Lesson 76: John 16

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

After the Passover meal, Jesus Christ continued to teach His disciples. He told them that He would soon go to His Father and that the Holy Ghost, or the Comforter, would come and guide them into all truth. Jesus prophesied of His own death and Resurrection and proclaimed that He had overcome the world.

Suggestions for Teaching

John 16:1–15

Jesus expounds on the role of the Holy Ghost

Invite a student to come to the front of the room. Place a blindfold around the student’s head, covering the eyes so the student cannot see. After the student is blindfolded, invite the other students to place their sets of scriptures somewhere in the room. Then ask the blindfolded student how difficult it might be to find a specific set of scriptures in the room and open it to a specific page. Ask the student if it would be helpful if someone was willing to guide him or her to the book.

Invite the blindfolded student to choose another student to act as a guide. Invite the selected student to lead the blindfolded student to a designated set of scriptures and to help him or her find a specific page. After these tasks are complete, explain that when Jesus Christ was on the earth, He tutored and taught His disciples. He personally led them to understand the truths He taught.

Summarize John 16:1–4 by explaining that after Jesus had eaten the Passover meal with His disciples, He told them that the time would come when people would hate them and that these people would believe they were doing a service to God by killing them.

Invite a student to read John 16:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus told His disciples and how they felt about it.

  • How were the disciples feeling about the news that Jesus would go away and that they would be persecuted?

Invite the student who was serving as the guide to the blindfolded student to return to his or her seat. Ask the blindfolded student:

  • How would it feel to be alone again without a friend to help you?

Provide a chair for the blindfolded student, and invite him or her to sit down (but leave the blindfold on).

Invite a student to read John 16:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whom Jesus promised to send after He was gone.

  • Whom did Jesus promise would come after He departed? (Jesus would send the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost.)

Explain that the word expedient, as used in verse 7, means beneficial or profitable. Point out that “the Holy Ghost did not operate in the fulness among the Jews during the years of Jesus’ mortal sojourn (John 7:39; 16:7)” (Bible Dictionary, “Holy Ghost”). To help the class understand why the Holy Ghost did not operate in its fulness, read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“As long as Jesus was with the disciples in person, there was not the full need for them to have the constant companionship of the Spirit that there would be after Jesus left” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 753).

Summarize John 16:8–12 by explaining that one of the roles of the Holy Ghost is to reprove the world of sin.

Invite a student to read John 16:13 aloud, and ask the class to look for other roles the Comforter would fulfill in the lives of the disciples after Jesus left.

  • What roles would the Holy Ghost fulfill in the lives of the Lord’s disciples after He was gone? How might the disciples benefit from the help and guidance the Holy Ghost would provide?

  • Based on verse 13, what can the Holy Ghost also do for us in our day? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: The Holy Ghost can guide us to all truth and show us things to come.)

  • What are some ways the Holy Ghost guides us to truth?

  • In what ways might the Holy Ghost show us things to come? (If needed, explain that through the Holy Ghost, God can provide assurance, hope, vision, warning, and guidance for our future.)

Place an item (a reward) on a shelf or chair or someplace else in the room. Invite the blindfolded student to find the item. Invite another student to whisper directions to the blindfolded student to help him or her navigate to find the reward. After the student has found the item, invite him or her to remove the blindfold. Have both students return to their seats. Ask the class:

  • When have you felt the Holy Ghost guide you into truth? How did you recognize that it was the Holy Ghost guiding you?

You may want to share an experience when you have been guided by the Holy Ghost in your own life. To help students apply the truth they have learned, encourage them to live in ways that invite the guidance of the Holy Ghost in their lives.

Point out that John 16:13 indicates that the Holy Ghost, whose role is to bear witness of the Father and the Son, will “not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.” Invite a student to read John 16:14–15 aloud, and ask the class to look for whose messages the Holy Ghost will speak to us.

  • Whose messages does the Holy Ghost deliver to us? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: The Holy Ghost reveals truths and instruction that come from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.)

  • Why is it helpful to know that when the Holy Ghost speaks to us, He is speaking for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?

Explain to students that the Holy Ghost’s “communication to your spirit carries far more certainty than any communication you can receive through your natural senses” (True to the Faith [2004], 82). This means that the Holy Ghost is our most valuable guide in learning truth; His influence is more valuable than physical proof, the opinions of others, or the reasoning of the world. Like us, the Savior’s disciples needed to learn to rely on the Holy Ghost as a guide in the Lord’s physical absence.

John 16:16–33

The Savior discusses His departure from mortality and proclaims that He has overcome the world

Invite students to think of a time when they had to say good-bye to a family member or a friend for a time.

  • What did you say to comfort each other as you said good-bye?

Invite a student to read John 16:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else Jesus told the disciples that may have comforted them as they thought about Him leaving. Ask the class to report what they find.

Explain that in John 16:17–19, we read that the disciples did not understand what Jesus meant when He said that He was leaving but they would see Him again.

Invite a student to read John 16:20–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said His disciples would feel when He left and what they would feel when they saw Him again. You may need to explain that the phrase “woman in travail” refers to an expecting mother going through labor before having a baby.

  • How would the disciples feel when Jesus was gone? What did He promise would happen after that?

Explain that the disciples would see Jesus again after He was resurrected. Although their sorrow over His death would be great, the joy they would feel at His Resurrection would be lasting.

Summarize John 16:23–32 by explaining that Jesus taught His disciples to pray directly to Heavenly Father in His (Christ’s) name and assured them of the Father’s love for them and Him.

Invite a student to read John 16:33 aloud, and ask the class to look for words and phrases the Savior used to comfort His disciples.

  • What words and phrases did the Lord use to comfort His disciples?

  • According to verse 33, why can we have happiness and peace even in a world filled with tribulation and death? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: Because Jesus Christ has overcome the world, we can be of good cheer and have peace.)

  • What do you think it means that Jesus Christ has overcome the world?

Explain that as the Only Begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, overcoming every worldly temptation. He also experienced every pain and affliction and atoned for the sins of all of us. Through His life, His suffering and death, and His Resurrection, He overcame all barriers to us becoming clean, finding peace, and living again with our Father in Heaven and those we love.

  • In what ways can knowing that Jesus Christ overcame the world help us be of good cheer and have peace?

Provide students with a copy of the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson. Invite a student to read the statement aloud, and ask the class to look for an explanation about why we can be of good cheer in spite of the trials and difficulties of this world.

President Thomas S. Monson

“Let us be of good cheer as we go about our lives. Although we live in increasingly perilous times, the Lord loves us and is mindful of us. He is always on our side as we do what is right. He will help us in time of need. … Our lives can also be filled with joy as we follow the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“The Lord admonished, ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ [John 16:33]. What great happiness this knowledge should bring to us. He lived for us and He died for us. He paid the price for our sins. May we emulate His example. May we show our great gratitude to Him by accepting His sacrifice and living lives that will qualify us to return and one day live with Him” (“God Be with You Till We Meet Again,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 110–11).

  • When has knowing that Jesus Christ overcame the world helped you be of good cheer and have peace?

Invite students to be cheerful and to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Testify that as they do so, they will feel the peace and hope that is possible through the Lord’s atoning sacrifice and Resurrection.

Commentary and Background Information

John 16:33. “Be of good cheer”

During the April 2009 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson recounted a story told by President Ezra Taft Benson and Frederick W. Babbel, who visited Europe after World War II ended. The story is about a widowed mother of four young children who found herself in enemy territory. Though she traveled over 1,000 miles to safety, losing each of her children to cold and starvation, she remained faithful to her hope in Jesus Christ that her family could be together after the Resurrection.

Following the story, President Monson said the following:

“I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

“My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith” (“Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 91–92).