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Farewell Discourse to Disciples.
(Jerusalem. Evening Before the Crucifixion.)
D John XIV.-XVI.
d 1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. [That one should betray him and one should deny him, that all should be offended, and that the Lord should depart, raised anxieties which Jesus here seeks to quiet. That they should go out as homeless wanderers without the presence of their Lord and be subjected to persecution, was also in their thoughts. But Jesus sustains their spirits by appealing to them to trust in the unseen Father, and his yet present self. As to the two verbs “believe,” both may be either indicatives or imperatives.] 2 In my Father's house are many mansions [Many abiding places or homes. They were not to be homeless always]; if it were not so, I would have told you [That is to say, if heaven had been of such limited capacity that there was little or no hope that you could follow me, I should have dealt plainly with you, and should have disabused your mind of all vain hopes. But there is room (Luke xiv. 22), and you may follow—John xiii. 36]; for I go to prepare a place for you. [We are familiar with the thought that the going, or death, of Jesus prepared a way for 661us by providing a fountain for the cleansing of our sin, and by rending the veil of the temple, “thus signifying that the way into heaven is now open.” But the thought here is different. Jesus departed to prepare places for his own in the Father's house.] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [The cause for the departure becomes the assurance of the return.] 4 And whither I go, ye know the way. [My manner of life leads to the Father's house, and as ye know that manner of life, ye know the way.] 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; how know we the way? [Thomas looked for a way wherein one might walk with his feet.] 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. [God is not approached by physical motion. Being spirit, we must draw near to him by spiritual simplicity, and this is revealed to us fully in the person of Christ, and an energizing power is imparted by Christ to enable us to attain unto it.] 7 If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also [the unity of nature and of character is so perfect that to know the Son is to know the Father also]: from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. [This saying is the outgrowth of what is said in the sixth verse. Since we can only come to the Father's likeness by the imitation of Jesus, then the truth here uttered follows; viz.: that to see Jesus is to see the Father.] 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? [As Thomas asked for a physical instead of a spiritual approach to God, so Philip asked for a physical instead of a spiritual revelation of him. The answer of Jesus tenderly rebukes Philip. The excellency of God is not physical, but spiritual. Righteousness, truth, love, holiness, etc. are all spiritual. A physical revelation of God, if such a 662thing had been practicable or even possible, would have been of little or no benefit to the apostles. All the physical demonstrations at Mt. Sinai did not prevent the manufacture and worship of the golden calf.] 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works. [The question of Jesus is a mild rebuke because Philip had been so slow to learn and to believe what the Lord had taught; viz.: his unity with the Father (p. 486), and that he did and taught by the will of his Father and not of himself—p. 456.] 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. [To ask Jesus to reveal the indwelling Father was much the same as to ask a man to reveal his own soul. Therefore Jesus asks Philip to take his word for the great fact, or, if that were not deemed sufficient, to believe it because of the works which Jesus wrought. Divine works testify to the presence of a divine spirit and power.] 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 the Father. [Jesus while in the world manifested sufficient supernatural power to give credibility to the statement that the Father worked through him. But he here declares that his return to the Father will be followed by yet fuller tokens and evidences of his union with the Father. The first of these evidences enumerated is the larger sphere of power granted to the believer. By this the Lord does not mean the disciples shall perform greater miracles, but that they shall produce moral and spiritual revolutions which are instinsically more divinely wonderful than miracles. For instance, at his death Jesus had converted about five hundred disciples, but at Pentecost the apostles converted three thousand in one day. The converts of Paul also greatly outnumbered those of Christ's own ministry.] 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask 663 anything in my name, that will I do. [The second token of Christ's union with the Father would be manifested in the efficacy of prayer made in his name. Hitherto prayer had not been thus made (John xvi. 24). God would glorify himself through Christ by answering prayer thus made.] 15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. [The third token of Christ's union with the Father would be the sending of the Holy Spirit (Acts ii. 33). Since, however, the worldly-minded could neither receive nor behold the Spirit, the promise to send him to the disciples is prefaced by an appeal to them to keep his commandments, and thus avoid a worldly spirit such as would be compatible with the reception of the Holy Spirit. The word “Comforter” does not fully translate the Greek word Paraklete; no English word does. The word “Advocate” may be used, and “Helper” is as good if not better than “Comforter.” He is called the Spirit of truth because of his many relationships to the truth (John xvii. 19; I. Cor. ii. 4; I. Thess. i. 5; Acts ii. 4; v. 32; Heb. ii. 4). That the gift of the Holy Spirit is conditioned upon belief and obedience is also taught elsewhere (John vii. 38; Acts ii. 38; v. 32). We should observe that by the use of the word “another” Jesus shows that he himself had been and would be a Paraklete. But earthly fellowship with him was about to be cut short, and therefore the Holy Spirit would come, with whom fellowship would never be interrupted. We should note, too, the distinction between the present “abideth with you,” and the future “shall be in you.” The Spirit, being present in the person of Christ, had been abiding with the apostles who followed him. Hereafter the intimacy of the relation would be increased, and the Spirit should abide within them.] 18 I will not leave you desolate [Literally, orphans. The expression breathes the spirit of a father, as at John xiii. 33]: 664I come unto you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more [the next day the world crucified him and sealed him in the tomb, and since then has seen him no more]; but ye behold me [the present tense here indicates a continued vision; it can not therefore refer to the appearances of Christ after the resurrection, for the terminated at the end of forty days]: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 In that day [we may take this either as the day of Pentecost, or the period which began on that day] ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 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 unto him. [The fourth and all-convincing token of Jesus' union with the Father would be his return in the spirit which is here described. It was not his temporary return after the resurrection, as is shown above, neither was it his final return to judgment, because it was one in which the world would not behold him, and at his final return “every eye shall see him.” Jesus, therefore, speaks of his return in the spirit, and his inward manifestation of himself to his disciples wherein he energizes them with his own life. A coming, however, which, like that of the Holy Spirit, is conditioned upon the loving obedience of the disciples. The writings of Paul abound with expressions illustrating the nature of this coming of Christ. It is not to be confused with the coming of the Holy Spirit, though doubtless wholly concurrent with it.] 22 Judas (not Iscariot) [who had gone out. See table of apostles, p. 222, for this Judas, or Thaddæus] saith unto him, Lord, what is come to pass that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? [The form of his question betrays the apostle's bewilderment. Expecting that Jesus would soon be an earthly king, he could not imagine how Jesus could so have changed his plans as to thus withdraw himself utterly from the world. The answer of Jesus gave Judas but little present light.] 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will 665keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my words: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me. [Jesus contents himself by pointing out to Judas the fact that loving obedience is the means by which the blessed indwelling is obtained. It was better that Judas should busy his heart and will about the means of blessing rather than his head about the mysterious and incomprehensible manner of it.] 25 These things have I spoken unto you, while yet abiding with you. 26 But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. [The word “spoken” of the twenty-fifth verse stands in contrast with the word “teach” of the twenty-sixth . Jesus had uttered the truth, but because of the divine plan of salvation through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord was yet incomplete, all the words which he had spoken were but dimly understood, since they were related to and founded upon this incompleted plan. When the plan was completed the Holy Spirit would reveal or teach the meaning of the words by bringing them to remembrance after full comprehension of the plan to which they related.] 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 fearful. [This legacy of peace is by no means to be confined to the period of doubt and fear which accompanied the crucifixion; in fact, it seems to overstep that period, and to begin after it, and continue throughout all the trouble ministry of the apostles. The breadth of the legacy also to be noted: 1. The quality of it; it was not the absolute unshaken peace of God, but the peace which Jesus himself possessed while upon the earth—peace with all things save the devil and his powers. 2. The nature of it; it was not peace from without, but from within. It was not such as promised to pacify and quell the persecutors, but a promise of 666inner calm amidst the storm. 3. The manner of it; it was no stinted, measured store such as the world bestows, but a full, free gift from the overflowing bounty of God.] 28 Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. [The departure of Jesus was not wholly a humiliation, as it might appear to them; but a real exaltation at which they might well rejoice, and that the more readily and freely since it would not mean to them the total separation which they anticipated, because he would return in the spirit. The word “greater” as here used does not refer to any difference in the nature or essence of the Son as related to the Father. It may well be true that there has been a certain subordination of the will of the Son to the will of the Father from all eternity, but even that, if it exists, is not referred to here. Jesus has in mind the utter humiliation to which his mediatorial office had brought him, and to even lower depths to which it was about to bring him. From all this his departure to the Father would in a large measure free him, restoring him in some degree to that state of equilibrium in glory, power and authority from which he had descended—Phil. ii. 6.] 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. [Jesus had told them fully of his return to the Father, that when they received the subsequent manifestation of it they might firmly believe it.] 30 I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. [In a few hours the earthly teaching of Jesus would be interrupted by the coming of Satan and would never be resumed save in occasional fragments. Satan would come in the persons of his servants and emissaries, but he would find nothing in Christ which would give him either right or reason to exercise power over him. The sorrows and sufferings of Christ would be entered upon of his own free will because by 667 enduring them for our sakes he would please the Father and carry out his commandments, and thus manifest to the world the love which he bore the Father.] Arise, let us go hence. [Some think that Jesus then left the room, and that the next three chapters of John's Gospel contain matters spoken on the way to Gethsemane. But it is likely that the words of these chapters were spoken in the upper room after they had risen from the table and prepared to depart, and that John xviii. 1 marks the leaving of the upper room as well as the crossing of the Kidron.]
XV. 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it [by pruning], that it may bear more fruit. [The use of the word “true” shows that Jesus refers to a typical vine. The Jewish people had been such a vine (Isa. v. 1; Ps. lxxx. 8–16; Jer. ii. 21). Yet it was but “a figure of the true” (Heb. ix. 24). God had now in Christ planted the true vine, and would dissever and cast off all that did not derive life from him, and would prune all that did. This vital connection with Christ is set forth by Paul under the figure of a body and its head (Eph. v. 23; Col. ii. 19). The fact that Jesus had just given them the fruit of the vine to drink as the symbol of his blood made the transition to this figure easy and natural, for the branches derive their juices from the vine.] 3 Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you. [It is God in Christ who cleanseth the soul, but this cleansing is effected through hearing, believing and obeying the Word. The Word tells us what to do that we may be cleansed and saved—Eph. v. 26; Jas. i. 18.] 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide 668not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. [The whole parable is intended to teach us Christ's relationships. 1. Toward the Father—Husbandman and Vine. 2. Toward man—Vine and branches. 3. Toward good works—Vine, branches, and fruit. 4. The negative condition, or lack of relationship—the Vine, the dissevered branches, the fire.] 7 If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. [Though this verse stands somewhat in contrast to the warning in verse 6, it is rather a statement of causation than a promise of reward. If by communion and the study of the word we abide in Christ, our prayers will be of such a nature that it will fully accord with the divine counsel to answer them, for they will be prayers tending toward fruitfulness.] 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples. [The spirit of Christ leads to those deeds which cause men to glorify God (Matt. ix. 8; Luke xvii. 15), and whoso does those deeds causes such glorification (Matt. v. 16). Moreover, the spirit of Christ leads to abundant fruitfulness, and he who has it, not only performs charitable deeds, but converts the sinner and begets a spirit of goodness in those about him (Matt. xiii. 8–26; Phil. iv. 17); and this fruitfulness becomes an evidence or demonstration of true discipleship.] 9 Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. [From the outward evidence of union with Christ, shown by the fruit, Jesus now turns to that inward bond of union which is the cause of fruitfulness. That bond is love. Love is, as it were, the sap which passes back and forth between the Vine and branch, and that love is kept active and vital by the most practical of means—obedience to commandments, a means which the Lord himself does not hesitate to describe as efficient between himself and the Father, only claiming for 669himself the love of the Father because of a like obedience to that which he prescribed. “And our obedience must be impartial,” says Jay; “we must do 'whatsoever' he commands us.”] 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. [He had spoken the words of this discourse that the disciples might have a joy corresponding to his own. By perfect obedience he enjoyed a consciousness of the Father's presence and approval. By a like obedience the disciples might have a like sense of his presence and approval, and hence a like joy.] 12 This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [Jesus gives, as his supreme commandment, this law of love. The disciples are to love one another as intensely as Jesus loved them, and the measure of the intensity of his love is prophetically set forth by an allusion to his death on their behalf. But he died for his enemies as well as for his friends—Rom. v. 6.] 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. [The commandments of Jesus were not to be obeyed in the spirit of bondmen, but in that of friends. Jesus had shown his friendship by receiving his apostles into confidence as to the things which he had heard from his Father.] 16 Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. [Jesus shows the stability of the friendship existing between him and the disciples in that origin of it lies in himself and not in them. For he chose them as friends before they chose him, gave them their high places as apostles without their solicitation, prepared them to bring forth lasting fruits, and gave them the privilege of supplementing their 670 personal deficiencies by prayer made effective through his name.] 17 These things I command you [this includes all the precepts from the beginning of the chap. xiii.], that ye may love one another. 18 If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before it hated you. [While teaching the fullness and richness of love which is to exist within the circle of discipleship, Jesus warns them that in opposition to it the outer circle of unconverted and sensual—that circle known as the world—would manifest a spirit of hatred. Since this world-spirit hated him, the disciples need not be surprised to find that it hated them when manifesting his spirit.] 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. [John xiii. 16.] If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. [The apostles could rest assured that the messengers would receive like treatment with him who sent them. When, therefore, they found the world rejecting their message they could cheer themselves with the expectation that a few at least would receive it, since a few had always received the words of the Master.] 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. [Christians in the early ages were persecuted for bearing the name of Christ by those who were ignorant of God. But this name, hateful to the world, was sweet to the disciples. For opposition to the name, see Acts v. 28; I. Pet. iv. 14; Rev. iii. 8. For joy in it see Acts v. 41; II. Cor. xii. 10; Gal. vi. 17.] 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word 671may be fulfilled that is written in their law [Ps. xxxv. 19; lxix. 4], They hated me without a cause. [Though the great proof of the hatred of Christ was yet to come, it is spoken of as if it had passed. Jesus does not mean to say that the world would have committed no sin at all if he had kept away from it. The meaning is that it would not have been guilty of the sin of rejecting Jesus. They would have been excusable.] 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me: 27 and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. [One of the principal offices of the Spirit is to testify of Christ (John xvi. 13–15). The Spirit testified through the apostles and other messengers (Acts ii. 4), so that in a sense the apostles were double witnesses. They themselves could testify as to what they had seen and heard. The Spirit could aid them to testify accurately, and with a full intelligence as to the real meaning of things. The Spirit also gave attention to apostolic testimony by enabling the apostles to work miracles.]
XVI. 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be caused to stumble. [Jesus warned his disciples of coming persecutions in order that those persecutions might not shake their faith.] 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues [see pp. 466, 467]: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he offereth service unto God. [Persecutors would not only take away religious privileges, but even life itself, and they would do this as a religious act, esteeming Christians such enemies of God that God would take pleasure in their death. Paul gives us an illustration of this fanatical zeal—Acts xxvi. 9; Gal. i. 13, 14.] 3 And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come, ye may remember them, how that I told you. And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you. [The disciples being but few, and finding the vast majority of the nation against them, and being but unlearned 672 Galilæans, and finding the leaders—the wise, the cultured, the mighty—against them, would be tempted to doubt the correctness of their course, and to ask, “May we not, after all, be mistaken: may not those who know more be better judges in this matter than we who are so ignorant?” To forestall and prevent such questioning, Jesus asserts that the ignorance is with the rulers. Knowledge of himself and of his Father is the great and supreme knowledge, and the apostles having this were wiser than those with all other learning. It would also strengthen their faith to remember that the Lord's divine wisdom had foreseen all this trouble.] And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you. [While he was with his disciples they were in no danger, for he himself bore the brunt of persecution. In the beginning, therefore, of his ministry he did not deem it expedient to dishearten his disciples by foretelling trials which were then remote. When he began to announce his approaching death, then he also began to declare that the disciple must be willing to lose his life if he would find it. See pp. 414–417. Some think that Matt. v. 10–12 forms a contradiction to our Lord's statement here. While the words in Matthew were spoken early enough to be classified as “from the beginning,” their import is to general to permit of their being brought into contrast with this direct and personal prediction of persecution.] 5 But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have spoken these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. [The disciples had asked the Lord whither he was going (John xiii. 36; xiv. 5), but their question had a very different meaning from that which Jesus here suggests to them. They asked it to ascertain whether his departure would involve a separation or whether it would be a withdrawal from the world in which they could accompany him. The question which he suggests 673has reference to the place to which he was about to journey, that place being the home and presence of his Father. The question asked was selfish, as if the apostles had asked, “What will your departure mean to us?” The question suggested was generous, intimating that the apostles should have asked, “What will this departure mean to you?” Viewing his departure from a selfish standpoint filled their hearts with sorrow; but viewing it from a generous standpoint would have filled them with sympathetic joy, because of the supreme happiness which it would bring to their Master (John xiv. 28). But even from a selfish standpoint the apostles would have had reason to rejoice because of the advantage which would accrue to them through the Lord's departure, for that departure would result in the advent of the Holy Spirit. Space does not permit us to discuss why the Spirit could not come until the Lord had departed, but the verses which follow give us one good and sufficient reason, for they show that his work had to do with the conviction of human hearts through the preaching of a completed gospel, and the ascension or return of Christ to heaven, and his enthronement in glory there, are essential parts of that completed gospel.] 8 And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment [It would be the work of the Holy Spirit to take the truths respecting Christ, and, using the apostles as mouthpieces (Acts ii. 1–37), to convince the world as to these truths. This convincing work was entirely in relation to Christ, the sin of disbelieving him, the righteousness revealed in him, and the power of judgment conferred upon him]: 9 of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; 11 of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. [Sin, righteousness, and a day of judgment with its reward upon one and its punishment upon the other, are three cardinal doctrines of the gospel. The Spirit convinces the world that disbelief in Christ is its fatal sin, for belief in Christ leads to forgiveness, and to the unbelieving there is no forgiveness. The least sin is a sin unto death, and 674is a sin eternal unless forgiven. The greatest sin, if forgiven, becomes harmless and is as if it had never been. Until the world is convinced of this great truth it feels no need of a gospel. Again, Christianity teaches that righteousness is prerequisite to the attainment of the presence of God. Without righteousness we can never behold him, nor can we ever hope to stand before him. But this required righteousness was found in Jesus, for he returned to the Father, and abides with the Father, being seen by us no more. The Holy Spirit convinces the world that those who are found in Christ, having his righteousness, shall attain unto the presence of the Father (Phil. iii. 3–14). Lastly, the Spirit convinces the world that Jesus is commissioned as its judge. Our Lord's resurrection is the assurance of this fact (Acts xvii. 31). The resurrection is such an assurance because it is an evidence of the judgment and condemnation of Satan, the head and leader in sinful rebellion against God, and he that hath power to judge the head thereby shows he has power to judge the body. Satan held the power of death over humanity, but Jesus judged him and brought him to naught by taking away this power (Heb. ii. 14, 15). The cross of Christ as the source of life asserted his superiority over all other powers (Col. ii. 14, 15), which implies an ability to judge them.] 12 I have yet many things unto say to you, but ye cannot bear them now. [The doctrines of the gospel were necessarily obscure and largely incomprehensible to the apostles until time had developed the gospel facts. Jesus, therefore, forbore to speak of many things at this time, lest by doing so he should confuse the minds of his followers.] 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. [The Holy Spirit was to bring no absolutely new teaching. The Son of God here claims for himself all that the Spirit taught even to the declaration of things to come. 675The Spirit would bring to mind and republish in the minds of the apostles all the words which Jesus had spoken, and would add those things which, being now in the mind of Jesus, were really part of his teaching, but which he at this present forbore to utter, the apostles not being able to bear them.] 15 All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you. [The Son's unity of interest with the Father made him possessor of all the Father's truth, as well as all the Father's counsel as to the future. As Jesus, therefore, might at this time have uttered all which the Holy Spirit subsequently taught, he rightfully claimed all the teaching of the Spirit as his.] 16 A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while, and ye shall see me. [Having finished his digression about the Holy Spirit, Jesus here returns to his point of departure, the theme of verse 5 above. Of course the apostles would see Jesus after his resurrection, but the seeing here spoken of refers more especially to that spiritual communion with him previously mentioned—John xiv. 19–23.] 17 Some of his disciples therefore said one to another, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye behold me not; and again a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? [John xiv. 28.] 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? We know not what he saith. [Having been unable to entertain the idea of our Lord's burial and resurrection, no wonder the apostles were mystified by these allusions to it.] 19 Jesus perceived [by his divine insight—John ii. 24, 25; vi. 61; Matt. ix. 4] that they were desirous to ask him, and he said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, A little while, and ye behold me not, and again a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. [The death of Jesus truly brought gladness to his enemies (Luke xxii. 5), and sorrow to 676his friends (John xx. 11), but the sorrow was indeed turned to joy—Matt. xxviii. 8.] 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world. [The simile here is very apropos, according with Scriptural ideals—Col. i. 18; Rev. i. 5.] 22 And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you. [Luke xxiv. 52, 53. The joyful hopes which come to us through the resurrection of Jesus are beyond the reach of the despoiling hand of man.] 23 And in that day ye shall ask me no question. [The coming of the Spirit would make all things clear, and the mysteries about which the apostles now questioned would then be fully explained.] Verily, verily [these two words give emphasis and introduce a new thought], I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full. [Having spoken of his departure, and of what the Spirit would do during his absence, he now speaks of the work which he would himself do while absent. He entered heaven as our high priest (Heb. ix. 24), and part of his priestly office is to make intercession for his people (Heb. vii. 24, 25). The use of Christ's name for intercessory purposes was new to the apostles, since it was only thus employed after his ascension.] 25 These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father. [This closing discourse was full of dark sayings which the disciples did not understand, but when the gospel facts were completed and when the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, then Christ through the Spirit made all things plain to them.] 26 In that day ye shall ask in my name [fullness of knowledge would lead them to look readily to Christ as intercessor]: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father 677for you; 27 for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. 28 I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father. [Birth and death are alike beyond our control. That Jesus had a divine as well as a human nature is shown by the fact that his entrance into and exit from the world were both governed by his own violation, as was also his resurrection (John x. 17, 18). While the apostles did not believe in the voluntary exit of Jesus, it having not yet taken place, they did believe that he had come into the world as a divine being, and for this belief the Father loved them, and this love of the Father was not to be lost sight of in considering the mediatory work of Christ. In short, the Father must be looked upon as one who does not need to be interceded with because of a lack of love. Though, according to the divine plan and order, Jesus is intercessor (I. Tim. ii. 5; I. John ii. 1, 2), yet the office is not self-assumed for the purpose of counteracting any spirit of severity in the Father, but is, on the contrary, undertaken by direct appointment of the Father, made because of the Father's love (John iii. 16). Failing to recognize the Father as the fountain and source of grace, love and mercy has led the Roman Church into gross errors. The Father being suspected of undue rigor, a like suspicion arose also as to the Son because of his nearness to the Father. Therefore the Virgin Mary was called in to intercede with and soften the obduracy of the Son. Since the deification of the Virgin Mary in 1853, she also has been looked upon with growing distrust, and the tendency has been to call upon Joseph to intercede with Mary to intercede with the Son to intercede with the Father. Thus that wonderful love of God which passes all understanding is made less than that of mere mortals who never manifested a measure of philanthropy above what is common. Against such errors Jesus guards us by causing us to understand that, if the love of the Father alone were to be considered, there would be no need for him to intercede at all.] 29 His disciples say, Lo, now speakest thou 678plainly, and speakest no dark saying. [They now clearly understood that as Jesus came from heaven so would he return to heaven, but they did not understand the process by which this return would be effected.] 30 Now know we that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. [The miraculous manner in which he had just read their thoughts caused them to boldly declare their faith in his divinity.] 31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. [He contrasts the faith which his disciples then professed with that utter lack of it which they would manifest in a few hours. All their confidence in his divinity would vanish when they saw him arrested, etc., and they would seek their own safety, leaving him to his fate. Much as he would feel their desertion, he would not be left utterly comfortless, because the Father would be with him. Paul speaks in a similar strain—II. Tim. iv. 16–18.] 33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. [Christ's return to the Father and his throne is the Christian's source of peace. As none of the accumulations of evil which came upon Christ prevented him from attaining his goal, so the Christian feels that in the conquering power of Christ, he too shall rise superior to all his troubles, and this feeling brings him peace.] 679
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