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A. (:16) Cryptic Contrast

1. Soon You Won’t See Me

“A little while, and you will no longer behold Me”

This is a monumental statement; should create great concern among the disciples. Do we understand the full ramifications of not being able to behold Jesus?

2. Soon You Will See Me Again

“and again a little while, and you will see Me.”

This combination of statements stirred up a lot of curiosity and questioning. The question of what time is in view is a difficult one throughout this section. There seem to be 2 different levels of meaning:

– one, relates to that time of direct teaching by Jesus during His post resurrection appearances to these disciples; but the scope of the passage goes way beyond this ..

– the other is that overall dispensation of the Spirit inaugurated on the day of Pentecost … which has been the emphasis in these last chapters as Christ prepares His disciples for His departure

The figurative language allows for these simple words to be taken in multiple senses.

John MacArthur: Jesus said that when He went to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26). According to Romans 8:9, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. So when Christ said the disciples would see Him again, He was saying He would be back not in a physical body, but through the person of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit would dwell in us (John 14:17). In John 16:7 the Lord said, “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.” Christ couldn’t send His Spirit yet because the Spirit was a reward to Him from the Father for accomplishing the work on the cross (Eph. 1:13-14). When Christ went to heaven having accomplished His work, the Father sent the Spirit, whom Christ sent in His place. . .

Christ pledged that He would return after His temporary departure. And when He returned, it wouldn’t be in His physical body, which could be in only one place at a time. He would be in every believer at all times. Sure enough, within a few weeks of making His pledge, the apostles received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). The phrase “a little while” can be used to refer to weeks, so that interpretation is appropriate. The first “little while” talks of hours, and the second speaks of weeks.

B. (:17-18) Concerned Confusion … Disturbing Perplexity

“Some of His disciples therefore said to one another, ‘What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me;’ and ‘because I go to the Father?’’”

Jesus is talking in figurative language and the disciples are still not grasping the full spiritual significance of seeing Jesus by faith.

“Behold Me” = The Key!



A. (:19) Don’t Hesitate to Seek Clarification from Jesus –

only He can dispel the fog of confusion

“Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, ‘Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me?’’”

– Jesus knows our every need before we even ask

– The blind leading the blind will never get anywhere – why did the disciples hesitate to come to Jesus directly and get answers?

– Make sure that we are focusing on the right questions

– We need to arrive at true spiritual understanding – to come through the fog of confusion and arrive at settled conviction

– cf. “Ask Jeeves” internet site – We need to Ask Jesus for understanding

B. (:20-22) The Joy of the Resurrection will Dispel the Labor Pains of the Coming Crucifixion and Temporary Separation

1. (:20) Sorrow will Come (but not to stay); But Joy Will Follow (and will remain!)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.”

Stedman: Most of us assume that our sorrow is going to be replaced by joy. But the promise of Jesus is that the very thing which caused the sorrow is also going to be the cause of the joy. That is a revelation of one of the great principles which mark authentic Christianity, one of the ways by which our Lord works in our life. He takes the very thing which causes us heartache and sorrow, and turns it into a cause of joy. That is most remarkable!

2. (:21) Natural Illustration of Childbirth – what could be more natural?

“Whenever a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a child has been born into the world.”

3. (:22) Assurance that Abiding Joy Will Be Forever Theirs – in conjunction with Beholding Jesus

“Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.”

The lasting nature of this joy proves that it persists throughout the entire dispensation of the Holy Spirit – not just for that limited time of post resurrection appearances. Hence the seeing by faith and by the personal, direct ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit must be involved.

C. (:23-24) Faith Transacts Requests Into the Joy of God’s Good Gifts

1. (:23a) Faith Unnecessary When Sight Answers All Confusion

“And in that day you will ask Me no question.”

Speaking in immediate sense of His post resurrection appearances.

This will also be true of our seeing Jesus in glory and walking by sight instead of by faith.

Second level of meaning (for period of Holy Spirit dispensation): prayers will be addressed directly to the Father in the name of Jesus

2. (:23b) Promise of Answered Prayer when transacted by Faith

“Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, he will give it to you in My name.”

3. (:24) Joy Comes from Asking and Receiving

“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”



A. (:25) Plain Truth

“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.”

MacArthur: Whenever the Lord spoke in veiled statements, enough of it was understood to make it meaningful, yet a rich truth always remained hidden for the Holy Spirit to reveal later on. Christ gave enough information so that a man was without excuse for rejecting Him, but there was still enough left unsaid so that the Spirit of God could spend this whole age of grace unfolding it for us.

Scott Grant: The hour that is coming, the one that Jesus has been anticipating throughout this discourse, concerns the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus couldn’t tell them plainly about the Father because the Father couldn’t be understood apart from the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of his Son. Following these events, the Holy Spirit would come to explain.

B. (:26-27) Love as the Fruit of Faith Meets Our Needs

“In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.”

What is involved in asking in the name of Jesus?

Interesting cycle:

– We love God the Father because He first loved us;

– He loves us because we have loved Him and believed in His Son

MacArthur: With the coming of the Spirit, the disciples would be able to do what they had never done before: go directly to the Father in the name of Jesus. In John 16:23-24 Christ told them, “Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” A new age was coming, and they disciples would be able to go directly to the Father with their requests, provided their requests were in Jesus’ name. To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray for what He would want. You can’t just pray for anything you want. You need to say, “Father, I come because Jesus sent me, and I’m asking You to do this for His sake.” You are to ask for what is consistent with Christ’s will. When you do that, God will give what you ask for.

Deffinbaugh: Jesus will have an intercessory ministry on our behalf, but His work on the cross will bring about a personal, intimate relationship between the Father and all who trust in His Son. No wonder the veil was torn asunder when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51). We now can come to God directly, because of the Son.

C. (:28) Christology Course: Simple Summary of Intimate Relationship Between Jesus and the Father

1. Eternal Coexistence as Deity

“I have come forth from the Father”

Unselfish sacrifice of love to leave the riches of heaven to be made poor so that we could become rich through Him

2. Incarnation as True Humanity

“and have come into the world”

Oppty for men to witness His earthly ministry of compassion and mercy and love

3. Substitutionary Atonement

“I am leaving the world again”

Voluntary submission to the will of the Father

4. Ascension and Glorification / High Priestly Ministry (Chap. 17)

“and going to the Father”

Implied: He will also return again in power and glory



A. (:29-30) False Confidence Sets Us Up for Big Time Struggles

“His disciples said, ‘Lo, now You are speaking plainly, and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.’”

Deffinbaugh: We should be admonished by the puffed up claims of the disciples. The disciples claimed to fully understand Jesus, His ministry, and His message. They most certainly did not. We should be very careful about assuming that we “have it all together” in matters which we may not understand as well as we claim. The fundamentals should be clear to us, but there are many other things which we will only “know” clearly and completely “then.” We should especially be wary of those who would seek to teach us, claiming they have a full and complete grasp of God’s truth. The most brilliant scholars and students of Scripture that I know are still the best students, ever seeking to understand His Word better, and willing to listen to the insights of other students of Scripture. Those who know it all do not need to learn any more, they think. They need only to teach, and not to be taught.

B. (:31-32) Our Failures Never Compromise the Self Sufficiency of the Godhead

“Jesus answered them, ‘Do you know believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.’”

The abiding presence of God leaves no room for loneliness and despair.

C. (:33) Victory of Christ is the Basis for our Peace Amidst Struggles

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”