In chapter 14 of John Jesus speaks great consolation to the disciples in the light of their inability to stand by Him unto death. He promises that a Comforter will come that they might be brought into union and communion with Him by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost.
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[Jhn 14:1-14 KJV] 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 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. 3 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. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 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? 10 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. 11 Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. 12 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. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].
John chapter 14 begins with one of the most unfortunate chapter divisions in the entire scripture. To understand at all what Jesus is referring to when He says “let not your heart be troubled…” you absolutely must look back to the end of the previous chapter and what was taking place there. Remember that the chapter and verse divisions were a later addition and not at all imbued with any measure of divine inspiration, albeit they are indeed helpful if not imperfect in their structure at times.
The reason why Jesus is saying to the disciples “let not your heart be troubled…” is in answer to His statement to Peter in verse 38 in chapter 16. Peter has insisted that he will follow Jesus even unto death, but Jesus answers him and questions Peter’s brash statement, disclosing that in fact before the sun rises Peter will deny Him three times. Peter and the other disciples clearly would have been distraught at these words to which Jesus replies (in chapter 14 verse 1):
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me…”
What is Jesus saying here? Peter’s insistence of loyalty unto death is not based on his faith in Christ but his faith in himself, in his own machismo and bravado. He thinks that this is the kind of man he is – that will give his life in defense of the Master. How often do believers confuse self-confidence with faith toward God? Remember the words of Jesus that without Him we can do nothing. Peter obviously didn’t believe that. He had taken the measure of his own manhood and felt that there was in him the capacity, bravery and resolve to follow Jesus to the very end no matter what. Jesus of course, knows better, and while He isn’t trying to destroy Peter’s sense of himself, He is making an effort to get Peter not to look to his own strength but to believe in Him – in Christ alone. I know in my own life one of the most bitter seasons I have ever experience was a time that things were not going well for me and I was absolutely convinced I could fix things. The only thing the Father would say to me for months was “no, Russ you can’t…” I didn’t agree with that. I stood at an absolute impasse in my walk with God when I would say “I can fix this…” and God would simply smile and say “no… you can’t…” Guess who won out in the end? When I finally despaired of my own strength and ability then in a moment of time God acted and delivered me from the situation and then delivered me from myself and my own sense of self-reliance.
Jesus is looking at these men being confronted with the fact that they will all utterly betray Him but says “don’t let this trouble you…” Why should we not be troubled at the prospects of denying Jesus? Isn’t that unpardonable? Jesus’ reply is that we should not trust in our own selves or what amounts to our general belief in God we should rather believe and rely on and trust in Him.
Jesus goes on to say “in My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you…” Now many songs have been sung, and sermons preached about glorious Victorian mansions waiting for us in the afterlife, but that is not exactly what Jesus is saying here. I am not excluding any aspect of the afterlife that may look like that but what Jesus says in verse 3 clarifies what He is actually getting at:
“…if I go and prepare a place for you – I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I AM (present tense), you may be also…”
Jesus isn’t talking about the second coming here. He is talking about going to the cross, suffering death and descending into hell where His redemptive act would make it possible for Him in the courts of heaven to forgive our sins, cleanse the altar and receive us to Himself. If this verse only applies to the afterlife, then that would suggest that He only receives a man’s soul after He dies. Some people believe that we cannot know we are saved till after we pass on but that is incorrect.
Notice that Jesus prepares a place for us that WHERE “I AM” He says – where HE WAS at that moment (spiritually located in the glory at the right hand of the Father) we would be also. He was in a place that He could lay down His life and after paying the price for us to be recreated in Christ Jesus. Then we too could lay down our lives for Him, and in fact, thousands of people did lay down their lives for Christ in the centuries that followed, phenomena recorded in history and never repeated by any faith anywhere at any time.
In verse 5 Thomas speaks up asking how they could know the way that Jesus speaks of in verse 4. Jesus replies in verse 6 that the way is not a path but rather the way is who He is, who Jesus is in His person. He is the way, He is the truth, and He is the life. Our way is a person, our truth is a person, and our life is a person. No man comes to the Father except through Jesus in His person. We must as believers lay our lives down not for doctrine, not for a religious lifestyle or principle but for Jesus Himself. Doctrine does not save us. Christian culture does not save us. Nothing saves any man except coming into a visceral and personal encounter with Christ alone – all else are excluded.
Philip then speaks up in verse 8 asking Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus replies in verse 9 that if we have seen Jesus, we will see the Father. What a fantastic statement and a standard for us that if others have seen us, they would see Jesus, that they would take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus! When our lives are as impacted by the Spirit of Christ to the degree that Jesus in His earthly life was influenced by the Father within Him, then we are in a position according to verse 14 to as ANYTHING in His name, and He will do it… This is Jesus offering to any believer who would walk after Him in this way “carte blanche” access to the vaults of heaven in response to their prayer. This is Jesus saying that it is possible to live a life where everything you say and do becomes as effective as if the Father said it and did it!
[Jhn 14: 15-31 KJV] 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 [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. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 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. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 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. 24 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. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. 26 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. 27 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. 28 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. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 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.
In verse 15 Jesus says if we love Him we will be keeping His commandments? What is the new commandment He gives us? To love one another as He has loved us. Here then is the prerequisite for receiving the Comforter that Jesus promises to send – loving one another and keeping His commandments. Many people struggle to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit but are they ever asked to consider if there is in them a deficit of the love life working in them toward others or some other aspect of the commands of Christ that are going unanswered?
Jesus will not leave us comfortless. He promises in v. 20 that He will be in the Father and we will be in Him and He will be in us and we will be one. He promises to manifest Himself to us that we might know His love and that we might know the love of the Father in a most intimate way. Now, this is too much for Judas (not Iscariot). Judas only wants an outcome where Jesus unseats the authority of Rome and establishes the kingdom then and there. Jesus simply confronts Judas with the demand to follow Him unconditionally and promises the Comforter will teach them (and us) all things when He is sent to them after His death, burial and resurrection.
The discourse comes to its conclusion with Jesus saying that the prince of this world is coming and has nothing in Him. The great redemptive act of Calvary is about to commence and as Jesus rises to go from that place where He shared the last supper and washed the disciple’s feet and now says “arise let us go hence…”
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