Joh 14:1-31. Discourse at
the Table, after Supper.
We now come to that portion of the evangelical
history which we may with propriety call its Holy of Holies. Our
Evangelist, like a consecrated priest, alone opens up to us the view
into this sanctuary. It is the record of the last moments spent by the
Lord in the midst of His disciples before His passion, when words full
of heavenly thought flowed from His sacred lips. All that His heart,
glowing with love, had still to say to His friends, was compressed into
this short season. At first (from Joh 13:31) the intercourse took the form of
conversation; sitting at table, they talked familiarly together. But
14:31) the repast was
finished, the language of Christ assumed a loftier strain; the
disciples, assembled around their Master, listened to the words of
life, and seldom spoke a word (only Joh 16:17, 29). "At length, in the Redeemer's sublime
intercessory prayer, His full soul was poured forth in express
petitions to His heavenly Father on behalf of those who were His own.
It is a peculiarity of these last chapters, that they treat almost
exclusively of the most profound relations—as that of the Son to
the Father, and of both to the Spirit, that of Christ to the Church, of
the Church to the world, and so forth. Moreover, a considerable portion
of these sublime communications surpassed the point of view to which
the disciples had at that time attained; hence the Redeemer frequently
repeats the same sentiments in order to impress them more deeply upon
their minds, and, because of what they still did not understand, points
them to the Holy Spirit, who would remind them of all His sayings, and
lead them into all truth (Joh 14:26)"
1. Let not your heart be troubled,
&c.—What myriads of souls have not these opening words
cheered, in deepest gloom, since first they were uttered!
ye believe in God—absolutely.
believe also in me—that is, Have the
same trust in Me. What less, and what else, can these words
mean? And if so, what a demand to make by one sitting familiarly with
them at the supper table! Compare the saying in Joh 5:17, for which the Jews took up stones to
stone Him, as "making himself equal with God" (Joh 14:18). But it is no transfer of our trust
from its proper Object; it is but the concentration of our trust
in the Unseen and Impalpable One upon His Own Incarnate Son, by
which that trust, instead of the distant, unsteady, and too often cold
and scarce real thing it otherwise is, acquires a conscious reality,
warmth, and power, which makes all things new. This is Christianity
2. In my Father's house are many
mansions—and so room for all, and a place for each.
if not, I would have told you—that is,
I would tell you so at once; I would not deceive you.
I go to prepare a place for you—to
obtain for you a right to be there, and to possess your "place."
3. I will come again and receive you unto
myself—strictly, at His Personal appearing; but in a
secondary and comforting sense, to each individually. Mark again the
claim made:—to come again to receive His people to
Himself, that where He is there they may be also. He
thinks it ought to be enough to be assured that they shall be where He
is and in His keeping.
4-7. whither I go ye know … Thomas saith,
Lord, we know not whither thou guest … Jesus saith, I am the
way, &c.—By saying this, He meant rather to draw out
their inquiries and reply to them. Christ is "THE Way" to the Father—"no man cometh unto the
Father but by Me"; He is "THE Truth" of
all we find in the Father when we get to Him, "For in Him dwelleth all
the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9), and He is all "THE Life" that shall ever flow to us and bless us
from the Godhead thus approached and thus manifested in Him—"this
is the true God and eternal life" (1Jo 5:20).
7. from henceforth—now, or from this
8-12. The substance of this passage is that
the Son is the ordained and perfect manifestation of the Father, that
His own word for this ought to His disciples to be enough; that if any
doubts remained His works ought to remove them (see on Joh 10:37); but yet that these works of His were
designed merely to aid weak faith, and would be repeated, nay exceeded,
by His disciples, in virtue of the power He would confer on them after
His departure. His miracles the apostles wrought, though wholly in His
name and by His power, and the "greater" works—not in degree but
in kind—were the conversion of thousands in a day, by His Spirit
13, 14. whatsoever ye … ask in my
that will I do—as Head and Lord of the
kingdom of God. This comprehensive promise is emphatically repeated in
15-17. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I
will pray the Father, &c.—This connection seems designed
to teach that the proper temple for the indwelling Spirit of Jesus is a
heart filled with that love to Him which lives actively for Him, and so
this was the fitting preparation for the promised gift.
he shall give you another Comforter—a
word used only by John; in his Gospel with reference to the Holy
Spirit, in his First Epistle (1Jo 2:1), with reference to Christ Himself. Its
proper sense is an "advocate," "patron," "helper." In this sense it is
plainly meant of Christ (1Jo 2:1), and
in this sense it comprehends all the comfort as well as
aid of the Spirit's work. The Spirit is here promised as One who
would supply Christ's own place in His absence.
that he may abide with you for
ever—never go away, as Jesus was going to do in the body.
17. whom the world cannot receive,
&c.—(See 1Co 2:14).
he dwelleth with you, and shall be in
you—Though the proper fulness of both these was yet future,
our Lord, by using both the present and the future, seems plainly to
say that they already had the germ of this great blessing.
18-20. I will not leave you
comfortless—in a bereaved and desolate condition; or (as in
I will come to you—"I come" or "am
coming" to you; that is, plainly by the Spirit, since it was to
make His departure to be no bereavement.
19. world seeth—beholdeth.
me no more, but ye see—behold.
me—His bodily presence, being all the
sight of Him which "the world" ever had, or was capable of, it "beheld
Him no more" after His departure to the Father; but by the coming of
the Spirit, the presence of Christ was not only continued to His
spiritually enlightened disciples, but rendered far more efficacious
and blissful than His bodily presence had been before the Spirit's
because I live—not "shall
live," only when raised from the dead; for it is His unextinguishable,
divine life of which He speaks, in view of which His death and
resurrection were but as shadows passing over the sun's glorious
disk. (Compare Lu 24:5; Re 1:18, "the Living One"). And this grand
saying Jesus uttered with death immediately in view. What a
brightness does this throw over the next clause, "ye shall live also!"
"Knowest thou not," said Luther to the
King of Terrors, "that thou didst devour the Lord Christ, but wert
obliged to give Him back, and wert devoured of Him? So thou must leave
me undevoured because I abide in Him, and live and suffer for His
name's sake. Men may hunt me out of the world—that I care not
for—but I shall not on that account abide in death. I shall live
with my Lord Christ, since I know and believe that He liveth!"
(quoted in Stier).
20. At that day—of the Spirit's
ye shall know that I am in my Father, ye in me,
I in you—(See on Joh 17:22,23).
21. He that hath my commandments and keepeth
them, &c.—(See on Joh 14:15).
my Father and I will love him—Mark the
sharp line of distinction here, not only between the Divine Persons but
the actings of love in Each respectively, towards true disciples.
22. Judas saith … not
Iscariot—Beautiful parenthesis this! The traitor being no
longer present, we needed not to be told that this question came not
from him. But it is as if the Evangelist had said, "A very
different Judas from the traitor, and a very different question from
any that he would have put. Indeed [as one in Stier says], we never read of Iscariot that he
entered in any way into his Master's words, or ever put a question even
of rash curiosity (though it may be he did, but that nothing from
him was deemed fit for immortality in the Gospels but his name
how … manifest thyself to us, and not to
the world—a most natural and proper question, founded on
14:19, though interpreters
speak against it as Jewish.
23. we will come and make our abode with
him—Astonishing statement! In the Father's "coming" He
"refers to the revelation of Him as a Father to the soul, which
does not take place till the Spirit comes into the heart, teaching it
to cry, Abba, Father" [Olshausen]. The "abode" means a permanent, eternal
stay! (Compare Le 26:11, 12; Eze 37:26, 27; 2Co 6:16; and contrast Jer 14:8).
25, 26. he shall teach you all things, and bring
all to … remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto
you—(See on Joh 14:15; Joh 14:17). As the Son came in the Father's
name, so the Father shall send the Spirit in My name, says
Jesus, that is, with like divine power and authority to
reproduce in their souls what Christ taught them, "bringing to living
consciousness what lay like slumbering germs in their minds" [Olshausen]. On this rests the credibility
and ultimate divine authority of THE Gospel
history. The whole of what is here said of THE Spirit is decisive of His divine
personality. "He who can regard all the personal
expressions, applied to the Spirit in these three chapters ('teaching,'
'reminding,' 'testifying,' 'coming,' 'convincing,' 'guiding,'
'speaking,' 'hearing,' 'prophesying,' 'taking') as being no other than
a long drawn-out figure, deserves not to be recognized even as an
interpreter of intelligible words, much less an expositor of Holy
27. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto
you—If Joh 14:25, 26 sounded like a note of preparation for
drawing the discourse to a close, this would sound like a farewell. But
oh, how different from ordinary adieus! It is a parting word,
but of richest import, the customary "peace" of a parting friend
sublimed and transfigured. As "the Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6) He brought it into flesh, carried it
about in His Own Person ("My peace") died to make it ours, left it as
the heritage of His disciples upon earth, implants and maintains it by
His Spirit in their hearts. Many a legacy is "left" that is never
"given" to the legatee, many a gift destined that never reaches its
proper object. But Christ is the Executor of His own Testament; the
peace He "leaves" He "gives"; Thus all is secure.
not as the world giveth—in contrast
with the world, He gives sincerely, substantially,
28. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I
said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than
I—These words, which Arians and Socinians perpetually quote
as triumphant evidence against the proper Divinity of Christ, really
yield no intelligible sense on their principles. Were a holy man
on his deathbed, beholding his friends in tears at the prospect of
losing him, to say, "Ye ought rather to joy than weep for me, and would
if ye really loved me, "the speech would be quite natural. But if they
should ask him, why joy at his departure was more suitable than
sorrow, would they not start back with astonishment, if not horror,
were he to reply, "Because my Father is greater than I?" Does
not this strange speech from Christ's lips, then, presuppose such
teaching on His part as would make it extremely difficult for them
to think He could gain anything by departing to the Father, and make it
necessary for Him to say expressly that there was a sense in which He
could do so? Thus, this startling explanation seems plainly
intended to correct such misapprehensions as might arise from the
emphatic and reiterated teaching of His proper equality with the
Father—as if so Exalted a Person were incapable of any
accession by transition from this dismal scene to a cloudless heaven
and the very bosom of the Father—and by assuring them that this
was not the case, to make them forget their own sorrow in His
30, 31. Hereafter I will not talk much with
you—"I have a little more to say, but My work hastens apace,
and the approach of the adversary will cut it short."
for the prince of this world—(See on
cometh—with hostile intent, for a last
grand attack, having failed in His first formidable assault (Lu 4:1-13) from which he "departed [only]
for a season" (Joh 14:13).
and hath nothing in me—nothing of
His own—nothing to fasten on. Glorious saying! The
truth of it is, that which makes the Person and Work of Christ
the life of the world (Heb 9:14; 1Jo 3:5; 2Co 5:21).
31. But that the world may know that I love the
Father, &c.—The sense must be completed thus: "But to the
Prince of the world, though he has nothing in Me, I shall yield Myself
up even unto death, that the world may know that I love and obey the
Father, whose commandment it is that I give My life a ransom for
Arise, let us go hence—Did they then,
at this stage of the discourse, leave the supper room, as some able
interpreters conclude? If so, we think our Evangelist would have
mentioned it: see Joh 18:1,
which seems clearly to intimate that they then only left the upper
room. But what do the words mean if not this? We think it was the
dictate of that saying of earlier date, "I have a baptism to be
baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be
accomplished!"—a spontaneous and irrepressible expression of
the deep eagerness of His spirit to get into the conflict, and that if,
as is likely, it was responded to somewhat too literally by the guests
who hung on His lips, in the way of a movement to depart, a wave of His
hand, would be enough to show that He had yet more to say ere they
broke up; and that disciple, whose pen was dipped in a love to his
Master which made their movements of small consequence save when
essential to the illustration of His words, would record this
little outburst of the Lamb hastening to the slaughter, in the very
midst of His lofty discourse; while the effect of it, if any, upon His
hearers, as of no consequence, would naturally enough be passed