John 14 Bible Commentary

B. W. Johnson’s Bible Commentary

(Read all of John 14)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples.

SUMMARY.--Belief as a Solace of Troubled Hearts. The House of Many Mansions. Christ the Way. Christ the Manifestation of the Father. Asking in Christ's Name. How to Find the Father. The Test of Love. The Benediction of Peace.

      1. Let not your heart be troubled. Just before him was Gethsemane, the betrayal, the denial, the mock trial, the scourging and the cross; but with these in full view, such are the wonders of his love that he does not think of himself. He does not ask comfort, but he gives it. His heart is full of the sorrow of his disciples over his departure. Believe also in me. They had believed in him, but they were so confused over the prospect of his death and departure, they stumbled. He bids them to believe in him as they believed in God; to trust him even if they did not comprehend; to walk by faith rather than by sight through the darkness of that hour. To understand these words, the confusion, sorrow and despair of his disciples over his death must not be forgotten.

      2. In my Father's house are many mansions. By the "Father's house" is meant the heavenly abode. He is about to return there, from whence he had come. I go to prepare a place for you. If the separation was to be an eternal one, he would have forewarned them. Rather, he goes before to prepare a home for them where they can all be together. The departure of Jesus was needful to open an entrance to them and use.

      3. I will come again, and receive you unto myself. The reference is not to Christ's return from the grave, but to a return from heaven, the second coming of the Lord, which is a part of the Christian faith. Compare 1 Thess. 4:17; Phil. 1:23.

      6. I am the way, the truth, and the life. This is said in reply to Thomas. Without him there would be no Way revealed; no divine and saving truth, no immortal life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. Not only can no one enter the Father's house without him, but no man can come to the Father on earth so as to enjoy his favor. "There is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved."

      7. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. The great truth declared is that the way to study God and know him is to know Christ. From henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. From the cross. On the next morning they would see Christ dying. From the sepulcher would burst forth upon their minds a new revelation of the character and mission of the Son.

      8. Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Philip fails to comprehend that the Father was to be seen in Christ, and when the Lord declares that henceforth they have seen the Father, he at once requests such a revelation.

      9. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Philip wanted a literal sight of God with the natural eyes, when God incarnate had been present with him for three years, manifesting the mind, the purity, the saving power, the fatherly tenderness, the unutterable love of the Father.

      10. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? There was the completest union of the personalities of the Son and the Father. We may never on earth comprehend fully its nature, but we can understand it to be so complete that he was the manifestation of God in the flesh (Col. 2:9).

      12. Greater works than these shall he do, because I go to my Father. Those who believe shall have power given to do works, in some respects greater; not greater miracles, but to effect greater moral and spiritual revolutions. At the time of his death, as far as we know, he had only about five hundred disciples, but he "went to his Father" and "shed forth the things seen and heard" on Pentecost, and the eleven apostles converted three thousand in a single day.

      13, 14. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. What man would dare to make such a promise? It will be noted, that in order to enjoy the fullness of these glorious promises we must, (1) Believe. They are limited thus in verse 12. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (2) We must ask in his name, or, in dependence upon the merit and intercession of Christ. (3) As shown elsewhere, we must come with a spirit of complete submission to the Father's will, feeling that his will is best, and saying in our hearts, "Thy will be done."

      15. If ye love me, keep my commandments. Keeping the commandments will be the result if we love him. The Revision gives the true idea. Obedience is the fruit of love.

      16. I will pray the Father. Rather, "request." The Greek word is not the one used when we are bidden to pray. The creature prays; the Son requests. He shall give you another Comforter. The Holy Spirit; the Helper. The latter word more nearly expresses the idea of the Greek term than the word "Comforter." Abide with you for ever. The Lord had been with them over three years, but is about to depart. Henceforth he will abide with them, not in person, but by the Holy Spirit that he shall send. Through this agency he will be with his people "always."

      17. The Spirit of truth. So called, because he leads into all truth, and speaks the truth. See 17:19; 1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Thess. 1:5. He also bears witness of the truth. See Acts 2:4; 5:32; Heb. 2:4. Whom the world cannot receive. Because he only dwells in a heart prepared for him by faith and obedience. "God gives the Holy Spirit to them who obey him" (Acts 5:32). See also John 7:38.

      18, 19. I will not leave you comfortless. They shall not be left desolate by his departure, because "he will come again" to be with them always, in the Spirit. He will be a living Savior, and they will have his life.

      20. At that day ye shall know. "That day" began on Pentecost. There was no more doubting after the Holy Spirit was sent. "That day" still comes to every soul that wholly surrenders to the will of Christ (7:17).

      21-23. He that hath my commandments, etc. The conditions on which Christ will be present in each soul, seen, and enjoyed, are here given: (1) One must love Christ; (2) so love him that he will obey from the heart his commandments; (3) this loving, obedient soul will be loved of the Father; (4) Christ will love him; (5) both the Father and the Son will manifest themselves to him; (6) this manifestation is by their coming and abiding in him through the Helper.

      26. The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost. More correctly, Holy Spirit. He shall teach you all things. A special promise to the apostles, which fitted them to preach the Gospel authoritatively and leave behind them the records of the New Testament.

      27. Peace I leave with you. A parting benediction. That night he was to be seized and taken from them.

      28. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice. A gentle rebuke. Their desire that he should not go away was due, in part at least, to selfish motives.

      30. The prince of this world cometh. The worldly powers of which Satan is prince.

      31. That the world may know that I love the Father. His obedience in the hour of trial demonstrated that he so loved the Father that he sought not his own, but the Father's will.