‘Turning point’: John 16.16–22 (25 March 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters.



Lord, have mercy. Cleanse me. Still my mind. Help me to listen as you speak.



Making the Covenant Box

1Bezalel made the Covenant Box out of acacia wood, 110 centimetres long, 66 centimetres wide, and 66 centimetres high. 2He covered it with pure gold inside and out and put a gold border all round it. 3He made four carrying rings of gold for it and attached them to its four feet, with two rings on each side. 4He made carrying poles of acacia wood, covered them with gold, 5and put them through the rings on each side of the box. 6He made a lid of pure gold, 110 centimetres long and 66 centimetres wide. 7He made two winged creatures of hammered gold, 8one for each end of the lid. He made them so that they formed one piece with the lid. 9The winged creatures faced each other across the lid, and their outspread wings covered it.

Making the Table for the Bread Offered to God

10He made the table out of acacia wood, 88 centimetres long, 44 centimetres wide, and 66 centimetres high. 11He covered it with pure gold and put a gold border round it. 12He made a rim 75 millimetres wide round it and put a gold border round the rim. 13He made four carrying rings of gold for it and put them at the four corners, where the legs were. 14The rings to hold the poles for carrying the table were placed near the rim. 15He made the poles of acacia wood and covered them with gold. 16He made the dishes of pure gold for the table: the plates, the cups, the jars, and the bowls to be used for the wine offering.

Making the Lampstand

17He made the lampstand of pure gold. He made its base and its shaft of hammered gold; its decorative flowers, including buds and petals, formed one piece with it.

18Six branches extended from its sides, three from each side. 19Each of the six branches had three decorative flowers shaped like almond blossoms with buds and petals. 20The shaft of the lampstand had four decorative flowers shaped like almond blossoms with buds and petals. 21There was one bud below each of the three pairs of branches. 22The buds, the branches, and the lampstand were a single piece of pure hammered gold. 23He made seven lamps for the lampstand, and he made its tongs and trays of pure gold. 24He used 35 kilogrammes of pure gold to make the lampstand and all its equipment.

Making the Altar for Burning Incense

25He made an altar out of acacia wood, for burning incense. It was square, 45 centimetres long and 45 centimetres wide, and it was ninety centimetres high. Its projections at the four corners formed one piece with it. 26He covered its top, all four sides, and its projections with pure gold and put a gold border round it. 27He made two gold carrying rings for it and attached them below the border on the two sides, to hold the poles with which it was to be carried. 28He made the poles of acacia wood and covered them with gold.

Making the Anointing Oil and the Incense

29He also made the sacred anointing oil and the pure sweet-smelling incense, mixed like perfume.

1“I have told you this, so that you will not give up your faith. 2You will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time will come when anyone who kills you will think that by doing this he is serving God. 3People will do these things to you because they have not known either the Father or me. 4But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for them to do these things, you will remember that I told you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“I did not tell you these things at the beginning, for I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me where I am going. 6And now that I have told you, your hearts are full of sadness. 7But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God's judgement. 9They are wrong about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10they are wrong about what is right, because I am going to the Father and you will not see me any more; 11and they are wrong about judgement, because the ruler of this world has already been judged.

12“I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. 13When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears, and will tell you of things to come. 14He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you. 15All that my Father has is mine; that is why I said that the Spirit will take what I give him and tell it to you.

Sadness and Gladness

16“In a little while you will not see me any more, and then a little while later you will see me.”

17Some of his disciples asked among themselves, “What does this mean? He tells us that in a little while we will not see him, and then a little while later we will see him; and he also says, ‘It is because I am going to the Father.’ 18What does this ‘a little while’ mean? We don't know what he is talking about!”

19Jesus knew that they wanted to question him, so he said to them, “I said, ‘In a little while you will not see me, and then a little while later you will see me.’ Is this what you are asking about among yourselves? 20I am telling you the truth: you will cry and weep, but the world will be glad; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into gladness. 21When a woman is about to give birth, she is sad because her hour of suffering has come; but when the baby is born, she forgets her suffering, because she is happy that a baby has been born into the world. 22That is how it is with you: now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away from you.

23“When that day comes, you will not ask me for anything. I am telling you the truth: the Father will give you whatever you ask him for in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your happiness may be complete.

Victory over the World

25“I have used figures of speech to tell you these things. But the time will come when I will not use figures of speech, but will speak to you plainly about the Father. 26When that day comes, you will ask him in my name; and I do not say that I will ask him on your behalf, 27for the Father himself loves you. He loves you because you love me and have believed that I came from God. 28I did come from the Father, and I came into the world; and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29Then his disciples said to him, “Now you are speaking plainly, without using figures of speech. 30We know now that you know everything; you do not need someone to ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

31Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? 32The time is coming, and is already here, when all of you will be scattered, each of you to your own home, and I will be left all alone. But I am not really alone, because the Father is with me. 33I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”

1A wise son pays attention when his father corrects him, but an arrogant person never admits he is wrong.

2Good people will be rewarded for what they say, but those who are deceitful are hungry for violence.

3Be careful what you say and protect your life. A careless talker destroys himself.

4No matter how much a lazy person may want something, he will never get it. A hard worker will get everything he wants.

5Honest people hate lies, but the words of wicked people are shameful and disgraceful.

6Righteousness protects the innocent; wickedness is the downfall of sinners.

7Some people pretend to be rich, but have nothing. Others pretend to be poor, but own a fortune.

8The rich have to use their money to save their lives, but no one threatens the poor.

9The righteous are like a light shining brightly; the wicked are like a lamp flickering out.

10Arrogance causes nothing but trouble. It is wiser to ask for advice.

11The more easily you get your wealth, the sooner you will lose it. The harder it is to earn, the more you will have.

12When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed, but a wish come true fills you with joy.

13If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe.

14The teachings of the wise are a fountain of life; they will help you escape when your life is in danger.

15Intelligence wins respect, but those who can't be trusted are on the road to ruin.

16Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance.

17Unreliable messengers cause trouble, but those who can be trusted bring peace.

18Someone who will not learn will be poor and disgraced. Anyone who listens to correction is respected.

19How good it is to get what you want! Stupid people refuse to turn away from evil.

20Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined.

21Trouble follows sinners everywhere, but righteous people will be rewarded with good things.

22Good people will have wealth to leave to their grandchildren, but the wealth of sinners will go to the righteous.

23Unused fields could yield plenty of food for the poor, but unjust people keep them from being farmed.

24If you don't punish your son, you don't love him. If you do love him, you will correct him.

25The righteous have enough to eat, but the wicked are always hungry.

Children and Parents

1Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do. 2“Respect your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise added: 3“so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.”

4Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, bring them up with Christian discipline and instruction.

Slaves and Masters

5Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling; and do it with a sincere heart, as though you were serving Christ. 6Do this not only when they are watching you, because you want to gain their approval; but with all your heart do what God wants, as slaves of Christ. 7Do your work as slaves cheerfully, as though you served the Lord, and not merely human beings. 8Remember that the Lord will reward everyone, whether slave or free, for the good work they do.

9Masters, behave in the same way towards your slaves and stop using threats. Remember that you and your slaves belong to the same Master in heaven, who judges everyone by the same standard.

The Whole Armour of God

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armour that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God's armour now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight round your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel's secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.

Final Greetings

21Tychicus, our dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord's work, will give you all the news about me, so that you may know how I am getting on. 22That is why I am sending him to you — to tell you how all of us are getting on, and to encourage you.

23May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give to all Christian brothers and sisters peace and love with faith. 24May God's grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying love.


Daily Reflection: John 16

John 16 not only reveals the confusion of the disciples as Good Friday draws close, but seems to reflect the turmoil of a young Church which is facing persecution and no longer has Jesus in its midst. 'When is he coming back to take us home?' must have been a regular question on people’s lips.

Our passage speaks of pain, weeping and mourning. But just as Easter morning was the turning point from anguish to joy for the first disciples, John comforts his readers by reminding them that, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is still among them.

A lesson I quickly learnt as a young Christian was not to misread a phrase that was common at the time – 'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life' – as 'all will be hunky-dory from now on'. As every seasoned lover knows, not only does love not rule out pain, it includes it. The belief that God’s sovereignty and providence are an insurance policy against trials and tribulations is mistaken.

But this is not where Jesus ends. 'You will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy', he says (verse 20). The analogy he uses is that of a woman about to give birth: love and suffering are inextricably linked and the outcome is worth the struggle.



Lord, as life as we knew it grinds to a halt and anxiety rules the day, help me to keep trusting that your Spirit is there to guide me and that pain will turn to joy.

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