New Testament Lesson 24 (John 16–17)


The First Comforter (Holy Ghost)

● The Savior told them that he would send the Comforter (the Holy Ghost) to them (John 14:15–17; 15:18–20; 16:1–7).

— Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “The disciples of Jesus did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost while he was with them. The reason for this, in part at least, was due to the fact that they had with them to guide and teach them the second member of the Godhead, even Jesus himself. While he was with them there was no occasion for them to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Before the Savior left them, he promised to send them the Comforter, or Holy Ghost.”1

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Since the divine law in all ages called for men to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, why had Jesus awaited this hour to institute the age-old system among his disciples? Perhaps it is a situation similar to that which is involved in receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost; as long as Jesus was with the disciples they did not enjoy the full manifestations of the Holy Ghost. (John 16:7). Perhaps as long as Jesus was personally with them many of their petitions were addressed directly to him rather than to the Father. Such was the course followed by the Nephites when the resurrected and glorified Lord ministered among them. They prayed directly to him and not to the Father.”2

The Role of the Holy Ghost

John 14:25–26       The Holy Ghost teaches.
The Holy Ghost brings comfort.
The Holy Ghost helps us to remember.

John 15:26              The Holy Ghost also testifies of Jesus Christ.

John 16: 7–11         The Holy Ghost witnesses against unrighteousness.
The Holy Ghost judges our behavior.

John 16:12–13        The Holy Ghost guides us to truth.
The Holy Ghost provides revelation of things to come.

John 16:14               The Holy Ghost glorifies Jesus and the Father.

Ephesians 1:13        The Holy Ghost seals us up unto eternal life.
Ephesians 4:30

Moses 6:60              The Holy Ghost justifies us (testifies of our worthiness).

Philippians 4:7        The Holy Ghost also provides peace in this world.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

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

— Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:

“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.’”3

● After we have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, we must be worthy of his constant companionship, or else the Spirit will depart from us (Acts 5:32; D&C 6:14; 20:77, 79; 76:116; 121:45–46).

● How we can recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost (Galatians 5:22–23; D&C 6:15, 23; 11:13). Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “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.”4

— The Prophet Joseph Smith said In a dream given to President Brigham Young, “[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.”5

The Second Comforter (Christ)

● “I will come to you” (John 14:18–24).

— The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “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; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions— Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the First Born.”6

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

“These statements about the two Comforters climax and crown the teachings of the Son of God. We have no record of anything he ever said which can so completely withdraw the curtain of eternity and open to the faithful a vision of the glories of God. Based on love, born of obedience, Jesus promises the Saints that they can have, here and now in this life, the following:

“(1) The gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost; the comfort and peace which it is the function of that Holy Spirit to bestow; the revelation and the sanctifying power which alone will prepare men for the companionship of gods and angels hereafter;

“(2) Personal visitations from the Second Comforter, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the resurrected and perfected being who dwells with his Father in the mansions on high; and

“(3) God the Father—mark it well Philip! shall visit man in person, take up his abode with him, as it were, and reveal to him all the hidden mysteries of his kingdom.”7

Jesus Foretells His Suffering and Death

● Jesus told the Apostles that he would soon die and be resurrected (John 16:16–20).

● “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace (John 16:33).

● “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The Great Intercessory Prayer

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.

● Christ prayed to the Father and defined Eternal Life (John 17:1–3).

● Christ had finished his work and glorified the Father (John 17:4–10).

● Jesus prayed that they would be protected from worldliness (John 17:11–16).

— 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 (Matthew 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).”8

● Jesus prayed for all who believe in Him and in the Father, that they may be “one” as the Father and Jesus Christ are “one” (John 17:20–26).

— 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.”9

Jesus Goes Out into Gethsemane

● “The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30).

— President Harold B. Lee said, “So powerful was he in the Master’s day that the Master referred to Satan as `the prince of this world,’ but he added, `the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.’ (John 14:30). We must be able to say, though the power is evil on every side, `As for me and my house, we shall serve the God of this land.’ The prince of this world is coming to tempt every one of us, and the only ones who will stand through these evil days are those who have founded their houses upon the rock, as the Master said: when the storms descended and the winds blew and the rains came and beat upon the house, it fell not because it was founded upon the rock. That is what the Lord is trying to say to us today.”10

● They sang a hymn and then departed to go into the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30).


1.  Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 2:159.
2.  Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 1:758.
3.  In Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 80; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 60.
4.  In Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60.
5.  Manuscript History of President Brigham Young, 1846–1847, comp. Elden J. Watson [1971], 529.
6.  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 150–151.
7.  Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:735.
8.  In Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 101; or Ensign, May 1989, 80.
9.  In Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 69; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 51.
10. In British Area Conference Report, August 1971, 135.