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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

John 14

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Ver. 1. Let not your heart, &c.] Our Saviour sweetly proceeds in his swan-like song. Aelian tells us that he once heard a dying swan sing most heavenly and harmoniously, ευφωνοτατον και ωδικωτατον. (Hist. Var. lib. i.) The poet shows the manner of it, when he saith

-"longa canoros

Dat per colla modos"-

Of the Syrens (on the contrary) it is reported, that how sweetly soever they sang before, yet at death they make a horrid noise and unpleasant roaring. Morris articulo instante, et sanguine male affecto valde horride mugiunt Sirenes. Likewise, good men utter their best usually at last, the wine of the spirit being then strongest and liveliest in them. Whereas wicked men are then usually at worst, and go out with a stench, as the devil is said to do. And as Melancthon said of Eccius’s last wicked work, written of priests’ marriage, Non full cygnea cantio, sed ultimus crepitus: et sicut felis fugiens pedit, sic ille moriens hunc crepitura cecinit. (Melch. Adam. in Vit. Calv.) So of Baldwin the apostate, one saith that vivere simul et maledicere desiit, he died cursing, as that wretch did swearing, who desperately also desired the bystanders to help him with oaths and to swear for him.


Verse 2

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.

Ver. 2. I would have told you] And not have fed you with false hopes of a Utopian happiness, as the devil deals by his, whom he brings into a fool’s paradise; as Mahomet by his, to whom he promises in paradise delicious fare, pleasant gardens, and other sensual delights eternally to be enjoyed, &c. Christ is no such impostor.


Verse 3

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.

Ver. 3. I will come again, &c.] Oh, look up and long for this "consolation of Israel;" say as Sisera’s mother, "Why are his chariots" (those clouds) "so long in coming?"

" Heu pietas ubi prisca? profana o tempora! Mundi

Fax! Vesper! prope Nox! o mora! Christe veni."

There may ye be also] Christ counts not himself full till he have all his members about him: hence the Church is called "the fulness of him that filleth all things," Ephesians 1:23.


Verse 4

4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Ver. 4. And whither I go ye know] Some little knowledge they had, such as Thomas in the next verse denies to be any at all; yet Christ acknowledgeth it. The tenor of the new covenant requires no set measures of grace. The first springings in the womb of grace are precious before God, Ephesians 2:1; he blesseth our buds, Isaiah 61:11, and in our dunghill of ignorance can find out his own part of knowledge, as here.


Verse 5

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Ver. 5. Lord, we know not whither thou goest, &c.] No, Thomas? what, are ye also ignorant? They knew, but knew not that they knew: their knowledge was yet but confused and indistinct; they saw men, but as it were walking like trees, till their eyes were better anointed with the eye-salve of the Spirit. A man (saith Gataker) may have grace, and yet not know it (as the embryo hath life, and yet knoweth it not), yea, he may think he hath it not, as we seek for keys that are in our pockets; or think we have lost a jewel, that we locked up in our chest: yea, as the butcher looketh for the candle that sticketh in his hat, by the light of what he seeketh.


Verse 6

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Ver. 6. I am the way, and the truth, &c.] As if he should say, Thou hast no whither to go but to me, nor which way to go but by me, that thou mayest attain eternal life. Which made Bernard say, Sequemur, Domine, te, per te, ad te: Te quia Veritas, per te quia Via, ad te quia Vita. God, we will follow you, through you, to you: because you are the truth, through you because you are the way, to you because you are the life. And this was one of those sweet sayings that old Beza had much in his mouth a little before his death. (Melch. Adam. in Vitis exter.)

No man cometh unto the Father, but by me] Christ hath paved us a new and living way to God, with his own meritorious blood: and his flesh stands as a screen between us and those everlasting burnings, Isaiah 33:14. Let Papists say of their saints, Per hunc itur ad Deum, sed magis per hunc. Through him is the way to God, but greater through him. Let us say of all their he and she saints, as that heathen, Contemno minutos istos Deos, modo Iovem (Iesum) propitium habeam. I despise such petty gods, but let us have the propious Jesus.


Verse 7

7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Ver. 7. And from henceforth ye know him] Or else the more shame for you, having had me (his express image) so long among you. Christians have a privilege above the Church of the Old Testament. The sea about the altar was brazen, 1 Kings 7:23, and what eyes could pierce through it? Now, our sea about the throne is glassy, Revelation 4:6, like the crystal, clearly conveying the light and sight of God in Christ to our eyes.


Verse 8

8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

Ver. 8. Lord, show us the Father] They would have seen the Father face to face with their bodily eyes, as they saw the Son. But that no man can do and live, Exodus 33:20. We cannot see the sun in rota, in its orbit, as the schools speak, in the circle wherein it runs, but only in the beams. So neither can we see God in his essence; in his Son we may, who is the resplendence of his Father’s glory, απαυγασμα, Hebrews 1:3.


Verse 9

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?

Ver. 9. Have I been so long, &c.] May not Christ justly shame and shent us all for knowing no more of him all this while? Ignorance under means of knowledge is a blushful sin, 1 Corinthians 15:34.


Verse 10

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.

Ver. 10. The words that I speak] Our Saviour allegeth for himself the Divinity both of his word and works. He was mighty, saith Peter, both in word and deed. Ministers also must, in their measure, be able to argue and approve themselves to be men of God, by sound doctrine and good life. And not be, as our Saviour saith the Pharisees were, and as Epictetus saith many philosophers were such, ανευ του πραττειν, μεχρι του λεγειν, that is, as far as a few words would go.


Verse 11

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Ver. 11. Believe me that I am, &c.] Take my bare word without any further pawn or proof. This is an honour due to Christ only, that he is αυτοπιστος, He is Amen, "the faithful and true witness," Revelation 3:14.


Verse 12

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.

Ver. 12. And greater works than these] Greater in regard of the matter, as converting 3000 souls at a sermon, reducing a great part of the world to the obedience of Christ, &c. But yet less than those Christ did, for the manner. For, 1. They did not them in their own name, but in his. 2. They preached not that they were gods, as he, but they preached Christ the only Lord, and themselves the Church’s servants, for Jesus’ sake. They were the white horses on which Christ rode abroad the world, "conquering and to conquer," Revelation 6:2. In memory whereof, as it may seem, the Saxon princes, having borne a black horse till then in their military ensigns, did, after they had received the faith and were baptized, bear a white horse, and gave it for their arms. And Tertullian could say in his time, that Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo tamen subdita. To the Romans, Britian was an inaccessable place, yet it was subdued by Christ.


Verse 13

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Ver. 13. That I will do] An undoubted argument of Christ’s Divinity, that he hears and grants prayers. When the people, in Ahab’s time, saw God answering Elijah by fire from heaven, they cried out, "The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God," 1 Kings 18:39; "O thou that hearest prayers" is a description the Psalmist gives of God, Psalms 65:2.


Verse 14

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Ver. 14. If ye shall ask anything, &c.] This is not a vain repetition. Nunquam satis dicitur, quod nunquam satis discitur. (Seneca.) When God spake but once, David heard it twice. Oh that we would once hear and believe, what Christ for our comfort hath said over so often!


Verse 15

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Ver. 15. If ye love me, keep my commandments] No better way to seal up love than by being obedient. "How canst thou love me," said she, "when thy heart is not with me?" 16:15. Hushai, to show his love to David, set upon that difficult and dangerous service for him, of insinuating into Absalom’s counsels, and defeating them.


Verse 16

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Ver. 16. And he shall give you another Comforter] Or, pleader, deprecator, advocate, παρακλητον. Properly it signifies such a one as we send for, when we are in any danger, to advise and counsel us. The devil is called the accuser, κατηγορος, in full opposition to this name and title given here to the Holy Spirit; whose office it is (as this attribute here imports) to make intercession in our hearts to God for us; and upon our true repentance to make our apology, 1 Corinthians 7:11; to comfort us, by discovering our graces, 1 Corinthians 2:12, and by pleading our evidences, Romans 8:18, which they that refuse to read over and rest upon, they help Satan, the accuser, taking his part against themselves, and pleading his cause against the Spirit their Comforter.

That he may abide with you for ever] The Spirit (saith Dr Sibbs) is Christ’s vicar-general, with whom he leaves us, and by whom he is with us to the end of the world.


Verse 17

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.

Ver. 17. For he dwelleth with you] Next to the love of Christ in dwelling in our nature, we may wonder at the love of the Holy Ghost, that will dwell in the dark dog-hole of our defiled souls; and be there as those two golden pipes, Zechariah 4:12, through which the two olive branches empty out of themselves the golden oils of all precious graces; which are, therehence, called "the fruits of the Spirit," Galatians 5:22; "yea, the Spirit," John 14:17. God also in giving us his Spirit, is said to give us all good things, Matthew 7:11; cf. Luke 11:13.


Verse 18

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Ver. 18. I will not leave you comfortless] Orphans, or darkling, ορφανους ab ορφνη, tenebrae. I your Lord am taken indeed from your head for a while, but you shall have the supply of my Spirit, Philippians 1:19. And I, even I, will come again to you ere long; yea, I am now upon the way; I come to fetch you, I come to meet you, I come, I come, ερχομαι, Dedit me in viam.


Verse 19

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

Ver. 19. But ye see me] The spiritual man hath "the mind of Christ," 1 Corinthians 2:16, and those things revealed unto him that natural eye never saw, carnal ear never heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; neither prepared only, but imparted to his beforehand, even in this life. For he reserves not all for the life to come, but gives a grape of Canaan in this wilderness, such as the world never tasted of.


Verse 20

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Ver. 20. That I am in my Father and you in me] Oh happy union, the ground of communion! interest! the ground of influence! Hence we have communication of Christ’s secrets, 1 Corinthians 2:6; the testimony of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 1:5; consolation in all afflictions, 2 Corinthians 1:5; sanctification of all occurrences, Philippians 1:21; participation of Christ’s merit and Spirit, and what not?


Verse 21

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.

Ver. 21. And I will love him, and manifest, &c.] Increase of the saving knowledge of Christ is promised as a singular reward of our love to him and fruit of his love to us, εμφανισω, tacite et clam indicabo. By quietness and silence I will point out. (Eras.) Imo palam et in media luce. No indeed, openly and is the midst of light, Beza. This is, saith Agur, "to ascend into heaven," Proverbs 30:3-4. This is, saith our Saviour elsewhere, the great talent of all others. There is a "much" in it, Luke 12:48. This is, saith St Paul, the Christian’s riches, 1 Corinthians 1:5; and David reckons of his wealth by it, Psalms 119:32.


Verse 22

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Ver. 22. How is it that thou wilt manifest, &c.] Many a wise question the disciples ask him in this chapter; and yet our Saviour bears with their rudeness, and gently instructs them, preaching as they were able to hear, Mark 4:33. So did Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:22. So must all ministers, 2 Timothy 2:25, if they mean to do good on it.


Verse 23

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.

Ver. 23. Jesus answered and said unto him] Our Saviour, passing by that frivolous question, proceedeth in his discourse. Some follies are best confuted by silence. One having made a long and idle discourse before Aristotle, concluded it thus: I doubt I have been too tedious unto you, Sir Philosopher, with my many words. In good sooth, said Aristotle, you have not been tedious to me, for I gave no heed to anything you said. (Plutarch, de Garrulitate.)


Verse 24

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.

Ver. 24. But the Father’s] Therefore to be obeyed, because of divine authority. God’s impress makes authentic, and binds every good heart to obedience. Veniat, veniat verbum Domini, et submittemus ei, sexcenta si nobis essent colta, said Baldassar, a godly Dutch divine (in Epist. ad Oecolamp.).


Verse 25

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

Ver. 25. These things have I spoken unto you] And truly I may seem to have spoken to small purpose ( verba quid incassum non proficientia perdo?) by anything that you have yet profited. But cast not away your confidence that hath so great recompence of reward. For the Comforter shall be your remembrancer, and cause your memories (as the sea doth) to cast up your dead notions, &c., as John 14:26.


Verse 26

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.

Ver. 26. But the Comforter, &c.] The Spirit teacheth only things consonant to Scripture, and is thereby discerned from a spirit of delusion. He is not novarum revelationum architectus, author of new revelations, as Papists, Mahometans, Anabaptists, and Libertines would make him. The Jews also had many traditions and unwritten verities (as they called them) wherewith they believed their scribes and doctors were inspired, for the people’s better direction in observing the law. These they called Mashlamnuthoth, Completiones, Perfectiones, because they thought that the written law was perfected and completed by them. (Buxtorff.) These were those our Saviour cried down, Matthew 15:5. And the prophet tells us, that in vain shall we look to hear the voice behind us, where our "eyes see not our teachers," Isaiah 30:20-21.


Verse 27

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.

Ver. 27. Peace I leave with you] As a farewell or legacy; Sacrosancta ειρηνη nobis committitur, non ερυννις, aut ερις: Christ is the Prince of Peace, yea, he is our peace, saith the apostle, and brings true peace, which is a piece of his kingdom, Romans 14:17. Of him it may be more truly said than it was of our Henry VII, that he came in, Ut cum pacem exulantem exul, extorremque extorris concomitatus esset, reducem quoque redux apportaret. (Twinus Comment. de rebus Britann.)

Not as the world, &c.] They cry peace when there is no peace, and make fair weather when such a storm of God’s wrath is ready to burst out as shall never be blown over. They complement, and wish peace, when war is in their hearts: as the pope sent away Henry III, emperor, in peace, but it was, saith the historian, Qualem scilicet pacem Iudas simulavit, non qualem Christus reliquit, i.e. such as Judas, counterfeit, not such as Jesus left his people. (Auth. Apolog. de unit. Eccles.)


Verse 28

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.

Ver. 28. My Father is greater than I] To wit, as I have voluntarily submitted myself to the office of a mediator. Lo, here this Sun of righteousness is gone back ten degrees in the dial below his Father. "Thou hast made him little less than the angels," Psalms 8:5; there (as man) he is gone back ten degrees below the angels. "I am a worm and no man," Psalms 22:6; there he is gone back ten degrees below men. "A living dog is better than a dead lion," Ecclesiastes 9:4; there he is gone back ten degrees below worms. For he was not so much as a living worm, but was laid in the grave as a dead lion, there to have been meat for worms, but that it was impossible for God’s Holy One to see corruption. See how he emptied and humbled himself, εκενωσεν, that he might exalt and fill us with his fulness, ικανωσεν.


Verse 29

29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

Ver. 29. And now I have told you before] Which none beside God himself could do, but by divine revelation. The knowledge of future contingents is of God only, and of such as to whom he is pleased to communicate it; as he did to the prophets, who when they foretold things only as in their causes, they might happen or not, as Isaiah 38:1; Jonah 3:4; 1 Kings 21:20; but when they foretold things ut futura in seipsis, then they occured infallibly. The devil also may come acquainted with such things, and be able to foretell them, if God reveal them to him, as he did Ahab’s death; and as Trithemius the abbot and Cusanus the cardinal foretold a change of religion to happen in the year 1517, which was the year wherein Luther began to stickle for Christ against the pope. {a}

{a} Cusanus obiit, A. D. 1464. Trithem. scripsit an. 1508. Genius vero qui Trithemio haec dictavit, albus an ater fuerit, ego non facile dixerim. Bucholcer.


Verse 30

30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Ver. 30. Hereafter I will not, &c.] Make we the best of our Christian friends while we have them; as we would do of a borrowed book or tool, that we know not how soon they may be sent for by the right owner.

The prince of this world cometh] In his limbs and instruments, those breathing devils that put Christ to death. Persecutors are set to work by Satan; "the devil shall cast some of you into prison," Revelation 2:10. Why? Is he become a justice of peace, to send men to prison? Yes, by his agents. But why would Christ be so used by him and his? Hear the next words.


Verse 31

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.

Ver. 31. But that the world may know] Not you only, but all must take notice of my ready obedience to the will of my heavenly Father, even to the suffering of death. Christ’s passion must shine as a perpetual picture in our hearts; therefore it is so accurately described by all the four evangelists, whereas his birth is recorded but by two of them only.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 14:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-14.html. 1865-1868.


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Sunday, August 20th, 2017
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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