Some Thoughts on John's Gospel: Chapter 14

John 14  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"Believe also in me." These words the Lord says, because they would see Him no more; He was going into heaven alone, and they could not follow Him now, but He was going to prepare places for them amongst those that were very near His Father.
To console them for His going away, He tells them that He would receive them to Himself in His Father's house. When we go to heaven we shall find there some one we love to see. People wish to go to heaven because they are afraid of hell: but what delight would they have in heaven, who do not love Jesus and who do not know Him? But we believers are happy in going, and the sooner the better, because we know Christ; otherwise heaven itself would be a weariness to us.
If a son had a father and mother in a foreign country, he would say, " notwithstanding, I want to go home," because his home is where he has those whom he loves. Two things I want to see in heaven; the first is Christ with the Father, and the second, all the saints perfected according to the heart of God.
Jesus says to Philip that he ought to know the Father, and the way to go to the Father. The Father was to be seen in Jesus, and the way was Himself, by which to go to the Father. This is a revelation complete and precious, because if we know and have the Son and the Father, we can look for nothing greater. It is the acme and fullness of joy in heaven. At v. 7 it is said, " If ye had known me." They had known Him well as the Messiah, but they did not as yet know well His glorious person. To Peter it was revealed that He was the Son of the living God, but even he had not really comprehended the glory of His person.
In v. 15 we have the character of our love for the Lord, that is obedience: and false love is known by this, that it does not manifest itself in obedience to His commandments and to His word. From v. 16 we have another truth that was not then fulfilled; that is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. When they would possess Him, they would know that Christ was in them and they in Christ. Jesus would not remain forever with them, but certainly the Holy Spirit would. The three Persons are ever distinct, though they cannot be separated. At v. 19 we see that it is by faith we see Jesus; because He lives, we shall live also; our life is as secure as that of Christ. There are some who say that we cannot now know that we are in Him, though v. 20 tells us " In that day ye shall know;" that day is when we have the Holy Spirit in us; and we have Him now, and so we can say, " I am in Christ, and Christ in me."
In the first part of this chapter the Father is revealed in the Son for the consolation of His disciples; He did not speak of the Holy Spirit, because He needed first to ascend to heaven to send Him; in the second part it is said of the Holy Spirit whom the Father would send, that He would be a Spirit of adoption. Jesus had been their Comforter -while He had been on earth, but He could not stay there always; but the other Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would abide with them-that is, until the church would be caught away. Christ had dwelt with them, and the Holy Spirit would dwell in them. We have the very Spirit that is in Christ, by which we are united to Him so as to form one body. That the Father was in Christ, was a thing they ought to have understood, but it was not yet the time to understand that they were in Christ, because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, and it is only known when He dwells in us. (See v. 17, and 1 John 4:13,1513Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13)
15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)
.) It is important to understand well that we are in Christ and Christ in us, that we are brought to God according to the worth of Christ,
In these chapters of this gospel it is always a question of responsibility, not for man a sinner, but for the disciples (see v. 21). If we are obedient, we enjoy His presence; and if we are disobedient, though we know that God never leaves us, still we do not enjoy the sweetness of communion with Him. It is not a question of the grace that washes and saves a sinner, but of the responsibility of the Christian. " He that hath my commandments; "-a Christian who knows the will of God, knows what pleases the Lord; and a Christian who is negligent, and does not live near the Lord, has not, and cannot have the commandments of the Lord, although they are written for him in the Word.
Under the economy of grace, we have not commandments as they had under the law; "do this and that, and do not do this or that." Under grace, in order to know Christ's commandments, you must study the Word, be vigilant, spiritual. A Christian who says he has not a commandment for this or that, is a disobedient Christian, because he has not paid attention to what God has said. Many Christians are in this state, and then no wonder they do not know how to walk. If I do not know the will of the Father, it is a sign I have not lived near Him, with the heart and ears inclined towards Him. Then the loss is great. One loses the enjoyment of His communion and His manifestation, as it is said here, " I will love him, and manifest myself to him.... he that keepeth my word, we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." We have a beautiful example of this in Moses (Ex. 33). God says to Moses, "I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight." But Moses is not content with this, and wants to know the Lord every day practically in the way he has to go, and therefore he says to God, " If I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee.... For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight I is it not in that thou goest with us I So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." It was not a question of his own acceptance, but of communion that comes from the practical and daily knowledge of the will of God.
This manifestation for the Christian is not external, but altogether spiritual-in the heart. The world knows nothing of it, nor does the worldly Christian, but only he who lives in the presence of God, and who is obedient. It is a question of the faithfulness of the Christian, not of his salvation.
Jesus leaves peace, the peace that He must procure by the cross for us sinners, when He has reconciled us to God. " My peace," is what Jesus Himself enjoyed in this world. We have already remarked, elsewhere, that when a man gives, he gives what he has naturally, and in giving he is deprived himself of what he gives away; but Jesus is not deprived of what He gives, but He introduces us into the enjoyment with Himself of all that which He gives, as the glory, peace-in fact, everything. At v. 28 the Lord teaches us that we should love Him not only for the good He bestows on us, but for His own sake; that we likewise should be interested in His happiness. The departure of Jesus, if it was a subject of grief when they thought of themselves, ought to be on the other hand a subject of joy, if they thought (as they would have thought, if they had loved Him) of the blessing and joy of Jesus, in that He was going to the Father.
Satan is not called the prince of this world before the cross, because it was there it was manifested fully what he was. Satan returns now to Jesus: he had left Him after the temptations in the wilderness. Christ, the stronger man, had bound Satan, had spoiled his goods, casting devils out of man, curing the sick, setting man, in fact, free from all the effects of sin; but man, notwithstanding all this, would not have Him. Then, if God wanted man in glory, Jesus must die for the sinner Himself, for the evil state of man, in order to redeem him. But then Satan presents himself, and says, "If you want to redeem man you must pass through death, and I have the power of death;" and, in fact, the judgment of God confirmed what Satan had said, and therefore Christ annulled this power by death on the cross. It is said here that Satan had nothing in Christ; there was no entrance for evil, because He was pure and most holy, and all His life had been perfect. At v. 31 we see all earthly relationships with the world are ended and put aside: " Arise, let us go hence."