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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-31

John 14:1-4 takes up the thoughts of the previous paragraph, not of the last verse. The thoughts of separation and treachery had led to perplexity, if not despair. Jesus bids them trust God and Himself. There is plenty of room in His Father's house (cf. Genesis 24:23; Genesis 24:25). John 14:2 b may be interpreted in three ways: (a) Even if not He would have found room for them. "To you I would have said I go to prepare a place": this suits the context, but is forced, (b) "If not, I would have told you, for the whole object of going is to prepare a place for you. I could not have withheld the truth from you." This also is unnatural, (c) It is better, therefore, to take the words as a question; "If not, would I have told you that I go to prepare?" The objection that no such statement has been made is not fatal. It is in the author's manner of reporting speech to refer thus to what has been merely implied. In what follows, the metaphors of going and coming are gradually spiritualised into the expression of abiding presence. But as they know, the way leads through death. Thomas protests. They do not know the way, or even the goal. Jesus replies that Ho is the way. His death will enable them, if they follow, to gain the truth and life, which He gives and is. And the goal is the Father, as they would know if they had really known Him. Philip protests. How can they know the Father, without some real theophany such as Moses and other prophets enjoyed? The protest reveals the disciples' failure, in spite of long companionship, to learn that in Christ they have had all that men can know of God. His words are not His own, and His works are really the Father's doing, who is in Him. If not the teaching, then at least His works should convince them that He is God's Messenger. Belief in Him will enable them to do greater works than His, which were confined to Palestine and the Jews. The harvest of the Gentiles will be theirs. For from His place of power with the Father, He will do for them whatever they ask "in His name," as His commissioned officers to carry out His commission. And besides the hearing of prayer He will procure for them One who can take His own place. The Father will send another "Paraclete" or "Advocate" (mg). For the meaning of the terms, one called in to give whatever help may be needed, see 1 John 2:1*, also the article "Paraclete" in HDB Westcott, Epistles of S. John; Brooke, Johannine Epistles (ICC). If they show that love which is proved in obedience, they shall have the presence of the Spirit, whose power they already know, and shall experience more intimately. But He will also come Himself. Very soon the world will lose sight of Him, but they shall see, for He has and they shall have that higher spiritual life, which will enable them to be sure of His presence. In "that day," the period introduced by His coming, this life will enable them to realise the union of Father and Son, and of themselves with the Christ. It will be realised through that obedience which is the test of love. Their love will be returned by the Father and by Himself, and He will reveal Himself to them. This is altogether contrary to their eschatology. They are expecting a manifestation to the whole world, as Judas protests. Jesus' answer asserts the true character of the Messianic kingdom. Love, which shows itself in obedience, is the condition of entrance. It leads to spiritual union of believers with God in Christ (cf. Philo, "Hasten therefore, O soul, to become the house of God, an holy temple, fairest dwelling-place"). So with the explanation of the true meaning of His coming His teaching ends. The Paraclete will continue the teaching, and bring it to their memory. Then (John 14:27) He gives them the Hebrew Shalom, the blessing of Peace, not the formal and conventional farewell that men usually give, but a real gift of that which the word connotes. They need not be troubled. They have His promise. He must go, but will come again. To true love that would have been joyful tidings. His goal is the Father, the source of all power. He tells them beforehand that the event may confirm their faith. There is no time for more words. The Prince of this world is on his way. Not that he can avail anything against Jesus. "He has no part in me." But events must run their appointed course, that the world may learn the love and the obedience of the Christ.

[John 14:22. Judas (not Iscariot): The Curetonian Syriac reads Judas Thomas, the Sinaitic Syriac reads simply Thomas. Resch, Aussercanonische Texte, iii. 824-827, argues that both Judas and James the son of Alphæus bore the name Thomas. Judas was the twin brother of James the son of Alphæus. The distinction of Thomas from James and Judas in Luke 6:15 f. he regards as due to combination of sources. His theory involves the rendering in Luke 6:16 Judas the brother of James (mg.). He regards the twins as "brethren of Jesus," but not in the literal sense. The Thomas of the Fourth Gospel he takes to be James the son of Alphæus, and he identifies the appearance to James in 1 Corinthians 15:7 with that to Thomas in John 20:26-29. The identification is very ingenious, but open to serious objections. It is very curious that the belief that Judas was the twin brother of Jesus should have been prevalent in the Syrian Church. See further HDB, EBi, "Thomas," and Zahn, Forschungen, vi. 344, and his commentary on Jn., pp. 561f. It should be added that Thomas as well as Didymus (John 11:16, John 20:24; John 21:2) means "twin," the former being Semitic, the latter Greek. The name "Didymus" was common, and frequently did not imply that the bearer was a twin, but that he stood in a special cult relation to the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux. In the case of a Jew this would not apply, so we may assume that Thomas was a twin, whether he was Judas or James, or bore some other or no other name. See Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 159.—A. S. P.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on John 14:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/john-14.html. 1919.

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