John 14

 

 

1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in

me.”  The awful warning to Peter, which followed the announcement

of the treachery of Judas and his departure, the solemnity of the Lord, and

the clear announcement of his approaching death, had fallen like a

thunderbolt into the company of disciples. Judas held the bag, and was

their treasurer, their ejpi>skopov (episkoposoverseer; superintendent), and

a referee on all practical subjects and details. He had turned against the Lord;

and now their spokesman, their rock of strength, their most prominent and

their boldest brother, the senior of the group, and with one exception the

disciple most beloved and trusted by the Master, was actually warned

against the most deadly sin — nay, more, a course of conduct is predicted

of him enough to scatter them all to the four winds. Is it possible to

exaggerate the consternation and distraction, the shrieks of fear, the bitter

sobs of reckless grief that convulsed the upper chamber? In the agony of

despair, and amid the awful pause that followed the outburst of their

confusion and grief, words fell upon their ears which Luther described as

the best and most consoling sermons that the Lord Christ delivered on

earth,” “a treasure and jewel not to be purchased with the world’s goods.”

Hengstenberg has argued at length that the opening words of the chapter

do not point to this scene of deep dejection, but to the conversation

recorded in Luke 22:35-38, where our Lord warned His disciples of the

career of anxiety and dependence and struggle through which they would

have to pass. They must be ready even to part with their garment to

procure a sword, i.e. they must be prepared to defend themselves against

many enemies. With his characteristic impetuosity Peter says, “Here are

two swords;” and Jesus said, “It is enough.” He could not have meant that

two swords were a match for the weapons of the high priests, or the power

of the Roman empire, but that the disciple had once again misunderstood

the figurative teaching of Christ, and, like a child (as he was), had, in the

intensity of his present feeling, lost all apperception of the future. True, the

language of Luke 22:35-38 suggests an answer to the question, “Why

cannot I follow thee now?” But these words in this chapter more certainly

contemplate that query, coupled with the other occasions that had arisen

for bitter tribulation. To the faithful ones, to Peter’s own nobler nature,

and to them all alike in view of their unparalleled grief and dismay at the

immediate prospect of His departure, He says, Let not your heart be

troubled — the one heart of you all; for, after all, it is one heart, and for

the moment it was in uttermost exacerbation and distress, He repeated the

words at the close of the first part of the discourse (v. 27), after He had

uttered His words of consolation. The “trouble” from which that one heart

of theirs is breaking is not the mere sentimental sorrow of parting with a

friend, but the perplexity arising from distracting cares and conflicting

passions. The work of love and sacrifice means TROUBLE hat nothing but

supernatural aid and Divine strength can touch. The heartache of those

who are wakened up to any due sense of the eternal is one that nothing but

the hand that moves all things can soothe or remedy. Faith in the absolute

goodness of God can alone sustain the mind in these deep places of fear,

and under the shadow of death. But He gives a reason for their consolation.

This is, Believe in God, i.e. the eternal God in all His revelations of Himself

in the past in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who has most

completely been unveiled to you now in the word and light and life that

have been given to you IN ME!   Your faith in God will be equal to your

emergencies, and, if you live up to such fairly, you will bear all that befalls

you (compare Mark 11:22). But, He adds, as I have been in the bosom of God

and have declared Him to you, believe also in me, as His highest and most

complete Revelation. He claimed from them thus the same kind of

sentiment, as by right of creation and infinite perfection God Almighty had

demanded from them. There are three other ways in which this ambiguous

sentence may be translated, according as both the pisteu>ete pisteuete

be ye believing - are taken  either as indicatives or imperatives, but the above

method is approved by the great majority of interpreters from the early

Fathers to now.  The Vulgate and Authorized Version and Revised Version

make the second only of the pisteu>ete imperative, and consequently read,

“Ye believe in God, believe also in me,” which, in the revelation they had just

given of their wretchedness and lack of adequate courage and faithfulness,

was almost more than the Lord, in the deep and comprehensive sense in

which He was using the word “God,” would have attributed to them. The

different order of the words in the Greek, bringing the two clauses, “in

God” and “in me,” together, gives potency to the argument of the verse,

which is that of THE ENTIRE GOSPEL!

 

2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would

have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” In my Father’s house are

many mansions; or, abiding places, homes of rest and peace and sojourn.

My Father” is the grandest name of all — the Divine fatherhood, as conceived

in the consciousness of Jesus and revealed to them. Had not He who dwelt for

ever in the bosom of the Father come forth, as He alone could, to reveal

“the Father” and what the Father had been to Him in the eternities? “My

Father’s house” is the dwelling-place in which devout believing souls would

abide forever (Psalm 23:6; 90:1). In the vast home filled by my Father’s glory

and lighted by His smile of recognition and reconciliation, in the high and

holy place (Isaiah 63:15; Deuteronomy 26:15), are “many mansions”

prepared from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34). Heaven is

a large place; its possibilities transcend your imagination and exceed your

charity. Thoma quotes all the grand hopes which Paul’s Epistles and that to

the Hebrews contain, that Jesus made heaven and home by His presence

there (Philippians 1:23; I Thessalonians 4:14, 17), and he supposes

that the Johannist put these words into the lips of Jesus. One conclusion

forced upon the reader, so far as this passage is concerned, is that there is

no reason why this Gospel may not have been written long before the close

of the first century. If it were not so; i.e. if there were any doubt about it,

if the revelations already made do not avail to prove as much as this, if you

have been cherishing nothing better than vain illusions on this subject, I

would have told you, for I came forth from God, and know these many

mansions well. I would have told you, for all things that I have heard from

the Father (up to this time possible for you to receive) I have made known

to you. Here surely is a colon, if not a period. Many interpreters believe, by

reason  of the o[ti  hotithat – to be the correct reading, link the following

sentence in different ways to the preceding; e.g. some say o[ti is equivalent

to “that,” and read, “I would have told you that I go, etc.; but against this is

the simple statement of v. 3, where Jesus proceeds to say that He is going to

prepare, etc. Others, translating o[ti for,” differ as to .whether the departure

of Jesus and His preparation of a place for His disciples refers to the first or

second part of the sentence. Surely the o[ti, “because” or “for,” opens out a

new thought based on the whole of that sentence: “Because, seeing if it were

not so, I would have told you,” because our relations are so close as to have

involved on your part this claim on my frankness, for I am going to

prepare a place — to make ready one of these many mansions — for you.

Over and above the vague mystery of the Father’s house, my departure is

that of your “Forerunner,” and my presence will make a new resting-place

it will localize your home. As you have made ready this guest-chamber

for me, I am going to make ready a presence-chamber for you in the

heavenly Jerusalem.

 

3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and

receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

And if I go and if I prepare a place for you — a simple

condition, soon to be realized by the event — I come again; I am ever

coming, as I am now about to explain to you,

  • in my resurrection (ch.16:16-17);
  • in the bestowment of the Comforter (vs. 17, 25-26; ch. 16:7, etc.);
  • in the intimate relations which, through the power of the Spirit

(vs. 18, 23), shall prevail between us.

I am coming to you, in my glory and power, and in my victory in you as well

as for you over death and Hades, to receive you unto myself; that where I am,

there ye may be also. The full perspective of the Lord’s approach to faithful

souls is given in the extraordinary fullness of the “I am coming.” Not until He

comes m all His glory will the words be perfectly fulfilled; but the early Church,

on the basis of communion with Christ Himself in the power of His Spirit,

expected that Christ had come and taken to Himself one by one those who

died in the faith (I Thessalonians 4:14). Thus Stephen expected the Lord to

receive his spirit (Acts 7:59); and the dying thief was to be with Him, in

Paradise; and Paul knew that to be from home, so far as body is concerned,

was to be “at home or present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8). “To

be with Christ” was “far better” than to labor on in the flesh

(Philippians 1:23). The highest thought of peace and love was to the

apostles union and presence with Christ. Our Lord asserts here that by His

very nearness to them He will make their heaven for them. How soon this

wonderful idea spread among men! Within twenty years, Thessalonians

were comforted about their pious dead, with the thought that they slept in

Jesus, and would together with them be “forever with the Lord.”

 

4 “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  Great

emphasis is laid upon the ejgw> – ego - I.  The disciples ought to have known,

if they did not know, after His telling them so frequently of the way He was

taking through suffering, self-sacrifice, and aloneness, by spiritual processes

rather than secular triumphs, by giving His life a ransom for many, by laying

it down that he might take it again. He assumes, He even assures them, that

whithersoever He may be going, and however vague may be His goal their

ideas, they at least must comprehend the way by which He intended to

reach it. Peter in any case ought to have been clear about it; more than

once had he been rebuked for such worldly conceptions as beclouded his

surer judgment.

 

 

 

Comfort under Separation (vs. 1-4)

 

There is no break between this chapter and the preceding.

 

  • MARK OUR LORD’S SYMPATHY WITH HIS DISCIPLES.

“Let not your heart be troubled.”

 

Ø      The best of Gods people may be at times in a desponding and

distrustful mood.

Ø      Jesus takes delight in comforting His saints and lightening the burden of

a heavy heart. “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

 

  • MARK THE REMEDY FOR THE DESPONDENT MOOD OF HIS

DISCIPLES. “Believe in God, believe also in me.” It is faith. Jesus invites

them to confidence.

 

Ø      There must be faith in God, who has provided a home for his children

on high. There is great comfort in the thought of the Fatherhood of God.

Ø      There must be faith in Christ, who, as the Mediator, will realize what

the Father has promised.

o       As the true Object of our faith, Christ appears here as necessarily

God in conjunction with His Father.

o       The belief that brings comfort to the disciples is not a mere assent

to propositions, but trust in a Person, distinguished by love,

faithfulness, and power.

 

  • THE ARGUMENTS FOR CONSOLATION.

 

Ø      The existence of heaven as the home of the saints. “In my Father’s

house are many mansions.”

o       Heaven is a definite locality. Jesus is there in His glorified body.

o       It is the Father’s house, where God is seen as Father.

o       It is the home of a family. Heaven is a social state. The children

of God are all there.  (In 1992, I saw the poem below at a rest

home in Somerset, Kentucky, where my Mother was living out

her last days.  I took a picture of it then but have no idea where

it is!  Thanks to a few seconds on the Internet, I was able to

locate it.  I share it below.  It was a powerful question then and

is for all time!  - CY – 2013)

 

“I think of times as the night draws near
Of an old house near the river
Of a yard all wide and full of trees
Where the children played at will.
And when the lamp post lights come on,
Hushing the bustling village,
Mother would look all around and ask
"Are all my children in?"

It's many, many years since then,
And the old house near the river
No longer echoes childish feet.
And the yard is still so still.
But I see it all as the night draws near
And though it has been many years,
I can still hear my mother ask
"Are her children in?"


I wonder if when the shadow falls on the last earthling day,
When we share our last good byes,
All tired of our childish games
Will we hear others ask as mother did
"Are all my children in?"

                                                (Sharon Dorival)

 

o       It is a large house, for it has many mansions.”

§         This does not signify that there are different degrees of

happiness in heaven,

§         but that there is room in heaven for the whole family of God.

o       It is a prepared place for a prepared people, ordered by the Lord

Himself. “I go to prepare a place for you.”

§         This implies that Jesus will go first to heaven.

§         He enters within the veil as “Forerunner.” What strong

consolation is in this blessed truth!

Ø      Another argument for consolation is the promise of Christs return to

receive his disciples. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come

again, and I will receive you to myself; that where I am, there ye may be

also.”

o       Christ’s coming is not

§         at Pentecost,

§         nor at conversion,

§         nor at the day of judgment,

§         but at the death of each disciple.

o       The believer will be ultimately received into intimate communion

with Christ in glory.

§         Heaven is wherever Christ is; therefore “to depart and be

with Christ is far better.”

§         Christ will be the Center of the believer’s joys.

Ø      Another argument for consolation is that the disciples knew the way to

heaven. “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

o       Heaven was the goal.

o       The way was communion with Himself.

 

5 “Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and

how can we know the way?”  Thomas — true to the character elsewhere

attributed to him in this Gospel, of anxious, intellectual striving after truth and

reality, with a certain despondency and morbid fear of issues which he could

not grasp, and yet with a great love to his Master — saith to Him, We know not

whither thou goest; i.e. we are still in vague perplexity. “Whither? oh,

whither?” Art thou going to the dispersed among the Gentiles? Art thou

going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Thou art to be “lifted up;” but how

and where art thou to be lifted up? Thou art going — that is all we know,

and this ignorance of ours makes us doubt “the way.”  How do we knew

the way? Is not a knowledge of the goal absolutely necessary to bring into

proper light for us the way, the strange mysterious way, thou art taking?

There often seems in the language of skepticism much common sense, and

in the dry light of science a straightforward honesty; and in reading the

memorable reply of our Lord many have felt a lack of directness and

recognition of the difficulty of Thomas. But is it really so?

 

6 “Jesus saith to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man

cometh unto the Father, but by me.   7 If ye had known me, ye should

have known (absolutely) my Father also:  and from henceforth  ye know

(by personal experience) Him, and (or, perhaps, even) and have seen Him.”  

The whole sentence must be taken together. The whither of Christ is obvious

enough, and throws consequent illumination upon the way thither. “The

Father’s house” is the whither no one cometh unto the Father (but) except

through me (ch. 6:44).  Christ explicitly says:

 

  • that the entire goal of this wondrous way of His is the Father Himself.

From the Father He came, to the Father He was moving, not for His own

sake only, but also as King Messiah for all His subjects. He suggests

  • that mankind generally, as well as His disciples, are anxious to find their

way to the Father’s house, to the Father’s heart, i.e. to resting and

rejoicing in God, and satisfaction in their entire conception of Him and

relation to Him.

  • He declares postively that this idea of God as Father, this approach to

God for every man, is THROUGH HIM (Christ)  — through what He is

and what He is doing and has so often described, for them.

 

True, He had said, in ch. 6:37, 44, that the Father gave to Him and drew towards

Him those who came to Him. A fatherly monition and inward working of grace

opened men’s eyes in Christ to the mystery of true human sonship of the eternal

Father. The statement of this verse supplements the former utterance. They may

best understand the way He is taking when they grasp the fact that He is going

to the Father to prepare a place for them, and so He becomes “the Way, the Truth,

the Life,” for all who are coming after Him, “following Him afterwards” to the

Father. The way of approach to God is constituted by His simply being the

incarnate Logos, by His revealing the mind and nature of God, by His laying

down His life for the sheep that He might take it again.  In doing this He

supplies the method-and motive of holy living. It is not easy to say why our

Lord should have added “the Truth and the Life.”  The two further terms

used by Himself are probably introduced to throw light upon the way to the

Father. Thus there are numerous assurances that He is the Truth itself, that is,

the adequate and sufficient expression of Divine thought. “All the promises

of God are yea [i.e. are uttered] and Amen [i.e. confirmed] in Him.”  

HE IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH:

 

  • about God’s nature;
  • the perfect Exponent of God’s idea of humanity;
  • the Light of the world;
  • the Expression of the reality touching the relations between

moral beings and God — all the relations, not only those of saints

and holy angels, but those of rebels and sinners, whose destiny He

 has taken upon Himself.

 

He is the Way because He is the whole Truth about God and man and

concerning the way to the Father. More than this, and because of this, He adds,

“I am the Life” —”the life eternal,” the Possessor, Author, Captain, Giver,

and Prince of life — the life in the heart of man that can never die; the occasion,

germ, condition, and force of the new life. It were impossible to imagine higher

claim. But He leaves His hearers without any doubt as to His personal and

conscious identification of Himself with the Father. Hitherto He had not so

clearly unveiled Himself as in that which He has here said and is now doing.

Hence His nearest and dearest only partially knew Him. If they had seen all

they might have seen, they would have seen the Father also. Then, as

though He would close all aperture to doubt about the glory involved in His

humiliation, and the way in which His human life had revealed the Father,

he says ajpa>rti ap arti – henceforth; from at present -  this must be a fact

of your consciousness, that you do learn and come to know Him by personal

experience (ginw>skete ginoskete – ye are knowing); and as a matter of fact

 (ejwra>kate heorakateye have seen) Him.  Possibly in the ajpa>rti, involving

the notion of a period rather than a moment, the Lord was including the full

revelation of the glory of self-sacrificial love given alike in His death and

resurrection. And the important thought is suggested that neither the knowledge

of God can ever be complete, nor the vision either. Is Thomas answered or no?

He is silent, and perhaps is pondering the words, which will lead him, before long,

notwithstanding his doubts, to make the grandest confession contained in

the entire Gospel “MY LORD AND MY GOD! ” - (ch. 20:28), the answer of

convinced though once skeptical humanity to the question, “Whom say ye that

I am?” The other apostles feel that Christ’s words have met the mystic vague

fear of Thomas, and that “henceforward” they all belong with Christ to the

Father’s house. They would go to the Father, and at the right time dwell in the

place prepared for them; but how can they be said to know and have seen the

Father already — to have passed into the light or received the beatific vision?

 

 

The Way to God (vs. 4-6)

 

The course of the conversation here is not hard to follow. First, there is the

assertion of Jesus, following upon His revelation of the heavenly dwelling

places, that His disciples knew well the road He was about to travel. He had

often of late spoken of His approaching departure from this world, and

even of the manner of it. Secondly, there is the difficulty, started by

Thomas, that they knew not the goal, and therefore could not know the

path by which it should be reached. This difficulty may have been partly an

unspiritual stumbling; the twelve were thinking of an earthly road and an

earthly destination, and were confusing the approach to the Father with the

approach, to a city or a mansion, in which latter case, indeed, a traveler

needs to know first his goal and then his route. Partly, too, the perplexity

may have been owing to a deep depression, by reason of which the twelve

did not do justice to their own knowledge and standing, and took a lower

tone than they should have done. Then, thirdly, there is our Lord’s

explanatory reply. In this He gives what we may call a turn to the

conversation, passing in thought from Himself to them. The Father’s house

is for both — for the elder son and for the younger members of the

spiritual family. To know the road thither — this is the THE MATTER OF

CHIEF CONCERN TO ALL!   Thus Jesus is led to communicate to them

the great revelation of the sixth verse — to point to Himself as “the Way,”

and to represent Himself as the sole and sufficient means of approach to God.

 

  • CHRIST IS THE WAY TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. It is not so

much by explanatory language that Jesus reveals to His people the character

of the Father; He does not merely point out the way. But in His own Person,

His life and ministry, He displays to us the attributes of Deity which it most

concerns us to know; and thus HE IS THE WAY!  As incarnate God, as the

one Mediator, He presents the Father before the view of His spiritual family.

(Hebrews 1:1-3)

 

  • CHRIST IS THE WAY TO THE FAVOR OF GOD. To understand

how holy and how righteous is the Divine Ruler and Judge, is to

understand that sinners forfeit His favor. Our Savior is the divinely

appointed Way to reconciliation and harmony with God  whose laws

all men have broken. He removes obstacles otherwise insurmountable,

bridges chasms otherwise impassable, makes of Himself a path of

safety and of progress, so that the passage to the Divine friendship

becomes possible and safe. On this account, probably, Christianity is,

in the Book of the Acts, repeatedly spoken of as “the way,” i.e. the

path by which sinful men return to the affectionate interest and

regard of A RIGHTEOUS GOD!

 

  • CHRIST IS THE WAY TO THE FATHER’S FELLOWSHIP. It is,

indeed, with a view to this that the former is desirable. It is moral union

which is chiefly important. And the Spirit of Christ exercises over the

nature of believing men that power and grace which transform into the

Divine likeness. In coming thus unto the Father a man becomes a son

indeed; he experiences the grace of true adoption; he is made in the

likeness of his Lord.

 

  • CHRIST IS THE WAY TO THE FATHER’S PRESENCE AND

HOME. This perhaps is both the ultimate sense of the language, and the

first meaning attached to it by those to whom it was addressed. Jesus was

Himself about to go to the Father, and He wished His beloved friends to

understand that He would not go alone, that in due time they should enter

the sacred presence and know the mystic joy. And since it was difficult for

them to believe and realize this, He drew their regard to Himself, and led

them to cherish the hope that in His society and through His mediation they

should be introduced to all the honors and to all the immortal employments

of the Father’s house.

 

 

Christ the Truth (v. 6)

 

Often in the New Testament do we find our Lord Jesus associated with

truth. Those who saw Him as He was beheld Him “full of grace and truth.”

(ch. 1:14).  His promise to the disciples who studied Him was that they should

know the truth, and by the truth should be made free. When the crisis of His

ministry and the hour of His sacrifice arrived, He summed up the whole

purpose of His mission in the declaration that He came into the world in

order to “bear witness unto the truth” (ch. 18:37).  Hence in Revelation

3:14 He is named as “the faithful and true Witness.”

 

  • WHAT IS THE TRUTH TO BE FOUND IN CHRIST? All truth is

beautiful, worthy of reverence and of quest; but there are grades of truth.

There is a common notion that upon matters of little moment truth is

attainable; but that, the higher we go in our inquiries, the more is it

imperative to be content with doubt and uncertainty; whilst upon the most

wonderful and sacred of all themes truth is absolutely beyond our reach.

This accounts for much of men’s absorption in trifles. How many are

content with the knowledge of individual facts and unimportant

generalizations, just because the skeptical spirit of the time indisposes them

to believe in the possibility of grasping the truth upon the greatest subjects

of all! Yet it is a persuasion as unreasonable as it is dreary, that man is not

made to know the truth. Pilate asked, perhaps with a cynical and wearied

indifference, “What is truth?” But multitudes are like him in the conviction,

the prejudice, that to this query there is no reply. Positivism tells us that

phenomena and their invariable connections may be known, but that it is a

waste of human time and power to seek for what really is, for what

accounts for all that appears. Yet there are times when the most hopeless

skeptic longs for truth. And especially are we constrained to desire truth

regarding our own nature, truth regarding the character and purposes of

God, truth regarding the Divine purpose in our being and our life, TRUTH

RELATING TO ETERNITY.   The small syllogisms by which men attempt to prove that truth, on all matters upon which we really care for truth, is beyond

our reach, impose upon none of us. And Christianity is the highest reason,

because it offers that which our limited and unaided experience cannot

acquire — the truth, which may take to one mind the form of spiritual

beauty, to another the shape of a law of infinite righteousness, but which is

what alone can satisfy the craving nature of man.

 

  • HOW DOES CHRIST REVEAL THE TRUTH? The most obvious

answer to this inquiry is, that our Lord’s recorded words are the

embodiment of religious truth both speculative and practical. And He

distinctly and boldly claimed to tell His auditors “the truth.” Certain it is

that upon all matters of highest interest we are indebted more to Jesus than

to all others. The intuitions of genius, the conclusions of meditation and of

learning, cannot be compared with those Divine utterances of the Prophet

of Nazareth, which, though in form and in language so simple, have been

recognized by the thoughtful as consummate wisdom — as, in fact,

REVELATION and nothing less than revelation. Sit at the feet of the great

Teacher, and you will learn more truth from His lips than can be acquired

from studying the treatises of thinkers and the aphorisms of sages. Yet it is

observable that Jesus does not say, “I teach the truth;” He says, I am the

Truth.”  (God is “ABUNDANT IN TRUTH” – Exodus 34:6).  This may be paradoxical, but it is just. The truth upon the highest of all themes cannot be

put into words. Human language is not always adequate to express human

ideas, human emotions; how can it be expected to utter the thoughts and the principles which are Divine? There are subjects to which the close precision

of words may seem adapted; they are capable of verbal vesture. But how

much there is which no words can tell even those words which, as their

Speaker said, are “spirit and life!”

 

“Truth in closest words shall fail,

When truth, embodied in a tale,

Shall enter in at lowly doors.”

 

There was but one way in which man could learn God, and that was by

GOD BECOMING MAN!   “The Word became flesh” (ch. 1:14).  We

learn Divine truth in the ministry, the life, of God’s Son. The truth as to

God’s character we read in the deeds of Immanuel (God with us” –

ch. 14:23; Matthew1:23), so gentle, yet so grand and God-like. The

truth as to God’s purposes of love we learn from Christ’s sacrifice, from

Christ’s cross. The truth concerning our salvation we know when we

witness Christ’s victory over sin and death. It is the complete picture which

portrays the complete original; he who would acquaint himself with the

whole truth of God, as far as God is related to man, must take into his

mind the perfect and glorious representation offered in the gospel. There is

no other way in which the truth can be grasped and held by the finite,

created nature. Know Him who is the Truth; and then, then only, do you

know THE TRUTH ITSELF!

 

  • BY WHAT MEANS IS THE TRUTH TO BE GAINED? If what has

been said be accepted as a just expression of the fact, and a just

interpretation of the text, then we are on the way to a solution of the

practical difficulty. There is no place for skepticism for that superficial and

often unreflecting denial of the possibility of attaining truth, which leads

some men TO DESPAIR,  but more to indolence of mind or to sensuality

of life.  And yet truth is not to be found by a mere passive submission to

human authority; nor by a process of scientific inquiry applied to matters

with which that process has no affinity. But it is to be found by those

morally prepared for the discovery by humility and reverence; it is to be

found by those who come to Christ, to listen to Him, to watch Him, to

win Him by the wide receptiveness of faith, and by the luminous

sympathy of love.

 

Christ the Life (v. 6)

 

The broadest and most impressive distinction in nature is that between

what is inanimate and what lives. Beautiful as are earth’s landscapes, grand

as is the rolling sea, awful’ as is the storm, still there is an interest in life far

deeper than can be found in the passive and the non-sentient creation. The

power which living things possess of taking into themselves, and of making

their own, the matter of which their own structure is composed — the

growth of framework and of organs, the exercise of function, the obvious

working out in the individual of an end appointed; the reaction of living

things upon the lifeless world, and the mysterious connection of life with

feeling, and in its higher forms with mind; above all, the union between the

living being, man, and the rational, accountable, immortal spirit; — all

these render life intensely and imperishably interesting. It is not, as at first

sight may seem to be the case, a fall in dignity when Jesus, having asserted

Himself to be “the Truth,” goes on to claim that He is also “the Life.” In

fact, the true is the theoretical, and the living is the practical, in which latter

the former finds its true expression, interpretation, and end. In a universe

governed by INFINITE REASON AND RIGHTEOUSNESS,  THE

HIGHEST TRUTH AND NOBLEST LIFE must be FOR EVER

LINKED IN PERFECT UNISON!

 

  • CHRIST IS IN HIMSELF THE POSSESSOR OF PERFECT

SPIRITUAL LIFE, Such was the testimony of evangelists and apostles.

“In Him was life  (ch. 1:4);  “The life which was with the Father was

manifested unto us,” etc. The same witness was borne by the Lord Himself.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life” (ch. 11:25);  I live.” Such language declares the independence of the eternal Word, His underived authority, His supremacy over all who live by and through Him. No man can dare to say,

“I am the life;” a creature of Divine power, born but yesterday, and every

Moment depending upon providential care, he cannot but shrink from a

claim which would be as absurd as it would be profane. But Jesus could

say, “As the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son

also to have life in Himself.”  (ch. 5:26)

 

  • CHRIST IS THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE TO MEN. As

far as we can trace it, life always comes from life. A mysterious principle,

in its origin of lineal derivation, enables the living being to appropriate to

itself its appointed nourishment, to discharge its proper functions, to do the

work assigned to it in the economy of nature. Without this principle the

lifeless matter is powerless.

 

Find a thing which has created itself? 

                                If you had no existence,

                                How could you create yourself?

                                Nothing cannot produce anything!

                               

How can a man recreate himself?

                                A man cannot create himself into a new condition,

                                                 When he, himself has no being in that condition. 

(Charles H. Spurgeon)

 

 

Now, the spirit of man is the breath of the Almighty. Informed by this

Divine energy man lives, spiritually as well as naturally. But there is a

life which is distinctively Christian; and this is always traceable to Christ Himself. He communicates the life which He possesses. Imagine the earth

as it is in the chill, hard grasp of winter; and in your fancy watch the

change which takes place when that grasp is relaxed.  The sun shines

more warmly, the breezes play softly over the fields and the forests,

and radiant spring smiles upon the earth, which beneath that smile

begins to live. The corn springs up, the flowers bloom, the leaves burst

into greenness, the grove lately still and silent echoes with the songs of

birds, and all creation flushes, blossoms, murmurs into life. Such is the

change which the coming of Christ brings to the soul, brings to the

world.  “Newness of life,” life “more abundantly,” the movement of emancipated energies, the chorus of newborn joy, the brightness and the

smile of a glorious hope, — these all tell that Christ, “the Life,” has come.

His advent, His sacrifice, His resurrection, His Divine outpouring of blessing,

were the means by which His spiritual vitality was communicated. The same

Christ who gave the life at first, sustains, enriches, and develops it, and will

in His own time also perfect it  (Psalm 138:8).  It is His work to slay death

itself, and to pour the vitality which streams from the bosom of the Eternal through all the channels of the spiritual organism. It must not be overlooked

that it is not the mere bodily presence of the Savior upon earth that ensured

this result. It is His spiritual presence which secures THE FULNESS OF

DIVINE LIFE to humanity. From the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit,

i.e. the Spirit of Christ, was poured out from on high (Acts 2), life has

entered human souls in new measure and with new fruits, and in many a

spot the desert has rejoiced and blossomed as the rose.  (Isaiah 35:1)

 

  • CHRIST IS THUS TO MAN THE AUTHOR OF AN

IMMORTALITY OF BLESSEDNESS. The life of created organisms,

both vegetable and animal, is perishable and brief. The life even of a

species, a race, is but for a season. There are good reasons for regarding

the spiritual life as above the action of this scientific law. To that law the

body, a part of nature, is subject; from its action the spirit is exempt. There

are those who hold that endless continuance of being is the purchase of the

Savior’s redemption. But certain it is, that what makes life good and

desirable is due to the Spirit of the living Redeemer. He has “brought life

and immortality to light by the gospel”  (II Timothy 1:10).  He has said, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”  (v. 19).  A mere enduring sentiency

is valueless; eternal progress in the knowledge and fellowship of God

Himself, — this is life indeed. It is in this sense that he who liveth and

believeth on Christ shall never die.  (ch. 11:26)

 

  • THAT CHRIST IS THE LIFE OF MEN IS PRECIOUS TIDINGS

WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION. Spiritual death is indeed dreadful

to contemplate; to experience it is the most awful doom that man can know.

Yet the Scriptures represent sinful men as spiritually dead — “dead in

trespasses and sins”  (Ephesians 2:1).  To those in such a state it seems, if

they know themselves AND KNOW NOT CHRIST,  THAT EXISTENCE

IS A CURSE!   With what sweetness must the gospel come to such! To

them it is the bringer of hope; for to them Christ is the Bringer of life. The welcome message is, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,

and CHRIST SHALL GIVE THEE LIGHT!  (Ephesians 5:14):

 

 

Thomas’s Questioning (vs. 5-7)

 

It turned upon the ability of Christ to bring the disciples to the end of the

way.

 

  • THOMAS’S OBSCURITIES. Lord, we know not whither thou goest,

and how can we know the way?”

 

Ø      He imagined that the Messiahs reign was to be on earth. Where, then,

could be the royal home to which the Messiah was about to depart, and

into which He was to gather his saints?

Ø      The question illustrates the peculiar temper of a disciple who is not

destined to receive the higher blessing of those who “have not seen, and

yet have believed.”  (ch. 20:29)

 

  • OUR LORD’S SOLUTION OF THOMAS’S DIFFICULTIES. “I am

the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by

me.” The answer is larger than the question. To know Christ is to know

the goal and the way to it.

o       Jesus is the Way to heaven.

§         He is the only Way (Acts 4:12).

§         He is the new Way (Hebrews 10:20).

§         He is the old Way (Hebrews 11:40).

§         He is the Way that joins two worlds.

He is the Way of access to the Father. “No man cometh to the

Father, but by me.” 

o       Jesus is the Truth.

§         He is the Teacher of the truth which directs to the way.

§         He is the Revelation of God to the world.

§         He is the eternal Truth.

o       Jesus is the Life.

§         He is the Giver of the life which carries the believer to heaven.

§         He is the living Way.

§         He is that eternal Life that was with the Father and was

§         manifested to us (I John 1:2).

§         He is the abiding Source of spiritual life.

o       The Father is the End of the way. “No man cometh to the Father,

but by me.” Christ’s mediatorship is an essential fact in Christianity.

o       The manifestation of Jesus is the manifestation of the Father.

“If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: and from

henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.”

This manifestation will be fuller as the day of Pentecost is at hand, with its

shower of spiritual blessings and its wide enlargement of knowledge.

 

In vs. 8-21 we have the question of Philip, with the reply.  Jesus is the full

Revelation of the Father.

 

8 “Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”

Philip has been introduced in ch.1:44-46; 6:7; 12:21, etc. (see notes), as one early

acquainted with the sons of Zebedee, with Andrew and Nathaniel. He is described

as convinced of the Messianic character of Jesus, and able, by what he had seen and

heard, to overcome all prejudices. Philip, with practical mind, took part in the

conversations and preparations for our Lord’s great miracle on the loaves. Philip

was thought of as a suitable person to introduce the Greeks to Jesus: and every

hint we obtain about him is graphic and valuable. Philip saith to Him,

Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. This query is a very

natural one. Though under ordinary circumstances men cannot with mortal

eyes look on God, yet one of the high purports of the Christian revelation

is to make it possible that men may LOOK AND LIVE.  (I am still highly

recommending the three sermons by Charles Spurgeon on Isaiah 45 –this

web site – CY – 2013).  Theophanies of Jehovah are not infrequent. The

favored prophets, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Isaiah, Ezekiel  and others had

been favored with visions of Divine majesty, and it was not unreasonable that

the practical Philip, who believed in the invincible assent which personal

experience would give, who not only had seen in Jesus the Messiah of their

prophecies, but had said to Nathanael, “Come and see,” and be as satisfied as

I am, should now think that some gorgeous vision of the Father’s face was

possibly within their reach and within Christ’s power to confer — a vision which

would for ever scatter their doubts and enforce certitude with plausibility. May

it not suggest that some whisper of the Transfiguration-glory had escaped from

the favored three, leading the other disciples to desire a corresponding

theophany.  To see and know the Father, to have irresistible evidence that the

Eternal Power is ONE who has begotten us from HIMSELF, and both knows

and loves us, is the HIGHEST AND MOST SACRED YEARNING OF THE

HUMAN HEART!   The desire is implanted by God Himself. Philip, with his

fellow-disciples, had not yet learned the sacred truth that they had already had

the opportunity of seeing in the life of the God Man the most explicit

manifestation of the Father. A dazzling phenomenon, outside of Christ, might

have given to the disciples a new impression of awe and fear like that which fell

on Moses and the elders of Israel, on Isaiah and Elijah; yet a far more

comprehensive revelation of Divine perfection, inspiring the spirit of obedience,

reverence, trust, and love, devotion, and self-sacrifice, HAD ALREADY BEEN

MADE TO THEM,  but their eyes were holden. They were not satisfied, or

Philip would not have said kai< ajrkei~ hJmi~n kai arkei haemin – and it

sufficeth us.  Christ’s reply is:

 

9 “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet

hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the

Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

 Have I been so long a period (cro>non .chronon - time) with

you, and hast thou not come to know (e]gnwka>v egnoskas – you have

known ) me, Philip? (Compare the aorist dei~xon deixonshow - suggesting

one great complete sufficing act, with the perfect forms, e]gnwka>v me

ejwrakw<v ejo>rake egnokas me, heorakos, heorake  - you have not known,

one having seen, has seen -  implying a process continuing from the past into the

present,) The revelation of the Father, rather than an unveiling of the absolute

God whom no man hath ever yet seen (see ch.1:18), had been constantly going

on before their eyes  Our Lord first of all appeals to that fact; and yet fact, reality

as it was, the disciples had failed even to know Him, inasmuch as they had not

seen in Him the Father. He thus confirms the statement of v. 7. There is an

evident pathos in this personal appeal.   The only partial parallels in John

are ch.20:16 (Mary); and 21:15 (Simon, etc.) There is no right understanding

of JESUS CHRIST UNTIL THE FATHER IS ACTUALLY SEEN IN HIM!

He is not known in His humanity until the Divine Personality flashes through

Him on the eyes of faith. We do not know any man until we know the best of

him. How far more true is it of God and of the Father- GOD REVEALED

IN THE CHRIST!   He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.

The “seeing” here must be adequate, comprehensive vision. How  sayest

thou — emphatic — Show us the Father? Philip, by the hints already

given of him, might have discarded the Jewish and crude idea of a physical

theophany. “How sayest thou?” reveals that sense of failure which Christ

experienced when He sought to realize in the poor material of our human

nature His own ideal.

 

10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the

words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father

that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.”  Believest thou not that I am

in the Father, and the Father in me? Philip had heard in an inverted order

these very words (see ch.10:38). He might have grasped their meaning; two

aspects of the same Divine truth or reality — the reciprocal fellowship between

the Father and the Son, between the Father and the Effulgence of the Father’s

glory who is now the God-Man. (“His Son……who being the brightness of

His glory, and the express image of His person” – Hebrews 1:2-3).  I am in the

Father, I the God-Man am in the Father, as the Logos has ever been in Him and

proceeding from Him. I, who was forever in the bosom of the Father in heaven

though on earth, am in the Father now, as the sun dwells in its own effluent light;

and the Father is in me, seeing I AM:

 

·         the Image of His substance,

·         the Agent of His purpose,

·         the Speaker of His words,

·         the Doer of His works.

 

The words (rJh>mata rhemata – words; declarations) which I speak (lalw~

 lalo – I am speaking) unto you — those words which are “spirit and life”

(ch.6:63), those “words of eternal life,” according to Peter’s grand

confession (Ibid. vs.68-69) — I do not utter ((lalw~) from myself; i.e.

they are the words of the Father, and also the proof that I am in the Father

but the Father worketh always and ever more in and through the Son, these

works which may seem to be mine as the Son of man, but are the operation

of the Father Himself, He who abides in the Son. And the Father abiding

in me, doeth His works. These works of mine (e]rga erga) are all signs

(shmei~a  - saemeia) of my relation to the Father. They are indications to

Philip of the nature, and quality, and character, and feeling towards Him

of the Father Himself.

 

11 “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else

believe me for the very works’ sake.”  Believe me when I say that I am

in the Father, and the Father in me, on the ground of my simple affirmation.

My words are spirit and life, and carry their own evidence with them. Christ

is not here antithetically contrasting words and works, as though

the words were His, and the works the Father’s; but He is appealing to their

spiritual intuition of truth which is legible by its own light as eternal and

Divine, and then reminding them that they may fail in transcendental vision

and fall back on reason and its processes, which will come nearer to their

understanding — Or else (eij de< mh> ei de mae – if yet no), if it be after

all that you cannot take my words as the Father’s words, as the utterance

of the DIVINE THOUGHT - believe me — believe that I am in the Father, etc. —

by reason of the very works which are the witness of the Father’s power,

holiness, and love. In this last appeal He turns from Philip to the whole

group of the apostles. Miracles are, if not primary evidence, secondary and

convincing  evidence, where the eye has been blinded by the mists of doubt,

and the vision of the Father CONFUSED and WITHHELD BY THE

LACK OF INWARD PURITY!  Moreover, by Christ’s e]rga –– erga

works - are meant, not merely the supernatural portents, but all the work

of His life, all the healing of souls, all the conversion of souls, all the

indubitable issues of His approach to the heart of man. The great e]rgon

ergonwork – SALVATION FROM SIN, THE GIFT OF

RIGHTEOUSNESS, and LIFE WHERE THERE WAS MORAL DEATH!

(see notes, vs. 19-20; ch.10:37-38).

 

In vs. 12-15, Jesus speaks of greater works, and their conditions and issues,

He offers a fresh ground of consolation, based on the double consideration,

first of His departure from them and abiding presence with them, and then

on the reflex effect on their own faith and on the world of their

consciousness of union with Him. He throws the arms of His love round

about, not only the eleven disciples, but all believers on Him, and in a sense

draws them up into His own Divinity. With these words must be compared

the closely parallel words addressed to them (as preserved by Matthew

21:21-22) a few days before. This was a saying at once explaining the

reference to the “greater works” and also to the POWER OF PRAYER!

 

12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works

that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;

because I go unto my Father.”  Verily, verily — with a fresh emphasis He

turns now, not from Philip to the eleven, but from the eleven to ALL WHO

WILL BELIEVE ON HIM THROUGH THEIR WORD I say unto you,

He that believeth on me — observe here a nominative absolute, which gives

great emphasis to the universality of the reference; the form is slightly varied,

eijv ejme> eis eme – on me -  in place of moi moi - me , v. 11, —

believeth, trusteth on me, confides in me, by reason of believing me — he also

shall do the works that I do (see for similar emphasis procured by the word

ka<kei~nov kakeinos – also that one – ch.6:57; 9:37; 12:48).  The disciples

might naturally have reasoned on this wise: “Our Master is the incarnate Word,

the very Hand and Grace of the Father; but He is going to the invisible Father,

and wilt be lost in light. His series of proofs will be at an end; we shall only

have the memory of them. The glory of God is great, but, like a gorgeous

sunset, its flames will die away into the night.” To rectify such fear for all the

ages of the Church, He adds, “The very works of healing and helping men,

even of raising the dead, and preaching glad tidings to the poor and needy,

— these will be proofs of the union of the believer in all time with me and

with my Father.” In the case of such believer, as well as in my case, the works

may increase the faith of others. They are not indispensable, but comforting

and reassuring, and they show that EVERY BELIEVER IS NEAR TO THE

HEART OF THE FATHER  and wields the power of God. But the full force

of this somewhat perplexing sentence is heightened and to some extent explained

by the addition: And greater works than these he shall do; because I am going

to the Father.  Greater works than any wrought by the Lord in the days of His

humiliation are predicted of Messiah. He is to be the “Light of the Gentiles”

(Isaiah 42:6; compare Psalm 72:8, 11; 110.). He is to rule the world, to cover the

earth with the glory of God. How He was to do this was hidden from the

disciples, but it would soon appear that they were the instruments, in His

loving hands, for world-victories. Nay, more than that, Jesus (ch.4:36-38)

had told these disciples that they might reap what He had sown.

These rather than other and more surprising prodigies of supernatural

energy (i.e. - the healing energy of Peter’s shadow – Acts 5:15) were the

greater works to which He probably (ch. 5:20) referred, though He gives

a reason which would check all presumption: Because of going to the Father.

The contrast, then, is between the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, between

works wrought in His flesh and those that would be done by Him when at the

right hand of power.

 

  • Without Him,
  • separated from Him,
  • independently of His continued and augmented energy working

through them,

 

THEY WOULD DO NOTHING!   (ch.15:5; compare here Matthew 21:21-22).

In the last passage, in answer to believing prayer, the disciples were told that they

would do greater things than wither up the fig tree, or remove the mountain into

the sea. Probably these terms, “fig tree,” “mountain,” “sea,” were used in their

prophetic-symbolic sense, and were not hyperbolic promises, but definite

prophecies of the overthrow of the Jewish state, and the fall of the Roman

power under the word of those who believed on Him. These vast privileges

and functions are here attributed to “believers,” not merely to the apostles,

or princes in His kingdom. This extraordinary promise is no disparagement

of His supreme authority, but will be proof that HE SITTETH ON THE

RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH!  (Hebrews 1:3)

 

13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the

Father may be glorified in the Son.” The great word that follows may hang

closely on the because” of v. 12. Whether that be so or not, the power of their

hands to perform these greater works is in answer to prayer presented to

Himself, and their success is nothing less than His own activity. And whatsoever

 ye ask in my Name, that will I do. Here for the first time our Lord uses these

words. Frequently (ch. 5:43; 10:25) He had spoken of the Fathers Name, and in

Matthew 18:20 eijv to< ejmo<n o]noma eis to emon onoma – in my name –

 occurs; but now He suggests a new and vitalizing condition of prayer. Luthardt

has suggested that the believer, being “in Christ,” prays to the Father, who is

also in Christ. But the ejn - en  - in - is used here in two entirely distinct senses.

Others  have said, taking “Name” as the compendium of all His perfections,

that asking “in His Name” meant in full recognition of His Person and His

relation to them and to the Father. The Name of the Son reveals the Father,

and by assuming this most excellent Name, and having its fullness of

meaning avouched by the Resurrection and Ascension, the Father was truly

manifested. Others, again, urge that Christ’s “Name” is equivalent to

“Himself;” and “in my Name” means in the full consciousness that He is

the element in which prayerful activity lives and moves. Surely this

passage is the true justification of prayer to Christ Himself, as identically

one with the Father (see Revelation 7:17). “This thing I will do” is

strongly in favor of this interpretation. That the Father may be glorified

in the Son. The end of this prayer-offering and the Lord’s response is that

the Father may be glorified; the Father who has such a Son is thereby

glorified in the grateful love of His children, and in the Son Himself, who

is seen thus to be the link between Him and His other children.

 

14 “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

If ye shall ask me anything in my Name, etc., is, omitting the i[na hina

that - clause of the former utterance, a solemn repetition of the promise.  The

only condition being “in my Name.”  Our Lord Christ foresaw that

this article would go hard with human reason, and that it would be much

assailed by the devil.  “What ye ask,” says He, I will do. I am God, who

may do and give all things.” The peculiarity of the Received Text lays, indeed,

special emphasis on Christ’s own power and willingness to receive and

answer prayer.

 

 

Christian Prayer (vs. 13-14)

 

Great works involve great gifts. Our Lord, having assured His disciples that

in the coming dispensation they should perform marvelous achievements,

transcending even His own deeds of might and grace, now proceeds to

explain how they shall be qualified for service so arduous and effective.

Prayer shall be offered, and prayer altogether special and Christian; and in

answer to such prayer the virtue and efficiency needed shall be bestowed.

 

  • THE PRAYER WHICH CHRIST SANCTIONS.

 

Ø      The petitions here encouraged are such as the disciples of Jesus

offer.  Not that any human being is forbidden to pray, but that

there is special encouragement for those who are Christ’s own

scholars and friends, and that there is a special guarantee on

their behalf.

Ø      The condition affixed to the direction and promise of the text is

very instructive. What is asked must be asked in Jesus’ Name.

This was a new condition, one which up to this time it was not

in their power to fulfill, but which henceforth would be felt by

them to be most natural and appropriate.  In explaining this

condition, it must be borne in mind that Jesus was explaining

the unity of His people with Himself; so that on the one hand

they were called to bring all their desires into harmony with

His will, and on the other hand they were encouraged to trust

in His mediation and advocacy.

Ø      The breadth of the Lord’s promise deserves attention; When

prayer is offered by those whom He describes, and in the manner

which He prescribes, there is no limitation set. The expressions “whatsoever” and “anything” indicate alike the vastness of the

Lord’s resources and the liberality of his heart.

 

  • THE ANSWER WHICH CHRIST PROMISES.

 

Ø      It proceeds from Himself. “I will do it,” says the Master. In making

this declaration our Lord asserts His own Deity — makes Himself

equal with God,” who alone hears and answers prayer. Wonderful

indeed is such language, as coming from One who was about to be betrayed and crucified.

Ø      It corresponds with the petition. The very thing which the Christian

desires, Christ promises to give. Such an assurance places all the

resources of Omnipotence at the disposal of the lowliest disciple.

It corresponds with the apostolic assertion, “All things are yours.”

(I Corinthians 3:21)

 

  • THE PURPOSE WHICH CHRIST CONTEMPLATES. The ultimate

end of Christian privileges and Divine blessings is to be SOUGHT IN

GOD HIMSELF and such an end affords to the soul A FULL AND

FINAL SATISFACTION!  When Christ’s people receive the supply of

all their need, through the advocacy of the Redeemer whom the Father

has appointed, that Father’s wisdom and benevolence are seen in the

brightest light. It raises our conception of the dignity of prayer when we understand and feel that its effect is not merely upon ourselves, that its

effect does not terminate here.  There is an even higher purpose in this

Divine arrangement that Christian petitions shall be answered; it is a

revelation of the character and of the will of THE ETERNAL

FATHER HIMSELF!

 

15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” This great saying

is enlarged on in the subsequent section — the relation of love to

obedience, obedience producing love, and love suggesting obedience and

supplying it with motive. Ta<v ejntola<v ta<v ejma>v tas entolas tas ema

keep my commandments -  “the commandments  which are peculiarly mine as

either adopted and reuttered by me, or as originating in my new relation to you.

“Guard them as a sacred deposit, obey them as the only reasonable

response you can make to authoritative command.” It is somewhat startling

to find the great promise that follows conditioned by loving obedience,

seeing that love and obedience in any sinful man, love to Christ itself, are

elsewhere made the work of the Holy Spirit. But we here come across that

which often perplexes the student, viz. the contrast between the general

idea of the constant and continuous work of grace in human hearts, and the

special manifestation in personal glory and Divine activity of the Holy

Ghost on Pentecost.

 

In vs. 16-21, the greatest gift, the other Advocate, the Holy Spirit is to be given.

 

16 “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter,

that He may abide with you for ever;  17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom

the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him:

but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

Consequent on this obedient love, conditioned by it, is the

Lord’s assurance: And I will ask the Father ejrwta~|n - erotan pray;

shall be asking - is used of an asking which is based on close and intimate

fellowship; it is the word which implies the presentation of wish or a desire

from an equal to an equal, while aijtei~n ,aiteinask; desire; beg -  represents

the prayer or seeking which rises from an inferior to a superior (see note on ch.

16:26, and other usage of the same words ch. 17:9, 15, 20) — and He will give

make a Divine and free manifestation of Himself by His Spirit, give to you as

your inalienable possession — another Paraclete, that he may be with you for

evermore. Great deference is due to the Greek expositors, beginning with

Chrysostom, who translate this word “Comforter,” and who point back to

the Septuagint  parakalei~te parakaleite (Isaiah 40:1), and because

paraklh>siv - paraklaesis  - very often, if not always, means “consolation;”

but the word is passive in form, and denotes “one called in,” or “called to

the side of another,” for the purpose of helping him in any way, but especially

in legal proceedings and criminal charges, so that the word “Advocate,” Pleader

for us and in us, is the translation that most generally is accepted by almost all

modern expositors. “Another” implies that Christ had already stood in this

position while present with them, helping with tender care their first efforts

to stand or serve. John (I John 2:1) distinctly says, “We have now a Paraclete

with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous,” etc. And in this place (v. 17)

the coming of the Paraclete was His own true return to His disciples.

No other word is satisfactory but ‘Advocate,’ and the suggestion is that the

only meaning here that is adequate is that of one who pleads, convinces,

convicts in a great controversy, who strengthens on the one hand, and defends

on the other. Christ, as the Advocate, pleads the believer’s cause with the Father

against the accuser (I John 2:1; Romans 8:26; Revelation 12:10). The Holy Spirit,

as the Advocate, pleads the cause of the believer against the world (ch.16:8),

and pleads CHRIST’S CAUSE with the believer (here, v.26; 15:26; 16:14).”

There is Talmudic evidence to the same effect.  Thus from the ‘Pirke Aboth,’ 4:11,

“He that keepeth one commandment obtains for himself one paraklit, but he who

committeth one sin obtains for himself one kattegor (kath>gorov kataegoros

accuser).” The word was incorporated into the Syrian language, as seen in the

Peshito Syriac translation, both of the Gospel and the First Epistle of John.

The Advocate who is to be with the disciples forever, arguing down opposition

and silencing cavil, is the Spirit of truth. The abundant proof of this great function

of the Holy Spirit is not wanting. There is Christ’s promise (Matthew 10:19-20;

Mark 13:9-11). Then in Acts 4:8 and 13, whatever Christ had been to the twelve,

that would the other Advocate, Mediator of Divine grace, be to the whole

Church when the Lord’s earthly manifestation should terminate. The

genitive after “Spirit” sometimes denotes its great characteristic (compare

Romans 1:4, “the Spirit of holiness;” Ibid. ch. 8:15, “Spirit of

bondage” and “of adoption;” but in the same context we have “Spirit of

God,” “the Spirit;” Ephesians 1:17, “Spirit of wisdom and revelation”;

compare also Romans 8:9, “Spirit of Christ;” I Peter. 4:14, “the Spirit of

glory”); and the idea is that this other Advocate, even the Spirit of truth:

 

  • shall reveal truth to the disciples, and
  • convince them of truth,

 

as Christ had done. Whom the world cannot receive. There are antipathies

between “the world” (as conceived by John) and “truth,” which will render

the world strangely unsusceptible of DIVINE TEACHING!   Still, since the

whole process of conviction is the distinct effect of the Holy Spirit upon the

world (see John 16.), the la>bein labein – get; receive -  must not mean that

the world cannot accept its convincing power, but cannot exert its power of

convincing.  Through apostles, who are His organs and representatives, the

world will  be convinced, and not apart from them. Because it seeth him not

(qewrei~ - thoreiseeing; beholding) — does not behold Him in His external

revelations — and knoweth Him not by personal experience, “is not learning

to know Him” as these disciples even hitherto have been able to do in Christ.

The world has proved by its rejection of Christ that it cannot behold the

Divine energy in Him, nor perceive by any inward experience His nature or

the real nature of God; but ye, said Christ, are now learning to know Him;

 for He abideth with you. He has begun His abiding presence with you, and

shall be in you; and THIS STATE OF THINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL

THE END OF TIME!   The world cannot “receive,” because it is dependent on

visible things, and it cannot know because it cannot behold. You have no

need to behold, and can and do know by another process. The passage is

very difficult, because, if the world cannot receive the Spirit by reason of

its own unspirituality and ignorance, how is the threefold conviction to be

realized? May la>bein (receive) be regarded in the sense of katala>mbanein,

katalambanein -  to seize hold of?  (compare ch.19:1; Revelation 8:5). If so, the

whole of this passage would read, “He will give you another Helper or Advocate,

that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot

seize (or take from you), because it beholdeth Him not, neither knoweth Him;

but ye are learning to know Him, because He, according to the eternal laws of

His being, dwelleth with you, and will be in you, and be altogether beyond the

malice of the world.”

 

 

Another Comforter (v. 16)

 

This designation of the Holy Spirit brings forward into prominence His

work on earth and His relation to men. And this is the aspect in which the

Spirit of God has most interest for us. The theologian properly studies the

Third Person of the Trinity in relation to the Father and the Son. But to the

Christian desirous of appropriating the blessings revealed by religion, there

is great encouragement in this designation, another Comforter.”

 

  • THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF HUMAN NEEDS. Why should

a “Comforter” be provided? There must be something in the condition of

men which makes the promise of a Divine Friend so appropriate and

welcome. Men suffer from ignorance and proneness to error and delusion.

They are encompassed with temptations which act powerfully, sometimes

fatally, upon their frail and feeble nature. And those who are bent upon

attaining true knowledge and practicing true virtue are exposed to the

bitter hostility and opposition of the world.

 

  • THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF THE CHARACTER AND

THE OFFICES OF CHRIST HIMSELF. In promising another

Comforter to come upon His own departure, Jesus was really claiming to

be a Comforter, whose loss must needs be sorely felt. And such He was.

He had been very much in the society of His disciples, was always

sympathetic, always wise in counsel, always faithful in admonition,

always gracious in encouragement. Nor, indeed, did He cease to be the

Paraclete, the Advocate, of His people, when He quitted the world which

He visited in order to befriend and save its guilty and helpless inhabitants.

 

  • THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY

SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH. The Paraclete is One who is called to the

side of him who is in need, an Advocate who undertakes the cause Of the

defenseless, a Patron exercising a wise protection, a Strengthener or

Comforter communicating His power to the feeble. It is implied in the

designation that the Holy Spirit is a Person, and that HE IS DIVINE!

He teaches, guides, assists; He is living, acting, gracious. As He came on

the Day of Pentecost — the promise of the Father — so He has ever

resided in His Church:

 

Ø      to quicken,

Ø      to purify, and

Ø      to bless.

 

  • THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF THE PECULIAR

ADAPTATION OF THE SPIRIT TO THE WANTS OF THE

RANSOMED HUMANITY. Our Lord’s mission to earth, and in the

body, was a local and temporary mission. In both respects the mission of

the Comforter was more suited to the condition of the Church. Whilst the

ministry of Jesus was confined to one land, the influences of the Holy Spirit

are felt wherever the gospel is preached, wherever Christian society is

established. Whilst the ministry of Jesus lasted but for a few years, the

abiding mission of the Comforter endures forever. Wherever and whenever

human spirits call, in necessity and under the prompting of faith, upon the

unseen God for strength and help, the Spirit of might and wisdom and

grace, EVER NEAR AND EVER COMPASSIONATE, comes to their

 aid, and proves Himself their Comforter indeed.

 

18 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

I will not leave you behind as orphans, bereft of my paternal

guardianship. Though the disciples were His brethren, yet, as we have seen,

He calls them (ch.13:53) tekni>a  teknia  - His “little children;” and

(Hebrews 2:10) the apostles reckoned Him as Arthur (in ‘Guinevere’)

does when he speaks of “our fair Father Christ.” His departure might be

the signal for the most utter sense of desertion, exposure, and peril; and

even the promise of another Advocatus would hardly console them before

the time would arrive when He would receive them unto Himself; but, says

He, I am coming to you. Much unnecessary comment has here arisen as to

whether this coming was the last triumphant parousi>a parousiareturn -

of which He speaks in part in v. 3, — this would be incompatible with the

assurances that then the world would and will see Him: “Every eye shall”

then be prophetic and “see Him,” and “before Him shall be gathered all

nations;” (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 25:32) or whether this coming be simply

His resurrection with His transitory appearances in the flesh; for both of these

representations would fail of the full consolation which would terminate their

orphanhood. Surely He speaks of His own spiritual coming in the bestowment of

the other Advocate, who, by being with them and in them, would prove to them,

notwithstanding His own apparent departure, that He had come again in His glorious

fullness of love. In the thought of the early Church the Lord was the Spirit: the

glorified Lord, the Christ, who had all power in heaven and earth,” was

manifested, was veritably present, in all the work of the Spirit of God in His

Church. The Spirit was not only the Unity of the Father and the Son, the

one Self-consciousness of both, but the one Consciousness of the Son of

God and Son of man, the uniting Energy which represents the one

Personality of the Christ, the Spirit-power which blends all the members of

the mystical body with the Head. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles we

see that all the great operations of the Holy Spirit are but THE ENERGIES

OF THE REIGNING, LIVING LORD!

 

19 “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me:

because I live, ye shall live also.” Yet a little while — a few hours only — and

the world which cannot take from you (or even appreciate or receive) the

Holy Spirit beholdeth me no more. Their power of beholding me will be gone

by THEIR OWN ACT,  they will have cursed and driven me away with the

hellish cry, “Crucify him!” they will have slain and buried me out of their sight;

but, notwithstanding this, you, by my coming to you in the power of the

Spirit, will veritably behold me. Even more than this, because I live

though I die, ye shall live also, in your intense spiritual apperception of

my .continuity of life, of which you will have ocular and spiritual

guarantee. Jesus here passed over the concrete fact of the Resurrection, to

return to it afterwards. We know that the resurrection of His body and His

victory over death became:

 

  • the condition of His sending the Spirit,
  • the proof of His being the living One whom death could not hold, and
  • the ground of the higher appreciation of the relation they sustained to

Him.

 

But He fixed their attention on His continuous life (in spite of death),

and their consequent life under the shadow of His Divine protection,

without specifically mentioning the Resurrection, of which He had (in

synoptic narrative) given them explicit but misapprehended prophecies.

“Ye see me because I live, and as a consequence of this vision ye shall live

also.”

 

20 “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and

I in you.”  In that day of glorious recommunion with you, begun in the

Resurrection-surprises, which will aid your faith and triumphantly establish

the mysteries and marvels of Pentecost, you shall know what you now

most imperfectly apprehend by faith, that I am in my Father, as One lifted

up into God, and that I act entirely with and for and as my Father, fulfilling

all that I have told you of my personal relationship with Him; and then, He

adds, you shall know that as I am in my Father, you (are) in me, living in

and by my power, and continuously drawing life from me; and what is still

more, I in you; i.e. as the Father has acted in and through my will, and I

have spoken His words and done His works, so I will energize in you. Your

“greater works” will prove my “greater power.” Your own consciousness

of my presence, and of continuous communion with me, will reveal to you,

as you never knew before, that I am in my Father, and also that I am in

you. So the apparent paradox presents itself, that in order to know the

Father, to see the Father, we must commune with the humanity of Jesus;

but in order to realize and come into contact with that humanity, we have

to grasp that it is lifted up into God. Because He is in the Father He is able

to be with and in us.

 

21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that

loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I

will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Then for a moment He turns

from the eleven, and stretches out his searching gaze and far-sweeping love

TO EVERY ONE who hath my commandments as:

 

·         a sure possession,

·         a lofty privilege and

·         a sufficient standard,

 

and keepeth them, thus proving that he it is that loveth me; returning thus

back to v. 15, where He said that love would induce and ought to compel to

obedience; and He adds another and wonderful benediction: He will be loved

by my Father, in a sense more intense than that in which God is said to love

the world (John 3:16). God the Father loves those who love the Son, i.e. love

the object of His own superlative affection. But who can this wondrous Being

be who adds, as a climax of privilege and honor, as though it were more even

than the love of the Father, I will love him, and will manifest myself in him (not

ajpokalu>yw apokalupso  or fanerw>sw phaneroso), not merely

“disclose an undiscovered presence” or make evident a hidden glory, but I

will take special means to disclose my Person and nature and goodness to him?

Christ will do this to those who have and keep his commandments of self-

forgetting love and perfect consecration. This remarkable word, ejmfani>sw

 emphaniso – manifest; shall be disclosing -  implies that the scene and place of

the higher manifestation will be (ejn – en - in) the consciousness of the soul.  

The kingdom of God is WITHIN MEN!

 

 

 

Philip’s questioning (vs. 8-21)

 

This disciple, one of the earliest, seizes upon the last word of our Lord and

asks for a bodily sight of the Father.

 

  • PHILIP’S DEMAND TO SEE THE FATHER. “Lord, show us the

Father, and it sufficeth us.”

 

Ø      It is hard to decide how much of ignorance is compatible with saving

grace.

Ø      Evidently Philip thought of such a revelation of God as was vouchsafed

to Moses in answer to the request, Lord, show me thy glory.”  (Exodus

33:18)

Ø      He believed that such a revelation would solve all his difficulties and

doubts.

Ø      How strange that Philip should not, in three years, have found what he

aspired after! “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”

 

  • OUR LORD’S ANSWER TO PHILIP’S DEMAND. “I have been so

long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip.”

 

Ø      Philip was longer with Jesus than most of the disciples. The words have

a touch of sadness and disappointment, as if Philip had failed to benefit

by all the teaching and experience of three years.

Ø      The answer implies the impossibility of seeing the invisible Father with

the eyes of the body.

Ø      But the Father is seen in Him who is his express linage. “He that hath

seen me hath seen the Father.” He sees the Father’s love, faithfulness,

and power. The life of Christ is the true manifestation of the Father.

Ø      Jesus points to two proofs of His union with the Father.

o       His teaching. “The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of

myself.” All was a revelation of God.

o       His miracles. “And the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth

the works.”  The works were a revelation of the Father’s power,

as the words were of His character. The disciples ought to deduce

the Divinity of Christ’s nature from His works. “Believe me for

the works’ sake.”

 

  • CHRIST’S DEPARTURE WILL BE THE SIGNAL FOR THE

REVELATION OF NEW POWER IN THE APOSTLES.He that

believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works

than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.”

 

Ø      Christ endowed His disciples with power to work miracles like His own.

Ø      He endowed them with power to do still greater works in

Pentecostal conversions — which were of a far more exalted nature and

with more enduring results than miracles of power. The prophecy began to

be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and is still in process of fulfillment in

the expanding growth of THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

Ø      This higher productiveness of the disciples is to depend upon Christs

higher position. “Because I go to the Father.” The ascended Lord has

received the “all power” of heaven and earth for the use of His Church.

(Matthew 28:18-20)

Ø      Prayer will be the disciplespart in these greater works. “And

whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do, that the Father may

be glorified in the Son.”

o       Mark the true condition of successful prayer. It must be

in Christ’s Name.”

§         It implies that it is by the blood of Christ we draw

near to God;

§         that we pray in the strength of Christ;

§         that we believe we shall obtain from Christ in heaven

whatever we ask of Him.

o       Mark the large scope of prayer: “Whatsoever ye shall ask.” There

is no limitation save what is implied in subjection to the will of God.

o       Mark the certainty of the answer of prayer: “I will do it.”

Does Jesus hear His own prayer? As the Organ of Divine power,

He gives the answer.

o       Mark the design of this prayer: “That the Father may be glorified

o       in the Son.” The object is, “THY KINGDOM COME.”

 

  • THE SOURCE WHENCE THIS PRAYER OF POWER DERIVES

ITS VALIDITY. It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

 

Ø      Mark the moral condition of this new blessing. “If ye love me, keep my

commandments.”

o       Obedience is the necessary fruit of love. “Love without obedience is

dissimulation; obedience without love is but drudgery and slavery.”

o       Our efficiency depends upon our fellowship with Him in a loving

obedience.

Ø      Mark the glorious provision that is made for Christs absence. “And I

will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He

may abide with you forever.”

o       It is Christ’s prayer that procures for us the Holy Spirit. So long as

Christ is in heaven, in His intercessory power, we shall never want

blessing.

o       It is the Father who gives the Holy Spirit. He is, indeed, the Father

of all comfort. His Fatherhood is the pledge that the prayer will be

granted.

o       The blessing is the Comforter — “the Spirit of truth.”

§         This title implies His distinct Personality,

§         His true Divinity.

§         Mark His various relations to believers.

ü      He is “with them” in fellowship.

ü      He abideth by them in personal comfort.

ü      He is “in them” in indwelling power.

ü      His presence will be perpetual “that He may

abide with you for ever.” Christ’s historical presence

was now to be measured by a few hours or days.

The Holy Spirit will be with the Church till the

end of the world.

ü      He cannot be received by an unreceptive,

unsympathetic world.  “Whom the world cannot

receive, because it seeth Him not, neither

knoweth Him.” The world cannot see or know

spiritual things, WHICH DEMAND SPIRITUAL

DISCERNMENT.   (I Corinthians 2:14).

ü      The receptiveness of the disciples, so different from

the moral blindness of the world, had its origin in

the Spirit’s indwelling, and would be still further

strengthened by the fuller measures of His grace.

 

  • THE CONSOLATION SUPPLIED BY CHRIST’S SPIRITUAL

PRESENCE IN THE FUTURE EXPERIENCE OF HIS DISCIPLES.

“I will not leave you orphans.”

 

Ø      Our Lord thinks of them as “little children,” who needed

o       guidance,

o       support,

o       comfort.

Ø      His departure was just at hand. “Yet a little while, and the world seeth

me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”

o       The world was to see Him no more after His death. After His

resurrection He appeared only to his disciples.

o       His disciples would see Him; they would “behold with uncovered

face the glory of the Lord”   (II Corinthians 3:18).

o       The ground of this faculty of vision lay in their fellowship with His

life.

§         It is the fullness of life to see God as He is (I John 3:1-2).

§         Christ’s life is the foundation and guarantee of the life of

believers.

o       The day of the gift of the Comforter will be the signal of fresh and

enlarged blessings. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my

Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”

§         The Comforter will impart the knowledge of the mystical

union in all its spiritual completeness. He will witness

with the spirit of believers that they are children of God.

§         The sincerity of love will be manifested by a steadfast

obedience. “He that hath my commandments, and

keepeth them, loveth me.”

ü      Mark the need of knowledge to obedience.

ü      The need of obedience to loving happiness.

§         The promise to obedience. “He shall be loved of my

Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself

to him.”

ü      The Father loves all who love the Son, His own

beloved Son.

ü      The Son loves’ those who love the Father, and

makes through that very love, a more perfect

revelation of Himself.  Thus this higher

manifestation more than supplies the place

of his bodily presence.

 

 

The Comforts of Christ (vs. 18-21)

 

Notice some of the comforts left by Jesus to His disciples. “I will not leave

you desolate [or, ‘orphans,’ or, ‘comfortless’], implying that He would

leave them some suitable and substantial comforts.

 

  • THE COMFORT OF HIS CONTINUOUS COMING UNTO THEM.

“I come unto you.”

 

Ø      This was really the case, in spite of some appearances to the contrary.

They thought that He would leave entirely and for ever by death. This

was a mistake, and Christ is very careful to correct it. “I come unto you.” Many of our troubles and sorrows arise from our mistaken notions of

things.  Things are not always what they seem. The disciples thought that Christ was going away from them by death, while in fact He was coming

unto them, spiritually nearer to them in sympathy and fellowship. On the

cross and in the grave He was coming unto them; and He was coming

nearer and nearer unto them in all the trials and dangers of after-life. And

thus He comes unto all believers, even when they think that He leaves them.

Ø      This was literally the case at His resurrection. He came unto them, and

they embraced their risen Lord.

Ø      This was specially the case on the Day of Pentecost. When His promise

of the Spirit was fulfilled, and in the fulfillment of this promise, they

realized the presence of Christ more than ever; and, instead of the

outward Christ, they henceforth enjoyed Him in them as a Divine

power, light, and inspiration. “Christ in you, the Hope of glory.”

(Colossians 1:27)

Ø      This will be fully the case at the last day. He ever comes in His Word,

In His Spirit, in the dispensations of providence, in the shadows and

sunshine of life, and especially in the gloom of death, and each coming

is a source of comfort and joy; HIS GREAT COMING at the last day

will crown all, and swallow every other coming in itself, and will perfect

the mutual fellowship for ever.

 

  • THE COMFORT OF A CONTINUOUS VISION OF JESUS.

 

Ø      This is denied to the world. “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me

no more.” The world had seen Him outwardly. But even this vision

would be soon withdrawn. There is an undertone of sadness in His announcement of this. The best opportunity the world ever had

WOULD SOON BE LOST FOR EVER! The world cannot see the

spiritual and eternal (“ye must be born again to see the kingdom of

God” ch. 3:3); only the material and outward. Only this it

saw of Jesus; but even this was about to be withdrawn.

Ø      This vision is granted to the disciples. “But ye see me.” He assures

them not merely that He would continue to come unto them, but that

they would continue to see Him — see Him even after His departure;

and if not, it would be their own fault. They had professed to have

the power of spiritual vision, faith, which they doubtless had, and they

had been well strengthened by His teaching and miracles. Now it was

about to be tried, and He had no doubt of the ultimate success. Material

and circumstantial changes cannot entirely intercept the vision of faith.

There may be an eclipse, but not total; and if total, it will not continue

long enough to be specially noticed. It was so now in the case of the

disciples with regard to their impending trial. After the terrible but

brief gloom, the Sun of Righteousness” appeared to faith brighter

than ever (Malachi 4:2).  So clear and full was the vision to the

disciples that they could see nothing else. It filled their horizon with

His presence and glory. They saw Him in every object around

and above them in the gloom of earth and in the glory of heaven; saw

Him in all the circumstances and trials of life and in the sufferings of

death, in nature, providence and redemption. Christ, in fact, was their

all in all.”

 

  • THE COMFORT OF A CONTINUOUS LIFE.

 

Ø      The life of Jesus. “I live.” Christ’s life was continuous. It is true that

He really died, but it was the act of His own will. He was the Prisoner of death, but only for a short time, and that by His own permission. By

reason of the fullness of life in Him, He could well afford to ignore

death. He lived in death, and through death He attained His mediatorial

life in its glory. Death was made by Him to serve life. The disciples were afraid that would be His final end; but this fear is dispelled by the announcement, “I live.” Of the truth of this they had ample proofs in due time. What a comfort it is to believers to know that their pious dead are

still living, and especially to know that THEIR REDEEMER LIVETH

AND THAT HE WILL STAND AT THE LATTER DAY ON THE

EARTH!  (Job 19:25)  They are not orphans.

Ø      Their life. “And ye shall live also.” Next to their concern for His life

was that for their own. They were afraid that His death would involve

their death, and they would naturally and sadly ask — What will

become of us, of our fond hopes, dreams, and aspirations? They are

set at rest by the statement, “And ye shall live also.”

Ø      Their life as united with His. “Because I live, ye shall live also!”

We have here:

o       The nature of their life. A life like that of Jesus; a Divine and

spiritual life, different from and superior to the physical and

its circumstances. They are directed to the spiritual nature of

their life as a source of consolation.

o       The infinite cause of their life. It is a great source of comfort to

have an adequate reason for an important statement such as the

one made here by our Lord, “Ye shall live also.” One would

naturally ask — Why and how is this? It appears strange, if not impossible. There is sufficient answer in the statement of Jesus, “Because I live,” etc. Physical life is dependent upon the life

and will of God; and spiritual life by faith is entirely dependent

on the life of Christ as its Divine Source, its efficient and

meritorious Cause, its infinite Support and Guarantee.

o       The perfect certainty and safety of their life. In the degree they

would believe in the life of Jesus they would realize their own,

and have confidence in its safety. The life of faith is as certain

and safe as that Divine life from which it emanates, and by

which it is protected and supported.  Safe in all the trials and

dangers of life, and even in death itself. It is “hid

with Christ in God.”  (Colossians 3:3)

o       The endless continuance of their life. “Ye shall live also.”

The cravings and aspirations of immortality ARE FULLY

SATISFIED IN THE LIFE OF JESUS!  There is

                              no room for any fear with regard to the great changes of the

future. The life of faith is commensurate in duration with the life

of Christ, with which it is inseparably connected. They had the comfort of a continuous vision of an ever-living Savior, and of

their life eternally safe in connection with His.

 

  • THE COMFORT OF A FULLER REALIZATION OF DIVINE

FELLOWSHIP.

 

Ø      The fellowship of Christ with the Father.Ye shall know that I am in my

Father.” This as yet was but imperfectly known — a source of perplexity

to them.

Ø      Their fellowship with Christ, and Christ with them. “Ye in me,” etc.

Ø      Their fellowship with the Father. This is an inevitable consequence of

their fellowship with Christ. To realize all this would be to them a source

of great comfort and spiritual peace and joy. Then they would not

consider themselves orphans, but happy and rich children in the warm embrace of an almighty and infinitely kind Father.

o       It is possible to have an interest in Christ without fully knowing

it at the time. The disciples had much now of which they were

not aware. Their spiritual possessions were greater than knowledge.

o       Faith naturally presses forward to a fuller knowledge of Divine

things.  It craves for it, and is never disappointed. If we want an increase of knowledge, let us strive for an increase of faith.

Believe, and you shall know.

o       There are periods when Divine knowledge is specially attained

and realized. “In that day ye shall,” etc. The morning of

Christ’s resurrection was such a day, and Pentecost was another;

and in individual and social experience of believers there are

many such days, when faith is rewarded with knowledge, and culminates in spiritual realization. Then the language

of the soul is not “I believe,” but “I know” “I know that my Redeemer liveth(Job 19:25); “I know whom I have believed

and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day ”  (II Timothy 1:12).  

Then there is in the soul a spring-tide of spiritual comfort and

peace, and an ecstasy of inspired confidence.

 

  • THE COMFORT OF A CLEARER MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST.

“I will manifest, myself to him.”

 

Ø      This is a self-manifestation of Christ. He is the Revealer and the

Revealed.  Different mediums and agents are employed; still He is

the Source and Subject of the revelation. During His personal

ministry on earth He chiefly manifested the Father and the Spirit;

but after the Ascension He manifests Himself through the Spirit

and the ministry of His Word. He manifests himself in His

humanity and Divinity — in His human and Divine relationships;

in short, in all His past, present, and future agency with

regard to the great scheme of human redemption. His

manifestation in the flesh was comparatively small, and only

introductory to the great spiritual manifestation of Himself

in the soul and in the spirit of humanity.

Ø      This self-manifestation of Christ is inseparably connected with loving

obedience to Him. “He that hath my commandments,” etc. Love to

Christ manifests itself through obedience to His commands, and

through this loving obedience Christ manifests Himself to the soul.

With every loving act comes a fresh vision of the Savior.

Ø      This self-manifestation of Christ is inseparably connected with a

corresponding experience of Divine love. “He that loveth me

shall be loved,” etc. Love begets love. Human love to Christ is

repaid with Divine interest. It returns in living streams of love

to the experience from the Father and the Son. And this

Divine love is the sweetest and most powerful medium through

which Christ manifests Himself. It is a manifestation of Him

in itself.

Ø      This self-manifestation of Christ is gradual and progressive.

It was so in the experience of the disciples. There was a vast

difference between the Christ of Pentecost and Jesus of Nazareth.

And it is so in the experience of believers ever since. Jesus once

really seen by faith will never be permanently lost sight of, but

the constancy and clearness of the vision depend upon the degree

of faith and love in the soul. He will manifest as we believe and

love.  (“According to your faith be it unto you  - Matthew 9:29).

Ø      As Christ is manifested in the soul, we at once realize all we need.

When the sun appears in the sky, all the landscape around is in full

view.  So, when the Sun of Righteousness arises in the soul

Malachi 4:2), THE SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE IS ALL ABLAZE!

We see an ever-living Savior and an ever-loving Father in closest fellowship, and our life by faith in CLOSEST FELLOWSHIP

WITH BOTH!  (“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be

                        made perfect in one” ch. 17:23).  When Christ manifested

Himself to His disciples, they never thought of orphanage and

desolation afterwards.

Ø      This self-manifestation of Christ will be ultimately complete.

“I will,” etc. It will not reach completion till the last day. To fully

see Him, He must fully appear; to fully know Him, we must be like

Him; and to be like Him, we must see Him as He is.  (I John 3:2).

But even then we shall not see all His beauty nor comprehend all

His Being. Were this the case, our happiness would cease.

Eternity will not exhaust His glory, ALTHOUGH FULLY

EMPLOYED IN ITS EXHIBITION!   But at His final coming

there will be such a full manifestation of Him as will exclude

every element of unhappiness, and fill the soul with

satisfaction forever. We shall be satisfied with each draught

of revelation, and look forward with serene confidence and

ecstatic joy to the next and the next.

 

22 “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt

manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?”  This reference to

“manifestation” once more occasioned another anxious inquiry. Thomas had

not known whither the Lord was going, and was ignorant of the true meaning

of that way of departure from them; and the Lord had told him that He was

going to the Father, and that He Himself was the Way for them to find their

access to the Father’s heart.  Philip had longed for some vision of the Father

which would suffice for the “whither” and “way,” and was surprised to find

that he had had already, in the Savior’s own Person, a sufficient revelation

of the Father; but that he and others had not known Him nor His Father; and

now Jesus promises a fuller manifestation of Himself, and therefore of the

Father. Here Judas, not Iscariot (the Lebbaeus, or Thaddaeus, of Mark 3:18

and Matthew 10:3; the Judas brother of James of Luke 6:16 and

Acts 1:13 — all the several cognomina intended to keep this apostle’s

name entirely distinct from that of the traitor), saith to him, What has

come to pass that thou art about to manifest thyself unto us, and not

to manifest thyself to the world? Hast thou altered thy plan? Is the world

to be left unvisited by thy glory? This question, in some form or other, is

constantly pressed upon the Lord. This seeking for a sign, this eager desire

for a great display of power, or judgment, or glory, this restoration of the

kingdom to Israel, was the cry of the Jewish heart. Christ’s sublime reply

to it is given in the restatement of the spiritual law of the kingdom and

glory of God. Once more  He goes back to the law of love, issuing in

obedience.

 

23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep

my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto

him, and make our abode with him.”  Jesus answered and said to him, If

 a man, let him be whosoever he may, love me — there is the germ and root

of all — he will keep my Word (lo>gon – logon – word.  In v. 21 we see the

complementary statement, “He that has and keeps my commandments loves me;”

here, “He that loves me keeps my Word.” In v. 21 obedience proves inward

love, and may indicate to the world the fact of the Father’s love and my own

response.  Here our Lord is laying down the principle of relation — the law

of close intimacy, the conditions of higher knowledge. The keeping of the

Word is a certain consequence of holy love. And my Father will love him.

So far Christ has only reiterated the great statement of v. 21, but instead of

saying, “I will love him, and manifest myself,” he added, We will come

the Father and I — to him, and take up our abode -  make for ourselves

a resting-place in his dwelling (pajr aujtw| – par auto- with him; beside him -);

compare the analogous and wonderful parallel in Revelation 3:20. There is a

clear utterance of Divine self-consciousness. It is worthy of note that such

an expression as this sounds a profounder depth of that consciousness than

any phrase (lo>gov) already delivered. Apart from the stupendous

corroborative facts elsewhere on record, this seems, to mere human experience,

either awfully true or infinitely blasphemous. The Father and I  will come

together in the power of the Spirit, and we will dwell within the loving and

obedient soul.  (This verse states the ability of God and Christ to dwell

in every person who will open his heart, simultaneously – thus fulfilling

the prophecy of Jesus – Immanuel, GOD WITH US!   - Isaiah 7:14;

Matthew 1:23 – God, not only has the desire but the ability to live in

each of us!  CY – 2013)  This phrase suggests the mystical union of the

Divine Personality with that of those who have entered into spiritual

relation with Christ through love and obedience.

 

24 “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which

ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”  We have three

statements about love and obedience:

 

  • Love involves obedience (vs. 15, 23), or obedience naturally is

included in love;

  • obedience (having and keeping commandments) is the great proof of

love (v. 21); and

  • “he that loveth not,” i.e. the absence or negation of love (here)

seems necessarily to forbid or discountenance obedience.

 

He that loveth me not keepeth not my words — i.e. the various utterances into

which my one Word may be subdivided in detail — and the lo>gov, the one

all-revealing Word, out of which all the lo>goi logoi – words - proceed,

is not mine (as self-originated), but is the Father’s that sent me. Without

love to Christ the world has none of the conditions on which  the self-

manifestation of Christ really depends.

 

 

 

      The Nature and Conditions of Christ’s Manifestation (vs. 22-24) 

 

The last sentence of our Lord suggests the question of Judas.

 

  • THE QUESTION OF JUDAS. “Lord, and what has happened, that

thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world?”

 

Ø      The questioner, who is otherwise known as Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus,

mistakes the nature of Christs manifestation. He imagined that it

would be a theophany associated with the establishment of a

 temporal kingdom.

Ø      He imagines that Jesus has made some sudden change in the scope or

sphere of the Messianic manifestation. He knew that it would affect the

Gentiles as well as the Jews. He is at a loss to understand the change

in the Messianic program.

 

  • OUR LORD’S EXPLANATION OF THE CONDITIONS OF HIS

MANIFESTATION. “If any man love me, he will keep my words:

and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make

our abode with him.”

 

Ø      The conditions are love to Jesus, proved by obedience, and crowned

with the love of the Father. The power of receiving the revelation

depends upon loving obedience. Thus the Divine fellowship is

always conditioned.

Ø      The lack of love in the world made the manifestation impossible to it.

“He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.” This was the true

answer to the question of Judas.

Ø      The manifestation of Christ is spiritual rather than temporal. “The

kingdom of God cometh not with observation; the kingdom of God

 is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21); God dwells with the believer;

the believer dwells with God.  The first is the condition of the second.

(ch. 17:21-23)

 

25 “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will

send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things

to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

These things (in antithesis to the “all things” of which He

is about to speak), namely, the great consolations and instructions just

delivered not the whole course of His ministerial prophetic teaching —

have I uttered, and these things I am still continuing to address to you,

while remaining with you; but the Comforter (Paraclete; Advocate), of

whom I have spoken as the “Spirit of truth,” and whom I now more fully

define as the Holy Spirit (this is the only place in this Gospel where this full and

elsewhere often-used designation occurs), whom the Father will send — in

answer to my prayer (v. 16), and as He has already sent me — in my

Name. This shows that, while the disciples are to approach the Father “in

the Name,” in the fullness of perfection involved in the filial Name of Jesus,

so the Father sends the Paraelete in the same Name, in the full recognition

of Christ as the Sphere of all His gracious work.   The great Name of Jesus is

the Son” (Hebrews 1:1-5). In the Sonship which He realized and displayed,

the Father Himself was manifested. The Spirit is sent from the Father fully to

reveal the Son, while the substance of the teaching and meaning of the life

of our Lord, in His Divine training of souls revealed the Father. He (ejkei~nov

ekeinosthat one -  a masculine and emphatic pronoun, which gives personal

quality and dignity to the Spirit, and points to all that is here predicated of His

agency) shall teach you all things that you need to know over and above what

I have said (lela>lhka lelalaekaI have spoken), and He  will assist you to

know more than you do now. He shall remind you of the all things which I have

said to you. The teaching of Christ, according to John’s own statement, was vastly

more extensive than all that had been recorded (ch. 20:30-31; 21:25), the impression

produced far deeper than anything that could be measured; yet even this would have

been evaporated into vague sentiment, if the veritable things, the marvelous and

incomparable wisdom, uttered by the Lord had not, by the special teaching of the

Spirit, been recommunicated to the apostles by extraordinary refreshment of

memory.  The supernatural energy of the memory of the apostles, and THEIR

PROFOUND INSIGHT is the basis of the New Testament, and the fulfillment

of this promise. This sacred training will not teach specifically new truths,

because the germinant form of all spiritual truth had been communicated BY

CHRIST,  nor would the instruction create a fundamental deposit of tradition

as yet unrevealed; nor is it to be such an intensification or addition to things

already said as to contradict the teaching of the Lord (“ye should earnestly

contend for the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS!

Jude 1:3); but the Holy Spirit will bring to the remembrance of the apostles

all that the living Logos had spoken. Hence the mystic, the traditionist, and

the rationalist CANNOT FIND SUPPORT FOR THEIR THESES in

these great words.   The pa>nta pantaall -  however, gives a  bright hint

of the completeness of the equipment of the apostles for their work.

 

27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world

giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it

be afraid.”  Then follow the last words as of one who is about to go

away, and says ‘Good night,’ or gives his blessing” (Luther). Peace I leave

with (or, to) you. Peace (drh>nh - eiraenae) answers to the (μwOlv;) shalom

of  ordinary converse and greeting, and signifies prosperity, health of soul,

serenity, farewell. This is the sacred bestowment and Divine legacy of the

Lord. “Peace” is always the result of equilibrated forces, the poise of

antagonistic elements, held in check by one another. Of these the most

placid lake, hidden in the hills and reflecting the sunshine and shadows, is a

remarkable illustration. So the peace Christ leaves is power to hold the

wildest fear in pause, to still a clamor or hush a cry — it is the coming of

mercy to a sense of sin, of life to the fear of death. But when He added,

The peace that is mine I give to you, we are reminded of the tremendous

conflict going on in His own nature at that very moment, and of the sublime

secret of Jesus, by which the will of man was brought, even in agony and

death, into utter harmony with the will of God. The ajfi>hmi - aphiaemi  - I am

leaving and di>dwmi didomi – I am giving -  of this verse show how the

ordinary salutation may become invested with  immense significance. There

are moments when into one human word may be condensed the love of a

lifetime. Christ does but pour through these common words the fire of His

eternal and infinite love. Not as the world giveth, give I to you, both as to

manner and matter and power. The mode of giving is real, sincere, neither

formal nor hypocritical. “I say it, and I MEAN IT!  The matter, substance,

and value of the prosperity and peace I give stretches out into eternity; and I

give it, I do not merely talk of it or wish it. Christ’s farewell greeting is

forerunner of the beatific salutation which shall accompany THE ETERNAL

MEETING!   Then, returning to the Divine words of v. 1, He seems

to say, “Have I not justified all that I have said?” — Let not your heart be

troubled, harassed by these mysteries or by my departure, neither let it be

terrified (delia>tw deiliatolet it be afraid). This is the only place in the

New Testament where the word occurs, though it is found in the Septuagint;

deilo>v deilos  - and deili>a deilia -, in  the sense of timidity from

extrinsic fear, may frequently be found. He must have seen some rising

symptoms of the carnal weakness which would prostrate them for a while.

 

 

  The Promise of a Fuller Revelation and of an Abiding Peace (vs. 25-27)

 

The disciples had much yet to learn.

 

  • THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. “But the Comforter, which is

the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my Name, He shall teach

you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever

I have said unto you.”

 

Ø      As the purpose of the Sons mission is to reveal the Father, so the

purpose of the Spirits mission is to reveal the Son.

Ø      He has a double office:

o       teaching new truth;

o       bringing old truth to remembrance.

 

The sayings of Jesus will be the groundwork of all the Spirit’s operation.

 

  • THE LEGACY OF PEACE. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give

unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” The words breathe

the sweetness of a farewell blessing.

 

Ø      Mark the blessing promised. “Peace.”

o       It is the inward security of the soul based upon reconciliation

with God.

o       It is Christ’s own peace

§         which He enjoys;

§         which it is His prerogative to give;

§         it is allied to the “peace on earth sung at His birth;

(Luke 2:14)

§         it is identified inseparably with Him who is continuously

our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).

o       Mark the method of its bestowal.

§         It is left as a legacy before His departure from the world.

Precious legacy to A SIN TROUBLED RACE!

§         It is a gift, not earned by man; but, like salvation itself,

altogether OF GRACE!

§         It is superior to all the world’s gifts. “Not as the world

giveth, give I unto you.”

ü      The world’s peace IS NOT LASTING!

ü      It gives the greatest pleasure at the first.

ü      Christ’s  peace is absolutely superior to all

legacies of the world, such as houses and lands.

o       Mark the effect of peace upon the heart-trouble. “Let not

your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

§         Peace guards the heart against care,

§         and makes the heart strong for service and fearless in

suffering in the face of the world’s hostility.

 

 

A Priceless Legacy (v. 27)

 

  • THE NEED OF SOME SUCH ASSURANCE. Jesus had already said

perturbing things. We know the disciples were so perturbed, for we find

the Master Himself referring to their manifest disappointment and

consternation. “Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath

filled your heart.” And this was a sorrow that probably included vexation,

chagrin, and humiliation. The Master was quietly demolishing certain

castles in the air. This wonderful and profound discourse, which has

brought light and comfort to so many generations of Christians, would

bring little of either to those who first heard it and in the first hearing. But

Jesus was thinking of the future rather than of the present; thinking of a

day to come when the disciples would rejoice that He had shattered their

delusions and vain hopes.

 

  • JESUS POINTS BACKWARD TO THE PEACE OF HIS OWN

LIFE. He directs His friends to His own experience and attainments. He

intimates that His disciples were not altogether ignorant of the peculiar

composure of their Master’s life. They had seen Him again and again in

all sorts of scenes and circumstances, but never in a hurry or a flurry.

Goethe’s ideal of progress was to go on without haste, without rest; and

Jesus turned that ideal into reality. The stream of His life was not a rushing

torrent, like some Swiss stream fed from a glacier; neither was it made up

of dull, sluggish, creeping, almost stagnant stretches of water. If the

disciples had not sufficiently noticed this peace, it was just one of the very

things the promised Paraclete would bring to their remembrance. They

must have remembered how calm Jesus was when the tempest from the

hills came down on the little boat. And then they would remember, too,

how, when just delivered from the tempest, Jesus met the fierce maniac,

possessed of many devils, so strong in his frenzy that he broke the bonds

that bound him. Such was the habitual, profound peace of Jesus, and He

never could have done His work without it.

 

  • THE POSSIBILITY OF THIS PEACE BECOMING OURS. We

need it not less than Jesus, and surely we can have it. His word was not

a mere word of good wishes and kindly interest. He did make over

something substantial to His friends. He predicted what assuredly would

happen. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, THERE IS PEACE,  if only

that Spirit is allowed to have free course. A mere possibility, a mere ideal,

would have been a poor legacy. Through Jesus many have learned to go

through this world of care and turmoil, yet keeping their hearts like that

smooth, glassy sea which John saw before the throne.

 

  • THE MANNER OF MAKING THIS PEACE A REALITY. We must

obtain it, as He obtained it. The Spirit of His heavenly Father, the Spirit

that rules in heaven, was ever in Him, full and strong. He was in the world,

but not of the world. He belonged to a state of being where all is wondrous

harmony. He was out of heaven, yet not for a moment did the

communications between Him and heaven get broken. He was like the

diver who goes down into the water, a foreign and impossible element in

itself, taking with him the tube that connects his mouth with the upper air,

and so being able to remain under the water a long time and do very

necessary work. Everything earthly was estimated by heavenly measurements.

He belonged to heaven, and knew how things were going in heaven, and so,

whatever the inconvenience of an earthly sojourn, His heart was at perfect

peace.

 

28 “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again

unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go

unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.”

Now, however, He leads them a step further. The disciples are

to dismiss their trouble and fear, because:

 

  • of the many mansions that He is going to prepare;
  • because He was the “Way” to the Father;
  • because they have had a theophany in Him;
  • because they shall carry on the work of Christ and fulfill all the

prophecies,

  • and do all this under the power of another Advocate or Helper;
  • because He, the Holy Spirit, will indeed reveal Him as He (Christ)

had revealed the Father; and

  • because the Father and Son would come and take up their abode in

the loving and obedient heart.

 

But the Lord does more — He bids them not only to dismiss their fear

and harassment, but even to “rejoice.” Ye heard that I said, I am departing,

and, in that very act, I am coming to you. If ye loved me, ye would have

rejoiced — a supposition involving uncertainty with a prospect of decision.

Perfect love would cast out fear  (I John 4:18).   But why? Because I go

to the Father, the theme of the whole discourse. But why should this cause

you to rejoice? Because the Father is greater than I! It is not easy adequately

to explain this memorable saying. The Arians made use of it to prove, from our

Lord’s own lips, that His Person, even His pre-existent Divinity, was less than

the Father’s; that His essence, admittedly generated by the Father, was created

by Him, and was not the same as that of the Father. The same view has been

held by the rationalistic school. The Socinians and modern Unitarians have

insisted on the entire dependence and purely human character of our Lord.

The Son of man and Son of God are to many merely the self-chosen titles

of the greatest of the sons of men, who thus is supposed to put Himself on

a level with ordinary men who may learn to call God their Father. But is it?

Could any man, unconscious of a far closer relation with God than that of

the greatest saint, dare to say, as if to relieve anxiety on that head, “My

Father is greater than I”? Is there not in the very phrase a suggestion of

Divine sufficiency and relation to the Father which altogether precludes

the purely humanitarian position?

 

  • A theological view which has largely prevailed among those who have

held the homoousia of the Father and the Son, is that the Lord was here

speaking of His human nature only. The Athanasian symbol says,” Equal to

the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching

His Manhood.” But the “I” is here used of His whole Personality, as in

ch. 8:58; 10:30, and throughout the discourse he is speaking of Himself

in the Divine-human Person in which the eternal and temporal, the

infinite and finite, are indissolubly blended.

 

  • Others have supposed that He referred to Himself as in a state of

humiliation. Hengstenberg says the Lord was speaking of the pre-eminent

greatness of the Father, which came to an end at His departure. Cyril,

Luther, Melancthon, De Wette, Tholuck, Luthardt, and Alford think that

Jesus spoke these words of the humiliated Christ in His condition of a

servant — obedient unto death. The Son, the Logos of God, was that

Mode or Personality of Deity by which “God” created the universe,

governed mankind, and proceeded by special manifestation — incarnation,

life, and death — to redeem the world. Calvin had said, while the Arians

have abused this testimony, the orthodox solution of the Fathers was

neither harmonious nor sound; the true signification of the passage,

according to him, being found in the mediatorial office of the Christ, and in

his status exinanitionis. But this would not exhaust the meaning, for in this

very passage He does describe the Father as greater even than the exalted

Christ; and in ch. 1:1-3 as greater even than the pre-existent Logos. And so:

 

  • we are led to see that there is indeed a subordination of rank and order

in the Son, involved in the very notion even of an eternal generation; and

compatible with the equality of Being and of essence which He shared with

the Father. This is undoubtedly confirmed by ch. 17:3, 5; I Corinthians 15:27;

Philippians 2:9-11; I Corinthians 3:23; 11:3; and has been through the whole

history of Christological speculation conceded (Bishop Bull, in his three

chapters on the “Subordination of the Son,” has shown, by abundant proof,

that before and after the Council of Nicaea, the Fathers held “that the Son

has indeed the same Divine nature in common with the Father, but

communicated by the Father in such sense, i.e., that the Father alone

hath the Divine nature from Himself, but the Son from the

Father; that the Father is the Fountain, Origin, and Principle of the Divinity

which is in the Son”). This is abundantly, needful to avoid at once the

errors of tritheism, and to maintain the real unity of the Divine Being.

Christ’s going to the Father was a ground of rejoicing, because His

exaltation through death and resurrection to the position of power and

majesty unutterable, and the lifting up of His Divine-human Personality to

the midst of the throne, gives to Him, in His relations with His disciples, the

efficacy of the greatness of that Divine nature which, by its own

characteristics, could not have become incarnate. The unrevealed God is

greater than the revealed. The lifting up of perfect humanity into the glory

which the Son had with the Father before the world was, should have been

the cause of joy to the disciples. IT IS THE WELL-SPRING OF JOY TO

THE CHURCH!

 

 

           The Propriety of the Disciples’ Gladness at Christ’s Exaltation (v. 28)

 

  • HIS DEPARTURE CALCULATED TO CAUSE JOY, NOT SORROW.

“If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto my Father!”

 

Ø      True love rejoices in anothers good rather than in ones own. Our

Lord’s words imply that the disciples were selfish in seeking His further

continuance with them on earth.

Ø      The ground of a legitimate joy at His departure. “For my Father is

greater than I.”

o       He would share in heaven the omnipresence of the Father, and be

thus able to bless His people in every place. He would be their omnipresent REDEEMER and FRIEND.

o       His exaltation, in union with the Father, would enable Him

effectually to carry out HIS REDEMPTIVE WORK!

§         The words, “My Father is greater than I,” are not

inconsistent with the Son’s Deity, for what mere man

or mere creature would ever think of saying that God

is greater than himself? Is it not a truism to say so?

The very fact that Christ used these words implies His

consciousness of possessing a Divine nature.

§         The Lord refers here:

ü      not to the inferiority of His human nature,

ü      nor to His mere Mediatorship, as implying a

servant’s position,

ü      but to His subordination as a Son to the Father,

in His essential Godhead. He asserts, in fact,

His Divine essence.

 

 

29 “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to

pass, ye might believe.” And now I have said it to you before it come to pass — I

have told you of my departure and what is involved in it — that when it is

come to pass, ye may believe. Christ often appeals to the effect which the

fulfillment of His own predictions will produce in the minds of His disciples

(ch. 1:51; 13:19). They will, when the series of events will unfold

themselves, believe that He has gone to the Father, to do all He said He

would do, to be all He said He was. This means undoubtedly more than a

spiritual consolation whereby they may endure His separation by death

from their society. It is the announcement beforehand of the Resurrection

and Ascension, by which their faith in His exaltation would be fanned into

burning flame and made A REVELATION OF DIVINE LOVE TO THE

UNIVERSE!

 

30 “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world

cometh, and hath nothing in me.”  I will no longer talk much with you.

This seems strange when there follow John 15-17.; but it gives a hint of the

abundance of instruction, of lali>a, of lo>goi, which John at least had heard,

of which  he has only given the specimens of a few short days of intercourse.

For the prince of the world  (see ch.12:31); the lord and master, by base

usurpation, of the world of men. This term is continually found in

rabbinical writings for the great central power of evil in the world. The

activity of evil was then at work. Satan entered into Judas; the spirit of evil

was rampant in all the machination of the leaders of the people. The eagles

of this impure host were gathering. The last conflict impended. The prince

of the world, who shall be cast out, judged and conquered, cometh, and

hath nothing in me. The conflict between the second Adam and the devil

culminates. Christ looks through the whole army of His opponents, and

feels that He has to wrestle with the ruler of the darkness of the world, but

at the same time is sublimely conscious that there is nothing in Him on

which the evil can fasten. Christ certainly claims a sinlessness of inner

nature which no other saint has arrogated to himself. Accusations of the

world were numerous enough, but those who brought them were ignorant.

Now He has to do with one who knows Him, but not so well as He knows

Himself. The double negation, oujk e]cei oujde>n ouk echei ouden

not having anything, absolutely nothing -  must be noticed.  Thus He virtually

repeats his own utterance, “I am not of this world.” This great word

presupposes again the uniqueness of  Christ’s Personality and consciousness.

With every other man the higher the conception of the Divine Law and claim,

so much the deeper becomes the sense of departure from it. In Christ’s case

His lofty knowledge of the Father only makes Him know, and even compels

Him to confess, His reconciliation, His obedience, and His inward sinlessness.

 

31 “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the

Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”

But that the world may know — that very world over which this alien spirit

has so long tyrannized may know, if not now, yet ultimately — that I love the

Father. Then it is the world which is to be nevertheless drawn to Him by His

being “lifted up “ (ch. 12:52) — the world which the Father loves so much as

to save and redeem from the power of the enemy. And even as the Father

commanded me - my love is strong as death. Though  the prince of the world

has no right over me, I go at the Father’s bidding to do His will, to suffer,

but to win, and through death to destroy him that has the power of death.

Arise, let us go hence — words which are also found in Matthew 26:46, and

are a touch of the eyewitness that nothing will obliterate.

 

They leave the guest-chamber, and so the remainder of the discourse was

delivered in the brightness of the Paschal moon, under shadow of the walls

of Jerusalem, or in some corner of the temple area, or some convenient

place on the way to Gethsemane. He said these words, however, before he

crossed the Kedron (ch.18:1). Apparently on the way thither He once

more took up His parable.

 

 

The Crisis at Hand  (vs. 29-31)

 

Jesus is about to end His discourse in the chamber.

 

  • HIS PREDICTION OF EVENTS IS DESIGNED TO STRENGTHEN

THE DISCIPLES’ FAITH. “And now I have told you before it come to

pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe.”

 

Ø      The events foretold are His departure and all involved in it, as well as

the mission of the Comforter.

Ø      What a wise provision He made to support the faith and patience of His

followers! For His separation from them would be the greatest of trials.

 

  • THE IMMINENCE OF THE CRISIS. “The prince of this world

cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

 

Ø      Satan was approaching in the persons of Judas and the chief priests,

whose counsels he inspired. They were all instruments of the great

enemy.  There was likewise in our Lord’s mind a presentiment of

His approaching agony in Gethsemane.  (Luke 22:39-44).

Yet Satan had nothing in Jesus that fell under his power. IT IS

SIN THAT GIVES SATAN POWER OVER MAN!   Our Lord’s

words imply:

o       Christ’s perfect sinlessness, and

o       the absolute voluntariness of His death.  (“I lay down my life,

that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I

lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I

have power to take it again.ch. 10:17-18)

 

  • THE PURPOSE OF HIS DEATH. “But that the world may know

that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment,

even so I do.”

o       His obedience to death was an evidence of his love to the

Father.

o       It was likewise an act of obedience to the Divine commandment.

“Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”  (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:7)

 

 

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