Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Let not your heart be troubled - The disciples had been greatly distressed at what Jesus had said about leaving them. Compare Joh 16:6, Joh 16:22. Perhaps they had indicated their distress to him in some manner by their countenance or their expressions, and he proceeds new to administer to them such consolations as their circumstances made proper. The discourse in this chapter was delivered, doubtless, while they were sitting at the table partaking of the Lord's Supper (see Joh 14:31); that in John 15-16, and the prayer in John 17, were while they were on their way to the Mount of Olives. There is nowhere to be found a discourse so beautiful, so tender, so full of weighty thoughts, and so adapted to produce comfort, as that which occurs in these three chapters of John. It is the consolatory part of our religion, where Christ brings to bear on the mind full of anxiety, and perplexity, and care, the tender and inimitably beautiful truths of his gospel - truths fitted to allay every fear, silence every complaint, and give every needed consolation to the soul. In the case of the disciples there was much to trouble them. They were about to part with their beloved, tender friend. They were to be left alone to meet persecutions and trials. They were without wealth, without friends, without honors. And it is not improbable that they felt that his death would demolish all their schemes, for they had not yet fully learned the doctrine that the Messiah must suffer and die, Luk 24:21.
Ye believe in God - This may be read either in the indicative mood or the imperative. Probably it should be read in the imperative - "Believe on God, and believe on me." If there were no other reason for it, this is sufficient, that there was no more evidence that they did believe in God than that they believed in Jesus. All the ancient versions except the Latin read it thus. The Saviour told them that their consolation was to be found at this time in confidence in God and in him; and he intimated what he had so often told them and the Jews, that there was an indissoluble union between him and the Father. This union he takes occasion to explain to them more fully, Joh 14:7-12.
Believe in - Put confidence in, rely on for support and consolation.
In my Father's house - Most interpreters understand this of heaven, as the special dwelling-place or palace of God; but it may include the universe, as the abode of the omnipresent God.
Are many mansions - The word rendered "mansions" means either the act of dwelling in any place (Joh 14:23, "we will make our abode with him"), or it means the place where one dwells. It is taken from the verb to remain, and signifies the place where one dwells or remains. It is applied by the Greek writers to the tents or temporary habitations which soldiers pitch in their marches. It denotes a dwelling of less permanency than the word house. It is commonly understood as affirming that in heaven there is ample room to receive all who will come; that therefore the disciples might be sure that they would not be excluded. Some have understood it as affirming that there will be different grades in the joys of heaven; that some of the mansions of the saints will be nearer to God than others, agreeably to Co1 15:40-41. But perhaps this passage may have a meaning which has not occurred to interpreters.
Jesus was consoling his disciples, who were affected with grief at the idea of his separation. To comfort them he addresses them in this language: "The universe is the dwelling-place of my Father. All is his house. Whether on earth or in heaven, we are still in his habitation. In that vast abode of God there are many mansions. The earth is one of them, heaven is another. Whether here or there, we are still in the house, in one of the mansions of our Father, in one of the apartments of his vast abode. This we ought continually to feel, and to rejoice that we are permitted to occupy any part of his dwelling-place. Nor does it differ much whether we are in this mansion or another. It should not be a matter of grief when we are called to pass from one part of this vast habitation of God to another. I am indeed about to leave you, but I am going only to another part of the vast dwelling-place of God. I shall still be in the same universal habitation with you; still in the house of the same God; and am going for an important purpose - to fit up another abode for your eternal dwelling." If this be the meaning, then there is in the discourse true consolation. We see that the death of a Christian is not to be dreaded, nor is it an event over which we should immoderately weep. It is but removing from one apartment of God's universal dwelling-place to another - one where we shall still be in his house, and still feel the same interest in all that pertains to his kingdom. And especially the removal of the Saviour from the earth was an event over which Christians should rejoice, for he is still in the house of God, and still preparing mansions of rest for His people.
If it were not so ... - I have concealed from you no truth. You have been cherishing this hope of a future abode with God. Had it been ill founded I would have told you plainly, as I have told you other things. Had any of you been deceived, as Judas was, I would have made it known to you, as I did to him."
I go to prepare a place for you - By his going is meant his death and ascent to heaven. The figure here is taken from one who is on a journey, who goes before his companions to provide a place to lodge in, and to make the necessary preparations for their entertainment. It evidently means that he, by the work he was yet to perform in heaven, would secure their admission there, and obtain for them the blessings of eternal life. That work would consist mainly in his intercession, Heb 10:12-13, Heb 10:19-22; Heb 7:25-27; Heb 4:14, Heb 4:16.
That where I am - This language could be used by no one who was not then in the place of which he was speaking, and it is just such language as one would naturally use who was both God and man - in reference to his human nature, speaking of his going to his Father; and in reference to his divine nature, speaking as if he was then with God.
Ye may be also - This was language eminently fitted to comfort them. Though about to leave them, yet he would not always be absent. He would come again at the day of judgment and gather all his friends to himself, and they should be ever with him, Heb 9:28. So shall all Christians be with him. And so, when we part with a beloved Christian friend by death, we may feel assured that the separation will not be eternal. We shall meet again, and dwell in a place where there shall be no more separation and no more tears.
Whither I go ye know - He had so often told them that he was to die, and rise, and ascend to heaven, that they could not but understand it, Mat 16:21; Luk 9:22; Luk 18:31-32.
The way ye know - That is, the way that leads to the dwelling-place to which he was going. The way which they were to tread was to obey his precepts, imitate his example, and follow him, Joh 14:6.
We know not whither thou goest - Though Jesus had so often told them of his approaching death and resurrection, yet it seems they did not understand him, nor did they fully comprehend him until after his resurrection. See Luk 24:21. They entertained the common notions of a temporal kingdom; they supposed still that he was to be an earthly prince and leader, and they did not comprehend the reason why he should die. Thomas confessed his ignorance, and the Saviour again patiently explained his meaning. All this shows the difficulty of believing when the mind is full of prejudice and of contrary opinions. If Thomas had laid aside his previous opinions - had he been willing to receive the truth as Jesus plainly spoke it, there would have been no difficulty. Faith would have been an easy and natural exercise of the mind. And so with the sinner. If he were willing to receive the plain and unequivocal doctrines of the Bible, there would be no difficulty; but his mind is full of opposite opinions and plans, occupied with errors and vanities, and these are the reasons, and the only reasons, why he is not a Christian. Yet who would say that, after the plain instructions of Jesus, Thomas might not have understood him? And who will dare to say that any sinner may not lay aside his prejudices and improper views, and receive the plain and simple teaching of the Bible?
I am the way - See Isa 35:8. By this is meant, doubtless, that they and all others were to have access to God only by obeying the instructions, imitating the example, and depending on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the leader in the road, the guide to the wandering, the teacher of the ignorant, and the example to all. See Joh 6:68; "Thou hast the words of eternal life;" Pe1 2:21; "Christ - suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps;" Heb 9:8-9.
The truth - The source of truth, or he who originates and communicates truth for the salvation of men. Truth is a representation of things as they are. The life, the purity, and the teaching of Jesus Christ was the most complete and perfect representation of the things of the eternal world that has been or can be presented to man. The ceremonies of the Jews were shadows; the life of Jesus was the truth. The opinions of men are fancy, but the doctrines of Jesus were nothing more than a representation of facts as they exist in the government of God. It is implied in this, also, that Jesus was the fountain of all truth; that by his inspiration the prophets spoke, and that by him all truth is communicated to men. See the notes at Joh 1:17.
The life - See Joh 11:25, and the notes at Joh 1:4.
No man cometh to the Father but by me - To come to the Father is to obtain his favor, to have access to his throne by prayer, and finally to enter his kingdom. No man can obtain any of these things except by the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. By coming by him is meant coming in his name and depending on his merits. We are ignorant, and he alone can guide us. We are sinful, and it is only by his merits that we can be pardoned. We are blind, and he only can enlighten us. God has appointed him as the Mediator, and has ordained that all blessings shall descend to this world through him. Hence he has put the world under his control; has given the affairs of men into his hand, and has appointed him to dispense whatever may be necessary for our peace, pardon, and salvation, Act 4:12; Act 5:31.
If ye had known me - By this Jesus does not intend to say that they were not truly his disciples, but that they had not a full and accurate knowledge of his character and designs. They still retained, to a large extent, the Jewish notions respecting a temporal Messiah, and did not fully understand that he was to die and be raised from the dead.
Ye should have known my Father also - You would have known the counsels and designs of my Father respecting my death and resurrection. If you had been divested of your Jewish prejudices about the Messiah, if you had understood that it was proper for me to die, you would also have understood the purposes and plans of God in my death; and, knowing that, you would have seen that it was wise and best. We see here that a correct knowledge of the character and work of Christ is the same as a correct knowledge of the counsels and plans of God; and we see, also, that the reasons why we have not such a knowledge are our previous prejudices and erroneous views.
From henceforth - From this time. From my death and resurrection you shall understand the plans and counsels of God.
Ye know him - You shall have just views of his plans and designs.
Have seen him - That is, they had seen Jesus Christ, his image, and the brightness of his glory Heb 1:3, which was the same as having seen the Father, Joh 14:9.
Lord, show us the Father - Philip here referred to some outward and visible manifestation of God. God had manifested himself in various ways to the prophets and saints of old, and Philip affirmed that if some such manifestation should be made to them they would be satisfied. It was right to desire evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, but such evidence "had been" afforded abundantly in the miracles and teaching of Jesus, and that "should" have sufficed them.
So long time - For more than three years Jesus had been with them. He had raised the dead, cast out devils, healed the sick, done those things which no one could have done who had not come from God. In that time they had had full opportunity to learn his character and his mission from God. Nor was it needful, after so many proofs of his divine mission, that God should "visibly manifest" himself to them in order that they might be convinced that he came from him.
He that hath seen me - He that has seen my works, heard my doctrines, and understood my character. He that has given "proper attention" to the proofs that I have afforded that I came from God.
Hath seen the Father - The word "Father" in these passages seems to be used with reference to the divine nature, or to God represented "as a Father," and not particularly to the distinction in the Trinity of Father and Son. The idea is that God, as God, or as a Father, had been manifested in the incarnation, the works, and the teachings of Christ, so that they who had seen and heard him might be said to have had a real view of God. When Jesus says, "hath seen the Father," this cannot refer to the essence or substance of God, for He is invisible, and in that respect no man has seen God at any time. All that is meant when it is said that God is seen, is that some manifestation of him has been made, or some such exhibition as that we may learn his character, his will, and his plans. In this case it cannot mean that he that had seen Jesus with the bodily eyes had in the same sense seen God; but he that had been a witness of his miracles and of his transfiguration - that had heard his doctrines and studied his character - had had full evidence of his divine mission, and of the will and purpose of the Father in sending him. The knowledge of the Son was itself, of course, the knowledge of the Father. There was such an intimate union in their nature and design that he who understood the one understood also the other. See the notes at Mat 11:27; also Luk 10:22; Joh 1:18.
I am in the Father - See the notes at Joh 10:38.
The words that I speak ... - See the notes at Joh 7:16-17.
The Father that dwelleth in me - Literally, "The Father remaining in me." This denotes most intimate union, so that the works which Jesus did might be said to be done by the Father. It implies a more intimate union than can subsist between a mere man and God. Had Jesus been a mere man, like the prophets, he would have said, "The Father who sent or commissioned me doeth the works;" but here there is reference, doubtless, to that mysterious and special union which subsists between the Father and the Son.
He doeth the works - The miracles which had been performed by Jesus. The Father could be said to do them on account of the intimate union between him and the Son. See Joh 5:17, Joh 5:19, Joh 5:36; Joh 10:30.
Believe me ... - Believe my declarations that I am in the Father, etc. There were two grounds on which they might believe; one was his own testimony, the other was his works.
Or else - If credit is not given to my words, let there be to my miracles.
For the very works' sake - On account of the works; or, be convinced by the miracles themselves. Either his own testimony was sufficient to convince them, or the many miracles which he had performed in healing the sick, raising the dead, etc.
He that believeth on me - This promise had doubtless special reference to the apostles themselves. They were full of grief at his departure, and Jesus, in order to console them, directed them to the great honor which was to be conferred on them, and to the assurance that God would not leave them, but would attend them in their ministry with the demonstrations of his mighty power. It cannot be understood of all his followers, for the circumstances of the promise do not require us to understand it thus, and it has not been a matter of fact that All Christians have possessed power to do greater works than the Lord Jesus. It is a general promise that greater works than he performed should be done by his followers, without specifying that all his followers would be instrumental in doing them.
The works that I do - The miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, etc. This was done by the apostles in many instances. See Act 5:15; Act 19:12; Act 13:11; Act 5:1-10.
Greater works than these shall he do - Interpreters have been at a loss in what way to understand this. The most probable meaning of the passage is the following: The word "greater" cannot refer to the miracles themselves, for the works of the apostles did not exceed those of Jesus in power. No higher exertion of power was put forth, or could be, than raising the dead. But, though not greater in themselves considered, yet they were greater in their effects. They made a deeper impression on mankind. They were attended with more extensive results. They were the means of the conversion of more sinners. The works of Jesus were confined to Judea. They were seen by few. The works of the apostles were witnessed by many nations, and the effect of their miracles and preaching was that thousands from among the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the Christian faith. The word "greater" here is used, therefore, not to denote the absolute exertion of power, but the effect which the miracles would have on mankind. The word "works" here probably denotes not merely miracles, but all things that the apostles did that made an impression on mankind, including their travels, their labors, their doctrine, etc.
Because I go unto my Father - He would there intercede for them, and especially by his going to the Father the Holy Spirit would he sent down to attend them in their ministry, Joh 14:26, Joh 14:28; Joh 16:7-14. See Mat 28:18. By his going to the Father is particularly denoted his exaltation to heaven, and his being placed as head over all things to his church, Eph 1:20-23; Phi 2:9-11. By his being exalted there the Holy Spirit was given Joh 16:7, and by his power thus put forth the Gentiles were brought to hear and obey the gospel.
Whatsoever ye shall ask - This promise referred particularly to the apostles in their work of spreading the gospel; it is, however, true of all Christians, if what they ask is in faith, and according to the will of God, Jam 1:6; Jo1 5:14.
In my name - This is equivalent to saying on my account, or for my sake. If a man who has money in a bank authorizes us to draw it, we are said to do it in his name. If a son authorizes us to apply to his father for aid because we are his friends, we do it in the name of the son, and the favor will be bestowed on us from the regard which the parent has to his son, and through him to all his friends. So we are permitted to apply to God in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, because God is in him well pleased Mat 3:17, and because we are the friends of his Son he answers our requests. Though we are undeserving, yet he loves us on account of his Son, and because he sees in us his image. No privilege is greater than that of approaching God in the name of his Son; no blessings of salvation can be conferred on any who do not come in his name.
That will I do - Being exalted, he will be possessed of all power in heaven and earth Mat 28:18, and he therefore could fulfill all their desires.
That the Father may be glorified in the Son - See the notes at Joh 13:31.
If ye love me - Do not show your love by grief at my departure merely; or by profession, but by obedience.
Keep my commandments - This is the only proper evidence of love to Jesus, for mere profession is no proof of love; but that love for him which leads us to do all his will, to love each other, to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow him through evil report and through good report, is true attachment. The evidence which we have that a child loves its parents is when that child is willing, without hesitation, gainsaying, or complaining, to do all that the parent requires him to do. So the disciples of Christ are required to show that they are attached to him supremely by yielding to all his requirements, and by patiently doing his will in the face of ridicule and opposition, Jo1 5:2-3.
I will pray the Father - This refers to his intercession after his death and ascension to heaven, for this prayer was to be connected with their keeping his commandments. In what way he makes intercession in heaven for his people we do not know. The fact, however, is clearly made known, Rom 8:34; Heb 4:14-15; Heb 7:25. It is as the result of his intercession in heaven that we obtain all our blessings, and it is through him that our prayers are to be presented and made efficacious before God.
Another Comforter - Jesus had been to them a counsellor, a guide, a friend, while he was with them. He had instructed them, had borne with their prejudices and ignorance, and had administered consolation to them in the times of despondency. But he was about to leave them now to go alone into an unfriendly world. The other Comforter was to be given as a compensation for his absence, or to perform the offices toward them which he would have done if he had remained personally with them. And from this we may learn, in part, what is the office of the Spirit. It is to furnish to all Christians the instruction and consolation which would be given by the personal presence of Jesus, Joh 16:14. To the apostles it was particularly to inspire them with the knowledge of all truth, Joh 14:26; Joh 15:26. Besides this, he came to convince men of sin. See the notes at Joh 16:8-11. It was proper that such an agent should be sent into the world:
1. Because it was a part of the plan that Jesus should ascend to heaven after his death.
2. Unless some heavenly agent should be sent to carry forward the work of salvation, man would reject it and perish.
3. Jesus could not be personally and bodily present in all places with the vast multitudes who should believe on him. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, and can reach them all. See the notes at Joh 16:7.
4. It was manifestly a part of the plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform his appropriate work the Father in sending his Son, the Son in making atonement and interceding, and the Spirit in applying the work to the hearts of men.
The word translated "Comforter" is used in the New Testament five times. In four instances it is applied to the Holy Spirit - Joh 14:16, Joh 14:26; Joh 15:26; Joh 16:7. In the other instance it is applied to the Lord Jesus - Jo1 2:1; "We have an advocate (Paraclete - Comforter) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." It is used, therefore, only by John. The verb from which it is taken has many significations. Its proper meaning is to call one to us Act 27:20; then to call one to aid us, as an advocate in a court; then to exhort or entreat, to pray or implore, as an advocate does, and to comfort or console, by suggesting reasons or arguments for consolation. The word "comforter" is frequently used by Greek writers to denote an advocate in a court; one who intercedes; a monitor, a teacher, an assistant, a helper. It is somewhat difficult, therefore, to fix the precise meaning of the word. It may be translated either advocate, monitor, teacher, or helper. What the office of the Holy Spirit in this respect is, is to be learned from what we are elsewhere told he does. We learn particularly from the accounts that our Saviour gives of his work that that office was:
1. to comfort the disciples; to be with them in his absence and to supply his place; and this is properly expressed by the word Comforter.
2. to teach them, or remind them of truth; and this might be expressed by the word monitor or teacher, Joh 14:26; Joh 15:26-27.
3. to aid them in their work; to advocate their cause, or to assist them in advocating the cause of religion in the world, and in bringing sinners to repentance; and this may be expressed by the word advocate, Joh 16:7-13. It was also by the Spirit that they were enabled to stand before kings and magistrates, and boldly to speak in the name of Jesus, Mat 10:20. These seem to comprise all the meanings of the word in the New Testament, but no single word in our language expresses fully the sense of the original.
That he may abide with you for ever - Not that he should remain with you for a few years, as I have done, and then leave you, but be with you in all places to the close of your life. He shall be your constant guide and attendant.
The Spirit of truth - He is thus called here because he would teach them the truth, or would guide them into all truth, Joh 16:13. He would keep them from all error, and teach them the truth, which, either by writing or preaching, they were to communicate to others.
The world - The term world is often used to denote all who are entirely under the influence of the things of this world - pride, ambition, and pleasure; all who are not Christians, and especially all who are addicted to gross vices and pursuits, Co1 1:21; Co1 11:32; Joh 12:31; Co2 4:4.
Cannot receive - Cannot admit as a Teacher or Comforter, or cannot receive in his offices of enlightening and purifying. The reason why they could not do this is immediately added.
Because it seeth him not - The men of the world are under the influence of the senses. They walk by sight, and not by faith. Hence, what they cannot perceive by their senses, what does not gratify their sight, or taste, or feeling, makes no impression on them. As they cannot see the operations of the Spirit Joh 3:8, they judge that all that is said of his influence is delusive, and hence, they cannot receive him. They have an erroneous mode of judging of what is for the welfare of man.
Neither knoweth him - To know, in the Scriptures, often means more than the act of the mind in simply understanding a thing. It denotes every act or emotion of the mind that is requisite in receiving the proper impression of a truth. Hence, it often includes the idea of "approbation," of "love," of "cordial feeling," Psa 1:6; Psa 37:18; Psa 138:6; Nah 1:7; Ti2 2:19. In this place it means the approbation of the heart; and as the people of the world do not approve of or desire the aid of the Spirit, so it is said they cannot receive him. They have no love for him, and they reject him. Men often consider his work in the conversion of sinners and in revivals as delusion. They love the world so much that they cannot understand his work or embrace him.
He dwelleth in you - The Spirit dwells in Christians by his sacred influences. There is no personal union, no physical indwelling, for God is essentially present in one place as much as in another; but he works in us repentance, peace, joy, meekness, etc. He teaches us, guides us, and comforts us. See the notes at Gal 5:22-24. Thus, he is said to dwell in us when we are made pure, peaceable, holy, humble; when we become like him, and cherish his sacred influences. The word "dwelleth" means to remain with them. Jesus was to be taken away, but the Spirit would remain. It is also implied that they would know his presence, and have assurance that they were under his guidance. This was true of the apostles as inspired men, and it is true of all Christians that by ascertaining that they have the "graces of the Spirit" - joy, peace, long-suffering, etc. they know that they are the children of God, Jo1 3:24; Jo1 5:10.
Comfortless - Greek, "orphans." Jesus here addresses them as children, Joh 13:33. He says that he would show them the kindness of a parent, and, though he was going away, he would provide for their future welfare. And even while he was absent, yet they would sustain to him still the relation of children. Though he was to die, yet he would live again; though absent in body, yet he would be present with them by his Spirit; though he was to go away to heaven, yet he would return again to them. See Joh 14:3.
A little while - This was the day before his death.
Seeth me no more - No more until the day of judgment. The men of the world would not see him visibly, and they had not the eye of faith to discern him.
But ye see me - Ye shall continue to see me by faith, even when the world cannot. You will continue to see me by the eye of faith as still your gracious Saviour and Friend.
Because I live - Though the Saviour was about to die, yet was he also about to be raised from the dead. He was to continue to live, and though absent from them, yet he would feel the same interest in their welfare as when he was with them on earth. This expression does not refer "particularly" to his "resurrection," but his "continuing to live." He had a nature which could not die. As Mediator also he would be raised and continue to live: and he would have both power and inclination to give them also life, to defend them, and bring them with him.
Ye shall live also - This doubtless refers to their future life. And we learn from this:
1. That the life of the Christian depends on that of Christ. They are united; and if they were separated, the Christian could neither enjoy spiritual life here nor eternal joy hereafter.
2. The fact that Jesus lives is a pledge that all who believe in him shall he saved. He has power over all our spiritual foes, and he can deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and from all temptations and trials.
At that day - In the time when my life shall be fully manifested to you, and you shall receive the assurance that I live. This refers to the time after his resurrection, and to the manifestations which in various ways he would make that he was alive.
That I am in my "Father ... - That we are most intimately and indissolubly united. See the notes at Joh 10:38.
Ye in me - That there is a union between us which can never be severed. See the notes at Joh 15:1-7.
He that hath ... - This intimate union is further manifested by these facts:
1. That true love to Jesus will produce obedience. See Joh 14:15.
2. That those who love him will be loved of the Father, showing that there is a union between the Father and the Son.
3. That Jesus also will love them, evincing still the same union. Religion is love. The love of one holy being or object is the love of all. The kingdom of God is one. His people, though called by different names, are one. They are united to each other and to God, and the bond which unites the whole kingdom in one is love.
Will manifest myself to him - To manifest is to show, to make appear, to place before the eyes so that an object may be seen. This means that Jesus would so show himself to his followers that they should see and know that he was their Saviour. In what way this is done, see Joh 14:23.
Judas saith unto him - This was the same as Lebbeus or Thaddeus. See Mat 10:3. He was the brother of James, and the author of the Epistle of Jude.
How is it ... - Probably Judas thought that he spake only of his resurrection, and he did not readily see how it could be that he could show himself to them, and not be seen also by others.
Will keep my words - See Joh 14:15.
We will come to him - We will come to him with the manifestation of pardon, peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Spirit. It means that God will manifest himself to the soul as a Father and Friend; that Jesus will manifest himself as a Saviour; that is, that there will be shed abroad in the heart just views and proper feelings toward God and Christ. The Christian will rejoice in the perfections of God and of Christ, and will delight to contemplate the glories of a present Saviour. The condition of a sinner is represented as one who has gone astray from God, and from whom God has withdrawn, Psa 58:3; Pro 28:10; Eze 14:11. He is alienated from God, Eph 2:12; Isa 1:4; Eph 4:18; Col 1:21. Religion is represented as God returning to the soul, and manifesting himself as reconciled through Jesus Christ, Co2 5:18; Col 1:21.
Make our abode - This is a figurative expression implying that God and Christ would manifest themselves in no temporary way, but that it would be the privilege of Christians to enjoy their presence continually. They would take up their residence in the heart as their dwelling-place, as a temple fit for their abode. See Co1 3:16; "Ye are the temple of God;" Co1 6:19; "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost;" Co2 6:16; "Ye are the temple of the living God." This does not mean that there is any personal union between Christians and God - that there is any special indwelling of the essence of God in us for God is essentially present in all places in the same way; but it is a figurative mode of speaking, denoting that the Christian is under the influence of God; that he rejoices in his presence, and that he has the views, the feelings, the joys which God produces in a redeemed soul, and with which he is pleased.
The word which ye hear is not mine - See the notes at Joh 5:19; Joh 7:16.
Have I spoken - For your consolation and guidance. But, though he had said so many things to console them, yet the Spirit would be given also as their Comforter and Guide.
Will send in my name - On my account. To perfect my work. To execute it as I would in applying it to the hearts of men. See Joh 14:13.
Shall teach you all things - All things which it was needful for them to understand in the apostolic office, and particularly those things which they were not prepared then to hear or could not then understand. See Joh 16:12. Compare the notes at Mat 10:19-20. This was a full promise that they would be inspired, and that in organizing the church, and in recording the truths necessary for its edification, they would be under the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Bring all things to your remembrance - This probably refers to two things:
1. He would seasonably remind them of the sayings of Jesus, which they might otherwise have forgotten. In the organization of the church, and in composing the sacred history, he would preside over their memories, and recall such truths and doctrines as were necessary either for their comfort or the edification of his people. Amid the multitude of things which Jesus spake during a ministry of more than three years, it was to be expected that many things which he had uttered, that would be important for the edification of the church, would be forgotten. We see, hence, the nature of their inspiration. The Holy Spirit made use of their memories, and doubtless of all their natural faculties. He so presided over their memories as to recall what they had forgotten, and then it was recorded as a thing which they distinctly remembered, in the same way as we remember a thing which would have been forgotten had not some friend recalled it to our recollection.
2. The Holy Spirit would teach them the meaning of those things which the Saviour had spoken. Thus they did not understand that he ought to be put to death until after his resurrection, though he had repeatedly told them of it, Luk 24:21, Luk 24:25-26. So they did not until then understand that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, though this was also declared before. Compare Mat 4:15-16; Mat 12:21, with Act 10:44-48.
Peace I leave with you - This was a common form of benediction among the Jews. See the notes at Mat 10:13. It is the invocation of the blessings of peace and happiness. In this place it was, however, much more than a mere form or an empty wish. It came from Him who had power to make peace and to confer it on all, Eph 2:15. It refers here particularly to the consolations which he gave to his disciples in view of his approaching death. He had exhorted them not to be troubled Joh 14:1, and he had stated reasons why they should not be. He explained to them why he was about to leave them; he promised them that he would return; he assured them that the Holy Spirit would come to comfort, teach, and guide them. By all these truths and promises he provided for their peace in the time of his approaching departure. But the expression refers also, doubtless. to the peace which is given to all who love the Saviour. They are by nature enmity against God, Rom 8:7. Their minds are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters east up mire and dirt, Isa 57:20. They were at war with conscience, with the law and perfections of God, and with all the truths of religion. Their state after conversion is described as a state of peace. They are reconciled to God; they acquiesce in all his claims; and they have a joy which the world knows not in the word, the promises, the law, and the perfections of God, in the plan of salvation, and in the hopes of eternal life. See Rom 1:7; Rom 5:1; Rom 8:6; Rom 14:7; Gal 5:22; Eph 2:17; Eph 6:15; Phi 4:7; Col 3:15.
My peace - Such as I only can impart. The special peace which my religion is fitted to impart.
Not as the world -
1. Not as the objects which men commonly pursue - pleasure, fame, wealth. They leave care, anxiety, remorse. They do not meet the desires of the immortal mind, and they are incapable of affording that peace which the soul needs.
2. Not as the men of the world give. They salute you with empty and flattering words, but their professed friendship is often reigned and has no sincerity. You cannot be sure that they are sincere, but I am.
3. Not as systems of philosophy and false religion give. They profess to give peace, but it is not real. It does not still the voice of conscience; it does not take away sin; it does not reconcile the soul to God.
4. My peace is such as meets all the wants of the soul, silences the alarms of conscience, is fixed and sure amid all external changes, and will abide in the hour of death and forever. How desirable, in a world of anxiety and care, to possess this peace! and how should all who have it not, seek that which the world can neither give nor take away!
Neither let it be afraid - Of any pain, persecutions, or trials. You have a Friend who will never leave you; a peace that shall always attend you. See Joh 14:1.
Ye have heard ... - Joh 14:2-3.
If ye loved me - The expression is not to be construed as if they had then no love to him, for they evidently had; but they had also low views of him as the Messiah; they had many Jewish prejudices, and they were slow to believe his plain and positive declarations. This is the slight and tender reproof of a friend, meaning manifestly if you had proper love for me; if you had the highest views of my character and work; if you would lay aside your Jewish prejudices, and put entire, implicit confidence in what I say.
Ye would rejoice - Instead of grieving, you would rejoice in the completion of the plan which requires me to return to heaven, that greater blessings may descend on you by the influences of the Holy Spirit.
Unto the Father - To heaven; to the immediate presence of God, from whom all the blessings of redemption are to descend.
For my Father is greater than I - The object of Jesus here is not to compare his nature with that of the Father, but his condition. Ye would rejoice that I am to leave this state of suffering and humiliation, and resume that glory which I had with the Father before the world was. You ought to rejoice at my exaltation to bliss and glory with the Father (Professor Stuart). The object of this expression is to console the disciples in view of his absence. This he does by saying that if he goes away, the Holy Spirit will descend, and great success will attend the preaching of the gospel, Joh 16:7-10. In the plan of salvation the Father is represented as giving the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the various blessings of the gospel. As the Appointer, the Giver, the Originator, he may be represented as in office superior to the Son and the Holy Spirit. The discourse has no reference, manifestly, to the nature of Christ, and cannot therefore be adduced to prove that he is not divine. Its whole connection demands that we interpret it as relating solely to the imparting of the blessings connected with redemption, in which the Son is represented all along as having been sent or given, and in this respect as sustaining a relation subordinate to the Father.
Before it come to pass - Before my death, resurrection, and ascension.
Ye might believe - You might be confirmed or strengthened in faith by the evidence which I gave that I came from God - the power of foretelling future events.
Will not talk much - The time of my death draws near. It occurred the next day.
The prince of this world - See the notes at Joh 12:31.
Cometh - Satan is represented as approaching him to try him in his sufferings, and it is commonly supposed that no small part of the pain endured in the garden of Gethsemane was from some dreadful conflict with the great enemy of man. See Luk 22:53; "This is your hour and the power of darkness." Compare Luk 4:13.
Hath nothing in me - There is in me no principle or feeling that accords with his, and nothing, therefore, by which he can prevail. Temptation has only power because there are some principles in us which accord with the designs of the tempter, and which may be excited by presenting corresponding objects until our virtue be overcome. Where there is no such propensity, temptation has no power. As the principles of Jesus were wholly on the side of virtue, the meaning here may be that, though he had the natural appetites of man, his virtue was so supreme that Satan "had nothing in him" which could constitute any danger that he would be led into sin, and that there was no fear of the result of the conflict before him.
That the world may know that I love the Father - That it might not be alleged that his virtue had not been subjected to trial. It was subjected. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, Heb 4:15. He passed through the severest forms of temptation, that it might be seen and known that his holiness was proof to all trial, and that human nature might be so pure as to resist all forms of temptation. This will be the case with all the saints in heaven, and it was the case with Jesus on earth.
Even so I do - In all things he obeyed; and he showed that, in the face of calamities, persecutions, and temptations, he was still disposed to obey his Father. This he did that the world might know that he loved the Father. So should we bear trials and resist temptation; and so, through. persecution and calamity, should we show that we are actuated by the love of God. "Arise, let us go hence." It has been commonly supposed that Jesus and the apostles now rose from the paschal supper and went to the Mount of Olives, and that the remainder of the discourse in John 15; 16, together with the prayer in John 17, was delivered while on the way to the garden of Gethsemane; but some have supposed that they merely rose from the table, and that the discourse was finished before they left the room. The former is the more correct opinion. It was now probably toward midnight, and the moon was at the full, and the scene was one, therefore, of great interest and tenderness. Jesus, with a little band, was himself about to die, and he went forth in the stillness of the night, counselling his little company in regard to their duties and dangers, and invoking the protection and blessing of God his Father to attend, to sanctify, and guide them in the arduous labors, the toils, and the persecutions they were yet to endure, John 17.