the cross and beyond His resurrection, and beyond His ascension.  He is looking to His second coming.

2.     Today many of God’s children are weeping. Meanwhile the devil’s crowd is having a big laugh. 

3.     Consider what our Lord said in John 16:21, and compare it with I Thessalonians 5:3.

4.     The OT prophets often used this metaphor of a woman suffering through the pangs of child birth.  Isaiah, Hosea and Micah all use this symbolism, and Jeremiah uses it nine times.

5.     Today God’s people are going through some travail-pains.  I believe the pangs will increase as we draw closer to the end of this dispensation of grace.

6.     But when Christ returns to meet us in the air, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

7.     Let me remind you that in Titus 2:13, the rapture of the church is referred to as “that blessed hope.”

8.     Let me remind you that according to the NT, the blessed hope is a purifying hope.  The promise of the second coming of Christ is set before us as an incentive to purity of life.  First John 3:3 says, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”

9.     John also says, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (I John 2:28).

10. This tells us that some Christians will be ashamed when Christ comes back. 

11. Christian, is your house in order?  If you knew for certain that the Lord was coming back tonight would you hurry home and straighten things out?

12. Well, He could come back tonight.

13. “Coming again, Coming again; May be morning, may be noon, may be evening and may be soon!

Coming again, Coming again; O what a wonderful day it will be – Jesus is coming again!”

14. Those of us who truly believe that the Lord is coming back ought to be practicing Biblical holiness, because in the NT the second coming of Christ is linked to holiness (cf. I Thess. 3:13).



1.     Our Lord taught His disciples (and this includes us) the privilege of going directly ton God in prayer, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (16:23; cf. 14:13, 14).

2.     We do not need a priest, or the pope, or Mary to intercede for us.   First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

3.     Prayer is not man’s effort to overcome God’s unwillingness.  It was George Muller who said, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance.  It is laying hold of His willingness.”

4.     J. Vernon McGee wrote, “Prayer is not to persuade God to do something that He didn’t intend to do; prayer is to get you and me in line with the program of God.”

5.     When Jonathan Goforth was preparing to preach the Gospel in the province of Honan in China, he wrote to Hudson Taylor.  The famous missionary wrote back and said, “It is one of the most anti-foreign provinces in China…Brother, if you would enter that province, you must go forward on your knees.”

6.     Our Lord said in John 16:24 that prayer brings joy to the believer.  And Psalm 16:11 tells us that prayer delights God.

7.     Hebrews 4:16 tells us that prayer is the means of getting help in time of need.

8.     Our Lord said in Matthew 7:7, 8 that prayer is God’s way of supplying our needs.  He said very plainly, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

9.     Some people would rather worry than pray.  But Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

10. First Samuel 12:23 says it is a sin not to pray.



1.     Harry Ironside told a true story about a young soldier who lay dying on the battlefield during the Civil War.   Another soldier crawled next to him and comforted him as he lay their dying.

2.     The second soldier said to him, ‘If I ever get out of here alive is there anything I can do for you?”  The dying soldier replied, “No, but maybe there is something I can do for you.”  He took out a little piece of paper and wrote down a few words.

3.     He told the soldier, “My father is wealthy and if you are ever in need, take this little note to him, and I know he will help you.”

4.     In a few minutes the soldier died on that bloody battlefield, and the other soldier made it home alive.   He did not think he would ever use that little note but the time came when he was in dire need, and he remembered what the dying soldier had said.

5.     He went and found his wealthy father.  But he could not get through all of the secretaries and other employees working for him.  He sent in a little card but the rich father would not even come down to see him.

6.     Then he remembered the little note.  He took it out and read it.  It said, “Father, if you can ever do anything for my friend who helped me when I was dying, please do so.” And the note was signed, “Charlie.”

7.     The soldier gave a secretary the note, and in a moment, the wealthy businessman came down to greet him.  He warmly embraced him and said, “Oh, why didn’t you send that note in before?  I will do anything that I can for you – for Charlie’s sake!”

8.     This is the way God the Father feels when we come to Him in the name of His only begotten Son (John 16:23).

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