Persecution and Martyrdom

John 16  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
John 16
The upper room in Jerusalem is an outdoor area where people can congregate. In this ministry the Holy Spirit is looked on as already here below. Jesus spoke in the upper room to His disciples in regard to persecution, so that they would not be discouraged and turn away. The Lord had not told His disciples about the persecutions that they would go through at the beginning of their course, because He was with them. But now that He is to go through both atonement and martyrdom, they are apprised of possible deep sorrows because they are following Jesus.
The reference to the Comforter, rather than to the Father, is prominent in this chapter. Nature is occupied with what it sees; faith is occupied with the tremendous gain for eternity. All of the disciples except John may have suffered martyrdom.
But there was another sorrow that was deeper than martyrdom. Now that the disciples had learned to love Jesus, He was going away and leaving them-eleven disciples alone in a world that hated them, to live for Christ's sake. What a deep sorrow this was. They were filled with sorrow. "Grief is the fruit of communion with God in the day of evil."1 The heart knows well what its object is.
Christ had not come to display the glory of heaven, but to display God morally. Redemption brings out all that God is morally: holiness, majesty, love. 'The presence of God keeps the conscience thoroughly active because of what we are."2
The Spirit of Truth
Because a Christian's path is to walk by faith, the disciples needed the Spirit of truth to guide. When He came, the Spirit of truth reproved the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Man's reproof for sin was that they believed not on Jesus, for righteousness, because Jesus went to the Father, proving who He was, and for judgment, because the prince of this world was now judged.
Man is judged for what he has done, and lost because of what he is-a fallen nature in Adam. At the cross, the enemy had everything at stake. The world would be judged morally in its prince. The rejection of Christ put the whole world under a common judgment.
The many things that Christ had to say to His disciples, and to us, had to wait until the Comforter—the Spirit of truth—came to guide into all of the truth. These things came by the apostles and prophets of the New Testament, who had the truth of the new order, "the mystery" which could not take place until redemption was accomplished.
The Spirit would speak of what He heard from the Father, not what He Himself would say. He would tell of things to come. He would glorify Christ. Everything that belongs to the Father is Christ's.
The disciples would not see Jesus again until after His resurrection. It would be a time of sorrow for them to see their Lord crucified, because they did not yet understand. When Jesus was raised, they were filled with joy.
Following the resurrection, the Holy Spirit dwelt in the believer, and we are at liberty to ask the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for our needs. Also, the Spirit speaks plainly of the Father, not in proverbs. Since Pentecost we cry, Abba, Father (Rom. 8:15,1615For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:15‑16)).
Jesus came forth from the Father. He left the world to go to the Father.
The disciples sought to assure Jesus that they believed. Jesus said, "Do ye now believe?" Soon the disciples would be scattered, every man to his own, leaving Jesus alone to suffer, but not alone, because the Father was with Him.
In the world they were to have tribulation, but in Him they would have peace and good courage, because He had overcome the world. All they would have to face, He already had overcome to God's glory. The Spirit comforted the disciples with these sayings after the Lord had gone to heaven.
1. J. N. Darby.
2. J. N. Darby.