John 14

14:1 “Do not [stop an action in progress] let your [plural: Jesus was speaking to Peter and other disciples] hearts [minds] be troubled [Gr. tarasso: describes an ocean caught in the teeth of a storm; apostles troubled because: Jesus’ announcement that one of them was a traitor, Jesus’ warning that Peter would deny Him, and by realization that Jesus was going to die]. Trust in God [the antidote to a troubled heart]; trust also in me.

Jesus continued His dialogue with Peter and the other disciples by urging them to stop being troubled. The disciples were troubled for several reasons: Jesus had announced that one of them would betray Him (13:21), that He was going to leave them (13:33), and that Peter would deny Him (13:38).

Jesus also warned His disciples that Satan had demanded permission to sift all of them like wheat (Luke 22:31). Satan would try to sift the disciples from their faith in Jesus through the troubling events of the coming hours and days. Jesus therefore urged His disciples to trust or to continue having confidence in God and also in Him. Jesus later promised to give His disciples His peace, a valuable resource they would need in troubling times (John 14:27).

Is something troubling you? Is something threatening to tear your world apart? Jesus does not guarantee the absence of trouble. However, he does invite us to anchor our confidence in Him and, by so doing, experience His peace in the midst of our troubles. Putting our confidence in Jesus is the best antidote against the worry and anxiety that can tear us apart.

Note: What troubles your heart? How do you handle the things that trouble you?

14:2 In my Father’s house [heaven is a real place; heaven also described as a kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11), an inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4), a country (Heb. 11:16), a city (Heb. 11:16), and a home (Jn. 14:2)] are many [a figure of speech for unlimited space] rooms [dwelling or abiding places]; if it were not so, I would have told you. [“because” or “for” thus indicating Jesus’ reason for going away] I am going there to prepare [heaven is a prepared place] a place for you [a prepared people].

Jesus told His disciples that He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. Jesus had previously referred to the temple as “my Father’s house” (2:16). We often refer to the church building as “God’s house.” However, in this context “my Father’s house” is a reference to heaven. Jesus said that there are “many rooms” in His Father’s house for all who believe in Him.

Some songs and hymns have perpetuated the idea that believers will have personal mansions in heaven—some bigger than others! However, Jesus’ words describe a single home with many rooms laid out around a central courtyard where believers will permanently abide with the Father and enjoy Him forever.

Jesus also affirmed that heaven is a real place prepared especially for believers. Knowing that Jesus has prepared a place for us should encourage us when we are facing troubles. After all, this world is not our home. We are only passing through this world on our way to the Father’s house.

14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you [heaven is an exclusive place; only those who have trusted Jesus will go to heaven (cf. Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:4-6)], I will [a promise] come back [reference to Jesus’ second coming; cf. Matt. 24:36] and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Jesus said His return would be as certain as His departure. He promised to come back and take His followers to His Father’s house. In 1914, British explorer Ernest Shackelton and his men were stranded for almost two years in Antarctica. Shackelton selected a few men and made a daring attempt to reach a distant whaling station in a small lifeboat. He told the remaining men he would return for them. Every day a man was assigned to look for Shackelton’s return. Shackelton did return and rescued every member of his crew. Just as Shackelton’s men lived in anticipation of his return, we should live each day in joyful anticipation of Jesus’ return.

14:4 You know the way to the place [the Father’s house (v. 2)] where I am going.”

Jesus said the disciples knew the way to the place where He was going. The place is the Father’s house and the way to the Father’s house is Jesus. On more than one occasion Jesus had revealed to His disciples that He was the way. He had identified Himself as “the living bread that came down from heaven” (6:51). “If anyone eats of this bread,” said Jesus, “he will live forever” (6:51).

Jesus also referred to Himself as “the gate” and said that anyone entering through that gate would “be saved” (10:7). If the disciples had paused to think about what Jesus had taught them, they would have known that He is the way.

14:5 Thomas [cf. Jn. 11:16; 20:24-28] said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

14:6 Jesus answered, “I am [one of seven “I am” statements] the [not “a” way; repeated use of definite article refers to Christ as the (real, unique, exclusive) and only way, truth, life] way [“the Way” was one of the early names for the Christian church (cf. Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14,22) cf. Matt. 7:14; religion, good works, etc. are not the way (cf. Prov. 14:12)] and the truth [Jesus’ words are completely trustworthy and reliable; in contrast to what is bogus or false; cf. Jn. 8:32] and the life [Jesus is the source of all life, both physical (1:3) and spiritual (11:25); cf. Jn. 10:10,28]. No one comes to the Father except through me [cf. Acts 4:12].

Thomas was confused about what Jesus had shared and asked Him to clarify what He meant. Thomas’ question paved the way for the sixth of Jesus’ seven “I am” statements in John’s Gospel. Jesus spoke of Himself as the way. The use of the definite article reminds us that Jesus is not just one of many possible ways, but the exclusive and only way to the Father’s house.

While others have claimed to know a way, Jesus alone claimed to be the way. Peter later proclaimed to religious leaders in Jerusalem that Jesus is the only way of salvation (Acts 4:12). The early Christians were soon known as those who belonged to “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9,23). Some people today are offended by Jesus’ claim to be the only route to God. Others find His claim outrageous, protesting that such a claim invalidates alternative plans of salvation. The Bible warns about ways that seem right to people but end in death (Prov. 14:12).

Jesus also referred to Himself as the truth and the life. Throughout history, many have claimed to know the truth. However, Jesus alone claimed to be the truth. He is truth personified. Jesus revealed the truth about God and how to be rightly related to Him. His life and words are completely trustworthy and reliable. There is nothing false about Jesus. Jesus also claimed to be the life. Jesus is the source of physical (1:3) and spiritual life (11:25). He offers abundant life to all who come to Him (10:10).

In an age that celebrates tolerance and pluralism, we must faithfully witness to the claims of Jesus in a loving, inoffensive yet uncompromising manner. After all, as Thomas à Kempis concluded, “Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living.”

14:7 [a claim to be God] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus made a bold claim to deity. Jesus, the Word (1:1), clothed Himself in flesh and came to earth (1:14) to explain God to us (1:18). He alone was uniquely qualified for explaining God because He is the exact visible representation of the invisible God (Col. 1:15).

If we want to understand what God the Father is like then we must look at God the Son. Jesus explained God with His words and by His person. Knowing and seeing Him, Jesus explained to His disciples, was the same as knowing and seeing the Father.

14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough [sufficient] for us.”

Philip wanted more than explanations about God. He wanted a direct vision of the Father. Philip therefore asked Jesus to show them the Father. Perhaps Philip was thinking of the kind of manifestation of God experienced by Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:4-8) or by Isaiah when God called him to become a prophet (Isa. 6). Philip failed to understand that the Father was to be seen in Jesus.

14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father [cf. Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:1-4]. How can you say, `Show us the Father’?

Philip’s request opened the door for Jesus to definitively declare that to see Him is to see the Father—something Philip should have known. After all, Philip had been with Jesus a long time. He was one of the first disciples Jesus called (1:43). Philip and the disciples had witnessed the works and words of Jesus. They should have recognized that Jesus was God in human form (1:14,18).

Sadly, Philip failed to fully understand Jesus’ identity. Philip’s life illustrates that it is possible to become so familiar with Jesus that we fail to recognize who He really is. While nurturing a close walk with Jesus we must always keep in mind that He was more than just a man, He is Immanuel—which means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).

14:10 Don’t you [Philip] believe that [Jesus stressed the mutual indwelling of Father and Son and the fact that His works were the Father’s works performed through Him] I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me [Jesus expected a “yes” answer from Philip]? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

14:11 Believe [involves intellectual content] me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe [go on believing] on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

Jesus asked Philip if he believed that to see Himself was to see the Father. The construction of Jesus’ question indicates He expected an affirmative response. The term believe involves intellectual content. The disciples were to believe Christ as well as believe in Him. Jesus said that the words He spoke about His unity with the Father were not just His own.

Jesus’ words and works came from God and revealed God. Jesus told His disciples that if they were having difficulty, they should at least have believed Him because of the miracles or works He did. The miracles Jesus did were intended to point beyond themselves to God. We have ample reason to be confident in Jesus because His words reveal God’s truth and His works reveal God’s power.

14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith [persistent, continuous; the condition for doing “greater things”] in me will do what I have been doing [cf. 14:10-11]. He will do even greater [in scope and number, not in quality; e.g., taking gospel to the world] things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus expected His disciples to continue His work after His departure. He explained that persistent faith is the basis for serving Him and doing His work. Any believer who has persistent faith in Him, promised Jesus, will do even greater things than Him. The word anyone indicates that Jesus’ promise has application beyond the disciples and the early church. Greater things does not mean “more spectacular” or “of greater quality” but rather refers to the scope of ministry.

Jesus’ followers cannot do greater things than Jesus in their own strength. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower His followers to carry on His work. The early church fulfilled Jesus’ prediction of doing greater things by taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. Can Jesus count on you to do greater things? Can He count on you to expand the scope of His kingdom by faithfully sharing the Gospel in your world?

14:13 And I will do whatever [indicates the scope of prayer is unlimited] you ask in my name [in harmony with His will and what pleases Him], so that [purpose for asking] the Son may bring glory to the Father.

14:14 You may ask me [indicates we may pray to the Son as well as to the Father] for anything [this is not carte blanche] in my name [in harmony with His will and His word], and I will do it [cf. Jn. 15:16; 16:23].

Jesus emphasized the necessity of prayer. Prayer reminds us that we need divine assistance in order to accomplish divine work. The words whatever and anything indicate the scope of prayer is unlimited. However, the phrase in my name limits our petitions only to those things that are in harmony with the will, character, and redemptive purpose of the Son and the Father.

Praying “in Jesus’ name” is not the recitation of a magic formula or secret password but rather the recognition of who He is, what He stands for, and what He would seek to accomplish. We must ask only what Jesus would ask and by so doing bring glory to the Father.

Note: Praying “in Jesus’ name” is not the recitation of a magic formula or secret password but rather the recognition of who He is, what He stands for, and what He would seek to accomplish. We must ask only what Jesus would ask and by so doing bring glory to the Father.

14:15 “If you love me, you will obey [guard, keep; cf. 1 Jn. 2:3-4; obedience is the evidence that we have come to know Him (1 Jn. 2:3) and that we love him (1 Jn. 5:2-3)] what I command.

Obedience to Jesus’ commands is the result of loving Him. To obey means to treasure and keep His commands. Obedience to His commands is the evidence that we have come to know Him (1 John 2:3) and that we love Him (1 John 5:2-3).

When you love someone you want to please him or her, rather than selfishly doing as you please. The more we love Jesus the more we will want to obey Him and not do the things that displease Him. Conversely, the more we love the world and the things of this world the less interest we will have in loving and obeying Jesus.

14:16 [note reference to divine Trinity] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another [another of same kind] Counselor [Gr. parakletos: one called alongside another; advocate, comforter; helper, friend, encourager; one always available to give special care in times of need; also translated Advocate – one who offers legal aid or who pleads the cause of another (1 Jn. 2:1)] to be with [as an unseen companion; Spirit would be to disciples what Jesus was while present with them; Holy Spirit available to guide, help, empower] you forever [not just for a brief or temporary period of time]

Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit by describing Him as a Counselor. The word “Counselor” translates the Greek word paraklete—a compound of two separate Greek words meaning “one who is called alongside of” another person to help. This word is sometimes translated “Helper” or “Comforter.” The word is also translated as “Advocate” or one who offers legal aid or who pleads the cause of another (see 1 John 2:1).

Jesus assured His disciples that the Holy Spirit would be with them forever—rather than just for a brief or temporary period of time. Jesus also described the Holy Spirit as another Counselor. The word “another” specifically means “another of the same kind.” The Holy Spirit would be the same kind of Counselor Jesus had been to His disciples. He would empower Jesus’ followers to keep His commands (14:15).

14:17 the Spirit of truth [guides believers “into all truth” (cf. Jn. 16:13); reveals the truth about God]. The world [those under the sway of the “prince of this world” (cf. Jn. 16:11)] cannot accept him [the Spirit], because it neither sees him nor knows him [the Holy Spirit is a person and should never referred to by the pronoun “it” but with the personal pronouns “he” and “him”]. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Jesus described the Counselor as the Spirit of truth. Jesus had earlier called Himself “the truth” (14:6). The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, reveals the truth about God and about Jesus. The world, or those under the influence of the “prince of this world” (John 16:11), cannot accept the Spirit because it neither sees him nor knows him (see 1 Cor. 2:14).

The truth of the gospel means little or nothing to those who have been blinded by “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4). Jesus also referred to the Holy Spirit as him—a reminder that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is never referred to by the pronoun “it.” In contrast to the world, the Holy Spirit lives with and in each believer.

14:18 I will not leave [forsake] you as orphans [comfortless]; I will come to you.

14:19 Before long [indicates Jesus’ death was near], the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live [a promise that the disciples would share in Jesus’ resurrection victory over death].

14:20 On that day [resurrection; coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts] you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show [to reveal, to manifest, to make visible] myself to him.”

14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

14:24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

14:25 “All this [Jesus’ last words] I have spoken while still with you.

14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name [and thereby brings the Son’s presence; as Jesus represented the Father, the Spirit represents the Son], will teach you all [what they needed to know of Jesus and the way of salvation; what they needed to know and convey to future generations] things and will remind you [to cause to remember] of everything I have said to you.

Jesus took full advantage of the opportunity to speak to His disciples in the final hours before His arrest. He knew that once He was arrested, He would no longer have an opportunity to speak to them. Jesus had earlier told His disciples that He was going away (14:1-3). He comforted His disciples by telling them that the Father would send the Counselor, the Holy Spirit in His name. The Spirit represented Jesus as Jesus represented the Father. The Spirit would minister to the disciples in Jesus’ physical absence.

Jesus identified teaching as a specific ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would remind the disciples of all that Jesus taught and did and would later help these eyewitnesses to accurately record these things. Today, the Holy Spirit continues to teach believers to understand and apply Scripture. Before we study the Scripture, we should make the prayer of the psalmist our own, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (119:18). The Holy Spirit is available to fulfill this prayer.

14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid [to be cowardly, to be timid].

14:28 “You heard me say, `I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

14:29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe [come to trust].

14:30 I will not speak with you much longer [time was limited because Satan was working in Judas to betray Him], for the prince of this world is coming. He [Satan] has no hold [was not in control] on me,

14:31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.

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