John 16:32

Notice -

I. CHRIST ALONE. "Shall leave me alone." Through the great tragedy which followed, of which Gethsemane was but a short prelude, and of which the visible was but a small part, Christ, as far as this world was concerned, was alone.

1. He was socially alone. He could really say, "And of the people there was none with me." The world was against him, and even the existing Church was against him, its chief magnates being the ringleaders in his crucifixion. And, more than all, he was alone as to the adherence of his most faithful followers, which he might naturally expect and would so much appreciate. At this very time one of them was in the city betraying him to his most inveterate foes; another was about to deny him in the most determined manner; all were about to leave him in terror. So that from Gethsemane to the cross he was socially alone - alone amidst such a vast throng of men.

2. He was mentally alone. He was ever so. Even when his disciples were with him, his mental conceptions towered above them; they could not understand his thoughts, comprehend fully his mission in the world, nor grasp the meaning of his life and death. The Baptist, who hitherto had the highest conception of him when he exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God!" was gone, and even the few glimpses which his disciples caught of his scheme were now extinguished. His mind had no associate, and there was no mental reciprocity between him and any human being. He stood in the world of thought the lonely Thinker.

3. He was spiritually alone. He was the only sinless Being in the world, and there was not a single soul in full spiritual harmony with his. His disciples still clung to the idea of a temporal kingdom. Peter manifested his sympathy in a clumsy attempt to fight his foes with a sword, which was to him a greater insult than help. And even the wail of the tender-hearted women at the cross was misapplied, lacked spiritual virtue, and did not rhyme with the agonizing wail of his soul for sin. In the yearnings and. struggles of his holy nature, and the spiritual conceptions and purposes of his heart, he stood the lonely King and Savior.

4. To a great extent he was necessarily alone. In a great portion of his work no one could help. He drank a cup of which no one could drink a drop, and carried a burden of which no one could carry an atom - the cup of our curse and the burden of our sin. When making an atonement, satisfying justice and honoring Law, and manifesting Divine love in sacrifice, he was necessarily alone. He fought the powers of darkness, vanquished death and the prince of this world in a single combat. He trod the wine-press alone. No one could help him, and he did not expect it. But he expected the allegiance of his friends. But even this was denied him for a time, not for want of genuine love, but for want of intelligent and courageous faith and self-sacrificing adherence and spiritual discernment. He does not complain of this; still, he keenly felt it, and it pained him. What pain was it?

(1) The pain of perfect and tender sociality at being alone. To be left alone would not affect an unsocial hermit, a cold misanthrope; such would be in their element. But Jesus was the most social of beings; he would associate with the poor, and would appreciate the least kindness. The desertion of friends would specially pain such a nature.

(2) The pain of perfect humanity in the total absence of genuine sympathy in suffering. It is not more natural for the thirsty flower to look to heaven for its dew than for man to look to his friend for sympathy in suffering. But this was denied Jesus. When he cried," I thirst," there was only the rough and unsympathetic hand of a foreigner to give him a sip of drink.

(3) The pain which perfect benevolence feels at ingratitude. He felt this with regard to the nation, and with regard to hundreds in that crowd whom he had personally benefited, and all of whom he had sought to benefit; but especially with regard to his disciples, whom he had loved, and loved to the end. But they deserted him while fighting their battle and the battle of the world.

(4) The pain of an absolutely pure and loving being at the terrible and universal sinfulness and selfishness which his loneliness indicated. He was face to face with this as he was never before. From it there was not so much as a weak disciple to shelter him. "Every man to his own," and he alone for all.

(5) The pain of perfect sympathy with the weakness of friends, lie loved them still. Hence the special pain caused by their desertion. The betrayal of Judas was to him more poignant than the nails of steel, the denial of Peter keener than the spear of the Roman, and the flight of his friends more painful than all the cruel treatment of his foes.

II. CHRIST NOT ALONE. "Yet I am not alone, because the Father," etc. Tie had the fellowship of his Father.

1. This fellowship was essential. Being one in nature and essence, nothing could separate him from this. It was one of the special and essential privileges of nature and relationship.

2. This fellowship was deserved, and bestowed upon him as a Divine favor for his perfect obedience. It was not interrupted by his incarnation, but fully enjoyed by him in human nature and under human conditions. It was the reward of his voluntary sacrifice and his perfection as a Mediator and the Author of eternal salvation. He did nothing to forfeit it, but everything to deserve and secure it in the fullest measure.

3. This fellowship was continuous and unbroken. It is not "The Father was," or "will be," but "is with me" -with me now and always. He was fully conscious of his Father's cheering and smiling presence in every emotion he felt, every thought he conceived, every word he uttered, every purpose he executed, every act he performed, and in every suffering he bore. His whole life was such a manifestation of his Father's character and love, such an execution of his will and purposes, that he was ever conscious of his loving and approving fellowship. It is true that at that darkest moment on the cross he exclaimed, "My God, my God," etc. - the full meaning of which we probably can never know. When drinking the very dregs of the cup of our curse, he could not describe his experience better than by saying that he felt as if the Father had for a moment hid his face from him. But he was still conscious of his fellowship, addressed him as his God, and soon committed his Spirit unto his loving care.

4. This fellowship was to him now specially sweet and precious. It was ever precious, but specially so now. He could not bear the opposition of foes, and especially the desertion of friends, were it not for the continued fellowship of the Father. And who can render such help and solace in the hour of trial as an able and a kind father? Jesus, the most lonely of human beings, especially now, was yet not alone; deserted by the best human fellowship, he still enjoyed the Divine, and the human desertion made the Divine all the more precious and sweet. This was his support in trial, his light in darkness, and his safety from utter loneliness. He enjoyed the best and Divinest society.


1. There was one thing which neither friends nor foes could do to Jesus, viz. deprive him of Divine fellowship. From the greatest human loneliness he could say, "I am not alone, because the Father is with me." Neither earth nor hell can interfere with Divine fellowship with regard to Jesus or believers.

2. We should not be disappointed or despair if in the hour of trial we are deserted by the best of friends. Think of Jesus.

3. True fellowship with the Father by faith in Christ can only preserve us from utter loneliness. We can bear every loneliness but that in relation to our Father.

4. When deserted by friends and by all, God comes nearest to us. The least of man the most of God, often; furthest from earth the nearest to heaven.

5. The fellowship of the Father will more than compensate for all the desertions of earth. One day in his courts is better than a thousand. 6. Let us cultivate the fellowship of Christ, especially in his loneliness, then we shall enjoy with him the fellowship of his -Father. Let us prepare for human desertions, for they will certainly come; but let them come upon us in the best society - that of the Father. To be left alone by him is the most horrible loneliness, but his fellowship will be sufficient in all circumstances, even in death itself. - B.T.

Ye shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
1. There are two kinds of solitude — visible and inward. When we are not seen, we say that we are alone; however, it is not always a true isolation. The fisherman does not feel himself alone when he passes his nights on the immense ocean; he thinks of his family quietly sheltered; it is for them he is working, their love fills his heart. The watching soldier, in the lonely picket, does not feel himself alone; for he feels that on him rests the honour of the flag and the safety of his fellow-soldiers. The workwoman, in her garret, is not alone, for the work which she will finish before dawn will procure for those she loves the next day's bread.

2. One can, on the contrary, be surrounded by the busiest crowd, and feel more isolated than in a desert. There are persons whose contact causes no sympathetic cord to vibrate in the soul. There have been days in which, coming back from the cemetery where you have buried a part of your heart and your life, the noise, the movement of the world seemed empty, cold and derisive.

3. Of these two solitudes I need not say which is the hardest to bear. To feel oneself lost in this vast universe, knowing that there is no one to whom we are dear, is there a more miserable condition? Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged there is a class of men who would willingly take their part in it. To have nothing in common with others, to climb a summit inaccessible, to sit there in pride, is a destiny which attracts them. Such is the greatness of selfishness, of Satan! But the gospel offers us in Christ a greatness of another nature. It does not tread sympathy under foot; it lays claim to it, it needs it. Look at Gethsemane; the Son of Man going three times to His disciples and asking them to watch with Him. How small the solitary pride of the egoist is beside that greatness!


1. When a man wishes to serve truth or righteousness, he must expect sooner or later to be lonely. Every truth has begun by being misunderstood; it has been a subject of reproach to those who have been its first apostles. This is above all realized in religious truth, which, by its very holiness, humiliates and bruises our pride, and consequently all human passions are leagued against it. The witnesses of eternal righteousness here below have all been at times lonely, misconstrued, slighted. Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and St. Paul. Imagine, then, the holy and the just One and you may well divine that He will be lonely amongst men. He is alone when seeking the glory of God amid people who are forgetting Him; when preaching His spiritual law in the midst of a nation attached to forms; when denouncing iniquity and hypocrisy amid a crowd whom the Pharisees dominate; amongst His disciples who do not understand His sublime mission; and in the last hour. Now, what happens to the Leader must happen to all His disciples.

2. Now, this inevitable solitude brings with it —(1) Temptations from doubt: to be alone in believing a truth, and in proclaiming it, is a formidable trial. When we feel ourselves lost in the midst of that crowd whose thronging waves environ us, there are moments when a secret voice says to us: "Art thou certain of having the truth thyself?"(2) To that temptation add a temptation of barrenness for the heart. The heart lives by sympathy. But to be alone in loving an absent God, to appeal to a sympathy which is wanting, what a subject for sadness! There is a risk then of the heart being thrown back on itself, and of being consumed in melancholy.(3) How should not this double trial of the intellect and of the heart, exercise a baleful influence on life! We must be understood in order to act. The idea of having spectators or witnesses doubles our natural energy. The most impossible works have been accomplished by united men.(4) What will it be then if to this general trial are added still more special trials, if sickness and death come and make a void around us and render that solitude more complete.

II. HIS CONSOLATION. "I am not alone," &c. There is what made the strength of Jesus. What are all the desertions of earth in presence of communion with God? He might well feel that precious communion, for He only wanted, loved, accomplished the Father's will; but can we forget that there was a mysterious, dreadful day when the Father Himself failed Him? But if Jesus has known that terrible forsaking, it was that we should never know it. When faith united us to Him we obtained the right to come to God, and to call Him our Father; then in our turn we could repeat those words. That is what constitutes the Christian's strength and consolation.

1. You are alone, and perhaps are doubting. Who are you to oppose your thought to the thoughts of the crowd, to believe what others deny? In that sorrowful anxiety, I know of only one refuge; it is this thought: "The Father is with me." If it was your thought only the waves of doubt would soon carry you away; but when you have God for you nothing should stop you. It was that which made all God's prophets strong, when they had to protest against some dominant iniquity? Neither Moses, nor Elijah, nor St. Paul have drawn from their own character that superhuman energy which made them giants in the moral order; they themselves tell us that it is God who calls them and sends them. So Luther. To divine the secret of his strength, he should be seen on his knees before going to the Diet of Worms, saying: "My God, Thou dost know well that I do not wish to resist such great lords, but it is Thy cause not mine." And behold, he, the son of a peasant, overthrew in his weakness the secular yoke of Rome which philosophy had not been able to move!

2. There is that barrenness which isolation produces. Ah! if the affection of men fail us, do you not believe that the love of God is infinite enough to fill our heart? Is not God the very source of love? Do you believe that God would leave empty, arid, and barren, a heart which the world forsakes?

3. As opposed to discouragement nothing is more powerful than the thought that the Father is with us. "My right is with the Lord, and my work is with my God;" yes, his work, small, hidden, obscure as it may be, if that work is only a prayer, a sigh, a tear, which seems lost. What immense encouragement such a thought is! If I am alone, that work will not perish with me, I have brought my stone to an eternal building which is continued along the centuries; for it is God's work.

(E. Bersier, D. D.)

Many a one is cast down and weary because he feels alone; nought so dispirits as loneliness; add yet one may be more alone in a crowd than anywhere when all unknown and uncured for. All must feel it in some shape: the old who sit and gaze in the fire, and see many a cherished scheme lying in the dull white ash; old friends, loved ones, gone, one by one; new faces and new ways, belonging to a new generation, cluster round, and loneliness pours in upon the soul — a loneliness too deep for human words to describe. When you have a sorrow, you feel that he that hath known a little sorrow will give the warmest sympathy. The memory of the trial, illumined by the after-knowledge of its blessing, will give a loving, tender power to the counsel of the friend. Whose sorrow like that sorrow! Whose loneliness as that of Jesus, when His bitter cry startled the assembled throng! He knows it all. Bring, then, thy care here, and gather comfort. Not very long ago one of our English officers, when riding full speed across the sand after the enemy, saw one of his men laid on the ground with his side torn open by a shell, and fast sinking. Reining up his horse he said, "My lad, you must not think me unkind if I leave you alone in your agony; but you know I must ride on, Duty commands me!" I shall never forget, said that officer, the answer I got. "Sir," said he, "I am not alone. I have with me the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother!" That brave English soldier knew the glorious truth of the ever-present Jesus, who, by the memory of that bitter cry, would never leave a child of His to be alone in the hour of need. Oh, Jesus, let me glean and keep that precious thought. I am not left as an orphan alone to fight and struggle in the great battle of life. The fierceness of the pain full often makes men long for something to lull the pain; the heart gives way before the long future that seems to stretch on and on without a ray of hope. "Face it," says the doctor, "the pain may be for a time the fiercer, but the operation will relieve." Or if it be a soul-agony, and sin to crucify, nails to be driven through our tenderest places. "Face it," cries the Great Physician, "suffer, but win!" Deluded souls fly to the giddy throng, and try by pleasures to drown thought, or by the fatal wine cup to forget in a momentary false excitement, the hard facts of every-day life. Let us at least meet our trials awake. Meet them in the power of the Crucified and His example. A great Italian bishop was noted for his calm resignation, and when asked how it was, replied, "I look around and think how many are worse off than I am; I look down and think how soon it will all be over; I look up and think how happy it will be there!"

(W. H. Jones.)

Charles the Fifth, after a life spent in military exploits and the active and energetic prosecution of ambitious projects, resigned, as is well known, his crown, sated with its enjoyment. He left these words, as a testimony behind him: "I have tasted more satisfaction in my solitude in one day than in all the triumphs of my former reign. The sincere study, profession, and practice of the Christian religion have in them such joy as is seldom found in courts and grandeur."

1. There are two kinds of solitude: that of insulation in space, and that of isolation of spirit.(1) The first is simply separation by distance. This is not real solitude: for sympathy can people that with a crowd. The traveller is not alone when the faces which will greet him on his arrival seem to beam upon him as he trudges on — the solitary student is not alone when he feels that human hearts will respond to the truths which he is preparing to address to them.(2) The other is loneliness of soul. There are times when hands touch ours, but only send an icy chill of unsympathizing indifference to the heart: when words pass from our lips, but only come back as an echo without reply: when the multitude throng and press us, and we cannot say, as Christ said, "Somebody hath touched Me."

2. And there are two kinds of men who feel this last solitude.(1) The men of self-reliance: who can go sternly through duty, and scarcely shrink let what will be crushed in them. such men are invaluable in all those professions in which sensitive feeling would be a superfluity; they make iron commanders and surgeons, and statesmen who do not flinch for the dread of unpopularity. But mere self-dependence is weakness: and the conflict is terrible when a human sense of weakness is felt by such men. Jacob was alone when he slept in his way to Padan Aram, and Elijah in the wilderness. But the loneliness of the tender Jacob was very different from that of the stern Elijah. To Jacob the sympathy he yearned for was realized. A ladder raised from earth to heaven figured the possibility of communion between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. In Elijah's case, the storm, the earthquake, and the fire did their convulsing work in the soul, before a still, small voice told him that he was not alone.(2) The men who live in sympathy. These tremble at the thought of being alone, not from want of courage but from the intensity of their affections. They want not aid, nor even countenance: but only sympathy. And the trial comes to them when they are called upon to perform a duty on which the world looks coldly. It is to this latter class that we must look if we would understand the spirit of the text. The deep humanity of the soul of Christ was gifted with those finer sensibilities of affectionate nature which stand in need of sympathy. He who selected the gentle John to be His friend — who found solace in female society — who in the trial hour could not bear even to pray without the human presence, had nothing in Him of the hard, merely self-dependent character. Note, then —


1. This loneliness was caused by the Divine elevation of His character.(1) There is a second-rate greatness which the world can comprehend. Contrast the Son of Man and John the Baptist. John's life had a rude, rugged goodness, on which was written, in characters which required no magnifying-glass to read, spiritual excellence. The world on the whole accepted him, and if he had not crossed the path of a weak prince and a revengeful woman, John might have finished his course with joy, recognized as irreproachable. Why did the world accept John and reject Christ? In physical nature, the naturalist finds no difficulty in comprehending the simple structure of the lowest organizations of animal life. But when he comes to study the complex anatomy of man, he has the labour of a lifetime before him. It is not difficult to master the constitution of a single country; but when you try to understand the universe, you find infinite appearances of contradiction. That which the structure of man is to the structure of the limpet: that which the universe is to a single country, the complex and boundless soul of Christ was to the souls of other men. Therefore, to the superficial observer, His life was a mass of inconsistencies and contradictions. And hence that acceptance which had marked the earlier stage of His career melted away. First the Pharisees took the alarm: then the Sadducees: then the Herodians: then the people. That was the most terrible of all: for the enmity of the upper classes is impotent; but when that cry of brute force is stirred from the deeps of society, the heart of mere earthly oak quails before it. The apostles, at all events, did quail. One denied: another betrayed: all deserted. They "were scattered each to his own": and the Truth Himself was left alone in Pilate's judgment-hall.(2):Now learn from this a very important distinction. To feel solitary is no uncommon thing. In every place victims of diseased sensibility are to be found, and they might find a weakening satisfaction in observing a parallel between their own feelings and those of Jesus. But before that, be sure that it is the elevation of your character which severs you from your species. The world has small sympathy for Divine goodness: but it also has little for a great many other qualities which are disagreeable to it. You find yourself unpopular. Well? Is that because you are above the world offending it by your purity and unworldliness? Or is it that you are wrapped up in self — cold, disobliging, sentimental?(3) The first time Christ felt this loneliness was when He was but twelve years old, amongst the doctors and asking them questions. High thoughts were in the Child's soul: larger views of duty and destiny. There is a moment in every true life — to some it comes very early — when the old routine of duty is not large enough — when the parental roof seems too low, because the Infinite above is arching over the soul — when the old formulas seem to be narrow, and they must either be thrown aside or else transformed into living and breathing realities — when the earthly father's authority is being superseded by the claims of a Father in heaven.

2. That solitude was felt by Christ in trial. In the desert, in Pilate's judgment-hall, in the garden, He was alone — and alone must every son of man meet his trial-hour. The individuality of the soul necessitates that. Each man's temptations are made up of a host of peculiarities which no other mind can measure. You are tried alone — alone you pass into the desert — alone you must bear and conquer in the agony — alone you must be sifted by the world. And there are trials more terrible. A temptation, in which the lower nature struggles for mastery, can be met by the whole united force of the spirit. But it is when obedience to a heavenly Father can be only paid by disobedience to an earthly one: or fidelity to duty can be only kept by infidelity to some entangling engagement: or the straight path must be taken over the misery of others: or the counsel of the affectionate friend must be met with a "Get thee behind Me, Satan." It is then, when human advice is unavailable, that the soul feels what it is to be alone.

3. The Redeemer's soul was alone in dying. The hour had come — they were all gone, and He was, as He predicted, left alone. All that is human drops from us in that hour. "I shall die alone" — yes, and alone you live. No atom in creation touches another — they only approach within a certain distance; then the attraction ceases, and an invisible something repels — they only seem to touch. No soul touches another soul except at one or two points; and those chiefly external. Death only realizes that which has been the fact all along. In the central deeps of our being we are alone.


1. Observe its grandeur. I am alone, yet not alone. There is a feeble and sentimental way in which we speak of the Man of sorrows. We turn to the cross and the loneliness to arouse compassion. You degrade that loneliness. Compassion for Him! Adore if you will; but no pity: let it draw out the firmer and manlier graces of the soul. Even in human things, the strength that is in a man can be only learnt when he is thrown upon his own resources and left alone. It is one thing to defend the truth when you know that your audience are already prepossessed, and another to hold it when met by unsympathizing suspicion, It is one thing to rush on to danger with the shouts of numbers, and another when the lonely captain of the sinking ship sees the last boatful disengage itself, and folds his arms to go down into the majesty of darkness, crushed, but not subdued. Such and greater far was the strength and majesty of the Saviour's solitariness. It was not the trial of the lonely hermit. There is a certain pleasing melancholy in his life. But there are the forms of nature to speak to him, and he has not the positive opposition of mankind if he has the absence of actual sympathy. But the solitude of Christ was the solitude of a crowd. In that single human bosom dwelt the thought which was to be the germ of the world's life: a thought unshared, misunderstood, or rejected.

2. Learn from these words self-reliance. Alone the Son of Man was content to be. He threw Himself on His own solitary thought: did not go down to meet the world; but waited, though it might be for ages, till the world should come round to Him. This is self-reliance — to believe that what is truest in you is true for all: to abide by that, and not be over-anxious to be understood, or sympathized with, certain that at last all must acknowledge the same, and that while you stand firm, the world will come round to you. There is a cowardice in this age which is not Christian. We shrink from the consequences of truth. We ask what men will think — what others will say. He who is calculating that will accomplish nothing. The Father — the Father who is with us and in us — what does He think?

3. Remark the humility of this loneliness. Had the Son of Man simply said, I can be alone, He would have said no more than any proud man can say. But when he added, "because the Father is with Me," that independence assumed another character, and self-reliance became only another form of reliance upon God. Distinguish between genuine and spurious humility. There is a false humility which says, "It is my own poor thought, and I must not trust it. Is not trust in self the great fault of our fallen nature?" Very well. Now remember something else. There is a Spirit which beareth witness with our spirits — there is a "Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." The thought of your mind perchance is the thought of God. To refuse to follow that may be to disown God. To take the judgment and conscience of other men to live by — where is the humility of that? From whence did their conscience and judgment come? Was the fountain from which they drew exhausted for you?

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

A poor woman living alone in a small cottage in the forest was asked if she did not feel the loneliness of the place. "Oh no," was her reply, "for Faith closes the door at night, and Mercy opens it in the morning."

(Sunday at Home.)


1. Adam was unfallen when God saw that it was "not good for him to be alone." Sin has always a tendency to isolate — grace to draw out the social affections. Whoever thinks of solitude in heaven?

2. Therefore, it is nothing strange that Christ should place solitude among His sorrows. The desire which brought Him down here was a longing to have a people with Him. He could not be that "grain of wheat which abideth alone." No wonder, then, that the first act of His public life was to secure companionship. And there is not a more touching trait of His whole life than that yearning after human sympathy, in the agony of Gethsemane. And, plainly, it was not for His disciples' sake that He loved to take them about with Him everywhere. Even the transfiguration would have been incomplete without the three. And after the resurrection, the only thought on which we know that He dwelt with pleasure is, "I will meet you in Galilee." And do you think that it was only for us He said it, "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also?" We can quite understand, therefore, that in the enumeration of His sorrows, such stress was laid upon the fact that "He trod the wine-press alone;" — and how that desertion of His friends struck so cold and so painfully, that He at once looked out for a refuge, "Ye shall leave Me alone, and yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me." And then, you remember, presently came that passage which was the most tremendous of all solitude — "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" I say, then, that we have the highest warrant to affirm that solitude is to be deprecated, and that one great end of our religion is to provide the exemption.


1. Count up the hours of life, and most of them are passed alone. Besides, there is a moral solitude far greater than physical. Who has not felt the deep solitude of a crowd?

2. The most dangerous, because the most subtle, temptations come to us when we are alone. An unoccupied state is sure to foster what is bad in us, and our lonely hours are generally our most unoccupied ones. It was in a solitude that even our Lord had His fiercest attacks. See how it is.(1) You are by yourself — you look into yourself, and you get morbid. Things unreal take possession of your mind. — you become dreamy, unpractical — an easy prey to cankerous thought, delusion, doubt, and all unhealthy things(2) Or, the mind, alone, having no present, goes back into the past — you re-live it — old sorrows, which were healed, open again — old sins, which were forgiven, rise up — you doubt whether you have ever been pardoned — and you are most unprofitably and injuriously wretched.(3) Or, some future, which, when it really comes, will come minute by minute, now swells before you all in one black mass, casting its big, dark shadow upon the path, and you feel quite overwhelmed by it, simply because you are merely passive. As soon as you only become active the passive pain will be almost gone.

III. IT IS OF IMMENSE IMPORTANCE TO HAVE A REMEDY FOR SOLITUDE. If Jesus Himself, in His perfect innocence, felt it — how much we? What shall we do?

1. Occupy solitude. Never allow sheer solitude for solitude's sake. Let there, for instance, be a distinct subject of thought. Solitude should always be preparatory to something which is to follow it — never an end, always a means. Jesus' solitudes appear to have been always preparatory to work.

2. People your solitudes with realized presences; bring in the communion of saints. It is not necessary that they be actually there. And that will make solitude more than safe — holy, helpful.

3. Far more than both, feel the close presence of a living Saviour. Christians do not attach sufficient weight to the actual presence of Christ as a brother. Most minds are occupied with the death of Christ, but it is the few who think as they ought of the actual, living, present Christ. Then, where is solitude? What the Father was to Jesus, that, Jesus, or rather the Father in Jesus, is to you.


1. Your own room will then be another place to you. To go up there will not be to go up to be "alone." Rather, no other place upon this whole earth so sweetly full — no company so good, no fellowship so rich. It will not be dull, it will not be unwholesome, it will not be perilous, to be there. And it will be a very poor thing, in comparison, to go down from angels, and from saints, and from Jesus, to the common-places, the presences of life.

2. And yet, even in these common-places, the presences will be there.

3. And in things more testing still. If there be a desolating moment, it is when you are first called to do alone something which you have been wont to do with one with whom you can never do that thing again. The pleasant part is gone, for that dear one is gone. But those spirits are not gone — Jesus is not gone. It is a true word — you are "alone;" but it is truer still, "not alone."

4. And presently you will have to die. And it is a very solitary thing to die. Those who love you may go with you to the brink, but they cannot cross with you. I shudder to think of the solitariness of the feeling of the death of the man of the world. But you will not be "alone" — never so tended, never so encompassed with the loving, the lovely, and the true — "Alone, yet not alone, for the Father is with you."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)


1. In the mystery of His person.

2. In the elevation of His Spirit.

3. In the intensity of His suffering.

4. In the character of His work.

5. In the extent of His influence.

II. THE SOCIETY OF JESUS. The Father was with Christ —

1. In personal union with His Godhead.

2. In active co-operation with His Divine manhood.

3. In the exercise of spiritual communion.

4. In the manifestation of paternal sympathy.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Jesus, Disciples
Alone, Already, Behold, Directions, Dispersed, Home, Hour, Indeed, Leave, Myself, Nay, Remember, Scattered, Yea, Yes, Yet
1. Jesus comforts his disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit, and his ascension;
23. assures their prayers made in his name to be acceptable.
33. Peace in Jesus, and in the world affliction.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
John 16:32

     2060   Christ, patience of
     5689   friendlessness
     5901   loneliness
     8841   unfaithfulness, to people

Presence in Absence
Eversley, third Sunday after Easter. 1862. St John xvi. 16. "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father." Divines differ, and, perhaps, have always differed, about the meaning of these words. Some think that our Lord speaks in them of His death and resurrection. Others that He speaks of His ascension and coming again in glory. I cannot decide which is right. I dare not decide. It is a very solemn thing--too solemn
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

November 6 Evening
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me--PSA. 25:5. When . . . the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.--Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 29 Evening
Do ye now believe?--JOHN 16:31. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.--Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Ye see then how that
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 14 Morning
The fellowship of His sufferings.--PHI. 3:10. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.--In the world ye shall have tribulation.--Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. I looked for some to take pity, but there was none.--At my
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

December 21 Morning
The days of thy mourning shall be ended.--ISA. 60:20. In the world ye shall have tribulation.--The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.--We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

June 15 Evening
The Spirit . . . maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.--ROM. 8:27. Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.--Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

August 15. "He Will Guide You into all Truth" (John xvi. 13).
"He will guide you into all truth" (John xvi. 13). The Holy Ghost does not come to give us extraordinary manifestations, but to give its life and light, and the nearer we come to Him, the more simple will His illumination and leading be. He comes to "guide us into all truth." He comes to shed light upon our own hearts, and to show us ourselves. He comes to reveal Christ, to give, and then to illumine, the Holy Scriptures, and to make Divine realities vivid and clear to our spiritual apprehension.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

October 29. "Whatsoever Ye Shall Ask the Father in My Name, He Will Give it You" (John xvi. 23).
"Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you" (John xvi. 23). Two men go to the bank cashier, both holding in their hands a piece of paper. One is dressed in expensive style, and presents a gloved and jeweled hand; the other is a rough, unwashed workman. The first is rejected with a polite sentence, and the second receives a thousand dollars over the counter. What is the difference? The one presented a worthless name; the other handed in a note endorsed by the president of
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

March 5. "I have Overcome the World" (John xvi. 33).
"I have overcome the world" (John xvi. 33). Christ has overcome for us every one of our four terrible foes--Sin, Sickness, Sorrow, Satan. He has borne our Sin, and we may lay all, even down to our sinfulness itself, on Him. "I have overcome for thee." He has borne our sickness, and we may detach ourselves from our old infirmities and rise into His glorious life and strength. He has borne our sorrows, and we must not even carry a care, but rejoice evermore, and even glory in tribulations also. And
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

ST. JOHN xvi. 7. It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. This is a deep and strange saying. How can it be expedient, useful, or profitable, for any human being that Christ should go away from them? To be in Christ's presence; to see his face; to hear his voice;--would not this be the most expedient and profitable, yea, the most blessed and blissful of things which could befall us? Is it not
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons

From' and 'to'
'I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.'--JOHN xvi. 28. These majestic and strange words are the proper close of our Lord's discourse, what follows being rather a reply to the disciples' exclamation. There is nothing absolutely new in them, but what is new is the completeness and the brevity with which they cover the whole ground of His being, work, and glory. They fall into two halves, each consisting of two clauses; the former half
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Peace and victory
'These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.'--JOHN xvi. 33. So end these wonderful discourses, and so ends our Lord's teaching before His passion. He gathers up in one mighty word the total intention of these sweet and deep sayings which we have so long been pondering together. He sketches in broad outline the continual characteristics of the disciples' life, and closes all with the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Why Christ Speaks
'These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things have I told you, that, when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go My way to Him that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

The Guide into all Truth
'I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.'--JOHN xvi. 12-15. This is our Lord's
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Christ's 'little Whiles'
'A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that He saith, A little while? we cannot tell what He saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask Him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

'In that Day'
'And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.'--JOHN xvi. 23, 24. Our Lord here sums up the prerogatives and privileges of His servants in the day that was about to dawn and to last till He came again. There is nothing absolutely new in the words; substantially the promises contained in them have appeared in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

The Joys of 'that Day'
'These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in My Name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.'--JOHN xvi. 25-27. The stream which we have been tracking for so long in these discourses has now nearly reached its close. Our Lord,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Glad Confession and Sad Warning
'His disciples said unto Jesus, Lo! now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee: by this we believe that Thou earnest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.' --JOHN xvi. 29-32. The first words of these wonderful
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

The Departing Christ and the Coming Spirit
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.'--JOHN xvi. 7, 8. We read these words in the light of all that has gone after, and to us they are familiar and almost thread-bare. But if we would appreciate their sublimity, we must think away nineteen centuries, and all Christendom,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

The Convicting Facts
'Of sin, because they believe not on Me; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.'--JOHN xvi. 9-11. Our Lord has just been telling His disciples how He will equip them, as His champions, for their conflict with the world. A divine Spirit is coming to them who will work in them and through them; and by their simple and unlettered testimony will 'convict,' or convince, the mass of ungodly men of error and crime in regard
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI

Nevertheless I Tell You the Truth; it is Expedient for You that I Go Away; for if I Go not Away
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them
Charles G. Finney—Lectures to Professing Christians

June the Second Our Spiritual Guide
"When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." --JOHN xvi. 7-14. How great is the difference between a guide-post and a guide! And what a difference between a guide-book and a companion! Mere instructions may be very uninspiring, and bare commandments may be very cold. Our Guide is an inseparable Friend. And how will He guide us? He will give us insight. "He will guide you into all truth." He will refine our spirits so that we may be able to distinguish "things that
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Loved in the Beloved.
(Third Sunday in Advent, 1831.) TEXT: JOHN xvi. 27. "For the Father Himself loveth you, be cause ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father." THAT was a great word of the Saviour about Himself on which we lately spoke together, in which He represented Himself as from of old the one object of desire and longing to all the best part of mankind, to those who were nearest to God and had received most teaching from Him: but this is a still greater saying, in which He sets Himself
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

The Spirit not Striving Always.
"And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man."-Gen. vi. 3. IN speaking from this text I shall pursue the following outline of thought, and attempt to show: I. What is implied in the assertion, My Spirit shall not always strive with man; II. What is not intended by the Spirit's striving; III. What is intended by it; IV. How it maybe known when the Spirit strives with an individual; V. What is intended by His not striving always; VI. Why He will not always strive; and, VII. Some consequences
Charles G. Finney—Sermons on Gospel Themes

John 16:32 NIV
John 16:32 NLT
John 16:32 ESV
John 16:32 NASB
John 16:32 KJV

John 16:32 Bible Apps
John 16:32 Parallel
John 16:32 Biblia Paralela
John 16:32 Chinese Bible
John 16:32 French Bible
John 16:32 German Bible

John 16:32 Commentaries

Bible Hub
John 16:31
Top of Page
Top of Page