John 16 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of John 16)

Verse 3

[3] And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

They have not known the Father nor me — This is the true root of persecution in all its forms.

Verse 4

[4] But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

I did not tell you these things at the beginning, because I was with you — To bear the chief shock in my own person, and to screen you from it.

Verse 5

[5] But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

None of you asketh me — Now when it is most seasonable. Peter did ask this before, John 13:36.

Verse 7

[7] Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

It is expedient for you — In respect of the Comforter, John 16:7, etc., and of me, John 16:16, etc., and of the Father, John 16:23, etc.

Verse 8

[8] And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

He — Observe his twofold office; toward the world, John 16:8, etc.; toward believers, John 16:12, etc.: will convince - All of the world - Who do not obstinately resist, by your preaching and miracles, of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment - He who is convinced of sin either accepts the righteousness of Christ, or is judged with Satan. An abundant accomplishment of this we find in the Acts of the Apostles.

Verse 9

[9] Of sin, because they believe not on me;

Of sin — Particularly of unbelief, which is the confluence of all sins, and binds them all down upon us.

Verse 10

[10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

Of righteousness, because I go to my Father — Which the Spirit will testify, though ye do not then see me. But I could not go to him if I were not righteous.

Verse 11

[11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

The prince of this world is judged — And in consequence thereof dethroned, deprived of the power he had so long usurped over men. Yet those who reject the deliverance offered them will remain slaves of Satan still.

Verse 12

[12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

I have yet many things to say — Concerning my passion, death, resurrection, and the consequences of it. These things we have, not in uncertain traditions, but in the Acts, the Epistles, and the Revelation.

But ye cannot bear them now — Both because of your littleness of faith, and your immoderate sorrow.

Verse 13

[13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

When he is come — It is universally allowed that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost dwell in all believers. And the internal agency of the Holy Ghost is generally admitted. That of the Father and the Son, as represented in this Gospel, deserves our deepest consideration.

Verse 15

[15] All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

All things that the Father hath are mine — Could any creature say this?

Verse 16

[16] 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.

A little while and ye shall not see me — When I am buried: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me - When I am risen: because I go to my Father - I die and rise again, in order to ascend to my Father.

Verse 19

[19] Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

Jesus said to them — Preventing their question.

Verse 20

[20] Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Ye will weep and lament — When ye see me dead; but your sorrow will be turned into joy - When ye see me risen.

Verse 22

[22] And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

Ye now therefore have sorrow — This gives us no manner of authority to assert all believers must come into a state of darkness. They never need lose either their peace, or love, or the witness that they are the children of God. They never can lose these, but either through sin, or ignorance, or vehement temptation, or bodily disorder.

Verse 23

[23] And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

Ye shall not question me about any thing — Which you do not now understand. You will not need to inquire of me; for you will know all things clearly.

Whatsoever ye shall ask — Knowledge, love, or any thing else, he will give it - Our Lord here gives us a charte blanche. Believer, write down what thou wilt. He had said, John 14:13, I will do it, where the discourse was of glorifying the Father through the Son. Here, speaking of the love of the Father to believers, he saith, He will give it.

Verse 24

[24] Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name — For they had asked him directly for all they wanted.

Verse 26

[26] At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

At that day ye shall ask — For true knowledge begets prayer.

And I say not that I will pray — This in nowise implies that he will not: it means only, The Father himself now loves you, not only because of my intercession, but also because of the faith and love which he hath wrought in you.

Verse 30

[30] Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

Thou knowest all things — Even our hearts. Although no question is asked thee, yet thou answerest the thoughts of every one.

By this we believe that thou camest forth from God — They, as it were, echo back the words which he had spoken in John 16:27, implying, We believe in God; we believe also in thee.