“Chapter 26: John 14–16,” New Testament Student Manual (2018)
“Chapter 26,” New Testament Student Manual
On the final evening of His mortal ministry, after the Last Supper was concluded, the Savior gave instruction to His disciples, as recorded in John 14–16. At that time, the Savior taught His disciples vital truths concerning love, obedience, and the Holy Ghost—truths that would prepare them for His arrest and Crucifixion, as well as for their roles as leaders in His kingdom. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pointed out that the Lord’s teachings on this occasion included “some of the mysteries of his kingdom, some of the deep and hidden doctrines, some things that can be understood only by the power of the Spirit” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 4:73). The Savior’s teachings about what the Holy Ghost can do for us are among the clearest instructions on the Holy Ghost in all scripture.
The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) taught that the Savior’s statement, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” found in John 14:2, should be understood to mean, “‘In my Father’s kingdom are many kingdoms,’ in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with me. … There are mansions for those who obey a celestial law, and there are other mansions for those who come short of the law, every man in his own order” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 219).
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that as part of the plan of salvation, the Savior has prepared “many mansions,” or kingdoms of glory, for all of mankind:
“At the time Joseph Smith received revelations and organized the Church, the vast majority of [Christian] churches taught that the Savior’s Atonement would not bring about the salvation of most of mankind. The common precept was that a few would be saved and the overwhelming majority would be doomed to endless tortures of the most awful and unspeakable intensity. The marvelous doctrine revealed to the Prophet Joseph unveiled to us a plan of salvation that is applicable to all mankind, including those who do not hear of Christ in this life, children who die before the age of accountability, and those who have no understanding.
“… Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all spirits blessed by birth will ultimately be resurrected, spirit and body reunited, and inherit kingdoms of glory that are superior to our existence here on earth [see D&C 76:89]. The exceptions are confined to those who, like Satan and his angels, willfully rebel against God [see Isaiah 14:12–15; Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:7–9; D&C 76:32–37]” (“Our Father’s Plan—Big Enough for All His Children,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 36–37).
The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies the intentions of the Savior by changing the word if to when: “And when I go, I will prepare a place for you, and come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 14:3).
Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He did not say that He knew the way, but that He was the way, the truth, and the life. Coming to the Father means we must do more than learn about Jesus Christ—we must follow Him and try to be like Him. A “way” (Greek hodos) was a road or highway for traveling from one place to another and could also refer to one’s course of behavior or “way of life.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie expounded on the significance of John 14:6: “He is the Way in that it is in and through him that salvation comes; ‘no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,’ he said. (John 14:6.) He is the Truth because he is the embodiment and personification of that holy attribute. (Alma 5:48.) And he is the Life because in him the light of life centers; except for him and his power there would be no existence; should he withdraw the light of life, death would gain an immediate victory; and without him there would be neither immortal life, nor eternal life, which is life in unending glory” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 832).
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy quoted John 14:6 and exhorted us to follow Jesus Christ as “the Way”:
“There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. He is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way, is foolishness. …
“… We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone—without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier? …
“There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way” (“The Way,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 34, 36).
John’s Gospel records that Jesus Christ frequently referred to His Father as He taught. Chapters 14–16 of John contain over 40 references to the Father. Jesus wanted His followers to know that He loved and revered His Father and was obedient to Him in all things. In response to Philip’s plea, “Shew us the Father,” Jesus explained that to know Him was also to know the Father (see John 14:8–11). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Father sent His Son to help us to know, love, and obey our Father in Heaven:
“In all that Jesus came to say and do, including and especially in His atoning suffering and sacrifice, He was showing us who and what God our Eternal Father is like, how completely devoted He is to His children in every age and nation. In word and in deed Jesus was trying to reveal and make personal to us the true nature of His Father, our Father in Heaven.
“He did this at least in part because then and now all of us need to know God more fully in order to love Him more deeply and obey Him more completely. …
“God in His ultimate effort to have us know Him, sent to earth His Only Begotten and perfect Son, created in His very likeness and image, to live and serve among mortals in the everyday rigors of life. …
“… Jesus [came] to plead with [man] to love their Heavenly Father as He has always and will always love them. The plan of God, the power of God, the holiness of God, yes, even the anger and the judgment of God they had occasion to understand. But the love of God, the profound depth of His devotion to His children, they still did not fully know—until Christ came.
“So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith—this was Christ showing us the way of the Father, He who is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness’ [Lectures on Faith (1985), 42]. In His life and especially in His death, Christ was declaring, ‘This is God’s compassion I am showing you, as well as that of my own’” (“The Grandeur of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 70–72).
For further insight on how Jesus Christ came to show mankind what God the Father is like, see the commentary for John 1:18.
President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) further explained the meaning of the statement, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father”: “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is ‘the express image’ of His Father’s person (Hebrews 1:3). He walked the earth as a human being, as a perfect man, and said, in answer to a question put to Him: ‘He that hath seen me hath seen the Father’ (John 14:9). This alone ought to solve the problem to the satisfaction of every thoughtful, reverent mind. The conclusion is irresistible, that if the Son of God be the express image (that is, likeness) of His Father’s person, then His Father is in the form of man; for that was the form of the Son of God, not only during His mortal life, but before His mortal birth, and after His resurrection. It was in this form that the Father and the Son, as two personages, appeared to Joseph Smith, when, as a boy of fourteen years, he received his first vision” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 334).
It may sound startling to some to say that those who believe in Jesus Christ will do greater works than He did. However, the Lectures on Faith suggests that this statement is better understood in connection with the Savior’s teachings in John 17:20–24: “All these sayings put together give as clear an account of the state of the glorified saints as language could give—the works that Jesus had done they were to do, and greater works than those which he had done among them should they do, and that because he went to the Father. He does not say that they should do these works in time; but they should do greater works, because he went to the Father. … The greater works which those that believed on his name were to do were to be done in eternity, where he was going and where they should behold his glory” (Lectures on Faith, 77–78).
The Savior’s words to His disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), teach us that we show our love for Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that “when we love the Lord, obedience ceases to be a burden. Obedience becomes a delight” (“The Great Commandment,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 30).
In the New Testament, the Greek word paraklētos, translated “Comforter” in the King James Version, appears only in the writings of John. The word is composed of para, meaning “beside,” and klētos, meaning “one who is summoned.” A paraklētos is one who is summoned to another’s side as a helper, intercessor, or advocate. In John’s writings, the title paraklētos is applied to two individuals: the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ. The Savior promised His disciples that after He departed, they would not be left alone but would have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to help them (see John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). The Savior’s promise that He would give His disciples the Holy Ghost as “another Comforter” (John 14:16; italics added) meant that He Himself was also a Comforter. The Prophet Joseph Smith spoke of the two Comforters in this way:
“There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter [is the] Holy Ghost. …
“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.
“Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses. …
“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God” (in History of the Church, 3:380–81).
While the Savior repeatedly told His disciples during the evening before His death that He would be going away from them for a time, He also reassured them that He was not abandoning them. He told them, “I will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught about the various ways the Lord provides comfort and companionship for His disciples as they journey through mortality:
“Because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: ‘I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you]’ [John 14:18; see also verse 23]” (“None Were with Him,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 88).
As the Savior taught His disciples just before His death, He promised that the Father would send the Holy Ghost to them, who would “teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26). Two of the vital roles of the Holy Ghost are to teach us and to remind us of what we have learned. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught:
“The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of Truth, who can teach men things they cannot teach one another. … Moroni [declared], ‘And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things’ (Moro. 10:4–5)” (“The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” Ensign, Mar. 1998, 7).
While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder Glenn L. Pace taught that the spiritual witnesses that come to us are sometimes the Holy Ghost helping us to remember truth: “Sometimes the feeling [of a spiritual witness] is like a memory. We first learned the gospel in our heavenly home. We have come to this earth with a veil of forgetfulness. And yet lingering in each of our spirits are those dormant memories. The Holy Ghost can part the veil and bring those things out of their dormancy” (“Do You Know?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 79).
As the Savior faced the end of His mortal life, He knew that His disciples faced many difficult trials in the years that would follow. As part of His last address to them, He promised them His peace and told them not to be troubled or afraid (see John 14:27; 16:33). President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that the only way to obtain real peace is through faith in the Savior:
“Just hours before He was to begin that glorious yet awful process of the Atonement, the Lord Jesus Christ made this significant promise to His Apostles: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you’ (John 14:27).
“Was He promising His beloved associates the kind of peace the world recognizes—safety, security, with the absence of contention or tribulation? Certainly the historical record would suggest otherwise. Those original Apostles knew much of trial and persecution throughout the remainder of their lives, which is probably why the Lord added this insight to His promise: ‘Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ (John 14:27).
“‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace,’ He continued. ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33; emphasis added).
“Peace—real peace, whole-souled to the very core of your being—comes only in and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (“The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom,” Ensign, May 2002, 88).
President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) observed that we can look to the Savior as an example of how to have peace in the midst of tribulation:
“We will all have some adversity in our lives. I think we can be reasonably sure of that. Some of it will have the potential to be violent and damaging and destructive. Some of it may even strain our faith in a loving God who has the power to administer relief in our behalf. …
“Jesus said, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33.) On the same occasion, he said, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.’ (John 14:27.) Throughout his life and ministry he spoke of peace, and when he came forth from the tomb and appeared unto his disciples, his first greeting was, ‘Peace be unto you.’ (John 20:19.)
“But Jesus was not spared grief and pain and anguish and buffeting. No tongue can speak the unutterable burden he carried, nor have we the wisdom to understand the prophet Isaiah’s description of him as ‘a man of sorrows.’ (Isa. 53:3.) His ship was tossed most of his life, and, at least to mortal eyes, it crashed fatally on the rocky coast of Calvary. We are asked not to look on life with mortal eyes; with spiritual vision we know something quite different was happening upon the cross.
“Peace was on the lips and in the heart of the Savior no matter how fiercely the tempest was raging. May it so be with us” (“Master, the Tempest Is Raging,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 34–35).
Before leaving the upper room where the Last Supper was held, Jesus reminded His Apostles once again that He would leave them to go to the Father, but He would come again to them (see John 14:28)—a reference to His ministry following His Resurrection. He testified that Lucifer had no power over Him (see Joseph Smith Translation, John 14:30 [in John 14:30, footnote a]). He declared that He would complete His earthly ministry so that the whole world would know of His love for His Father (see John 14:31). The remainder of the Savior’s final discourse was given as the group made their way to Gethsemane.
In order to teach His disciples about their relationship to Him, the Savior used the metaphor of a grapevine. Israel’s prophets commonly used grapevines and vineyards as metaphors (see Isaiah 5:1–7; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1; Jacob 5) so that disciples could easily understand. Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how the Savior’s analogy of the vine and branches teaches that the disciples were completely dependent upon Jesus Christ, just as every person who lives on earth is dependent upon Him:
“A grander analogy is not to be found in the world’s literature. Those ordained servants of the Lord were as helpless and useless without Him as is a bough severed from the tree. As the branch is made fruitful only by virtue of the nourishing sap it receives from the rooted trunk, and if cut away or broken off withers, dries, and becomes utterly worthless except as fuel for the burning, so those men, though ordained to the Holy Apostleship, would find themselves strong and fruitful in good works, only as they remained in steadfast communion with the Lord. Without Christ what were they, but unschooled Galileans, some of them fishermen, one a publican, the rest of undistinguished attainments, and all of them weak mortals?” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 604–5).
As the Savior taught using the metaphor of a vine and branches, He emphasized that we are to “abide” in Him, using the word abide repeatedly in John 15:1–10. To help us understand the concept being taught by the Savior, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained:
“‘Abide in me’ [John 15:4] is an understandable and beautiful enough concept in the elegant English of the King James Bible, but ‘abide’ is not a word we use much anymore. So I gained even more appreciation for this admonition from the Lord when I was introduced to the translation of this passage in another language. In Spanish that familiar phrase is rendered ‘permaneced en mi.’ Like the English verb ‘abide,’ permanecer means ‘to remain, to stay,’ but even [English speakers] like me can hear the root cognate there of ‘permanence.’ The sense of this then is ‘stay—but stay forever.’ That is the call of the gospel message to [everyone] in the world. Come, but come to remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who must follow you. …
“Jesus said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing’ [John 15:5]. I testify that that is God’s truth. Christ is everything to us and we are to ‘abide’ in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever. For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all, and to this His Church, which bears His holy name. He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life” (“Abide in Me,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 32).
As recorded in John 15:10, Jesus promised His disciples that if they kept His commandments, they would abide in His love (see also John 14:15, 21, 23). In our day, the Lord has given a similar promise: “Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love” (D&C 6:20).
Some people may feel that because God has such great love for His children, it should not matter whether they keep His commandments. They feel that God’s love will excuse them from obeying His laws. President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency explained that God loves all his children, and His universal love bestows many gifts on all of them. But we must keep God’s commandments in order to receive God’s “choicest blessings”:
“God’s love is so perfect that He lovingly requires us to obey His commandments because He knows that only through obedience to His laws can we become perfect, as He is. …
“God’s choicest blessings are clearly contingent upon obedience to God’s laws and commandments. The key teaching is from modern revelation:
“‘There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
“‘And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated’ (D&C 130:20–21). …
“If a person understands the teachings of Jesus, he or she cannot reasonably conclude that our loving Heavenly Father or His divine Son believes that Their love supersedes Their commandments” (“Love and Law,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 27–28).
As the time of the Savior’s suffering and death drew near, He told His beloved disciples that they were His friends, explaining that His friends are those who “do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). His words to them also foreshadowed the great sacrifice that He, as the Exemplar of true friendship, would make for all mankind. He explained to His disciples: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This He was about to do. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the Savior’s sacrifice for us as the ultimate act of friendship: “Jesus is my friend. None other has given me so much. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). He gave His life for me. He opened the way to eternal life. Only a God could do this. I hope that I am deemed worthy of being a friend to Him” (“My Testimony,” Ensign, May 2000, 71).
While serving in the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Marlin K. Jensen referred to the Savior’s words found in John 15:13–14 and invited Church members to follow the Savior’s example of true friendship: “Having been so richly blessed by Christ’s friendship, I pray that we will now be to others what He is to us: a true friend. At no time will we be more Christlike than when we are a friend. I testify of the inestimable value of friends. … I know that when we offer ourselves in friendship, we make a most significant contribution to God’s work and to the happiness and progress of His children” (“Friendship: A Gospel Principle,” Ensign, May 1999, 65).
John 15:16 is an important scripture on the doctrine of ecclesiastical authority. The Savior’s statement in this verse shows that in His Church, He is the one who determines who will be called and set apart to serve in various positions. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of how this principle is reflected in the current leadership of the Church:
“No faithful member of this Church would think of applying for ecclesiastical office. Rather, ‘we believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.’ (A of F 1:5.)
The Savior warned His disciples that those who follow Him will often face persecution in this life from those who “know not him that sent me” (John 15:21). Elder Robert D. Hales (1932–2017) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave the following counsel about how to respond to criticism and persecution:
“One of mortality’s great tests comes when our beliefs are questioned or criticized. In such moments, we may want to respond aggressively—to ‘put up our dukes.’ But these are important opportunities to step back, pray, and follow the Savior’s example. Remember that Jesus Himself was despised and rejected by the world. … When we respond to our accusers as the Savior did, we not only become more Christlike, we invite others to feel His love and follow Him as well.
“To respond in a Christlike way cannot be scripted or based on a formula. The Savior responded differently in every situation. When He was confronted by wicked King Herod, He remained silent. When He stood before Pilate, He bore a simple and powerful testimony of His divinity and purpose. Facing the moneychangers who were defiling the temple, He exercised His divine responsibility to preserve and protect that which was sacred. Lifted up upon a cross, He uttered the incomparable Christian response: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34). …
“The Prophet Joseph Smith demonstrated [Christian] courage throughout his life. … He did not retaliate or give in to hatred. Like all true disciples of Christ, he stood with the Savior by loving others in a tolerant and compassionate way. That is Christian courage.
“When we do not retaliate—when we turn the other cheek and resist feelings of anger—we too stand with the Savior. We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return. That is not weakness. That is Christian courage” (“Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 72).
Jesus declared to His Apostles that after His death and Resurrection, they would go forth with the power of the Holy Ghost and testify of Him. What would be the repercussions of their preaching, teaching, and testifying of the Savior? “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” (John 16:2–3). John’s sweeping vision of world history, known as the book of Revelation, tells us that similar tragic scenes were part of the Great Apostasy that lasted for centuries (see Revelation 6:9).
As the Savior came to the end of His final discourse to His disciples, He promised that the Holy Ghost would come to them and would “guide [them] into all truth” (John 16:13). This statement makes clear that divine revelation did not end with the death of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost guides the Savior’s true Church in every dispensation and also guides individuals in their efforts to find truth and live their lives in accordance with God’s will.
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that we should seek for the Holy Ghost to guide us to truth: “Father in Heaven knew that you would face challenges and be required to make some decisions that would be beyond your own ability to decide correctly. In His plan of happiness, He included a provision for you to receive help with such challenges and decisions during your mortal life. That assistance will come to you through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 6).
President Dallin H. Oaks explained what we must do to have the Holy Ghost guide us: “How do we take the Holy Spirit for our guide? We must repent of our sins each week and renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament with clean hands and a pure heart, as we are commanded to do (see D&C 59:8–9, 12). Only in this way can we have the divine promise that we will ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’ (D&C 20:77). That Spirit is the Holy Ghost, whose mission is to teach us, to lead us to truth, and to testify of the Father and the Son (see John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13; 3 Nephi 11:32, 36)” (“Be Not Deceived,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 46).
Elder Quentin L. Cook taught that the trials of mortality often bring sorrow. But we can find great and lasting joy, just as the Savior’s disciples did, through understanding what the Savior has done for us:
“The source of the kind of joy which causes us to rejoice is an understanding of the plan of salvation. The Savior in the Gospel of John was approaching the closing hours of His mortal life when He would take upon Himself the sins of the world. As He prepared His disciples for what He knew was to come, He told them, ‘A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me’ (John 16:16). They were not yet ready to comprehend the Resurrection. Instead the Savior explained in gentle terms that He would leave and return and told them what they would feel: sorrow at His leaving, ‘but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you’ (John 16:22).
“Just as the Savior’s death brought sorrow, the vicissitudes of life, like death, disease, poverty, and injury, can and often will bring unhappiness. Separation from those we love invariably brings sorrow and mourning. Life is not easy, and it would be improper to diminish in any way the trials and tribulations that most experience.
“That having been said, the Resurrection and Atonement wrought by the Savior and the promise of eternal life with our loved ones are of such overwhelming significance that to not rejoice would demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Savior’s gift.
To read more about the Savior revealing the Father, see the commentary for John 14:7–11; 16:25.
Knowing that His mortal ministry would soon be complete and that His disciples would face great tribulation, the Savior admonished them to “be of good cheer” and to remember that He had “overcome the world” (John 16:33). While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder Adhemar Damiani explained what it means to be of good cheer:
“As part of our mortal probation, we pass through affliction, pain, and disappointment. Only in Jesus Christ can we find peace. He can help us to be of good cheer and to overcome all the challenges of this life.
“What does it mean to be of good cheer? It means having hope, not getting discouraged, not losing faith, and living life joyfully. ‘Men are, that they might have joy’ [2 Nephi 2:25]. It means facing life with confidence.
“The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the strength and the eternal perspective to face what is coming with good cheer” (“Be of Good Cheer and Faithful in Adversity,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 94).
While serving in the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Joe J. Christensen reminded us that to “be of good cheer” is a commandment from the Lord: “Your level of spirituality is also directly related to how well you fill the Lord’s commandments to ‘Be of good cheer’ and ‘Lift up your heart and rejoice’ (D&C 31:3). How many times in the scriptures did the Lord command us to be of good cheer? He didn’t say, ‘Be of good cheer if everything is going well, if you have enough money to pay all your bills, if [you are feeling well],’ or whatever. No. For us to be of good cheer is a commandment and not merely a suggestion” (“Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 59).