5. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asks me, Where do you go?
6. But because I have said these things to you sorrow has filled your heart.
7. 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 to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.
8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9. Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more;
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
CHRYS. The disciples, not as yet perfected, being overcome by sorrow, our Lord blames and corrects them, saying, But now I go My way to Him that sent Me; and none of you asks Me, Where do you go? They were so struck down at hearing that whoever killed them would think that he was doing God service, that they could say nothing.
Wherefore He adds, But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. It was no small consolation to them to know that the Lord knew their superabundant sorrow, because of His leaving them, and because of the evils which they heard they were to suffer, but knew not whether they should suffer manfully.
AUG. Or whereas they had asked Him above, where He was going, and He had replied that He was going where they would not come; now He promises that He will go in such a way that no one will ask Him where He goes: and none of you asks Me, Where do you go? Going up to heaven, they questioned Him not in words, but followed with their eyes. But our Lord saw what effect His words would produce upon their minds.
Not having yet that inward consolation which the Holy Ghost was to impart, they were afraid to lose the outward presence of Christ, and so, when they could no longer doubt from His own words that they were going to lose Him, their human affections were saddened, for the loss of their visible object. Wherefore it follows; But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
But He knew that it would be for their good, forasmuch as that inward sight wherewith the Holy Ghost would console them was the better one: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away.
CHRYS. As if He said, Though your grief be ever so great, you must hear how that it is profitable for you that I go away. What the profit is He then shows: For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you.
AUG. This He says not on account of any inequality between the Word of God and the Holy Ghost, but because the presence of the Son of man amongst them would impede the coming of the latter. For the Holy Ghost did not humble Himself as did the Son, by taking upon Him the form of a servant. It was necessary therefore that the form of the servant should be removed from their eyes; for so long as they looked upon that, they thought that Christ was no more than what they saw Him to be. So it follows: But if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
AUG. But could He not send Him while here: Him Who, we know, came and abode on Him at His baptism, yea Him from Whom we know He never could be separated? What means then, If I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you, but, you cannot receive the Spirit, so long as you know Christ according to the flesh? Christ departing in the body, not the Holy Ghost only, but the Father, and the Son also came spiritually.
GREG. As if He said plainly, If I withdraw not My body from your eyes, I cannot lead you to the understanding of the Invisible, through the Comforting Spirit.
AUG. The Holy Ghost the Comforter brought this, that the form of a servant which our Lord had received in the womb of the Virgin, being removed from the fleshly eye, He was manifested to the purified mental vision in the very form of God in which He remained equal to the Father, even while He deigned to appear in the flesh.
CHRYS. What say they here, who entertain unworthy notions of the Spirit? Is it expedient for the master to go away, and a servant to come? He then shows the good that the Spirit will do: And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
AUG. But how is it that Christ did not reprove the world? Is it because Christ spoke among the Jews only, whereas the Holy Spirit, poured into His disciples throughout the whole world, reproved not one nation only, but the world? But who would dare to say that the Holy Ghost reproved the world by Christ's disciples, and that Christ did not when the Apostle exclaims, Do you seek a proof of Christ speaking in Me? (2 Cor 13:3) Those then whom the Holy Ghost reproves, Christ reproves also. He shall reprove the world, means, He shall pour love into your hearts, insomuch, that fear being cast out, you shall be free to reprove.
He then explains what He has said: Of sin, because they believed not in Me. He mentions this as the sin above all others, because while it remains, the others are retained; when it departs, the others are remitted.
AUG. But it makes a great difference whether one believes in Christ, or only that He is Christ. For that He was Christ, even the devils believed; but he believes in Christ who both hopes in Christ and loves Christ.
AUG. The world is reproved of sin, because it believes not in Christ, and reproved of righteousness, the righteousness of those that believe. The very contrast of the believing, is the censure of the unbelieving.
Of righteousness because I go to the Father: as it is the common objection of unbelievers, How can we believe what we do not see? So the righteousness of believers lies in this: Because I go to the Father, and you see Me no more. For blessed are they which see not, and believe. The faith even of those who saw Christ is praised, not because they believed what they saw, i.e., the Son of man, but because they believed what they saw not, i.e., the Son of God. And when the form of the servant was withdrawn from their sight altogether, then only was fulfilled in completeness the text, The just live by faith (Heb 10:38). It will be your righteousness then, of which the world will be reproved, that you shall believe in Me, not seeing Me. And when you shall see Me, you shall see Me as I shall be, not as I am now with you, i.e., you shall not see Me mortal, but everlasting. For in saying, you see Me no more, He means that they should see Him no more forever.
AUG. Or thus: They believed not, He went to the Father. Theirs therefore was the sin, His the righteousness. But that He came from the Father to us was mercy; that He went to the Father was righteousness; according to the saying of the Apostle, Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him (Phil 2:9). But if He went to the Father alone, what profit is it to us? Is He not alone rather in the sense of being one with all His members, as the head is with the body? So then the world is reproved of sin, in those who believe not in Christ; and of righteousness, in those who rise again in the members of Christ.
It follows, Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged--i.e., the devil, the prince of the wicked--who in heart dwell only in this world which they love. He is judged in that he is cast out; and the world is reproved of this judgment; for it is vain for one who does not believe in Christ to complain of the devil, whom judged, i.e., cast out, and permitted to attack us from without, only for our trial, not men only but women, boys and girls, have by martyrdom overcome.
AUG. Or, judged, i.e., is destined irrevocably for the punishment of eternal fire. And of this judgment is the world reproved, in that it is judged with its prince, the proud and ungodly one whom it imitates. Let men therefore believe in Christ, lest they be reproved of the sin of unbelief, by which all sins are retained; pass over to the number of the believing, lest they be reproved of the righteousness of those whom justified they do not imitate; beware of the judgment to come, lest with the prince of this world whom they imitate, they too be judged.
CHRYS. Or thus: Shall reprove the world of sin, i.e., cut off all excuse and show that they have sinned unpardonably in not believing in Me, when they see the ineffable gift of the Holy Ghost obtained by calling upon Me.
AUG. In this way too the Holy Ghost reproved the world of sin, i.e. by the mighty works He did in the name of the Savior, Who was condemned by the world. The Savior, His righteousness retained, feared not to return to Him Who sent Him, and in that He returned, proved that He had come from Him: Of righteousness, because I go to the Father.
CHRYS. i.e. My going to tile Father will be a proof that I have led an irreproachable life, so that they will not be able to say, This man is a sinner; this man is not from God. Again inasmuch as I conquered the devil (which no one who was a sinner could do), they cannot say that I have a devil and am a deceiver. But as he has been condemned by Me they shall be assured that they shall trample upon him afterwards; and My resurrection will show that he was not able to detain Me.
AUG. The devils seeing souls go from hell to heaven, knew that the prince of this world was judged and, being brought to trial in the Savior's cause, had lost all right to what he held. This was seen on our Savior's ascension, but was declared plainly and openly in the descent of the Holy Ghost on the disciples.
Catena Aurea John 16