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14. Jesus Comforts Disciples

1Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3And 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. 4And whither I go, ye know the way. 5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; how know we the way? 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus 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? 10Believest 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. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. 12Verily, 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. 13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do. 15If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, 17even 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. 18I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you. 19Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He 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. 22Judas (not Iscariot) saith unto him, Lord, what is come to pass that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my words: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me. 25These things have I spoken unto you, while yet abiding with you. 26But 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. 27Peace 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. 28Ye 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. 29And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. 30I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; 31but 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.

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1. Let not your heart be troubled. Not without good reason does Christ confirm his disciples by so many words, since a contest so arduous and so terrible awaited them; for it was no ordinary temptation, that soon afterwards they would see him hanging on the cross; a spectacle in which nothing was to be seen but ground for the lowest despair. The season of so great distress being at hand, he points out the remedy, that they may not be vanquished and overwhelmed; for he does not simply exhort and encourage them to be steadfast, but likewise informs them where they must go to obtain courage; that is, by faith, when he is acknowledged to be the Son of God, who has in himself a sufficiency of strength for maintaining the safety of his followers.

We ought always to attend to the time when these words were spoken, that Christ wished his disciples to remain brave and courageous, when they might think that every thing was in the greatest confusion; and therefore we ought to employ the same shield for warding off such assaults. It is impossible for us, indeed, to avoid feeling various emotions, but though we are shaken, we must not fall down. Thus it is said of believers, that they are not troubled, because, relying on the word of God, though very great difficulties press hard upon them, still they remain steadfast and upright.

You believe in God. It might also be read in the imperative mood, Believe in God, and believe in me; but the former reading agrees better, and has been more generally received. Here he points out the method of remaining steadfast, as I have already said; that is, if our faith rest on Christ, and view him in no other light than as being present and stretching out his hand to assist us. But it is wonderful that faith in the Father is here placed first in order, for he ought rather to have told his disciples that they ought to believe in God, since they had believed in Christ; because, as Christ is the lively image of the Father, so we ought first to cast our eyes on him; and for this reason, too, he descends to us, that our faith, beginning with him, may rise to God. But Christ had a different object in view, for all acknowledge that we ought to believe in God, and this is an admitted principle to which all assent without contradiction; and yet there is scarce one in a hundred who actually believes it, not only because the naked majesty of God is at too great a distance from us, but also because Satan interposes clouds of every description to hinder us from contemplating God. The consequence is, that our faith, seeking God in his heavenly glory and inaccessible light, vanishes away; and even the flesh, of its own accord, suggests a thousand imaginations, to turn away our eyes from beholding God in a proper manner.

The Son of God, then, who is Jesus Christ, 6161     “Le Fils de Dieu done, qui est Jesus Christ.” holds out himself as the object to which our faith ought to be directed, and by means of which it will easily find that on which it can rest; for he is the true Immanuel, who answers us within, as soon as we seek him by faith. It is one of the leading articles of our faith, that our faith ought to be directed to Christ alone, that it may not wander through long windings; and that it ought to be fixed on him, that it may not waver in the midst of temptations. And this is the true proof of faith, when we never suffer ourselves to be torn away from Christ, and from the promises which have been made to us in him. When Popish divines dispute, or, I should rather say, chatter, about the object of faith, they mention God only, and pay no attention to Christ. They who derive their instruction from the notions of such men, must be shaken by the slightest gale of wind that blows. Proud men are ashamed of Christ’s humiliation, and, therefore, they fly to God’s incomprehensible Divinity. But faith will never reach heaven unless it submit to Christ, who appears to be a low and contemptible God, and will never be firm if it do not seek a foundation in the weakness of Christ.

2. In my Father’s house are many dwellings. As the absence of Christ was a cause of grief, he declares that he does not, go away in such a. manner as to remain separate from them, since there is room for them also in the heavenly kingdom. For it was proper that he should remove the suspicion from their minds, that, when Christ ascended to the Father, he left his disciples on earth without taking any farther notice of them. This passage has been erroneously interpreted in another sense, as if Christ taught that’ there are various degrees of honor in the heavenly kingdom; for he says, that the mansions are many, not that they are different or unlike, but that there are enough of them for a great number of persons; as if he had said, that there is room not only for himself, but also for all his disciples.

And if it were not so, I would have told you. Here commentators differ. Some read these words as closely connected with what goes before: “If the dwellings had not been already prepared, I would have said that I go before you to prepare them.” But I rather agree with those who render it thus: “If the heavenly glory had awaited me only, I would not have deceived you. I would have told you that there was no room for any one but myself in my Father’s house. But the case is widely different; for I go before, to prepare a place for you.” The context, in my opinion, demands that we read it in this manner; for it follows immediately afterwards, If I go to prepare a place for you. By these words Christ intimates that the design of his departure is, to prepare a place for his disciples. In a word, Christ did not ascend to heaven in a private capacity, to dwell there alone, but rather that it might be the common inheritance of all the godly, and that in this way the Head might be united to his members.

But a question arises, What was the condition of the fathers after death, before Christ ascended to heaven? For the conclusion usually drawn is, that believing souls were shut up in an intermediate state or prison, because Christ says that, by his ascension into heaven, the place will be prepared. But the answer is easy. This place is said to be prepared for the day of the resurrection; for by nature mankind are banished from the kingdom of God, but the Son, who is the only heir of heaven, took possession of it in their name, that through him we may be permitted to enter; for in his person we already possess heaven by hope, as Paul informs us, (Ephesians 1:3.) Still we will not enjoy this great blessing, until he come from heaven the second time. The condition of the fathers after death, therefore, is not here distinguished from ours; because Christ has prepared both for them and for us a place, into which he will receive us all at the last day. Before reconciliation had been made, believing souls were, as it were, placed on a watch-tower, looking for the promised redemption, and now they enjoy a blessed rest, until the redemption be finished.




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