John 16:12
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
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(12) I have yet many things to say unto you.—The “many things” are defined by the next verse to be things with regard to which the Spirit of Truth shall be their guide—i.e., they are parts of the revelation which the minds of the disciples are not yet fitted to receive.

Ye cannot bear them now.—Comp. John 15:15. The statements are not opposed to each other. On His side there is the readiness to impart to them as friends all things that He had heard from the Father. But revelation can only be made to the mind which can accept it; and for those who have only in part understood what He has told them there are many things which cannot now be borne.

Of what the “many things” were, we have only this general knowledge. They would include, doubtless, the doctrinal system of the early Church, and they would not exclude all the lessons which the spirit of God has taught the Church in every age.

The fact that there were truths which Christ Himself could not teach is a lesson which men who profess to teach in Christ’s name have too seldom learnt. St. Paul found in it a rule for his own practice. He, too, fed men with milk because they could not bear meat. (Comp. Note on 1Corinthians 3:3.) It is true, indeed, that no one can teach who does not possess a higher knowledge than that of his pupil; but it is no less true that no one can really teach who does not take the lower ground of his pupil’s knowledge, and from that lead him to his own. Truths which the cultured mind accepts as obvious would appear no less so to the peasant if he were carefully taught them. Too often the weaker brother finds a stumbling-block in the very steps which should lead him to a higher truth, because he approaches them blindly, and without a guide. For the breach which exists between the higher Christian thought of our day and the faith of the masses of the people, Christian teachers are in no small degree responsible, and the only means by which the chasm may be bridged is to teach Christ’s truths as He Himself taught them.



John 16:12 - John 16:15

This is our Lord’s last expansion, in these discourses, of the great promise of the Comforter which has appeared so often in them. First, He was spoken of simply as dwelling in Christ’s servants, without any more special designation of His work than was involved in the name. Then, His aid was promised, to remind the Apostles of the facts of Christ’s life, especially of His words; and so the inspiration and authority of the four Gospels were certified for us. Then He was further promised as the witness in the disciples to Jesus Christ. And, finally, in the immediately preceding context, we have His office of ‘convincing,’ or convicting, ‘the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ And now we come to that gracious and gentle work which that divine Spirit is declared by Christ to do, not only for that little group gathered round Him then, but for all those who trust themselves to His guidance. He is to be the ‘Spirit of truth’ to all the ages, who in simple verity will help true hearts to know and love the truth. There are three things in the words before us-first, the avowed incompleteness of Christ’s own teaching; second, the completeness of the truth into which the Spirit of truth guides; and, last, the unity of these two.

I. First, then, we have here the avowed incompleteness of Christ’s own teaching.

‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.’ Now in an earlier portion of these great discourses, we have our Lord asserting that ‘all things whatsoever He had heard of the Father He had made known’ unto His servants. How do these two representations harmonise? Is it possible to make them agree? Surely, yes. There is a difference between the germ and the unfolded flower. There is a difference between principles and the complete development of these. I suppose you may say that all Euclid is in the axioms and definitions. I suppose you may also say that when you have learned the axioms and definitions, there are many things yet to be said, of which you have not grown to the apprehension. And so our Lord, as far as His frankness was concerned, and as far as the fundamental and seminal principles of all religious truth were concerned, had even then declared all that He had heard of the Father. But yet, in so far as the unfolding of these was concerned, the tracing of their consequences, the exhibition of their harmonies, the weaving of them into an ordered whole in which a man’s understanding could lodge, there were many things yet to be said, which that handful of men were not able to bear. And so our Lord Himself here declares that His words spoken on earth are not His completed revelation.

Of course we find in them, as I believe, hints profound and pregnant, which only need to be unfolded and smoothed out, as it were, and their depths fathomed, in order to lead to all that is worthy of being called Christian truth. But upon many points we cannot but contrast the desultory, brief, obscure references which came from the Master’s lips with the more systematised, full, and accurate teaching which came from the servants. The great crucial instance of all is the comparative reticence which our Lord observed in reference to His sacrificial death, and the atoning character of His sufferings for the world. I do not admit that the silence of the Gospels upon that subject is fairly represented when it is said to be absolute. I believe that that silence has been exaggerated by those who have no desire to accept that teaching. But the distinction is plain and obvious, not to be ignored, rather to be marked as being fruitful of blessed teaching, between the way in which Christ speaks about His Cross, and the way in which the Apostles speak about it after Pentecost.

What then? My text gives us the reason. ‘You cannot bear them now.’ Now the word rendered ‘bear’ here does not mean ‘bear’ in the sense of endure, or tolerate, or suffer, but ‘bear’ in the sense of carry. And the metaphor is that of some weight-it may be gold, but still it is a weight-laid upon a man whose muscles are not strong enough to sustain it. It crushes rather than gladdens. So because they had not strength enough to carry, had not capacity to receive, our Lord was lovingly reticent.

There is a great principle involved in this saying-that revelation is measured by the moral and spiritual capacities of the men who receive it. The light is graduated for the diseased eye. A wise oculist does not flood that eye with full sunshine, but he puts on veils and bandages, and closes the shutters, and lets a stray beam, ever growing as the curve is perfected, fall upon it. So from the beginning until the end of the process of revelation there was a correspondence between men’s capacity to receive the light and the light that was granted; and the faithful use of the less made them capable of receiving the greater, and as soon as they were capable of receiving it, it came. ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ In His love, then, Christ did not load these men with principles that they could not carry, nor feed them with ‘strong meat’ instead of ‘milk,’ until they were able to bear it. Revelation is progressive, and Christ is reticent, from regard to the feebleness of His listeners.

Now that same principle is true in a modified form about us. How many things there are which we sometimes feel we should like to know, that God has not told us, because we have not yet grown up to the point at which we could apprehend them! Compassed with these veils of flesh and weakness, groping amidst the shadows of time, bewildered by the cross-lights that fall upon us from so many surrounding objects, we have not yet eyes able to behold the ineffable glory. He has many things to say to us about that blessed future, and that strange and awful life into which we are to step when we leave this poor world, but ‘ye cannot bear them now.’ Let us wait with patience until we are ready for the illumination. For two things go to make revelation, the light that reveals and the eye that beholds.

Now one remark before I go further. People tell us, ‘Your modern theology is not in the Gospels.’ And they say to us, as if they had administered a knockdown blow, ‘We stick by Jesus, not Paul.’ Well, as I said, I do not admit that there is no ‘Pauline’ teaching in the Gospels, but I do confess there is not much. And I say, ‘What then?’ Why, this, then-it is exactly what we were to expect; and people who reject the apostolic form of Christian teaching because it is not found in the Gospels are flying in the face of Christ’s own teaching. You say you will take His words as the only source of religious truth. You are going clean contrary to His own words in saying so. Remember that He proclaimed their incompleteness, and referred us, for the fuller knowledge of the truth of God, to a subsequent Teacher.

II. So, secondly, mark here the completeness of the truth into which the Spirit guides.

I must trouble you with just a word or two of remark as to the language of our text. Note the personality, designation, and office of this new Teacher. ‘He,’ not ‘it,’ He, is the Spirit of truth whose characteristic and weapon is truth. ‘He will guide you’-suggesting a loving hand put out to lead; suggesting the graciousness, the gentleness, the gradualness of the teaching. ‘Into all truth ‘-that is no promise of omniscience, but it is the assurance of gradual and growing acquaintance with the spiritual and moral truth which is revealed, such as may be fitly paralleled by the metaphor of men passing into some broad land, of which there is much still to be possessed and explored. Not to-day, nor to-morrow, will all the truth belong to those whom the Spirit guides; but if they are true to His guidance, ‘to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant,’ and the land will all be traversed at the last. ‘He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak.’ Mark the parallel between the relation of the Spirit-Teacher to Jesus, and the relation of Jesus to the Father. Of Him, too, it is said by Himself, ‘All things whatsoever I have heard of the Father I have declared unto you.’ The mark of Satan is, ‘He speaketh of his own’; the mark of the divine Teacher is, ‘He speaketh not of Himself, but whatsoever things,’ in all their variety, in their continuity, in their completeness, ‘He shall hear,’-where? yonder in the depths of the Godhead-’whatsoever things He shall hear there,’ He shall show to you, and especially, ‘He will show you the things that are to come.’ These Apostles were living in a revolutionary time. Men’s hearts were ‘failing them for fear of the things that were coming on the earth.’ Step by step they would be taught the evolving glory of that kingdom which they were to be the instruments in founding; and step by step there would be spread out before them the vision of the future and all the wonder that should be, the world that was to come, the new constitution which Christ was to establish.

Now, if that be the interpretation, however inadequate, of these great and wonderful words, there are but two things needful to say about them. One is that this promise of a complete guidance into truth applies in a peculiar and unique fashion to the original hearers of it. I ventured to say that one of the other promises of the Spirit, which I quoted in my introductory remarks, was the certificate to us of the inspiration and reliableness of these Four Gospels. And I now remark that in these words, in their plain and unmistakable meaning, there lie involved the inspiration and authority of the Apostles as teachers of religious truth. Here we have the guarantee for the authority over our faith, of the words which came from these men, and from the other who was added to their number on the Damascus road. They were guided ‘into all the truth,’ and so our task is to receive the truth into which they were guided.

The Acts of the Apostles is the best commentary on these words of my text. There you see how these men rose at once into a new region; how the truths about their Master which had been bewildering puzzles to them flashed into light; how the Cross, which had baffled and dispersed them, became at once the centre of union for themselves and for the world; how the obscure became lucid, and Christ’s death and the resurrection stood forth to them as the great central facts of the world’s salvation. In the book of the Apocalypse we have part of the fulfilment of this closing promise: ‘He will show you things to come’; when the Seer was ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,’ and the heavens were opened, and the history of the Church {whether in chronological order, or in the exhibition of symbols of the great forces which shall be arrayed for and against it, over and over again, to the end of time, does not at present matter}, was spread before Him as a scroll.

Now, dear friends, this great principle of my text has a modified application also to us all. For that divine Spirit is given to each of us if we will use Him, is given to any and every man who desires Him, does dwell in Christian hearts, though, alas! so many of us are so little conscious of Him, and does teach us the truth which Christ Himself left incomplete.

Only let me make one remark here. We do not stand on the same level as these men who clustered round Christ on His road to Gethsemane, and received the first fruits of the promise-the Spirit. They, taught by that divine Guide and by experience, were led into the deeper apprehension of the words and the deeds, of the life and the death, of Jesus Christ our Lord. We, taught by that same Spirit, are led into a deeper apprehension of the words which they spake, both in recording and interpreting the facts of Christ’s life and death.

And so we come sharp up to this, ‘If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I speak unto him are the commandments of the Lord.’ That is how an Apostle put his relation to the other possessors of the divine Spirit. And you and I have to take this as the criterion of all true possession of the Spirit of God, that it bows in humble submission to the authoritative teaching of this book.

III. Lastly, we have here our Lord pointing out the unity of these two.

In the verse on which I have just been commenting He says nothing about Himself, and it might easily appear to the listeners as if these two sources of truth, His own incomplete teaching, and the full teaching of the divine Spirit, were independent of, if not opposed to, one another. So in the last words of our text He shows us the blending of the two streams, the union of the two beams.

‘He shall glorify Me.’ Think of a man saying that! The Spirit who will come from God and ‘guide men into all truth’ has for His distinctive office the glorifying of Jesus Christ. So fair is He, so good, so radiant, that to make Him known is to glorify Him. The glorifying of Christ is the ultimate and adequate purpose of everything that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has done, because the glorifying of Christ is the glorifying of God, and the blessing of the eyes that behold His glory.

‘For He shall take of Mine, and show it unto you.’ All which that divine Spirit brings is Christ’s. So, then, there is no new revelation, only the interpretation of the revelation. The text is given, and its last word was spoken, when ‘the cloud received Him out of their sight,’ and henceforward all is commentary. The Spirit takes of Christ’s; applies the principles, unfolds the deep meaning of words and deeds, and especially the meaning of the mystery of the Cradle, and the tragedy of the Cross, and the mystery of the Ascension, as declaring that Christ is the Son of God, the Sacrifice for the world. Christ said, ‘I am the Truth.’ Therefore, when He promises, ‘He will guide you into all the truth,’ we may fairly conclude that ‘the truth’ into which the Spirit guides is the personal Christ. It is the whole Christ, the whole truth, that we are to receive from that divine Teacher; growing up day by day into the capacity to grasp Christ more firmly, to understand Him better, and by love and trust and obedience to make Him more entirely our own. We are like the first settlers upon some great island-continent. There is a little fringe of population round the coast, but away in the interior are leagues of virgin forests and fertile plains stretching to the horizon, and snow-capped summits piercing the clouds, on which no foot has ever trod. ‘He will guide you into all truth’; through the length and breadth of the boundless land, the person and the work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘All things that the Father hath are Mine, therefore said I that He shall take of Mine and show it unto you.’ What awful words! A divine, teaching Spirit can only teach concerning God. Christ here explains the paradox of His words preceding, in which, if He were but human, He seems to have given that teaching Spirit an unworthy office, by explaining that whatsoever is His is God’s, and whatsoever is God’s is His.

My brother! do you believe that? Is that what you think about Jesus Christ? He puts out here an unpresumptuous hand, and grasps all the constellated glories of the divine Nature, and says, ‘They are Mine’; and the Father looks down from heaven and says, ‘Son! Thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is Thine.’ Do you answer, ‘Amen! I believe it?’

Here are three lessons from these great words which I leave with you without attempting to unfold them. One is, Believe a great deal more definitely in, and seek a great deal more consciously and earnestly, and use a great deal more diligently and honestly, that divine Spirit who is given to us all. I fear me that over very large tracts of professing Christendom to-day men stand up with very faltering lips and confess, ‘I believe in the Holy Ghost.’ Hence comes much of the weakness of our modern Christianity, of the worldliness of professing Christians, ‘and when for the time they ought to be teachers, they have need that one teach them again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.’ ‘Quench not, grieve not, despise not the Holy Spirit.’

Another lesson is, Use the Book that He uses-else you will not grow, and He will have no means of contact with you.

And the last is, Try the spirits. If anything calling itself Christian teaching comes to you and does not glorify Christ, it is self-condemned. For none can exalt Him highly enough, and no teaching can present Him too exclusively and urgently as the sole Salvation and Life of the whole earth, And if it be, as my text tells us, that the great teaching Spirit is to come, who is to ‘guide us into all truth,’ and therein is to glorify Christ, and to show us the things that are His, then it is also true, ‘Hereby know we the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of Antichrist.’

John 16:12-15. I have yet many things to say unto you — There are many other things concerning which I must give you information. But ye cannot bear them now — But the weakness of your understanding, your desire and expectation of my erecting a temporal kingdom, your prejudices in favour of your own nation and law, and your aversion to the Gentiles, are so great, that you cannot yet bear the discovery. For which reason I judge it more prudent to be silent for the present. The things which our Lord had in view probably concerned his passion, death, resurrection, and the consequences of it; the abrogation of the ceremonial law, the abolition of the whole Jewish economy, the doctrine of justification by faith without the deeds of the law, the rejection of the Jews, and the reception of believing Gentiles, without subjecting them to the law of Moses. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, (so called on account of his office,) is come — According to the promise I have given you; he will guide you into all truth — All necessary truth: so that you will sustain no loss by my not discovering these things to you now; for when the Comforter comes, he will inspire you with the knowledge of them, and of every other matter necessary for you to understand. For he shall not speak of himself, &c. — That you may have the greater confidence in, and satisfaction from, the revelations which he shall make to you, know that he shall speak to you by my direction, revealing to you nothing but what he is commissioned to discover. And he will show you things to come — His revelation shall be so full and complete, that he will discover unto you all such future events as you may be any way concerned to know. He shall glorify me — He shall do me great honour in this respect, that all his revelations to you shall be perfectly conformable to the doctrines which I have taught you in person; for he shall receive of mine — Or of those doctrines which relate to me, and those benefits which I procure and bestow; and will show it unto you — In the most clear and attractive light; will enable you clearly to understand the doctrines, and will assure you of your possession of the benefits, manifesting to you at the same time their unspeakable excellence. All things that the Father hath are mine — Be not surprised that I said, he shall receive of mine; for all the treasures of the Father’s wisdom, power, and goodness, truth, justice, mercy, and grace are mine; yea, in me dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Could any mere creature say this?

16:7-15 Christ's departure was necessary to the Comforter's coming. Sending the Spirit was to be the fruit of Christ's death, which was his going away. His bodily presence could be only in one place at one time, but his Spirit is every where, in all places, at all times, wherever two or three are gathered together in his name. See here the office of the Spirit, first to reprove, or to convince. Convincing work is the Spirit's work; he can do it effectually, and none but he. It is the method the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to comfort. The Spirit shall convince the world, of sin; not merely tell them of it. The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin; of the fault of sin; of the folly of sin; of the filth of sin, that by it we are become hateful to God; of the fountain of sin, the corrupt nature; and lastly, of the fruit of sin, that the end thereof is death. The Holy Spirit proves that all the world is guilty before God. He convinces the world of righteousness; that Jesus of Nazareth was Christ the righteous. Also, of Christ's righteousness, imparted to us for justification and salvation. He will show them where it is to be had, and how they may be accepted as righteous in God's sight. Christ's ascension proves the ransom was accepted, and the righteousness finished, through which believers were to be justified. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. All will be well, when his power is broken, who made all the mischief. As Satan is subdued by Christ, this gives us confidence, for no other power can stand before him. And of the day of judgment. The coming of the Spirit would be of unspeakable advantage to the disciples. The Holy Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with us by continued aids and influences. To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of it in our hearts. He shall teach all truth, and keep back nothing profitable, for he will show things to come. All the gifts and graces of the Spirit, all the preaching, and all the writing of the apostles, under the influence of the Spirit, all the tongues, and miracles, were to glorify Christ. It behoves every one to ask, whether the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in his heart? Without clear discovery of our guilt and danger, we never shall understand the value of Christ's salvation; but when brought to know ourselves aright, we begin to see the value of the Redeemer. We should have fuller views of the Redeemer, and more lively affections to him, if we more prayed for, and depended on the Holy Spirit.I have yet many things to say ... - There were many things pertaining to the work of the Spirit and the establishment of religion which might be said. Jesus had given them the outline; he had presented to them the great doctrines of the system, but he had not gone into details. These were things which they could not then bear. They were still full of Jewish prejudices, and were not prepared for a full development of his plans. He probably refers here to the great change which were to take place in the Jewish system - the abolition of sacrifices and the priesthood, the change of the Sabbath, the rejection of the Jewish nation, etc. For these doctrines they were not prepared, but they would in due time be taught them by the Holy Spirit. 12-15. when he, the Spirit of truth, is come … he shall not speak of himself—that is, from Himself, but, like Christ Himself, "what He hears," what is given Him to communicate.

he will show you things to come—referring specially to those revelations which, in the Epistles partially, but most fully in the Apocalypse, open up a vista into the Future of the Kingdom of God, whose horizon is the everlasting hills.

Not any new articles of doctrine or faith, for, John 15:15, he had told them that he had made known unto them all things which he had heard of the Father of that nature; but some things (probably) which concerned them with reference to their office as apostles, the constitution, state, and government of the church:

but, saith he, ye cannot bear them now; in regard of their passion, or rather of their more imperfect state.

I have yet many things to say unto you,.... Not with respect to the main doctrines of the Gospel, for everything of this kind he had made known unto them, John 15:15; but what regarded the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles, the abrogation of the Mosaic economy, and settling the Gospel church state, which were to come to pass after the death and resurrection of Christ, and the sending of the Spirit:

but ye cannot bear them now; because of their prejudices in favour of their own nation, the law of Moses, and the ceremonies of it, and the setting up of a temporal kingdom.

{4} I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

(4) The doctrine of the apostles proceeded from the Holy Spirit, and is most perfect.

John 16:12. Jesus breaks off, and states the reason.

πολλά] Much, that belongs to the entirety of the divine ἀλήθεια (John 16:13). That He means only further developments (Luther, Melanchthon, and many others, including Lücke, De Wette), is not to be deduced (see in loc.) from John 15:15, comp. John 14:26. Nevertheless, the portions of doctrine themselves, which may belong to the πολλά, although they are in general to be sought for in the letters and discourses of the apostles, cannot be completely determined; but neither are they, with Grotius (comp. Beza), to be limited to the “cognitio eorum, quae ad ecclesias constituendas pertinent” (spirituality of the kingdom of Christ, abolition of the law, apostolic decrees), because we are not fully acquainted with the instructions of Jesus to His disciples. In general, it is certain that information respecting the further development of His work, and particularly matters of knowledge which, as history attests, still necessitated special revelation, as the immediate calling of the Gentiles, Acts 10, and eschatological disclosures like 1 Corinthians 15:51, Romans 11:25, 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ff., form part of their contents. The non-apostolical Apocalypse (against Hengstenberg and others), as likewise the ἀποκαλύψεις granted to Christian prophets in the N. T., are here, where Jesus is concerned with the circle of apostles, left out of consideration. Augustine, however, is already correct generally: “cum Christus ipse ea tacuerit, quis nostrum dicat: illa vel illa sunt?” Since, however, we cannot demonstrate that even the oral instruction of the apostles was completely deposited in their writings (especially as undoubted epistles are lost, while very few of the original apostles left behind them any writing), Tradition in and of itself (in thesi) cannot be rejected, although its reality in regard to given cases (in hypothesi) can never be proved, and it must therefore remain generally without normative validity. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:34. In opposition to tradition, Luther limited πολλά, in entire contradiction of the context, to the sufferings that were to be endured.

ἔχω] I have in readiness, John 8:6; 2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:13.

βαστάζειν] That which is too heavy, for the spiritual strength, for understanding, temper, strength of will, cannot be borne. Comp. Kypke, I. p. 404 f. On the thing: 2 Corinthians 3:2. Note, further, Bengel’s appropriate remark, to the effect that the Romish traditions can least be borne by those who have the Spirit.

ἄρτι] at the end, as in John 13:33.

John 16:12-15. The Spirit will complete the teaching of Jesus.

12. many things to say] They are His friends (John 15:15), and there is nothing which He wishes to keep back from them; He would give them His entire confidence. But it would be useless to tell them what they cannot understand; cruel to impart knowledge which would only crush them. ‘Now’ is emphatic (see on John 16:31): at Pentecost they will receive both understanding and strength. The word here used for ‘bear’ appears again in John 19:17 of Christ bearing the Cross.

12–15. The Disciples and the Paraclete

The Paraclete not only convicts and convinces the world, He also enlightens the Apostles respecting Christ and thereby glorifies Him, for to make Christ known is to glorify Him. These verses are very important as shewing the authority of the Apostles’ teaching: it is not their own, but the truth of Christ revealed by the Spirit.

John 16:12. Πολλὰ, many things) concerning the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord, and concerning those things which are touched upon in John 16:8, et seq., and are presently after brought to an abrupt close. These many things are not to be sought for in the traditions of Rome, which are more than elementary, and now even in a less degree can be borne by those who have the Paraclete (Comforter). But they are to be sought for in the Acts and Epistles of the Apostles, and in the Apocalypse, all which are to be on this very account highly estimated. They are also indicated in the close of the following verse, “He will show you things to come.” Comp. note, ch. John 14:16.—οὐ δύνασθε, ye cannot) either on account of the very multitude of the many things, or on account of their momentous character.—βαστάζειν) bear the things which I have to say. The Paraclete shall speak (of them, John 16:13).

Verses 12-15. - (b) The power of the Paraclete on the disciples themselves. From the twelfth to the fifteenth verse the relation of the Paraclete to the disciples themselves makes yet more evident the expediency of the glorification of the Son of man, and demonstrates the authority of the apostolic teaching. Verse 12. - Notwithstanding the abundance of the revelations which Christ had given, still, said he, I have many things yet to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now (ἄρτι); i.e. at this epoch of your training. Christ (John 14:18, etc., in a passage which he proceeds to enlarge and deepen) has already said that the coming to them of the Paraclete would be one method of his own Divine approach to them for purposes of consolation and instruction; consequently he does not now allow them to suppose that, though separated from them by death, he would ever cease to instruct them. They could not in their present condition, and before the great events should have happened - events on which so much revealing fact would turn - bear the revelation of these "many things." Pentecost will enable them to appreciate the full mystery of love. The word used for "bear" is that which is used (John 19:17) to describe the bearing of the cross by Christ himself. Some have found in these "many things" new articles of doctrine which have been preserved by tradition; and others, a development of truths already presented in germ; and others, again, much of the future order of the world and the Church, such as gradually evolved itself to the vision and insight and spiritual wisdom of apostolic men. But they could not, on the eve of the Passion, have borne the full mystery of the atonement, or sufficiently have comprehended the glory of the enthroned King. John 16:12Bear (βαστάζειν)

See on John 10:31; see on John 12:6.

Now (ἄρτι)

See on John 13:33. With reference to a future time, when they will be able to bear them.

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