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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAP. 14. CHRIST’S LOVE IN KEEPING HIS OWN


Verse 1

1. μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑ. . κ. 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 μὴ ταρασσέσθω refers primarily to ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπάγω, ὑμεῖς οὐ δύνασθε ἐλθεῖν (John 13:33). There is nothing to shew that one πιστεύετε is indicative and the other imperative. Probably both are imperative like ταρασσέσθω: comp. John 5:39, John 12:19, John 15:18. In any case a full genuine belief and trust (John 1:12) in God leads to a belief and trust in His Son.


Verse 2

2. τῇ οἰκίᾳ τ. πατρός. Heaven. Matthew 5:34; Matthew 6:9. By μοναὶ πολλαί nothing is said as to mansions differing in dignity and beauty. There may be degrees of happiness hereafter, but such are neither expressed nor implied here. The abodes are many; there is room enough for all. ΄ονή occurs in N.T. only here and John 14:23. It is derived from S. John’s favourite verb μένειν (John 1:33), which occurs John 14:10; John 14:16-17; John 14:25; John 14:12 times in chap. 15. ΄ονή, therefore, is ‘a place to abide in, an abode.’ ‘Mansion,’ Scotch ‘manse,’ and French ‘maison’ are all from manere, the Latin form of the same root.

εἰ δὲ μή, εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ὅτι π. The construction is amphibolous and may be taken in four ways. 1. If it were not so, I would have told you; because I go. This is best. Christ appeals to His fairness: would He have invited them to a place where there was not room for all? 2. ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; (if it were not so, I would have told you;) because I go.’ 3. ‘Would I have said to you that I go?’ 4. ‘I would have said to you that I go.’ The last cannot be right. Jesus had already said (John 13:36), and says again (John 14:3), that He is going to shew the way and prepare a place for them.


Verse 3

3. ἐὰν πορευθῶ. The ἐάν does not imply a doubt; but, as in John 12:32, it is the result rather than the date of the action that is emphasized; hence ‘if,’ not ‘when.’ see on John 12:26.

ἔρχομαι κ. παραλήμψομαι. The late form λήμψομαι occurs again Acts 1:8; we have λαμψομαι Hdt. IX. 108. The change from present to future is important: Christ is ever coming in various ways to His Church; but His receiving of each individual will take place once for all at death and at the last day (see on John 19:16). Christ’s coming again may have various meanings and apparently not always the same one throughout these discourses; the Resurrection, or the gift of the Paraclete, or the presence of Christ in His Church, or the death of individuals, or the Second Advent at the last day. Comp. John 6:39-40.


Verse 4

4. ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπ. οἴδ. τ. ὁδόν. This seems to have been altered as in T. R. to avoid awkwardness of expression (see on John 6:51, John 13:26). Ἐγώ is emphatic; in having experience of Him they know the way to the Father. The words are half a rebuke, implying that they ought to know more than they did know (John 10:7; John 10:9, John 11:25). Thus we say ‘you know,’ meaning ‘you might know, if you did but take the trouble.’


Verse 5

5. Θωμᾶς. Nothing is to be inferred from the omission of Δίδυμος 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 be going anywhere? How do we know the way? The abrupt asyndeton gives emphasis.


Verse 6

6. ἐγώ εἰμι. see on John 6:35. 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.)

ἡ ἀλήθεια. Being from all eternity in the form of God, Who cannot lie (Philippians 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.

ἡ ζωή. Comp. John 11:25. He is the Life, being one with the living Father and being sent by Him (John 10:30, John 6:57). 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. But the three thoughts must not be merged into one; ‘I am the true way of life,’ or ‘the living way of truth.’ The three, though interdependent, are distinct; and the Way is the most important to know, as Christ insists by adding οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται π. τ. π., εἰ μὴ δι' ἐμοῦ. Comp. δι' αὐτοῦ ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα (Ephesians 2:18). See also Hebrews 10:19-22; 1 Peter 3:18.


Verse 7

7. εἰ ἐγνώκειτέ με, κ. τ. π. μ. ἐγνώκειτε ἄν. The better reading is ἂν ἤδειτε: If ye had learned to know Me, ye would know My Father also. The change of verb and of order are both significant. see on John 7:26, John 8:55, John 13:7. The emphasis is on ἐγνώκειτε and on πάτερα: ‘If ye had recognised Me, ye would know My Father also.’ Beware of putting an emphasis on ‘Me:’ an enclitic cannot be emphatic.

ἀπ' ἄρτι. To be understood literally, not proleptically (comp. John 13:19; Revelation 14:13). Hitherto the veil of Jewish prejudice had been on their hearts, obscuring the true meaning of Messianic prophecy and Messianic acts. But henceforth, after the plain declaration in John 14:6, they learn to know the Father in Him. Philip’s request leads to a fuller statement of John 14:6.

Φίλιππος. 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: and the freedom with which each speaks shews how truly Christ had ‘called them friends’ (John 15:15).

δεῖξον ἡμῖν. 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 through Moses. And a greater than Moses was here.


Verse 9

9. τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ. Philip had been called among the first (John 1:44), and yet has not learned to know the Christ. Comp. John 8:19. 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. For the dative, a doubtful reading, see Winer, p. 273.

ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑωρ. τ. πατέρα. Again there is the majesty of Divinity in the utterance. What mere man would dare to say, ‘He that hath seen me hath seen God’? Comp. John 14:30, John 8:29; John 8:42, John 15:10.


Verse 10

10. οὐ πιστεύεις. 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. It 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. For τὰ ῥήματα see on John 3:34 : λέγω refers to the substance, λαλῶ to the form of the utterances (John 12:49, John 16:18). 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 : τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ are the Father’s works, done and seen in the Son.


Verse 11

11. πιστεύετέ μοι. In English we lose the point that Jesus now turns from S. Philip and addresses all the Eleven. ‘Ye 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, where see note); and He repeats it much more severely in reference to the Jews (John 15:22; John 15:24). Note the progress from πιστεύετέ μοι here to ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ in John 14:12; the one grows out of the other.


Verse 12

12. κἀκεῖνος ποιήσει. Comp. John 6:57 and John 14:21; John 14:26 : see on John 1:8; John 1:18. ‘Like Me, he shall do the works of the Father, He dwelling in him through the Son. Comp. καθὼς ἐκεῖνός ἐστι, καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ (1 John 4:17).

καὶ μείζονα τούτων. 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. The reason introduced by ὅτι 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. But note that He does not say that they shall surpass His words. He alone has words of eternal life; never man spake as He did (John 6:68, John 7:46).

It is doubtful whether there should be a comma or a full stop at the end of this verse. Our punctuation seems the better; but to make ὅτι run on into the next verse makes little difference to the sense.


Verse 13

13. ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου. The phrase occurs here for the first time. 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 be. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. For ἵνα δοξασθῇ see on John 11:4, John 12:28, John 13:31.


Verse 14

14. ἐγὼ ποιήσω. Perhaps we ought to read τοῦτο ποιήσω, this will I do (John 3:32); but the emphatic ἐγώ suits the context better. In John 14:13 the prayer is regarded as addressed to the Father, but granted by the Son: in John 14:14, if the very strongly supported με is genuine, the prayer is addressed to Christ. In John 16:23 the Father with equal truth grants the prayer.


Verse 15

15. ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με. 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 (see on John 8:31); not those of the Law but of the Gospel. Only in these last discourses does Christ speak of His commandments: John 14:21, John 15:10; John 15:12, John 13:34.


Verse 16

16. κἀγὼ ἐρ. Εγώ is emphatic: ‘you do your part on earth, and I will do Mine in heaven.’ So far as there is a distinction between αἰτεῖν and ἐρωτᾷν, the latter is the less suppliant. It is always used by S. John when Christ speaks of His own prayers to the Father (John 16:26, John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20). Martha, less careful than the Evangelist, uses αἰτεῖν of Christ’s prayers (John 11:22). But the distinction must not be pressed as if αἰτεῖν were always used of inferiors (against which Deuteronomy 10:12; Acts 16:29; 1 Peter 3:15 are conclusive), or ἐρωτᾷν 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 ἐρωτᾷν 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.

παράκλητον. Advocate. Παράκλητος is used five times in 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), and 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 παράκλητος must have a passive sense. 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. He may be ‘summoned to our side’ to comfort as well as to plead, and 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. S. Paul, though he does not use the word, has the doctrine: in Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34 the same language,’ to make intercession for’ (ἐντυγχάνειν ὑπέρ), is used both of the Spirit and of Christ. Philo frequently uses παράκλητος of the high-priest as the advocate and intercessor for the people. He also uses it in the same sense of the Divine Λόγος.

εἰς τ. αἰῶνα. 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).


Verse 17

17. τ. πν. τ. ἀληθ. This expression confirms the rendering ‘Advocate.’ Truth is 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 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. On κόσμος see on John 1:10.

οὐ θεωρεῖ. Beholdeth Him not, neither cometh to know Him, 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 is the Spirit of Truth contemplated and recognised; rather by humility, self-investigation, faith, and love. Note the presents γινώσκετε, μένει, ἐστίν. The Spirit is in the Apostles already, though not in the fulness of Pentecost. Note also (in John 14:16-17) the definite personality of the Spirit, distinct from the Son who promises Him and the Father who gives Him: and the three prepositions; the Advocate is with us for fellowship (μετά); abides by our side to defend us (παρά); is in us as a source of power to each individually (ἐν).


Verse 18

18. ὀρφανούς. Desolate, or (with Wiclif) fatherless, as in James 1:27, the only other place in N.T. where it occurs. ‘Comfortless’ gives unfair support to ‘Comforter’: there is no connexion between ὀρφανός and παράκλητος. The connexion is rather with τεκνἱα in John 13:33 : He will not leave His ‘little children’ fatherless.

ἔρχ. πρός. I am coming unto you, in the 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. Note the frequent and impressive asyndeton in John 14:17-20.


Verse 19

19. ἔτι μικρόν. Comp. John 13:33, John 16:16. They behold Him in the Paraclete, ever present with them; and they shall have that higher and eternal life over which death has no power either in Him or His followers. Christ has this life in Himself (John 5:26); His followers derive it from Him (John 5:21).


Verse 20

20. ἐν ἐκ. τ. ἡμ. 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. For ὑμεῖς ἐν ἐμοί comp. John 15:4-5, John 17:21; John 17:23; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13; 1 John 4:15-16.


Verse 21

21. ἔχωντηρῶν. Bearing them steadfastly in his mind and observing them in his life. Ἐκεῖνος, with great emphasis (see on John 1:18); he and no else.

ἐμφανίσω. Once more, as in John 7:17, willing obedience is set forth as the road to spiritual enlightenment. Ἐμφανίζειν (here only in S. John) is stronger than φανεροῦν.


Verse 22

22. Ἰούδας. Excluding the genealogies of Christ we have six persons of this name in N.T. 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.

τί γέγονεν. What is come to pass; what has happened to determine Thee to so strange a course? Ἐμφανίσω rouses S. Judas just as ἑωράκατε (John 14:7) roused S. Philip. 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 Gentile and restore the kingdom to the Jews. Once more we have the Jewish point of view given with convincing precision. Comp. John 7:4.


Verse 23

23. ἀπεκρίθη. 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).

ἐλευσόμεθα. For the plural comp. John 10:30; it is a distinct claim to Divinity: for μονήν 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.). There 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.


Verse 24

24. οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμός. Quite literally; comp. John 12:44. This explains why Christ cannot manifest Himself to the world: it rejects God’s word. On πέμψαντος see on John 1:33. Perhaps there is a pause after John 14:24 : with John 14:25 the discourse takes a fresh departure, returning to the subject of the Paraclete.


Verse 25

25. ταῦτα. First for emphasis in opposition to πάντα in John 14:26 : ‘Thus much I tell you now; the Advocate shall tell you all.’


Verse 26

26. ἅγιον. This epithet is given to the Spirit thrice in this Gospel; John 1:33, John 20:22, and here: in John 7:39 ἅγιον is an insertion. It is not frequent in any Gospel but the third; 5 times in S. Matthew , 4 in S. Mark , 12 in S. Luke. S. Luke seems fond of the expression, which he uses some 40 times in the Acts; rarely using Πνεῦμα without ἅγιον. Here only does S. John give the full phrase: in John 1:33 and John 20:22 there is no article.

ἐν τ. ὀν. μ. As My representative, taking My place and continuing My work: see on John 14:13 and comp. John 16:13-14. The mission of the Paraclete in reference to the glorified Redeemer is analogous to that of the Messiah in reference to the Father. And His two functions are connected: He teaches new truths, ‘things to come,’ things which they ‘cannot bear now,’ in recalling the old; and He brings the old to their remembrance in teaching the new. He recalls not merely the words of Christ, a particular in which this Gospel is a striking fulfilment of the 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).


Verse 27

27. εἰρήνην ἀφ. This is probably a solemn adaptation of the conventional form of taking leave in the East: comp. ‘Go in peace,’ Judges 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.’ Τὴν ἐμήν is emphatic (John 8:31): this is no mere conventional wish.

οὐ καθώς. 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. With μὴ ταρασσέσθω comp. John 14:1. It shews that the peace is internal peace of mind, not external freedom from hostility. Δειλιᾷν, to be fearful, frequent in LXX., occurs here only in N.T.


Verse 28

28. ἐχάρητε ἄν. Ye would have rejoiced that I am going. Comp. the construction in John 4:10, John 11:21; John 11:32. Winer, p. 381. Their affection is somewhat selfish: they ought to rejoice at His gain rather than mourn over their own loss. And His gain is mankind’s gain.

ὅτι ὁ πατήρ. Because the Father is greater than I. Therefore Christ’s going to Him was 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].


Verse 29

29. πιστεύσητε. Comp. John 13:19 and see on John 1:7. By foretelling the trouble Jesus turns a stumblingblock into an aid to faith.


Verse 30

30. οὐκέτι. No longer will I speak much with you (comp. John 15:15), for the ruler of the world is coming (see on John 12:31). The powers of darkness are at work in Judas and his employers; and yet there is nothing in Jesus over which Satan has control. His yielding to the attack is voluntary, in loving obedience to the Father. For the import of this confident appeal to His own sinlessnes, in Me he hath nothing, see on John 14:9, John 8:29; John 8:46, John 15:10.


Verse 31

31. ἀλλ' ἵνα. see on John 1:8. But (Satan cometh) in order that. Some would omit the full stop at ποιῶ and make ἵνα depend on ἐγείρεσθε: ‘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. But comp. Matthew 9:6.

ἄγωμεν. ‘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.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on John 14:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/john-14.html. 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, August 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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