John 16:1-6 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.
By these things, Jesus is reffering to the hatred and the persecution that the world will serve against the disciples. Jesus started in chapter 15:18 to illustrate this fact. The Greek word used for falling away also means to cause one to stumble or to trip and fall. So, Jesus is saying that he is telling them these things so that they do not get tripped by these persecutions and then fall away from grace. Jesus is simply telling them these things so that when they do happen, they should expect them and not fall away and stop beleiving but rather they must persevere or endure.
2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
A synagogue to a Jewish person was the center of all his/ her social activities. The synagogue was the center of every Jewish person. So, to be kicked out of the synagogue was to be cut out of the community. You were pretty much being declared an outcast. This was the worst thing that could happen to a Jewish person. Hence in John 12:42, although most beleived in Jesus, they were afraid to confess because they were afraid of being thrown out of the synagogue. Also in John 9:22, the parents of the blind man, refused to talk much because they were also afraid of being kicked out of the synagogue. So, it is clear that they would rather not defend their child as opposed to being kicked out. This shows how important being part of the synagogue was.
By the hour, Jesus means that the time is coming when those that kill Christians will think that they are doing it for God. We saw this already in Acts 9:1; 26:9-11 that Paul was getting instructions and permission from the Cheif Priest to hunt, kill or jail Christians. The Chief Priest beleived that Jesus was a blasphemer and so are his followers. In hunting, killing and or jailing Christians, the chief priest beleived that he was ridding the nation of blasphemers. This is seen therefore as a service to God.
3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.
They here refers to the world. These things are still the persecutions and the hatred referred to in verse 1. The word used for “know” in Greek can also mean to be aware, to perceive or to understand. In John 8:19, Jesus told the Jews that they neither know him or the Father. Jesus again in John 8:55 told the Jews that they did not know God. The same thing happened in John 15:21 and 17:25. In 1 John 3:1, John says that the world does not know Christians because they did not know Jesus. What does this mean? How come Jesus said that they did not know him, if he preached to them about God, the whole time. They also were following the Old Testament and God’s laws. How then could they have not known him? Let’s look at 1 Samuel 3:7 for an answer. In Samuel the bible says that Samuel did not know the Lord because the word of God was not yet revealed to him and Job in Job 36:10-12, says that God gives instructions but if people don’t listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge. Therefore, although the Jews heard and were given the knowledge, they rejected it and therefore did not know God.
4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
Jesus explains here that he did not tell them all this before because he was with them. When he was still with them according to Matt 9:15, they did not need to be sad but now that he is going away, it is time for them to know and prepare for the persecutions and the hatred the world will dish against them. Jesus says that when the time comes, they must remember that he did tell them it will happen.
5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
This is one of those very tricky verses to explain. Jesus says here that the disciples are not asking him where he is going although he is going away to him who sent him. We know that the disciples did ask where Jesus was going before in John 13:36, this was Peter asking and Thomas followed up with a similar question in John 14:15. Even when asking this question in verse 5, in his question, Jesus still indicates that he is going to God who sent him. Then why is Jesus asking this? Has he forgotten that they did ask? Is he lying? In both cases the answer is NO. Jesus is God and cannot forget and cannot lie. The answer to this is that, and the key is in verse 5. If Jesus was reffering to them asking him about where he is going, then it would not make sense since in his stament in verse 5 he does tell them that he is going to him who sent him. So, if he tells them where he is going, why should they ask. This is because Jesus is not reffering to where he is going but rather, about where he is going. Jesus says instead of asking him about heaven and how heaven is like, they are drowned in sorrow and grief. I hope this makes sense. So, the issue here is not about where he is going but rather about the place itself where he is going. It’s about heaven. Jesus is asking them why they are not asking him about heaven. The implication is that, you should be asking me about heaven instead of being drowned in your sorrow and grief.