The Parable of the Vine and the Branches (vs. 1-10)
The most simple explanation of this parable is that the
vine was the image of
The prophets and psalms abound with this reference (Isaiah 5.; Ezekiel 19:10;
Psalm 80:8-19), so that our Lord was giving a new meaning to a familiar figure.
“The vine” was the beautiful image of that theocratic and sacramental community,
which had its center in the altar and ark of testimony and the holy place;
and the fruit of the vine was conspicuous in all the symbolic relations
which, through priesthood and ritual enactments, brought individual
Israelites into relation with the reconciled God. Here Christ says, “I;” but
we see from v. 5 that the branches, which by reason of relation to Him
have and draw their life from Him (or, to use His own words, “I and the
branches,” and “the branches in me”), constitute the veritable “vine”
of the covenant.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”
The vine of the Lord of hosts (Psalm 80.) brought forth wild
grapes (Isaiah 5., Ezekiel 19:10);
(Hosea 10:1). The failure of
as the true Israel of God, to say, I am the veritable (or, ideal) vine,
including (as the context shows) in the idea of His complete Personality all
the branches that derive their life from Him. I with the branches, I involving
my relation to the branches, and theirs to me — I as the Life-principle of
humanity, together with those who are living in me — constitute and are
the veritable vine of prophecy, the true Israel of God. So that this passage,
from vs. 1-10, denotes and expounds with all detail the idea elsewhere
expressed by the head and the members of a body. Sometimes the idea of
the parts predominates over the idea of the unity, and sometimes the unity
triumphs over the parts; but in the relation between Christ and the people
of His love they are often lost sight of in Him, and He becomes the only
Personality. The “I” of this passage is not that of the eternal Logos, nor is
it the mere humanity, nor is it simply the Divine-human Personality, but the
new existence which, by union with Him, formed one personage with Him,
— the believer being united to Him as He to the Father. My Father is the
Husbandman, not simply the ajmpelourgo>v – ampelourgos – vinedresser, -
but also gewrgo>v - georgos - the owner - of the land as well. It is a term
applied in connection with the traditional significance of the vine to the head
of the theocratic family. In Isaiah 5. it is the “Lord of hosts;” in II Chronicles
26:10 and in the parable of the vinedressers it is applied to the rulers of the
people. The Arians were wrong in concluding from this a difference of essence
between the Father and Son. The vine dearly includes the branches; and the
owner of the vineyard, who is also the dresser of the vine, deals here with
the whole reality. All, however, which the Husbandman is said in v. 2 to
effect is the taking away of the fruitless though proud branch, and the
cleansing and gentle pruning of the branch that beareth fruit. Now, Christ,
as the Son, has all judgment committed to Him, and, as the great Organ of
Divine providence and rule in the Church, He is the Administrator of
discipline. Christ is not disclaiming the operations which He in other places
assumes, nor representing His own Personality as perfectly passive in the
matter, but He is claiming for Jehovah of hosts the same relation to the true
Vine as He sustained to the degenerate vine of the old covenant; but He
calls him “my Father.” The material creations of God are only nferior examples
of that finer spiritual life and organism in which the creature is raised up to
partake of the Divine nature.
2 “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every
branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more
fruit.” Every branch in me; i.e. this unity of life between me and mine
is graciously handled by the Father — my Father! The branches are of two
The indefinite statement, in nominative absolute, calls great attention to it.
“Every branch in me that beareth no fruit.” Then it is possible to come into
this organic relation with the true Vine, to be in it and to be a part of it, and to
bring forth no fruit. If it were not for v. 5 we might say that these branches
were nations, customs, institutions, and the like; but the context forbids it. The
relation to Him must therefore be one that is insufficient to secure life, or fruit,
or continuance. Baptized, communicating, professing, partially believing
Christians there may be in abundance, who, though in Him, yet cannot
continue in Him. (See stony ground, thorny ground, and unripe ears, of the
parable of the sower; and the bad fish caught in the net (Matthew 13.;
I John 2:19, etc.). He taketh away (compae John the Baptist: “Every tree
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,” Matthew 3:10; and
Deuteronomy 32:32; Micah 7:1). What is done with the valueless
prunings is said afterwards (v.6). Every branch that beareth fruit, He pruneth
(or, cleanseth), that it may bring forth more fruit. Let the non-reappearance
of ejn ejmoi< - en emoi – in me - be observed. The words ai]rei – airei – He
is taking away - and kaqai>rei – kathairei – He is cleansing - rhyme with each
other; but the latter word is not connected with kaqai>rew – kathaireo - to
pull down - a compound of ai[rew – aireo - nor is it equivalent to katai>rei –
katairei - the true compound of kata< – kata - with ai]rw – airo - but it is
derived from kaqaro>v – katharos – clean - and means “to cleanse
with libations,” and perhaps “to prune with the knife.” The Husbandman
aims at more fruit, more of meekness, gentleness, love, and faithfulness, in
fact, all those fruits of the Spirit enumerated in Galatians 5:22-23. The
word klh~ma – klaema - used for “branch” in these verses, occurs nowhere
else in the New Testament. The word klado<v – klados - elsewhere used
(Matthew 13:32; 21:8; 24:32; Mark 4:32; 13:28; Romans 11:16-21), means the
smaller “branches” of a tree. The term means here vine-branch, the
essential constituent elements of the vine itself, and is so used in
3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Now ye are clean — pruned, purged, cleansed, of the Divine Owner —
by reason of the word (lo>gon – logos) which I have spoken to you.
The Father has been operating this cleansing process upon you by the
whole of the rJh>mata> – rhameta – words - (see v. 7), which are gathered
together into one mighty, quick, and active Logos. As we find in Hebrews 4:12,
the Word is sharper than a two-edged sword, and capable of dealing summarily
with “thoughts and intents of the heart.” Augustine, on this passage, admits
that it is the Logos which gives all its value to the water of baptism. “This
purifying, sanctifying process has been performed upon you,” says Christ.
Then since “He who sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one,”
(Ibid. 2:11) this continuance remains as the gracious possibility. The vital sap
Proceeds from Christ alone, and not from our corrupted nature, which must be
grafted into His life and become part of Him. Many may seem to be a part of
Christ, to be sacramentally or outwardly united to Him, and even to be
drawing some real advantages from the contact, and yet their end is
fruitlessness, rottenness, removal, fire. The branches which bear fruit never
bring forth all they might produce, never realize their ideal. The pruning,
cleansing process must pass over every soul, that it may more adequately
fulfill its destiny. The cleansing, searching power of the Word will be freely
exercised by the Divine Husbandman.
4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
But there is a continuance of most intimate relations to be
sustained between Christ and His disciples. If the two clauses are
“imperative,” or rather concessive, as many suppose, the finest meaning is
evolved. Let these be the reciprocal conditions, let it be that you abide in
me, and I in you. There is a mutual abiding or indwelling. The life-principle
circulates through the branches, just as they perpetuate the living connection
between the branch and the center of the life. The mutual relations show that
human nature is in infinite need, and, APART FROM THE NEW LIFE
PRINCIPLE, WILL PERISH! The abiding of the branch in
the vine suggests the continuance of vital connection’ with the living stem,
and supposes that connection kept up by constant faith, so that the believer
is in a position to draw life from the legitimate source. The abiding of the
vine in the branch — “I in you” —is the perpetual inflow into the
subordinate life, of the living grace which makes the believer’s life one with
his Lord’s. As He said (ch.14:19), “Because I live, and ye shall live;”
so now, As the branch cannot bear fruit from itself — from its own
inherent vitality — except it abide in the vine — except this connection is
maintained — in like manner no more (or, so neither) can ye, except ye
abide in me.
5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in
him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do
nothing.” Christ returns to the main theme of the previous verse, but here
discriminates more forcibly the vine from the branches, and yet holds and
binds them into a unity. I am the vine, ye are the branches; which shows
that He treated the disciples themselves as the organs of His earthly fruit-
bearing; and then draws a larger circle and makes a complete and
comprehensive statement on which the very existence of the “true vine,”
the “body of Christ, including the Head,” depends, viz. He that abideth in
me, and I in him — i.e. whenever the conditions of which I have spoken
to you are fulfilled; wherever there are human souls deriving from their
connection with me the full advantage of the life ever streaming forth from
me — the same beareth much fruit; the entire end of their new life is
secured. He beareth “much fruit.” In other words, many of those blessed
fruits of the supernatural life appear, which the great Husbandman desires
to receive. And this strengthens the position of the previous verse, which
threatened excision from the vine to such as bear no fruit. Such, though in
one sense “in the Vine,” do not abide in Him. Because apart from —
severed from — me ye can do nothing. The o[ti – hoti – that - suggests the
question — Can the negative result justify the positive assertion? It does in
this way. There are two premises: the first is, “I am the Vine, and ye are the
branches,” and the second is, “Severed front me a branch can effect
nothing,” having no independent fruitfulness or stability. All its powers are
derived from this supernatural source, and depend on Christ’s faithfulness
to His own nature and functions; therefore, “He that abideth in me, and I in
him, bringeth forth much fruit.” The language here does not repress the
endeavor of the human will after righteousness, nor pronounce a judgment
on the great controversy between Augustinians and Pelagians. These
words are not addressed to unconverted men, but to disciples, who have to
learn their constant need of spiritual contact with their invisible Lord. Let a
believer, let an apostle, sever himself from Christ, and live on his own past
reputation or his supposed strength, on the clearness of his intellect, the
vigor of his body, the eminence of his position, he can and will do nothing.
Apart from Christ (v. 5)
Our Lord does not say, “Apart from my doctrine ye can do nothing;”
important though it is that Christian people should apprehend and receive
His truth. Nor does He say, “Apart from my Church ye can do nothing;”
though, if we understand the term “Church” aright, this would be
manifestly true. But He says, “Apart from me.” Christ is, then, Himself
everything to His people. He is the Power, the Wisdom, the Salvation, of
God, and consequently, could we be sundered from Him, we should be
rendered poor and powerless.
RESULT AND PROOF OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. When substituted for
faith, “doing” is bad; but when it is the effect of faith, it is good and
precious. Where do we look for evidence of the goodness of the tree? Is it
not sought in fruit, good fruit, much fruit? The doing, or fruit-bearing, here
commended by the Lord Jesus:
Ø is the performance of the will of God,
Ø is the imitation of the Master’s own example,
Ø is the fulfillment of the behests of an enlightened conscience.
It comprises personal holiness and active usefulness.
GOOD WORKS. The conduct and service which are distinctively Christian
are only possible through personal union with the Savior.
Ø This assertion places in a clear light the unequalled dignity of the Lord
Jesus. This is a declaration which none but He could make. Yet, being
The Son of God and the Source of spiritual life to men, He could justly
advance a claim so vast. The disciple is nothing without His master, the
servant nothing without his lord, the soldier nothing without his
commander, the hand nothing without the head, the Christian
nothing without Christ.
Ø This assertion brings out into clear light the absolute dependence of
Christians. Without our Lord’s teaching and example, we, should
have no conception of the highest moral excellence. Without His
love, we should not feel the mightiest motive that can influence the
soul to consecration and service. Without His mediation, we should
not enjoy the favor of God, our Ruler and Judge. Without His Spirit,
we should be strangers to the spiritual power which alone can enable
feeble man to do the will of God. Without His promises, we should
lack the encouragement and inspiration we need to cheer us amidst
the difficulties, perplexities, and trials from which no earthly life is
ever exempt. Without Him, there would be no deliverance from the
bondage of sin, and no prospect of what is truly the eternal life.
“Neither,” says Peter, “is there salvation in any other.” (Acts 4:12)
PRECIOUS, AND FOR THE CHRISTIAN ABSOLUTELY NEEDFUL.
As to the nature of this connection, there should be no misunderstanding.
External privileges and professions are all insufficient. A spiritual and vital
union is necessary, such as in the vegetable kingdom joins the branch to the
vine-stock, such as in architecture unites the temple to its foundation. This
union is effected:
Ø on the human side by a believing reception of the gospel of Christ;
Ø on the Divine side by the impartation of the quickening Spirit of
Such union is capable of increase in degree; a closer spiritual fellowship
with the Divine Redeemer is the means of increased fitness for
holy and acceptable service. The experience of the Apostle Paul was an
illustration of this principle. He could say, “I can do all things through
Christ who strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). He who would work
more diligently, and wait more patiently, must come nearer to Christ,
and so obtain the spiritual power he needs.
Ø If this union with the living Vine be not formed, LET IT BE
FORMED AT ONCE!
Ø If it be suspended or enfeebled, LET IT BE RENEWED!
Ø If it be existing and vitally active and energetic, LET IT
BE PRIZED AND CULTIVATED!
6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is
withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and
they are burned.” If any one abide net in me, he is cast forth as the branch —
perhaps away from the vineyard, as well as from proximity to the vine —
and is withered. The two aorists, ejblh>qh – eblaethae – he was cast - and
ejxhra>nqh – exaeranthae - is withered - are simply cases of a common daily
experience. These are the inevitable consequences of not abiding in the Vine.
We may imagine two ways in which this nonabiding in Christ, this severance
from Him, may be effected:
strength and life, have suffered from some external assault which
they have not had energy to resist.
The aorists are indicative of what will happen should branches in Christ cease
to derive life from Him. And they gather them, and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned. The vine is one of the noblest of all trees, and produces
the most abundant fruit; but it is one of its peculiarities that all its strength
is spent on the fruit, and that its branches are utterly valueless for all other
purposes. Heaps of burning vine-prunings may have suggested the awful
image which the embodied Love of God here adopts. Some have supposed
that the fire is here the last judgment, which our Lord looks upon as come.
But the present tense, following the two aorists, suggests the immediate
consequence of such severance from Christ:
always overtaking the unfruitful and unfaithful servants, and preluding the awful
consummation of DIVINE JUDGMENT, of which our Lord had often spoken
(Matthew 13:42, 50; 25:41; Luke 16:24), and which the apostle of love described
in Revelation 20:15; 21:8.
7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you.” In this verse Jesus returns once more on
the principle of union with Himself, and of what will come out of it. The
disciples may be sorely distressed at this possible doom, for whatever may
be the lot of those who do not obey the gospel and are ignorant of the Law of
God, the curse here uttered falls heavily upon those who have been once
enlightened, etc., and have apostatized (Hebrews 6:4-6). The anxiety of the
apostles is grievous, and they desire deliverance from this doom. And our
Lord next unfolds the principle of prayer which laid such hold on the mind of
The Apostle John: If ye abide in me (and then, instead of adding, “And I abide
in you,” he says); and my words abide in you; i.e. if my teaching so abide
with you as to control your thoughts and ideas, remain in you as your
guide and inspiration, then ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done
to you. In such harmony with Christ as these words supply, all the conditions
of acceptable prayer are present. The believer in Christ:
· full of His words,
· evermore consciously realizing union with Christ,
· charged with the thoughts,
· burning with the purposes,
· filled with words of Jesus,
will have no will that is not in harmony with the Divine will.
Then faith is possible in the fulfillment of his own desire, and
prayer becomes a prophecy and pledge of the answer. The apostle, after
many years of pondering and of putting these principles into practice,
confirms the truth of them (I John 5:14-16). This is the true philosophy
of prayer. The psalmist had gone a long way in the same direction
(Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee thy
8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be
my disciples.” Here the Lord shows what He knows will be and must be the
dominant desire of the man who abides in Himself, in whom His own word
abides. Such a man will seek, yearn, ask, that he should bear much fruit.
This prayer will be heard, and in this sublime synthesis between Christ and
His disciples, says Christ, was my Father glorified. “In the fruitfulness of
the vine is the glory of the husbandman,” and in the answer of your
prayers, and the regulation of all your desires, so ye shall become my
disciples. “Discipleship” is a very large word, never altogether realized.
Just as faith leads to faith, and love to love, and light to light, so does
discipleship to discipleship. As Bengel says, discipleship is the
fundamentum et fastigium of Christianity. On earth the vine reveals itself in
the branches, and thus conceals itself behind them. This explains why the
diffusion of spiritual life makes such slow progress in the world — the
Vine effects nothing but by means of the branches, and these so often
paralyze instead of promoting the action of the Vine..
The Vine and the Branches (vs. 1-8)
This discourse of our Lord had relation to the new position of the disciples
that would be created by His departure.
PENTECOST. “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman.”
Ø Christ is the true and essential Life of His people. He lives in His
people by His Spirit. He is at once the Root and the Stock from
which the branches derive their sap and nourishment.
Ø The Father is the Husbandman, at once Proprietor and Cultivator.
He engrafts the plants into the vine, as He supports and guards the
vine itself, that it may bring forth fruit abundantly. Christ is
“the Plant of renown” (Ezekiel 34:29); “the Branch thou
madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:15)
Ø The operations of the Husbandman.
o He cuts off the unfruitful branch. “Every branch that
beareth not fruit in me He taketh away.” This refers to
seeming members of the Church, for none are in Christ
but such as are “new creatures.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
§ God knows the inner character of every man.
§ Fruit, as the result of growth, is the end of the plant.
Therefore a fruitless man has lost the end of his
§ God takes away the fruitless man:
ü by death,
ü by judgment.
o He purges the fruitful branch, so as to concentrate the sap
in the cluster that is preparing the fruit. So true members
of Christ are purged:
§ by afflictions and
that they may not be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge
Ø The instrumentality of this purging process. “As for you, ye are
clean already because of the Word which I have spoken unto you?
The Word of Christ is sharper than any two-edged sword for this
severe discipline; it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart. It thus enables the believer to see the plague of his own
heart. (Hebrews 4:12; I Kings 8:38).
CHRIST. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
Ø The union of the branch with the vine is the very law of its life and
fruitfulness. “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Ø The union is continuously sustained in the believer’s soul by constant
acts of faith and love.
Ø The absolute dependence of the believer upon Christ for all his power.
“Apart from me ye can do nothing.”
FELLOWSHIP. “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch,
And is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and
they are burned.”
Ø The man who rejects Christ is himself rejected.
Ø The faculty that is disused loses its vitality, and is ultimately
Ø There is final judgment which ends in unquenchable fire.
WITH CHRIST. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye
shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Ø The privilege is the abundant answer to prayer. Those who abide
in Christ receive of His fullness; for all that is in Christ Jesus is
theirs, through federal relationship and vital identification with Him.
Ø The condition of the privilege.
o The believer must continue in the fellowship of Christ.
o The Word of Christ is at once the means and the evidence
of this fellowship.
my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and ye shall become my
Ø The Father’s glory is identified with the fruit-bearing vitality of the
believer. It displays the glory of His power, grace, and mercy.
All the fruits of righteousness are by Christ, to the praise and
glory of God.
Ø Christ is honored by a fruitful discipleship.
No. 2 - The Vine and the Branches (vs. 1-8)
beauty, as planted, trained, or trellised; its grateful shade; its fruit, whether
fresh and luscious or dried; its wine, “that maketh glad the heart of man;”
(Psalm 104:15) —all render it not only interesting, but suitable to set forth
in symbol the excellence of the Redeemer, His nobility, beauty, preciousness,
and use to man.
Eshcol; Judah binding his foal to the vine, etc. Hence most naturally the vine
was used in Old Testament Scripture as an emblem of the chosen nation,
and hence Jesus in His parables put the noble plant to the same use. No
wonder that our Lord applied to Himself and to His people a designation
SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE.
Ø He is the divinely appointed Root and Stem upon which the branches
dependence. The vine-stock survives even if the branch be cut off and
left to die. We are dependent upon Christ; He is not dependent upon us.
Ø A close and vital union joins the branches to the vine, and Christians to
their Lord. The life which is naturally Christ’s becomes ours through our
union by faith with Him.
Ø Yet it is a mutual indwelling. As Jesus Himself has said, “I in you; you
in me.” What condescension and kindness in this marvelous provision
of Divine wisdom!
FRUITFULLNESS; SO ARE CHRISTIANS TO THEIR LORD. The
branches of the living vine evince the life and health of the plant first by
their vigor, their verdure, their luxuriance, their comeliness; signs of
spiritual life are manifested in
cheerfulness, the spiritual prosperity, of its members. But the great aim of
the husbandman’s care and culture is that fruit may be yielded in
abundance. What shall we understand by spiritual fruit, the fruits of the
Ø Perfection of Christian character.
Ø Abundance in Christian usefulness.
BRANCHES FIGURES THAT OF THE NOMINAL AND THE
REAL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.
Ø The cause of unfruitfulness is stated. “Severed from me ye can do
Ø The doom of unfruitfulness is anticipated. To be cast out and burnt,
like the vine-parings in the Kedron valley.
Ø The condition of fruitfulness is mentioned. Close union with Christ.
Ø The means of increased fruitfulness is also explained. Divine pruning
and discipline, i.e. affliction and trouble tending to spiritual strength
ARE URGED. Stress is laid here upon two.
Ø Thus the heavenly Husbandman, the Divine Father, is glorified.
Ø Thus Jesus secures for Himself true and worthy disciples. What
powerful motives to induce Christians to be “neither barren
9 “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in
my love.” Even as the Father loved me, I also loved you; a fact of stupendous
interest and transcendent claim. Heaven had opened over the incarnate Word,
and other ears as well as His own had heard the Father say, “Thou art my
beloved Son,” etc. The Lord was conscious of being the Object of this
infinite love before the foundation of the world (John 17:24), and of
reciprocating and responding to it; and this love of the Father to Him on His
assumption of His mediatorial functions was the well-spring of His obedience
unto death and after it (see ch.10:17, note). Now, if the kajgw< – kago – and I;
also I - is to be translated as above, Christ declares that even as the Father
has loved Him, He has’ loved His disciples. Again and again He has
emphasized this love to them (ch.13:34), but here He asserts a loftier
claim, viz. that His love to them corresponds with the eternal Father’s love
to Himself. The one great fact is the ground on which He commands them
to abide in His love. This is obviously a more explicit and more intelligible
form of the commandment to abide in Him. “The love that is mine “is not
the love to Christ, nor the love of Christ exclusively, but a blending of the
active and passive idea in “the love that is mine” — in the “love” lavished
upon me from eternity, and to which I have eternally responded, which I
have made known to you and expended on you and received back again
from you. Abide in that love that is mine.
10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I
have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.
This is the method and secret, the stimulus and proof, of abiding in the love
of Christ. This is not exactly the converse of “If ye love me,
keep my commandments.” Doubtless there is a love which dictates
obedience to the loved One’s will. Our Lord here avers, however,
something further, viz. that obedience issues in a higher love. The
obedience here described is the outcome of love, but the power is thus
gained to continue, dwell, in the Divine love, to abide, that is, in the full
enjoyment and fullness of MY DIVINE LOVE TO YOU! This is obvious
from the confirmatory clause: Even as I have kept my Father’s
commandments, and abide in His love. The Lord kept the Father’s
commandment always, doing those things which please Him, offering up
His precious life, laying it down that He might take it again; and the
consequence is that He then and there knew that He was filled with
all the fullness of the Divine love. The very impressive line of thought
pervades this passage, that what the Father was to Him, that He would
prove to His disciples. What the love of God was to the Christ,
the love of Christ was to His disciples.
The Lord moves into another and wider development of the union between
Himself and His disciples. He drops the metaphor of the vine and the branches,
and comes to the essence of the relation between them; that is, He does much
to explain the meaning and nature of His abiding in them, and the character of
the fruit which they were expected by the great Husbandman and Father to bring
forth and ripen. A connection between the second section and the first is revealed
in the new beginning.
11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in
you, and that your joy might be full.” These things I have spoken, and
am still speaking, to you (perfect, not aorist) with this purpose, that the joy
that is mine may be in you. Christ communicates to his disciples His own
absolute and personal joy. “The joy that is mine,” like “the peace which is
mine,” is graciously bestowed. A joy was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2),
the joy of perfect self-sacrifice, which gave to His present acts an
intensity and fullness of bliss. It was this, in its motives and character and
supernatural sweetness, which would be in them. If they receive His life into
them, it will convey not only His peace, but that peace uprising and
bursting into joy; and He adds, in order that your joy may be fulfilled,
i.e. perfected, reach its highest expression, its fullness of contents and
entire sufficiency for all needs. I John 1:1-4 is the best commentary on
this last clause. The Old Testament prophets had often spoken of Jehovah’s
joy in His people, comparing it to the bridegroom’s joy, and the bride’s
(Isaiah 62:5; Zephaniah 3:17). This entire idea is linked with v.10; where the
keeping of His commandments, from motives of love, will enable the disciples
to “abide in his love.” He now passes the whole law of the second table into
the light of His joy and the power of His example.
Divine Joy (vs. 11)
It seems at first sight singular that our Lord’s conversation, just at this
solemn and pathetic crisis of His ministry, should be of joy. It seems as if
consolation and peace were timely and appropriate themes, but as if the
contrast between Christ’s approaching sufferings and the joy which He
claims to possess and to impart were too marked. This, however, is a
Ø The joy of self-sacrifice, which is unknown to the world, but of
which Jesus has given us the one sublime example.
Ø The joy of benevolence. He lost Himself in those for whom He lived
And died; their salvation was the inspiration of His endurance and
the joy of his anticipation. (“who for the joy that was set before
Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on
the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Ø The joy of harmony with the Father’s purpose and of securing the
Ø It comes through the identification of the disciples, through faith,
with the Master.
Ø It consists in living sympathy with His mind and purposes.
(“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”-
Ø It increases and is fulfilled through their active employment in His
service. The joy of the Lord is commenced in fellowship of labor,
and consummated in the vision and recompense of heaven.
with the joy of the worldly and sinful, such a comparison will bring out
its immeasurable superiority.
Ø For it is joy dignified and worthy of a moral and spiritual nature,
whilst worldly joy is largely that of the inferior part of our being.
Ø It is satisfying (“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall
give him shall never thirst” – ch. 4:14), whilst He that drinketh
of the springs of earth thirsts again.
Ø It is eternal, being not only progressive upon earth, but consummated
in heaven. “Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories fade away.” But Christ’s
joy is the joy which is immortal.
12 “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I loved you.”
This (ch. 13:34) was given as a “new commandment;” now He gathers the
many commandments into one, as though all were included in it (I John 3:16).
This thought is further vindicated by an endeavor to explain in what sense and
way He was loving them.
13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for
his friends.” Greater love than this (love) no one hath, namely (i[na – hina –
that), that one should lay down his life for his friends. Meyer and Lange
endeavor to maintain even here the telic force of i[na, “The love to you is
of so consummate a character, that its object and purpose is seen in my
laying down my life for my friends;” and Hengstenberg thinks so because
probably a reference here is made to Isaiah 53:10, that our Lord was
pointing to His atoning death — to a death needed alike by enemies and
friends. Such an interpretation supposes the lofty purpose of the greatest
love. To me, however, it seems more probable that the translation given
above places the argument upon a surer; because more common, human,
experience. The disposition to die for ungodly and for enemies is exalted
by Paul (Romans 5:8) above the self-sacrifice involved in dying for
the good. Still, which may be shown, and has often been shown in self-
sacrificing death for those who are beloved, whatever other and wider ends
may be discerned afterwards and spoken of in other connections, He is here
asserting that the love of friendship is quite strong and intense enough to
secure such a sacrifice. And He adds –
14 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
Just because I command you. So the natural conclusion will be, “I am
showing you the highest possible fruit of my friendship — I am laying
down my life for you. This is how I have loved you; therefore after this
manner you are to love one another” (I John 3:16; Ephesians 5:1-2).
Our Lord then explains more and more to them how they can and do
claim this glorious designation.
trustful and obedient.
15 “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not
what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things
that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
No longer do I call you servants, bond-slaves. True, He had
in this very discourse spoken of them as His dou~loi – douloi – slaves –
(ch. 13:13, 16). Again and again in His parabolic teaching He had spoken of
His disciples as servants of a Lord (Matthew 13:27; 22:4; Luke 12:37; and
ch. 12:26, where another word is used). And moreover, later on in this very
chapter (v. 20), the word and thought return, so that this relation to Him,
gloried in by Paul (Philippians 1:1; I Corinthians 7:22), James (James 1:1), Jude
(Jude 1:1), and even John (Revelation 1:1), could be sustained in its integrity,
even after it had been transfigured, and penetrated through and through with
the light of love. Because the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth. The
slave is an instrument, doing by commandment, not from intimate knowledge,
his Lord’s behests. But you I have called (ei]rhka – eiraeka – I have called) —
on previous occasions (see ch.11:11, “Our friend Lazarus” and compare Luke
12:4); friends, for whom it is joy to die, and I have effected the transfiguration
of your service into love. I have raised you by the intimacy of the relations
into which 1 have drawn you from the position of slave to that of friend.
You may be, you must be, my servants still; I am your Master and Lord;
but you will be servants from a higher motive and a more enduring link and
bond of union. For all things which I heard of my Father. Notice the
source of the Savior’s teaching. He was sent from God, trained and taught,
as a man; he chose thus, humanly, to learn step by step, thing by thing,
what to reveal of His own nature, of His purpose and plan in redeeming
men, concerning the essence of the Father Himself, and the entire
significance of His self-manifestation. That which I heard I made known
unto you. This is only in apparent contradiction with ch.16:12,
where He implies that there will be more for them to learn in the future,
when the mystery of His death, resurrection, and ascension shall have been
accomplished. The limitation of the pa>nta a} h]kousa – panta a aekousa -
all things that I have heard - does not consist in doctrines as opposed to
practical duties, nor in the plan of salvation for individuals as antithetic to
principles of His kingdom, nor in principles as distinguished from what may
ultimately be found in them, but in the capacities and circumstances of the
disciples themselves (ch.16:12 is a corollary of this solemn assurance). The
reason of the present assertion is the proof that it thus supplies of their dearness
to Him. “Ye are my friends.” He had told them all that they could bear. He
had lifted the veil high enough for their truest joy and noblest discipline. He
had bared His heart to them. He had kept back nothing that was profitable.
He had proved His own friendship, and thus given a conclusive reason for
His complete self-devotion on their account.
Christ’s Friendship for His People (vs. 12-15)
Human friendship is both beautiful to perceive and precious to enjoy. If
affection and sympathy were thrust out of life, and if interest alone bound
men together, how uninteresting and dismal would this world of humanity
become! (Is it not just becoming this in the 21st century – a world apart
from Christ – CY – 2013). Every instance of friendship has its charm. The
young, who share their pursuits and confidences; the middle-aged, who are
guided by the same tastes, or principles, or occupations; the old, who
interchange their recollections of bygone years; — all furnish examples of the
power and the beauty of friendship even amongst faulty and imperfect beings.
Who is not grateful for friends? Who would be without them? Who has not
found friendship a charm, a stimulus, a power, in life? But whether earthly
friends are few or many, faithful or unkind, there is a Divine, a heavenly Friend,
whose love is declared to us by His own language, and proved by His own
acts and sufferings. Christ deigns to call His disciples friends!
WONDERFUL FACT, DECLARED BY HIMSELF. The wonder is
apparent when we consider who we are; when we reflect that we are poor,
sinful, and helpless beings, who could not, apart from His assurances,
venture to claim or to hope for the friendship of Christ. For who is He?
Jesus is not merely the best of beings; He is the Son of God. It is hard for
us to realize that “God is Love.” But in the Person of Christ the eternal
and supreme Lord comes down to our level, walks our way, dwells on our
earth, reveals to us His love. He is the friend, the Well-wisher, of sinners;
He is the Friend, in a fuller sense, of those who know and love Him. If this
is a wonderful truth, it is also a delightful truth.
HIS CONVERSATIONS. Men’s talk with one another often indicates
their relationship. There is conversation which is ordinary and casual, and
there is conversation which is confidential and intimate. There is the speech
of acquaintances, upon common subjects; there is the speech of the master
to the servant, conveying orders; there is the speech which is distinctive of
close and affectionate friendship, upon matters of personal interest and
concern. Now, the intimacy between the Divine Father and the Divine Son
is of the most confidential and unreserved nature. The Son is “in the
bosom” of the Father, i.e. is in possession of the counsels and feelings of
His mind; He is “one” with the Father. It is very observable that, according
to our Lord’s own declaration, He, having perfect knowledge of the
Father’s thoughts, communicates those thoughts to His people. As the
Father has no secrets from the Son, so the Son has no secrets from His
disciples. This is a conclusive proof of our Lord’s friendship for us. He
makes known to us “all things” which the Father purposes that bear upon
our salvation and eternal life. This accounts for the unexampled power of
our Lord’s language, its sublimity, its tenderness, fits authority. The words
of the Redeemer are the communications of His friendship, the tokens of His
brotherly love. To the unspiritual and unsympathetic, Christ’s words are
now, as they were when they were first spoken, uninteresting and without
value. But the true friends of Jesus feel their sweetness and their might;
applied by the Spirit of God, they are the lessons, the counsels, the
promises, of a Divine and faithful Friend. How could He better prove His
friendship than by revealing to us in His words the thoughts and the
purposes of the Father’s heart? There is one way even more effective, and
this our Lord describes.
SACRIFICING BENEVOLENCE. Self-denial is a recognized element in
true love and friendship. Men are found willing to give up money, time,
rank, etc., for the benefit of their friends. But it is the highest proof of love
when one is found ready to resign life to secure the life of a friend.
“Peradventure for a good man one would even dare to die” (Romans
5:7). This is the proof of self-sacrificing friendship which the Lord Jesus
was resolved to give. He laid down His life for the sheep. “Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
(v. 13). Jesus not only gave us knowledge by His teaching; He gave us
salvation by His death. This willing sacrifice was in order to win our
hearts, to make us His friends indeed, to bring to bear upon our nature
a spiritual, principle and power, to bind us to Himself for ever by the
chains of gratitude and devotion.
DEMEANOR AND HIS WHOLE TREATMENT OF US NOW
THAT HE HAS ASCENDED.
Ø In His ministry He taught us,
Ø by His death He saved us,
Ø in His mediatorial life He blesses us.
He is a sympathizing Friend, touched with a feeling of our infirmities.
He is a forbearing and patient Friend, who is not repelled by the
imperfect response He meets with on our part. He is a practical and helpful
Friend, who expresses His friendship in deeds and spiritual ministrations.
He is an unchanging and eternal Friend. “Who shall separate us from
the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35)
Our Friendship for Christ (vs. 12-15)
Friendship is a relation between two parties. On both sides it is voluntary.
It is mutual and reciprocal. We have seen how Christ shows His friendship
towards us. We have to consider how we prove our friendship towards
Christ, what He justly expects and requires from us.
OF OUR HEARTS TOWARDS HIM.
Ø We admire His character. In varying degree we admire the
principles, the dispositions, the conduct, of our earthly friends.
But inasmuch as there is no imperfection in the character of
Immanuel, there is no qualification in our love towards Him.
Ø We are attracted by the congeniality of His nature. There is a
“drawing” of heart towards Him, which originates in some
sympathy of disposition, and which issues in a more complete
Ø We delight in His society. Great was the privilege of the chosen
twelve, who were permitted to enjoy the company of their Lord
during His earthly ministry. But this fellowship is a privilege open
to us, who, not having seen Jesus, yet love him. The above are
ordinary manifestations of friendship. But the relation between
Jesus and His people is unique, and evokes feelings altogether
Ø We revere His Divine dignity and glory. This is growingly
apprehended with growing knowledge of Christ and with
growing conformity to Christ. As we approach a mountain
we realize its magnitude; the nearer we draw to Christ, the
more majestic and venerable does He appear to our spiritual
Ø We are grateful for his love and sacrifice. Gratitude does not
enter as an element into ordinary human friendship, which is
rather interfered with than promoted by obligations. But our
indebtedness to the Lord Jesus is immeasurable, and gives its
own color to the friendship subsisting between Him and us.
Ø We cherish devotion to Him. As Christ is infinitely the superior
in this spiritual kindred, it is natural that He should receive from
us the consecration of heart and life.
OBEDIENCE TO HIM
Ø This is a paradox. It seems at first sight altogether incongruous
that obedience should be required of friends. The master
commands his servant, but he does not command his friend.
And in this very passage Jesus says, “I call you not servants,
Ø Yet Jesus makes this service and submission a proof of His
disciples’ friendship. “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever
I command you.” Our Lord cannot divest Himself of His
authority. Our Friend is a King, and He does not cease to be
a King even when He toils and suffers for us.
Ø The Divine law is this: Love is the best motive to obedience, and
obedience is the best proof of love. A forced, mechanical service
is not what Christ wants, is not what Christ will accept. It is a
willing, cheerful, cordial service which He asks, and without
which no worthless words and formal acts can satisfy Him.
It is the part of the Christian to serve his Master, but not in the
spirit of a bondman; rather in that of a grateful and
MUTUAL FRIENDSHIP AMONG OURSELVES.
Ø Here we find the motive to the friendship which is appointed as
`the mark of true discipleship. It is our Lord’s new commandment
that His disciples love one another. In this love all is comprised;
it is the fulfilling of the
Law (Romans 13:10). The true
Christ is the society which is cemented by reciprocal confidence
and by brotherly love.
Ø Here, too, we find the model of Christian friendship. “As I loved you.”
Such is the rule, such is the appeal, of our Savior. The powers that tend
to separation, to distrust, to enmity, are many and mighty. A great,
comprehensive, constant power is needed to counteract and vanquish
these. This power we have in the manifested love and the uttered
commandment of OUR REDEEMING LORD!
From vs. 13-15, our Lord, in a brief digression, has justified a portion of the
great commandment of mutual love. That love is to correspond with His love
to the disciples, and to explain His self-sacrifice to them; He proves to them
that they are His “friends,” and therefore the objects of His dying love. Then
the appeal is still further clenched by showing the origin and purport of His
friendship for them.
16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should
remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He
may give it you.” Ye did not choose me (ejxele>xasqe... ejxelexa>mhn –
exelexasthe …exelexamaen - chosen….chosen - are middle, “you chose...
I chose… for yourselves or for myself”), but I chose you. I selected you as
individuals, not excluding thereby a gracious choice of other souls; I destined
you to accomplish work dear to me and essential to my kingdom. Christ has
already told them that He must “go away” from’ them to the Father, and that
they “cannot follow him now, but afterwards;” and He has also convinced
them that, though He go away, He will “come again, and abide with them,”
and also that “severed” from Him they can “do nothing.” Consequently
when He adds, I appointed you (see I Corinthians 12:28; I Timothy 1:12;
Hebrews 1:2; Acts 20:28, for similar use of tiqe>nai – tithenai - appoint)
as my apostles and representatives, to do work in my Name, there is no
contradiction in His adding, that ye should go forth, depart into the world
with my message and in my Name, as I am“departing” to the Father, to
rule over you from a higher and more august position. And bear fruit. A
passing reference to the imagery of the first part of the chapter, showing that
their “going forth or away” upon this mission would not separate them from
His Spirit, or divide the link without which they could bear no fruit at all.
The “fruit” may here, in its issues, suggest another class of ideas. In the
first case the “fruit” was the “fruit of the Spirit,” but here it would seem to
be the abiding consequence of the “greater works” which they would be
called upon to do. This rich fruit includes all the victories they were to win
over souls, and all the effects of their ministry. “Fruit” in either case is only
valuable when it is utilized by the Husbandman and according to his purpose.
“Fruit” is a Divine self-exhaustion of the living organism; it does no good to
the branch nor to the stem; it is the sacred property of the husbandman,
whether for his own joy or for fresh seed. In this case your fruit will abide for
ever, not in the branch, but in the Father’s hands, that (i[na) whatsoever
ye shall ask of the Father in my Name, He may give it you. It now becomes
a question whether the second i[na (that) introduces a clause which is coordinate
with the former or one logically depending on the preceding. By going and
bringing forth fruit we enter into that relation with God from which proceeds
the prayer in the name of the Son which the Father will grant, thus bringing
the passage into close relation with ch.14:13 and 16:23. By their fruit they
would show themselves to be true disciples of Christ, and to such the
Father can deny nothing.
The Condition of Abiding under the Power of Christ’s Love (vs. 9-16)
loved me, I have also loved you: abide in my love.” (v.9)
Ø The relation between the Father and the Son is the absolute type
of the union between Christ and believers.
Ø The love of Christ is the sphere or atmosphere in which the disciple
lives. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)
Ø The disciple is under no other condition than that to which the Son is
subject with the Father. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall
abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments,
and abide in His love” (v.10). Our obedience is the proof of our
love to Christ, while our love in turn assures our obedience.
you, that my joy’ might be in you, and that your joy might be full.” (v.11)
Ø The joy of Christ is the joy of self-sacrifice, in constant obedience
to His Father. This He desires His disciples to enjoy. Thus He
guarantees their true blessedness.
Ø Their joy will grow in power and depth by their obedience, as
they will thus be drawn closer to Christ.
Ø The obedience to which they are called is concentrated in brotherly
love. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I
have loved you.” (v.12)
o The commandment.
§ It is a new commandment (ch.13:34).
§ It is an old commandment (II John 1:5).
§ It commends itself to the moral nature of man.
§ It is the mainspring of social happiness.
o Mark the model or pattern: “As I have loved you.”
Jesus loved His disciples with a love which was
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life
for his friends.” (ch.13)
ESTABLISHED BETWEEN HIMSELF AND HIS DISCIPLES.
“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. I no longer
call you servants; because the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth:
but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my
Father I have made known to you.” (vs. 14-15)
Ø The relation of God to His people under the Law was that of
Master and servant. But Jesus establishes a new relation, which
heightens the dignity of discipleship.
Ø The condition of the new relation was a free, unrestrained
Confidence between Christ and His disciples respecting the
full knowledge of Divine things.
Ø This fuller knowledge would of itself enhance the intensity of love.
EFFECTS. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
Ø Whether the election is to salvation or apostleship, the ground
or cause was not in man. The blessed initiative was taken by
Ø Design of the election. “And appointed you, that ye should go
and bear fruit.” These words imply:
o that the disciples should take an independent place for
themselves (uJpa>ghte - hupagaete - go away; may
be going away);
o that they should be abundant and effective in labors;
o and that the effect of their labors should be lasting.
Ø Encouragement to labor. “That whatsoever ye ask the Father
in my Name, He may give it you.” A fruitful obedience has
its reward in gracious answers to prayer.
The Results of this
17 “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (clearly pointing
back to v. 12). This entire meditation culminates where it began. The digression
comes back to the main theme. Christ discusses the effect upon the world of that
love to each other and to Him which blended their personalities into one mystic
unity. This verse shows how the new topic links itself with the previous discussion.
His dying for them, thus proving His friendship for them, and all the other signs of
His interest and confidence, have been set before them to this great end; for while
the world is full of outrage and mutual animosities, the motive of His own entire
self-manifestation is to awaken a new and higher type and model of humanity.
Well may the familiar legend of John in the churches of
confirm this sublime truth. From this point to the end of the chapter,
Christ unfolded the consequences, to the unbelieving world, of the
sacred union between Himself and His disciples, and He discussed the
reciprocal relations between His own disciples and the world, seeing that
they are united with Him in such a close incorporation.
18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
You need net be surprised if the world hate you. “The world,” ko>smov –
kosmos (five times used in strongly emphatic manner), is humanity
apart from grace. This world will despise and hate your mutual love, will
scorn your love to itself for my sake; will detest the higher and unworldly
standard which you will set up. But here is some consolation. Know
(ginw>skete – ginoskete – ye are knowing - imperative, as mnhmoneu>ete –
mnaemoneuete – be ye remembering - in v. 20) that it has hated me
before (it hated) you. “Me first, me most.” The superlative
contains the comparative. “This hatred is a community of
destiny with me.” You know how it has hated me, and hunted me
19 “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because
ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.” If ye were of the world — i.e. still a part
of it, deriving your life, maxims, and pleasures from it; if you could sympathize
with its vulgar passion, and its temporary fleeting excitements, partisanships,
and bigotries — the world would be loving (ejfilei< - ephilei – would love;
was fond - notice the form of the conditional sentence, a supposition contrary
to fact, therefore anticipating the negative clause that follows, “but ye are
not of the world;” notice also that fi>lew – phileo - the love of affection, not
ajgapa>w – agapao - the love of reverence and profound regard, which you
are to show to one another and to me) — would be loving its own. The world
loves its priests and mouthpieces, its own organization (“Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod,
and Judas, and all devils,” Luther); the world loves its own offspring. But
because ye are not of the world, but I chose you, withdrawing you for my
service, out of the world (the two meanings of ejk – ek - here differ; the first
ejk denotes origin, the second corresponds with the compound ejk in
ejkle>gomai – eklegomai –pick out; select; to choose), therefore the world
hateth you. I have caused you to break with it, and you are no longer “its
own.” Just in proportion as you are one with me, you draw upon yourself
its hatred of me. “The offence of the cross” is not ceased. Thoma
comments on the harmony between this statement and that of the Acts,
Epistles, and Apocalypse, whose colors and features are here, as he thinks,
drawn upon. It is profoundly interesting to trace the fulfillment of the
Lord’s prescient words in earlier Scripture (I Peter 4:17; Romans 8:17;
Galatians 6:17; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 12:3).
20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater
than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute
you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
Remember the word which I spake to you (see Matthew 10:24, but especially
Ch. 13:16, where Christ used the proverb), The servant is not greater than his
lord. In (Ibid.) the idea was used to enforce the spirit of humility and mutual
service; it applies also here, but in another sense. The disciples are not to expect
better treatment from the world than their Lord met with. If they (used of
“the world”, in its special concrete
manifestations; “they” of
from them — you also. The “if” is remarkably explicit; there is no doubt
about it in Christ’s case, and the supposition is one of definite and acknowledged
fact, and the conditional sentence most positively assures them of antagonism
and persecution. It is probable, though not certainly known, that these disciples
all endured a living martyrdom, if not a cruel death in His cause. Then
follows a sentence which has by some unwisely been supposed to be
ironical, and by others to refer to another subject. If they kept my word,
they will keep yours also. The whole contact with the world was not an utter
failure. Christ did win persons from all classes, and they loved Him, with a
passionate love; and so the apostles, and all who “go forth to bear fruit,”
may hope for some victories, and will travail in birth with the souls of men.
21 “But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake,
because they know not Him that sent me.” But all these things will they do
unto you. By way of consolation, He added, in view of the antagonism which
the world would deliberately pursue towards them, For my Name’s sake.
Many suppose that the consolatory element is emphasized in this clause.
However, the idea contained in the dia< to< ojnoma> mou – dia to onoma mou –
through the name of me - has been already expressed in the previous verses, and
the whole of the verse so far merely gathers it up for a new and suggestive
explanation. For the Name of Christ these disciples will not only pray, labor,
suffer, and die, but in the power of it they will transmute their sorrows into
raptures, their tribulations into glory. Because they know not Him that sent me.
If they had known the heart and nature of the Sender, they would have
understood the mission of the Savior, and would neither have hated Him nor
His representations. It is utter grief to Jesus that the WORLD HAS BEEN
IGNORANT OF THE FATHER. This ignorance explains its antagonism to
the representatives of Christ, and is the most appalling witness to its own
depravation. No fact is more patent in the entire history of human thoughts
about God than this, that “THE WORLD BY WISDOM KNOWS HIM
NOT” (I Corinthians 1:21) nay, it:
It was left to Christ to reveal the Father. In many different mental
tendencies even Christendom has obscured or denied the Fatherhood.
The World’s Hatred (vs. 18-21)
Our Lord enjoined that within the Church there should prevail love and
brotherhood. But at the same time He foretold that from without Christians
should meet with hatred and opposition, enmity and persecution.
Ø We are constrained by facts to rank with the world, in this respect,
the adherents of the Jewish system. As His own countrymen were
our Lord’s opponents and in truth His real murderers, so were the
Jews the earliest opponents
secular Jews have been greatly involved in attacks on God and the
family in their involvement in the American Civil Liberties Union –
I typed in – Jewish involvement in the ACLU – in my browser
a minute ago and evidence of this was immediately forthcoming
on the internet – CY – 2013), The Book of the Acts of the
Apostles exhibits the
hostility of the leaders of
which was called by Christ’s Name whose crucifixion they had
brought about. The Jews attempted to silence the first preachers of
Christianity. And this they did under the influence of hate towards
Christ Himself. They regarded the new religion — for such it
seemed to them — as subversive of their own, not discerning that it
was the fulfillment of what was Divine in Judaism. And
they hated a doctrine which, by laying stress upon the personal and
spiritual elements in religion, imperiled their own rulers’ authority, and
the whole system of form and ceremony with which they were
Ø Our Lord doubtless looked forward to the time when the vessel of the
Church should quit the narrow straits of Judaism, and should sail out
into the open seas of the world, there to encounter fiercer storms. Then
He foresaw the hatred of the world should take a more formidable,
though not a more virulent,
shape. In the
we know as matter of history, encountered fierce hostility mainly
because of its exacting, exclusive claims, because of its open hostility
to all that savored of idolatry, and because of its rapid, and (to the
heathen) UNACCOUNTABLE PROGRESS! Hence the several
persecutions which arose under successive emperors, verifying the
predictions uttered by the Divine Founder of our faith. Hence the
long roll of confessors and martyrs who sealed their testimony with
their blood (Revelation 6:9-11).
Ø But it must not be overlooked that, where persecution is impossible,
hatred often prevails, and manifests its presence and power in many
distressing forms. There are at the present time, even in the midst of
professedly Christian communities, not a few who are suffering from
that hate which our Lord here foretold.
Ø The world knows not God, and hence hates the Church which is in
possession of this knowledge. Had the world known God, it would
have recognized among Christians the tokens of the Divine presence
Ø Christians are not of the world. The world loves its own, but hates
that which is out of harmony with it. If Christians do not adopt the
world’s spirit and language and habits, this singularity and
nonconformity naturally EXCITES DISLIKE AND PROVOKES
TO ILL TREATMENT.
Ø It cannot but be that the world must be rebuked by the presence of the
Church, confronting and reproving it. Whether by:
o a public protest against the world’s sins, or
o by the silent protest of a pure and upright life,
Christians are bound to a course of action which will bring down
upon them, now and again, the enmity and the anger of the world.
HATRED. All true comfort comes from that personal relation to the
Lord Jesus upon which such stress is laid in these discourses recorded by
John, and which is exhibited as the inspiration not only of consecrated
activity but also of patient endurance.
Ø The hatred which besets Christians was first directed against Christ
Ø The servant must expect to follow in his Master’s steps, and to meet
with the same treatment.
Ø When Jesus says, “For my Name’s sake,” He presents to us a motive
to patience which is divinely fortifying and persuasive.
22 “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but
now they have no cloak for their sin.” If I had not come, as the incarnate
Word of God, if I had not fulfilled the promises and come forth from God
into the world to reveal the Father, and spoken to them, made known to
them the thought and Spirit of God, made it possible for them to know the
essence of the only true God, they had had no sin; they would not have
resisted the highest love, their alienation in this respect would not have
been a violation of the most solemn and gracious demands of the Father.
The greatest sin is the refusal of THE MOST COMPLETE
REVELATION and by the side of this all other sin becomes comparatively
trivial. Our Lord could not have spoken of the hatred of Himself or His disciples
as this sin, because it would have been obviously impossible to hate a non-existent
revelation or revealer. It is the deeper fall which is consequent upon A
DELIBERATE REJECTION OF THE HIGHEST LOVE. Formerly, they
would have been in the condition of those whose sins of ignorance God
overlooks (Acts 17:30), and to whose aJmarth>mata – hamartaemata – sin –
in the past God has exercised pa>resiv – paresis – remission -, in anticipation
of the coming grace. But now (Luke in numerous places uses this expression to
form a strong contrast) they have no excuse or pretext for their sin, or concerning
their sin. They can plead no justification. The word pro>fasiv – propharsin –
pretense; cloak - is an lego>menon – hapax legomenon – one time saying –
and is not “cloak or covering,” but “palliation or excuse” for manifest sin.
So long as men have seen no deeper into the nature of God than they can go
with the aid of mere phenomena or ratiocination on the details of creation,
their fears and even their hatreds formulated into grim legend, or uncouth
idols, or repellent hypothesis, are A NATURAL OUTCOME OF A
NATURE SO CORRUPT, but they ought to have found in Christ a deeper
revelation, a summons to service and adoring love. In rejecting the idea of God
which I have set before them THEY HAVE NO EXCUSE. Paul (Romans 1:20)
declares that those who have defamed the great characteristic of God which
may be learned from nature are without excuse.
23 “He that hateth me hateth my Father also.” And by implication will hate you,
The hatred of goodness in me, the refusal to accept my representation of their
Father and mine, becomes a distinct hatred of God Himself as I have revealed
Him. A God of war, a God of partisan jealousy for
the honor of
who would palliate fratricidal feud, and overlook blasphemous indifference to
His true character, they might have tolerated; but the Father-God, whom they
might have heard and seen in Christ, IS HATED BY THEM!
24 “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did,
they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both
me and my Father.” If I had not done among them works which none other
did. Here He comes down from “Word” to “work,” and indicates the
lower agency, that of works, which are neither inoperative nor valueless,
and which transcend all other similar deeds. They are works of the Son of
God, works of creation and of healing, triumphant conflict with the forces
of nature and the malice of the devil, of a kind which may be compared
with, but which exceed all human and angelic ministry. They had not had
sin, but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.
The works as well as the words of Christ might have softened their hearts,
but the Divine claims, which were thus pressed home upon the conscience,
provoked their malice. “They took counsel to kill Him;” “They took up
stones to stone Him.” They hated God as God, and goodness and truth just
because they were goodness and truth. The awful condemnation is here
pronounced, “that men loved darkness rather than light.” They positively
saw their Father, and hated him. This is the most terrible condemnation
that can be pronounced on moral beings.
25 “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is
written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”
Strange is it that even here the ancient psalmist, in portraying
the ideal Sufferer (Psalm 69:4; 35:19), had seized this feature, and thus
anticipated the treatment of the Son of God. But this cometh to pass
(some clause of this kind must be introduced to give true force to ajlla< –
alla – but; all - and i[na – hina – that ) that the word might be fulfilled
that has been written in their Law. Not only here but elsewhere Jesus
speaks of the Psalms as a part of the Law (see note, ch.10:34). Other passages
may, from their similarity, have been in Christ’s mind, as receiving fulfillment
or abundant illustration in their conduct. The use of the expression, “the Law,”
the Law in which they pride themselves, the Law which is ever in their mouths,
the Law which itself contains the portraiture of their spirit: They hated me
gratuitously; causelessly. The true Christ was, when He came, the object
of reasonless, causeless hate and opposition. Jesus knew, when He claimed
to be the Christ, that He would have to complete and fulfill the solemn
portraiture of the suffering, burden-bearing, and rejected Christ, as well as
that of the triumphant Christ and King.
In vs. 26-27, a new source of consolation now appears. Already twice
over He has spoken of the Paraclete (ch.14:16 and 26),
compensation to His disciples for His personal departure, and also
Once more He promises great things and mighty aid in their conflict with
the world’s hate by the mission of the Comforter. This great mission is said
to be HIS OWN!
The Sin of Neglecting the Savior (vs. 22-25)
With regard to the Jewish nation, this is referred to by our Lord:
as in virtue. The sin of rejecting the Savior is the greatest. It stands alone in
the black category. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not,”
etc. What does this mean? Whether that they would not have that
particular sin? or that, in comparison with this, others are small, and almost
fade into nothingness? Its enormity will appear if we consider:
Ø It is the greatest insult to THE GREATEST AND BEST BEING!
Who is disbelieved and rejected? The eternal Son and the eternal
Father — the supreme Being whom they professed to acknowledge
and worship. For the rejection of the Son involves the rejection of
the Father. “He that hateth me,” etc. No one can so insult and
grieve the Father as by insulting his Son; and the greatest insult
to the Son is the rejection of His Person, Word, and redemptive
grace. Thus the Divine truth and honor are impugned. “He that
believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not,
the record that God gave of His Son.” (I John 5:10)
Ø It is the greatest insult to the Supreme Being while in the nearest
contiguity to them. The Father was in the Son; and the Son was in
the flesh, in their very nature; therefore God was in their nature,
speaking and acting among them. He was never so near before.
They never had such a vision of Him. He was face to face with them.
He could not come physically nearer, neither could they have a
clearer physical vision of Him. So clear it was that our Lord could
with propriety say, “They have seen me and my Father.” In Him the
Father was seen, and yet they rejected Him. Thus the insult was MOST
DIRECT and DARING. They insulted Him to His very face.
Ø It is the greatest insult to the Supreme Being, under circumstances
which were calculated in the highest degree reproduce different effects.
The circumstances we have already indicated, and they are quite unique.
Even in the wonderful history of the Jewish nation, and in the history
of the nations of the world, they were such as they alone enjoyed, and
involved such Divine light and evidence as were calculated in the
highest degree to produce the readiest faith in and the warmest
reception of the Son of God. It was the natural conclusion of the
Divine Father: “They will honor my Son” (Matthew 21:37).
Although they have maltreated my prophets, yet they will honor my
Son. In His life and actions they saw the Father, yet rejected him, and
sinned against THE GREATEST LIGHT!
Ø It is the greatest insult against the Supreme Being in the very
attempt of conferring upon them the greatest benefit. And this
involved the exercise of the greatest condescension and love.
The object in view and the love manifested are set forth in the
familiar but matchless words,” God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son,” etc. Can imagination conceive of a
greater sin and insult than the rejection of the manifestation of
such Divine love, whose object is to save from THE MOST
INEVITABLE AND TERRIBLE RUIN, and the bestowment
of THE BESTOWMENT AND THE GREATEST AND MOST
UNDESERVING GIFT: Sin against the truth, justice and holiness
of the supreme Being, separately considered, is nothing to the sin
against DIVINE AND SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE! Jesus was
the incarnation of Divine love, manifested to bless and to save;
but while in the very act of salvation He was most insultingly
Ø It is the greatest insult to the supreme Being, assuming THE
MOST MALIGNANT FORM! “And hated both me and my
Father” (v. 24). While this indicates the cause of their rejection,
the enmity of the carnal mind against God (Romans 8:6), it also
reveals its extreme malignity. It is not merely negative and
defensive, but most MALIGNANTLY AGGRESSIVE and
decided. And hatred is:
o the most virulent form of REJECTION,
o the most daring form of UNBELIEF,
o the most insulting RESISTANCE TO THE DIVINE
the most FATAL
which in this case resulted in THE CRUEL CRUCIFIXION
OF THE SON OF GOD!
Ø The greatest insult to the supreme Being, which resulted in THE
MOST FATAL CONSEQUENCES. By their malignant rejection
they made the greatest general blessing the greatest personal curse,
turned the greatest boon into the greatest bane; so that it would be
infinitely better for them if the Son of God had not come to them
at all — their sin would be less, and their fate less disastrous. They
attempted to stem and poison the river of life in its flow to fallen
humanity, and succeeded as far as they were concerned. They
set an unparalleled example of unbelief and moral obduracy to all
succeeding ages, the result of which was SOCIAL and SPIRITUAL
EXCUSE. What excuses are supposable in this case?
Ø If He had not come to them at all. This would be a complete excuse.
But He came, appeared to them, and dwelt among them.
Ø If He had no right to come. They would have a perfect right to reject an
intruder and an impostor, who had no right to their faith and acceptance.
But Jesus was not such. He had an absolute right to come. He came in
accordance with the Divine will, as well known to Him, and well known
to them as revealed in their Scriptures. He came in the way and at the
very time and for the purpose indicated. And His coming was absolutely
right and essential in order to fulfill the Divine plan and satisfy human
Ø Want of adequate knowledge of Him. This would be a valid excuse.
But this they could not plead. He not only sent the Baptist to herald
His immediate coming, but came Himself in person, and spoke to them,
taught daily in their streets and synagogues, availed Himself of every
opportunity to address them in the most homely and clear language
as to His Divine origin and mission as the Son of God and their
Messiah. And He taught “as One having authority;” and it was
the testimony of all His unprejudiced hearers, “Never man spake
Ø Want of adequate proofs of his claims. Although His teaching was
full, clear, and Divine, yet, without the further evidence of miracles,
there would be a legitimate excuse. Jesus allows this. “If I had not
done,” etc. They demanded a sign. This demand was most fully
and readily granted:
o In such works of power and mercy as no other man had
ever before performed. They professed to believe Moses
and the prophets on the evidence of miracles; but their
miracles were very few in number, and inferior in quality
as compared with those performed by Him whom they
o In such works of power and mercy as were in perfect
keeping with His claims and character as their Messiah
and Savior. There was a perfect correspondence between
His teaching and His works. He suited the word to the deed,
and the deed to the word. His testimony was complete.
o In such works of power and mercy as clearly revealed Him
and the Father — revealed Him as the Son of God, and
God as His Father. His works were so Divine that even
they themselves could not deny their supernatural
character; but, rather than admitting their natural
conclusion, attributed them to a demon. So transparently
Divine were His works, that in their light, not only He as
the Divine Son could be seen, but also His Divine
Father; still they malignantly rejected both.
Ø Want of natural ability to comprehend the evidences of His claims.
The deaf have a sufficient excuse for not hearing, and the blind for
not seeing. The want of common intelligence and natural ability
would be an excuse for intellectual and moral unbelief. But they
could not plead this, neither did they. And when our Lord hinted
at their moral blindness they were greatly insulted, and asked
with contempt, “Are we also blind?” (ch. 9:40) Our Lord
tacitly accepts their explanation, but pointed them to the inevitable
consequence, “Your sin remaineth” (Ibid. v. 41). They were
entirely responsible, and claimed it. It was not because they could
not, but BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT!
Ø Any really objectionable qualities in His character or conduct. They
would be justified in rejecting a cruel tyrant, a vile impostor, or a
vicious teacher; but they had none of these excuses in the least degree.
Not only they had no reason to hate Him, but the strongest reasons
possible to love and welcome Him with delight. His character was
DIVINELY TRANSPARENT and HIS LIFE ABSOLUTELY PURE!
His discourses were pregnant with life and light, and His words and
actions full of grace and truth. His conduct towards all was invariably
respectful and tenderly kind, and even to His most inveterate foes He
was most patient, indulgent, and forgiving. There was no cause for
hatred in Him. It must have been entirely in them; and His experience
was that of the psalmist, recorded in their Scripture, “They hated me
without a cause” (Psalm 35:19; 69:4). They could not find an excuse
for their sin, neither could Jesus find one. In spite of his terrible
indictment against them, he seems to be in search of an excuse for
them. “If I had not come,” etc.; “but now,” etc. As far as they were
concerned, He almost wished He had not come and spoken
to them. He who prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive,” etc., was
ever ready to find the least legitimate excuse for sinners, and even
for His most inveterate foes; but in this case could find none.
THERE WAS NONE AND THERE IS NONE!
Ø The gospel, with regard to the rejecters of Christ, reveals
A TERRIBLY CORRUPT STATE OF THE HEART!
The gospel does not cause sin, but reveals it, and in relation to
the disobedient occasions the greatest guilt. It would be
better for them not to have enjoyed its light.
Ø With regard to its rejecters, it reveals A TERRIBLE POWER OF
A CORRUPT WILL to resist the Divinest evidence and refer the
most loving overtures of Heaven, as well as its own highest good.
Ø Although it would be far better for the disobedient if Christ had not
come and spoken to them, yet those who sigh for and are ready to
receive Him are not deprived of Him on this account (See
Ezekiel 9:4). Shall not the sun rise because many evil-doers prefer
darkness, and may avail themselves of but little of its light? And
shall Jesus keep away because many will disobey, and even
hate Him? No; let Him come and save.
Ø The world’s awful responsibility UNDER THE GOSPEL!
The responsibility of increasing light and grace. Our destiny
hangs upon our RECEIVING or NOT RECEIVNG CHRIST!
Beware of rejecting Him. Beware of the excuseless sin.
Ø Our great Advocate can find an excuse for every sin BUT THIS!
For this there is no defense; for He is rejected for whose sake
God alone can forgive. There is in Him no cause of hatred or
rejection; but there is in Him an infinitely extending pardon to
THE VILEST PENTITENT. Some of His murderers
availed themselves of this. (“Lord, remember me when thou
comest into thy kingdom.” - Luke 23;42). And it is ever available
and infallible: (“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be
with me in paradise.” - Ibid. v. 43) “Come now, and let us
reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be
red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
26 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from
the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the
Father, He shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because
ye have been with me from the beginning.” Whensoever the Paraolete of
whom I have spoken shall have come, whom I will send to you from (the side
of, para< – para) the Father, the Spirit of the truth, which proceedeth from
(para<) the Father, He (ejkei~nov – ekeinos – that One) shall bear witness
concerning me, and you also bear witness because ye are with me from the
beginning of the Messianic work (ajp ajrch~v – ap archaes – from original;
from the beginning - not ejn ajrch~ – en archae – in the beginning). This is
the great text on which the
for their doctrine concerning the “procession of the Spirit,” the timeless,
premundane relations among the Personalities of the Godhead. The expression
ejkporeu>etai – ekporetai – proceedeth; is going out – only occurs in this place,
and from it ejkporeu>siv – ekporeusos became the ecclesiastical term for the
relation which the Holy Spirit sustains to the Father, just as gennh>siv –
gennaesis was the especial term to denote the peculiarity of the Son, and just
as ajgennh>sia – agennaesia -, the condition of unbegottenness and paternity
was that used to denote the Father’s own hypostatic distinction. THE HOLY
SPIRIT IS EVER PROCEEDING, ISSUING
BY THE FATHER ON HIS WORK OF DIVINE SELF-MANIFESTATION
AND DIVINE ACTIVITY IN THE UNIVERSE! Of this there can be no
question, and the Nicene symbol originally expressed it without
amplification, and the Greeks founded upon it their conception of the
Trinity. The relation of the Son and Spirit to the Father were believed to be
co-ordinate; and, though both were of the same eternal substance, yet both
were equal to the Father. But the
notwithstanding the tremendous anathemas against all alteration which
guarded the Nicene and Chalcedonian formulae — felt that the whole truth
concerning the Divinity of the Son was concealed, if the idea was not also
conveyed which our Lord utters side by side with the ejkporeu>etai para<
tou~ Patro>v – ekporeuetai para tou Patros – from the Father is going out –
in this verse. Christ says, “I will send Him - para< tou~ Patro>v,” and this
must be compared with (ch.14:26), “whom the Father will send in my Name;”
and the Latins, to express this thought, added filioque to .the phrase, “proceeding
from the Father,” and claimed our Lord as equally the Source of the Divine Spirit
with the Father, so that it runs, “proceeding from the Father and the Son.” In the
endless discussions that arose, the two Churches probably meant to effect the same
thing, viz. to affirm the glory and perfect Deity of the Lord Christ. The
Greeks, in ancient times, never limited their statement to proceeding from
the Father only;” nor did they object to add, “through or by the Son;” but it
is probable that Augustine and the
forms that arose in it, approach a little more closely to the reality and
quality of Him who said, “I and my Father are one” in this respect, that the
Spirit proceedeth from the Father and Son, when He comes into human
hearts and testifies of Christ. There are those who urge that these passages do
not bear at all upon the internal relations of the Godhead, but simply refer to
the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit. “The words must be understood
historically, not metaphysically, and much may be said in favor of this view.
If this verse does not furnish the basis of an argument, there is no other which
can be advanced to establish the view either of the Eastern
The witness of the Paraclete is said here to cover the gravest difficulties
and provide the richest consolations. If the Lord intended to teach the
fundamental nature of the Holy Spirit, the literal statement would be a
powerful defense of the Greek doctrine; but if the passage here speaks of
the official work and temporal mission, the words have no direct bearing
upon that doctrine. The denial of the filioque has the logical tendency to
make the Spirit and Son co-ordinate and subordinate emanations of the
Father, and so to go back to the monarchianism from which the Church
counteract the hatred in the world by regenerating individuals within it.
More than that, said Christ, He (ejkei~nov – that One) will bear
witness to me, in the Divine strength and courage which He will give to
you, in the new and corrective ideas which He will supply, in the great
works seen to be mine, which you will have grace to initiate (see Acts
1:8; 2.; 4:31; 5:32, — passages where the “Acts of the Apostles” are seen
to be “Acts of the Risen Jesus”); and ye also bear witness, etc. Your own
experience of me from the commencement of my ministry will give you a
class of testimony which will leave AN INDELIBLE IMPRESSION
UPON THE HEART OF THE WORLD!
The Disciples and the World (vs. 17-27)
Our Lord turns to a new thought — the relation of His disciples to the world.
LOVE. “These things I command you, that ye may love one another.”
Ø This love is to be the characteristic of the new kingdom, and
thus the strong attraction of the gospel.
Ø Yet, essentially noble as it is, it will challenge the hostility of
A WORLD OUT OF ALL SYMPATHY WITH CHRIST!
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
Ø It is a terrible indictment against the Jews that they should
represent in their relations to Christ the overt hatred of
Ø The hatred in question is a proof of the union between Christ
and His disciples. He is the Head, they are the members of
the persecuted body.
Ø The thought of this union ought to strengthen the disciples
in view of the world’s hatred.
Ø The principle of this hatred. “If ye were of the world, the
world would love its own.” (v.19)
o The world’s love is selfish; it loves what is consonant
to itself in idea and feeling.
o The disciples, not being of the world, but “chosen
out of the world,” had the distinction of attracting to
themselves the natural hostility of a world out of all
sympathy with their hopes.
Ø The world’s hatred traced to its true source. “But all these
things will they do unto you for my Name’s sake, because
they know not Him that sent me.” (v. 21)
o The disciples were led to expect persecution as their
o It would be immediately caused by their attachment
to Christ’s cause.
o Its true source was THE WORLD’S IGNORANCE
had no excuse for its hostility. (“Because that which might be known
of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For
the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His
eternal power and Godhead; SO THAT THEY ARE WITHOUT
EXCUSE!” (Romans 1:19-20,etc.)
Ø There was the testimony of Christ’s teaching, making the Father
known, which would judge the world. “If I had not come and
spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no
excuse for their sin.” (v. 22)
o It is a fearful thing to sin against light.
o It is impossible to escape the just judgment of God.
Ø There was the testimony of His miracles. “If I had not done
among them the works which none other man did, they
had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated
me and my Father.”
o The miracles were like no other miracles in respect of
their nature and effects.
o The miracles were the revelation of the Father through
the Son; yet the Jews ascribed them to the power of evil.
o The prophetic solution of their hatred. “But this is that
the word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law,
They hated me without a cause” (v. 25; Psalm 35:19;
There was nothing to justify the hatred OF SUCH A PURE
AND LOVING SPIRIT!
THEIR CONFLICT WITH THE WORLD — THE HOLY GHOST.
Ø The mission of the Comforter. “But when the Comforter is come,
whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth,
who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.” ( v. 26)
o The qualifications of the Comforter for His office.
· He proceeds eternally from the Father. His witness,
therefore, will be that of the Father Himself.
§ He will be sent by the Son. This implies the
approaching departure of Christ to another world.
§ He possesses, communicates, and applies the truth;
for He is the Spirit of Truth.
o The testimony of the Comforter. “He shall testify of me.”
§ To the apostles, who will thenceforth understand
§ to the world, in the dispersion of its darkness, in
the new light thrown upon the Person and work of
Christ, and in all the blessings of AN UNDERSTOOD
GOSPEL. “He witnesseth with our spirits that we
are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
Ø The testimony of the apostles themselves. “And ye also shall bear
witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”
o It was necessary to have their personal testimony respecting
the facts of His life from the beginning of His ministry.
Christianity is more than a life; it is more than a system of
doctrines; it is a record of historical facts, which give the
doctrines all their meaning, and the life all its blessedness.
o The gospel was to be received by faith in all future ages.
The earliest witnesses were to guide the faith of the Church.
o The apostles accordingly distinguished between their own
experience and the internal witness of the Spirit (Acts 5:32).
The Joint Witnessing (vs. 26-27)
Christianity is not a religion to be propagated by force or by sedulous
tradition. Nothing but the force of truth planted Christianity; and only the
force of truth preserves it, extends it, and ensures the prospect of its
universality. Not without significance is this constant reference to
witnessing found in the New Testament. Jesus submits His gospel to the
keenest examination. He comes before the world as a well-equipped suitor
goes into a court of justice, sure that He has witnesses ample for the
success of His cause. Christianity presents phenomena that shirk no
scrutiny. It has no weak and treacherous places to be kept as much as
possible from view. A witness, to be all a witness ought to be, must have
nothing to conceal, nothing to avoid. (We are to “speak the truth in love”-
Ephesians 4:15 and Jesus has promised to be with us “even to the end
of the world!” - Matthew 28:20 – CY – 2013)
TO THE TESTIMONY. The minds of men may be set against truth and
the search for truth, and then where will the witnesses be? The gospel
presumes on the part of man an awakening to the need of reality, stability,
and continuance in all that he may rightly aim to make his own. Men have
believed the world and believed their own hearts, and they have been
disappointed; and now, if they seek Jesus, it is with the assurance meeting
them that they shall not be disappointed again. If men fail to be attracted
by Jesus or profess to be disappointed with Him, it is because they are
disinclined to take the trouble of seeking deep enough.
witnessing by the Spirit of Jesus which cannot be effected by any
multiplication of human witnesses. And similarly a testimony comes by
reading the evangelists and Epistles, which is felt to be something
independent of the force which comes on us by the operation of the Spirit.
How many, reading the New Testament just with thoughtful earnestness,
have said to themselves, “Here is something to be searched into. Here is a
part of some great possibility, and I must seek for the other part!” Careful
and repeated reading of what apostles have written is very likely to drive a
man to his knees, seeking to have the full body of testimony completed, by
what the Holy Spirit will impress on his heart. We should ever be on the
outlook for testimony to Jesus and His truth. The more we expect it the
more it will come:
Ø fortifying us against our own doubts,
Ø cheering us with hopes of coming certainties, and
Ø making us more ardent in persuading others to like precious faith.
itself with the plea that there is lack of evidence. Nay, in its more arrogant
forms it will even maintain that the evidence is the other way. What if we
be in the position of those who clamor for more, and will not use what they
have? If we are not to be persuaded by the joint witnessing of the Spirit
and the apostles, neither shall we be persuaded though one rose from the
dead. (Luke 16:31)
to the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). If Jesus told the first company
of disciples that they were to be witnesses, then assuredly there must be
something of the witness-bearing faculty in us.
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