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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-31

CENTRAL TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST

The title of this lesson is borrowed from Bernard’s volume on chapters 13-17 inclusive. Others call the chapters the heart of the heart of the Gospel. Commonly chapters 14-16 are known as the farewell discourse to the disciples, which occurred in the same place and on the same occasion as the washing of the disciples’ feet. Indeed there seems to have been two discourses on the occasion, the one limited to chapter 14, and the other to 15 and 16.

Chapter 14 as to subjects might be thus classified: the preparation for Christ’s Second coming (John 14:1-3); the identity of the Father and the Son (John 14:4-15); the office of the Holy Spirit in the church (John 14:16-26); and the bequest of peace (John 14:27-31). We have seen that the Second Coming of Christ is to be conceived of under two aspects, a coming for His saints (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and a Coming to judge the nations (Matthew 24:29-30), and it is the first of these aspects that is here referred to. The “Father’s house” not God’s dominion is in the foreground. It has “‘mansions’ which suggests settled continuance and secure possession,” “many” mansions, not in the sense of ampleness only, but variety. Jesus’ going is necessary to prepare them, for they were not open to the sons of men till the Son of Man was glorified (see the Author’s “Progress in the Life to Come”) and yet their preparation was not enough, but there is the added grace of the coming again to receive His disciples unto Himself. This is not a continuous coming again but a final and collective one (Revelation 22:20). It is a reunion too, “Where I am, there ye may be also” (compare John 12:26; John 17:24; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).

The next subject (John 14:4-15) is introduced by the suggestion that disciples sometimes know more than they suppose or use (John 14:4). “Cometh unto the Father” (John 14:6), is to be construed not only as coming to Him in glory at the last, but coming to Him in a reconciled relation now through faith in Christ. John 14:7-11 contain truths too deep for human understanding, and we can only say in the face of them that the more we know of the Son, the more we know of the Father. The first half of John 14:12 refers to the miraculous gifts the apostolic church exercised, and the last to the moral and spiritual effects of the preaching of the gospel from that day to this. The reason for these gifts and these effects is twofold, “because I go to my Father” and because “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do.” The only qualification to this asking and receiving is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

The subject following (John 14:16-26), is in harmony with the foregoing, because as the result of His going to His Father the Holy Spirit was given to the church, through whose power the mighty works are done and prayer made efficacious (Zechariah 4:6; Romans 8:26, etc.). This is the first time the Holy Spirit is named as Christ’s special gift to His people. Of course He was the regenerator, guide and aid of the Old Testament saints, but His relation to New Testament saints is peculiar as we shall see later. Several things are here taught about him. He is a person for the words do not fit an influence or an inward feeling. His special office is to apply the truth to the heart. He is the eternal possession of the believer. His coming to dwell in him fulfills the deep mysterious sayings of John 14:17-23 : “I will come to you”; because I live you shall live also”; “Ye in me and I in you”; “make our abode with Him.”

In the conclusion of this chapter there is a difficulty at John 14:28, where our Lord says, “My Father is greater than I,” but where He means as touching His manhood simply (compare Philippians 2:7). And yet why does He say that the disciples ought to rejoice at His going to the Father because the Father is greater? Perhaps because then He would resume the glory He had with Him before the world was, or perhaps then he would receive the kingdom which in the eternal counsels the Father had prepared for the Son as mediator. “If I had not placed Myself in a position of inferiority to the Father by becoming man for man’s sake, you would have no hope for your souls. But now the work is finished, and I return to My Father and ye ought to be glad.” The last words of John 14:31 indicate some kind of a break in the discourse, and make it a suitable place to bring the lesson to a close.

QUESTIONS

1. Why is this title given to our present lesson?

2. In what terms do others designate these chapters?

3. Name the different subjects of chapter 14.

4. Expound John 14:1-3.

5. Explain John 14:12.

6. What do we learn about the Holy Spirit here?

7. Explain John 14:28.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on John 14:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/john-14.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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