Christ's Legacy
John 14:20
At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

I. THE LEGACY ITSELF: Knowledge. "Ye shall know." God delivered the Jews to some extent from ignorance by the law, which was their schoolmaster. But in the gospel we are graduates, and know as a matter of history and experience what was only previously known in prophecy and type, in the manifestation of Christ, and the presence of the Spirit. Consider this knowledge as opposed to —

1. Ignorance. As there is a profitable ignorance which is a reverent abstinence from searching into God's secrets, so there is an unprofitable ignorant knowledge which puffs us up. And one strange effect of this ignorance is that every man murmurs that someone else has more land or money than he, yet every man thinks that he has more knowledge than all the world beside. Wherefore the prophet (Jeremiah 10:14) calls this confident believer in his own wisdom a fool, as the greatest reproach that can be fastened upon him. Now, this foolishness is not narrowness of understanding, nor inability to acquire knowledge, for many good men are unlettered and dull. The fool is he who trusteth in his own heart; and against this Christ has left us this legacy of knowledge.

2. Inconsideration. God takes it worse to be neglected than to be injured. Dares an officer who receives instruction from his prince on nonperformance say, "I never thought of it?" Dares a subject, a servant, or a son? God shows the inconsiderate man —

(1) The book of His creatures. Every ant asks him, "Where had I this providence and industry? Every flower, Where had I this beauty, fragrance, medicinal virtue?"(2) The Scriptures, where every merciful promise cries, "Why am I here to meet thee and perform God's purpose towards thee, if thou never consider me?" So with every judgment.

(3) The example of Christ, who reconsidered His prayer, "Yet not My will, but Thine, be done." Since, then, our best acts of reading or hearing and praying need consideration, value this legacy.

3. Concealment. It must be published for the benefit of others. Virtue that is never produced into action is not worthy of the name (Philemon 1:6).


1. The word itself affords cheerfulness. When God inflicted the greatest plague on Egypt it was at midnight; and when He would intimate both deaths at once He says, "Thou fool, this night," etc. Against all supply of knowledge He calls him fool; against all sense of comfort in the day He threatens night.

2. It was a certain day: "That" — and soon. For after Christ had made His will at this supper, and given strength to His will by His death, and proved His will by His resurrection, and left the Church possessed of His estate by His ascension, within ten days after that He poured out this legacy of knowledge.

3. On that day the Holy Ghost came as a wind to note a powerful working; filled them, to note the abundance; and gave them utterance, to infer the communication of their knowledge to others. But He was poured forth for the benefit of all. The prophets, high as their calling was, saw nothing without the Spirit; with the Spirit simple man understands the prophets.

III. OUR PORTION IN THIS LEGACY — the measure of the knowledge of those mysteries which we are to receive. When Felix the Manichaean would prove to that was the Holy Spirit who should teach all truth, because Manes taught many things of which men were ignorant concerning the frame and nature of the heavens, Augustine answered, "The Holy Ghost makes us Christians, not mathematicians." This knowledge is to know the end and the way — heaven and Christ. Now, in all our journeys, a moderate pace brings a man most surely to his journey's end, and so does a sober knowledge in the mysteries of religion. Therefore, the Holy Ghost did not give the apostles all kind of knowledge, but knowledge enough for their present work, and so with us. The points of knowledge necessary for our salvation are three.

1. The mystery of the Trinity. "I am in My Father." tells us that the principal use of knowledge is to know the Trinity. For to know that there is one God, natural reason serves our turn. But to know that the Son is in the Father I need the Scriptures, and the light of the Holy Spirit on the Scriptures, for Jews and Arians have the Bible too. But consider that Christ says, "ye shall know," not "ye shall know how. It is enough for a happy subject to enjoy the sweetness of a peaceable government, though he knows not the ways by which his prince governs, so it is enough for a Christian to enjoy the working of God's grace, though he inquire not into God's unrevealed decrees. When the Church asked how the body of Christ was in the sacrament we see what an inconvenient answer it fell upon. Make much of that knowledge with which the Spirit hath trusted you, and believe the rest. No man knows how his soul came into him, yet no man doubts that he has a soul.

2. The mystery of the Incarnation — Ye in Me." For since the devil has taken manhood in one lump in Adam, Christ to deliver us as entirely took all mankind upon Him. So that the same pretence that the devil hath against us, "You are mine, for you sinned in Adam," we have also for our discharge, we are delivered, for we paid our debt in Christ.

3. The assurance of this grows from the third part of our knowledge the mystery of our redemption, in our sanctification. "I in you." This last is the best. To know that Christ is in the Father may serve me to convince another who denies the Trinity; to know we are in Christ may show that we are more honoured than angels. But what worth is this if I know not that Christ is in me. How then is this? Here the question is lawful, for it has been revealed. It is by our obedience to His inspiration, and by our reverent use of His sacrament, when the Spirit visits us with effectual grace, and Christ marries Himself to our souls.

(J. Donne, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

WEB: In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Sharing Christ's Life
Top of Page
Top of Page