John 16 – 18

John 15:26-16:15

  1. What evidence do you find in 16:1-7 that the disciples were cast down by Jesus’ words? Why did he say that he had not spoken of these things before, and why did he speak of them now? Notice, however, that he did not lighten in any way the dark picture he had drawn, but rather shaded it more deeply (16:2).
  2. What new force, does Jesus say, will be brought to bear upon the world, and through whom (see 15:26, 27)? What threefold result will follow (16:8-11)? How would this make Jesus’ departure an advantage instead of a loss?
  3. What results ought this situation to have on the disciples: (a) in their dependence on the Holy Spirit, and (b) in the place of the Holy Spirit and the person of Jesus Christ in their thinking? Is this true of us? Se 16:14, 15.



  1. 16:2: ‘Put you out of the synagogue’: see Note on 12:42.
  2. 16:5: The questions of Thomas (14:5) and Peter (13:36, 37) concerned their own following of Jesus. No-one was now asking about the glory to which Christ was going in his return to the Father.
  3. 16:8-11. The Holy Spirit will convince men of their false standards of sin, righteousness and judgment (cf. Is. 55:8, 9). He will show them that the essence of sin is unbelief in Christ; that true righteousness is not that of the Pharisees (works of the Law) but the righteousness seen in Christ, and declared in the gospel; and that judgment awaits all who follow the ruler of this world. At Pentecost the heavens were convinced by the Spirit’s witness through the apostles, exactly as Jesus says here.
  4. 16:13. ‘Tell you what is yet to come’: i.e., interpret the significance of Christ’s impending crucifixion and resurrection, as well as other divine actions.


John 16:16-33

  1. ‘A little while’. In the light of verses 16-22 do you consider that this refers to the time between the death of Jesus and his resurrection; between his ascension and Pentecost; or both?
  2. Notice in verse 23, ‘You will no longer ask me anything.’ With the Spirit to enlighten (cf. verses 12-15) and the Father to supply our needs, what do we learn in verses 23-28 about the place of prayer? On what do we rely when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ? Cf. 14:13, 14; 15:16.
  3. In verse 33 Jesus sums up the situation. In what two opposing spheres would the disciples live? What would be their experience in the one and in the other? What can be the ground of your courage and confidence?


John 17

Jesus’ prayer falls into three divisions: (a) verses 1-5, for himself; (b) verses 6-19, for the immediate circle of disciples; (c) verses 20-26, for the great company who should afterwards believe.

  1. The hour of Jesus’ supreme has come (verse 1; cf. 2:4; 7:6, 30; 8:20; 13:1). How is this related to the glorifying of the Son and the Father (verses 1-4)? Already the glory of God has been seen in Jesus (1:14); how is it seen also in his disciples (verse 22)? When will they see the full glory of the Son (verses 5, 24)?
  2. In verses 6-14, note how many things Jesus has already done for his disciples.
  3. What does our Lord pray that the Father will do for those whom he has given him? Is this prayer being answered in you? Are you ‘truly sanctified’ (verse 19)?


  1. Verse 2. ‘Authority’, the whole of humanity lies within the sphere of Christ’s commission. Cf. Ps. 2:8; Matt. 28:18,19.
  2. Verse 5. A prayer that the glory, of which for a time he had ‘made himself nothing’ (Phil. 2:6, 7), might be restored to him.
  3. Verses 17, 19. Note the repetition of the word ‘sanctify’. Jesus sanctified himself to the holy Father in fulfillment of his perfect will, particularly in offering himself as the sacrifice for sin. Cf. Heb. 10:5-10. This shows what true sanctification involves.


John 17

  1. What is our relationship to the world? How should we ourselves pray regarding people in the world?
  2. Verses 20-23. Is the Lord praying for the uniting of all branches of the Christian church as in the ecumenical movement? What is the object of his prayer? What will its fuller realization mean?
  3. Observe the significance of the ‘word’ or ‘words’ of the Father and the Son in this passage.


John 18:1-27

Jesus’ arrest trial before Caiaphas.

  1. In verses 4-11 and 19-23 what qualities of our Lord’s character appear in relation to: (a) those who came to arrest him, (b) his disciples, and (c) his accusers?
  2. How did Peter’s own actions contribute to his fall? Of what was he afraid? Does fear ever prevent you from declaring your association with Jesus Christ?


  1. Verses 5, 6, 8 ‘I am he’: the thrice-repeated use of this phrase point to its special significance. It is virtually a reiteration of the divine name, ‘I AM’. Cf. Exod. 3:14; John 8:58. Note the effect of Christ’s statement on the hearers.


John 18:26-19:16

The trial before Pilate.

  1. Trace through this passage the attempts made by Pilate to spare Jesus from death, and the steps taken by the Jews to counter his efforts. The full charge brought against Jesus is given in Luke 23:2. (Note the Jews’ use of both religious and political threats to overcome Pilate’s resistance; see 19:7, 12.) What features of the character of Pilate and of the Jews are revealed here? Could we be guilty of similar injustice?
  2. ‘The king of Jews.’ Note how this title forms the central interest from 18:33 to 19:22. What is the real nature of Jesus’ kingship? How does it differ from the world’s? How is Jesus’ royal dignity shown here? How does the use of the title reveal the sin of the Jews, and the glory of Jesus’ sacrifice?



  1. 18:28. ‘Palace of the Roman governor’ (‘praetorium’): the headquarters of the Roman governor.
  2. 18:31b. The Romans did not allow the Jews to inflict capital punishment. Hence Pilate’s words in 19:6 imply that there was no ground in Roman law for Jesus’ death. However, he spoke a deeper truth than he realized.

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