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Bible Commentaries
John 14

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary

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A.M. 4037. A.D. 33.

In this chapter Christ comforts his disciples and followers,

(1,) With views of heaven as their everlasting rest, John 14:1-3 .

(2,) With a representation of himself, as their way to it, and their Divine Mediator, John 14:4-11 .

(3,) With promises of great power to be conferred upon them in answer to their prayers, addressed to the Father in his name, John 14:12-14 .

(4,) With promises of the indwelling of his Spirit, and of fellowship with himself and his Father, to be conferred on those that should show the love they already had to him by keeping his commandments, John 14:15-24 .

(5,) With promises of peculiar instructions and directions from the Holy Spirit, and much spiritual peace even on earth, John 14:25-27 .

(6,) With assurances that his departure from them, in order to his return to the Father, was to him a source of consolation, as it ought also to be to them, John 14:28-31 .

Verse 1

John 14:1. Let not your hearts be troubled At the thoughts of my departure from you, and leaving you in a world where you are likely to meet with many temptations, trials, and troubles, and to become a helpless prey to the rage and power of your enemies. Ye believe in God The Almighty Preserver and Governor of the universe, who is able to support you under, and deliver you out of, all your distresses; believe also in me Who am sent by God, not only to teach, but to redeem and save you; and who can both protect you from evil, and reward you abundantly for whatever losses and sufferings you sustain on my account. But the original words, πιστευετε εις τον Θεον και εις εμε πιστευετε , it seems, ought rather to be rendered, Believe in God, believe also in me; that is, Confide in the being, perfections, and superintending providence of God: or, Rely on the great acknowledged principles of natural religion, that the glorious Maker and Governor of the world is most wise, mighty, holy, just, and good, and the sovereign disposer of all events; and comfort yourselves likewise with the peculiar doctrines of that holy religion which I have taught you. Or, as Dr. Doddridge interprets the clause, “Believe in God, the Almighty Guardian of his faithful servants, who has made such glorious promises to prosper and succeed the cause in which you are engaged; and believe also in me, as the promised Messiah, who, whether present or absent in body, shall always be mindful of your concerns, as well as ever able to help you.” It appears most natural, as he justly observes, to render the same word, πιστευετε , alike in both places; and it is certain an exhortation to faith in God and in Christ would be very seasonable, considering how weak and defective their faith was. Thus Dr. Campbell: “The two clauses are so similarly expressed and linked together by the copulative [ και , and, or also ] that it is, I suspect, unprecedented, to make the verb in one an indicative, and the same verb repeated in the other an imperative. The simple and natural way is, to render similarly what is similarly expressed: nor ought this rule ever to be departed from, unless something absurd or incongruous should follow from the observance of it, which is so far from being the case here, that by rendering both in the imperative, the sense is not only good, but apposite.”

Verses 2-4

John 14:2-4. In my Father’s house From whence I came, whither I am going, and to which place I am conducting you; are many mansions or apartments (he alludes to the palaces of kings) sufficient to receive the holy angels, your predecessors in the faith, and all that now believe, or shall hereafter believe, even a great multitude, which no man can number. Our Lord means by the expression, different states of felicity in which men shall be placed, according to their progress in faith and holiness. If it were not so If there were no state of felicity hereafter, into which good men are to be received at death, I would have told you so, and not have permitted you to impose upon yourselves by a vain expectation of what shall never exist; much less would I have said so much as I have done to confirm that expectation: but as it is in itself a glorious reality, so I am now going, not only to receive my own reward, but to prepare a place for you there. By passing into the heavens, as your great High-Priest, through the merit of my sacrifice, and by appearing in the presence of God as your Advocate and Intercessor, I shall procure for you an entrance into that place, which otherwise would have been inaccessible to you. And if I then go and prepare a place for you You may depend upon it that this preparation shall not be in vain; but that I will certainly act so consistent a part as to come again and receive you to myself, that where I am And shall for ever be; ye After a short separation; may be also To dwell for ever with me, and partake in my felicity. And Surely I may say in the general, after all the instructions I have given you; that whither I go ye know, &c. That ye cannot but know the place to which I am going, and the way that leads to it; for I have told you both plainly enough.

Verses 5-6

John 14:5-6. Thomas saith Taking him in a gross sense; Lord, we know not whither thou goest “As their thoughts turned very much on a temporal kingdom, they might imagine that their Master intended to remove to some splendid palace on earth, which he was to prepare for their reception, making it the seat of his court.” Jesus saith, I am the way, the truth, and the life Christ was his own way to the Father, inasmuch as by his own blood he entered into the holy place, Hebrews 9:12; and he is our way, in that we enter by him. By his doctrine and example he teaches us our duty; by his merit and intercession he procures for us our happiness; and in these respects he is the way. In him God and man meet and are brought together, and by him a way of intercourse is appointed and kept up between heaven and earth; our prayers ascend to God, and his blessings descend to us by him. He is the truth, 1st, As truth is opposed to figure and emblem: he is the substance of all the Old Testament types and shadows, which are therefore said to be figures of the true things. He is the true manna, (John 6:32,) the true tabernacle, Hebrews 8:2. 2d, As truth is opposed to falsehood and error, the doctrine of Christ is infallibly true doctrine; the truth as it is in Jesus. 3d, As truth is opposed to fallacy and deceit; he is true and faithful to all that trust in him, and will assuredly make good all his declarations and promises, 2 Corinthians 1:20. He is the life, for we are made alive unto God here, and brought to eternal life hereafter, only in and through him, who is the resurrection and the life, Romans 6:11. For as God hath given to believers eternal life, this life is in his Son, and only he that hath the Son hath life, John 5:11-12. No man cometh unto the Father but by me Fallen man may, and must come to God as a judge, but cannot come to him as a Father, otherwise than by Christ as a Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour; for through him alone, through his merits and Spirit, his doctrine and grace, can we be pardoned and renewed, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

Verse 7

John 14:7. If ye had known me As ye might and ought to have known me. If ye had earnestly sought and obtained that knowledge of me which is communicated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, (Ephesians 1:17,) ye would have known my Father also In his various perfections, and in those blessed relations in which he stands to such as believe on Christ with a living faith, and are accepted through him, the beloved. “If you had had an adequate idea of my character, from the miracles I have performed, and from the marks of goodness, justice, and wisdom, which have manifested themselves in my life and doctrine; you could not have been ignorant of my Father; because his attributes are the same.” And from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him As it may be truly affirmed, considering the discoveries that I have made of him, and the manifestation of the divine perfections which you have seen in me.

Verses 8-11

John 14:8-11. Philip One of the apostles, hearing these words; saith unto him With a pious ardour becoming his character; Lord, show us the Father Do but bring us to the sight and enjoyment of him; and it sufficeth us It is happiness enough for us; we desire no more, and resign every other hope in comparison of this. “It is hard to say, whether Philip as yet understood who the Father was, of whom his Master spake. If he did, we cannot suppose that he asked a sight of the divine essence, which in itself is invisible, but, like Moses, he desired to see the inaccessible light wherein God dwells, it being the symbol of his presence in heaven.” Jesus saith, Have I been so long time with you Now about three years conversing with you in a familiar manner; and hast thou not known me, Philip In my person and offices, my spirit and conduct, who I am, and what I teach and practise? Observe, reader, the longer we enjoy the means of knowledge and grace, the more inexcusable we are, if we be found deficient in grace and knowledge: Christ expects that our proficiency should be, in some measure, in proportion to our advantages, and the time that we have enjoyed them. He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father For I am the image of the invisible God; and the wisdom of the Father hath shone forth in my discourses, his power in my miracles, his holiness in my spotless life, and his mercy, love, and goodness, in all my tempers, words, and works, and in all my proceedings day by day. And how sayest thou What reason hast thou to say; Show us the Father? As if I had not been showing him continually, from the time of my first entering upon my public ministry, to all that had the eyes of their understanding opened. Believest thou not Dost thou then call in question what I have before affirmed expressly; that the Father is in me, and I in him, (John 10:38,) by such an intimate union as sufficiently warrants such language as this? The words that I speak unto you From time to time; I speak not of myself That is, not merely; and the Father that dwelleth in me In all his fulness; he doeth the works Namely, the miraculous works that you have so often seen, works sufficient to demonstrate the truth of this assertion, mysterious as it is, and incredible as it might otherwise seem: for I speak and act not separate from, but in union with the Father, with whom I am one in essence and operation. Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me And that there is such a union between us, that as the Father knows all the thoughts of the Son, so the Son revealeth to men all the thoughts of the Father, respecting their salvation; and is vested with his power and authority. This thou must acknowledge, if thou considerest the miracles whereby my mission is established.

Verses 12-14

John 14:12-14. Verily, he that believeth on me, &c. Having mentioned his miracles, Jesus proceeds to promise, that he would endow his apostles with a power of performing even greater wonders than any they had ever seen him do. He made them this promise to animate them in their work, and that they might not despond in his absence, when they received such tokens of his remembering them, and such proofs of his power with the Father. “How fully,” says Macknight, “Jesus performed this promise, is plain from the history of the Acts throughout, particularly John 5:15, where we find, that the very shadow of Peter, passing by, cured the sick on whom it fell, and who were laid in the streets for that purpose: also from John 19:12, which informs us, that handkerchiefs and aprons, which had touched the body of Paul, being applied to the sick and possessed, banished both the diseases and the devils. Nor should we, on this occasion, forget the gift of languages bestowed on the apostles, and which they were enabled to communicate unto others. Yet if these miracles are not thought to show greater power than Christ’s, we may refer the greatness, whereof he speaks, to the effect which they were to produce on the minds of men. For, in that respect, the apostles’ miracles were vastly superior to Christ’s; converting more people in one day, than was done by all the miracles that Jesus performed during the course of his ministry. They converted thousands at once, made the gospel to fly like lightning through the world, and beat down every thing that stood in opposition to the faith of their Master.” And whatsoever ye shall ask Under the influence of my Spirit, and subservient to the great end of your life and ministry; that will I do Although the promise is here conceived in general terms, yet the subject treated of directs us to understand it especially of miracles wrought in confirmation of the gospel; that the Father may be glorified in the Son Who, when he is ascended up to heaven, will from thence be able to hear and answer prayer, and, even in his most exalted state, will continue to act with that faithful regard to his Father’s honour, which he has shown in his humiliation on earth. If ye ask any thing, &c. I repeat it, for the encouragement of your faith and hope, that I will be as affectionate and constant a friend to you in heaven, as I have ever been on earth.

Verses 15-17

John 14:15-17. If ye love me As ye profess to do, keep my commandments For that will be a surer test and more acceptable expression of your regard for me than all your trouble and concern at parting with me. Keeping Christ’s commandments is evidently here put for the practice of godliness in general, and for the faithful and diligent discharge of their office as apostles in particular. And I will pray the Father Here we see, that he required a steady obedience to his commands, as the condition on which their prayers would be heard; (see John 15:7; 1 John 3:22;) and assured them, on their complying with that condition, he would send them another comforter, advocate, monitor, encourager, or intercessor, as the word παρακλητος may be properly rendered; another For Christ himself was one: that he may abide with you for ever

With you and your followers in faith, unto the end of the world; to supply the want of my bodily presence. Even the Spirit of truth Who has, reveals, testifies, and defends the truth, and whose office it is to guide my disciples into every branch of divine and sacred truth. Whom the world Carnal and worldly people, who do not love or fear God; cannot receive Except in the way of repentance and faith, in which way they will not be persuaded to walk; because it seeth him not Having no spiritual senses, no internal eye, to discern the nature, necessity, or utility of his influences; nor consequently knoweth him. But ye know him Namely, in some measure, even now, by his powerful operation in you and by you; for he dwelleth Greek, μενει , abideth; with you In part, helping your infirmities, awakening your minds to a sense of the certainty and importance of things spiritual and eternal, and exciting in you sincere and earnest desires to know and do the will of God; and shall be in you By a much more ample communication, both of his gifts and graces: constituting you the temples of God, and a habitation of his holiness.

Verses 18-24

John 14:18-24. I will not leave you comfortless Greek, ορφανους , orphans: a word elegantly applied to those who have lost any dear friend; I will come to you By my spiritual presence. The Greek, ερχομαι , is literally, I come to you; for what was certainly and speedily to be, our Lord speaks of as if it were already. Yet a little while and the world Which only sees by bodily eyes; seeth me no more In the sense it has done for some time past, though it knows me not; but ye see me That is, ye certainly shall see me; for, after I have done conversing with the world, I will appear again to you, and give you distinguishing marks of my regard for you; because I live, ye shall live also Because I am the living One, in my divine nature, and shall rise again in my human nature, and live for ever in heaven; therefore, ye shall live the life of faith and love on earth, and hereafter the life of glory. At that day When I fulfil this promise to you; when ye see me after my resurrection; but more eminently at the day of pentecost, John 14:21. He that hath my commandments Written in his heart; and keepeth them Makes them the continual rule of his conduct; he it is that loveth me And none else have any title to this character, whatever specious pretences they may make to it. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father With a peculiar love, a love of approbation and delight; and I will love him In an especial manner; and will manifest myself to him More abundantly. Judas saith Being much surprised to hear our Lord speak as he had done; not Judas Iscariot For he, as it was said before, was gone out before our Lord began this discourse; but another apostle of that name, who was also called Thaddeus and Lebbeus, the son of Alpheus, and the brother of James the less. This Judas, upon hearing Christ express himself in such a way, said, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, &c. Dost thou not intend to make a public appearance, which will be obvious to the eyes of all? For, according to the notions they had conceived of the Messiah, he was to appear unto all the Jews, nay, to the whole world, and was to take unto himself universal empire. Jesus answered, If a man love me It may be sufficient to tell you, that, as I said before, (John 14:21,) If a man, in deed and in truth, love me, he will keep my words, in an humble, obedient, and conscientious manner; and my Father will love him Will still more approve of, and take complacency in him, for the more any one loves and obeys God, the more God will love him; and we will come unto him By still larger communications of the Spirit of truth wisdom, holiness, and comfort; and make our abode with him Continually. If our Lord had been a mere creature, though of the highest rank, it would have been blasphemy in him to have joined himself in this manner with God. This promise implies such a large manifestation of the divine presence and love as far exceeds the former, given when a person is justified and first obtains peace with God. He that loveth me not Though he may profess to do it; keepeth not my sayings With any constancy and resolution, and thereby shows that his professions of loving me are not sincere; and, therefore, he must expect no such spiritual and eternal blessings, whatever outward privileges he may enjoy. See to it, therefore, that you diligently hearken and attend to what I say; for the word which ye hear me speak is not mine Originally or merely; but the Father’s which sent me Who has particularly given it in charge to me, that I should thus insist on practical and universal holiness as one great end of my appearance.

Verses 25-27

John 14:25-27. These things have I spoken, being yet present I have spoken these things during my personal presence with you briefly, because my time with you is short. But the Comforter, whom the Father will send in my name For my sake, in my room, and as my agent; he shall teach you all things Necessary for you to know; as if he had said, Though you may not now understand many of the particulars mentioned by me, you shall have a perfect knowledge of them afterward. For my Father will give you the Holy Spirit to supply my place, and he shall be a Comforter to you, teaching you every article of the Christian faith, and bringing to your remembrance all the things I have ever said to you in the course of my ministry. Here is a clear promise to the apostles, and their successors in the faith, that the Holy Ghost should teach them all that truth which was needful for their salvation. Peace I leave with you Peace in general, peace with God, and with your own consciences. My peace In particular, that peace which I enjoy, and which I create; I give At this instant. Not as the world giveth Unsatisfying, unsettled, transient; but filling the soul with constant, even tranquillity. Lord, evermore give us this peace! How serenely may we pass through the most turbulent scenes of life, when all is quiet and harmonious within! Thou hast made peace through the blood of thy cross. May we give all diligence to preserve the inestimable gift inviolate till it issue in everlasting peace!

Verses 28-31

John 14:28-31. If ye loved me With a wise and rational affection, it would allay your sorrows in the mean time, and howsoever you might have a mournful sense of your own loss; you would rejoice on my account, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father Whose servant I am, as Mediator; is, in this respect, greater than I Consequently, it must be my honour and happiness to be in a state of greater nearness to him than the present world will admit. “These words,” as Dr. Macknight justly remarks, “afford a strong argument for the proper divinity of our Lord. For had he been a mere man, or even a mere creature of the highest order, the comparison would have been foolish and impertinent.” And now I have told you before it come to pass, &c. I have foretold my sufferings and death, in order that, when they happen, your faith, instead of being shaken, may be confirmed. Hereafter I will not talk much with you I shall not have much opportunity to talk with you after this; for the prince of this world cometh To make his grand assault. The devil will stir up wicked men to kill me; but he hath nothing in me No right, no claim, no power. There is no guilt in me to give him power over me; no corruption to take part with his temptation. Be assured, therefore, that I shall undergo the punishment of death, not because I deserve it; but that the world may know On the most substantial evidence; that I love the Father I suffer Satan thus to assault me, and I undergo death, to show the world how much I love the Father: for it is the Father’s will that I should thus act; and as the Father gave me commandment Or, commission; (see John 10:18;) even so I do Because I can refuse no act of obedience to him, (how painful or expensive soever it may be,) whereby his glory may be advanced. Arise, &c. And therefore, that we may be prepared for this hour of trial that is coming upon us, let us go hence And retire to a place where we may more conveniently give ourselves to prayer, and where I may be ready, when my cruel enemies shall come to apprehend me, to yield myself into their hands, and to submit to what my Father has appointed for me.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 14". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/john-14.html. 1857.
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