Friday, March 13, 2015

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 15, 2015

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(Sadness will be turned to joy because JESUS overcame the world)
(John 16:5-32)

The departure of JESUS was necessary, no matter how painful it would be for HIS disciple. By now, they were so wrapped up in their own depression and problems that, not even Thomas cared to ask JESUS where it was that HE was going. They didn’t quite realize how beneficial JESUS’ leaving would be for them, and, for the world at large. For without HIS death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, there could be no Gospel to preach and teach, or any atonement for sin, or, salvation. Furthermore, the HOLY SPIRIT could not be released into the lives of believers for all time, to help guide us and comfort us in our inevitable times of need.
The COMFORTER is the SPIRIT of GOD that was promised to us by the ancient prophets, and now, JESUS HIMSELF. HE came to the world to stay and abide in those who believed on CHRIST on the day of the original Pentecost. JESUS informed us that the HOLY SPIRIT’s ministry would consist of reproving the world of sin, righteousness, and, judgment.
Sin in the world, reached an all-time high with the crucifixion of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. And even today, our greatest sin continues to be our unbelief in HIM (v.9). When the world crucified JESUS, we, in effect, showed GOD that we thought HIS ONE and ONLY SON, was unrighteous. Righteousness was vindicated with the resurrection and ascension of CHRIST, and now the HOLY SPIRIT has come to convict us of our own faulty views of JESUS, and to inspire us to proclaim the truth of HIS Gospel to the same kind of world that slew HIM, way back in the first century on Calvary.
And finally, the HOLY SPIRIT’s convicting work is concerned with judgment. The death and resurrection of CHRIST condemned satan, the prince of this world, to eternal damnation. People, who are rebelling against GOD, through sin, face the same defeat and judgment as satan has obtained. And just as JESUS brought glory to GOD, so too, will the HOLY SPIRIT bring glory to CHRIST JESUS.
In verses 16-32, JESUS’ private teachings to HIS disciples shift from the subject of the HOLY SPIRIT and HIS future work, to what the immediate future held for each of them individually, and, as a group. Verses 16-24 deals mostly with the emotions of HIS disciples, as, at this point, they were in deep sorrow, and, were also confused about some of JESUS’ sayings. They were also afraid and really, in truth, were not having a particularly good night.
The phrase, “in a little while”, that is used by JESUS in this passage was very confusing to this, now depressed, group of men. They wondered among themselves just what JESUS meant by the parables HE was uttering. They didn’t realize at the time that JESUS was speaking of returning immediately after HIS crucifixion to minister to them, periodically, for an additional forty days before HIS ascension back into Heaven. However, JESUS did not clarify what HE meant, but chose instead, to let them come to understand what HE meant, in the process of time.
GOD brings joy to our lives, not by substituting our trials and pains, but rather, by our transformation and growth, from our trials and pain. In John 16:21, JESUS gives just such an analogy to HIS disciples, as HE tries to reassure them that their sorrow, brought on by the news of HIM leaving, would soon be turned to joy over HIS return. Here HE likens their woeful situation to that of a woman experiencing labor pains. At first, she suffers with excruciating labor pain, and then, after birth is given, all of her pain and anguish soon turns into joy over having brought a new life into the world. With Christian joy, the pain that came before it is soon forgotten, and the new feeling of the Christian experience can never be taken away, and in fact, to the contrary, will last forever.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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