Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
“We come now to the last great discourse (14–17), which constitutes a striking and peculiar element in the Fourth Gospel … we cannot but recognise a change from the compact lucid addresses and exposition of the Synoptists.… This appears not so much in single verses as when we look at the discourse as a whole. In all the Synoptic Gospels, imperfectly as they are put together, there is not a single discourse that could be called involved in structure, and yet I do not see how it is possible to refuse this epithet to the discourse before us as given by S. John. The different subjects are not kept apart, but are continually crossing and entangling one another. The later subjects are anticipated in the course of the earlier; the earlier return in the later.” Comp. the spiral movement noticed in the Prologue, John 1:18.
“For instance, the description of the functions of the Paraclete is broken up … into five fragments (John 14:16-17; John 14:25-26; John 15:26; John 16:8-15; John 16:23-25).… The relation of the Church and the world is intersected just in the same way (John 14:22-24, John 15:18-25, John 16:1-3), besides scattered references in single verses.… We may consider the discourse perhaps under these heads: (1) the departure and the return, (2) the Paraclete, (3) the vine and its branches, (4) the disciples and the world.” S. pp. 221–232. On the discourses in this Gospel generally see the introductory note to chapter 3.
Chap. 14. Christ’s love in keeping His own
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.1. Let not your heart be troubled] There had been much to cause anxiety and alarm; the denouncing of the traitor, the declaration of Christ’s approaching departure, the prediction of S. Peter’s denial. The last as being nearest might seem to be specially indicated; but what follows shews that ‘let not your heart be troubled’ refers primarily to ‘whither I go, ye cannot come’ (John 13:33).
ye believe in God, believe also] The Greek for ‘ye believe’ and ‘believe’ is the same, and there is nothing to indicate that one is indicative and the other imperative. Both may be indicative; but probably both are imperative: believe in God, and believe in Me; or perhaps, trust in God, and trust in Me. It implies the belief which moves towards and reposes on its object (see last note on John 1:12). In any case a genuine belief in God leads to a belief in His Son.
1. This Judas, who was the son of a certain James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13): he is commonly identified with Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus (see on Matthew 10:3). 2. Judas Iscariot 3. The brother of Jesus Christ, and of James, Joses, and Simon (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). 4. Judas, surnamed Barsabas (Acts 15:22; Acts 15:27; Acts 15:32). 5. Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37). 6. Judas of Damascus (Acts 9:11). Of these six the third is probably the author of the Epistle; so that this remark is the only thing recorded in the N.T. of Judas the Apostle as distinct from the other Apostles. Nor is anything really known of him from other sources.
how is it] Literally, What hath come to pass; ‘what has happened to determine Thee?’
manifest thyself] The word ‘manifest’ rouses S. Judas just as the word ‘see’ roused S. Philip (John 14:7). Both go wrong from the same cause, inability to see the spiritual meaning of Christ’s words, but they go wrong in different ways. Philip wishes for a vision of the Father, a Theophany, a suitable inauguration of the Messiah’s kingdom. Judas supposes with the rest of his countrymen that the manifestation of the Messiah means a bodily appearance in glory before the whole world, to judge the Gentiles and restore the kingdom to the Jews. Once more we have the Jewish point of view given with convincing precision. Comp. John 7:4.
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.2. In my Father’s house] Heaven. Comp. ‘The Lord’s throne is in heaven,’ Psalm 11:4; ‘Our Father, Which art in heaven’ (Matthew 6:9), &c.
are many mansions] Nothing is said about mansions differing in dignity and beauty. There may be degrees of happiness hereafter, but such are neither expressed nor implied here. What is said is that there are ‘many mansions;’ there is room enough for all. The word for ‘mansions,’ common in classical Greek, occurs in the N.T. only here and John 14:23. It is a substantive from the verb of which S. John is so fond, ‘to abide, dwell, remain’ (see note on John 1:33), which occurs John 14:10; John 14:16-17; John 14:25, and twelve times in the next chapter. This substantive, therefore, means ‘an abode, dwelling, place to remain in.’ ‘Mansion,’ Scotch ‘manse,’ and French ‘maison,’ are all from the Latin form of the same root.
if it were not so, I would have told you] The Greek may have more than one meaning, but our version is best. Christ appeals to His fairness: would He have invited them to a place in which there was not room for all? Others connect this with the next verse; ‘should I have said to you, I go to prepare a place for you?’ or, ‘I would have said to you, I go, &c.’ The latter cannot be right. Christ had already said, and says again, that He is going to shew them the way and to prepare for them (John 13:36, John 14:3).
I go to prepare] We must insert ‘for’ on overwhelming authority; ‘for I go to prepare.’ This proves that there will be room for all.
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.3. And if I go] The ‘if’ does not here imply doubt any more than ‘when’ would have done: but we have ‘if’ and not ‘when’ because it is the result of the departure and not the date of it that is emphasized (see on John 12:32).
I will come again, and receive] Literally, I am coming again and I will receive (see on John 1:11 and John 19:16). There is no doubt about the meaning of the going away; but the coming again may have various meanings, and apparently not always the same one throughout this discourse; either the Resurrection, or the gift of the Paraclete, or the death of individuals, or the presence of Christ in his Church, or the Second Advent at the last day. The last seems to be the meaning here (comp. John 6:39-40).
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.4. whither I go ye know, and the way ye know] The true text seems once more to have been altered to avoid awkwardness of expression (see on John 13:26). Here we should read, Whither I go, ye know the way. This it half a rebuke, implying that they ought to know more than they did know they had heard but had not heeded (John 10:7; John 10:9, John 11:25). Thus we say ‘you know, you see,’ meaning ‘you might know, you might see, if you would but take the trouble.’
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?5. Thomas] Nothing is to be inferred from the omission of ‘Didymus’ here (comp. John 11:16, John 20:24, John 21:2). For his character see on John 11:16. His question here has a melancholy tone combined with some dulness of apprehension. But there is honesty of purpose in it. He owns his ignorance and asks for explanation. This great home with many abodes, is it the royal city of the conquering Messiah, who is to restore the kingdom to Israel (see on Acts 1:6); and will not that be Jerusalem? How then can He go away?
and how can we know] The true reading is, How know we.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.6. I am the way] The pronoun is emphatic; I and no other: Ego sum Via, Veritas, Vita. S. Thomas had wished rather to know about the goal; Christ shews that for him, and therefore for us, it is more important to know the way. Hence the order; although Christ is the Truth and the Life before He is the Way. The Word is the Truth and the Life from all eternity with the Father: He becomes the Way for us by taking our nature. He is the Way to the many abodes in His Father’s home, the Way to the Father Himself; and that by His doctrine and example, by His Death and Resurrection. In harmony with this passage ‘the Way’ soon became a recognised name for Christianity; Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:22 (comp. Acts 24:14; 2 Peter 2:2). But this is obscured in our version by the common inaccuracy ‘this way’ or ‘that way’ for ‘the Way.’ (See on John 1:21; John 1:25, John 6:48.)
the truth] Better, and the Truth, being from all eternity in the form of God, Who cannot lie (Php 2:6; Hebrews 6:18), and being the representative on earth of a Sender Who is true (John 8:26). To know the Truth is also to know the Way to God, Who must be approached and worshipped in truth (John 4:23). Comp. Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:20.
and the life] Comp. John 11:25. He is the Life, being one with the living Father and being sent by Him (John 6:57, John 10:30). See on John 1:4, John 6:50-51, and comp. 1 John 5:12; Galatians 2:20. Here again to know the Life is to know the Way to God.
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me] Christ continues to insist that the Way is of the first importance to know. ‘Through Him we have access unto the Father’ (Ephesians 2:18). Comp. Hebrews 10:19-22; 1 Peter 3:18.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.7. If ye had known me] In the better MSS, we have here again two different words for ‘know’ (see on John 7:26, John 8:55, John 13:7), and the emphasis in the first clause is on ‘known’ in the second on ‘Father.’ Beware of the common mistake of putting an emphasis on ‘Me.’ The meaning is: ‘If ye had recognized Me, ye would have known My Father also.’ The veil of Jewish prejudice was still on their hearts, hiding from them the true meaning both of Messianic prophecy and of the Messiah’s acts.
from henceforth] The same expression as is mistranslated ‘now’ in John 13:19 : it is to be understood literally, not proleptically.
ye know him] Or, recognise Him. From this time, onwards, after the plain declaration of Himself in John 14:6, they begin to recognise the Father in Him. Philip’s request leads to a fuller statement of John 14:6.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.8. Philip] For the fourth and last time S. Philip appears in this. Gospel (see notes on John 1:44-49, John 6:5-7, John 12:22). Thrice he is mentioned in close connexion with S. Andrew, who may have brought about his being found by Christ; twice he follows in the footsteps of S. Andrew in bringing others to Christ, and on both occasions it is specially to see Him that they are brought; ‘Come and see’ (John 1:45); ‘We would see Jesus’ (John 12:21). Like S. Thomas he has a fondness for the practical test of personal experience; he would see for himself, and have others also see for themselves. His way of stating the difficulty about the 5000 (John 6:7) is quite in harmony with this practical turn of mind. Like S. Thomas also he seems to have been somewhat slow of apprehension, and at the same time perfectly honest in expressing the cravings which he felt. No fear of exposing himself keeps either Apostle back.
Lord, shew us the Father] He is struck by Christ’s last words, ‘Ye have seen the Father,’ and cannot find that they are true of himself. It is what he has been longing for in vain; it is the one thing wanting. He has heard the voice of the Father from Heaven, and it has awakened a hunger in his heart. Christ has been speaking of the Father’s home with its many abodes to which He is going; and Philip longs to, see for himself. And when Christ tells him that he has seen, he unreservedly opens his mind: ‘Only make that saying good, and it is enough.’ He sees nothing impossible in this. There were the theophanies, which had accompanied the giving of the Law by Moses. And a greater than Moses was here—“that Prophet whom Moses had foretold. He looked, like all the Jews of his time, to see the wonders of the old dispensation repeated. Hence his question.” S. p. 225.
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?9. so long time] Philip had been called among the first (John 1:43).
hast thou not known me] Or, hast not recognised Me, as in John 14:7. The Gospels are full of evidence of how little the Apostles understood of the life which they were allowed to share: and the candour with which this is confessed, confirms our trust in the narratives. Not until Pentecost were their minds fully enlightened. Comp. John 10:6, John 12:16; Matthew 15:16; Matthew 16:8; Mark 9:32; Luke 9:45; Luke 18:34; Luke 24:25; Acts 1:6; Hebrews 5:12. Christ’s question is asked in sorrowful but affectionate surprise; hence the tender repetition of the name. Had S. Philip recognised Christ, he would have seen the revelation of God in Him, and would never have asked for a vision of God such as was granted to Moses. See notes on John 12:44-45. There is no reference to the Transfiguration, of which S. Philip had not yet been told; Matthew 17:9.
and how sayest thou then] The ‘and’ is of doubtful authority; ‘then’ is an insertion of our translators.
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.10. Believest thou not] S. Philip’s question seemed to imply that he did not believe this truth, although Christ had taught it publicly (John 10:38). What follows is stated in an argumentative form. ‘That the Father is in Me is proved by the fact that My words do not originate with Myself; and this is proved by the fact that My works do not originate with Myself, but are really His.’ No proof is given of this last statement: Christ’s works speak for themselves; they are manifestly Divine. If matters little whether we regard the argument as à fortiori, the works being stronger evidence than the words; or as inclusive, the works covering and containing the words. The latter seems to agree best with John 8:28. On the whole statement that Christ’s words and works are not His own but the Father’s, comp. John 5:19; John 5:30, John 8:26-29, John 12:44.
the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works] The better reading gives us, the Father abiding in Me doeth His works (in Me). And thus the saying ‘Ye have seen the Father’ (John 14:7) is justified: the Father is seen in the Son.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.11. Believe me] The English obliterates the fact that Christ now turns from S. Philip and addresses all the eleven: ‘believe’ is plural not singular. ‘You have been with Me long enough to believe what I say; but if not, at any rate believe what I do. My words need no credentials: but if credentials are demanded, there are My works.’ He had said the same, somewhat more severely, to the Jews (John 10:37-38); and he repeats it much more severely in reference to the Jews (John 15:22; John 15:24). Note the progress from ‘believe Me’ here to ‘believe on Me’ in the next verse; the one grows out of the other.
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.12. Verily, verily] See notes on John 1:51.
the works that I do shall he do also] i.e. like Me, he shall do the works of the Father, the Father dwelling in Him through the Son (John 14:23).
and greater works than these] There is no reference to healing by means of S. Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15) or of handkerchiefs that had touched S. Paul (Acts 19:12). Even from a human point of view no miracle wrought by an Apostle is greater than the raising of Lazarus. But from a spiritual point of view no such comparisons are admissible; to Omnipotence all works are alike. These ‘greater works’ refer rather to the results of Pentecost; the victory over Judaism and Paganism, two powers which for the moment were victorious over Christ (Luke 22:53). Christ’s work was confined to Palestine and had but small success; the Apostles went everywhere, and converted thousands.
because I go unto my Father] For ‘My’ read ‘the’ with all the best MSS. The reason is twofold: (1) He will have left the earth and be unable to continue these works; therefore believers must continue them for Him; (2) He will be in heaven ready to help both directly and by intercession; therefore believers will be able to continue these works and surpass them.
It is doubtful whether there should be a comma or a full stop at the end of this verse. Perhaps our punctuation is better; but to make the ‘because’ run on into the next verse makes little difference to the sense.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.13. whatsoever ye shall ask in my name] Comp. John 15:16, John 16:23-24; John 16:26. Anything that can rightly be asked in His name will be granted; there is no other limit. By ‘in My name’ is not of course meant the mere using the formula ‘through Jesus Christ.’ Rather, it means praying and working as Christ’s representatives in the same spirit in which Christ prayed and worked,—‘Not My will, but Thine be done.’ Prayers for other ends than this are excluded; not that it is said that they will not be granted, but there is no promise that they will. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.
that the Father may be glorified] See notes on John 11:4, John 12:28, John 13:31.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.14. I will do it] ‘I’ is emphatic. In both verses the prayer is regarded as addressed to the Father, but granted by the Son, who is one with the Father. But the most ancient authorities here add ‘Me;’ if ye shall ask Me anything. In John 15:16 and John 16:23 with equal truth the Father grants the prayer; but in John 15:16 the Greek may mean either ‘He may give’ or ‘I may give.’
If ye love me, keep my commandments.15. If ye love me] The connexion with what precedes is again not quite clear. Some would see it in the condition ‘in My name,’ which includes willing obedience to His commands. Perhaps it is rather to be referred to the opening and general drift of the chapter. ‘Let not your heart be troubled at My going away. You will still be Mine, I shall still be yours, and we shall still be caring for one another. I go to prepare a place for you, you remain to continue and surpass My work on earth. And though you can no longer minister to Me in the flesh, you can prove your love for Me even more perfectly by keeping My commandments when I am gone.’ ‘My’ is emphatic; not those of the Law but of the Gospel.
keep] The better reading is ye will keep. Only in these last discourses does Christ speak of His commandments: comp. John 14:21, John 13:34, John 15:10; John 15:12. See on John 14:27.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;16. And I will pray the Father] ‘I’ is emphatic: ‘you do your part on earth, and I will do mine in Heaven.’ Our translators have once more rightly made a distinction but an inadequate one (see on John 13:23; John 13:25). The word for ‘pray’ here is different from that for ‘ask’ John 14:13-14; but of the two the one rendered ‘pray’ (erôtân) is (so far as there is a distinction) the less suppliant. It is the word always used by S. John when Christ speaks of His prayers to the Father (John 16:26, John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20); never the word rendered ‘ask’ (aitein) which however Martha, less careful than the Evangelist, uses of Christ’s prayers (John 11:22). But the distinction must not be pressed as if aitein were always used of inferiors (against which Deuteronomy 10:12; Acts 16:29; 1 Peter 3:15 are conclusive), or erôtân always of equals (against which Mark 7:26; Luke 4:38; Luke 7:3; John 4:40; John 4:47; Acts 3:3 are equally conclusive), although the tendency is in that direction. In 1 John 5:16 both words are used. In classical Greek erôtân is never ‘to make a request,’ but always (as in John 1:19; John 1:21; John 1:25, John 9:2; John 9:15; John 9:19; John 9:21; John 9:23, &c.) ‘to ask a question.’ (See on John 16:23.)
another Comforter] Better, another Advocate. The Greek word, Paraclete (Παράκλητος) is employed five times in the N.T.—four times in this Gospel by Christ of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7), once in the First Epistle by S. John of Christ (John 2:1). Our translators render it ‘Comforter’ in the Gospel, and ‘Advocate’ in the Epistle. As to the meaning of the word, usage appears to be decisive. It commonly signifies ‘one who is summoned to the side of another’ to aid him in a court of justice, especially the ‘counsel for the defence.’ It is passive, not active; ‘one who is summoned to plead a cause,’ not ‘one who exhorts, or encourages, or comforts.’ A comparison of the simple word (κλητός = ‘called;’ Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Romans 1:1; Romans 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, &c.) and the other compounds, of which only one occurs in the N.T. (ἀνέγκλητος = ‘unaccused;’ 1 Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22, &c.), or a reference to the general rule about adjectives similarly formed from transitive verbs, will shew that ‘Paraclete’ must have a passive sense. The rendering ‘Comforter’ has arisen from giving the word an active sense, which it cannot have. Moreover, ‘Advocate’ is the sense which the context suggests, wherever the word is used in the Gospel: the idea of pleading, arguing, convincing, instructing, is prominent in every instance. Here the Paraclete is the ‘Spirit of truth,’ whose reasonings fall dead on the ear of the world, and are taken in only by the faithful. In John 14:26 He is to teach and remind them. In John 15:26 He is to bear witness to Christ. In John 16:7-11 He is to convince or convict the world. In short, He is represented as the Advocate, the Counsel, who suggests true reasonings to our minds and true courses for our lives, convicts our adversary the world of wrong, and pleads our cause before God our Father. In the Te Deum the Holy Spirit is rightly called ‘the Comforter,’ but that is not the function which is set forth here. To substitute ‘Advocate’ will not only bring out the right meaning in the Gospel, but will bring the language of the Gospel into its true relation to the language of the Epistle. ‘He will give you another Advocate’ acquires fresh meaning when we remember that S. John calls Christ our ‘Advocate:’ the Advocacy of Christ and the Advocacy of the Spirit mutually illustrating one another. At the same time an important coincidence between the Gospel and Epistle is preserved, one of the many which help to prove that both are by one and the same author, and therefore that evidence of the genuineness of the Epistle is also evidence of the genuineness of the Gospel. See Lightfoot, On Revision, pp. 50–56, from which nearly the whole of this note is taken.
It is worth noting that although S. Paul does not use the word Paraclete, yet he has the doctrine: in Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34 the same language, ‘maketh intercession for,’ is used both of the Spirit and of Christ.
that he may abide with you for ever] Their present Advocate has come to them and will leave them again; this ‘other Advocate’ will come and never leave them. And in Him, who is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), Christ will be with them also (Matthew 28:20).
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.17. the Spirit of truth] This expression confirms the rendering ‘Advocate.’ Truth is much more closely connected with the idea of advocating a cause than with that of comforting. Comp. John 15:26, John 16:13; 1 John 5:6. The Paraclete is the Spirit of Truth as being the Bearer of the Divine revelation, bringing truth home to the hearts of men. In 1 John 4:6 it is opposed to the ‘spirit of error.’ Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:12.
the world] See notes on John 1:9-10.
it seeth him not] Because the Spirit and ‘the things of the Spirit’ must be ‘spiritually discerned.’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). The world may have intelligence, scientific investigation, criticism, learning; but not by these means is the Spirit of Truth contemplated and recognised; rather by humility, self-investigation, faith, and love.
for he dwelleth] Because He abideth: it is the same Greek word as in the previous clause. Comp. John 14:28.
and shall be in you] A reading of higher authority gives us, ‘and is in you.’ All the verbs are in the present tense. The Spirit was in the Apostles already, though not in the fulness of Pentecost.
Note throughout these two verses (16, 17) the definite personality of the Spirit, distinct both from the Father Who gives Him and from the Son Who promises Him. Note also the three prepositions (in John 14:16-17): the Advocate is with us for fellowship (meta); He abides by our side to defend us (para); He is in us as a source of power to each individually (en).
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.18. comfortless] Rather (with Wiclif) fatherless, as the word is translated James 1:27, the only other place in the N.T. where it occurs; or (with the margin) orphans, the very word used in the Greek. The inaccurate rendering ‘comfortless’ gives unreal support to the inaccurate rendering ‘Comforter.’ In the Greek there is no connexion between orphans and Paraclete. We must connect this rather with the tender address in John 13:33; He will not leave His ‘little children’ fatherless.
I will come to you] Or, I am coming to you, in the Holy Spirit, whom I will send. The context seems to shew clearly that Christ’s spiritual reunion with them through the Paraclete, and not His bodily reunion with them either through the Resurrection or through the final Return is intended.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.19. a little while] Comp. John 13:33, John 16:16.
but ye see me] In the Paraclete, ever present with you.
because I live, ye shall live also] i.e. that higher and eternal life over which death has no power either in Christ or His followers. Christ has this life in Himself (John 5:26); His followers derive it from Him (John 5:21).
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.20. At that day] Comp. John 16:23; John 16:26. Pentecost, and thenceforth, to the end of the world. They will come to know, for experience will teach them, that the presence of the Spirit is the presence of Christ, and through Him of the Father.
ye in me, and I in you] Comp. John 15:4-5, John 17:21; John 17:23; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13; 1 John 4:15-16.
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.21. hath my commandments, and keepeth them] Bears them in his mind and observes them in his life.
he it is] With great emphasis; he and no one else.
will manifest myself to him] Once more willing obedience is set forth as the road to spiritual enlightenment (see on John 7:17). The word for ‘manifest’ is not S. John’s favourite word (phaneroun) but one which he uses only in these two verses (emphanizein).
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
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.23. Judas] Excluding the genealogies of Christ we have six persons of this name in the N.T.
23. Jesus answered] The answer is given, as so often in our Lord’s replies, not directly, but by repeating and developing the statement which elicited the question. Comp. John 3:5-8, John 4:14, John 6:44-51; John 6:53-58, &c. The condition of receiving the revelation is loving obedience; those who have it not cannot receive it. This shews that the revelation cannot be universal, cannot be shared by those who hate and disobey (John 15:18).
my words] Rather, My word; the Gospel in its entirety.
we will come] For the use of the plural comp. John 10:30.
abode] See on John 14:2. The thought of God dwelling among His people was familiar to every Jew (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45; Zechariah 2:10; &c.). This is a thought far beyond that,—God dwelling in the heart of the individual; and later Jewish philosophy had attained to this also. But the united indwelling of the Father and the Son by means of the Spirit is purely Christian.
In these two verses (23, 24) the changes ‘words’ … ‘sayings’ … ‘word’ give a wrong impression: they should run—‘word’ … ‘words’ … ‘word.’ In the Greek we have the same substantive, twice n the singular and once in the plural.
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.24. is not mine] To be understood literally: see on John 12:44.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.25. being yet present] Better, while abiding; it is S. John’s favourite verb (see on John 1:33). With this verse the discourse takes a fresh start returning to the subject of the Paraclete. Perhaps there is a pause after John 14:24.
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.26. But the Comforter] Better, But the Advocate (see on John 14:16).
which is the Holy Ghost] Even the Holy Spirit. The epithet ‘holy’ is given to the Spirit thrice in this Gospel; John 1:33, John 20:22, and here (in John 7:39 the ‘holy’ is very doubtful). It is not frequent in any Gospel but the third; five times in S. Matthew, four in S. Mark, twelve in S. Luke. S. Luke seems fond of the expression, which he uses about forty times in the Acts; and he rarely speaks of the Spirit without prefixing the ‘holy.’ Here only does S. John give the full phrase, both substantive and epithet having the article: in John 1:33 and John 20:22 there is no article.
in my name] As My representative, taking My place and continuing My work (see on John 14:13). ‘He shall not speak of Himself … He shall receive of Mine and shew it unto you’ (John 16:13-14). The mission of the Paraclete in reference to the glorified Redeemer, is analogous to the mission of the Messiah in reference to the Father.
shall teach you all things] i.e. ‘guide you into all the truth’ (John 16:13). He shall teach them the Divine truth in its fulness; all those things which they ‘cannot bear now,’ and also ‘things to come.’
bring all things to your remembrance] Not merely the words of Christ, a particular in which this Gospel is a striking fulfilment of this promise, but also the meaning of them, which the Apostles often failed to see at the time: comp. John 2:22, John 12:16; Luke 9:45; Luke 18:34; Luke 24:8. “It is on the fulfilment of this promise to the Apostles, that their sufficiency as Witnesses of all that the Lord did and taught, and consequently the authenticity of the Gospel narrative, is grounded” (Alford).
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.27. Peace I leave with you] “Finally the discourse returns to the point from which it started. Its object had been to reassure the sorrowful disciples against their Lord’s departure, and with words of reassurance and consolation it concludes. These are thrown into the form of a leave-taking or farewell.” S. p. 226. ‘Peace I leave with you’ is probably a solemn adaptation of the conventional form of taking leave in the East: comp. ‘Go in peace,’ Jdg 18:6; 1 Samuel 1:17; 1 Samuel 20:42; 1 Samuel 29:7; 2 Kings 5:19; Mark 5:34, &c. See notes on James 2:16 and 1 Peter 5:14. The Apostle of the Gentiles perhaps purposely substitutes in his Epistles ‘Grace be with you all’ for the traditional Jewish ‘Peace.’
my peace I give unto you] ‘My’ is emphatic; this is no mere conventional wish. Comp. John 16:33, John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26. The form of expression, peace that is mine, is common in this Gospel. Comp. the joy that is mine (John 3:29, John 15:11, John 17:13); the judgment that is mine (John 5:30, John 8:16); the commandments that are mine (John 14:15); the love that is mine (John 15:10).
not as the world giveth] It seems best to understand ‘as’ literally of the world’s manner of giving, not of its gifts, as if ‘as’ were equivalent to ‘what.’ The world gives from interested motives, because it has received or hopes to receive as much again (Luke 6:33-34); it gives to friends and withholds from enemies (Matthew 5:43); it gives what costs it nothing or what it cannot keep, as in the case of legacies; it pretends to give that which is not its own, especially when it says ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). The manner of Christ’s giving is the very opposite of this. He gives what is His own, what He might have kept, what has cost Him a life of suffering and a cruel death to bestow, what is open to friend and foe alike, who have nothing of their own to give in return.
Let not your heart be troubled] See on John 14:1. Was He not right in giving them this charge? If He sends them another Advocate, through whom both the Father and He will ever abide with them, if He leaves them His peace, what room is there left for trouble and fear?
The word for ‘be afraid’ is frequent in the LXX. but occurs nowhere else in the N.T. ‘Be fearful’ is the literal meaning.
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.28. Ye have heard, &c.] Literally, Ye heard that I said to you, I am going away and I am coming unto you: comp. John 14:1-2; John 14:18.
because I said, I go, &c.] Omit ‘I said,’ which is wanting in all the best authorities: If ye had loved Me, ye would have rejoiced that I am going unto the Father. The construction is the same as in John 4:10, John 11:21; John 11:32, John 14:28. Their affection is not free from selfishness: they ought to rejoice at His gain rather than mourn over their own loss.
for my Father is greater than I] Because the Father is greater than I. Therefore Christ’s going to Him is gain. This was a favourite text with the Arians, as implying the inferiority of the Son. There is a real sense in which even in the Godhead the Son is subordinate to the Father: this is involved in the Eternal Generation and in the Son’s being the Agent by whom the Father works in the creation and preservation of all things. Again, there is the sense in which the ascended and glorified Christ is ‘inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.’ Lastly, there is the sense in which Jesus on earth was inferior to His Father in Heaven. Of the three this last meaning seems to suit the context best, as shewing most clearly how His going to the Father would be a gain, and that not only to Himself but to the Apostles; for at the right hand of the Father, who is greater than Himself, He will have more power to advance His kingdom. See notes on 1 Corinthians 15:27-28; Mark 13:32, [John 16:19].
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.29. ye might believe] Better, ye may believe. The brevity of the expression makes it ambiguous. It may mean either, ‘ye may believe that I am He’ (as in John 13:19), in which case ‘I have told you’ probably refers to the sending of the Paraclete; or, ‘ye may believe Me’ (as in John 14:11), in which case ‘I have told you’ probably refers to Christ’s going to the Father. The former seems better.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.30. Hereafter I will not talk much] Literally, No longer shall I speak many things: comp. John 15:15.
the prince of this world cometh] Better, the ruler of the world is coming. The powers of darkness are at work in Judas and his employers. See on John 12:31.
and hath nothing in me] Quite literal: there is nothing in Jesus over which Satan has control. ‘Let no one think that My yielding to his attack implies that he has power over Me. The yielding is voluntary in loving obedience to the Father.’ This declaration, in me he hath nothing, could only be true if Jesus were sinless. On the import of this confident appeal to His own sinlessness see notes on John 8:29; John 8:46 and John 15:10.
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.31. But that] Once more we have an instance of S. John’s elliptical use of these words (see on John 13:18), ‘But (this is done, i.e. Satan cometh) in order that, &c.’ Some, however, would omit the full stop at ‘I do’ and make ‘that’ depend upon ‘Arise:’ ‘But that the world may know that I love the Father, and that as the Father commanded Me so I do, arise, let us go hence.’ There is a want of solemnity, if not a savour of ‘theatrical effect,’ in this arrangement. Moreover it is less in harmony with S. John’s style, especially in these discourses. The more simple construction is the more probable.
let us get hence] ‘Let us go and meet the power before which I am willing in accordance with God’s will to fall.’
We are probably to understand that they rise from table and prepare to depart, but that the contents of the next three chapters are spoken before they leave the room (comp. John 18:1). Others suppose that the room is left now and that the next two chapters are discourses on the way towards Gethsemane, chap. 17 being spoken at some halting place, possibly the Temple. See introductory note to chap. 17.