January 13, 2019 – John 16:16-33

Lesson Date: January 13, 2019

Focal Scripture Passage: John 16:16-33

AIM: To lead students to recognize that since God knows their future they can trust Him when calamities come, and to ask God to reveal His will in any difficulty they are currently facing.


Before class: Read the notes on John 16:16-33 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Tragedy” on the marker board or chalkboard.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the word “Tragedy” written on the board. Ask: “What is a tragedy?” (an event causing great suffering, such as a terrible natural disaster or act of terrorism). Ask the students to name any recent tragedies they have heard about in the news (one example could be the California wild fires that destroyed many homes and killed many people).

Ask: “How do people react to tragedy?” (they may be shocked, dumbfounded, sad, angry, or even unable to cope or move on).

Tell the class Jesus’ disciples were about to face the most tragic, uncertain, and frightening time of their lives. Jesus would be arrested, taken from them, and brutally executed, leaving them sad and confused. He told them, however, that their sorrow would soon be turned into joy. Tell the class today’s lesson is about “Joy out of Tragedy.”



  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Gospel of John.
    • Ask: “Why did John write his Gospel?” (so his readers would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have everlasting life by trusting in Him – John 20:31).
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (the treatment we should expect from the lost world and the help provided by the indwelling Holy Spirit).
    • Remind the students that Jesus’ conversations with His disciples recorded in John 13 – 17 all took place the night before He was crucified.
  2. Jesus’ Told of His Coming Death and Resurrection.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 16:16-19.
    • Ask: “In verse 16, what was Jesus talking about when He told His disciples in a little while they wouldn’t see Him?” (His approaching death).
    • Ask: “What was He talking about when He said a little while later they would see Him again?” (His resurrection from the dead).
    • Ask: “According to verses17-18, how did the disciples react to these statements?” (they were confused).
    • Ask: “In verse 19, how did Jesus know what the disciples wanted to ask Him?” (He is God so He knows all things – see John 2:24-25).
    • Summarize: Jesus told his disciples that He would soon leave them, but He would later return.
  3. Sorrow Turned Into Joy.
    • Read John 16:20-22.
    • Ask: “In verse 20 Jesus said the disciples would weep and lament but the world rejoice. Why would the world and the disciples react so differently to Jesus’ death?” (the disciples loved, trusted, and depended upon Jesus, but the world thought of him as a troublemaker who upset the status quo).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus promise at the end of verse 20?” (their sorrow would be turned into joy).
    • Ask: “In verse 21, to what did Jesus compare their current sorrow?” (the pain and sorrow of childbirth, which is quickly replaced by joy that a new baby has been born).
    • Ask: “According to verse 22, when would the disciples rejoice?” (when they saw Jesus again).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus promise would be different about their new joy?” (no one would be able to take it from them).
    • Tell the class Jesus clearly said His disciples would have sorrow, but in time their sorrow would be turned to joy. We cannot expect all of life to be happy and joyful, but we can trust God to always do what is right and best. Regardless of the sorrow we may face now, we will eventually have joy (either on this earth or in heaven).
    • Summarize: Sorrow comes with sad and tragic circumstances, but true joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior.
  4. A New Way to Pray.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 16:23-24.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus tell His disciples about the way they should pray?” (they should pray to the Father in Jesus’ name).
    • Tell the class this seems obvious to us but it was a new instruction for the disciples.
    • Explain that we pray in Jesus’ name because that is the only way we truly have a right to bring our requests to the Father’s throne (Eph. 2:18).
    • Read John 16:25-28.
    • Tell the class that during His earthly ministry Jesus often taught in parables. He said the time was coming when He would plainly reveal the Father to His disciples.
    • Ask: “According to verse 27, why does the Father love us?” (because we love Jesus and believe that He came forth from God).
    • Explain that this truth reminds us that NO ONE has a relationship with God unless he or she knows Jesus as personal Savior. Anyone who does not love and believe in Jesus does NOT know God.
    • Ask: “According to verse 28, where did Jesus say He had come from?” (His Heavenly Father).
    • Ask: “Where did He say He was going?” (back to His Heavenly Father).
    • Summarize: Jesus revealed to His disciples a new way to pray – to the Father in His name. This is the way we should pray. He also promised that God loves us if we love and believe in Jesus.
  5. The Reason for Good Cheer.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 16:29-32.
    • Tell the students the disciples said they now understood Jesus and believed that He came forth from God.
    • Ask: “According to verse 32, what did Jesus say His disciples would soon do?” (abandon Him).
    • Explain that the Old Testament predicted that Jesus’ disciples would abandon Him (see Zech. 13:7), and that is exactly what happened (Matt. 26:56).
    • Read John 16:33.
    • Ask: “Why did Jesus speak these words to His disciples?” (so they could experience peace in Him).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus promise they would experience in the world?” (tribulation).
    • Ask: “Why did He say they should be of good cheer?” (because He had overcome the world – see 1 John 4:4).
    • Summarize: Regardless of the tribulations or difficulties we may face in the world, we can have peace and joy in Jesus Christ.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that Jesus said these things to His disciples the night before He died on the cross. Jesus’ disciples were about to face the worst tragedy of their lives. Within a matter of hours, one of them would betray Jesus, resulting in His arrest; they would all (except John) abandon Jesus; another of the disciples would deny that he knew Jesus; their Lord would endure the combined cruelty of the Jews and the Romans; and Jesus would be brutally executed.

Ask: “How do you think the disciples felt about all these tragedies as they unfolded?” (they were undoubtedly stunned, heartbroken, and discouraged; they probably wondered how things could possibly get any worse). Tell the class that in the midst of their emotional devastation, Jesus told His disciples that their SORROW would soon be turned into JOY. Jesus could say that because He is God and He knows what the future holds.

Ask: “How should we respond to tragedy and discouragement?” (we should trust God, knowing that He holds our future in His hands). Tell the students we don’t know what difficulties we might face in the future, but we can confidently thank God that He will help us through them. When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, they didn’t know why He had to die and leave them. After His crucifixion and resurrection, however, they understood. If they hadn’t experienced the tragedy and heartache of Jesus’ crucifixion, they would never have been saved; in other words, their “tragedy” resulted in good for them and for us.

Encourage the students to trust God when they face tragedies and to ask Him to reveal His will in and through those tragedies. Lead a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize John 16:33, and remind them to follow the Daily Bible Reading Guide found on pages 4-5 of their Sunday School Member Quarterly.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *