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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-31


The Comforter

1-31. The mansions in heaven. The mission of the Comforter. This great discourse, which is not easily susceptible of formal subdivision, deals with five main subjects: (1) the heavenly mansions; (2) Christ as the Way to the Father; (3) the mutual indwelling of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Father; (4) the efficacy of prayer through Christ; (5) the mission of the Comforter.

Some scholars think that a displacement has occurred in the farewell discourses, and particularly that this c, which seems to conclude Christ's words to His disciples, originally stood between John 16, 17.

1. 'Be not disquieted at My departure (see John 13:36). Have faith that I have the power to fulfil the promises that I now make to you.'

2. My Father's house] i.e. heaven. Many mansions] RM 'abiding-places.' There are various degrees of glory in heaven, and various employments, suitable to the desert and capacity of each (Luke 19:16-26, etc.). The word used, which sometimes denotes a place of refreshment for travellers, is thought by Westcott to suggest that heaven is a state of continual progress, but this is unlikely.

3. I will come again] viz. at the end of the world.

4. 'You know whither I go, viz. to My Father in heaven; and you know how you also may follow Me, viz. by believing in Me.' But the RV has simply, 'And whither I go, ye know the way.'

5. Thomas] For the character of Thomas see John 11:16; John 20:25. Thomas expected an immediate manifestation of the Messianic kingdom on earth, and this prevented him from understanding Jesus.

6, 7. 'The Kingdom which I have come to reveal is not an earthly one; the mansions of which I have spoken are in heaven, not on earth. To share in My Kingdom, is to share that state of exalted and blissful communion with the Father, which is not possible on earth. I depart to heaven, to enter into that state of bliss; and you may follow and enjoy it too, if you will have faith in Me as the one mediator between God and man (the Way), the one teacher authorised to reveal the things of God (the Truth), and the one author of spiritual as of natural life (the Life).'

6. No man] It is important to remember that pious heathen, who have never heard of Christ, may and do find acceptance with God, through Him, whom, if they had known, they would have accepted as their Redeemer (Romans 2:14-16).

7. Have seen him] not in His absolute nature, which is invisible (John 1:18), but in His character, which is revealed in My Person: see John 6:46, and John 14:9 below.

8. Philip desired to see the eternal invisible Father as a distinct being beside the Son. He wished for a visible Theophany: cp. Exodus 24:10.

10. See on John 10:38.

11. Cp. John 10:38; John 15:24.

12. Greater ivories] The Apostles' work was more effectual than that of Christ Himself, because they were inspired by the Spirit of the Risen and Ascended Lord. Not till Christ had departed to the Father could the Spirit be fully given. 13. Not only is Christian prayer to be offered in the name of (i.e. invoking the mediation of) the Son, but even answers to prayer are given through the Son, that the same honour may be accorded to the Son as to the Father. Whatsoever] cp. John 15:16; John 16:23, John 16:24. The limitations to be understood are that the petitioner must ask in faith (Matthew 21:22), be in charity with his neighbours (Matthew 6:14), and habitually keep God's commandments (1 John 3:22).

14. Here, according to the reading of the RY, Christ teaches the disciples to pray directly to Himself, as well as to the Father in His Name. Examples of prayer to Christ are Acts 7:59; Acts 9:14, Acts 9:21; 1 Corinthians 1:2.

16. Another Comforter] RM 'Advocate,' or, 'Helper.' Attractive, and suitable to the context, as the rendering 'Comforter' is, there can be little doubt that the true meaning of the Gk. Paracletos is 'Advocate.' The Holy Spirit is represented as Christ's Representative on earth, carrying on His work, and inspiring and strengthening His disciples to fulfil their vocation. As Christ's 'Advocate' he pleads Christ's cause in the hearts of the disciples, and appeals also to the better conscience of 'the world,' convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). He inspires believers with the spirit of prayer, and, when they pray, 'Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered' (Romans 8:26-27). To His guidance the disciples are to resign themselves with implicit confidence, for He is the Spirit of Truth. He guides, not so much as an external authority, as an inward light shining in the heart—an interior monitor regulating the secret springs of character. In His coming, Christ also returns to earth, to dwell in the hearts of believers by faith; but yet He must not be altogether identified with Christ, for He is 'another' Comforter. The functions of the Comforter sufficiently attest His divinity.

17. Spirit of truth] He inspires what is good and true in conduct, and reveals what is good and true in doctrine. The world, etc.] The experience of the Spirit is inward and spiritual: this the world cannot grasp. Dwelleth with you] viz. externally, by His presence in the Church. And shall be in you] as an inward principle, sanctifying, inspiring, guiding, and filling you with peace and joy.

18. Comfortless] lit. 'orphans.' I will come to you] invisibly and spiritually in the coming of the Spirit.

19. But ye see me] i.e. shall see Me, literally during the forty days, spiritually after Pentecost, when you shall enjoy communion with Me so deep and satisfying, that it will be better than sight. Because I live] 'because I live' for evermore, 'and ye shall live' (RM) spiritually in Me. 20. At that day (i.e. after Pentecost) ye shall know by spiritual experience that I am in my Father, and ye in me] So close is the spiritual union between Christ and believers, that He compares it with the mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son.

22. Judas] called Thaddæus or Lebbæus (Matthew 10:3), is not the same as Jude the Lord's brother. He thought that Jesus was about to establish an earthly kingdom, and therefore to manifest Himself to the world. 23. Jesus, by adding that the Father also will come to believers, shows more clearly that it is a spiritual manifestation of which He is speaking, and that only to those who love Jesus, can the manifestation be made. We will come] Where the Son is, there of necessity is the Father also, as well as the Spirit, for the Three are One, being different forms of the subsistence and manifestation of the same Divine Being. This passage illustrates the doctrine that the Persons of the Holy Trinity are inseparable, and contain one another. The technical word is perichorçsis (Gk.), or 'circumincessio' (circuminsessid), Lat. See on John 10:38.

26. In my name] i.e. as My full Representative, endowed with all My powers, and with a mission to promote My cause in the world.

He (masculine, to show the Spirit's personality) shall teach you all things] i.e. all saving truth, which it is necessary for you and your successors to know. Those who would confine the Christian religion to the words of Christ recorded in the Gospels, are here reproved.

Bring all things] The Spirit would awaken the words of Christ which lay like slumbering germs in the minds of the disciples, and cause them to germinate and bear fruit after many days. Of this process St. John's Gospel itself is the most striking example.

27. Peace] more exactly defined as 'My Peace,' is the peace of reconciliation with God through the Death of Christ. Not as the world giveth] This peace is not mere earthly joy and prosperity: it is a removal of all elements of discord from the soul.

28. And come again] i.e. in the coming of the Spirit.

For my Father is greater than I] 'Rejoice that I go to My Father, for it is good both for Me and for you. He will exalt Me to supreme authority over the universe, enable Me to dispense the Holy Spirit, and cause My work to prosper in your hands.' When Christ said 'My Father is greater than I,' He was probably thinking of the humiliation of His earthly life, and of His created human nature ('equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood'); yet there is a sense in which even the eternal Son, as being begotten, is inferior to the Father.

30. Hereafter, etc.] rather, 'No longer will I speak much with you,' because time will not allow it. The prince] i.e. Satan, who, through the powers that be, works his will on Jesus: cp. John 12:31. Hath nothing in me] i.e. hath no power over the Sinless One.

31. But I go forth to meet My death that the world may know, etc. Arise, let us go hence] On account of these words, some plausibly (but without sufficient authority), wish to place this chapter after John 16. The discourses which follow (John 15, 16, 17) were delivered either (1) standing at the table before departing, or (2) in the Temple, or (3) in some retired place in Jerusalem, or (4) on the way to the Mount of Olives. The last view seems to be the most plausible.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on John 14:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/john-14.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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