Ministry Resources

John 16-17

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Read John 16:4–15. Five times during the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples, He spoke of the Holy Spirit. (Read John 14:16–17, 26; 15:26; 16:7–15.) In the first three verses the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are included together, so we understand that the three are one God.

The word translated “Counselor” here is the Greek word Paraclete, which means “a lawyer called to defend a person on trial; someone who is with a person to help and advise him or her.” The Holy Spirit does this for us—He defends and advises us. He is the Spirit of Truth who teaches and leads us into all truth.

The Holy Spirit lets the world know that it is wrong to sin. He allows us to see our inner need of Jesus. He ignites God’s light in us and shows us where and how we ought to change. He opens our understanding to see God’s love toward us and the new life that awaits us when we walk in fellowship with the Savior. The Spirit of God brought order in Creation, and now He works to bring order into our lives.

Sadness and Gladness

John 16:16–24. The disciples were sad because Jesus was going to leave them. But Jesus gave a wonderful promise for all His followers. John 16:23 records Jesus’ words: “‘I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.’”

If we were to ask a celebrity for something, we may not receive it if he or she did not know us. But if we were given the right to ask in the name of the head of our nation, the response may be more positive. God the Father will surely do what His Son asks. When we let Jesus live in us, we can pray in His name for the same things He would pray for. Then we can be sure of the answer.

Victory over the World

Read John 16:25–33. Jesus knew that in a few hours He would be arrested and His disciples would scatter in fear and discouragement. He warned them of this and taught that His suffering and death were not defeat. They were part of God’s plan, for through His suffering and death souls would be saved, sin and Satan defeated, and new hope provided for the human race.

The disciples too were going to suffer when they would see Him on the Cross. Jesus reminded them to stay in Him and He would help them. All those who follow Jesus will, at times, face problems and struggles, but the Holy Spirit will be our Helper. Our victory is not in what we can do for ourselves but in what He does for us. He is with us to give us courage, strength, and peace, no matter what we face. The conflicts of this life will be for only a little while, then we will reign with Jesus in eternal joy. Jesus encouraged, “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33).

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

The Men You Gave Me

Read John 17. John 17 is the prayer Jesus prayed for His followers just before He was arrested. He had finished His work of teaching and preaching. Through Him, His followers had become acquainted with God. He had given them eternal life. Jesus prayed for His disciples, “‘This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’” (John 17:3).

The time had come for Jesus to die for the sins of the world. He presented to His Father the men that God had given Him out of the world. They still lived in the world but not according to its value system. They lived for God and were being prepared for a task and ministry greater than themselves.

Keep Them Safe

Read John 17:9–20. Jesus spoke of the men God had given Him. The disciples of Jesus were not born as saints or holy men. They needed to find salvation just the same as other people. In the beginning after obeying the Lord’s calling, they had no idea that Jesus was the Messiah. Then afterwards, they surrendered to a will and purpose much higher than their own. They would proclaim the very salvation they had found.

Knowing that He would leave His followers soon, Jesus prayed for God to keep them safe. Jesus knew that after He left the disciples, they would all be tempted to give up what He had taught them and to go back to their previous jobs. After the resurrection, Jesus strengthened the disciples during the forty days He spoke with them.

Satan cannot take us away from God, but he does try to get us to turn away from God and go back into sin. After you decide to live for Christ, remember that Jesus is with you and in your heart. You have a new life from God, that may be strengthened with God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians. Jesus has prayed for you and is interceding for you now. He will never leave you or forsake you. Read verse 20.

Hebrews 7:25 says, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Jesus does not ask the Father to take us out of the world so that we will not have to suffer. We have work to do. He has sent us into the world with the message of salvation.

Several times in John 17, Jesus taught that He gave His followers the true Word of God: verses 8, 14, and 17. Verse 17 indicates that we are to be God’s own by means of His Word.

Jesus said also that He sent His followers into the world just as God had sent Him. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. So we as Christians are commissioned to win others to the Lord. We must keep on giving them the Word of God by every available means: in churches, at home, by literature, radio, television, internet, and personal witnessing.

Jesus Prays for all Believers

May They Be One

Read John 17:20–23. Jesus was praying not only for His disciples who lived at that time but for all who would believe in Him. That means you. Jesus prayed that all His followers would be one. He wanted them to live and work together in unity. It is not good for Christians to be divided.

There are many different churches, but the members can live in peace if they are willing to put Christ first. Some people today say that all churches should become one church. This can never be done as long as the different churches believe different things, and those beliefs and teachings are not all based on the Bible.

We cannot join with a church that does not believe what Jesus taught. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, and that His death for us is the only thing that can save us from sin. We must agree on those important things if we are to be united. Amos 3:3 asks, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”

Jesus prayed that we might be one in Him and in the Father. Being in Christ is basic to Christian unity. If you want Christian fellowship and spiritual help, join a church that believes, teaches, and obeys the Bible—a church where Christ’s presence is real.

To Be With Me

Read John 17:24–26. Jesus closed His prayer by saying that He wanted His followers to be with Him wherever He was. The book of Revelation tells of the saved people standing before the throne of God and singing praise to Jesus, the Lamb who was slain.

We do not know when we will be with the Lord. Until then we must live every day in a way that pleases God. We will not fear death, for death is only a door through which we enter into God’s presence forever. First Thessalonians 4:16–18 promises,

The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

If you cannot circle c), ask Jesus Christ now to cleanse your sins and save you. Then you, too, will be sure to be with the Lord forever.

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