John 16:12-33

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

[I have yet many things to say to you] There is much, much more for you to learn.

[But ye cannot bear them now.] One responsibility of a teacher is to not overwhelm students with information which they are not prepared to process. All in good time.

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...the Spirit of come, he will guide you] Jesus primary mission in this world was to be our Savior, "The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
The Holy Spirit of God, in addition to his work of attracting individuals to Christ, is to be the believer's teacher and guide; causing the Word of God to be given to us in written form, (2 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17), guiding us in understanding and interpretation, (all truth, as stated in this verse), and calling to mind the passages which are relevant in given situations, Mark 13:9-11.

[He shall not speak of himself] Independently, in contrast to what I have taught you. This is a good test to apply to the voices in our society which attempt to provide answers for the challenges of the day. Does their message conform to the will of God as described in his Word?

[But whatsoever he shall hear] The Holy Spirit is God himself, one of the Holy Trinity, as are God the Father and God the Son. There is one conjoint testimony.

[And he will show you things to come.] He will fully explain every thing that may now appear dark or difficult to you. He will give you knowledge of the future as the need warrants and your spiritual maturity prepares you.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

[He shall glorify me] Jesus Christ is about to do the most wonderful thing and offer the most wonderful salvation. The Holy Spirit is, no offence intended, the marketing director of this project. Here are a few verses for you to think about. John 15:26, Acts 1:8, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Isaiah 52:7.

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] He had but a few hours to live.

[And ye shall not see me] I shall be hidden from your view in the tomb.

[Again, a little while] In three days after my death.

[Ye shall see me] I will rise again and show myself unto you, then I will ascend to be with my Father.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

They knew Jesus had told them that he would die and had even told them that he would be resurrected, but all of the pieces of information had not yet fallen into place for them. They were confused.

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?


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 shall weep and lament] To see me crucified and laid in the grave.

[But the world shall rejoice] The religious leadership and unbelievers in general will feel triumphant, hoping that their unbelief and rejection of God will be crowned with success.

[But your sorrow shall be turned to joy] When you see me risen from the dead.

21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
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.

Our Lord's meaning appears to have been this: that his resurrection should so completely demonstrate to them that the atonement had been made and accepted by God that they should never have doubt concerning it. Acts 4:33 says that, "With great power did the apostles give witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus."

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

[Ask, and ye shall receive] The Holy Spirit will lead you to understand me as the great mediator between God and man. Ask of the Father in my name and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. Question; as Christians are guided and directed by the Holy Spirit, what do you suppose the Spirit would have you ask for? Romans 8:26-27, 1 John 5:13-15, Matthew 7:7-11, Matthew 6:19-34.

25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.

[Spoken unto you in proverbs] That is, words which, beside their plain literal meaning, have a spiritual or figurative one. I have represented heavenly things to you through the medium of earthly.

26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

Priests speak to God in behalf of men because men are not worthy. Jesus tells us that, because our sins are covered by the blood of Christ, we are in God's eyes just as pure as Jesus himself and have personal access to the Holy presence of God. Please read Hebrews 10:1-25.

29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

[Lo, now speakest thou plainly] The disciples understood more about the person and work of Christ than they ever had before.

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.

They understood that Christ is the Messiah, come from God, and also that he is very God, that searches the heart and knows our needs before we ask.

31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

Will you, in the hour of trial retain your conviction and prove faithful and steady?

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

You shall shortly have need of all the faith you profess. You now believe me to be The Omniscient, but you will find it difficult to maintain this faith when you see me seized, condemned and crucified as a malefactor. Your faith will be so shaken that you shall run away seeking safety.

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

[Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.] The events which will soon appear so fearsome are temporary and planned. Romans 8:31-39.

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 01/31/2007

Copyright (C) 1999,2003,2006,2007 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved