Noted as one of the best starting places in the Bible, the Gospel of John is a first-hand account of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from one of his most trusted friends and disciples. This book is necessary reading for the believer as its detail and insight is beyond anything one might cross as they seek out knowledge of this good Word. For this reason, I have decided to embark on a multi-part study on the Gospel of John to give not only in-depth analysis of the entire book; but, also background on it's creation and the man that wrote it. Today we continue our study as we start on part thirteen of this series and discuss John Chapter Fourteen!
John 14:1-4: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
The evening has become pretty depressing by now. Instead of a joyous Passover Feast, Jesus has told them all there is a traitor among them, that He (Jesus) is leaving, they cannot come with Him and that one day they will follow, just not right now. Peter has been told he will deny Jesus by the morning. Jesus now gives them words of encouragement as He sees their hearts are troubled and He says “Don’t be down” and points them to the future that He is preparing for them in Heaven. The use of the terms “dwelling” and “house” are used to calm the Apostles in knowing that there is a place in Heaven for each of them regardless of talents, strengths, weaknesses, wealth, or disposition. Reassuring them that even though they are being rejected by their own people for following Him, He has a place specifically for them.
John 14:5: “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Thomas acknowledges that they still do not know what He is talking about when He talks about His death, resurrections, and ascension into Heaven. If we don’t know the way, how will we ever get there? Jesus answers with...
John 14:6: "Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
He’s talking about Heaven here. He’s saying “just keep your eyes on and your faith in Me and you will get there”. You don’t need to know any other way. The way to Heaven and the destination and life in Heaven is Jesus. If everything in the past that He said would happen did happen, this will too. It might not be that day, but it will happen.
John 14:7: "If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
Jesus continues the thought brought on by Thomas’ question and expands on it. There is some debate over the wording of this particular verse. Some scholars say it should read “in the way you know Me, you will know the Father.” Other scholars claim that it should read the way it reads in the New American Standards version “If you would have known Me, you would have known my Father.” The difference is that one is a promise, and the other is a rebuke. Either way, however, Jesus finishes the verse by saying whatever happened before, they now can look forward to knowing the Father because they have seen Him in the flesh. Of course this is another declaration by Jesus of His divine nature. So next we see Philip’s response to this.
John 14:8: "Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Philip only understands part of what Jesus is saying. He thinks Jesus can show them a sign or a vision of the Father (think about the burning bush Moses saw). Philip thinks if Jesus can do this, it will be the sign that confirms all that Jesus has said, and he says and then they will be satisfied. So Jesus says...
John 14:9-15: "Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! If you love me, obey my commandments."
Jesus’ initial question in response to Philip shows how pained He is by Philip’s lack of understanding. “You’re going to ask me THAT question?? Have you not been paying attention??” This is a really human response to Philip. He is exasperated. Philip wants further convincing for his lack of understanding. Jesus says to him, lets break this down a bit:
Jesus Furnishes Proof of His Divinity:
Examine My Miracles
Examine My Words
Examine My Power in you
Where do they think they got the power to do what they do?
Jesus finishes by imposing a condition that only God can impose, and He did it in the past. That their faith and devotion be measured by obedience. That is the witness of true Christianity before God.
John 14:16-21: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
Jesus builds another idea here upon the one He had just given in response to Philip. Philip wanted to have a clear vision, an experience of the Father that would stay with them into the troubled future Jesus was speaking of. Leave us something we can hold onto, if You are going to leave us. Jesus promises them that even if He leaves them they will not be alone or without the spiritual comfort they have experienced with His presence among them. Jesus promises that the Spirit will not only be “with” them for a little while, but “WITHIN” them forever. When Peter was teaching the idea of repent and be baptized in Acts 2:38, the idea of being baptized was nothing new to the people, they had been hearing that from John the Baptist and Jesus for years. What was new and what did get their attention, however, was the idea that the Holy Spirit would dwell within them forever more. In the Old Testament, the Spirit would come and rest upon a prophet and they would say “the spirit is upon me” and the promise of the prophets for the New testament when the Messiah would eventually come was that, when the Messiah came, EVERYBODY would have the Spirit. Not just the Kings or the prophets or special people but everyone would have the Spirit of God within them. SO, when Peter said that, all those prophesies clicked with the people. So, what Jesus is saying to them is VERY important. Jesus is once again speaking of His death but adds the idea of His resurrection that they sign of His resurrection will guarantee their own. The resurrection will be the proof Philip needs to believe in the divinity of Jesus. The resurrection will confirm all that He has said to them including the sending of the Holy Spirit and their own resurrection. In the end, He repeats again that Christian love is expressed in obedience to Christ’s word and those who do will be rewarded with the experience that Philip searched for but he couldn’t find, and that is the experience of God’s manifestation. God manifest’s Himself to the believer, how? Through the Holy Spirit. Through the Word of God. Through the loving lives of the believers.
John 14:22: "Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
Jesus had focused His attention and promises of the Apostles themselves. Everything He said was “you you you you” so Judas (not the traitor but Judas Thaddeus), brings up another point. He asks “if our task is to convert others, how come you are only revealing yourself to us? Why not to the Jews?” Has their been a change in plans here, Thaddeus wonders. So Jesus responds...
John 14:23-24: "Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me."
Jesus answers Him that the revelation of the Father for ANYONE is based on the acceptance of the Son. In other words, “It's for you, because you believe in Me. And that will be the condition in the future.” If a person accepts the Son by loving Him through obedience to His word, then both the Father and the Son will reveal themselves to that person. No change in the plan, this is a clarification of how these things work. Instruction from God Himself. Jesus has answered their questions and He is now going to summarize His response to them in the last few verses here.
Jesus Summarizes His Response:
Reviews His Promise of the Spirit (John 14:25-27)
Reminds them of His prophecy (John 14:28-31)
John 14:25-27: "I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."
They have asked questions and He has answered them but they still have more questions, their knowledge is not complete yet on this subject. So the Lord promises the Holy Spirit once again but this time He emphasizes that the Holy Spirit will not only comfort them, but He will also speak the truth to them. He will enable them to remember and understand all the teachings of Christ and this will be comforting indeed. Imagine, you have all this information you have gathered during your time with Jesus and then He says “now you will go out and teach this to others”, that must be overwhelming and nerve wrecking! What if you don’t remember it all or know enough to teach it well? Jesus promises that they will have a helper with this and will be able to do so with help and understanding from the Spirit.
John 14:28-31: "Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe. “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going."
Jesus assesses the situation as it ought to be, not how it is. In other words, if they really loved Him, they would be happy He is leaving this earthy body to be with the Father. After all, once He is with the Father, His suffering will be over and He can send the Holy Spirit. So what He is really saying is “if you really understood and got this, you would be happy, none of us would be sad here. We are near the end, the good is coming.” But they don’t get it still. When Jesus refers to the Father as greater than Himself, He is referring to Himself as a man, especially one condemned to die. So He repeats His prophesy of the coming events so that they will remember clearly that He called it in advance of the actual events. This is also another call on them to believe, but one that points to the future. When you see all the events that I say are going to happen actually happen, then you will have another reason to believe. He claims that His own end is near and Satan will do his work to destroy Him but He wants them to know the He will accept the torture and death. Why? Because the Father commanded Him to do this and He will obey to demonstrate His love. He finishes with a command to rise from the table (they do not leave the room yet, there's still another section before they do) and while they are still in the room He is going to continue to teach them and encourage them concerning what is about to happen.
Jesus prepares the Apostles for His departure:
Washes their feet (impresses upon them the need for humility when He is gone. A living parable. No words were spoken.)
Reveals the traitor (Jesus forces him out before the actual event. If Judas had stayed, he could have turned them al to disbelief of turned them all in to the Jewish leaders. If he was ready to turn Jesus over to the authorities, he was certainly able to do that to the others)
Prophecy regarding His death and resurrection (keeps saying in over and over so that they are prepared and will not forget what He said once He dies and is in the tomb.)
Promises His care (promises to send the Holy Spirit to comfort them, like He always did, once He is gone. Will send the Holy Spirit to remind them of His teachings as they carry on the ministry. Also promises Satan’s attack on Him will fail and He and the Father will be with them as they love each other and obey His word.)
As we have been learning about Jesus’ final teaching, He has been addressing the Apostles in the Upper Room where they held the Last Supper, or the Lord’s Supper, and in the last teaching we had been looking over a dialogue where Jesus was being interrupted by questions form the disciples which He was answering (4 disciples asked questions). In the next section, Jesus goes on for a long stretch without any interruption from His disciples. He will discuss His going to the cross no more and will instead focus on how THEY should act after He goes to the cross. He will explain how the Cross will affect their lives. That will be the topic of Chapter 15.