“This Is Life Eternal”

Lesson 24 – John 16 - 17

Introduction

This lesson encourages us to be receptive to the influence of the Holy Ghost and to draw nearer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus promised his Apostles that they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

John 16:1-6 In the final hours of his mortal ministry, Jesus taught and strengthened his Apostles. The Apostles needed to be strengthened at this time because they were sorrowful. (See also John 15:18-20)

John 16:7 The Savior told the Apostles that he would send the Comforter (the Holy Ghost) to them.

John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14 all help us understand the mission of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost:

John 20:22 The Twelve Apostles experienced manifestations of the Holy Ghost during Jesus’ mortal ministry, but they did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after his death and resurrection.

Explaining the difference between a manifestation of the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Manifestations of the Holy Ghost are given to lead sincere seekers to gospel truths that will persuade them to repentance and baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost is more comprehensive. … [It] includes the right to constant companionship, that we may ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’ (D&C 20:77)….“A newly baptized member told me what she felt when she received that gift. This was a faithful Christian woman who had spent her life in service to others. She knew and loved the Lord, and she had felt the manifestations of His Spirit. When she received the added light of the restored gospel, she was baptized and the elders placed their hands upon her head and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. She recalled, ‘I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity than I had ever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me in the past but now had come to stay’ ” (Ensign, Nov. 1996, 60).

Acts 5:32; D&C 6:14; D&C 20:77; D&C 76:116; D&C 121:45-46 After we have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can be worthy of the Holy Ghost’s constant companionship through obedience, sincerely seeking guidance and inspiration in personal prayer, partaking of the sacrament worthily, remembrance of the Savior, keeping the commandments, loving God, purifying ourselves before God, being full of charity to all men, and thinking virtuous thoughts. 

Gal. 5:22-23; D&C 6:15; D&C 6:23; D&C 11:13 teach that we can recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost by its fruits—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; the ability to ask for and receive guidance and knowledge; peace of mind; and enlightenment of our minds and joy in our souls.

President Boyd K. Packer taught: “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described as a ‘still small voice.’ And while we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling …’ … Revelation comes as words we feel more than hear” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).

In a dream given to President Brigham Young, the Prophet Joseph Smith instructed him to teach the Saints that “the Spirit of the Lord … will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1846-1847, comp. Elden J. Watson [1971], 529).

 

Jesus foretold his death and resurrection.

 

John 16:16-20 After Jesus taught the Apostles about the Holy Ghost, he told them that he would soon die and be resurrected. Then he said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace” (John 16:33).

We can learn from Jesus’ teachings in John 16 (See also Philip. 4:7-9; D&C 59:23.) as we remember what Jesus said to his Apostles, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The knowledge that Jesus has overcome the world can help us be of good cheer when we are faced with tribulation.

 

Jesus offered the great intercessory prayer.

 

John 17 records the prayer that Jesus offered just before his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. This prayer is often called the great intercessory prayer because as Jesus prayed, he interceded, or stood between us and Heavenly Father, to plead for our salvation.

John 17:1-2 As Jesus began his prayer, he described his mission on earth as being to give eternal life to his followers. (See also Moses 1:39) He accomplished this mission through his Atonement. In his prayer, the Savior said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

1 John 4:7-8; Mosiah 5:10-13; Alma 22:18; D&C 18:33-36; D&C 132:21-24 Knowing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is different from merely knowing about them. We come to know them, as the scriptures teach by loving, serving them, repenting of our sins, bearing our testimonies, and by receiving the Father and Son and abiding in their law. 

John 17:4-8 In the first part of his prayer, Jesus described the things he had done toward fulfilling his mission—glorified the Father, manifested his Father’s name to men, taught the Father’s words, and prayed for his disciples.

Consider carefully how you report your efforts to Heavenly Father and how might it affect your actions if each night you included in your prayers a report of your efforts to serve him during that day.

John 17:6-9, 20 Even though Jesus knew that he was about to suffer intensely, he pray not for himself, but for his followers and those who would believe on him.

John 17:14 We, like Jesus and his Apostles, can live in the world and be “not of the world”? (See also verses John 17:15-16).

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “In the Church, we often state the couplet, ‘Be in the world but not of the world.’ As we observe television shows that make profanity, violence, and infidelity commonplace and even glamorous, we often wish we could lock out the world in some way and isolate our families from it all. …“Perhaps we should state the couplet previously mentioned as two separate admonitions. First, ‘Be in the world.’ Be involved; be informed. Try to be understanding and tolerant and to appreciate diversity. Make meaningful contributions to society through service and involvement. Second, ‘Be not of the world.’ Do not follow wrong paths or bend to accommodate or accept what is not right. “We should strive to change the corrupt and immoral tendencies in television and in society by keeping things that offend and debase out of our homes. In spite of all of the wickedness in the world, and in spite of all the opposition to good that we find on every hand, we should not try to take ourselves or our children out of the world. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven,’ or yeast (Matt. 13:33). We are to lift the world and help all to rise above the wickedness that surrounds us. The Savior prayed to the Father:  “ ‘I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil’ (John 17:15)” (Ensign, May 1989, 80).

John 17:21-22 speaks of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as “one”.  Speaking of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “They are distinct beings, but they are one in purpose and effort. They are united as one in bringing to pass the grand, divine plan for the salvation and exaltation of the children of God. … It is that perfect unity between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost that binds these three into the oneness of the divine Godhead” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, 51).

John 17:22-23 It was important for the Apostles to be one so that they might be perfected.

 

Conclusion

Think about how you feel when you know someone is praying for you. Ponder how you might have felt if you had been with Jesus when he offered the intercessory prayer. The intercessory prayer can help us appreciate the precious gift of eternal life that the Savior offers us. We will be blessed as we strive to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and become one with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.