|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-11 Here are three words, upon any of which stress may be laid. Upon the word troubled. Be not cast down and disquieted. The word heart. Let your heart be kept with full trust in God. The word your. However others are overwhelmed with the sorrows of this present time, be not you so. Christ's disciples, more than others, should keep their minds quiet, when everything else is unquiet. Here is the remedy against this trouble of mind, Believe. By believing in Christ as the Mediator between God and man, we gain comfort. The happiness of heaven is spoken of as in a father's house. There are many mansions, for there are many sons to be brought to glory. Mansions are lasting dwellings. Christ will be the Finisher of that of which he is the Author or Beginner; if he have prepared the place for us, he will prepare us for it. Christ is the sinner's Way to the Father and to heaven, in his person as God manifest in the flesh, in his atoning sacrifice, and as our Advocate. He is the Truth, as fulfilling all the prophecies of a Saviour; believing which, sinners come by him the Way. He is the Life, by whose life-giving Spirit the dead in sin are quickened. Nor can any man draw nigh God as a Father, who is not quickened by Him as the Life, and taught by Him as the Truth, to come by Him as the Way. By Christ, as the Way, our prayers go to God, and his blessings come to us; this is the Way that leads to rest, the good old Way. He is the Resurrection and the Life. All that saw Christ by faith, saw the Father in Him. In the light of Christ's doctrine, they saw God as the Father of lights; and in Christ's miracles, they saw God as the God of power. The holiness of God shone in the spotless purity of Christ's life. We are to believe the revelation of God to man in Christ; for the works of the Redeemer show forth his own glory, and God in him.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let not your heart be troubled,.... In some copies this verse begins thus, and he said to his disciples; and certain it is, that these words are addressed to them in general, Peter being only the person our Lord was discoursing with in the latter part of the preceding chapter; but turning, as it were, from him, he directs his speech to them all. There were many things which must needs lie heavy upon, and greatly depress the minds of the disciples; most of all the loss of Christ's bodily presence, his speedy departure from them, of which he had given them notice in the preceding chapter; also the manner in which he should be removed from them, and the circumstances that should attend the same, as that he should be betrayed by one of them, and denied by another; likewise the poor and uncomfortable situation they were likely to be left in, without any sight or hope of that temporal kingdom being erected, which they had been in expectation of; and also the issue and consequence of all this, that they would be exposed to the hatred and persecutions of men. Now in the multitude of these thoughts within them, Christ comforts them, bids them be of good heart, and exhorts them to all exercise of faith on God, and on himself, as the best way to be rid of heart troubles, and to have peace:
ye believe in God, believe also in me; which words may be read and interpreted different ways: either thus, "ye believe in God, and ye believe in me"; and so are both propositions alike, and express God and Christ to be equally the object of their faith; and since therefore they had so good a foundation for their faith and confidence, they had no reason to be uneasy: or thus, "believe in God, and believe in me"; and so both are exhortations to exercise faith alike on them both, as being the best antidote they could make use of against heart troubles: or thus, "believe in God, and ye believe in me"; and so the former is an exhortation, the latter a proposition: and the sense is, put your trust in God, and you will also trust in me, for I am of the same nature and essence with him; I and my Father are one; so that if you believe in one, you must believe in the other: or thus, and so our translators render them, "ye believe in God, believe also in me"; and so the former is a proposition, or an assertion, and the latter is an exhortation grounded upon it: you have believed in God as faithful and true in all his promises, though yon have not seen him; believe in me also, though I am going from you, and shall be absent for a while; this you may be assured of, that whatever I have said shall be accomplished. The words considered either way are a full proof of the true deity of Christ, since he is represented as equally the object of faith with God the Father, and lay a foundation for solid peace and comfort in a view of afflictions and persecutions in the world.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Joh 14:1-31. Discourse at the Table, after Supper.
We now come to that portion of the evangelical history which we may with propriety call its Holy of Holies. Our Evangelist, like a consecrated priest, alone opens up to us the view into this sanctuary. It is the record of the last moments spent by the Lord in the midst of His disciples before His passion, when words full of heavenly thought flowed from His sacred lips. All that His heart, glowing with love, had still to say to His friends, was compressed into this short season. At first (from Joh 13:31) the intercourse took the form of conversation; sitting at table, they talked familiarly together. But when (Joh 14:31) the repast was finished, the language of Christ assumed a loftier strain; the disciples, assembled around their Master, listened to the words of life, and seldom spoke a word (only Joh 16:17, 29). "At length, in the Redeemer's sublime intercessory prayer, His full soul was poured forth in express petitions to His heavenly Father on behalf of those who were His own. It is a peculiarity of these last chapters, that they treat almost exclusively of the most profound relations—as that of the Son to the Father, and of both to the Spirit, that of Christ to the Church, of the Church to the world, and so forth. Moreover, a considerable portion of these sublime communications surpassed the point of view to which the disciples had at that time attained; hence the Redeemer frequently repeats the same sentiments in order to impress them more deeply upon their minds, and, because of what they still did not understand, points them to the Holy Spirit, who would remind them of all His sayings, and lead them into all truth (Joh 14:26)" [Olshausen].
1. Let not your heart be troubled, &c.—What myriads of souls have not these opening words cheered, in deepest gloom, since first they were uttered!
ye believe in God—absolutely.
believe also in me—that is, Have the same trust in Me. What less, and what else, can these words mean? And if so, what a demand to make by one sitting familiarly with them at the supper table! Compare the saying in Joh 5:17, for which the Jews took up stones to stone Him, as "making himself equal with God" (Joh 14:18). But it is no transfer of our trust from its proper Object; it is but the concentration of our trust in the Unseen and Impalpable One upon His Own Incarnate Son, by which that trust, instead of the distant, unsteady, and too often cold and scarce real thing it otherwise is, acquires a conscious reality, warmth, and power, which makes all things new. This is Christianity in brief.
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