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 to truth. Jesus prophesied of His own death and Resurrection and proclaimed that He had overcome the world.
Imagine you are traveling for the first time through beautiful but treacherous terrain. A close and experienced friend is your guide. As you get to a particularly difficult place in the trip, you turn to discover that your friend is gone and you are alone and lost. What concerns and feelings might you have in such a situation?
Have you had similar concerns and feelings during challenging or lonely times in your life? As you study John 16, look for principles that can help you know how to find guidance and peace when you need it.
After spending nearly three years with His disciples, Jesus Christ told them that He must go away (see John 14:28). In John 16:1–4 we learn 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.
Read John 16:5–6, looking for what Jesus told His disciples and how they felt about it.
Read John 16:7, looking for whom Jesus promised to send after He was gone.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “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], 1:753).
In John 16:8–12 Jesus explained that one of the roles of the Holy Ghost is to “reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8). Read John 16:13, looking for other roles the Comforter would fulfill in the lives of the disciples after Jesus left them.
Commenting on John 16:9–11, Elder McConkie explained: “These are difficult verses which have come to us in such a condensed and abridged form as to make interpretation difficult. The seeming meaning is: ‘When you receive the companionship of the Spirit, so that you speak forth what he reveals to you, then your teachings will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. The world will be convicted of sin for rejecting me, for not believing your Spirit-inspired testimony that I am the Son of God through whom salvation comes. They will be convicted for rejecting your testimony of my righteousness—for supposing I am a blasphemer, a deceiver, and an imposter—when in fact I have gone to my Father, a thing I could not do unless my works were true and righteous altogether. They will be convicted of false judgment for rejecting your testimony against the religions of the day, and for choosing instead to follow Satan, the prince of this world, who himself, with all his religious philosophies, will be judged and found wanting.’” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:754).
How would the disciples benefit from the guidance and insight the Holy Ghost would provide?
What truth about the Holy Ghost can we learn from John 16:13?
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are some ways the Holy Ghost guides us to truth?
In what ways might the Holy Ghost show us things to come?
Through the Holy Ghost, God can provide assurance, hope, vision, warnings, and guidance for our future.
Read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for how you can invite the Holy Ghost to guide you in your life: “How do we take the Holy Spirit for our guide? We must repent of our sins each week and renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament with clean hands and a pure heart, as we are commanded to do (see D&C 59:8–9, 12). Only in this way can we have the divine promise that we will ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’ (D&C 20:77). That Spirit is the Holy Ghost, whose mission is to teach us, to lead us to truth, and to testify of the Father and the Son (see John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13; 3 Nephi 11:32, 36)” (“Be Not Deceived,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 46).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you felt the Holy Ghost guide you into truth or show you things to come?
How did you know that it was the Holy Ghost guiding you?
Consider choices you might make to invite the Holy Ghost to be your guide. Try to live in a way that invites His guiding influence in your life.
In John 16:13 Jesus taught that the Holy Ghost would “not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.” Read John 16:14–15, looking for whose messages the Holy Ghost will speak to us.
From what you learned in these verses, complete the following doctrine: The Holy Ghost reveals truths and instruction that come from .
Why is it helpful to know that when the Holy Ghost speaks to us, He is speaking for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
“Communication [from the Holy Ghost] to your spirit carries far more certainty than any communication you can receive through your natural senses” (True to the Faith , 82). This means that the Holy Ghost is your most valuable guide in learning truth. His influence is more valuable than physical proof, someone else’s opinions, or the reasoning of the world. The Savior’s disciples would need to learn to rely on the Holy Ghost as a guide in the Lord’s physical absence, just as we need to rely on the Holy Ghost today.
Think of a time when you had to say goodbye to a friend or family member for a lengthy or unknown period time. What did you say to comfort each other as you said goodbye?
Read John 16:16, looking for what Jesus told the disciples that may have comforted them as they thought about Him leaving.
In John 16:17–19 we read that the disciples did not understand what Jesus meant when He said He was leaving but that they would see Him again.
Read John 16:20–22, looking for what the Lord said His disciples would feel when He left and what they would feel when they saw Him again. It may help to know that the phrase “woman when she is in travail” in verse 21 refers to a woman going through labor before her baby is born.
According to this verse, how would the disciples feel when Jesus was gone? What did He promise they would feel when they saw Him again?
Jesus knew His disciples would see Him again after He was resurrected. Although their sorrow over His death would be great, the joy they would feel after His Resurrection would be lasting.
In John 16:23–32 we read that Jesus taught His disciples to pray directly to Heavenly Father in His (Jesus Christ’s) name (see John 16:23) and assured them of the Father’s love for them and for Him. He reassured them that their prayers, addressed to Heavenly Father, would be answered.
Read John 16:33, looking for words and phrases the Savior used to comfort His disciples. You may want to mark what you find.
Why is it that we can have happiness and peace even in a world filled with tribulation, sin, and death?
From John 16:33 we can learn that 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?
As the Only Begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, overcoming every worldly temptation. He also experienced every sort of pain and affliction and atoned for the sins of all of Heavenly Father’s children. Through His life, His suffering and death, and His Resurrection, He overcame all of the barriers that would prevent us from becoming clean, finding peace, and living again with our Father in Heaven and those we love.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: In what ways can knowing that Jesus Christ overcame the world help you be of good cheer and have peace?
Read the following statement from President Thomas S. Monson, looking for why we can be of good cheer in spite of the trials and difficulties of this world:
“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).
Ponder the following question: When has knowing that Jesus Christ overcame the world helped you be of good cheer and have peace?
Seek to be cheerful and to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you do this you will feel the peace and hope that is available through the Lord’s atoning sacrifice and Resurrection.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied John 16 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: