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Ver. 1. Let not your heart be troubled , etc.] In some copies this verse begins thus, and he said to his disciples; and certain it is, that these words are addressed to them in general, Peter being only the person our Lord was discoursing with in the latter part of the preceding chapter; but turning, as it were, from him, he directs his speech to them all. There were many things which must needs lie heavy upon, and greatly depress the minds of the disciples; most of all the loss of Christ’s bodily presence, his speedy departure from them, of which he had given them notice in the preceding chapter; also the manner in which he should be removed from them, and the circumstances that should attend the same, as that he should be betrayed by one of them, and denied by another; likewise the poor and uncomfortable situation they were likely to be left in, without any sight or hope of that temporal kingdom being erected, which they had been in expectation of; and also the issue and consequence of all this, that they would be exposed to the hatred and persecutions of men. Now in the multitude of these thoughts within them, Christ comforts them, bids them be of good heart, and exhorts them to all exercise of faith on God, and on himself, as the best way to be rid of heart troubles, and to have peace: ye believe in God, believe also in me ; which words may be read and interpreted different ways: either thus, “ye believe in God, and ye believe in me”; and so are both propositions alike, and express God and Christ to be equally the object of their faith; and since therefore they had so good a foundation for their faith and confidence, they had no reason to be uneasy: or thus, “believe in God, and believe in me”; and so both are exhortations to exercise faith alike on them both, as being the best antidote they could make use of against heart troubles: or thus, “believe in God, and ye believe in me”; and so the former is an exhortation, the latter a proposition: and the sense is, put your trust in God, and you will also trust in me, for I am of the same nature and essence with him; I and my Father are one; so that if you believe in one, you must believe in the other: or thus, and so our translators render them, “ye believe in God, believe also in me”; and so the former is a proposition, or an assertion, and the latter is an exhortation grounded upon it: you have believed in God as faithful and true in all his promises, though yon have not seen him; believe in me also, though I am going from you, and shall be absent for a while; this you may be assured of, that whatever I have said shall be accomplished. The words considered either way are a full proof of the true deity of Christ, since he is represented as equally the object of faith with God the Father, and lay a foundation for solid peace and comfort in a view of afflictions and persecutions in the world.
Ver. 2. In my Father’s house are many mansions , etc.] This he says to draw off their minds from an earthly kingdom to an heavenly one; to point out the place to them whither he was going, and to support them with the views and hopes of glory under all their troubles. By his “Father’s house” is meant heaven; (see 2 Corinthians 5:1); which is of his Father’s building, where he has, and will have all his family. This Christ says partly to reconcile the minds of his disciples to his departure from them, and partly to strengthen their hope of following him thither; since it was his Father’s, and their Father’s house whither he was going, and in which “are many mansions”; abiding or dwelling places; mansions of love, peace, joy, and rest, which always remain: and there are “many” of them, which does not design different degrees of glory; for since the saints are all loved with the same love, bought with the same price, justified with the same righteousness, and are equally the sons of God, their glory will be the same. But, it denotes fulness and sufficiency of room for all his people; for the many ordained to eternal life, for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, and whose blood is shed for the remission of their sins, whose sins he bore, and whom he justifies by his knowledge; who receive him by faith, and are the many sons he will bring to glory. And this is said for the comfort of the disciples who might be assured from hence, that there would be room not only for himself and Peter, whom he had promised should follow him hereafter, but for them all. Very agreeable to this way of speaking are many things in the Jewish writings: “says R. Isaack f593 , how many ˆyrwdm l[ ˆyrwdm , “mansions upon mansions”, are there for the righteous in that world? and the uppermost mansion of them all is the love of their Lord.”
Moreover, they say f594 , that “in the world to come every righteous man shall have rwdm , “a mansion”, to himself.”
Sometimes they speak of “seven mansions” (a number of perfection) being prepared for the righteous in the other world, though entirely ignorant of the person by whom these mansions are prepared: who here says, if it were not so, I, would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you .
This expresses the certainty of it, that his Father had a house, and in it were many mansions, room enough for all his people, or he would have informed them otherwise, who must needs know the truth of these things, since he came from thence; and who never deceives with vain hopes of glory; and whatever he says is truth, and to be depended on; everything he here delivers; both what he said before, and also what follows: “I go to prepare a place for you”; heaven is a kingdom prepared by the Father for his saints, from the foundation of the world; and again, by the presence and intercession of Christ, who is gone before, and is as a forerunner entered into it, and has took possession of it in the name of his people; and by his own appearance there for them with his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, he is, as it were, fitting up these mansions for their reception, whilst they are by his Spirit and grace fitting and preparing for the enjoyment of them.
Ver. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you , etc.] Seeing I am going to prepare, and will prepare a place for you, of the truth of which you may be fully assured: I will come again ; either by death or in person a second time, here on earth: and receive you unto myself ; I will take you up with me to heaven; I will receive you into glory; that where I am there you may be also : and behold my glory, and be for ever with me, and never part more.
Ver. 4. And whither I go ye know , etc.] They might have known, at least, whither he was going, since he had spoke of his Father’s house, and of his going to prepare a place for them there, and doubtless had some knowledge thereof, though very confused and imperfect: and the way ye know : this also they might have known from some expressions of his, that the way to his Father’s house lay through sufferings and death, in which way they also were to follow him to his kingdom and glory. Though these words may be with an interrogation, “and whither I go do ye know? and the way do ye know?” which best agrees with Thomas’s answer, and removes all appearance of contradiction between Christ’s words and his.
Ver. 5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord , etc.] Who was one of his apostles, and here betrays his ignorance, as elsewhere his unbelief; and not only speaks for himself, but for the rest of the apostles, of whom he judged by himself; and who, it may be, might understand things better than himself, though their knowledge at present was but small: we know not whither thou goest ; though he had but just told them of his Father’s house, and of his going to prepare a place for them: and how can we know the way ? for if we do not know the place, it is not reasonable to think we should know the way to it. Thomas seemed to have no other notion than that Christ was talking of some particular place in Judea, whither he was going, and of the road to it.
Ver. 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way , etc.] Our Lord takes the opportunity of this discourse about the place he was going to, and the way unto it, more fully to instruct his disciples concerning himself, saying, “I am the way”; Christ is not merely the way, as he goes before his people as an example; or merely as a prophet, pointing out unto them by his doctrine the way of salvation; but he is the way of salvation itself by his obedience and sacrifice; nor is there any other; he is the way of his Father’s appointing, and which is entirely agreeable to the perfections of God, and suitable to the case and condition of sinners; he is the way to all the blessings of the covenant of grace; and he is the right way into a Gospel church state here; no one comes rightly into a church of Christ but by faith in him; and he is the way to heaven: he is entered into it himself by his own blood, and has opened the way to it through himself for his people: he adds, the truth he is not only true, but truth itself: this may regard his person and character; he is the true God, and eternal life; truly and really man; as a prophet he taught the way of God in truth; as a priest, he is a faithful, as well as a merciful one, true and faithful to him that appointed him; and as a King, just and true are all his ways and administrations: he is the sum and substance of all the truths of the Gospel; they are all full of him, and centre in him; and he is the truth of all the types and shadows, promises and prophecies of the Old Testament; they have all their accomplishment in him; and he is the true way, in opposition to all false ones of man’s devising. And this phrase seems to be opposed to a notion of the Jews, that the law was the true way of life, and who confined truth to the law. They have a saying f596 , that tma wtrwtw hçm , “Moses and his law are the truth”; this they make Korah and his company say in hell. That the law of Moses was truth, is certain; but it is too strong an expression to say of Moses himself, that he was truth; but well agrees with Christ, by whom grace and truth came in opposition to Moses, by whom came the law: but when they say f597 , hrwt ala tma ˆya , “there is no truth but the law”, they do not speak truth. More truly do they speak, when, in answer to that question, tma hm , “what is truth?” it is said, that he is the living God, and King of the world f598 , characters that well agree with Christ. And the life : Christ is the author and giver of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; or he is the way of life, or “the living way”; in opposition to the law, which was so far from being the way of life, that it was the ministration of condemnation and death: he always, and ever will be the way; all in this way live, none ever die; and it is a way that leads to eternal life: and to conclude all the epithets in one sentence, Christ is the true way to eternal life It is added by way of explanation of him, as the way, no man cometh unto the Father but by me ; Christ is the only way of access unto the Father; there is no coming to God as an absolute God, not upon the foot of the covenant of works, nor without a Mediator; and the only Mediator between God and man is Christ: he introduces and presents the persons and services of his people to his Father, and gives them acceptance with him.
Ver. 7. If ye had known me , etc.] Christ having made mention of his Father’s house, and of himself, as the way thither, and the way of access to the Father, was willing to inform his disciples better concerning him before his departure from them, which he introduces, saying: “if ye had known me”; that is, more fully and perfectly; for that they knew Christ to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and true Messiah, is certain, though they were not so thoroughly acquainted, as afterwards, with his person, power, and office: ye should have known my Father also ; for the knowledge of the Father, and of Christ, go together; he that sees the one, sees the other; he that believes in the one, believes in the other; and the knowledge of both is necessary to eternal life; and as a person increases in the knowledge of the one, so of the other. The disciples had some knowledge of them both, but what was very small and obscure, in comparison of what they afterwards had: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him ; some read these words, “henceforwards ye shall know him, and see him”; that is, in a very short time, when the Spirit is poured down from on high upon you, and you have received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, you shall then have an enlarged knowledge both of me and my Father. Others render them, as an exhortation, “henceforward know ye him”; acknowledge the Father in all that I have done, believing that you see the Father in me, and in all my works; though they are rather to be considered as an assertion, declaring, that they then had some knowledge of the Father; “and now ye know him, and”, or “because ye have seen him”; in me, who am “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person”.
Ver. 8. Philip saith to him, Lord , etc.] Another of his disciples addresses him in a reverend and becoming manner, as Thomas before had done, calling him Lord, and saying to him, “show us the Father, and it sufficeth us”: he speaks in the name of them all, seems to own their ignorance of the Father, and expresses their desire of seeing him: shew us the Father ; it was a corporeal sight of him he asked for; such a sight of the glory of God as Moses desired, and the elders of Israel had at Mount Sinai; and signifies, that if this could be obtained, it would give them full satisfaction: and it sufficeth us ; we shall be no more uneasy at thy departure from us; we shall have no doubt about thy Father’s house, and the many mansions in it; or of thyself, as the way unto it, and of our everlasting abode with thee in it; we shall sit down easy and contented, and trouble time no more with questions about this matter.
Ver. 9. Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long time with you , etc.] Conversing familiarly with you, instructing you by my ministry, and performing so many miraculous works among you, for so long a time; (see Hebrews 5:11,12); and yet hast thou not known me, Philip ? Surely you cannot be so ignorant as this comes to; as you have seen me with your bodily eyes, as a man, you must, know that I am God by the doctrines I have taught you, and the miracles I have wrought among you: and he that hath seen me ; not with the eyes of his body, but with the eyes of his understanding; he that has beheld the perfections of the Godhead in me: hath seen the Father ; the perfections which are in him also; for the same that are in me are in him, and the same that are in him are in me: I am the very image of him, and am possessed of the same nature, attributes, and glory, that he is; so that he that sees the one, sees the other: and how sayest thou then show us the Father ? such a request is a needless one, and betrays great weakness and ignorance.
Ver. 10. Believest thou not that I am in the Father ? etc.] This surely is, as it must needs be, and ought to be, an article of your faith, “that I am in the Father”, and the Father in me ; phrases which are expressive of the sameness of nature in the Father and the Son; of the Son’s perfect equality with the Father, since the Son is as much in the Father, as the Father is in the Son; and also of the personal distinction there is between them; for nothing with propriety can be said to be in itself. The Father must be distinct from the Son who is in him, and the Son must be distinct from the Father, in whom he is; the Father and Son, though of one and the same nature, cannot be one, and the same person: the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself . The doctrines which I preach among you are a proof of what I assert, and to them I appeal; for these are not of myself, as man, but the Father that dwelleth in me ; and so prove that I am truly God, of the same nature with my Father; that he is in me, and I in him; since they are such as none but the only begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, could ever have declared and made known unto you; Likewise, the works which I do, as man, I do not of myself; but he doth the works : for so this passage must be understood and supplied, in which Christ proceeds to another argument, taken from his works, proving the Father to be in him, and that he is in the Father, which, is enlarged on in ( John 14:11).
Ver. 11. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me , etc.] Take my word for the truth of this; you may assure yourselves that nothing is more certain; but if you will not believe upon my saying so, either believe for the sake of the doctrines I have preached unto you, which are such as never any mere man spoke, and which have been delivered in such a manner, and with such authority, as never were by man. Some copies read, by way of interrogation, and so the Ethiopic version; and the Vulgate Latin version reads, “believe ye not?” or else believe me for the very work’s sake : meaning his miraculous works, such as raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, causing the deaf to hear, and giving sight to the blind; and which were such as none but a divine person could ever perform.
Ver. 12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me , etc.] Having mentioned his miracles as proofs of his deity, he assures his disciples, in order to comfort them under the loss of his bodily presence, that they should do the same, and greater works; for we are not to understand these words of everyone that believes in Christ, of every private believer in him, but only of the apostles, and each of them, that were true believers in him: to whom he says, the works that I do shall he do also ; he shall raise the dead, heal all manner of diseases, and cast out devils; things which Christ gave his apostles power to do, when he first gave them a commission to preach the Gospel, and when he renewed and enlarged it: and which they did perform, not in their own name, and by their own power, but in the name, and by the power of Christ: and greater works than these shall he do ; meaning, not greater in nature and kind, but more in number; for the apostles, in a long series of time, and course of years, went about preaching the Gospel, not in Judea only, but in all the world; “God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost”, ( Hebrews 2:4), wherever they went: though perhaps by these greater works may be meant the many instances of conversion, which the apostles were instrumental in, and which were more in number than those which were under our Lord’s personal ministry: besides, the conversion of a sinner is a greater work than any of the miracles of raising the dead, etc. for this includes in it all miracles: here we may see a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, quickened; one born blind made to see; one who was deaf to the threatenings of the law, and to the charming voice of the Gospel, made to hear, so as to live; and one that had the spreading leprosy of sin all over him, cleansed from it by the blood of the Lamb yea, though a miracle in nature is an instance and proof of divine power, yet the conversion of a sinner, which is a miracle in grace, is not only an instance of the power of God, and of the greatness of it, but of the exceeding greatness of it: and the rather one may be induced to give in to this sense of the passage, since it is added, as a reason, because I go to my Father ; and upon my ascension the Spirit will be given, to you, which shall not only enable you to perform miracles, as proofs of your apostleship, and the doctrine you preach, but which shall powerfully attend the Gospel to the conversion of multitudes of souls.
Ver. 13. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name , etc.] Whether it be for assistance in preaching of the Gospel; or for the performance of miraculous operations in confirmation of it; or for success to attend it; or for any blessings whatsoever, whether for themselves or others: that will I do ; he does not say, that he would be a Mediator between God, and them, an advocate with the Father for them, and would intercede, and use his interest with him that it might be done, which would have been saying much, and all which he does; but he declares he will do it himself, which is a proof of his deity, and an instance of his omnipotence: that the Father may be glorified in the Son . This may be referred either to the petition, which must be made with this view, that the Father may be glorified by, or in the Son, in whose name it is put up, and for whose sake it is made; or to Christ’s promise to do it; who in doing it, seeks not his own glory, at least not singly; but as the good of his people, so the glory of his heavenly Father.
Ver. 14. If ye shall ask anything , etc.] These words are much, the same with the former, and have been thought, by some, to have crept into the text from the margin; though they seem rather to be repeated by Christ, the more to strengthen and confirm the faith of his disciples in this matter; that whatsoever they asked in my name , either calling upon it, he being equally the object of prayer with the Father, or making mention of it, pleading the merits of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; whatever was according to the will of God, was for his glory, and their real good, he would do it for them, as well when absent from them, as present with them.
Ver. 15. If ye love me , etc.] Not that Christ doubted of the love of his disciples to him; but he argues from it to their observance of his precepts, seeing ye do love me; as all do who are born again, who have had any spiritual sight of him, of his glory, suitableness, and fulness; who believe in him, and have received from him; who have had his love shed abroad in their hearts, having enjoyed communion with him, and know the relation he stands in to them; these love him above all others, and all of him, and that belong to him, unfeignedly, and in the sincerity of their souls, as did the disciples; and since they professed to love, and did love him, as they ought to do, he exhorts them, saying, keep my commandments : Christ is Lord over his people, as he is the Creator and Redeemer of them, and as he is an head and husband to them, and as such he has a right to issue out his commands, and enjoin a regard unto them; and these are peculiarly “his”, as distinct from, though not in opposition to, or to the exclusion of, his Father’s commands; such as the new commandment of loving one another, and the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord’s supper, which are to be observed and kept as Christ has ordered them, constantly, in faith, and with a view to his glory.
Ver. 16. And I will pray the Father , etc.], Here Christ speaks as Mediator, and promises his disciples, that he would intercede for them with the Father; which is designed as an encouragement to them to ask for what they want, in his name, and to comfort their hearts, which were troubled at the news of his departure from them; and he shall give you another Comforter . This is no inconsiderable proof of a trinity of persons in the Godhead; here is the Father prayed unto, the Son in human nature praying, and the Holy Ghost the Comforter prayed for; who is the gift of the Father, through the prevalent mediation of the Son, and is another “Comforter”; distinct from the Messiah, to whom reference is here had! One of the names of the Messiah, with the Jews, is µjnm f599 , “a Comforter”; such an one Jesus had been to his disciples; and now he was about to leave them, and for their support under their sorrows, he promises to use his interest with his Father, that he would give them another Comforter, meaning the Spirit, who performs this his work and office, by taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to his people; by shedding abroad the love of the Father, and of the Son, into their hearts; by opening and applying the precious promises of the Gospel to them; by being a spirit of adoption in them; and by abiding with them as the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; and with this view Christ promises to pray for him, that he may abide with you for ever : not a few years only, as I have done, but as long as you live; and with all those that shall succeed you in the work of the ministry, and with the church, and all true believers unto the end of the world: this is a proof of the saints’ final perseverance. When we consider these words, in connection with the preceding exhortation, to keep the commands of Christ, and as an encouragement so to do, it brings to mind a saying of R. Eliezer ben Jacob f600 ; “he that does one commandment gets for himself dja jylqrp , ena paraklhton , the very word here used, “one advocate”, or “comforter”; and he that transgresses one command, gets for himself one accuser.”
Ver. 17. Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive , etc.] These words explain who is meant by the Comforter, “even the Spirit of truth”; the true Spirit of God, the dictator of the Scriptures of truth, who leads men into the truths of the Gospel, confirms them in them, and gives boldness and freedom to own, and confess them before men: whom the world cannot receive ; the men of the world, who are as they came into the world, carnal and natural men, can neither receive the Spirit nor the things of the Spirit, the truths and doctrines of the Gospel; they can neither receive them into their understandings, nor into their affections; and indeed, because they cannot understand them, therefore they do not love them, but despise and hate them: because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him ; the world, and the men of it, can neither see him with their bodily eyes, because he is a “spirit”; nor know him with their understandings, because he is the “Spirit of truth”, which they are ignorant of, for want of a spiritual discerning. But ye know him ; as a spirit of illumination, regeneration, and conversion: for he dwelleth with you ; he is an inhabitant in your hearts, he has taken up his residence in you as his temples: and shall be in you ; as a Comforter, when I am gone from you; and as a spirit of truth to guide you into all truth, to stand by you, and assist you in preaching it, and to enable you to bear a faithful and glorious testimony for it.
Ver. 18. I will not leave you comfortless , etc.] Gr. “orphans”, or “fatherless”. Christ stands in the relation of a Father to his people, and they are his children, his spiritual seed and offspring; and so the disciples might fear, that as Christ was going from them, they should be left as children without a father, in a very desolate and comfortless, condition: to support them against these fears, Christ promises that he would not leave them thus, at least not long: I will come to you ; in a very short time, as he did; for on the third day he rose again from the dead, and appeared to them, which filled them with great joy. So among the Jews, disciples, and the world too, are represented as fatherless, when their doctors and wise men are removed by death. Says R. Aba, and so sometimes others, concerning R. Simeon ben Jochai, “woe to the world when thou shall go out of it, woe to the generation that shall be in the world when thou shall remove from them, ˆymty ˆwratçyw , “and they shall be left fatherless by thee”.”
Ver. 19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more , etc.] The men of the world now see me with their bodily eyes, which is all the sight they have of me; and this they will be deprived of in a very little time; they will see me no more until the time that I shall come in the clouds of heaven to judge the world; and then every eye shall see me: but ye see me ; ye see me now, and shall see me after my resurrection, as they did; for then he appeared alive and conversed with them for forty days; and when he ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God, they saw him by faith crowned with glory and honour; and will see him as he is when he comes a second time to take them to himself in glory. Because I live, ye shall believe also : Christ lives as God, as man, and as Mediator: as God, he lives the same life his Father does, partaking of the same nature, and possessing the same perfections; so he lived from everlasting, and will live to everlasting; as man, he lived first a private, and then a public life, attended with meanness, reproaches, sorrows, and sufferings; a life which was filled up with acts of devotion and piety to God, and with doing good to the bodies and souls of men; he lived in all obedience to the law of God, and at last endured the penalty of that law, in the room and stead of his people; when his life was taken away for a while, and then taken up by him again; and now, as man, he lives, and lives for evermore. As Mediator, he has his life from the Father, which is dependent upon him, by whom he was set up in an office capacity from everlasting; and as such will live to everlasting, to see the travail of his soul, the fruit of his sufferings, to make intercession for his people, and to rule until all enemies are made his footstool. And his people “live also”, which is to be understood, not of the preservation of his disciples from dying with him, when he died; for then it should rather have been said, “because I die, ye shall live”: nor of the continuance of their natural life in this world; for the saints are not to live always here; nor do they desire it, nor is it proper they should; death is for their advantage; it is a blessing to them. Though these words may be understood of a corporeal life, which they shall live after the resurrection; for though they die, they shall live again, and never die more; they shall not only live and reign with Christ a thousand years, but to all eternity. They also live a spiritual life now; a life of grace and holiness from Christ; a life of faith on him, and sometimes of communion with him, and desire to live to his honour and glory; and shall hereafter live an eternal life of perfection and pleasure, with Father, Son, and Spirit, for evermore.
Now between these two lives, the life of Christ, and his people, there is a close connection; the one is dependent on the other, and secured by the other: “because I live, ye shall live also”; the spiritual life of a believer is from Christ, and is maintained by him; the same which is in the head, is in the members; yea, it is not so much they that live, as Christ that lives in them, and therefore their life can never be lost; it is bound up in the bundle of life with Christ, and is hid safe and secure with him in God, and so out of the reach both of men and devils. The corporeal life of the saints after death, in the resurrection morn, springs from, and is secured by the life of Christ: his resurrection from the dead is the pattern and pledge of theirs; he undertook to raise them from the dead, and will do it; as sure as his dead body is raised and lives, so sure shall theirs; their bodies, as well as their souls, are united to Christ; and by virtue of this union, which death does not, and cannot dissolve, they shall be raised and live again. They are in Christ whilst they are dead; and because they are “the dead in Christ”, they shall “rise first”. Their eternal life is in the hands of Christ, and when he, who is the true God, and their eternal life, shall appear, they shall appear with him in glory.
Ver 20. At that day ye shall know , etc.] The things they should know, or the objects of knowledge are, that I [am] in my Father ; in his bosom, in union with him, partaker of the same nature, perfections, and glory with him, and equal to him: and you in me : that they were in union with him as the branches in the vine, and as the members are in the head, and how they were loved in him, chosen in him, righteous in him, risen with him, and made to sit together in heavenly places in him: and I in you ; formed in their hearts, living in them, dwelling in them, as in his temples, and filling them with grace and glory. The knowledge of these things promised, designs a more clear and distinct knowledge of them; something of them was known already, but not so perfectly as should be hereafter; and this does not suppose that these unions between the Father and Christ, and between Christ and his people, shall then begin to be; for as the union between the Father and the Son is as eternal as themselves; so the union between Christ and his people, as he is the head and representative of them, is as early as his investiture with the office of a Mediator, and his suretyship engagements for them, which were from eternity; and are the ground, and foundation of his being in them, and they in him in the effectual calling; nor does it suggest that they shall begin to be known; only that they shall be known in a more perfect manner: the time when this will be, is “at that day”: meaning either when he should “live” in the body again, be raised from the dead, when he should he declared to be the Son of God with power, when it would appear, that he had the same power with the Father, by raising himself from the dead, and when he would rise as a public head representing them, for their justification, and they should see themselves justified and discharged in him; or the day of “Pentecost”, when “the Spirit of truth”, he promises to pray for, should come to them in an extraordinary manner, and lead them into the knowledge of these things; or the last day, the resurrection morn, when, by virtue of union to Christ, the saints shall rise and “live” with him for ever, and shall have a perfect knowledge of these several unions; (see John 17:21,23,24).
Ver. 21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them , etc.] He that has not merely the external revelation of them in the Bible; but has them written on his heart, by the finger of the Spirit of God, and keeps them under the influence of grace and strength received from him: he it is that loveth me : others may talk of loving Christ, but this is the man that truly does love him; for his observance of Christ’s commands is a proof and evidence that he loves him not in word only, but in deed and in truth: and to encourage souls to love and obedience, Christ adds, he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father ; not that love to is the cause, condition, or motive of the Father’s love to his people; nor does his love to them begin when they begin to love Christ; but this expression denotes some further and greater manifestation of the Father’s love to such persons, and shows how grateful to the Father are love and obedience to the Son: and I will love him ; which must be understood in the same manner; Christ does not begin to love his people when they begin to love, and obey him; their love and obedience to him, spring from his love to them; which love of his towards them was from everlasting: but this phrase signs a clearer discovery of his love to them, which passeth knowledge; and some fresh mark and token of his affection for them; and which is explained in the next clause: and will manifest myself to him ; not in a visible way, or in a corporeal form, as he did to his disciples after his resurrection; but in a spiritual manner, as when he makes himself known to his people in ordinances, and favours them with communion with him, and they see his beauty, his fulness, his grace and righteousness, his power, and his glory.
Ver. 22. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot , etc.] This was Judas Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus, the same with Jude the apostle, the author of the epistle which bears his name; and is said to be “not Iscariot”, to distinguish him from the betrayer. The question put by him, Lord, how is it , ti gegonen , which answers to ad yam , or yah yam , or whm , with the Talmudists, “what is this thou sayest”; what is the meaning of it? how can it be? or what is the reason of it, that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world ? arises either from ignorance of what Christ was speaking, imagining he meant a spectre, or some apparition of himself after his death, which should be visible to his disciples, and not to others; and how this could be, he wanted to know; or from that national prejudice which Judas and the rest of the apostles had given into, of a temporal kingdom of the Messiah, the glory of which should be visible to all the world; and therefore he wonders that he should talk of the manifestation of himself, only to some, or from an honest hearty desire that the glory of Christ might not be confined to a few only; but that the whole world might see it, and be filled with it: or rather from his modesty, and the sense he had of his own unworthiness, and of the rest of the apostles, to have such a peculiar manifestation of Christ to them, when they were no more deserving of it than others: the question is put by him with admiration and astonishment; and as not being able to give, or think of any other reason of such a procedure, but the amazing grace of Christ, his free favour and sovereign will and pleasure.
Ver. 23. Jesus answered and said unto him , etc.] This answer is returned, and these words are spoken, for the further confirmation and explanation of what was before said: if a man love me, he will keep my words ; by his “words” are meant not his doctrines, but his ordinances; the same with his commandments, ( John 14:21), which he has said, ordered, and commanded to be observed, and which are observed by such who truly love him, and that from a principle of love to him, and with a view to his glory: and for the encouragement of such persons as before, he says, and my Father will love him : which is to be understood not of the love of the Father, as in his own heart, which is not taken up in time, but was in him from all eternity; nor of the first discovery of it to his people, but of greater manifestations of it to them, and a quicker sense of it in their hearts, and also of some other effects of it, to be enjoyed by them in an higher manner; such as larger measures of grace, more communion with him here, and eternal honour and glory hereafter: and we will come unto him : I who am now going away, and my Father to whom I am going, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, I have promised to pray for: hence a proof of a plurality of persons in the Godhead, of a trinity of persons, of there being neither more nor fewer than three; since neither more nor less can be collected from the context; and of their distinct personality, or it could not be said with any propriety, “we” each of us “will come unto him”; not locally and visibly, but spiritually, by affording our gracious and comfortable presence, the continuance of which is promised next: and make our abode with him ; which denotes habitation; for the saints are the dwelling places or temples of the living God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and the constancy and perpetuity of their residence in them, not as a wayfaring man, but always, though this may not be always discerned by believers; and is a wonderful instance of the grace and condescension of God to dwell on earth with sinful men; and a far greater one it is, than if the most mighty potentate on earth should take up his abode in a poor despicable cottage with the meanest of his subjects.
Ver. 24. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings , etc.] These words may have respect both to external professors of religion, who being destitute of true love to Christ, though they outwardly observe his ordinances and commands; yet inasmuch as this does not spring from a principle of love to him, and is done only to be seen of men, or to obtain life for themselves, may be said, not to keep his words or commands, because they do not keep them aright; and to the profane world, who, as they have no affection to Christ, pay no regard to any orders or ordinances of his: and they may be considered as having in them a reason or argument, justifying the conduct of Christ, in manifesting himself to his disciples, and not unto the world; as the following words give a reason why the Father takes so much notice of, comes and makes his abode with such as keep the words of Christ: and , or “for” the word which you hear, is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me : that is, it is not only mine, but my Father’s also: it is not mine as man; it is not a scheme of things of my own devising; it is not from earth, but from heaven; my Father has a concern in it, and therefore regards such who hear, receive, and keep it: and this is said by him partly to engage a greater regard and attention to his word, his truths, and ordinances, by his disciples; and to expose and aggravate the sin of those who despised and rejected them; since it was not barely casting contempt on him, but on his Father likewise.
Ver. 25. These things have I spoken unto you , etc.] Concerning his Father, and his Father’s house, and the way to both; concerning his being in the father, and the Father in him; concerning keeping his commandments, and the advantages and benefits following upon it: being , says he, [yet] present with you ; which is a strong intimation that in a little time he should not be present with them; and that whilst he was present with them, he was desirous of saying such things to them in a brief compendious manner, as they were able to bear; which might be of future use and instruction to them.
Ver. 26. But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost , etc.] Before spoken of, ( John 14:16), for whom Christ promised to pray the Father that he might be given to them. The word used there, as here, signifies an “advocate”, and is so rendered, ( 1 John 2:1), a patron, one that pleads and defends, the cause of another, before kings and princes; so the Jewish writers use the word jylqrp , the same with paraklhtov , here, and give this as the sense of it: and which agrees well enough with the work and office of the Spirit of God, who has promised to the apostles to speak in them and for them, when they should be brought before kings and governors for Christ’s sake; and would so thoroughly plead his cause and theirs, as to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; and who acts the part of an intercessor, or advocate, for private believers, in prayer to the King of kings: but inasmuch as it also signifies a “comforter”, and this being agreeably to the present condition of the apostles, as before observed; it may be most proper to retain that sense of it here, who is explained to be the Holy Ghost; which is a more clear and explicit account of him than before, and very distinctly points out the third person in the Trinity, who is in his nature holy, equally with the Father and Son, and the author of holiness in all the saints: whom the Father will send in my name . The mission of the Spirit is here ascribed to the Father, but not to the exclusion of the Son, who is also said to send him, ( John 15:26 16:7), which was not so proper to be mentioned here, because he speaks of his being sent, “in his name”; that is, at his request, through his mediation and intercession, in his room and stead, acting, the same part, and bearing the same flame of an advocate or comforter, and for the glory and honour of his name: which act of sending does not suppose any local motion, which cannot agree with an infinite and immense spirit; nor inferiority in him to the other two persons, since he who is sent by Christ, and in his name, is also the sender of Christ; but it denotes the joint consent and agreement of Father, Son, and Spirit, in this affair: he shall teach you all things : this is the proper work and business of the Spirit, to teach, interpret, and explain all things which Christ had said to them; to make them more plain and easy to their understandings; to instruct them in all things necessary to salvation, and to be known by them, that they might teach them others: and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you ; which through inattention, or want of understanding in them, had slipped their minds, and were forgotten by them. This accounts for it, how the evangelists some years after the death of Christ; at different times and places, and without consulting each other, could commit to writing the life, actions, sayings, and sermons of Christ, with all the minute circumstances attending them.
Ver. 27. Peace I leave with you , etc.] Christ being about to die and leave his disciples, makes his last will and testament, and as the best legacy he could leave them, bequeaths peace unto them; my peace I give unto you : he left the Gospel of peace with them, to be preached by them to all the world; which is a declaration and publication of peace made by his blood; is a means of reconciling the minds of men to God and Christ, to the truths, ordinances, and people of Christ; of relieving and giving peace to distressed minds; and which shows the way to eternal peace: and as Christ had kept his disciples in peace one with another, so he left them in peace; and left orders with them to maintain it one among another: but what seems chiefly designed here, is peace with God, which Christ is the sole author of; he was appointed in the council and covenant of peace to effect it; he became incarnate with that view, and did procure it by his sufferings and death; and as it was published by angels, when he came into the world, he left it, and gave it to his disciples when he was going out of it: or else that peace of conscience is meant, which follows upon the former, which arises from the sprinklings of the blood of Christ, and from a comfortable view, by faith, of an interest in his justifying righteousness, and is enjoyed in a way of believing, and commonly in the use of ordinances “leaving” it supposes that Christ was about to leave his disciples, but would not leave them comfortless; he leaves a Comforter with them, and bequeaths peace unto them as his last legacy: “giving” it, shows that it is not to be acquired by any thing that man can do, but is a pure free grace gift of Christ; and which being given as his legacy, is irrevocable; for the allusion is to the making of a will or testament when persons are about to die: though some have thought it refers to the custom of wishing peace, health, and prosperity, among the Jews; but Christ does not say “peace be to you”; which was the more usual form of salutation among them, and which was used by them when they met, and not at parting; especially we have no instance of such a form as here used, by dying persons taking their leaves of their relations and friends. It must indeed be owned that the phrase, “to give peace”, is with them the same as to salute, or wish health and prosperity. Take two or three of their rules as instances of it; “whoever knows his friend, that he is used µwlç wl ˆtyl f604 , “to give him peace”; he shall prevent him with peace (i.e. salute him first), as it is said, “seek peace and pursue it”; but if he “gives” it to him, and he does not return it, he shall be called a robber.”
Again, “ a man may not go into the house of a stranger, on his feast day, µwlç wl ˆtyl , “to give peace unto him” (or salute him); if he finds him in the street, he may give it to him with a low voice, and his head hanging down;” once more, “a man µwlç ˆty al , “not give peace to”, or salute his master, nor return peace to him in the way that they give it to friends, and they return it to one another.”
Likewise it must be owned, that when they saluted persons of distinction, such as princes, nobles, and doctors, they repeated the word “peace” f607 , though never to any strangers; however, certain it is, that it was another sort of peace which Christ left, and gave to his disciples, than what the Jews were wont to give, or wish to one another; not as the world giveth, give I you . The peace Christ gives is true, solid, and substantial; the peace the world, the men, and things of it give, is a false one; and whilst they cry, “peace, peace, sudden destruction is at hand”: the peace of the world is at best but an external one, but the peace Christ is the giver of, is internal; the peace the world affords is a very transient, unstable, and short lived one, but the peace of Christ is lasting and durable; the peace of the world will not support under the troubles of it, but the peace which Christ gives, cheerfully carries his people through all the difficulties and exercises of this life: and as these differ in kind, so likewise in the manner of giving, and in the persons to whom they are given; the world gives peace in words only, Christ in deed; the world gives feignedly, Christ heartily; the world gives it for its own advantage, Christ for his people’s sake; the world gives its peace to the men of it, to the ungodly, none to the godly, whom it hates; Christ gives his; not to the wicked, for there is no peace to them, but to the saints, the excellent in the earth. Wherefore says Christ, let not your heart be troubled ; at my departure from you, since I leave such a peace with you: neither let it be afraid : at the dangers you may be exposed unto, and the trouble you may be exercised with; for in the midst of them all, “in me ye shall have peace”, ( John 16:33).
Ver. 28. Ye have heard how I said unto you , etc.] Christ had not only told his disciples that he should depart from them in a little time, but also that he should return again to them, and comfort them with his presence, and receive them to himself, to be with him in his Father’s house for ever: and this he again suggests, I go away, and come again unto you ; so that they had not so much reason to be troubled and afraid, as they were: had he only said to them that he should go away, without giving any hint of his coming again, they might well have been uneasy; what made the friends of the Apostle Paul so sorrowful at his departure, was most of all, because he had signified to them they should see his face no more; but Christ assured his disciples that in a little time they should see him again, to their unspeakable joy and comfort: if ye loved me , adds he, ye would rejoice ; not but that the disciples did truly love Christ, and their concern for the loss of his bodily presence is a proof of it; nor was their love unknown to him, nor does he call it in question, only corrects it, or rather uses means to increase it, to draw it forth aright, that it might move and run in a proper channel; they loved him, and therefore were unwilling to part with him, but this was not a pure expression of love to him, it showed too much a regard to themselves, than to the object loved; whereas had they considered things aright, since it was to his greater advantage to remove, they should rather have discovered a willingness to it, and have rejoiced at it; this would have shown pure love and unbiased affection to him: two reasons our Lord gives why they should have rejoiced at his departure; one is, because , says he, I said, I go unto the Father ; who was not only his, but their Father also; at whose right hand he was to sit, an honour which no mere creature ever had; where he was to be glorified and exalted above all created beings; and besides, his glorification would secure and bring on theirs; as sure as he lived in glory, so sure should they; yea, they should immediately sit down in heavenly places in him, as their head and representative, and therefore had good reason to rejoice at his going away: the other is, for my Father is greater than I : not with respect to the divine nature, which is common to them both, and in which they are both one; and the Son is equal to the Father, having the self-same essence, perfections, and glory: nor with respect to personality, the Son is equally a divine person, as the Father is, though the one is usually called the first, the other the second person; yet this priority is not of nature, which is the same in both; nor of time, for the one did not exist before the other; nor of causality, for the Father is not the cause of the Son’s existence; nor of dignity, for the one has not any excellency which is wanting in the other; but of order and manner of operation: these words are to be understood, either with regard to the human nature, in which he was going to the Father, this was prepared for him by the Father, and strengthened and supported by him, and in which he was made a little lower than the angels, and consequently must be in it inferior to his Father; or with regard to his office as Mediator, in which he was the Father’s servant, was set up and sent forth by him, acted under him, and in obedience to him, and was now returning to give an account of his work and service; or rather with regard to his present state, which was a state of humiliation: he was attended with many griefs and sorrows, and exposed to many enemies, and about to undergo an accursed death; whereas his Father was in the most perfect happiness and glory, and so in this sense “greater”. That is, more blessed and glorious than he; for this is not a comparison of natures, or of persons, but of states and conditions: now he was going to the Father to partake of the same happiness and glory with him, to be glorified with himself, with the same glory he had with him before the foundation of the world; wherefore on this account, his disciples ought to have rejoiced, and not have mourned.
Ver. 29. And now I have told you before it came to pass , etc.] This is a strong proof of his true and proper deity, for none but the omniscient God can tell of things before they come to pass; this is peculiar to him, and distinguishes him from the gods of the Gentiles; (see Isaiah 41:22,23 45:21 46:9,10); that when it is come to pass, ye might believe : that is, that when he was removed from them, and gone to his Father, they might then believe that he was truly God, the Son of God, the promised Messiah; and that he was then in glory, and at the right hand of God.
Ver. 30. Hereafter I will not talk much with you , etc.] Meaning before his death; for after his resurrection he talked much with them, about the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; being seen of them and conversing with them, for the space of forty days; not much, he says, chiefly what is delivered in the two next chapters: the design of this was, to observe to them that his time of departure was near at hand, and to quicken their attention to what he did say to them; since they could not expect to hear him long, or much more from him; he would be otherwise engaged; for the prince of this world cometh : by “the prince of this world”, is meant the devil; why he is so called, (see Gill on “ John 12:31”); the reason why Christ chooses to use this circumlocution, rather than to say Satan or the devil cometh, is partly to point out what a powerful adversary he had, and was about to engage with, and partly to observe to his disciples, what they must expect from the world, even hatred and persecution; since Satan was the prince of it, and had such powerful influence over the minds of the men of it. When it is said that he cometh, it is to be understood of his coming to Christ, though it is not expressed, and that with an intent agreeably to his character, as a thief, to kill and to destroy; and not of his coming merely by Judas, into whom he had already entered, and had put it into his heart to betray him; and by the armed soldiers, who would accompany him to apprehend him; and by the chief priests, rulers, and people of the Jews, who with united voices would cry, Crucify him, Crucify him; nor only invisibly by his angels, his principalities and powers, he was now employing in different ways, to bring about his purposes; but of his coming himself personally, and visibly: as he visibly appeared to Christ in the wilderness, tempting him, where he left him for a season; so this season or opportunity being come, he takes it, and visibly appears to him in the garden, where a sharp agony and combat was between them; what success he had in this conflict, is next mentioned; and hath nothing in me ; or as some copies read it, “shall find nothing in me”; or as others, “hath nothing to find in me”; Christ had no sin in him, which can be said of none but him. The Jews say f608 , that Samuel, by whom they mean the devil, when he wrestled with Jacob, ˆw[ wb axm alç , “could not find any iniquity in him”, he had committed; but this is only true of Jacob’s antitype: for though his emissaries sought diligently for it, they could find none in him; though he had sin upon him, he had none in him; the sins of his people were imputed to him, but he had no sin inherent in him; hence, though he the Messiah was “cut off”, according to ( Daniel 9:26), “but not for himself”; which by the Septuagint is rendered kai krima ouk estin en autw , “but there is no judgment” or “condemnation in him”, i.e. no cause of condemnation; which agrees with what is here said: though the accuser of men sought to have something against him, to accuse him of, he could find none; some pretences indeed were made, and charges brought, but could not be made good, insomuch that the judge himself said, “I find in him no fault at all”, ( John 18:38): so that the devil had no power over him, no rightful power, nor any but what he had by permission, nor indeed did he prevail over him; for though according to the first prophecy of the Messiah, Satan bruised the heel of Christ; yet Christ bruised his head, destroyed him and his works, spoiled him, and his principalities and powers; whence it appears that the death of Christ was not owing to any sin of his own, for he had none, nor could any be found in him; nor to the superior power of the devil over him; he submitted to death, not through the power of Satan over him, and complied with all the circumstances leading to it, not out of fear of him, but in love to his Father, and obedience to his command; as is clear from the following verse.
Ver. 31. But that the world may know , etc.] Not the wicked and unbelieving world, but the world of God’s elect, such as are brought to believe in Christ: that I love the Father ; Christ must needs love the Father, as being of the same nature and essence with him, and as standing in the relation of a son to him; he loved all that the Father loves, and approved of all his purposes, counsels, and determinations, concerning himself and the salvation of his people; and therefore he voluntarily laid down his life for them: and as the Father gave me commandment, so I do : as a son is obedient to a father, so was Christ in all things obedient to the commands of his heavenly Father, in preaching the Gospel, obeying the law, and suffering death; all which he did and suffered, as the Father gave commandment to him, as man and Mediator: and that it might fully appear how much he loved his Father, and agreed with him in all his designs of grace; how much his will was resigned to his, and what respect he paid to whatever he said or ordered; he said to his disciples, arise, let us go hence : not from the passover, or the supper, for the passover was not as yet, and the Lord’s supper was not instituted; nor in order to go to Mount Olivet, or to the garden, where Judas and his armed men would be to meet him, and lay hold on him, as is generally thought; but from Bethany, where he and his disciples now were, in order to go to Jerusalem and keep the passover, institute the supper, and then surrender himself into the hands of his enemies, and die for the sins of his people; for between this and the sermon in the following chapters, was the Lord’s supper celebrated; when Christ having mentioned the fruit of the vine, he should drink new with his disciples in his Father’s kingdom, he very pertinently enters upon the discourse concerning the vine and branches, with which the next chapter begins: the phrase is Jewish; so R. Jose and R.
Chiyah say to one another as they sat, Æhynw µwq , “arise, and let us go hence” f609 .