John 14
Pulpit Commentary
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Verse 1. - It is not necessary to follow Codex D and some of the versions, and here introduce into the text καὶ εϊπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ. It is enough that the awful warning to Peter, which followed the announcement of the treachery of Judas and his departure, the solemnity of the Lord, and the clear announcement of his approaching death, had fallen like a thunderbolt into their company. Judas held the bag, and was their treasurer, their ἐπίσκοπος (see Hatch's 'Bampt. Lect.'), and a referee on all practical subjects and details. He had turned against the Lord; and now their spokesman, their rock of strength, their most prominent and their boldest brother, the senior of the group, and with one exception the disciple most beloved and trusted by the Master, was actually warned against the most deadly sin - nay, more, a course of conduct is predicted of him enough to scatter them all to the four winds. Is it possible to exaggerate the consternation and distraction, the shrieks of fear, the bitter sobs of reckless grief that convulsed the upper chamber? In the agony of despair, and amid the awful pause that followed the outburst of their confusion and grief, words fell upon their ears which Luther described as "the best and most consoling sermons that the Lord Christ delivered on earth," "a treasure and jewel not to be purchased with the world's goods." Hengstenberg has argued at length that the opening words of the chapter do not point to this scene of deep dejection, but to the conversation recorded in Luke 22:35-38, where our Lord warned his disciples of the career of anxiety and dependence and struggle through which they would have to pass. They must be ready even to part with their garment to procure a sword, i.e. they must be prepared to defend themselves against many enemies. With his characteristic impetuosity Peter says, "Here are two swords;" and Jesus said, "It is enough." He could not have meant that two swords were a match for the weapons of the high priests, or the power of the Roman empire, but that the disciple had once again misunderstood the figurative teaching of Christ, and, like a child (as he was), had, in the intensity of his present feeling, lost all apperception of the future. True, the language of Luke 22:35-38 suggests an answer to the question, "Why cannot I follow thee now?" But these words in John 14. more certainly contemplate that query, coupled with the other occasions that had arisen for bitter tribulation. To the faithful ones, to Peter's own nobler nature, and to them all alike in view of their unparalleled grief and dismay at the immediate prospect of his departure, he says, Let not your heart be troubled - the one heart of you all; for, after all, it is one heart, and for the moment it was in uttermost exacerbation and distress, lie repeated the words at the close of the first part of the discourse (Ver. 27), after he had uttered his words of consolation. The "trouble" from which that one heart of theirs is breaking is not the mere sentimental sorrow of parting with a friend, but the perplexity arising from distracting cares and conflicting passions. The work of love and sacrifice means trouble that nothing but supernatural aid and Divine strength can touch. The heartache of those who are wakened up to any due sense of the eternal is one that nothing but the hand that moves all things can soothe or remedy. Faith in the absolute goodness of God can alone sustain the mind in these deep places of fear, and under the shadow of death. But he gives a reason for their consolation. This is, Believe in God, i.e. the eternal God in all his revelations of himself in the past - in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who has most completely been unveiled to you now in the word and light and life that have been given to you in me. Your faith in God will be equal to your emergencies, and, if you live up to such fairly, you will bear all that befalls you (cf. Mark 11:22). But, he adds, as I have been in the bosom of God and have declared him to you, believe also in me, as his highest and most complete Revelation. He claimed from them thus the same kind of sentiment, as by right of creation and infinite perfection God Almighty had demanded from them. There are three other ways in which this ambiguous sentence may be translated, according as both the πιστεύετε are taken either as indicatives or imperatives, but the above method is approved by the great majority of interpreters from the early Fathers to Meyer and Godet. The Vulgate and Authorized Version and Revised Version make the second only of the πιστεύετε imperative, and consequently read, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me," which, in the revelation they had just given of their wretchedness and lack of adequate courage and faithfulness, was almost more than the Lord, in the deep and comprehensive sense in which he was using the word "God," would have attributed to them. The different order of the words in the Greek, bringing the two clauses, "in God" and "in me," together, gives potency to the argument of the verse, which is that of the entire Gospel.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Verse 2. - In my Father's house are many mansions; or, abiding-places, homes of rest and peace and sojourn. "My Father" is the grandest name of all - the Divine fatherhood, as conceived in the consciousness of Jesus and revealed to them. Had not he who dwelt for ever in the bosom of the Father come forth, as he alone could, to reveal "the Father" and what the Father had been to him in the eternities? "My Father's house" is the dwelling-place in which devout believing souls would abide forever (Psalm 23:6; Psalm 90:1). In the vast home filled by my Father's glory and lighted by his smile of recognition and reconciliation, in the high and holy place (Isaiah 63:15; Deuteronomy 26:15), are "many mansions" prepared from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34). Heaven is a large place; its possibilities transcend your imagination and exceed your charity. Thoma quotes all the grand hopes which Paul's Epistles and that to the Hebrews contain, that Jesus made heaven and home by his presence there (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17), and he supposes that the Johannist put these words into the lips of Jesus. One conclusion forced upon the reader, so far as this passage is concerned, is that there is no reason why this Gospel may not have been written long before the close of the first century. If it were not so; i.e. if there were any doubt about it, if the revelations already made do not avail to prove as much as this, if you have been cherishing nothing better than vain illusions on this subject, I would have told you, for I came forth from God, and know these many mansions well. I would have told you, for all things that I have heard from the Father (up to this time possible for you to receive) I have made known to you. Here surely is a colon, if not a period. Many interpreters, by reason of the ὅτι which Lachmann, Tischendorf, Westcott, and Meyer believe to be the correct reading, link the following sentence in different ways to the preceding; e.g., some say ὅτι is equivalent to "that," and read, "I would have told you that I go, etc.; but against this is the simple statement of Ver. 3, where Jesus proceeds to say that he is going to prepare, etc. Others, translating ὅτι "for," differ as to whether the departure of Jesus and his preparation of a place for his disciples refers to the first or second part of the sentence. Surely the ὅτι, "because" or "for," opens out a new thought based on the whole of that sentence: "Because, seeing if it were not so, I would have told you," because our relations are so close as to have involved on your part this claim on my frankness, for I am going to prepare a place - to make ready one of these many mansions - for you. Over and above the vague mystery of the Father's house, my departure is that of your "Forerunner," and my presence will make a new resting-place - it will localize your home. As you have made ready this guest-chamber for me, I am going to make ready a presence-chamber for you in the heavenly Jerusalem. Lange objects to this view of Lucke, Calvin, and Tholuck, that it involves a diffusion of knowledge and revelation among the disciples, of which there is no proof. This does not seem bettered by another rendering preferred by him, viz. "If it were not so, would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you?" But then this mode of interpretation implies a previous definite instruction as to the part he himself was going to take in the furnishing of the heavenly mansion. Of that most certainly there is no proof.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Verse 3. - And if I go and if I prepare a place for you - a simple condition, soon to be realized by the event - I come again; I am ever coming, as I am now about to explain to you,

(1) in my resurrection (John 16:16, 17);

(2) in the bestowment of the Comforter (Vers. 17, 25, 26; John 16:7, etc.);

(3) in the intimate relations which, through the power of the Spirit (Vers. 18, 23),

shall prevail between us. I am coming to you, in my glory and power, and in my victory in you as well as for you over death and Hades, to receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. The full perspective of the Lord's approach to faithful souls is given in the extraordinary pregnancy of the "I am coming." Not until he comes m all his glory will the words be perfectly fulfilled; but the early Church, on the basis of communion with Christ himself in the power of his Spirit, expected that Christ had come and taken to himself one by one those who died in the faith (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Thus Stephen expected the Lord to receive his spirit (Acts 7:59); and the dying thief was to be with him, in Paradise; and Paul knew that to be from home, so far as body is concerned, was to be "at home or present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). "To be with Christ" was "far better" than to labor on in the flesh (Philippians 1:23). The highest thought of peace and love was to the apostles union and presence with Christ. Our Lord asserts here that by his very nearness to them he will make their heaven for them. How soon this wonderful idea spread among men! Within twenty years, Thessalonians were comforted about their pious dead, with the thought that they slept in Jesus, and would together with them be "forever with the Lord."
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Verse 4. - Instead of "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know," R.T. reads, Ye know the way whither I am going. Some valuable manuscripts and versions, also the bulk of the cursives, Cyril and Chrysostom, sustain the T.R.; nor have Hengstenberg or Gorier departed from it. The construction of the amended reading is harsh and awkward, but considering the point-blank contradiction which Thomas gives to the words in Ver. 5, the truncated reading is probably the true one. Great emphasis is laid upon the ἐγώ. They ought to have known, if they did not know, after his telling them so frequently of the way he was taking through suffering, self-sacrifice, and aloneness, by spiritual processes rather than secular triumphs, by giving his life a ransom for many, by laying it down that he might take it again. He assumes, he even assures them, that whithersoever he may be going, and however vague may be his goal their ideas, they at least must comprehend the way by which he intended to reach it. Peter in any case ought to have been clear about it; more than once had he been rebuked for such worldly conceptions as beclouded his surer judgment.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Verses 5-7. -

(4) The question of Thomas, eliciting from Christ that he was going to the Father, and that his death was their "way" as well as his own way thither. Verse 5. - Thomas - true to the character elsewhere attributed to him in this Gospel, of anxious, intellectual striving after truth and reality, with a certain despondency and morbid fear of issues which he could not grasp, and yet with a great love to his Master - saith to him, We know not whither thou goest; i.e. we are still in vague perplexity. "Whither? oh, whither?" Art thou going to the dispersed among the Gentiles? Art thou going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Thou art to be "lifted up;" but how and where art thou to be lifted up? Thou art going - that is all we know, and this ignorance of ours makes us doubt "the way." How do we knew the way? Is not a knowledge of the goal absolutely necessary to bring into proper light for us the way, the strange mysterious way, thou art taking? There often seems in the language of skepticism much common sense, and in the dry light of science a straightforward honesty; and in reading the memorable reply of our Lord many have felt a lack of directness and recognition of the difficulty of Thomas. But is it really so?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Verses 6, 7. - Jesus saith to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had learned to know me, ye would have known (absolutely) my Father also: from henceforward ye know (by personal experience) him, and (or, perhaps, even) ye have seen him. The whole sentence must be taken together. The whither of Christ is obvious enough, and throws consequent illumination upon the way thither. "The Father's house" is the whither no one cometh unto the Father (but) except through me. Christ explicitly says

(1) that the entire goal of this wondrous way of his is the Father himself. From the Father he came, to the Father he was moving, not for his own sake only, but also as King Messiah for all his subjects. He suggests

(2) that mankind generally, as well as his disciples, are anxious to find their way to the Father's house, to the Father's heart, i.e. to resting and rejoicing in God, and satisfaction in their entire conception of him and relation to him.

(3) He declares post-lively that this idea of God as Father, this approach to God for every man, is through him - through what he is and what he is doing and has so often described, for them. True, lie had said, in John 6:37, 44, that the Father gave to him and drew towards him those who came to him. A fatherly monition and inward working of grace opened men's eyes in Christ to the mystery of true human son-ship of the eternal Father. The statement of this verse supplements the former utterance. They may best understand the way he is taking when they grasp the fact that he is going to the Father to prepare a place for them, and so he becomes "the Way, the Truth, the Life," for all who are coming after him, "following him afterwards" to the Father. Grotius sums up this great saying by regarding Christ as "the Exemplum, Doctor, et Dater vitro eternae;" Luther speaks of it as referring to the past, present, and future; Calvin, as "the Principium, Medium, et Finis;" and Augustine "vera vitae Via;" but each term means more than this. The way of approach to God is constituted by his simply being the incarnate Logos, by his revealing the mind and nature of God, by his laying down his life for the sheep that he might take it again. In doing this he supplies the method-and motive of holy living. It is not easy to say why our Lord should have added "the Truth and the Life." Maldonatus exclaimed, "Si Christus minus fuisset in respondendo liberalis, minus nobis in hujus loci interpretatione laborandum esset." The two further terms used by himself are probably introduced to throw light upon the way to the Father. Thus there are numerous assurances that he is the Truth itself, that is, the adequate and sufficient expression of Divine thought. "All the promises of God are yea [i.e. are uttered] and Amen [i.e. confirmed] in him." He is the absolute Truth

(1) about God's nature;

(2) the perfect Exponent of God's idea of humanity;

(3) the Light of the world;

(4) the Expression of the reality touching the relations between moral beings and God - all the relations, not only those of saints and holy angels, but those of rebels and sinners, whose destiny he has taken upon himself. He is the Way because he is the whole Truth about God and man and concerning the way to the Father. More than this, and because of this, he adds, "I am the Life" -"the life eternal," the Possessor, Author, Captain, Giver, and Prince of life - the life in the heart of man that can never die; the occasion, germ, condition, and force of the new lath. It were impossible to imagine higher claim. But he leaves his hearers without any doubt as to his personal and conscious identification of himself with the Father. Hitherto he had not so clearly unveiled himself as in that which he has here said and is now doing. Hence his nearest and dearest only partially knew him. If they had seen all they might have seen, they would have seen the Father also. Then, as though he would close all aperture to doubt about the glory involved in his humiliation, and the way in which his human life had revealed the Father, he says ἀπάρτι - henceforward this must be a fact of your consciousness, that you do learn and come to know him by personal experience (γινώσκετε); and as a matter of fact ye have seen him (ἐωράκατε). Possibly in the ἀπάρτι, involving the notion of a period rather than a moment, the Lord was including the full revelation of the glory of self-sacrificial love given alike in his death and resurrection. And the important thought is suggested that neither the knowledge of God can ever be complete, nor the vision either. Is Thomas answered or no? He is silent, and perhaps is pondering the words, which will lead him, before long, notwithstanding his doubts, to make the grandest confession contained in the entire Gospel, the answer of convinced though once skeptical humanity to the question, "Whom say ye that I am?" The other apostles feel that Christ's words have met the mystic vague fear of Thomas, and that "henceforward" they all belong with Christ to the Father's house. They would go to the Father, and at the right time dwell in the place prepared for them; but how can they be said to know and have seen the Father already - to have passed into the light or received the beatific vision?
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Verses 8-21. -

(5) The question of Philip, with the reply. Verses 8-11. -

(a) Jesus the full Revelation of the Father. Verse 8. - Philip has been introduced in John 1:44-46; John 6:7; John 12:21, etc. (see notes), as one early acquainted with the sons of Zebedee, with Andrew and Nathaniel. He is described as convinced of the Messianic character of Jesus, and able, by what he had seen and heard, to overcome all prejudices. Philip, with practical mind, took part in the conversations and preparations for our Lord's great miracle on the loaves. Philip was thought of as a suitable person to introduce the Greeks to Jesus: and every hint we obtain about him is graphic and valuable. Philip saith to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. This query is a very natural one. Though under ordinary circumstances men cannot with mortal eyes look on God, yet one of the high purports of the Christian revelation is to make it possible that men may look and live. Theophanies of Jehovah are not infrequent. The favored prophets, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and others had been favored with visions of Divine majesty, and it was not unreasonable that the practical Philip, who believed in the invincible assent which personal experience would give, who not only had seen in Jesus the Messiah of their prophecies, but had said to Nathanael, "Come and see," and be as satisfied as I am, should now think that some gorgeous vision of the Father's face was possibly within their reach and within Christ's power to confer - a vision which would for ever scatter their doubts and enforce certitude with plausibility. B. Weiss suggests that some whisper of the Transfiguration-glory had escaped from the favored three, leading the other disciples to desire a corresponding theophany. As Luther says, "His faith flutters up into the clouds." A dazzling spectacle would satisfy and suffice for all needs. To see and know the Father, to have irresistible evidence that the Eternal Power is one who has begotten us from himself, and both knows and loves us, is the highest and most sacred yearning of the human heart. The desire is implanted by God himself. Philip, with his fellow-disciples, had not vet learned the sacred truth that they had already had the opportunity of seeing in the life of the God Man the most explicit manifestation of the Father. A dazzling phenomenon, outside of Christ, might have given to the disciples a new impression of awe and fear like that which fell on Moses and the elders of Israel, on Isaiah and Elijah; yet a far more comprehensive revelation of Divine perfection, inspiring the spirit of obedience, reverence, trust, and love, devotion, and self-sacrifice, had already been made to them, but their eyes were holden. They were not satisfied, or Philip would not have said καὶ ἀρκεῖ ἡμῖν.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Verse 9. - Christ's reply is, Have I been so long a period (χρόνον) with you, and hast thou not come to know (ἔγνωκάς) me, Philip? (Compare the aorist δεῖξον, suggesting one great complete sufficing act, with the perfect forms, ἔγνωκάς με ἐωρακὼς ἐόρακε, implying a process continuing from the past into the present,) The revelation of the Father, rather than an unveiling of the absolute God whom no man hath ever yet seen (see John 1:18), had been constantly going on before their eyes. Our Lord first of all appeals to that fact; and yet fact, reality as it was, the disciples had failed even to know him, inasmuch as they had not seen in him the Father. He thus confirms the statement of Ver. 7. "There is an evident pathos in this personal appeal the only partial parallels in St. John are cf. John 20:16 (Mary); John 21:15 (Simon, etc.)" (Westcott). There is no right understanding of Jesus Christ until the Father is actually seen in him. He is not known in his humanity until the Divine Personality flashes through him on the eyes of faith. We do not know any man until we know the best of him. How far more true is it of God and of the Father-God revealed in the Christ? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. The "seeing" here must be adequate, comprehensive vision. How sayest thou - emphatic - Show us the Father? Philip, by the hints already given of him, might have discarded the Jewish and crude idea of a physical theophany. "How sayest thou?" reveals that sense of failure which Christ experienced when he sought to realize in the poor material of our human nature his own ideal.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Verse 10. - Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Philip had heard in an inverted order these very words (see John 10:38). He might have grasped their meaning; two aspects of the same Divine truth or reality - the reciprocal fellowship between the Father and the Son, between the Father and the Effulgence of the Father's glory who is now the God-Man. I am in the Father, I the God-Man am in the Father, as the Logos has ever been in him and proceeding from him. I, who was forever in the bosom of the Father in heaven though on earth, am in the Father now, as the sun dwells in its own effluent light; and the Father is in me, seeing I am the Image of his substance, the Agent of his purpose, the Speaker of his words, the Doer of his works. The words (ῤήματα) which I speak (λέγω, R.T.) unto you - those words which are "spirit and life" (John 6:63), those "words of eternal life," according to Peter's grand confession (John 6:68, 69) - I do not utter (λαλῶ) from myself; i.e. they are the words of the Father, and also the proof that I am in the Father, but the Father worketh always and ever more in and through the Son, these works which may seem to be mine as the Son of man, but are the operation of the Father himself, he who abides in the Son. And the Father abiding in me, doeth his works. These works of mine (ἔργα) are all signs (σημεῖα) of my relation to the Father. They are indications to Philip of the nature, and quality, and character, and feeling towards him of the Father himself.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
Verse 11. - Believe me when I say that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, on the ground of my simple affirmation. My words are spirit and life, and carry their own evidence with them. Christ is not here antithetically contrasting (as Lange suggests) words and works, as though the words were his, and the works the Father's; but he is appealing to their spiritual intuition of truth which is legible by its own light as eternal and Divine, and then reminding them that they may fail in transcendental vision and fall back on reason and its processes, which will come nearer to their understanding - Or else (εἰ δὲ μή), if it be after all that you cannot take my words as the Father's words, as the utterance of the Divine thought, believe me - believe that I am in the Father, etc. - by reason of the very works which are the witness of the Father's power, holiness, and love. In this last appeal he turns from Philip to the whole group of the apostles. Miracles are, if not primary evidence, secondary and convincing evidence, where the eye has been blinded by the mists of doubt, and the vision of the Father confused and withheld by lack of inward purity. Moreover, by Christ's ἔργα are meant, not merely the supernatural portents, but all the work of his life, all the healing of souls, all the conversion of souls, all the indubitable issues of his approach to the heart of man. The great ἔργον is salvation from sin, the gift of righteousness, and the life where before there was moral death (see notes, Vers. 19,20; John 10:37, 38).
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Verses 12-15. -

(b) The greater works, and their conditions and issues, He offers a fresh ground of consolation, based on the double consideration, first of his departure from them and abiding presence with them, and then on the reflex effect on their own faith and on the world of their consciousness of union with him. He throws the arms of his love round about, not only the eleven disciples, but all believers on him, and in a sense draws them up into his own Divinity. With these words must be compared the closely parallel words addressed to them (as preserved by Matthew 21:22, 23) a few days before. This was a saying at once explaining the reference to the "greater works" and also to the power of prayer (see Hengstenberg's masterly treatment of this passage). Verse 12. - Verily, verily - with a fresh emphasis he turns now, not from Philip to the eleven, but from the eleven to all who will believe on him through their word - I say unto you, He that believeth on me - observe here a nominative absolute, which gives great emphasis to the universality of the reference; the form is slightly varied, εἰς ἐμέ, in place of μοι, Ver. 11, - believeth, trusteth on me, confides in me, by reason of believing me - he also shall do the works that I do (see for similar emphasis procured by the word κὰκεῖνος, John 6:57; John 9:37; John 12:48). The disciples might naturally have reasoned on this wise: "Our Master is the incarnate Word, the very Hand and Grace of the Father; but he is going to the invisible Father, and wilt be lost in light. His series of proofs will be at an end; we shall only have the memory of them. The glory of God is great, but, like a gorgeous sunset, its flames will die away into the night." To rectify such fear for all the ages of the Church, he adds, "The very works of healing and helping men, even of raising the dead, and preaching glad tidings to the poor and needy, - these will be proofs of the union of the believer in all time with me and with my Father." In the case of such believer, as well as in my case, the works may increase the faith of others. They are not indispensable, but comforting and reassuring, and they show that every believer is near to the heart of the Father and wields the power of God. But the full force of this somewhat perplexing sentence is heightened and to some extent explained by the addition: And greater works than these he shall do; because I am going to the Father. Greater works than any wrought by the Lord in the days of his humiliation are predicted of Messiah. He is to be the "Light of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6; cf. Psalm 72:8, 11; Psalm 110.). He is to rule the world, to cover the earth with the glory of God. How he was to do this was hidden from the disciples, but it would soon appear that they were the instruments, in his loving hands, for world-victories. Nay, more than that, Jesus (John 4:36-38) had told these disciples that they might reap what he had sown. These rather than other and more surprising prodigies of supernatural energy (as even Bengel supposed was his meaning, pointing, to the healing energy of Peter's shadow, etc.) were the greater works to which he probably (John 5:20) referred, though he gives a reason which would check all presumption: Because of going to the Father. The contrast, then, is between the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, between works wrought in his flesh and those that would be done by him when at the right hand of power. Without him, separated from him, independently of his continued and augmented energy working through them, they would do nothing (John 15:5; comp. here Matthew 21:21, 22). In the last passage, in answer to believing prayer, the disciples were told that they would do greater things than wither up the fig tree, or remove the mountain into the sea. Probably (see Hengstenberg) these terms, "fig tree," "mountain," "sea," were used in their prophetic-symbolic sense, and were not hyperbolic promises, but definite prophecies of the overthrow of the Jewish state, and the fall of the Roman power under the word of those who believed on him. These vast privileges and functions are here attributed to "believers," not merely to the apostles, or princes in his kingdom. This extraordinary pro-raise is no disparagement of his supreme authority, but will be proof that he sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Verse 13. - The great word that follows may hang closely on the "because" of Ver. 12. Whether that be so or not, the power of their hands to perform these greater works is in answer to prayer presented to himself, and their success is nothing less than his own activity. And whatsoever ye ask in my Name, that will I do (see Luther). Here for the first time our Lord uses these words. Frequently (John 5:43; John 10:25) he had spoken of the Father's Name, and in Matthew 18:20 εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα occurs; but now he suggests a new and vitalizing condition of prayer. Luthardt has suggested that the believer, being "in Christ," prays to the Father, who is also in Christ. But the ἐν is used here in two entirely distinct senses. Others have said, taking "Name" as the compendium of all his perfections, that asking "in his Name" meant in full recognition of his Person and his relation to them and to the Father. The Name of the Son reveals the Father, and by assuming this most excellent Name, and having its fullness of meaning avouched by the Resurrection and Ascension, the Father was truly manifested. Others, again, urge that Christ's "Name" is equivalent to "himself;" and "in my Name" means "in the full consciousness that he is the element in which prayerful activity lives and moves" (Meyer). Surely this passage is the true justification of prayer to Christ himself, as identically one with the Father (see Revelation 7:17). "This thing I will do" is strongly in favor of this interpretation. That the Father may be glorified in the Son. The end of this prayer-offering and the Lord's response is that the Father may be glorified; the Father who has such a Son is thereby glorified in the grateful love of his children, and in the Son himself, who is seen thus to be the link between him and his other children.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Verse 14. - If ye shall ask me anything in my Name, etc., is, omitting the ἵνα clause of the former utterance, a solemn repetition of the promise. The only condition being "in my Name." "Our Lord Christ foresaw that this article would go hard with human reason, and that it would be much assailed by the devil." "What ye ask," says he, "I will do. I am God, who may do and give all things." The peculiarity of the R.T. lays, indeed, special emphasis on Christ's own power and willingness to receive and answer prayer.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Verse 15. - If ye love me, keep my commandments. This great saying is enlarged on in the subsequent section - the relation of love to obedience, obedience producing love, and love suggesting obedience and supplying it with motive. Τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμάς, "the commandments which are peculiarly mine" (see Westcott on John 15:9), "as either adopted and reuttered by me, or as originating in my new relation to you." "Guard them as a sacred deposit, obey them as the only reasonable response you can make to authoritative command." It is somewhat startling to find the great promise that follows conditioned by loving obedience, seeing that love and obedience in any sinful man, love to Christ itself, are elsewhere made the work of the Holy Spirit. But we here come across that which often perplexes the student, viz. the contrast between the general idea of the constant and continuous work of grace in human hearts, and the special manifestation in personal glory and Divine activity of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Verses 16-21. -

(c) The greatest Gift - the other Advocate. Verses 16, 17, - Consequent on this obedient love, conditioned by it, is the Lord's assurance: And I will ask the Father - ἐρωτᾷν is used of an asking which is based on close and intimate fellowship; it is the word which implies the presentation of wish or a desire from an equal to an equal, while αἰτεῖν represents the prayer or seeking which rises from an inferior to a superior (see note, John 16:26, and other usage of the same words, John 17:9, 15, 20) - and he will give - make a Divine and free manifestation of himself by his Spirit, give to you as your inalienable possession - another Paraclete, that he may be with you for evermore. Great deference is due to the Greek expositors, beginning with Chrysostom, who translate this word "Comforter," and who point back to the LXX. παρακαλεῖτε (Isaiah 40:1), and because παρακλήσις very often, if not always, means "consolation;" but the word is passive in form, and denotes "one called in," or "called to the side of another," for the purpose of helping him in any way, but especially in legal proceedings and criminal charges, so that the word "Advocate," Pleader for us and in us, is the translation that most generally is accepted by almost all modern expositors. "Another" implies that Christ had already stood in this position while present with them, helping with tender care their first efforts to stand or serve. John (1 John 2:1) distinctly says, "We have now a Paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous," etc. And in this place (Ver. 17) the coming of the Paraclete was his own true return to his disciples. The following is the substance of Westcott's "additional note" on this word: "The two renderings of Paraclete as ' Comforter' in the Gospel, and 'Advocate' in the Epistle, are found in the English versions, with exception of Rhenish, from Wickliffe to Authorized Version and Revised Version. In the ancient versions, with the exception of Thebaic, the original word Paracletus is preserved. Its passive form by all analogous words will not justify here an active or transitive sense, but means 'one called to the side of another' with the secondary sense of helping, consoling, counseling, or aiding him. The classical use is 'advocate,' so used in Demosthenes, not found in LXX. Philo uses it in the same sense, and the rabbinic writers adopt the Greek word פרקליט, in opposition to 'accuser.' The apostolic Fathers use the word in this sense, but the patristic writers, Origen, Cyril, Gregory of Nyssa, Use it for ' Comforter.' In 1 John it. I no other word is satisfactory but 'Advocate,' and the suggestion is that the only meaning here that is adequate is that of one who pleads, convinces, convicts in a great controversy, who strengthens on the one hand, and defends on the other. Christ, as the Advocate, pleads the believer's cause with the Father against the accuser (1 John 2:1; Romans 8:26; Revelation 12:10). The Holy Spirit, as the Advocate, pleads the cause of the believer against the world (John 16:8), and pleads Christ's cause with the believer (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:14)." Archdeacon Watkins has presented a large portion of the Talmudic evidence to the same effect. Thus from the 'Pirke Aboth,' 4:11, "He that keepeth one commandment obtains for himself one paraklit, but he who committeth one sin obtains for himself one kattegor (κατήγορος)." The word was incorporated into the Syrian language, as seen in the Peshito Syriac translation, both of the Gospel and the First Epistle of John. The Advocate who is to be with the disciples forever, arguing down opposition and silencing cavil, is the Spirit of truth. The abundant proof of this great function of the Holy Spirit is not wanting. There is Christ's promise (Matthew 10:19, 20; Mark 13:9-11). Then in Acts 4:8 and 13, whatever Christ had been to the twelve, that would the other Advocate, Mediator of Divine grace, be to the whole Church when the Lord's earthly manifestation should terminate. The genitive after "Spirit" sometimes denotes its great characteristic (cf. Romans 1:4, "the Spirit of holiness;" Romans 8:15, "Spirit of bondage" and "of adoption;" but in the same context we have "Spirit of God," "the Spirit;" Ephesians 1:17, "Spirit of wisdom and revelation; cf. also Romans 8:9, "Spirit of Christ;" 1 Peter 4:14, "the Spirit of glory"); and the idea is that this other Advocate, even the Spirit of truth, shall reveal truth to the disciples, convince them of truth, as Christ had done. Whom the world cannot receive. There are antipathies between "the world" (as conceived by St. John) and "truth," which will render the world strangely unsusceptible of Divine teaching. Still, since the whole process of conviction is the distinct effect of the Holy Spirit upon the world (see John 16.), the λάβειν must not mean that the world cannot accept its convincing power, but cannot exert its power of convincing. Through apostles, who are his organs and representatives, the world will be convinced, and not apart from them. Because it seeth him not (θεωρεῖ) - does not behold him in his external revelations - and knoweth him not by personal experience, "is not learning to know him" as these disciples even hitherto have been able to do in Christ. The world has proved by its rejection of Christ that it cannot behold the Divine energy in him, nor perceive by any inward experience his nature or the real nature of God; but ye, said Christ, are now learning to know him; for he abideth with you. He has begun his abiding presence with you, and shall be in you; and this state of things will continue to the end of time. "The future shows that the whole matter belongs to the domain of futurity" (Hengstenberg). The world cannot "receive," because it is dependent on visible things, and it cannot know because it cannot behold. You have no need to behold, and can and do know by another process. The passage is very difficult, because, if the world cannot receive the Spirit by reason of its own unspirituality and ignorance, how is the threefold conviction to be realized? May λάβειν be regarded in the sense of καταλάμβανειν, "to seize hold of"? Rost and Palm give the following instances of this use of λαμβανεῖν in Homer: ' Od.,' 6:81; 8:116; ' II.,' 5:273; Herod., 4:130, etc. (cf. John 19:1; Revelation 8:5). If so, the whole of this passage would read, "He will give you another Helper or Advocate, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot seize (or take from you), because it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye are learning to know him, because he, according to the eternal laws of his being, dwelleth with you, and will be in you, and be altogether beyond the malice of the world."
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Verse 18. - I will not leave you behind as orphans, bereft of my paternal guardianship. Though the disciples were his brethren, yet, as we have seen, he calls them (John 13:53) τεκνία his "little children;" and (Hebrews 2:11) the apostles reckoned him as Arthur (in 'Guinevere') does when he speaks of "our fair Father Christ." His departure might be the signal for the most utter sense of desertion, exposure, and peril; and even the promise of another Advocatus would hardly console them before the time would arrive when he would receive them unto himself; but, says he, I am coming to you. Much unnecessary comment has here arisen as to whether this coming was the last triumphant παρουσία of which he speaks in part in Ver. 3, - this would be incompatible with the assurances that then the world would and will see him: "Every eye shall" then be prophetic and "see him," and "before him shall be gathered all nations;" or whether this coming be simply his resurrection with his transitory appearances in the flesh; for both of these representations would fail of the full consolation which would terminate their orphanhood. Surely he speaks of his own spiritual coming in the bestowment of the other Advocate, who, by being with them and in them, would prove to them, notwithstanding his own apparent departure, that he had come again in his glorious fullness of love. In the thought of the early Church the Lord was the Spirit: the glorified Lord, the Christ, who had "all power in heaven and earth," was manifested, was veritably present, in all the work of the Spirit of God in his Church. The Spirit was not only the Unity of the Father and the Son, the one Self-consciousness of both, but the one Consciousness of the Son of God and Son of man, the uniting Energy which represents the one Personality of the Christ, the Spirit-power which blends all the members of the mystical body with the Head. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles we see that all the great operations of the Holy Spirit are but the energies of the living, reigning Lord.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
Verse 19. - Yet a little while - a few hours only - and the world - which cannot take from you (or even appreciate or receive) the Holy Spirit - beholdeth me no more. Their power of beholding me will be gone by their own act, they will have cursed and driven me away with the hellish cry, "Crucify him!" they will have slain and buried me out of their sight; but, notwithstanding this, you, by my coming to you in the power of the Spirit, will veritably behold me. Even more than this, because I live though I die, ye shall live also, in your intense spiritual apperception of my continuity of life, of which you will have ocular and spiritual guarantee. Jesus here passed over the concrete fact of the Resurrection, to return to it afterwards. We know that the resurrection of his body and his victory over death became

(1) the condition of his sending the Spirit,

(2) the proof of his being the living One whom death could not hold, and

(3) the ground of the higher appreciation of the relation they sustained to him. But he fixed their attention on his continuous life (in spite of death), and their consequent life under the shadow of his Divine protection, without specifically mentioning the Resurrection, of which he had (in synoptic narrative) given them explicit but misapprehended prophecies. This version seems to be preferable to making the last clause ὅτι, etc., a reason of the θεωρεῖτέ με - a view advocated as possible by Meyer and Luthardt; or than the view which limits the ὅτι ζῶ to the θεωρεῖτέ: "Ye see me because I live, and as a consequence of this vision ye shall live also."
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Verse 20. - In that day of glorious re-communion with you, begun in the Resurrection-surprises, which will aid your faith and triumphantly establish the mysteries and marvels of Pentecost, you shall know what you now most imperfectly apprehend by faith, that I am in my Father, as One lifted up into God, and that I act entirely with and for and as my Father, fulfilling all that I have told you of my personal relationship with him; and then, he adds, you shall know that as I am in my Father, you (are) in me, living in and by my power, and continuously drawing life from me; and what is still more, I in you; i.e. as the Father has acted in and through my will, and I have spoken his words and done his works, so I will energize in you. Your "greater works" will prove my "greater power." Your own consciousness of my presence, and of continuous communion with me, will reveal to you, as you never knew before, that I am in my Father, and also that I am in you. So the apparent paradox presents itself, that in order to know the Father, to see the Father, we must commune with the humanity of Jesus; but in order to realize and come into contact with that humanity, we have to grasp that it is lifted up into God. Because he is in the Father he is able to be with and in us.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Verse 21. - Then for a moment he turns from the eleven, and stretches out his searching gaze and far-sweeping love to every one who hath my commandments as a sure possession and lofty privilege and sufficient standard, and keepeth them, thus proving that he it is that loveth me; returning thus back to Ver. 15, where he said that love would induce and ought to compel to obedience; and he adds another and wonderful benediction: He will be loved by my Father, in a sense more intense than that in which God is said to love the world (John 3:16). God the Father loves those who love the Son, i.e. love the object of his own superlative affection. But who can this wondrous Being be who adds, as a climax of privilege and honor, as though it were more even than the love of the Father, I will love him, and will manifest myself in him (not ἀποκαλύψω or φανερώσω), not merely "disclose an undiscovered presence" or make evident a hidden glory, but I will take special means to disclose my Person and nature and goodness to him? Christ will do this to those who have and keep his commandments of self-forgetting love and perfect consecration. This remarkable word, ἐμφανίσω, implies that the scene and place of the higher manifestation will be "in" (ἐν) the consciousness of the soul. "The kingdom of God is within men.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Verses 22-31. -

(6) The question of Judas, and the conditions of our Lord's self-manifestation, followed by appeals, promises, and the gift of PEACE. Verse 22. - This reference to "manifestation" once more occasioned another anxious inquiry. Thomas bad not known whither the Lord was going, and was ignorant of the true meaning of that way of departure from them; and the Lord had told him that he was going to the Father, and that he himself was the Way for them to find their access to the Father's heart. Philip had longed for some vision of the Father which would suffice for the "whither" and "way," and was surprised to find that he had had already, in the Savior's own Person, a sufficient revelation of the Father; but that he and others had not known him nor his Father; and now Jesus promises a fuller manifestation of himself, and therefore of the Father. Here Judas, not Iscariot (the Lebbaeus, or Thaddaeus, of Mark 3:18 and Matthew 10:3; the Judas brother of James of Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 - all the several cognomina intended to keep this apostle's name entirely distinct from that of the traitor), saith to him, What has come to pass that thou art about to manifest thyself unto us, and not to manifest thyself to the world? Hast thou altered thy plan? Is the world to be left unvisited by thy glory? This question, in some form or other, is constantly pressed upon the Lord. This seeking for a sign, this eager desire for a great display of power, or judgment, or glory, this restoration of the kingdom to Israel, was the cry of the Jewish heart. Christ's sublime reply to it is given in the restatement of the spiritual law of the kingdom and glory of God. Once more he goes back to the law of love, issuing in obedience.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Verse 23. - Jesus answered and said to him, If a man, let him be whosoever he may, love me - there is the germ and root of all - he will keep my Word (λόγον). In Ver. 21 we see the complementary statement, "He that has and keeps my commandments loves me;" here, "He that loves me keeps my Word." In Ver. 21 obedience proves inward love, and may indicate to the world the fact of the Father's love and my own response. Here our Lord is laying down the principle of relation - the law of close intimacy, the conditions of higher knowledge. The keeping of the Word is a certain consequence of holy love. And my Father will love him. So far Christ has only reiterated the great statement of Ver. 21, but instead of saying, "I will love him, and manifest myself," he added, We will come - the Father and I - to him, and take up our abode, make for ourselves a resting-place in his dwelling (πἀρ αὐτῳ); cf. the analogous and wonderful parallel in Revelation 3:20. There is a clear utterance of Divine self-consciousness. It is worthy of note that such an expression as this sounds a profounder depth of that consciousness than any phrase (λόγος) already delivered. Apart from the stupendous corroborative facts elsewhere on record, this seems, to mere human experience, either awfully true or infinitely blasphemous. The Father add g will come together in the power of the Spirit, and we will dwell within the loving and obedient soul. This phrase suggests the mystical union of the Divine Personality with that of those who have entered into spiritual relation with Christ through love and obedience.
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
Verse 24. - We have three statements about love and obedience:

(1) Love involves obedience (Vers. 15, 23), or obedience naturally is included in love;

(2) obedience (having and keeping commandments) is the great proof of love (Ver. 21); and

(3) (Ver. 24) "he that loveth not," i.e. the absence or negation of love seems necessarily to forbid or discountenance obedience - the language differs slightly. He that loveth me not keepeth not my words - i.e. the various utterances into which my one Word may be subdivided in detail - and the λόγος, the one all-revealing Word, out of which all the λόγοι proceed, is not mine (as self-originated), but is the Father's that sent me. Without love to Christ the world has none of the conditions on which the self-manifestation of Christ really depends.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
Verses 25, 26. - These things (in antithesis to the "all things" of which he is about to speak), namely, the great consolations and instructions just delivered not the whole course of his ministerial prophetic teaching - have I uttered, and these things I am stilt continuing to address to you, while remaining with you; but the Paraclete (Advocate), of whom I have spoken as the "Spirit of truth," and whom I now more fully define as the Holy Spirit (this is the only place in this Gospel where this full and elsewhere often-used designation occurs), whom the Father will send - in answer to my prayer (Ver. 16), and as he has already sent me - m my Name. This shows that, while the disciples are to approach the Father "in the Name," in the fullness of perfection involved in the filial Name of Jesus, so the Father sends the Paraelete in the same Name, in the full recognition of Christ as the Sphere of all his gracious work. Meyer emphasizes by it the Name of Jesus; "in my Name," say Grotius, Lucke; "at my intercession" or "in my stead" (Tholuck, Ewald); "as my Representative" (Watkins). But the great Name of Jesus is "the Son" (Hebrews 1:1-5). In the Sonship which he realized and displayed, the Father himself was manifested. The Spirit is sent from the Father fully to reveal the Son, while the substance of the teaching and meaning of the life of our Lord, in his Divine training of souls revealed the Father. He (ἐκεῖνος, a masculine and emphatic pronoun, which gives personal quality and dignity to the Spirit, and points to all that is here predicated of his agency) shall teach you all things that you need to know over and above what I have said (λελάληκα), and he will assist you to know more than you do now. He shall remind you of the all things which I have said to you. The teaching of Christ, according to St. John's own statement, was vastly more extensive than all that had been recorded, the impression produced far deeper than anything that could be measured; yet even this would have been evaporated into vague sentiment, if the veritable things, the marvelous and incomparable wisdom, uttered by the Lord had not, by the special teaching of the Spirit, been re-communicated to the apostles by extraordinary refreshment of memory. The supernatural energy of the memory of the apostles, and their profound insight, is the basis of the New Testament, and the fulfillment of this promise. This sacred training will not teach specifically new truths, because the germinant form of all spiritual truth had been communicated by Christ; nor would the instruction create a fundamental deposit of tradition as yet unrevealed; nor is it to be such an intensification or addition to things already said as to contradict the teaching of the Lord; but the Holy Spirit will bring to the remembrance of the apostles all that the living Logos had spoken. Hence the mystic, the traditionist, and the rationalist cannot find support for their theses in these great words. The πάντα, however, gives a bright hint of the completeness of the equipment of the apostles for their work.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Verse 27. - "Then follow the last words as of one who is about to go away, and says 'Good night,' or gives his blessing" (Luther). Peace I leave with (or, to) you. Peace (dρήνη) answers to the (שָׁלום) shalom of ordinary converse and greeting, and signifies prosperity, health of soul, serenity, farewell. This is the sacred bestowment and Divine legacy of the Lord. "Peace" is always the result of equilibrated forces, the poise of antagonistic elements, held in check by one another. Of these the most placid lake, hidden in the hills and reflecting the sunshine and shadows, is a remarkable illustration. So the peace Christ leaves is power to hold the wildest fear in pause, to still a clamor or hush a cry - it is the coming of mercy to a sense of sin, of life to the fear of death. But when he added, The peace that is mine I give to you, we are reminded of the tremendous conflict going on in his own nature at that very moment, and of the sublime secret of Jesus, by which the will of man was brought, even in agony and death, into utter harmony with the will of God. The ἀφίημι, and δίδωμι of this verse show how the ordinary salutation may become invested with immense significance. There are moments when into one human word may be condensed the love of a lifetime. Christ does but pour through these common words the fire of his eternal and infinite love. Not as the world giveth, give I to you, both as to manner and matter and power. The mode of giving is real, sincere, neither formal nor hypocritical. "I say it, and I mean it." (Meyer, in opposition to Coder, thinks this unworthy of the Savior at this moment; but Godet is right.) The matter, substance, and value of the prosperity and peace I give stretches out into eternity; and I give it, I do not merely talk of it or wish it. "Christ's farewell greeting is forerunner of the beatific salutation which shall accompany the eternal meeting" (Lange). Then, returning to the Divine words of Ver. 1, he seems to say, "Have I not justified all that I have said?" - Let not your heart be troubled, harassed by these mysteries or by my departure, neither let it be terrified (δελιάτω). This is the only place in the New Testament where the word occurs, though it is found in the LXX.; δειλός and δειλία, in the sense of timidity from extrinsic fear, may frequently be found. He must have seen some rising symptoms of the carnal weakness which would prostrate them for a while.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
Verse 28. - Now, however, he leads them a step further. The disciples are to dismiss their trouble and fear, because

(1) of the many mansions that he is going to prepare;

(2) because he was the "Way" to the Father;

(3) because they have had a theophany in him;

(4) because they shall carry on the work of Christ and fulfill all the prophecies,

(5) and do all this under the power of another Advocate or Helper;

(6) because he, the Holy Spirit, will indeed reveal him as he (Christ) had revealed the Father; and

(7) because the Father and Son would come and take up their abode in the loving and obedient heart. But the Lord does more - he bids them not only to dismiss their fear and harassment, but even to "rejoice." Ye heard that I said, I am departing, and, in that very act, I am coming to you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced - a supposition involving uncertainty with a prospect of decision. Perfect love would cast out fear. But why? Because I go to the Father, the theme of the whole discourse. But why should this cause you to rejoice? Because the Father is greater than I! It is not easy adequately to explain this memorable saying. The Arians made use of it to prove, from bur Lord's own lips, that his Person, even his pre-existent Divinity, was less than the Father's; that his essence, admittedly generated by the Father, was created by him, and was not the same as that of the Father. The same view has been held by the rationalistic school. The Socinians and modern Unitarians have insisted on the entire dependence and purely human character of our Lord. The Son of man and Son of God are to many merely the self-chosen titles of the greatest of the sons of men, who thus is supposed to put himself on a level with ordinary men who may learn to call God their Father. But is it? Could any man, unconscious of a far closer relation with God than that of the greatest saint, dare to say, as if to relieve anxiety on that head, "My Father is greater than I"? Is there not in the very phrase a suggestion of Divine sufficiency and relation to the Father which altogether precludes the purely humanitarian position?

(1) A theological view which has largely prevailed among those who have held the homoousia of the Father and the Son, is that the Lord was here speaking of his human nature only. The Athanasian symbol says," Equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood." But the "I" is here used of his whole Personality, as in John 8:58; John 10:30, and throughout the discourse he is speaking of himself in the Divine-human Person in which the eternal and temporal, the infinite and finite, are indissolubly blended.

(2) Others have supposed that he referred to himself as in a state of humiliation. Hengstenberg says the Lord was speaking of the pre-eminent greatness of the Father, which came to an end at his departure. Cyril, Luther, Melancthon, De Wette, Tholuck, Luthardt, and Alford think that Jesus spoke these words of the humiliated Christ in his condition of a servant - obedient unto death. The Son, the Logos of God, was that Mode or Personality of Deity by which "God" created the universe, governed mankind, and proceeded by special manifestation - incarnation, life, and death - to redeem the world. Calvin had said, while the Arians have abused this testimony, the orthodox solution of the Fathers was neither harmonious nor sound; the true signification of the passage, according to him, being found in the mediatorial office of the Christ, and in his status exinanitionis. But this would not exhaust the meaning, for in this very passage he does describe the Father as greater even than the exalted Christ; and in John 1:1-3 as greater even than the pre-existent Logos. And so

(3) we are led to see that there is indeed a subordination of rank and order in the Son, involved in the very notion even of an eternal generation; and compatible with the equality of Being and of essence which he shared with the Father. This is undoubtedly confirmed by John 17:3, 5; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3; and has been through the whole history of Christological speculation conceded (Bishop Bull, in his three chapters on the "Subordination of the Son," has shown, by abundant proof, that before and after the Council of Nicaea, the Fathers held "that the Son has indeed the same Divine nature in common with the Father, but communicated by the Father in such sense, i.e., that the Father alone hath the Divine nature from himself, but the Son from the Father; that the Father is the Fountain, Origin, and Principle of the Divinity which is in the Son"). This is abundantly, needful to avoid at once the errors of tritheism, and to maintain the real unity of the Divine Being. Christ's going to the Father was a ground of rejoicing, because his exaltation through death and resurrection to the position of power and majesty unutterable, and the lifting up of his Divine-human Personality to the midst of the throne, gives to him, in his relations with his disciples, the efficacy of the greatness of that Divine nature which, by its own characteristics, could not have become incarnate. The unrevealed God is greater than the revealed. The lifting up of perfect humanity into the glory which the Son had with the Father before the world was, should have been the cause of joy to the disciples. It is the wellspring of joy to the Church (see Suicer, 'Thesaurus,' art. Μειζονότης; Bull's 'Defense of the Nicene Creed,' bk. 4; Westcott's catena of passages in 'Additional Note to John 14;' Lange and P. Schaff, 'Comm. on John').
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Verse 29. - And now I have said it to you before it come to pass - I have told you of my departure and what is involved in it - that when it is come to pass, ye may believe. Christ often appeals to the effect which the fulfillment of his own predictions will produce in the minds of his disciples (John 1:51; John 13:19). They will, when the series of events will unroll themselves, believe that he has gone to the Father, to do all he said he would do, to be all he said he was. This means undoubtedly more than a spiritual consolation whereby they may endure his separation by death from their society. It is the announcement beforehand of the Resurrection and Ascension, by which their faith in his exaltation would be fanned into burning flame and made a revelation of Divine love to the universe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Verse 30. - I will no longer talk much with you. This seems strange when there follow John 15-17; but it gives a hint of the abundance of instruction, of λαλία, of λόγοι, which John at least had heard, of which he has only given the specimens of a few short days of intercourse. For the prince of the world (see John 12:31); the lord and master, by base usurpation, of the world of men. This term is continually found in rabbinical writings for the great central power of evil in the world. The activity of evil was then at work. Satan entered into Judas; the spirit of evil was rampant in all the machination of the leaders of the people. The eagles of this impure host were gathering. The last conflict impended. The prince of the world, who shall be cast out, judged and conquered, cometh, and hath nothing in me. The conflict between the second Adam and the devil culminates. Christ looks through the whole army of his opponents, and feels that he has to wrestle with the ruler of the darkness of the world, but at the same time is sublimely conscious that there is nothing in him on which the evil can fasten. Christ certainly claims a sinlessness of inner nature which no other saint has arrogated to himself. Accusations of the world were numerous enough, but those who brought them were ignorant. Now he has to do with one who knows him, but not so well as he knows himself. The double negation, οὐκ ἔχει οὐδέν, must be noticed - "absolutely nothing." Thus he virtually repeats his own utterance, "I am not of this world." This great word presupposes again the uniqueness of Christ's Personality and consciousness. With every other man the higher the conception of the Divine Law and claim, so. much the deeper becomes the sense of departure from it. In Christ's case his lofty knowledge of the Father only makes him know, and even compels him to confess, his reconciliation, his obedience, and his inward sinlessness.
But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
Verse 31. - But that - ἀλλ ἵνα is elliptical (Westcott translates, "But I surrender myself, that," etc.; and Meyer, "But he cometh, that," etc.), not dependent on ἐγείρεσθε - the world may know - that very world over which this alien spirit has so long tyrannized may know, if not now, yet ultimately - that I love the Father. Then it is the world which is to be nevertheless drawn to him by his being "lifted up "(John 12:52) - the world which the Father loves so much as to save and redeem from the power of the enemy. And even as the Father commanded me - which is undoubtedly in harmony with the entire representation of the μειζονότης of the Father - so I do. My love is strong as death. Though the prince of the world has no right over me, I go at the Father's bidding to do his will, to suffer, but to win, and through death to destroy him that has the power of death. Arise, let us go hence - words which are also found in Matthew 26:46, and are a touch of the eyewitness that nothing will obliterate. A second-century theologian would not have introduced such a feature. They leave the guest-chamber, and so the remainder of the discourse was delivered in the brightness of the Paschal moon, under shadow of the walls of Jerusalem, or in some corner of the temple area, or some convenient place on the way to Gethsemane. He said these words, however, before he crossed the Kedron (John 18:1). Apparently on the way thither he once more took up his parable.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by BibleSoft, inc., Used by permission

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