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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-31

John 14:1-4. Let not your heart be troubled. Our Saviour having denounced Judas as a traitor, and plainly spoken of his own departure out of the world, left no jewish hope of a temporal kingdom; sorrow therefore filled their hearts. But the worst was not disclosed, — the crucifixion of their Lord and Master. Sweet was that voice, Let not your hearts be troubled. He bids them be covered with the shield of faith; ye believe in God, believe also in me. Here we are taught, that God is the supreme object of faith; his unchangeable love and faithfulness, his infinite power in the accomplishment of his promises, is the security of all his saints. As mediator between God and guilty creatures, Christ is the immediate object of faith; and being such, he is truly and really God. Christ here asserts his own proper Deity in the substance of the command, making himself an object of faith in conjunction with God the Father. “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

Observe the arguments of consolation which Christ propounds for the support of his disciples, under the sorrow which they had conceived for his approaching departure. First he tells them that heaven, whither he was now going, was his Father’s house; a place of happiness, not designed for himself alone, but for many more, in which to enjoy a perpetual rest, as in everlasting mansions. In my Father’s house are many mansions. Heaven is God’s house, in which he will freely converse with his domestics, his children and servants, and they shall enjoy full glory there, as in a quiet and capacious habitation.

Another ground of comfort is, that he assures them he will come again and receive them to himself, that they may live together with him in the heavenly mansions. This promise Christ makes good to the saints, partly on the day of their death, and perfectly at the day of judgment; when he shall make one errand for all, and take up all his children to himself, and make them completely happy both in soul and body for ever. Though Christ has removed his bodily presence from his friends on earth, yet his love to them has not ceased; nor will he rest satisfied till he and they meet again, eternally to solace themselves in each other’s company. I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

A third argument for consolation is, that notwithstanding Christ was to leave them, yet they knew whither he went, namely, to heaven, and which was the way thither. Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. It contributes much to the comfort of believers so to know God and heaven, as to know the way that leads thither, that so they may be armed against all the difficulties of that way.

John 14:6. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. He is the way that leadeth to life, the teacher of that truth which directs to it, and the giver of that life which is obtained by walking in it. Jesus is the way by his example, the truth by his word, and the life by his grace. He is the new and living way of faith; the infallible truth of good things to come, for which we must hope; and the eternal life, which must be the sole object of desire. Out of this way, there is nothing but wandering; without this truth, nothing but error and deceit; and without this life, nothing but death eternal. By means of sin the heart has lost the life of righteousness, the understanding the light of truth, and the senses the assistance of the creatures which once served as a way to lead us to God. All three are restored to us in Christ Jesus; the way to heaven is discovered and laid open to our senses by his life and mysteries, the truth which enlightens our understanding, and the life which reänimates our heart.

John 14:7. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words are a rebuke on account of the weakness of their faith, as if he had said, How could you be with me, and see all my miracles, and not know that I had a Father, the Lord of heaven and earth? Assuredly, he who has seen those works, has seen all the perfections of the Father, his very image shining out in the glory of the only-begotten Son, To do those works, the Father must be in the Son, and one with him.

John 14:9. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, in my glory, in my words, and in my works. I and my father are one. All that the Father hath are mine. Though I appear as a servant, I am not so in essence. The Father’s own glory is my glory: John 17:5. Such is the meaning of St. Paul in Philippians 2:5. Christ being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant. Such is the sense of the twenty eighth verse.

John 14:10. The Father, the divinity, who dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Therefore the reproof of Philip was just and proper, as being slow of apprehension.

John 14:13. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. This promise is more fully specified in John 16:20; John 16:24.

John 14:26. The Comforter, the Holy Ghost — shall teach you all things. Christ here repeats the promise made in John 14:16, of the mission of the Holy Ghost, called the Comforter, and declares his special office, viz. to teach and bring to remembrance what Christ had taught. The Holy Ghost and his grace are necessary for us in all respects. The understanding has need of him, in order to know the will of God, and to receive comfort and consolation in this state of exile. The heart stands in need of him, because it is the Spirit alone who can teach it to do the divine will, by inspiring into it a love thereof. The memory has likewise as much need of him, to bring all things to remembrance, and to fill it with the knowledge of salvation. — Notwithstanding Christ’s visible presence should be taken from them, they should not be destitute of divine power, power which should attest the truth of their doctrine by signs and wonders, and every way fit them for the discharge of their office; power that should plead their cause before princes and governors, help them to recollect their duty, and encourage them to perseverance. These assistances are partly implied in the word Paraclete, or Comforter; and all of them are promised in the sending of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost should vindicate their innocence, maintain their commission, raise their courage, make them proof against danger, and put them in possession of such lasting pleasures as should be above the power of their enemies to deprive them of: John 16:22. (Collier.) See the notes on Luke 24.

John 14:28. My Father is greater than I. Bishop Bull, in his defence of the faith of the Nicene fathers, places these words in their true light; that the Father stands first in name, as the fountain of deity, though one in essence with the Son and Spirit. By consequence, these words have special reference to the humanity and mediatorial offices of Christ, who is called the Father’s servant, in whom his soul delights. See on John 14:9.

REFLECTIONS.

How consolatory are the words of Christ to his weeping and dejected disciples. Pilgrims and strangers upon earth, what could cheer them more than the idea of a heavenly temple and habitation, and a seat at the Father’s right hand. Meanwhile, I go, said Jesus, to prepare a place for you. I will also create new heavens, and a new earth, and will dwell with you for ever. Be not depressed at my departure, for I will come to you again.

Neither be discouraged though you may be exposed “to the dogs of the concision,” for I will in Spirit and power be ever with you; and whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Having loved you to the end, I will love you still, and not leave you orphans. Not a day shall pass without tokens of my presence, and blessings on your work.

When Jude, the holy apostle, asked how the Lord would manifest himself unto the disciples, and not unto the world, having some ideas, as a jew, of the ancient cloud in his mind, the Lord answered him plainly, but spiritually, that the whole fulness of the Deity would come and make his abode with the poor and contrite that kept his word. What a promise, what a hundredfold reward in the return of love for love, even in this world. This is the grace, the only grace which can heal the nations, which can enter the heart of man, and drive the demon from his throne by the full power of sanctifying grace. This is the kingdom of heaven within, and brought into the heart by the presence of the Lord. Acts of Parliament, and the correction of crimes, do but crop our sins, and leave the roots to shoot again. But here is the change of regeneration from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Here is the last, the great bequest of the Saviour; “my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” He left with the troubled church the peace of God, which passeth all understanding; and peace which the world could neither give nor take away. This the Comforter shall bring into your hearts, and testify of me. To him be glory and dominion for ever. Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on John 14:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/john-14.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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