John 14

CHAPTER XIV.

Christ comforts his disciples, on the event of his removal from

them, by the consideration of his going to prepare a place for

them in heaven, 1-4.

Thomas questions him concerning the way to the Father, and is

answered, 5-7.

Philip proposes a difficulty, and Christ shows that he and the

Father are one; that he is Mediator between God and man; and

that whatsoever is asked in his name shall be obtained, 8-14.

He promises them the Holy Spirit as the Comforter and Spirit of

truth, 15-18.

Shows them that he is shortly to leave them, and that those who

love him should be loved of the Father, 19-21.

Jude asks a question, how Christ is to manifest himself to the

disciples, and not to the Jews? 22.

Christ answers, and shows that the manifestation is to be made

to those who love God, and to them the Holy Spirit is to be an

infallible teacher, 23-26.

He bequeaths his peace to them, and fortifies them against

discouragements, 27-29.

Foretells his approaching death, 30, 31.

NOTES ON CHAP. XIV.

Verse 1. Let not your heart be troubled] After having answered

St. Peter's question, he addresses himself again to his disciples,

and tells them not to be afflicted at his leaving them, nor to

lose courage because of what he said concerning Peter's denying

him; that if they reposed their confidence in God, he would

protect them; and that, howsoever they might see him treated, they

should believe in him more firmly, as his sufferings, death, and

resurrection should be to them the most positive proof of his

being the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

Ye believe in God, believe also in me.] It is best to read both

the verbs in the imperative mood:-Place your confidence in God,

and in me as the Mediator between God and man, Joh 14:12-14; and

expect the utmost support from God; but expect it all through me.

The disciples began to lose all hope of a secular kingdom, and

were discouraged in consequence: Christ promises them a spiritual

and heavenly inheritance, and thus lifts up their drooping hearts.

Verse 2. In my Fathers house, &c.] The kingdom of glory.

Many mansions] Though I have said before that whither I am going

ye cannot come now, yet do not think that we shall be for ever

separated. I am going to that state of glory where there is not

only a place of supreme eminence for myself, but also places for

all my disciples;-various degrees of glory, suited to the various

capacities and attainments of my followers.

Our Lord alludes here to the temple, which was called the house

of God, in the precincts of which there were a great number of

chambers, 1Ki 6:5; Ezr 8:29; Jer 35:2, 4; 36:10.

If-not-I would have told you.] If your places were not prepared

in the kingdom of God, I would not have permitted you to have

indulged a vain hope concerning future blessedness.

Verse 3. And if I go] And when I shall have gone and prepared a

place for you-opened the kingdom of an eternal glory for your

reception, and for the reception of all that shall die in the

faith, I will come again, after my resurrection, and give you the

fullest assurances of this state of blessedness; and confirm you

in the faith, by my grace and the effusion of my Spirit. Dr.

Lightfoot thinks, and with great probability too, that there is an

allusion here to Nu 10:33:

And the ark of the Lord went before therm to search out a

resting place for them.

Verse 4. And whither I go ye know] I have told you this so often

and so plainly that ye must certainly have comprehended what I

have said.

Verse 5. Lord, we know not] Thomas, perhaps, thought that our

Lord only spoke of his going some distance from the place where he

then was.

Verse 6. I am the WAY] That leads so the Father:-the TRUTH that

teaches the knowledge of God, and directs in the way:-the LIFE

that animates all those who seek and serve him, and which is to be

enjoyed eternally at the end of the way.

Christ is the WAY:

1. By his doctrine, Joh 6:68.

2. By his example, 1Pe 2:21.

3. By his sacrifice, Heb 9:8, 9.

4. By his Spirit, Joh 16:13.

He is the TRUTH: 1. In opposition to all false religions. 2. To

the Mosaic law, which was only the shadow, not the truth or

substance, of the good things which were to come. And 3. In

respect to all the promises of God, 2Co 1:20.

He is the LIFE, both in grace and glory; the life that not only

saves from death, but destroys it.

No man cometh unto the Father] By any other doctrine, by any

other merit, or by any other intercession than mine.

Verse 7. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father]

Because I and the Father are ONE, Joh 10:30. Or, if ye had

properly examined the intention and design of the law, ye would

have been convinced that it referred to me; and that all that I

have done and instituted was according to the design and intention

of the Father, as expressed in that law.

Verse 8. Show us the Father] As if he had said, We have seen and

adored thee, and our happiness will be complete if thou show us

the Father. The demand of Philip was similar to that made by

Moses, Ex 33:18. He wished to see the glory of God. In Peter,

James, or John, this would have been inexcusable; but Philip had

not seen the transfiguration on the mount. The Jewish history is

full of the manifestations which God made of himself, and

especially when he gave the law. As Christ was introducing a new

law, Philip wished to have an additional manifestation of God.

Verse 9. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father] Could any

creature say these words? Do they not evidently imply that

Christ declared himself to his disciples to be the everlasting

God?

Verse 10. I am in the Father, and the Father in me?] We are

essentially one; and those who have seen me have seen him who sent

me.

He doeth the works.] We are not only one in nature, but one

also in operation. The works which I have done bear witness of the

infinite perfection of my nature. Such miracles as I have wrought

could only be performed by unlimited power.

Verse 12. And greater works than these] The miracles which I

have wrought could not have been wrought but by the omnipotence of

God; but that omnipotence can work greater. And those who believe

on my name shall, through my almighty power, be enabled to work

greater miracles than those which l have ordinarily wrought. An

impostor might seduce the people by false miracles; but he could

not make his power and cunning pass to all those who were seduced

by him: but I will give you this proof of the divinity of my

mission and the truth of my doctrine.

Perhaps the greater works refer to the immense multitudes that

were brought to God by the ministry of the apostles. By the

apostles was the doctrine of Christ spread far and wide; while

Christ confined his ministry chiefly to the precincts of Judea. It

is certainly the greatest miracle of Divine grace to convert the

obstinate, wicked heart of man from sin to holiness. This was done

in numberless cases by the disciples, who were endued with power

from on high, while proclaiming remission of sins through faith in

his blood.

Some account for the greater works thus: 1. The very shadow of

Peter healed the diseased, Ac 5:15.

2. Diseases were cured, and demons cast out, by applying to the

persons handkerchiefs and aprons that had before touched the body

of Paul, Ac 19:12.

3. By the word of Peter, Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead,

Ac 5:5, 9, 10.

4. Elymas the sorcerer was struck blind by the word of Paul,

Ac 13:11.

5. Christ only preached in Judea, and in the language only of

that country; but the apostles preached through the most of the

then known world, and in all the languages of all countries. But

let it be remarked that all this was done by the power of Christ;

and I think it still more natural to attribute the greater works

to the greater number of conversions made under the apostles'

ministry. The reason which our Lord gives for this is worthy of

deep attention:-

Because I go unto my Father.] Where I shall be an Intercessor

for you, that:-

Verse 13. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name] To enable you to

perform these miracles, and to convert souls, may be granted you.

Besides, by going unto the Father, I shall receive the Holy

Spirit, and send down his abundant influences into the hearts of

those who believe.

Verse 15. If ye love me, keep my commandments.] Do not be

afflicted at the thought of my being separated from you: the most

solid proof ye can give of your attachment to and affection for me

is to keep my commandments. This I shall receive as a greater

proof of your affection than your tears.

Verse 16. I will pray the Father] After having made an atonement

for the sin of the world, I will become the Mediator between God

and man; and through my mediation and intercession shall all the

blessings of grace and glory be acquired.

Another Comforter] The word παρακλητος signifies not only a

comforter, but also an advocate, a defender of a cause, a

counsellor, patron, mediator. Christ is thus termed, 1Jo 2:1,

where the common translation renders the word advocate. Christ is

thus called, because he is represented as transacting the concerns

of our souls with God; and for this cause, he tells us, he goes

unto the Father, Joh 14:12. The Holy Spirit is thus called,

because he transacts the cause of God and Christ with us, explains

to us the nature and importance of the great atonement, shows the

necessity of it, counsels us to receive it, instructs us how to

lay hold on it, vindicates our claim to it, and makes

intercessions in us with unutterable groanings. As Christ acted

with his disciples while he sojourned with them, so the Holy Ghost

acts with those who believe in his name.

For ever] As the death and atonement of Christ will be necessary

to man till the conclusion of the world, so the office of the Holy

Spirit must be continued among men till the end of time: therefore

says Christ, he shall continue with you for ever, teaching,

comforting, advising, defending, and interceding for you and for

all my followers to the end of time.

Verse 17. The Spirit of truth] The Spirit, or Holy Ghost, whose

essential office is to manifest, vindicate, and apply the truth.

The Gospel of Christ may be thus called, because it exposes

falsity, removes error, and teaches the knowledge of the true

God-shows the way to him, saves from vanity and illusive

hopes, and establishes solid happiness in the souls of those who

believe.

The world cannot receive] By the world, St. John means those who

are influenced only by the desire of the flesh, the desire of the

eye, and the pride of life, 1Jo 2:16. Now these cannot receive

the Spirit of the truth, because they see him not, have no

spiritual discernment, attend to nothing but the dictates of their

corrupt passions and affections, and will admit of no influence

but what can be an object of their senses. Hence all the deign and

irreligion in the world. God, in the operation of his hands, and

in the influences of his Spirit, is found every where except in

the perverted passions of men. In these alone do men of corrupt

minds seek him; here only he is not to be found, and therefore

they become infidels and atheists.

But ye know him] Ye have already received a measure of the

truth, and ye believe in this Spirit. Probably our Lord refers to

the knowledge which they should afterwards attain: in this sense

the passage has been understood by the Vulgate, Nonnus, and two

copies of the Itala, which read, Ye SHALL know him.

For he dwelleth with you] Or, as the AEthiopic, Vulgate, Nonnus,

and six copies of the Itala read, he shall dwell with you, (see

above;) and this, it is very evident, is the meaning of the

evangelist, who not unfrequently uses the present for the future

tense. It is certain the Holy Spirit was not yet given to the

disciples so as to dwell in them; this St. John himself assures

us, Joh 7:39. And it is evidently of that Spirit and its

influences, which was not given till the day of pentecost, that

our Lord here speaks.

Verse 18. I will not leave you comfortless] Literally, orphans.

The original word ορφανος, is by some derived from ορφνος,

obscure, dark, because, says Mintert, an orphan (one deprived of

father and mother) is little esteemed, neglected, and is obliged

to wander about in obscurity and darkness. Others derive it from

the Hebrew charaph, to strip or make bare, despoil,

because such a child is destitute of comfort, direction, and

support, and is a prey to misery and disease, to sin and

to death.

The disciples of a particular teacher among the Hebrews called

him father; his scholars were called his children, and, on his

death, were considered as orphans. Christ calls his disciples

children, beloved children, Joh 13:33; and, now that he is

about to be removed from them by death, he assures them that they

shall not be left fatherless, or without a teacher; for in a

little time he should come again, (rise from the dead,) and, after

his ascension, they should be made partakers of that Spirit which

would be their comforter, advocate, teacher, and guide for ever.

Verse 19. Because I live] As surely as I shall rise from the

dead, so shall ye. My resurrection shall be the proof and pledge

of yours. And because I live a life of intercession for you at

the right hand of God, ye shall live a life of grace and peace

here, and a life of glory hereafter.

Verse 20. That I am in my Father] After my resurrection, ye

shall be more fully convinced of this important truth, that I and

the Father are ONE; for I will live in you by the energy of my

Spirit, and ye shall live in me by faith, love, and obedience.

Verse 21. He it is that loveth me] See Clarke on Joh 14:15.

And will manifest myself to him.] All my faithful disciples

shall see me after my resurrection; and I will manifest my power

and goodness to all those who believe in and obey me, even to the

end of the world.

Verse 22. Judas] The same as Thaddeus and Lebbeus, the brother

of James, and author of what is called the epistle of Jude.

How is it] Or, how can it be-τιγεγονεν, what is to

happen?-on what account is it? Judas, who was probably thinking

that the kingdom of Christ should extend over all the earth,

wonders how this can be, and yet Christ manifest himself only to

his disciples and not to the world, Joh 14:19. To this our Lord,

in a more express manner than he had done before answers:-

Verse 23. If a man] Not only my present disciples, but all those

who shall believe on me through their word, or that of their

successors:

Love me] Receive me as his Saviour, and get the love of God shed

abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost:

He will keep my words] Observe all my sayings, and have his

affections and conduct regulated by my Spirit and doctrine:

My Father will love him] Call him his child; support, defend,

and preserve him as such.

And we will come unto him] God the Father, through his Son, will

continue to pour out his choicest blessings upon his head and upon

his heart:

And make our abode with him.] Will make his heart our temple,

where God, the Father, Son, and Spirit, shall rest, receive

homage, and dwell to eternity. Thus will I manifest myself to the

believing, loving, obedient disciple, and not to the world, who

will not receive the Spirit of the truth.

Verse 24. He that loveth me not, &c.] Hence we learn that the

man who is not obedient to the testimonies of Christ does not love

him; and the Spirit of this truth has said, He who loves not the

Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed, 1Co 16:22.

Verse 26. He shall teach you all things] If in the things which

I have already spoken to you, there appear to you any obscurity,

the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, Counsellor, and Instructer, will

take away all your doubts, free you from all embarrassment, and

give you a perfect understanding in all things: and this Spirit ye

shall shortly receive.

And bring all things to your remembrance] Here Christ promises

them that inspiration of the Holy Spirit which enabled them not

only to give a true history of his life and death, but also gave

them the most perfect recollection of all the words which he had

spoken to them, so that they have been able to transmit to

posterity the identical words which Jesus uttered in his sermons,

and in his different discourses with them, the Jews, and others.

Verse 27. Peace I leave with you] The Jewish form of salutation

and benediction. A wish of peace among them is thus to be

understood: May you prosper in body and soul, and enjoy every

earthly and heavenly good! For the meaning of this word, see

Mt 5:9.

My peace I give unto you] Such tranquillity of soul, such

uninterrupted happiness of mind, such everlasting friendship with

God as I enjoy, may ye all enjoy! And such blessedness I bequeath

unto you: it is my last, my best, my dying legacy.

Not as the world giveth] Not as the Jews, in empty wishes: not

as the people of the world, in empty compliments. Their

salutations and benedictions are generally matters of custom and

polite ceremony, given without desire or design; but I mean what

I say; what I wish you, that I will give you. To his followers

Jesus gives peace, procures it, preserves it, and establishes

it. He is the author, prince, promoter, and keeper of peace.

Neither let it be afraid.] μηδεδειλιατω, Let not your heart

shrink back through fear of any approaching evil. This is the

proper meaning of the word. In a few hours ye will be most

powerfully assaulted; but stand firm:-the evil will only fall upon

me; and this evil will result in your comfort and salvation, and

in the redemption of a lost world.

Verse 28. I go away] To the Father by my death:

And come again unto you.] By my resurrection.

Ye would rejoice] Because, as the Messiah, I am going to receive

a kingdom, and power, and glory, for ever. Therefore as my friends

ye should rejoice in my elevation, though for a while it may put

you to the pain of being separated from me: besides, I am going

that I may send you the Holy Spirit, which shall fill you with the

fulness of God: on your own account, therefore, ye should have

rejoiced and not mourned.

My Father is greater than I.] In Joh 14:24, Christ tells his

disciples that the Father had sent him: i.e. in his quality of

Messiah, he was sent by the Father to instruct, and to save

mankind. Now, as the sender is greater than the sent,

Joh 13:16, so in this sense is the

Father greater than the Son; and in this sense was the passage

understood by Origen, Jerome, Novatian, and Vigilius, who read the

text thus: The Father, οπεμψας, who sent me, is greater than I.

It certainly requires very little argument, and no sophistry, to

reconcile this saying with the most orthodox notion of the Godhead

of Christ; as he is repeatedly speaking of his Divine and of his

human nature. Of the former he says, I and the Father are one,

Joh 10:30; and of the

latter he states, with the same truth, The Father is greater than

I.

Verse 29. I have told you before it come to pass] Lest my death

should be a stumbling-block to you, I have spoken of it

beforehand, and showed you the necessity of it, that when it

happens ye may believe, that as I could predict it so clearly, and

so circumstantially, so all the good which I have promised shall

be the result may be confidently expected by you; and that your

sorrow, if not entirely removed, may at least be much mitigated.

Verse 30. The prince of this world] τουτου, of this, is

omitted by ABDEGHKLMS, Mt. BH, one hundred others; both the

Syriac, later Persic, all the Arabic, and several of the

primitive fathers. I rather think the omission of the pronoun

makes the sense more general; for, had he said THIS world, the

words might have been restrained to the Jewish state, or to the

Roman government. But who is the person called here the prince

of the world?

1. Mr. Wakefield thinks that Christ speaks here of himself, as

he does in Joh 12:31, (see the note there,) and translates this

verse and the following thus: For the ruler of this world is

coming; and I have nothing now to do, but to convince the world

that I love the Father, and do as he commanded me. On which he

observes that our Lord speaks of what he shall be, when he comes

again, and not of what he then was: compare Joh 14:18;

Joh 16:16; 17:2; Mt 28:18; Php 2:9. And how often does he

speak of himself, as the Son of man, in the third person! See his

vindication of this translation in the third vol. of his New

Testament.

2. Others think that our Lord refers to the Roman government,

the ruler of the world, who, by its deputy, Pilate, was going to

judge him, but who should find nothing (ευρησειουδεν, which is

the reading found in some excellent MSS. and versions, and is

followed by almost all the primitive fathers,) as a just cause of

death in him-nothing in the whole of his conduct which was in the

least reprehensible; and this indeed Pilate witnessed in the most

solemn manner. See Joh 18:38; 19:4, 12; see also Lu 23:4, &c.,

and Mt 27:24.

3. But the most general opinion is that Satan is meant, who is

called the prince of the power of the air, Eph 2:2; and who is

supposed to be the same that is called the god of this world,

2Co 4:4; and who at his last and most desperate trial, the

agony in the garden, should be convinced that there was nothing of

his nature in Christ, nothing that would coincide with his

solicitations, and that he should find himself completely foiled

in all his attacks, and plainly foresee the impending ruin of his

kingdom. It is very difficult to ascertain the real meaning here:

of the different opinions proposed above, the reader must take

that which he deems the most likely.

Verse 31. Arise, let us go hence.] Calmet supposes that Christ,

having rendered thanks to God, and sung the usual hymn, Mt 26:30;

Mr 14:26; rose from the table, left the city, and went towards

the garden of Olives, or garden of Gethsemane, on the road to

which, a part of the following discourse was delivered. It was now

about midnight, and the moon was almost full, it being the 14th

day of her age, about the time in which the Jewish passover was to

be slain.

THE reader should carefully note the conduct of our Lord. He

goes to die as a SACRIFICE, out of love to mankind, in obedience

to the Divine will, and with unshaken courage. All our actions

should be formed on this plan. They should have the love of God

and man for their principle and motive; his glory for their

end; and his will for their rule. He who lives and acts thus

shall live for ever. Amen.

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