Title: Gospel of John [16:28-31]. From the Father and returning to the Father. Joh 5-8.
JOH 16:28 "I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father."
So His mission in the world is just about fulfilled. Yet there is more to do from the vantage point of heaven.
JOH 16:29 His disciples said, "Lo, now You are speaking plainly, and are not using a figure of speech.
JOH 16:30 "Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God."
What is it that has become plain to them? It is obvious that they are still confused on a number of things. Yet in verse 28 He made the most explicit declaration of where He had come from and where He was going during this night. However, while they may plainly understand where He is going there is much about the reasons, the whys, and the results of His resurrection, session, and session that they still do not know. We have the account in the gospels of their fear at the arrest of our Lord and their scattering from Him. If they understood the results of Christ's death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session they would not have feared, but they don't even understand it at this point so as to have faith in it for peace and courage. Jesus knows this from prophecy and likely from His own fabulous insight.
JOH 16:31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?
JOH 16:32 "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
Because of this I sought to discover how many times the Lord spoke of His origin in heaven and His return there in glory as recorded in the gospel and I was shocked to see how often He did so. It is a great study. The reactions of those who hear it are extremely insightful. In almost every instance the responses come from the unbelieving Jews and the disciples are silent in the background. However, we can gather that they had spinning wheels in their brains with no absolute conclusions due to how they act and what they say and ask in the Upper Room and in the few hours subsequently.
Let's look at the references to where He has come from and where He is going that He made on this night.
References to where He has come from and where He is going in Upper Room:
JOH 14:28 "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.
JOH 14:29 "And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe.
JOH 16:5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'
JOH 16:17 Some of His disciples therefore said to one another, "What is this thing He is telling us, 'A little while, and you will not behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?"
JOH 16:18 And so they were saying, "What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is talking about."
JOH 16:19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, "Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, 'A little while, and you will not behold Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me'?
Joh16:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.
Joh16:21 "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.
Joh16:22 "Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
Joh16:23 "In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
Joh16:24 "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Joh16:25 "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.
Joh16:26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf;
Joh16:27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.
He said in verse 23 that in heaven they will no longer ask questions and that in time all requests will go to the Father in His name and then in verse 28 He states this in the most clarity that He has used.
JOH 16:28 "I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father."
To a Jew, leaving the world meant going to the heavens and since this is clearly the abode of the Father, whom they understand to be Jehovah Elohim, they can only conclude that He means the third heaven or the heaven of God, above the angelic heavens.
And so they say, now we hear you plainly and not in parable form. One may say, Ok, so what? Well, this becomes a bit of a lesson for us all when we answer the question: Did He refer to this before this night, and how often during His ministry? Thanks to the apostle John, an eye witness, we know that He did, and that He did several times. Yet we see in almost every case that the crowd completely misunderstands Him and one has to wonder if the silent disciples in the background shared this doubt or at least confusion in their early walk with Him.
Understanding takes time and dedication to the truth that only comes through the person of Christ as revealed by God the Holy Spirit.
So many believers have not lost the habit of this world that wants everything easy and quick. I'm not saying that the yoke isn't easy, but their definition of easy is just plain doing nothing. We have to learn, that's what a disciple is, a dedicated learner who observes and learns in order to become like his master. Learning takes years and it takes dedication and patience. The best learner loves what he's learning and what he's becoming. In Christianity that is a guarantee after some beginning, for this isn't just any knowledge, but the only truth that emanates from the One true God through the Son of God and God the Holy Spirit; the truth that is alive and powerful.
References to where He has come from and where He is going before the Upper Room:
JOH 5:36 "But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
Did they know that when He addressed the Father that He meant God the Father? The answer is yes.
After healing the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath:
JOH 5:17 But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working."
JOH 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
[He is in the north in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee and has just fed the 5,000.]
JOH 6:44 "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
JOH 6:45 "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
JOH 6:46 "Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.
JOH 6:47 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
JOH 6:48 "I am the bread of life.
JOH 6:49 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
JOH 6:50 "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
JOH 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
JOH 6:52 The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"
Did the disciples understand what He was saying? You have to imagine yourself in their sandals, without the aid of the NT and living after the fact of His cross, resurrection, ascension, and session has taken place.
JOH 6:53 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
JOH 6:54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
JOH 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
JOH 6:56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
JOH 6:57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.
JOH 6:58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever."
JOH 6:59 These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.
JOH 6:60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?"
JOH 6:61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?
JOH 6:62 "What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before? [disciples will]
JOH 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
JOH 6:64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who [singular] it was that would betray Him.
JOH 6:65 And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father."
JOH 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.
Communication of the truth is much more important than popularity.
JOH 6:67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"
JOH 6:68 Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
JOH 6:69 "And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."
Peter acknowledges correctly that Christ has words of eternal life and that He is the Holy One of God, a likely reference to Messiah.
The KJV borrowed from MAT 16:16 where Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and added to this verse.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. [KJV - amended by MAT 16:16]
The NASB has it correct from the Greek language. "We have come to believe and have comes to know that you are the Hagios of God."
It is likely in wanting to ascribe to the disciples a more noble and spiritual appearance than they had. This unfortunately robs us of a helpful spiritual truth -
There are doubts and ignorance's and misunderstandings in the beginning of our walk with God.
At this point in their walk with Him this may have been as far as they were willing to go. We have come to believe and know that you are the Saint of God or Holy One of God, which to them means the Messiah.
JOH 1:41 He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ).
What Andrew says is true, but does he really understand the implications of what he said? The answer is no, but faith like a mustard seed is all that is needed to begin.
This is enough to give them the courage to stay and not leave as the rest who only looked at Him as another Moses. To the most of the crowd He was to lead them in a war of national liberation much like the first Moses did.
Just prior to this incident Christ fed the five thousand and they hailed Him as a second Moses. Moses brought manna from heaven and so they made the connection, this man was another prophet as Moses.
JOH 6:14 When therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, "This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world."
To the rest of the crowd the word Messiah had a meaning far less then what it entitles.
But, in returning to the mindset of the disciples, as for coming from heaven and His relationship to the Fatherhood of Jehovah, did they understand? Evidence points to the contrary.
Jesus then goes to Jerusalem in the middle of the feast of Tabernacles which lasted eight days. It is the last feast on the Jewish calendar.
JOH 7:14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.
JOH 7:15 The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?"
The scribes always felt happier and more received when they could quote the precedent of some past teacher. Jesus did not evoke the name of a human teacher.
JOH 7:16 Jesus therefore answered them, and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
JOH 7:17 "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.
Humility is the beginning of knowing God's will. One must be willing to do God's will before he knows what it is.
JOH 7:18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Jesus speaks only the truth as He came from God as God in the flesh. His truth is not of His own devising in His humanity but from above. It is direct from God and through God in the flesh.
JOH 7:19 "Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?"
Moses stated, "Thou shall not kill."
JOH 7:20 The multitude answered, "You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?"
He was speaking of the last time He was in the temple when they sought to kill Him because He healed a man on the Sabbath.
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
JOH 7:21 Jesus answered and said to them, "I did one deed, and you all marvel.
JOH 7:22 "On this account Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man.
Better rendered: "Moses has given you circumcision … and on this account, on the Sabbath you circumcise a man."
JOH 7:23 "If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?
JOH 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
JOH 7:25 Therefore some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill?
JOH 7:26 "And look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?
This is the first instance in this gospel where the idea of Him being Messiah is ventilated in Jerusalem.
This same people, six months later, would use the title to mock and deride Him.
"Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!" And those who were crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him.