Having Loved His Own Which Were In The World
John 16: 1-15
In the previous chapter the Lord has instructed His own as to the character of the world through which they were to pass. Its heart is made known. In this that follows He further instructs them as to the treatment they would receive from it.
He informs them of these things before they come to pass, that they might not be taken unawares. The truth as to these matters would put them on their guard. Their own countrymen would disown them, looking upon them as law-breakers. Blind in heart and mind, and not having the truth, they would be zealous for their religion and His own would be accounted as odious to God. In this way the world would prove that it does not know the Father or the Son. Men would be led on by Satan, for he blinds the minds of them that believe not. As these things came to pass their confidence would be strengthened in the One who had told them beforehand of them. He did not tell them these things earlier because He protected them while He was with them. What comfort He sought to bring to them now, showing how fully He knew, cared and felt for them.
He knew the sorrow that filled their hearts as they realised they were about to lose Him, their Lord, and contemplated the opposition they would receive from the world. Burdened by these things, they were no longer demanding where He was going. The Lord well knew their hearts' feelings of loss and fear.
Turning from speaking of persecution and sorrow He seeks to bring in comfort and encouragement. He goes on to unfold yet more truth. It was necessary for them that He should go away in order that the Comforter may come. The Holy Spirit would be sent by the Lord, consequent upon His taking His place on high as the One whom the Father had glorified. When the Holy Spirit came He would not only bring much needed support to them but His presence on earth would in itself be evidence of certain facts. He would be sent from a victorious Man, who had overcome the world, defeated Satan, and established righteousness. He would come in power and His presence in the world would be witness to it of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. The world was guilty of refusing the Son of God, who in righteousness returned tothe Father. This showed the true character of the world and of its prince who was judged. The Spirit of truth would be the power against the world. He would come alongside His own to help, bearing a testimony of truth that the world would feel and know. He would be unseen, but by and in His own there would be a witness that none could resist or ignore.
If He witnessed against the world He would be the minister of God to His own. He would give the capacity to receive and guide them into all truth. He would bring the present truth from the glory and speak concerning things to come. (What rich fulness the Lord in His love would have His own to receive and know!) For He would reveal the Son in His glory, and the results of His exaltation. The Spirit would glorify the Son, taking of the things of the Son and making His own to know them. The fulness of the things of the Father are the Son's, and He would show them to His own.
Having Loved His Own Which Were In The World (8)
The Lord has spoken of the future coming of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. Now He turns to speak of His own departure.
The disciples did not know what lay ahead, or how quickly the things about which He spoke to them would come to pass. He was going back to His Father and would engage them with the prospect before Him. In tenderness and consideration He does not speak directly of the cross and all that it entailed for Him, but only that in a little while they would not see Him, and that then, in another little while, they would.
He purposely draws out their hearts again after Himself. That they desired to know what all this meant would bring cheer to the Lord. Love and truth beautifully combine to lead them on from sorrow to joy. For if there must be a time of sorrow it is not forever, and joy also must come. In speaking of a woman in travail He shows clearly the course of events that must take place. Then sorrow gives place to joy. He was still preparing them for the events they were about to experience. But He gives them this absolute assurance that, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice." This took place after His resurrection when He showed Himself to them.
The joy of seeing Him again-the Lord out of death, alive for evermore-was a joy they could never lose. He leads them on still further, for joy in Himself and asking in His Name would lead to fulness of joy.
He had spoken to them in a way which, in their present state, they could understand. The day was to dawn when the Lord would be able to speak to them yet more fully. In that day, when Christ was in resurrection and the Spirit of truth had come, they would not only have a living link with Him, but a living link in liberty with the Father. "His own" stood in a tender relationship with the Father, because they loved and believed on His Son. The Father Himself had set His love upon them.
He once more makes plain the truth that He came forth from the Father and that He was going back to the Father. This the disciples plainly understood and accepted, as knowing and believing from whence He had come. How simple and sincere their love!
But the hour of trial was coming quickly, in which no man could stand. They would be scattered and leave Him alone. He would be without their comfort or support. His confidence would be in His Father who was with Him, and who would be with Him. He tells them these things that they might have peace through it all, in the knowledge that He knew all things. Though the world might seek to overwhelm them with tribulation, they were to be of good cheer, for He had overcome the world. They could not have confidence in themselves but they could have absolute confidence in Him and His love.
Having Loved His Own Which Were In The World (9)
The Lord had been drawing His own closer and closer to Himself. He began with the washing of their feet so that they could have part with Him. He had spoken to them of the Father's house and of the Father Himself and of His word. His love for them was such that He desired they should have fellowship, by the Spirit, with Himself and the Father in the heavenly sphere.
He now turns from speaking to them, to speaking about them to the Father. They are brought within the innermost circle, where they are privileged to hear the Son speaking to the Father concerning themselves and those like them who would hear the word of the Father and believe. How near to Himself and to the Father He brings His own!
The Lord addresses the Father as the Son who became Man, who in Himself made the Father fully known in this world, and then went into death in love to the Father. Now He prays as having completed the work which the Father had given him to do, and taken a position beyond the cross. He is here a Man risen from the dead, yet in His own right the Son. Because He is a Man His own have an abiding, living relationship with Him for ever. The character of His Manhood is that of subjection and obedience, and as still upon earth so He prays, yet in the consciousness of His own personal dignity.
In this unique position He asks to be glorified by the Father that He might glorify the Father even more. Being a subject Man He does not take it as His right, but seeks that the Father Himself may give it to Him. What an example to His own! He asks to receive the glory as He had received the power over all flesh. He received the power that He might give to His own eternal life, for they were given to Him. How wonderful the blessing to hear such communications! They are given to learn something more, a marvellous truth, that they were given to the Son by the Father. They were the Father's love gift to the Son. How rich, how infinite, the love and grace that held them to be His own. To these the Son would give eternal life. He would not only bring them into this intimate circle with Himself and the Father, but also give them the very life belonging to that circle that they may be at home there. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent."
What He came to do, He has done, glorifying the Father in everything. There is no place now for Him upon earth. He would take again the place which was His with the Father in eternal glory. What glory! "With Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." Words of deity! Human ears had never heard such words before. They were given to hear them because they had part in this intimate circle; an intimate part. "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world." The Father Himself had given them to Him to be His own. To them He had made known the Father's Name and they received the revelation, and kept the Father's word in all its details. In so doing they had the light and the assurance of it. "Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee." Such assurance gives confidence in the One who gave it and the Source from which it came. The Lord's whole care is for His own, those given Him of the Father. They belong to both the Father and the Son, and they are objects whereby the Son is glorified.
Having Loved His Own Which Were In The World (10)
The Lord has spoken of the value of His own to Himself and the Father. The concern of His love for them now is that they will be left in this world without His support. In view of this He appeals to His Father.
He prays as apart from the world where His own are left. He is about to return to the Father, while those He was leaving behind were very dear to Him. He asks, yea, demands of His Father that He-the Holy Father-keep them in His own Name, for they are His Son's treasured possession. This request must be special, for the Father would send the Comforter in place of His Son for their blessing and help. The Son would have the Father keep them through His own Name. He desires that they would be kept in unity even as the Father and the Son-one in fellowship, mind, will and heart. How jealously the Lord had kept His own in that Name. All the while He was here none was lost.
Before taking a new place alongside the Father, He speaks to the Father about them in their hearing that they might know the love and care with which He was making provision for them in His absence. To know this was to impart His joy to them. The love that sought their blessing while here would not change in the new place and position to which He was going. His own had received the Father's word. For that reason the world hated them. The receiving of it changed their position here forever. They were different to the world. They were not of it even as the Son, their Lord, was not of it. Now they belonged elsewhere, where their Lord belonged. But He would have them remain here, for a time, as in a world to which they did not belong, kept by the Father apart from its evil, kept for Himself (truly His own are like those of old of whom it has been written: "Of whom the world was not worthy"). He desires, above all, that the Father would keep them safe. He pleads this, as owning not only their strangership on earth, but their heavenly place with Himself: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." With what strength of affection He values and holds His own. "Even as I" gives a fulness and depth of place that only deep abiding love could give.
How then could the Father keep them for His Son? What would maintain the difference practically between them and the world? The Father's truth! "Sanctify them through Thy truth." What would set them apart, not only as not being of the world but as having a heavenly character? The Word of truth, the word of the Father that reached and enlightened His own, also set them apart according to its Source.
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The Lord has spoken much of the fact that His own had been given to Him. He has sought that they might be kept while left here in the world and asked that the truth might sanctify them.
They are sent into the world by the Lord to serve Him, as He was sent into the world by the Father. They were to be living witnesses for Him. In view of this He sets Himself apart in the glory, so that standing in relation to Him in His new place they might be sanctified. They were to represent the Lord in heaven.
The Lord looks forward and beholds the rich fruit of their labours. He sees the vast company, of which you and I who have believed on Him through their word, form a part. How wonderful that the Lord's heart of love has embraced us, along with those through whose word we have believed, that we "all may be one" as His own, in the same fellowship as the Father and the Son. We are all brought into that circle of oneness where it is known that the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father. The appreciation of this, practically demonstrated, would give a powerful witness to the world that it may believe that the Father sent the Son.
Our part in this oneness, resting on the basis of redemption, has a glory all of its own. It is a glory given by the Father to the Son. Received from the Son by His own, it is shared by them all. Furthermore, the testimony rendered in the world sets forth the Son in His own and the Father in the Son. This manifested, makes known that the Son, loved by the Father, was here, and that His own are loved by the Father.
The love of the Lord for His own in the world will be the same in the glory, for His love desires their company. The Son had come down into the world and had entered fully into the circumstances of His people. Now He desires that they might have part and place in His: "With Me where I am." In this place, as Man forever, He would receive those given to Him by the Father. He has also received a glory from the Father that His own can behold and admire, a glory given Him because of the deep eternal love of the Father for the Son. There with Him they may see His glory as His very dear companions and friends. The Father bestows this special glory upon Him as esteeming the worth of the One who knew His love before the world came into being. What a wonderful place His own will very shortly occupy.
Meanwhile, the testimony of His own is to the truth that the Father sent the Son. This knowledge is their settled possession while waiting for Him to come again. They also know the Father's Name, which is made known to them by the Son. The knowledge of the love of the Father for the Son finds a resting place in those that are His and accompanies present communion with the Son. How profound, how inestimable, how glorious, are those words we are yet to know in their fulness: "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end."