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Joh 14:1-31. DISCOURSE AT THE TABLE, AFTER SUPPER.
We now come to that portion of the evangelical history which we may with propriety call its Holy of Holies. Our Evangelist, like a consecrated priest, alone opens up to us the view into this sanctuary. It is the record of the last moments spent by the Lord in the midst of His disciples before His passion, when words full of heavenly thought flowed from His sacred lips. All that His heart, glowing with love, had still to say to His friends, was compressed into this short season. At first (from Joh 13:31) the intercourse took the form of conversation; sitting at table, they talked familiarly together. But when (Joh 14:31) the repast was finished, the language of Christ assumed a loftier strain; the disciples, assembled around their Master, listened to the words of life, and seldom spoke a word (only Joh 16:17, 29). "At length, in the Redeemer's sublime intercessory prayer, His full soul was poured forth in express petitions to His heavenly Father on behalf of those who were His own. It is a peculiarity of these last chapters, that they treat almost exclusively of the most profound relations--as that of the Son to the Father, and of both to the Spirit, that of Christ to the Church, of the Church to the world, and so forth. Moreover, a considerable portion of these sublime communications surpassed the point of view to which the disciples had at that time attained; hence the Redeemer frequently repeats the same sentiments in order to impress them more deeply upon their minds, and, because of what they still did not understand, points them to the Holy Spirit, who would remind them of all His sayings, and lead them into all truth (Joh 14:26)" [OLSHAUSEN].
1. Let not your heart be troubled, &c.--What myriads of souls have
not these opening words cheered, in deepest gloom, since first they were
2. In my Father's house are many mansions--and so room for all, and
a place for each.
3. I will come again and receive you unto myself--strictly, at His Personal appearing; but in a secondary and comforting sense, to each individually. Mark again the claim made:--to come again to receive His people to Himself, that where He is there they may be also. He thinks it ought to be enough to be assured that they shall be where He is and in His keeping.
4-7. whither I go ye know . . . Thomas saith, Lord, we know not whither thou guest . . . Jesus saith, I am the way, &c.--By saying this, He meant rather to draw out their inquiries and reply to them. Christ is "THE WAY" to the Father--"no man cometh unto the Father but by Me"; He is "THE TRUTH" of all we find in the Father when we get to Him, "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9), and He is all "THE LIFE" that shall ever flow to us and bless us from the Godhead thus approached and thus manifested in Him--"this is the true God and eternal life" (1Jo 5:20).
7. from henceforth--now, or from this time, understand.
8-12. The substance of this passage is that the Son is the ordained and perfect manifestation of the Father, that His own word for this ought to His disciples to be enough; that if any doubts remained His works ought to remove them (see on Joh 10:37); but yet that these works of His were designed merely to aid weak faith, and would be repeated, nay exceeded, by His disciples, in virtue of the power He would confer on them after His departure. His miracles the apostles wrought, though wholly in His name and by His power, and the "greater" works--not in degree but in kind--were the conversion of thousands in a day, by His Spirit accompanying them.
15-17. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the
Father, &c.--This connection seems designed to teach that the proper
temple for the indwelling Spirit of Jesus is a heart filled with that
love to Him which lives actively for Him, and so this was the fitting
preparation for the promised gift.
17. whom the world cannot receive, &c.--(See
18-20. I will not leave you comfortless--in a bereaved and desolate
condition; or (as in Margin) "orphans."
19. world seeth--beholdeth.
21. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, &c.--(See on
22. Judas saith . . . not Iscariot--Beautiful parenthesis this! The
traitor being no longer present, we needed not to be told that this
question came not from him. But it is as if the Evangelist had said,
"A very different Judas from the traitor, and a very different question
from any that he would have put. Indeed [as one in STIER says], we never
read of Iscariot that he entered in any way into his Master's words, or
ever put a question even of rash curiosity (though it may be he did, but
that nothing from him was deemed fit for immortality in the Gospels
but his name and treason)."
23. we will come and make our abode with him--Astonishing statement! In the Father's "coming" He "refers to the revelation of Him as a Father to the soul, which does not take place till the Spirit comes into the heart, teaching it to cry, Abba, Father" [OLSHAUSEN]. The "abode" means a permanent, eternal stay! (Compare Le 26:11, 12; Eze 37:26, 27; 2Co 6:16; and contrast Jer 14:8).
25, 26. he shall teach you all things, and bring all to . . . remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you--(See on Joh 14:15; Joh 14:17). As the Son came in the Father's name, so the Father shall send the Spirit in My name, says Jesus, that is, with like divine power and authority to reproduce in their souls what Christ taught them, "bringing to living consciousness what lay like slumbering germs in their minds" [OLSHAUSEN]. On this rests the credibility and ultimate divine authority of THE GOSPEL HISTORY. The whole of what is here said of THE SPIRIT is decisive of His divine personality. "He who can regard all the personal expressions, applied to the Spirit in these three chapters ('teaching,' 'reminding,' 'testifying,' 'coming,' 'convincing,' 'guiding,' 'speaking,' 'hearing,' 'prophesying,' 'taking') as being no other than a long drawn-out figure, deserves not to be recognized even as an interpreter of intelligible words, much less an expositor of Holy Scripture" [STIER].
27. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you--If
Joh 14:25, 26
sounded like a note of preparation for drawing the discourse to a
close, this would sound like a farewell. But oh, how different from
ordinary adieus! It is a parting word, but of richest import,
the customary "peace" of a parting friend sublimed and transfigured. As
"the Prince of Peace"
He brought it into flesh, carried it about in His Own Person ("My
peace") died to make it ours, left it as the heritage of His disciples
upon earth, implants and maintains it by His Spirit in their hearts.
Many a legacy is "left" that is never "given" to the legatee, many a
gift destined that never reaches its proper object. But Christ is the
Executor of His own Testament; the peace He "leaves" He
"gives"; Thus all is secure.
28. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I--These words, which Arians and Socinians perpetually quote as triumphant evidence against the proper Divinity of Christ, really yield no intelligible sense on their principles. Were a holy man on his deathbed, beholding his friends in tears at the prospect of losing him, to say, "Ye ought rather to joy than weep for me, and would if ye really loved me, "the speech would be quite natural. But if they should ask him, why joy at his departure was more suitable than sorrow, would they not start back with astonishment, if not horror, were he to reply, "Because my Father is greater than I?" Does not this strange speech from Christ's lips, then, presuppose such teaching on His part as would make it extremely difficult for them to think He could gain anything by departing to the Father, and make it necessary for Him to say expressly that there was a sense in which He could do so? Thus, this startling explanation seems plainly intended to correct such misapprehensions as might arise from the emphatic and reiterated teaching of His proper equality with the Father--as if so Exalted a Person were incapable of any accession by transition from this dismal scene to a cloudless heaven and the very bosom of the Father--and by assuring them that this was not the case, to make them forget their own sorrow in His approaching joy.
30, 31. Hereafter I will not talk much with you--"I have a little more
to say, but My work hastens apace, and the approach of the adversary
will cut it short."