Summary: Jesus introduces some of the work of the Holy Spirit as "prosecutor". The Holy Spirit would convince and convict God's chosen of their sin and His Righteousness, in order to avoid the judgment of sin and satan.
The Prosecution’s Case John16:5-11
In our last study at the end of John 15 and John 16:1-4 we considered the privilege of serving as witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. We saw that the Holy Spirit stands as a trustworthy witness and testimony of all that Jesus’ is and all that He taught from the Father. The Holy Spirit’s work as the “Parakletos” is similar to that of a legal representative, standing to testify concerning the words and works of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit would come to represent the Gospel proclaimed in the Life, Words and Work our Lord Jesus Christ, and He would equip true disciples of Jesus to also testify to the One who is full of grace and truth, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at John 16:5-11 with me; this is the Word of God as spoken by the Word Incarnate to His disciples and to all believers: "But now I go away 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. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
Did you ever have a loved one who was very ill and you knew that it was just a matter of time and your life would be so empty without this person. This is what the disciples are experiencing as Jesus tells them that He will be leaving and returning to Heaven.
“Where are You going?”
In verse 5 we read: “None of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?” Jesus isn’t ill at the time, and so they wouldn’t think that He was going to die. As a matter of fact, they had asked the question two times before. In John 13:36, Peter said, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward." 7 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake." 38 Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”
Here the question and the answer by Peter was premature because Peter had much to learn. God uses us differently when we are first saved than after we have grown in the Spirit and the Word. Peter would first have to deny even knowing Jesus, watch Him be crucified, and come to the empty grave and later see Jesus in the flesh that Resurrection Sunday. He would have to walk the road of the suffering Savior before he would go where Jesus would be going. Believers continue to grow and learn for their lifetimes, and often our life experiences turn out to be foundational springboards to our witness.
Thomas had also asked the question in John 14:5: "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus clearly states that “THE WAY” is a person and not some place and that He is the exclusive “way” to the Father’s Heaven. Jesus has taught His disciples the Truth about salvation because He has shared with them all that the Father had given Him to share, the Words of truth and life.
When you first receive very sad news, the news can engulf expectations for hope in the future. As Jesus again shares the news of his departure, the shock of grief and the question of “where are you going?” hardly seems important since the question has been temporarily swallowed up by sorrow. At the moment of deep sorrow, the reality of “a better future” can certainly be clouded. We don’t know why the Holy Spirit would not come until Jesus had returned to the Father, but it was clear that Jesus would have to give Himself on the cross as the propitiation, the exact payment for sin and ascend to the Father before the Holy Spirit would be sent from the Father. This was the word and will of God for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, and it occurred according to His timetable.
Look at verses 8-11: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”