The Lord brings up the Comforter again because He’s been telling the apostles they’d be hated as He was (15:18-20). He went about healing Israel’s sick and raising their dead, but they hated Him “without a cause” (v.25). When the Comforter indwelt the apostles and did these same miracles through them, they’d be hated without a cause as well.
How would the Comforter comfort them? The Lord said He would “testify of Me” (15:26), the miraculous testimony that the Spirit gave at Pentecost through them. I’d find it comforting if I could work miracles!
There are two kinds of testimony in court, evidentiary testimony, like the Spirit gave, but a murder weapon without a witness tying it to the crime is not enough. So the Lord went on to tell them that they too would have to testify of Him (15:27). A healed lame man wasn’t as good without Peter telling people who healed him (Acts 4:8-10).
The apostles had to be with the Lord from the beginning (15:27 cf. Acts 1:21,22) because they were witnesses of His resurrection (Acts 4:33). If you testify a man has risen from the dead, you will be asked how long you knew him before he died. If you only knew him briefly, you can’t be sure it is the same man risen from the dead.
Next the Lord told them how much they’d be hated (16:1). “Offended” means to be shocked. When the apostles healed the sick and did other good things at Pentecost they might have been shocked when they were hated if the Lord hadn’t told them ahead of time.
It was important they not be offended because those shocked by such hatred might not endure to the end to be saved (Mt.13:21), and might turn on one another (Mt.24:10) and turn them in to the Antichrist in the coming Tribulation. Doesn’t it help you ahead of time to know that you’ll be persecuted (IITim.3:12)? Paul knew that “to be forewarned is to be fore-armed” so always warned the saints of what was to come (IThes.3:3,4).
Being put out of the synagogue (John 16:2) meant more than just not having a place to go to church, it made a person a social pariah.
The men killing the saints in the Tribulation will be reli-gious zealots, but zealots without a good knowledge of God’s Word (Rom. 10:2). Saul of Tarsus epitomized this (Acts 22:3,4). If you think no one would kill people in the name of God, talk to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. If you think no one would kill people in the name of the God of the Bible, when you get to heaven talk to those that died in the inquisitions. Those that don’t know the Father or Christ will be involved in this in the Tribulation (John 16:3)
How would it help to tell the apostles ahead of time that they’d be hated (16:4)? Well, if He promised them an easy time, they might be offended when they were persecuted. Just like those that believe health and wealth preachers today are shocked when they are not healthy and wealthy.
Why didn’t He tell them they’d be hated from the beginning? Because He was with them (16:4) calming the sea and raising the dead and looking invincible! If He’d have told them then that they’d be hated and killed they wouldn’t have believed Him. Shucks, they didn’t believe Him when He said He’d have to die! You know they weren’t ready to hear they’d be killed at the beginning of His ministry because now that He was telling them that He would have to go away, all they could think of was themselves, when they should have been asking Him where He was going and if He was going to be okay (v.5,6). If they still weren’t ready to hear about His death at the end of His ministry, they would not have been ready to hear about their own deaths at the beginning of His ministry.
Their sorrow explains their sleepiness in Gethsemene. (Luke 22:45). That makes more sense than what some think, that they had too much wine at the last supper!
But why did the Lord rebuke them for sleeping if they slept for sorrow (Mt.26:40)? Because He’d been telling them they should be rejoicing He was going to God (John 14:28).