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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

JOHN CHAPTER 14

John 14:1-4 Christ comforteth his disciples with the promise of

a heavenly mansion.

John 14:5-7 He professes himself the way, the truth, and the life,

John 14:8-11 and that he is one with the Father.

John 14:12-14 He promises them power to do greater works than his own,

and the grant of all that they should ask in his name.

John 14:15-26 He requireth their obedience as a proof of their love,

and giveth them a promise of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost.

John 14:27-31 He leaveth his peace with them.

Chapter Introduction

The three ensuing chapters contain either one or more consolatory discourses of our Saviour to his disciples, (as appeareth from John 14:1), made, as is probable, to them in the guest chamber (at least that part of them which we have in this chapter); for we read of no motion of our Saviour’s till we come to the last verse of this chapter. That which troubled them was, what he had told them in the close of the former chapter, that he was going from them. By our Saviour’s discourse in this and the two following chapters, it should seem that there were three things that troubled them.

1. The sense of their loss as to his bodily presence.

2. The fear, that with the loss of that they should also lose those spiritual influences which they had received from him, and upon which their souls had lived.

3. The prospect of those storms of troubles and persecutions, which were likely to follow his departure from them; for if we wisely consider what our Saviour saith in these three following chapters, it all tends to comfort them as to troubles that might arise in their spirits, upon one or other of these accounts: the general proposition is laid down in John 14:1.

Let not your heart be troubled, through grief, or fear, which are the two passions which ordinarily most disturb our minds. Our Saviour himself was troubled, but not sinfully; his trouble neither arose from unbelief, nor yet was in an undue measure; it was (as one well expresses it) like the mere agitation of clear water, where was no mud at the bottom: but our trouble is like the stirring of water that hath a great deal of mud at the bottom, which upon the roiling, riseth up, and maketh it the whole body of the water in the vessel impure, roiled and muddy. It is this sinful trouble, caused from these two passions, and rising up to an immoderate degree, and mixed with a great deal of unbelief and distrust in God, against which our Saviour here cautions his disciples; and the remedy he prescribes against those afflicting passions, is a believing in God, and a believing on him. The two latter passages in the verse are so penned in the Greek, that they may be read four ways; for the verb

believe, twice repeated, may be read either indicatively or imperatively, or the one may be read indicatively and the other imperatively; so as they may be translated, You believe in God, you believe also in me. And so they teach us, that there is no such remedy for inward troubles, as a believing in God, and a believing in Jesus Christ; and those that do so, have no just reason for any excessive heart troubles. Or else they may be read, Believe in God, believe in me: or else as we read them,

Ye believe in God, believe also in me: or, Believe in God, ye believe in me. But the disciples’ faith in Christ as Mediator, and God man, being yet weak, and their weakness being what our Saviour hath ordinarily blamed, not magnified, or commended, the best interpreters judge the sense which our translators give to be the best sense; and judge that our Saviour doth inculcate to them his Divine nature, and again offer himself to them as the proper object of their faith. You (saith he) own it for your duty to trust in God, as your Creator, and he that provideth for you: believe also in me, as God equal with my Father; and in me, as the Messiah, your Mediator and Redeemer: so as you have one to take care or all your concerns, both those of your bodies, and those of your souls also, so as you have nothing to be immoderately and excessively, or distrustfully, troubled for; therefore let not your hearts be troubled; only, without care or distrust, commit yourselves to me.


Verse 2

Our Lord’s first argument brought to comfort them, from the place whither he was going, and the end of his going thither. The place whither he was going was his

Father’s house, so as they needed not to be troubled for him, he was but going home; nor was God his Father only, but theirs also, as he afterwards saith, I go to my Father, and your Father. And here he tells them, that in his Father’s house there was not only a mansion, that is, an abiding place for him, but for many others also.

Our days on the earth (saith David, 1 Chronicles 29:15) are as a shadow, and there is no abiding; but in heaven there are monai, abiding places. We shall (saith the apostle, 1 Thessalonians 4:17) be ever with the Lord. And the mansions there are many; there is room enough for all believers. I would not have deceived you; if there had been no place in heaven but for me, I would have told you of it; but there are many mansions there.

I go to prepare a place for you: the place was prepared of old; those who shall be saved, were of old ordained unto life. That kingdom was prepared for them before the foundation of the world; that is, in the counsels and immutable purpose of God. These mansions for believers in heaven were to be sprinkled with blood: the sprinkling of the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry, were typical of it; but the heaven things themselves with better sacrifices than these, saith the apostle, Hebrews 9:21,23. By his resurrection from the dead, and becoming the first fruits of those that sleep; by his ascension into heaven, as our forerunner, Hebrews 6:20; by his sitting at the right hand of God, and making intercession for us; he prepares for us a place in heaven. And thus he comforteth his disciples, (as to the want of his bodily presence), as from the consideration of the place whither he went, so from the end of his going thither, which was, to do those acts which were necessary in order to His disciples’ inheriting those blessed mansions which were prepared for them from before the foundation of the world.


Verse 3

The particle if in this place denotes no uncertainty of the thing whereof he had before assured them; but in this place hath either the force of although, or after that: When, or after that, I have died, ascended, and by all these acts, as also by my intercession, shall have made places in Heaven fully ready for you, I will in the last day return again, as Judge of the quick and the dead, and take you up into heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; that you may be made partakers of my glory, John 17:22. This is called, Romans 8:17, a being glorified together with him; and elsewhere, a reigning with him. So as this is a third argument by which our Lord comforteth his disciples as to their trouble conceived for the want of His bodily presence with them, from the certainty of his return to them, and the end and consequent of his return: the end was to receive them to himself; the consequent, their eternal abiding with Christ where he was.


Verse 4

Christ, John 13:33 of the former chapter, had dignified his disciples with the familiar, loving title of little children. It is pleasant to consider how he continueth his discourse to them in such a dialect as a mother would speak to a little child crying after her, seeing her preparing herself to go abroad. The child cries: the mother bids it be still, she is but going to such a friend’s house. It still cries: she tells it, she is but going to prepare a place for it there where it shall bo much happier than it is at home. It is not yet satisfied: she tells it again, that though she goes, she will come again, and then it shall go along with her, and she will part no more from it. The child is yet impatient: she again endeavours to still it, telling it that it knoweth whither she goeth, and it knows the way, by which, if need be, it may come to her.


Verse 5

Reason tells every one, that he who knoweth not the term whither a person is going, must needs be ignorant of the way. It is plain, that Thomas, and so (probably) divers others of the apostles, notwithstanding what our Saviour had so plainly told them, John 14:2, yet dreamed of some earthly motion our Saviour was making, which makes Thomas to speak thus: so dull are we, and hard to conceive of spiritual things. But will some say, Doth not Thomas here contradict his Master, who had told them, John 14:4, that they both knew whither he went, and the way also?

Answer. Some think that our Saviour meant no more than they ought to have known, both whither he went, and the way also; active verbs in Scripture phrase, often signifying no more than duty, or ability. But possibly others answer better, They had some knowledge, but it was more confused and general; not distinct, particular, or certain.


Verse 6

Christ was his own way to his Father; By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, Hebrews 9:12. See Luke 24:26 Philippians 2:8. But both the former words, where the apostle spake of the way they should go, and the following words, hint to us, that Christ is here speaking of their way, not his own.

As to them, he saith,

I am the way; that is, the way by which those must get to heaven who will ever come there. Christ is our way to heaven by the doctrine which he taught; by his death, by which he purchased this heavenly inheritance for us; by his holy life and conversation, setting us an example that we should follow his steps; by the influence of his Spirit, guiding us to, and assisting us in, those holy actions by which we must come unto glory.

He is

the truth; that is, say some, the true way to life eternal: but he is the truth as to His doctrine, the gospel being the word of truth, Ephesians 1:13: and as truth signifies reality and accomplishment, in opposition to the prophecies and promises, all being but words till they were in him fulfilled; in which sense we read of the true tabernacle, and the true holy places, Hebrews 8:2 Hebrews 9:24: or as truth is opposed to falsehood, as truth is taken John 8:44 Romans 3:7.

And he is

the life, the Author and Giver of eternal life, John 11:25 1 John 5:11; and the purchaser of it by his death; he who by his doctrine showeth the way to it, and by his Holy Spirit begins it, and carrieth it on to perfection. The Jews thought the way to it was by the law of Moses; but our Saviour beateth his disciples out of that opinion: for if the law could have given life, Christ had died in vain, as the apostle argues. Therefore (saith he) there is no coming to the Father

but by me; no way for you or any other, to come to heaven, but by receiving, and embracing, and believing in me.


Verse 7

If ye had known me as you ought to have known me, as I am indeed the eternal Son of God, sent by my Father into the world, you should have known my Father, with whom I am equal, and one and the same God, so as in knowing one of us, you must have known both: but you stick in my outward form and appearance, while I appear to you in the form of a man; and you stick in your prejudices sucked in from the notion you have of the Messiah, expecting I know not what temporal prince: these things blind you as to my Divine nature, (personally united to my human nature), that you see nothing of my Godhead, which if you had clearly known and believed, you would not have been at a loss to know the Father, the brightness of whose glory, and the express image of whose person, I am, though my glory be veiled by my human nature. And if you will yet believe what I say, from henceforth you do know the Father, and you have seen the Father so oft as you have seen me.


Verse 8

Still Philip understandeth not our Saviour, and further discovereth a very gross conception of the Divine Being, as if it could be seen with mortal eyes; whereas God had told Moses, Exodus 33:20, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live. It is a hard thing to determine what degrees of ignorance are consistent or inconsistent with saving grace in souls; the resolution of which doth much depend upon those degrees of revelation and means of knowledge which men have.


Verse 9

Our Saviour still insists upon the oneness of himself with his Father, and the personal union of the Divine and human nature in him; for otherwise the apostles might have been with Christ a long time, and known him, and yet not have seen nor known the Father. But that supposed, none that had seen Christ, but must have seen the Father also, there being but one God.


Verse 10

I am in the Father, and the Father in me. It is the opinion of Mr. Calvin, that these words are not here spoken so much to express his Divine nature and being, (for so Christ is no more known to us than his Father), as to express his manner of revealing it. Yet is the Divine nature of Christ fully proved from hence. Others judge, that these words do clearly signify both the distinction of persons, for nothing is in itself, and also the union of the persons in the Divine Being. He proveth his union with the Father, because he spake not those words which he spake of himself; that is, not of himself solely; he revealed but his Father’s will, and declared his Father’s mind; and because the works which he did, he did not by his own sole power, without the concurrence of his Father’s power in those operations.


Verse 11

Believe my words (for that is your duty); but yet if you will not believe my words, declaring to you my union with my Father, yet when you see me doing such works as none but God can do, believe me for their sake. It is true, that both the prophets and the apostles spake God’s words, not their own, to the people, and also did many great and mighty works; but still their doctrine led unto another, that was Christ; and their miracles were not wrought in their own names, but in the name of Christ. Elijah raised the Shunammite’s dead child to life by prayer to God that he would do it; and the apostles bid the lame man arise and walk, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s doctrine terminated in himself; he called men to believe in him, and he wrought miracles by his own power, and by a virtue proceeding out of and from himself, though by the power of his Father also, because he and his Father were one in essence.


Verse 12

He that believeth on me; not every individual soul that believeth on me; but some of those, particularly you that are my apostles, and shall be filled with the Holy Ghost in the days of Pentecost; you shall preach the gospel, and work miracles for the confirmation of the truth of the doctrine of it. Yea, and you shall do

greater works than I have done: not more or greater miracles: the truth of that may be justly questioned; for what miracle was ever done by the apostles greater than that of raising Lazarus? Much less do I think that it is to be understood of speaking with divers tongues. It is rather to be understood of their success carrying the gospel to the Gentiles, by which the whole world, almost, was brought to the obedience of the faith of Christ. We never read that of Christ which we read of Peter, viz. his converting three thousand at one sermon.

Because I go unto my Father, he afterwards expounds, telling us, that if he did not go away, the Comforter would not come. The pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, was the proximate cause of those great works. Now Christ’s going to the Father had an influence upon that mission of the Holy Spirit.


Verse 13

The whatsoever, in this text, must be limited by what the will of God hath revealed in other texts, as to the matter of our prayers; viz. they must be things that are for our good; such things as we stand in need of, and as God hath given us a liberty to ask: and indeed no other things can be asked in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; for to ask in Christ’s name, signifieth not only the making use of his sacred name in our prayers, (though the constant practice of the church in prayer, hath evidenced it the general opinion of divines, that this is a part of the sense), but also in asking for his merits, and such things as shall be conformable to his will, and for his glory. Whatsoever (saith he) you shall ask of this nature, I will do. He doth not say, my Father will do, but I will do it; to testify his Divine power, and oneness in power with his Father.

That the Father may be glorified in the Son: God hath set up his rest in Christ, and will be glorified in and through him; and hath therefore given him all power in heaven and earth.


Verse 14

The words are doubled for the further confirmation of them, that we might not doubt when we put up our petitions to God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the will of God.


Verse 15

Do not show your love to me in mourning, and being troubled for my going from you; but show it by your obedience to what I have commanded you. True love must not evaporate in compliment, but discover itself in a strict observance of the commandments of God.


Verse 16

This verse containeth a new argument by which our Saviour relieveth his disciples under their affliction for the want of his bodily presence; that is, the mission of the Holy Spirit,

another Comforter, as our translation reads it. For this he saith that he

will pray the Father; not that himself had no concern in the mission of the blessed Spirit; for himself telleth us, John 16:7, that he would send him; only for the attestation,

1. Of his human nature;

2. Of himself, as our Mediator; and:

3. Of his Father’s concern, as well as his own, in sending the Holy Spirit; he here saith, I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another Comforter.

That term

another, signifieth the personal distinction of the Third from the First and Second Person in the blessed Trinity. And the name here given to the blessed Spirit, Paraklhton, (which we too narrowly translate comforter), is a term exceedingly proper to signify all the operations of the blessed Spirit in and upon the souls of his people. The same word, 1 John 2:1, where it is applied to Christ, (as here it is to the Spirit), is there much better translated Advocate; and it is most probable that our translators here translate it

Comforter, because he is here promised to the disciples troubled, as fitted to their present distress. The verb from whence the word derives, signifies not to comfort only, but to exhort, and to be an advocate for another. Now it belongs to the office of an advocate to suggest to his client what may be for his advantage; which is also the office of the blessed Spirit: if he seeth his client in an error, to reprove and to convince him; which is also the work of the Spirit, John 16:8: if he seeth him weak and discouraged, to uphold, strengthen, and encourage him; this is also the Spirit’s work, Ephesians 3:16: if he seeth him running into an error, to restrain him; if he findeth him dull and heavy, to quicken him; if he seeth him ready to be run down, to defend him; if he hath any thing to do in the court, to prepare and dram it up for him, and, as occasion serveth, to speak for him. All these things (as might be largely showed) fall within the office of an advocate, and under the comprehensive term here used. And (saith our Saviour) he shall

abide with you for ever: I shall be with you but for a while, but he shall abide with you to eternity (as some observe this word is constantly used by this evangelist). So that the promise of the Spirit is not to be restrained only to the apostles and their successors in the ministry, or to be understood only of those extraordinary gifts bestowed on the apostles and first ministers of the gospel; but to be extended further, both with reference to persons and influences: and without doubt the influences of the Spirit, both as to gifts and graces, both upon ministers and more private Christians, are much more plentiful since the sending of the Holy Ghost, after Christ’s ascension, in the days of Pentecost, than ever they were before: not as to particular persons; a David, a Solomon, or some particular persons, might have greater measures than any or the most have since had; but as to the generality of ministers and Christians. Doubtless, since the pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, there have been greater measures of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit given out, and will be to the end of the world, than ever was in any age before Christ’s ascension; which is no more than what was prophesied, Isaiah 44:3 Joel 2:28, applied to the days of Pentecost, Acts 2:17, but not to be limited to that time or age, either for gifts or gracious habits: for as the extraordinary gifts and powers held in some degree after the apostles’ age, (if we may give any credit to ecclesiastical history), so both in those ages, and ever since, as to the generality both of ministers and Christians, (that is, such as are mentioned John 14:15, that love Christ, and keep his commandments), there have been fuller measures of gifts, of more constant, standing use for the church, such as those of knowledge and utterance, &c., and also of inward graces, than ever before was.


Verse 17

He here explains himself, and tells them, that by that other Comforter, mentioned John 14:16, he meant the Spirit; whom he here calls the Spirit of truth, either because he is a Spirit that declareth and revealeth the truth, as in 1 John 5:6, or because he teacheth us truth, 1 John 2:27, he guides us into all truth, John 16:13; or in opposition to the lying spirit of the devil, 1 Kings 22:22. Most probably the Holy Spirit is here called

the Spirit of truth, because of the efficiency be hath as to it. It is he who hath revealed all the truth contained in the Scriptures to the world. Holy men wrote as they were inspired by him, Acts 1:16 2 Peter 1:21. It is he that more particularly and specially revealeth truth to the particular soul, 1 Corinthians 2:12; hence persons enlightened, are said to be made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Hebrews 6:4. He leadeth his people into truth, John 16:13; he sealeth and confirmeth truth to the soul: hence we read of the demonstration of the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:4. This Spirit of truth, the world, that is, men of carnal hearts, that are of the world, and in whom worldly lusts predominate, 1 John 2:16 John 17:9; this world, through natural impotency, 1 Corinthians 2:14, through wisdom, 1 Corinthians 1:21, through lusts and passions, cannot receive, that is, be made partakers of; because it neither seeth him, who is not to be seen with mortal eyes, nor knoweth him affectionately and experimentally; he being not to be known by men whose hearts are carnal and full of lusts:

but ye know him believingly, experimentally, affectionately, savingly; for he dwelleth in you by a mystical union, Romans 8:11 1 Corinthians 6:17; and he shall abide with you, by his dwelling in you, and influences upon you.


Verse 18

Comfortless; the word in the Greek is, orphans, persons without father and mother, who for the most part are the most comfortless persons; therefore it is translated comfortless: Christ hath a care, not only of the people’s salvation and life, but also of their comforts while they are here; he will not leave his people without proportionable comfort for their distresses.

I will come to you; in the Greek it is, I do come to you, to denote the certainty and the suddenness of his coming; which is either to be understood of his resurrection, which was (as we know) after the absence of three days; or, which is more probable, (for after his resurrection he stayed with them but a few days), in and by his blessed Spirit, (for the Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ), who was to come, and to abide with them for ever. Though it may also have a reference to his coming again to judge both the quick and the dead, to receive them to himself, that (as he said before) they might always be where he was; but the two former senses are understood as more specially relating to their present distresses, upon account of his bodily absence from them.


Verse 19

The world seeth me now only with fleshly eyes; it will be but a little while, and the men of the world shall be able to see me no more; I shall be crucified, and laid in the grave; and though I shall rise again, yet I shall not be seen of them: (we read of no appearances of him after his resurrection, but to his disciples):

but ye see me, or shall see me; so they did often after his resurrection with their bodily eyes; or it may be understood of a spiritual sight by the eye of faith, or of a sight of experience; as seeing often in Scripture signifieth enjoying.

Because I live, that is, I shall live by my resurrection from the dead, and by my glorious ascension into heaven, you also shall live the life of grace here; and though your bodies must die, because of sin, yet your souls shall upon the death of your bodies live; and in the resurrection, both your souls and bodies shall live, and together be glorified with the: all this grace and mercy shall flow out to you from me as Mediator, and because I live.


Verse 20

Some understand our Saviour here speaking of the day of his resurrection; others interpret it of the days of Pentecost, when there should be such an effusion of the blessed Spirit: but the following words discover, that it is best interpreted of the day of judgment, and the general resurrection: for they speak of two great mysteries, which the disciples should understand in that day which is here spoken of; to wit, the personal union of Christ with his Father, and the mystical union of believers with Christ: as to both which, though the apostles and believers knew much more after Christ’s resurrection, and the pouring forth of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, than they knew before those times; yet it is a very imperfect knowledge they ever had, or yet have, of those mysterious unions; but in the resurrection we shall understand these things clearly.


Verse 21

He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: our Lord here doth repeat what he had before said, John 14:15, declaring that there is no infallible indication of our love to Christ, but obedience, which is here expressed under two notions.

1. Having Christ’s commandments and keeping them: they must both concur to make a true indication of our love to Christ. It is possible that men may have Christ’s commandments in their ears, in their notion, in their mouths, and yet not keep them; they may hear them, they may know and remember them, they may talk of them, yet they may not keep them; for keeping them denotes universal, diligent and industrious, steady and constant obedience to them; and this alone will speak our love to Christ.

2. And if any man thus declareth his love to Christ, Christ declareth, that both he and his Father will take a pleasure and delight in him to do him good; and he shall not live only under the real benefits of his love to him, but under the sensible manifestations of it. Here is no mention of the Spirit’s coming with the Father and the Son, because the Son dwelleth in us by the Spirit.


Verse 22

Jude the brother of James, Jude 1:1, the son of Alphaeus; not Judas the son of Simon, who, from the city whence he was, was called Iscariot, and was the traitor; asks our Saviour, how it was, or wherefore it was, that he would manifest himself to them, and not to the world? This question either proceeded out of ignorance, not aright understanding of what manifestation of himself Christ here spake; or out of a pious desire that all might be made partakers of the same grace with them; or out of the apostle’s modest opinion of himself and his brethren; as if he had said, Lord, what are we that thou shouldest speak of any more special manifestation of thy love to us, than to the rest of the world? Or out of a deep admiration of God’s unsearchable judgments in leaving some of the world, while he made choice of others to dignify with such special distinguishing favours, hiding those things from the wise and prudent which he revealed to babes.


Verse 23

If any man love Christ, he will keep Christ’s words; that is, he will study and endeavour to keep the commandments of Christ; for if nothing evidenced a true love to Christ but a perfect obedience to his will, none could comfort himself from his obedience, or conclude his love to Christ from it; but he that loveth Christ, will make it his business to be obedient to him in those things first he hath commanded, and are within his power.

And my Father will love him; and my Father will manifest his love to him in further dispensations of his grace; for it cannot be understood of God’s eternal love, nor yet of his love in justification and regeneration; for till the man or woman be justified and regenerated, he will never study and endeavour obedience to the will of God. This love of God is the cause, not the effect of our obedience; but love in this verse must be expounded by manifesting in the former verse; and this is certain, that the manifestations of Divine love to our souls depend upon our walking with God. This is also meant by God the Father and Christ’s coming to those that love him, and keep his commandments; viz. a coming in the sweet influences of Divine grace, suited to the soul’s various necessities: nay, our Lord promises, not only his and his Father’s coming to, but their making an abode with such as love him, and keep his commandments. Here the abiding of the First and Second Person in the Trinity with believers; the abiding of the Third Person with them is also promised, John 14:16; which all make that presence of God with them, so often promised to them in holy writ. Thus our Saviour answereth one part of what Judas said, How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us? Because, saith our Saviour, you love me, and keep my words: for though no love, no works of ours, foreseen or seen, be the cause of eternal love, or the first grace; yet it is so much a cause of further grace, especially in the sensible manifestations of it, that no soul must expect it that doth not love Christ, and keep his words. He also further gives them a reason, as to the second thing he asked, why he did not manifest himself to the world?


Verse 24

Because they did not love him, nor keep his sayings, their sin was aggravated; because the words which he spake were not his will only, but the will of his Father who had sent him into the world, to reveal his will to the sons of men.


Verse 25

That is, as to his bodily presence: For more than three years I have been fulfilling a ministry amongst you, and have spoken many things to you.


Verse 26

The word is the same which was so translated before; (see the import of it, John 14:16,17) he is there called the

Comforter, and the Spirit of truth; here, the Holy Spirit. The Father here is said to send in the name, that is, with the authority and upon the mediation, of the Lord Jesus Christ: and two pieces of the Spirit’s work, besides comforting, are here expressed.

He shall teach you all things; he shall more fully explain to you all things. Three of the apostles themselves had already in this chapter discovered great degrees of ignorance as to the doctrine of the Trinity, Christ’s union or oneness with his Father, &c. You shall not be left (saith our Saviour) in this ignorance; for when the Holy Spirit shall come, he shall more fully and perfectly instruct you in all things, in which I have already instructed you, and which are necessary for you to know in order to your eternal happiness.

And bring all things to your remembrance; whatsoever I have said unto you; and shall bring to your remembrance the things I have taught you, so as you shall more fully and clearly understand them; and though you may have forgotten them, yet they shall by the Holy Spirit be revived in your memories; so as they shall not be like water spilt on the ground, which cannot again be gathered up, but like seed sown in the earth; which, though it may at present rot, and die under the clods, or at least not spring up, yet it shall spring up, and bring forth desired fruit. It is one great work of the Holy Spirit, to bring the revelations of holy writ to our remembrance, and withal to clear to us the sense of them, and confirm our faith in them, and chiefly quicken us to practise what is our duty: but it is to be observed, that the Spirit doth not make revelations of new notions; it only brings to our remembrance what Christ hath said, and further revealeth what was before in the word revealed, though possibly particular persons were ignorant of such revelations of the word: so things may be new, and newly revealed to us, which in themselves are not so. There are no new truths, but particular persons may have new discoveries of old truth, which they had before misapprehensions of.


Verse 27

Peace be with you, or to you, was the Jewish common salutation, 1 Samuel 25:6; under that general name they comprehended all manner of good: with this good wish they both saluted their friends when they met them, and took their farewell of them when they left them. Christ, being now about to take his leave for a time of his disciples, wishes them

peace; nay, he doth not only wish it to them, but he

leaves it to them; he giveth it them as a legacy; and that in another kind of peace, and in another manner, than was common. He therefore calls it his peace revealed in the gospel, Ephesians 6:15; purchased with his blood, Romans 5:1; brought to the soul by his Spirit, by which we are sealed to the day of redemption. Christ’s peace is either union or reconciliation with God, or the copy of it, which is a quiet of conscience, and assurance of his love; or a union with men by brotherly love, so often commended and pressed by Christ. Nor doth Christ give this peace as the men of the world give peace; who often wish peace earnestly, never considering what it is they say; often falsely, formally wishing peace, when they are about to strike those to whom they wish it under the fifth rib; and when they are most serious, wish it, but cannot give it. Christ leaves it to his disciples for a legacy, giveth it to them as a gift; if they want it, it is their own fault: therefore, as in the first verse, so here again he saith,

Let not your heart be troubled; and adds,

neither let it be afraid. Fear is one of those passions which most usually and potently doth disturb the hearts and minds of men; but there was no reason it should have this ill influence on Christ’s disciples, because he had left them peace for his legacy, and the gifts of God are without repentance; and, if God be for us, (saith the apostle, Romans 8:31), who, or what, can be against us?


Verse 28

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you; they had heard our Saviour saying so, John 14:3. It is of the nature of true love, to rejoice in the good of the object beloved, as much as in its own, nay, before its own.

Saith our Saviour,

if ye loved me, that is, as ye ought to love me, (for our Lord had before owned that they did love him, giving it as a reason why he rather revealed himself and manifested himself to them, than to the world, John 14:23), you would not have been so unreasonably disturbed at my telling you that I shall leave you; because I not only told you that I would come again to you, but because I told you that I was going to my Father, John 14:2; from whom though I was never separated, as I am God over all blessed for ever, yet my human nature was yet never glorified with him; so that I shall be there much happier than here; being highly exalted, and having a name given me above every name, Philippians 2:9.

For my Father is greater than I not greater in essence, (as the Arians and Socinians would have it), he had many times before asserted the contrary; but greater,

1. Either as to the order amongst the Divine Persons; because the Father begat, the Son is begotten; the Father is he from whom the Son proceeded by eternal generation: in which sense, divers of the ancients, amongst whom Athanasius, Cyril, and Augustine, and some modern interpreters, understand it. Or:

2. As Mediator sent from the Father, so he is greater than I. Or:

3. In respect of my present state, while I am here in the form of a servant; and in my state of humiliation:

which seemeth to be the best interpretation, if we consider the words before, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father; for the true reason of that joy must have been, because Christ in his glorious state of exaltation would be much more happy than he had been in his state of humiliation, while he was exposed to the scoffs, reproaches, and injuries of men, the temptations of Satan, &c.


Verse 29

Evils that surprise us are always the most heavy, and load our spirits. Saith our Saviour, Before these things come to pass, I have given you notice of them, that, when you see them come to pass, you might not be overwhelmed with sorrow and trouble, to the hinderance of your faith in me; but understanding that I have told you the truth before the thing come to pass, you may be assured that I am not mere man, but truly God; and receive and embrace me, and rest upon me as your Saviour.


Verse 30

I shall not have much time hereafter to reveal my mind to you, my suffering is very near; the devil, who is

the prince of this world, See Poole on "John 12:31", See Poole on "John 16:11" and See Poole on "Ephesians 6:12" he cometh by the evil angels, or rather by vile and wicked men, as his instruments, Judas and the soldiers. He doth not say wherefore he came, but it is easily understood. And he hath nothing in me that he can justly fault, and take advantage against me, for he findeth no guilt in me to give him any advantage against me; I shall die as an innocent person, and be cut off, but not for myself, (as it was prophesied of the Messiah, Daniel 9:26), but (as it is there, John 14:24), to finish transgression, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.


Verse 31

I die not for my own sin; but being found in fashion as a man, I humbled myself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, ,{as Philippians 2:8} to let the world know, that I love the Father, and am obedient to him, doing even so as he hath commanded me.

Arise, let us go hence; arise from supper, (after which they were wont sometimes to lengthen out discourse), the supper in Bethany, as some think; but to me it seems more probable (as I said before) to be the passover supper, and the Lord’s supper which immediately followed that; and let us go hence, out of the guest chamber, where the passover was to be administered. So as it is most probable, that the discourses in the two next chapters were as they went along in the way to Mount Olivet. In this discourse our Saviour hath most applied himself to relieve his disciples upon their disturbance for their want of our Saviour’s bodily presence.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 14:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-14.html. 1685.


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