Comfort for the Disciples in view of Jesus’ Absence
John 14
 
John 14. In chapter 13 Jesus had spoken of His death and the glory it would bring to God, and how God would straightway glorify Him in response. In chapter 14 Jesus goes on to speak of His return to the Father, and the proper Christian hope of His return to take us to the Father’s house. In this chapter we have a number of things that would comfort the disciples in the time of Jesus’ absence. The whole trinity is involved. Jesus was going to the Father, and the Father would send Another Comforter (the Spirit). The whole Trinity is for us! What more comfort could He give?
  1. An eternal home in the Father’s house (v.2)
  2. The return of Christ for His saints (v.3)
  3. The privilege of communion with the Father by way of the Son (v.6)
  4. The supply of Divine power in service (v.12)
  5. The resource of prayer in the Son’s name (vv.13-14)
  6. Another Comforter, the Holy Spirit sent (v.16)
  7. The enjoyment of eternal life in the Son (v.19)
  8. Divine visitations, His presence with us (v.23)
  9. The teaching of the Holy Spirit (v.26)
  10. His peace left with us (v.27)
 

Truths Connected with a Glorified Man in Heaven (14:1-14)

The Characteristics of Christianity. The comfort the Lord gives the disciples centers around two characteristic truths of Christianity: a glorified Christ in heaven, and the Holy Spirit sent down to earth. We have these two characteristics in this chapter, as well as other places. In vv.1-14 we have the truths connected with a glorified Christ in heaven. In vv.15-31 we have the truths connected with the Holy Spirit sent down. We get both truths connected in John 7:39 where we read, “the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” showing that the two facts are strongly connected. Again we have the two truths in actual fact in Acts 1 and 2. Acts 1 gives us the ascension of Christ into heaven, and Acts 2 gives us the Holy Spirit sent down on Pentecost.

The Lord’s Return to Heaven and Purpose to Receive Us There (vv.1-3)

CHAPTER 14
1a Let not your heart be troubled; v.1a Comfort for Troubled Hearts. There were at least three things that the disciples were told in the previous chapter that could trouble them. First, that one of them would betray the Lord. Second, that Jesus was going away. Third, that one of them would deny the Lord three times before daybreak. All of this, but especially the fact that Jesus was leaving them, had caused their hearts to be troubled. Jesus comforted them by saying, “Let not your heart be troubled”. This verse serves as a heading for the entire chapter: comfort for the disciples in view of Jesus’ absence.
 
1b ye believe on God, believe also on me. v.1b Christ in a New Position. Christ was about to go back to heaven as a man. The disciples believed on Him as a man on earth whom they could see. But now He would become an object of their faith whom they could not see with their physical eyes. Just as they believed on God whom they could not see, they would need to believe on the Son in the same way. This was a radical change. As Jews, they naturally expected a Messiah on earth to be the object of their sight. But in Christianity, a glorified man in heaven is the object of our faith! Note the is shouldn’t have been a total surprise to the Jews. There are several scriptures, including Psa. 110:1 which showed the the Messiah would be seated at Jehovah’s right hand until His enemies were made His footstool.
 
2 In my Father’s house there are many abodes; were it not so, I had told you: for I go to prepare you a place; v.2 Preparation of the Father’s House. The Lord’s going away was not abandonment. Jesus wanted the disciples to know that there was room for them to be with Him in the Father’s House! The Father’s house has many abodes, perhaps like the chambers of the temple in the Old Testament. All the abodes are the same; there is no difference from saint to saint in the eternal home. Note that “mansions” is not a correct translation. The Father’s house is not the idea of reward for service as “mansions” would imply, but rather it is a place of communion or fellowship with the Father and the Son! Jesus wanted His own to be with Him. How wonderful that His love would make His home to be our home! The statement “were it not so, I had told you” shows that Jesus loved them too much to raise their hopes of such a prospect only to disappoint them. Our eternal destiny is sure! He was going to “prepare a place” for them. This refers not exactly to the cross, although it may include the cross, but more to the ascension and glorification of Christ. The presence of a glorified man in heaven has prepared that place for us!1 The cross prepared the people for the place, the ascension and glorification of Christ prepared the place for the people. How slow our poor minds are to grasp the stupendous truth that there is a real man at God’s right hand in glory! See notes on Eph. 1:21. Will Old Testament saints be in the Father’s house? They didn’t know him as Father in the same way Christians do. In heaven “every family” will know Him as “the Father” (Eph. 3:15), but Christians know Him specially as Our Father, sharing in the Son’s relationship. The Word of God doesn’t exactly say if Old Testament saints will be in the Father’s House, although we can be sure they will be raised and taken to heaven at the same time as the Church (1 Cor. 15:23).
 
The Father's House is the eternal dwelling place of the redeemed (John 14:2). Is it where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will be for all eternity, in the circle of divine light and love. When Jesus went back to heaven, He prepared the place for us. He said, "in my Father's house are many mansions (abodes)". There is room for every heavenly saint! We don't know much about the Father's house, but it will be the eternal enjoyment of our eternal life, and the glory of God (Rom. 5:2, Gal. 5:5). The leading feature will be fellowship with the Lord Jesus in the circle of the Father's love; "that where I am, there ye may be also"
 
How blest a home, the Father's house!
There love divine doth rest;
What else could satisfy the hearts
Of those in Jesus blest?
His home made ours: His Father's love
Our hearts full portion given,
The portion of the First-born Son,
The full delight of heaven.2
 
When do saints enter the Father's house? John 14 makes it clear that it will be at the rapture, when Jesus will "come again and receive" His own. Where then are the souls of the saints who have died? They are really in Hades, the state of the soul and spirit without the body. But Hades is not a place. Where exactly are they? They are in heaven, where Christ is. The Bible says they are "with Christ" (Phil. 1:23), and "present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8). The Father's house is a place prepared by the Lord when He entered heaven as a glorified man. The sleeping saints are not yet glorified, and so they are not yet in the Father's house. When the dead in Christ are raised incorruptible, and the living saints are changed into immortality, and all are taken by the Lord into heaven, then the Father's house will be filled!
 
3 and if I go and shall prepare you a place, I am coming again and shall receive you to myself, that where I am ye also may be. v.3 The Return of Christ for His Saints. Next we get the great teaching of the return of Christ! It wouldn’t do for Christ to call for His own, or send an angel to take us up. He Himself will come for us! As to the timing of this event, we are not given signs and seasons. God meant for this hope to be constantly before the Church, who was to be watching and waiting for the Lord to come. This truth of the rapture is further developed by the apostle Paul, mainly in 1 Thessalonians 4. Many Christians fail to distinguish the two parts of Christ’s second coming: first His coming for His saints, and then His coming with His saints. The rapture is when Christ comes for His saints (1 Thess. 4:16-17, 2 Thess. 2:1). The appearing is when Christ comes with His saints (1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14). Between the rapture and the appearing of Christ are the prophetic events of Daniel’s seventieth week! Read more…
 

The true hope of the Church is the coming of Christ, not an event. The Church is so closely identified with Christ, and so closely linked to Him by the Spirit of God, that the Father has given Christ Himself to be the Church's hope. "I will come again and receive you unto myself" (John 14:3). "The Lord Himself shall descend" (1 Thess. 4:16). This hope was lost for around 1700 years of the Church's history. The Church lost the hope of the Lord's coming, and began to look for death at the end of the pathway. The Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 traces this out typically, and shows the effect of losing this hope on the state of the Church. It wasn’t until the late 1820’s that the Spirit of God began working through various individuals and aroused the hearts of God’s people to hold afresh the hope of Christ’s return.

Read more…

The Way to Communion with the Father (14:4-12)

4 And ye know where I go, and ye know the way. v.4 The place and way. Jesus had told His disciples on numerous occasions that He was returning to heaven. He wanted their hearts with Him and the Father. It is one thing for Christ, as the light of the world, to illuminate the believer’s pathway on earth. Many Christians are still in and occupied with their path, although they acknowledge the “Sun” as the source of light. But God would have our gaze follow that ray upward to its source, to be occupied with Christ, and so to have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. Christ himself is the way to the place of communion with the Father! To summarize, the disciples knew, or ought to have known, where He was going (to the Father), and the way, because it was Jesus Himself who had revealed the Father to them.
 
5 Thomas says to him, Lord, we know not where thou goest, and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus says to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father unless by me. vv.5-6 Jesus the Way, Truth, and Life. Thomas, who tended to be gloomy and a bit pessimistic (John 11:16), expressed the puzzlement that they all felt. First of all, he did not understand where Jesus was going. Thomas’ thoughts, like those of the other disciples, were limited to the earth. He couldn’t think of an earthly destination where Jesus could travel that they could not follow. Secondly, the way was obscure without knowing the destination. He did not understand that Jesus was speaking of His Father in heaven, although He had plainly said it (v.2). The Lord plainly declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”. This is one of the great “I am” statements of John’s gospel. Jesus is the way to the Father, because He alone can and did reveal the Father. Jesus is the truth of the Father, because He alone made the Father known. Truth is the declaration of what is (see John 8). Jesus is the life, because only through life in the Son can we enjoy communion with the Father. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). The last part of v.6 makes the Lord’s meaning clear: “no one comes to the Father”, to know and enjoy communion with Him, “unless by me”, because Jesus is the only-begotten Son, who alone has declared the Father (John 1:18). This could be a summary statement over the whole Gospel of John. Note: many view the last part of v.6 as a statement about coming to the Father for salvation. While certainly it would include coming to the Father for salvation, it really goes far beyond that. Notice that it speaks of coming to “the Father”, not “to God”. Saints in the Old Testament came to God through faith, although they never knew Jesus. But to really know God as “our Father”, there is only one Way, and that Way is the person of the Son. So, while it includes the sinner coming to God, it also includes the saint coming to the Father.
 
The Truth in Jesus. We only have "the truth" in its full character when we view it in connection with the person of Christ (John 14:6; Eph. 4:21). If you look at creation to learn God’s heart, you will see His power and wisdom in a limited way, but the creation has fallen under the reign of sin; full of weakness, decay, suffering, death, etc. If you look at your fellow man you will see nothing but the ugly old man. If you look at history you will see injustice; e.g. Abel suffering while Cain prospers. If you look within yourself to conscience, you may see the “moral law” that C.S. Lewis spoke of, the work of God’s law written on your heart (Rom. 2:15), but it will only condemn you. If you look to the Mosaic law you will find the exposure of the flesh to an even higher degree, but still no knowledge of God's heart. Even if you read the entire Bible apart from Christ, and never really see Jesus, you will not find truth (John 5:39). It is only when you know Jesus that you know the full truth of God reflected in His Person. Jesus was the perfect display of God’s heart. In the life of Jesus we learn what man really is, but we also learn what God really is; both light and love. We learn the depth to which God would go to have us with Him. As God’s creatures, when we submit to Him we find perfect happiness. In entrusting our souls to Him we find perfect peace. Through the truth as it is in Jesus we can have eternal life, and can actually know the God of the universe. Truth is the declaration of what is. God is not "The Truth", because He is What Is (hence His name, "I AM"). God is not an expression of anything. The Spirit is truth subjectively (1 John 5:6), because the Spirit makes the truth good to us, but the Spirit is not "The Truth". Only the Son is "The Truth" objectively, because He alone is both fully God and fully man. He alone is the perfect “Image” and “Word” of God by which all can be measured.
 
The Disciples and Their Questions. In this chapter we have three questions or requests from three different disciples. 
  • Thomas didn’t understand the way (v.5). The only way to communion with the Father is by knowing the Son.
  • Philip didn’t understand the truth (v.8). The Son has perfectly revealed the Father.
  • Judas didn’t understand the life (v.22). The believer walking uprightly will enjoy the fellowship of the Father and the Son.
7 If ye had known me, ye would have known also my Father, and henceforth ye know him and have seen him. 8 Philip says to him, Lord, shew us the Father and it suffices us. 9 Jesus says to him, Am I so long a time with you, and thou hast not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and how sayest thou, Shew us the Father? vv.7-9 The knowledge of the Father inseparable from knowledge of the Son. The Lord goes on to tell the disciples that to know the Son and see the Son is to know the Father and see the Father. So perfect is the Word and the Image of God, that the knowledge of the Father is inseparable from that of the Son (John 1:1,18; Heb. 1:3). Philip now speaks up, as Thomas had before, expressing the puzzlement of the disciples. “Lord, shew us the Father and it suffices us.” Philip did not understand what Jesus was saying. There is no other introduction to or expression of the Father than the Son. In the Lord’s response, it is beautiful to ask, ‘Who is speaking, the Father or the Son?’ It is impossible to know, because the Son is the exact representation of the Father; i.e. He is the Truth. “Am I so long a time with you, and thou hast not known me, Philip?” To know Jesus is the know the Father. The Jews claimed to know the Father, but they rejected the Son. Even the disciples, when Jesus walked among them as the Incarnate Word for “so long a time”, did not recognize the Father in Him. How foolish (and we may pardon their ignorance at this time) to ask the Person who is the exact representation of the Father to “show us the Father”.
 
In Thee, most perfectly expressed,
The Father’s self doth shine;
Fulness of Godhead, too: the Blest,
Eternally Divine;
 
Image of the Infinite Unseen,
Whose being none can know;
Brightness of light no eye hath seen,
God’s love revealed below;
 
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!3
 
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words which I speak to you I do not speak from myself; but the Father who abides in me, he does the works. 11 Believe “me” that I am in the Father and the Father in me; but if not, believe me for the works’ sake themselves. vv.10-11 The Father’s Words and Works Manifested Through the Son. The Lord’s words “Believest thou not reveal that unbelief was at the root of Philip’s failure to understand. It is a rebuke of unbelief. The statement “I am in the Father” shows that the Son was co-equal with the Father. The statement “the Father is in me” shows that the Son was the vessel through which the Father was displaying Himself. We have the same two related truths in John 1:18; “No one hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”4 The Lord explains how this worked in practice: both the words that He spoke and the works that He did were from the Father. When Jesus acted on earth, it was really the Father acting through Him (Luke 2:49). That explains what it means that the Father “abides in” the Son. The Lord pleaded with Philip, and with all who hear, to believe His words concerning the relationship between the Father and the Son. “But if not”, if the words of the Blessed Son of God were not enough, “believe me for the works’ sake themselves”. There was sufficient evidence in the works themselves to see that they were the Father’s works, manifested through the Son.

Two Resources of the Disciples with Jesus in Heaven (14:12-14)

12 Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works which I do shall he do also, and he shall do greater than these, because I go to the Father. v.12 The Power of the Spirit. The powerful testimony rendered by the Son here on earth was to be carried on by the believers after the Lord returned to the Father. We know that consequent upon the glorification of the Son, the Holy Spirit was sent down (John 7:39), and that the Spirit of God is the power of resurrection life manifested in the believer. We might wonder at the words “he shall do greater than these”? How could anyone do greater works than the Lord did? First, we must see that it is not referring to the work of atonement, but to the manifestation of eternal life here below, which was proof of Divine power. After Pentecost, tremendous works were done that in certain ways did surpass what Jesus performed on earth. For example, the shadow of Peter healed the sick (Acts 5:15), which is not something we read of Jesus doing. However, I think this goes beyond physical healings, etc. When Peter preached in Acts 2, three thousand were saved through one sermon! W. Wholston gave a helpful example of this prophecy being fulfilled in Acts 8. In John 4 the Lord sat outside the city of Samaria and spoke of it as a ripening harvest. “Many believed” of the Samaritans in John 4, but through Philip’s preaching, “the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles” (Acts 8:6)!5
 
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, this will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. vv.13-14 Prayer in the Son’s Name. A second great resource is mentioned: the resource of prayer in the Son’s name. It brings glory to the Father when petitions made in His Son’s name are answered! The resource that the disciples had when Jesus was on earth of looking to Him to provide for their needs would not terminate when He returned to the Father. The disciples were to look to Him the same way in heaven as they had on earth, only now it would be through prayer. Their requests would come before the Father’s throne in the full value of the Son’s name, and in accordance with the Father’s will, the Son would do as they asked. There would be no limit to His power on their behalf, even from heaven; “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” As a side note, it should be obvious that if we “ask amiss” (James 4:3) in selfishness, or not “according to his will” (1 John 5:14) we cannot expect those prayers to be answered. The Son always does the Father’s will, and if we ask something that isn’t the Father’s will, the Son will not do it. But barring those disqualifications, the power is unlimited!
 

Truths Connected with the Holy Spirit Sent Down to Earth (14:15-29)

Love and Obedience (v.15)

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. v.15 How Love Is Proved In Jesus’ Absence. While Jesus was in heaven, how would the disciples express their love to Him? It is not though tears of sorrow, but through obedience that their love would be shown. God has made obedience to be the highest proof of our love (v.21). The Son’s love for the Father was manifested in His obedience, even to the death of the cross. His obedience is our pattern. Actually, the word “keep” goes beyond obedience. It often has the thought of treasuring something (e.g. Luke 2:19). What are we to keep? “Keep my commandments.” All the things Jesus taught. We find that the Holy Spirit would also teach them, and they would be responsible to keep those commandments as well. 

The Comforter Sent (vv.16-20)

16 And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter [‘Paraclete’], that he may be with you for ever, 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him nor know him; but ye know him, for he abides with you, and shall be in you. vv.16-17 Another Comforter. As a glorified man, the Son would “beg the Father” to send “another Comforter”. This refers to the sending of the Holy Spirit, as a Divine Person, into this world. The whole Trinity is involved in it. If there were any doubt, Jesus says, “the Spirit of Truth”. The word paraclete can be translated ‘comforter’, because it literally means ‘one who draws alongside (para) to help (clete)’. However, ‘comforter’ may not be the best translation. The only other time this Greek word is used is in 1 John 2:1, where it is better translated ‘advocate’.6 It is a reference to the system of patronage in ancient Rome. An older, wealthy citizen called a patron become a protector, benefactor, and advisor to a younger, less wealthy citizen called a client. This relationship was beneficial in the social, commercial, and judicial spheres especially. The patron-client relationship had been well established in Roman culture in the first century. Jesus was the disciples’ Patron, or Advocate while on earth, but He was going away to the Father. Although He would still be an “advocate with the Father”, it was very good that they should have a Patron on earth. The Holy Spirit would be that second Advocate with them on earth. As the disciples had looked to Jesus for guidance, protection, wisdom, and provision, so they could look to the Spirit of God for all of their needs. In contrast to the Lord, who was only with them for three years, the Spirit would never leave them, even when Jesus returned; he will “be with you for ever”. He is called “the Spirit of truth” because the special connection here is with the Spirit teaching and bringing the Lord’s words to remembrance. He is certainly a Person, because Jesus speaks of the believers knowing Him. The Spirit of God cannot be seen or known by the world, but believers are (or should be) very aware of His presence and power. We know the Spirit because He is with and in us. There are two aspects of the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth, given in v.17:
  1. Collectively, “he abides with you”. This refers to the collective indwelling of the Spirit, in which we are “an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). It is because of this aspect of the Spirit’s presence that God inhabits the Church. 
  2. Individually, “and shall be in you”. This refers to the individual indwelling of the Spirit, in which He comes to permanently dwell in the believer’s body. This is called the seal of the Spirit, the earnest of the Spirit, and the anointing of the Spirit. Read more…
Both aspects are permanent. A question may arise when reading v.17: why is the phrase “he abides with you” in the present tense and “shall be in you” in the future tense? Aren’t both really future, because the Spirit of God was not yet sent? Yes. Apparently the present and future form of “abide” are very close in the Greek. In fact, the difference is made only by the placement of an accent, which defines which syllable is to receive the emphasis. But in the original manuscripts, there were no accents because they were written in unicals, or capital letters. The placement of accents was made by editors when the cursive copies were made many years later. The placement of the accents, in this case setting the tense, is determined by the context. Some argue that the the disciples knew the Holy Spirit from His dwelling in Jesus on earth. But the context of the passage suggests that the whole force of it is future, referring to the coming of the Comforter at Pentecost.7891011
 
18 I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you. 19 Yet a little and the world sees me no longer; but ye see me; because I live ye also shall live. 20 In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. vv.18-20 The Bond of Eternal Life Enjoyed. But though the Father would send Another Comforter, Jesus would not leave the disciples as “orphans”. The Lord Himself would come to the disciples, not physically (“yet a little and the world sees me no longer”) but by the Spirit of God, they would experience the presence of Christ with them. How could this be? The answer is in v.19; “because I live ye also shall live”. This is not speaking of physical resurrection, but another kind of life-giving; i.e. the communication of Christ’s risen life to His disciples after His resurrection. This took place in John 20:22; “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”. As another has said, they were receiving “the energy of His own risen life”.12 Christ was bringing the life they already had by new birth into identification with His risen life, so they they might enjoy communion with Christ in His glorified state! It was as if Jesus, that He might not leave them orphans, shared His risen, eternal life with His disciples, that they might live His life derivatively! This would complete a circle of fellowship (v.20) between the Father, the Son, and Christians indwelled with the Holy Spirit; “and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Read more… Because we share the life of Christ, we can see Him, even though the world cannot. And in seeing Christ by faith when the Spirit was present, the disciples would really know the Son’s place with the Father (“that I am in my Father”), namely His equality, relationship, and perfect union with the Father. But more than that, they would understand their position and union with Christ, through the possession of eternal life, in the power of the Spirit of God; “and ye in me, and I in you”.13

The Communion of the Holy Spirit (vv.21-24)

21 He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; but he that loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. v.21 The Enjoyment of Christ’s Presence and Its Condition. As we had in v.15, Christ has made obedience to be the highest expression of our love to Him. In response to the expression of our love toward His Son, the Father will love us. This does not mean that Divine love, in an absolute sense, is conditional upon our works or performance. Surely, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and nothing we can do will change His love. But here it is an additional reason: the special affection for those who honor His Son. How can we please the Father and draw forth His love? By keeping the Son’s commandments. And if we thus please the Father, we will also draw down the love of the Son, who will make His presence known to us. How often we feel the lack of Christ’s presence with us, and the reason is that we have not kept His commandments. The felt presence of Christ in our daily walk is conditional on our obedience to His word.
 
22 Judas, not the Iscariote, says to him, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us and not to the world? 23 Jesus answered and said to him, If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him. v.23 Divine Visitation. Judas was thinking along the lines of nature, that Christ would manifest Himself physically to them. He did not understand how Christ would be seen by the disciples and not by the world. The Lord’s response is similar to v.21, except it goes further. Not only are we to keep His commandments (direct instructions), but also His word (the expressions of His thoughts). If you truly love someone, you will try to please them even without a direct commandment. Note that it is one singular “my word” here; the obedient disciple keeps the whole. Compare with “my words” in v.24. And, not only will the Son manifest Himself to the obedient disciples, but “we”, the Father and Son  together would visit, and “make our abode with him”. If we walk in obedience to the words of Jesus, the Father will show His affection to us in a special way, and will make His presence known in our lives in a special way. It has always been a great privilege of faith to receive divine visitations. In Genesis 18, Abraham received a visit from the Lord in his tent-door! Was this a privilege that was only for Abraham? No! God can visit us today, although in a different form than what Abraham saw. 
 
24 He that loves me not does not keep my words [plural]; and the word [singular] which ye hear is not mine, but that of the Father who has sent me. v.24 Moral State Revealed in Jesus Absence. There were some who would maintain an outward show of love to the Lord Jesus while He was on earth. But the true test of love to Christ would come in His absence. Do we really love Him? Those who do not love Christ do not care to keep His words (literally, ‘sayings’) even today. But it isn’t only the Lord Jesus that the disobedient slight, but the Father also. Why? Because the word that Jesus spoke (all that He said) were the words of the Father.

Things Left to us in the Time of Jesus’ Absence (vv.25-29)

25 These things I have said to you, abiding with you; 26 but the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, “he” shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you. vv.25-26 The Spirit as the Teacher and Remembrancer. There is always the danger of our being forgetful. In grace, the Holy Spirit has been sent by the Father in the Son’s name to (1) “teach you all things” and (2) “bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you”. There would be new things that the disciples needed to hear, especially connected with the truth of the Church, which was not yet revealed. But the Spirit would also bring to remembrance the teachings of the Lord Jesus on earth. This would be necessary for the gospels to be written by inspiration, but it is also a work that is done in our hearts day by day. Note that the whole Trinity is involved in this. The Spirit is sent by the Father in the Son’s name!
 
27 I leave peace with you; I give “my” peace to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it fear. v.27 Peace Left with Us. The Lord promised to “leave” peace with the disciples; a peace that they could not have unless Jesus went away. Peace with God in general could not be obtained except through the blood of His cross, and assured to the believer through the resurrection of Christ from among the dead. But the Lord further promised to “give” His own personal peace to the disciples. This is a peace that goes further than peace with God. It is the peace that our Lord had all through His pathway. Through He faced constant opposition and suffering, He lived every moment in perfect communion with His Father. The wind and the waves did not trouble Him. His whole pathway was characterized by the tranquillity of communion. It is a peace that comes from perfect dependence, complete opposite to the world, which is a system of independence from God. There are perhaps a few different thoughts in this declaration: “not as the world gives do I give to you”. The peace the world gives is only a temporary and meager contentment with things. The world offers a limited satisfaction through self-sufficiency; e.g. saving up money in the bank in preparation for unknown crises. But is very short lived. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them” (1 Thess. 5:3). The Lord’s peace is totally different from the world’s peace. But also, the way the world gives is different than the way Jesus gives. The world is only generous with things it does not need. The world cannot share what it has with the believer, because the world is selfish. Its generosity is only superficial. Christ brings us into His relationships and His place before God. He shares what is His own!1415 With the Lord’s peace in our hearts, how can they fear or be troubled?
 
28 Ye have heard that I have said unto you, I go away and I am coming to you. If ye loved me ye would rejoice that I go to the Father, for my Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it shall have come to pass ye may believe. vv.28-29 Affection for Christ Leads to Joy. The disciples had heard the Lord’s words concerning His return to the Father and that His presence would be with them. Concern for themselves would lead to fear, because He would not be bodily with them. Affection for Christ would cause them to rejoice! He was going to be glorified with the Father, now as a man; this is why He says “for my Father is greater than I”, because He was speaking as a man. This glory was so great, that anyone who really loved the Lord would want that for Him. When it came to pass (Acts 1), they would think back on these words, and believe that He was really with the Father; a glorified man at God’s right hand. Christianity really occupied us with a glorified Christ in heaven. Systems of false doctrine focus on earth, even if it is Christian’s on earth. The great secret to Christian joy is this: to have our hearts attached to Christ, which leads our eyes up to heaven where He is in glory!
 

The Path Ahead (14:30-31)

30 I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world comes, and in me he has nothing; v.30 Approaching Gethsemane. There was little left for the Lord to say to His disciples. In v.31, they arise and begin walking toward the garden (John 18:1). John 15-17 therefore take place on the way to Gethsemane. Referring to what lay ahead, Jesus said “for the ruler of the world comes”. From this we gather that, just a short while later, Jesus would encounter the Devil again. Here Satan is called the “ruler” or prince “of this world”. The world is viewed as a system of man’s making, which had rejected God, and had fallen under the dominion of the great enemy of God. Read more… The Devil had already confronted the Lord at the beginning of His public ministry, and used the tactic of temptation to deter the Lord, but the Lord defeated Him through perfect dependance on God His Father. Now at the end of Christ’s pathway, the Devil comes again, this time using the tactic of intimidation to deter Him once more. This is an aspect of Christ’s anticipative sufferings that may not be intuitively obvious. Satan came to Jesus as a man, and tried to leverage the power of death over Him. As a man, Jesus felt the terror of death, and was exceeding sorrowful in anticipation of it. He did not retreat into His deity to escape this suffering. He took the cup of judgment, but not from Satan’s hand… He took it from the Father’s hand; “not my will, but thine be done”. So, by going into death, not as a sinful man cowering under Satan’s power, but as a perfect Man in obedience to His Father’s will (Luke 23:46), Jesus broke the chains of death! The answer to both attacks of the enemy was the same; perfect dependance and obedience. But here we find that there was nothing in the Lord Jesus, either in His nature or in His walk, for Satan to use; as John would later write “in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).
 
31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father has commanded me, thus I do. Rise up, let us go hence. v.31 The Motive of Love. What was the deep motive of the Lord’s heart? What made Him willing to “rise up” and “go hence” to the garden and the cross? It was love; “I love the Father”. The Son’s love for the Father cause Him to obey the Father’s commandments; “as the Father has commanded me, thus I do”. The Son’s obedience to the Father’s commands was the expression of His love, just as our obedience to the Son’s commands is the expression of our love (v.15). This would be manifested to the world.
 
Obedience to His Father’s will,
And love to Him did all fulfil.16
 

Footnotes

  1. It was not a question of preparing them for the place (that is the subject of chapter 13), but of preparing the place for them. The presence of their Forerunner, where He was going, accomplished it. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
  2. Trench, J. A. How blest a home, the Father's house. Little Flock Hymnbook #127.
  3. Conder, Josiah. Thou art the everlasting Word! Little Flock Hymnbook #150.
  4. He was in the Father, and the Father in Him; a state of being only possible in the Divine nature. – Kelly, William. The Gospel of John.
  5. Wolston, W. T. P. “Another Comforter”. Lecture 8: The Gift of the Spirit.
  6. Philologically it is hard, not to say impossible, to conceive the Greek term meaning “Comforter.” Its structure and usage alike point to one “called to aid,” as a cognate but different form signifies a comforter. This a Paraclete may well be; but He is far more, and summoned for every difficulty and need. So is the Paraclete, and in an infinite way, as a Divine Person. To comfort is but a small part of His functions. “Advocate” might do, as in 1 John 2:1. – Kelly, William. Notes on the Gospel of John.
  7. “Will abide” in Greek would be the same word as “abide,” save an accent, and there were none originally: μένει abides; μενεῖ will abide. – Darby, J.N. Letters, Vol. 3, No. 161
  8. The “cannot receive” of the world is as much the present time as “abide.” It is when sent. And the truth is, abides or dwells, is just as much future as present. It depends on an accent (μενέι or μενεῖ) and in the early MSS. there were no accents. – Darby, J.N. What does the Coming of the Comforter mean? Bible Herald, 1877
  9. As to whether it should he “dwelleth” or “will dwell,” in verse 17, for the Greek, or indeed for the sense, it is just as good in one case as the other; it is a mere question of a Greek accent. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John
  10. As to John 14:17, it may be taken as “will,” as it is solely the question of an accent, μενεῖ or μένει. But I think it quite immaterial. Christ could not remain with them, this other Comforter could; Christ was with them, not in them; that other Comforter would be in them. But it does not at all mean that He was dwelling with them in Christ. He is speaking of another Comforter not come yet, and putting this in contrast with their present state. I prefer μένει as it is because of θεωρεῖ, γινώσκει. The Father would give them another Comforter, who could not come till Christ was gone. It is of Him, and this new state of things, the Lord is expressly speaking, as to the world, and as to the disciples. It would not be for the world (Christ had been, though rejected), because the world did not see or know Him (that is when come). Not so the disciples – ye know Him (present), because He abides with you (in contrast with me who am going), and shall be in you (which I now cannot be). “Is in you” would not have done, as affirming not what characterised the Spirit as the new Comforter but a positive existing fact. – Darby, J.N. Letters, Vol. 2, No. 271
  11. Not that one thinks … that His abiding in Jesus Who was among them is the meaning; but that when given, He was to abide with them, instead of making a brief sojourn like the Lord’s; yea, that He should not only abide, but be in them, which Messiah, as such, could not be, however companying with them. It was to be a new, special, intimate presence of God in and with the saints, in contrast with the world which had rejected Christ. – Kelly, William. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
  12. Kelly, William. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
  13. Note, this is individual, not the union of the members of the body with Christ. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  14. The Lord does not give as we give anything which consequently we do not possess any longer; He brings us into the enjoyment of all that He Himself enjoys: the glory, the Father’s love, His joy. He keeps back nothing for Himself, which is reserved to Himself, and in which we have not part. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
  15. He Who gives it gave it not away, and had it not the less because we were to receive it. Like all else that He gives, it is enjoyed unimpaired in its own Divine fulness, every one that shares rather adding to it than taking from it. The question is not merely of reality, but of its course and character. – Kelly, William. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
  16. Midlane, Albert. Himself He could not Save. Little Flock Hymnbook #257.
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