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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAP. XIV.

Christ comforteth his disciples with the hope of heaven: professeth himself the way, the truth, and the life; and one with the Father: assureth their prayers in his name to be effectual: requireth love and obedience: promiseth the Holy Ghost the Comforter: and leaveth his peace with them.

Anno Domini 33.


Verse 1

John 14:1. Let not your heart be troubled: Jesus not only forewarned his disciples of the great trial that was coming upon them, and commanded them to arm themselves against it, (see Luke 22:35-38.) but he spoke a long discourse, wherein he animated them to sustain that trial manfully, and comforted them under the dismal apprehensions which it might raise in them. They were to see Him crucified whom they had acknowledged as the Messiah; wherefore having been always accustomed to consider temporal dominion as the characteristic of their deliverer, and great worldly prosperity as the privilege of his subjects; the death of their Master, and the persecutions befalling themselves, could not fail to give a violent shock to their faith. But, that the force of these blows might be weakened, our Lord foretold his own sufferings, and thereby made it evident, that he voluntarily submitted to them. Withal, to reconcile their minds to the thoughts of his sufferings, he distinctly explained the end of them in this discourse. Let not your heart be troubled, &c. "Be not discomposed with the thoughts of those temptations which are to come upon you. As you believe in God, in a general point of view, as the almighty preserver and governor of the world, who is able to deliver you out of all your distresses; believe also in me; who am not only sent by God, and appointed governor and judge of the world, but am myself God over all, blessed for ever; and therefore can both protect you from evil, and reward you plentifully, for whatever losses you may sustain on my account." The Greek of the last clause may be rendered, Believe in God, and believe also in me; and it appears most natural to render the word πιστευετε, alike in both places; and it is certain that an exhortation to faith upon God in Christ, would be very seasonable, considering how weak and defective their faith was. See John 14:9.


Verse 2

John 14:2. In my Father's house, &c.— Our Lord here has been thought by some to allude to the various apartments in the temple, and the vast numbers of people lodged there. Perhaps the allusion may be more general to the palaces of kings, and the various apartments there. The word μοναι signifies quiet and continued abodes, and therefore seems happily expressed by our English word mansion, the etymology and import of which is just the same. Our Saviour here intends the encouragement and comfort of his disciples, by assuring them, that in the place whereto he was going before them, there was ample room to receive them, and every thing to accommodate them in the most delightful manner. When the glory of heaven is spoken of as prepared before the foundation of the world, (Matthew 25:34.) this only refers to the divine purpose; but as that was founded in Christ's mediatorial undertaking, (Ephesians 1:4-6.) it might properly be said, that when Christ went into heaven, as our high-priest, to present, as it were, his own blood before the Father on our account, and as our fore-runner to take possession of it, he did thereby, prepare a place for us: which the apostle to the Hebrews 9:23-24 expresses by his purifying or consecrating the heavenly places,in which the faithful are to dwell; as the tabernacle of Moses, when new made; on which account an atonement for the altar itself, which was considered as most holy, was the first act performed in it when it was opened. (Exodus 29:36-37.) It may not be improper to observe, that the word τοπος is often translated room, as in Luke 2:7; Luke 14:10; Luke 14:22. 1 Corinthians 14:16. And thus the signification here may be, that Christ went to heaven to make room for them, or to remove those things out of the way which obstructed their entrance. This may at least be included; though the word ετοιμασαι may express still more. It is the same term which is used of John the Baptist, the fore-runner of our Lord. See Matthew 3:3; Matthew 3:17.


Verse 3

John 14:3. I will come again, and receive you The idea of a fore-runner is preserved, who, after he had prepared for the entertainment of a guest, used to return, in order to introduce him into the house where the preparations were made for him. This coming ultimately refers to Christ's solemn appearance at the last day, to receive at his servants to glory; yet it is a beautiful circumstance, that the death of every particular believer, considering the universal power and providence of Christ, may be regarded as Christ's coming to fetch him home. See the note on Luke 12:37 -


Verse 5

John 14:5. Lord, we know not whither thou goest; "We know not where thy Father's house stands, and consequently cannot know the way to it." It is probable that Thomas might think that Christ intended to remove to some splendid palace on earth, to set up his court there for a while, before he received his people to the celestial glory: for it is certain that his thoughts, as well as those of the rest of the disciples, principally turned upon a temporal kingdom.


Verse 6

John 14:6. I am the way, and the truth, and the life: Our Lord, most probably, had here in view the metaphors which he formerly used, I am the door of the sheep, Ch. John 10:7. I am the bread of life, Ch. John 6:35. And therefore, it might well have been expected, that, having so lately delivered the same sentiments, the disciples would have understood him now. Some have supposed the form of expression before us to be a Hebraism, whose meaning is, I am the true and living way; as Daniel 3:7 all the people, the nations, and the languages, signifies, people of all nations and languages. But in whatever manner we resolve the sentence, its meaning is the same; namely, "faith in me, and obedience to my commandments, will lead you to my Father's house, where I am going. They are the only true road to the mansions of felicity." See Ch. John 1:4; John 1:14; John 1:17, John 5:33.


Verse 7

John 14:7. If ye had known me, ye should have known, &c.— If "you had an adequate idea of my character, from the miracles that I have performed, and from the marks of goodness, justice, and wisdom, which manifest themselves in mylife and doctrines, you could not have been ignorant of my Father, because his attributes are the same; and he being in his nature invisible, by seeing me, and the manifestation of the divine perfections in me, you have as true a sight of him as possible here below."


Verse 8

John 14:8. Lord, shew us the Father, Philip, hearing our Lord's words, says to him with a pious ardour becoming his character, "Lord, do but shew us the Father, and bring us to the sight and enjoyment of him, and it is happiness enough for us. We desire no more, and resign every other hope, in comparison of this." This seems a very probable sense of this passage. One cannot apprehend that Philip, or any other of the Apostles, thought the Father visible, and therefore asked for a vision of the Father in a corporeal form. If Philip desired any thing more than what is asserted in the paraphrase above given, it could have been only to see, like Moses, the inaccessible light wherein God dwells, the acknowledged symbol of his presence in heaven.


Verse 10-11

John 14:10-11. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, &c.— It is remarkable, that Philo, speaking of the Logos, has this expression—that "He is the Father's house, in which he dwells;" which is not only very similar to the passage before us, but to the Apostle's words, Colossians 2:9. In him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily, Markland would read the latter part of the 10th verse thus: I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me speaketh: He doth the works: for the doctrine and the miracles, says this learned critic, are two different articles. The words rendered or else, ει δε μη, in John 14:11 would be more properly rendered but if not. Dr. Heylin upon this verse beautifully observes, that the whole Trinity acts in each individual Christian in such measure as he is susceptible of its operations. Thus Christ in the Father, and the Father in him, are the internal ground of faith; the works of Christ are external; both are valued, but the former preferable.


Verse 12

John 14:12. He that believeth on me, &c.— It is evident in fact, that though this promise be expressed in indefinite language, it must be limited in some such manner as follows: "He that believes in me, that is, many of my disciples in these early ages, and each of you in particular, shall receive such an abundant communication of the Spirit, that the miraculous works which I perform, he shall perform also; yea, works, in some respect, greater than these shall he perform, because I go to my Father, who has thought fit to reserve the most stupendous gifts of the Spirit to honour the entrance of my glorified humanity into the heaven of heavens." How fully Jesus performed this promise, is plain from the history of the Acts throughout, particularly ch. John 5:15-16 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: as also, Ch. 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 to others. Yet, if these miracles are not thought, to shew greater power than Christ exhibited, we may refer the greatness whereof he speaks, to the effects which they were to produce on the minds of men, through divine grace accompanying them. For, in that respect the miracles of the apostles were vastly superior to those of Christ, converting through grace more people in one day, than was done by all the miracles that Jesus performed during the course of his ministry. Under the divine blessing 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.


Verse 13

John 14:13. And whatsoever ye shall ask, &c.— "And whatsoever ye shall ask on the ground of my warrant and promise, with humble dependance on my wisdom and power, faithfulness and grace, and on my merit and advocacy, that ye may honour me; I will certainly perform it in answer to your prayers, that the Father himself may therebymanifesthisgloriousperfections,inmygracious and almighty operations, and through my obedience to the death of the cross, who am his own Son."


Verse 15

John 14:15. If ye love me, keep my commandments. The term of loving God, is frequently taken from that expression of love which consists in doing such things as are esteemed grateful or beneficial to the object beloved: but as our endeavours cannot advance either the benefit or happiness of God, and our doing things that are grateful to him consists in performing whathe commands; therefore our obedience to the will and commands of God, is frequently stiled loving him; because the best, if not the only way of demonstrating our love to God is, to endeavour to please him; and we cannot please him, but by obeying him. Hence the love of God is used, in some places, as synonimous to keeping his commandments, as will appear from comparing Exodus 20:6. Deuteronomy 5:10. Our blessed Lord, therefore, perceiving that his disciples' hearts were melted with the prediction of his departure, nobly comforts them, by telling them, that their obedience would be a far more grateful sign of their affection to him, than any sorrow which they could shew.


Verse 16-17

John 14:16-17. He shall give you another Comforter, Or, another advocate. The word παρακλητον, signifies an advocate or a monitor, as well as a comforter; and it is evident that the blessed Spirit maintained each of these characters; yet as the discourse before us is of the consolatory kind, the term comforter seems to have been made use of with great propriety by our translators. Our Lord promises his apostles, that this Comforter shall abide with them, not for a little time, as he had done in his human nature, but for ever; and he calls him The Spirit of truth, to which the world is ever averse; and, blinded with sensuality, will neither discern his operations, nor partake of his joys. "But ye know him, because he is with you, in some measure, already; and he shall be given you much more abundantly hereafter;" alluding particularly to the day of Pentecost; from which time forth the Spirit dwelt in them by a much ampler communication of his gifts and graces.


Verse 18

John 14:18. I will not leave you comfortless: ' Ορφανους, orphans, He had called them his dear children, — τεκνια,— John 13:33 of the last chapter. "Encourage yourselves therefore with the pleasing expectation of the promised Comforter, who will be as a Father to you, and fully supply my place; and I myself will be with you in my Godhead, to strengthen and console you, and visit you with the most valuable tokens of my constant care."


Verse 19

John 14:19. Yet a little while, A little while indeed, for he was crucified the next day: and he more particularly declares, that he would not appear to the Jewish nation in general after his resurrection, but only to his disciples. He adds, "Because I live, by rising from the dead, ye shall live also,—by rising from the dead; and also now by means of those divine influences which you shall derive from me, to cherish the workings of grace in your hearts, and to train you up to a growing meetness for sharing with me in eternal life." Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11.


Verse 20

John 14:20. At that day ye shall know, &c.— The words rendered and I have a peculiar elegance, which cannot be easily understood without adding the word so in the translation; accordingly the verse would run thus: At that day ye shall know, that as I am in the Father, and you in me, so also I am in you. The verse consists of two parts, as the effects of Christ's resurrection. First, they shall know that Christ is in his Father, that he has eternally dwelt in the Father—that he is one with him by the completest union of essence and councils. Secondly, they shall know that Christ continues in them, communicates his power to them, and has not forsaken them, as by his death they might suspect: they would be convinced to the contrary by his resurrection, by his abiding and conversing with them for forty days after, by his going to heaven to prepare a place for them, by his sending his Spirit to them, and by his indwelling presence, to administer every degree of comfort, light, and power, which would be requisite to render their afflictions supportable, their own souls holy and happy, and their ministry successful. After his resurrection and mission of the Holy Spirit, the disciples could no longer doubt that Christ came from the Father, and dwelt eternally with him; and of course they must have possessed the clearest conviction of that most perfect intercourse which eternally and constantly subsisted between him and his Father: and when they saw the success of their ministry, the Spirit himself bearing them witness by signs and wonders, and enabling them to undertake the arduous, the glorious task, by the gift of tongues, they could not question their apostolic call, nor could they doubt whether Christ was present to them in his divinity, and co-operating with them by his Spirit and power. Thus were they experimentally taught to understand somewhat of that union which is between the Father and the Son, and likewise between Him and the church, or society of Christian believe


Verse 22-23

John 14:22-23. Judeas saith unto him, not Iscariot, It is observable, that Judas Iscariot was so finished a hypocrite, that we never find him saying one word of Christ's temporal kingdom, though probablythe hope of preferment and gain in it, was the chief consideration which engaged him to follow our Lord. The person here spoken of, was Judas, the son of Alpheus, the brother of James the Less, and a near relation of our Lord himself. See on Matthew 10:2. Being so nearly related to Jesus, he might think himself peculiarly concerned to inquire into the meaning of an assertion which seemed inconsistent with the prospect of a temporal kingdom, in which perhaps he mightexpect some eminent office; and as, according to the notions which they had conceived of the Messiah, he was to appear to all the Jews, nay, to the whole world, and was to take unto himself universal empire; our Saviour's last words, John 14:21 surprised and perplexed them not a little. Our Lord, therefore, in reply to Judas, told him, that he spake chiefly of a spiritual manifestation, such as the Father and he make of themselves to true believers, even on earth, by a revelation of themselves, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer's heart as his temple, 1 Corinthians 3:16 for through the influences of the Spirit of God, believers are enlightened with a knowledge of the perfections of God, and withjust views of the character and office of his Son. Moreover, by the same influences, they are sanctified for an habitation of God, Ephesians 2:22 who makes his abode with them, and fills them with all peace and joy in believing, and with the most elevating hopes; and also sheds abroad in their hearts a sense of his love and, by so doing, gives them praelibations of heaven while on earth. The latter clause of this verse is remarkable; for had our Lord been a creature, though of the highest rank, it would have been blasphemy in him to have joined himself in this manner with God: My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.


Verse 25-26

John 14:25-26. These things have I spoken "I have spoken these things during my personal presence, because my time with you is short; and though you may not just now understand many of the particulars mentioned by me, you shall have perfect knowledge of them afterwards; for my Father will give you the Holy Spirit to supply the place of my bodily presence; and he shall be a παρακλητος, a monitor or instructor, to you, (see John 14:16.) teaching you doctrinally and experimentally every article of the Christian faith, and bringing to your remembrance all the things that I have ever said to you in the course of my ministry."


Verse 27

John 14:27. Peace I leave with you: "Peace be to you" was the common salutation and compliment mutually given by the Jews to each other at meeting and parting. But although this compliment implied a wish of every thing thatcould make one happy, it was often used without any meaning. At best, it was but a wish, however sincere, and had no real efficacy in making him to whom it was given happy. But in the mouth of Jesus, by whose wisdom and power the affairs of the world are governed, a farewel wish was a matter of a very different kind: His peace, his parting blessing could draw down all manner of felicity upon those who were the objects of it. Accordingly, he encouraged his disciples from that consideration, under the prospect of his departure; desiring them not to be in the least anxious about what was to befal them after he was gone. See the note on Matthew 10:13.


Verse 28

John 14:28. For my Father is greater than I. That is, "than I am, considered in my mediatorial capacity."Thesewords afforded a strong argument for the proper Divinity of our Lord; for had he been a mere man, or even a creature of the highest order, the comparison would have been foolish and impertinent.


Verse 29

John 14:29. I have told you before it come to pass, "I have foretold my removal hence, my return to the Father, and the descent of the Spirit, in order that when these things happen, your faith, instead of being shaken, may be confirmed." It is very judiciously observed by Dr. Jenkins, in his excellent Defence of Christianity, that "when miraculous events are also the accomplishment of prophesies, the degree of evidence arising from them is the greatest that can possibly be conceived."


Verse 30-31

John 14:30-31. Hereafter I will not talk to much with you: "I shall not have much opportunityto talk with you after this; because the devil is now excitinghis emissaries to take away my life; in which he will succeed. However, be assured, that I shall undergo the punishment of death; not because I deserve it, for he hath nothing in me;—no guilt of mine to give him power over me, nor any inward corruption to take part with his temptation: but I undergo this death, for this grand reason among others—to shew the world, how much I love the Father, John 14:31 for in this I act according to his express commandment. Arise, therefore; let us go hence. Let us, in conformity to the divine will, go away to the place where I shall be betrayed, that I mayenter on my business." Accordingly, he finished the passover with singinga hymn, and went out to the mount of Olives. See Matthew 26:30. As our Lord foreknew of course the danger to which he exposed himself by this motion, nothing can give a greater illustration of the voluntary manner in which he encountered death, than the intrepidity and magnanimity of these few words, Arise: Let us go hence. The present passage appears rather more clear in Dr. Heylin's translation: For the prince of the world is coming; not that he has any claim in me: John 14:31. But only that the world may know, &c.

Inferences.—How noble a cordial has our Lord provided to relieve all the troubles of our hearts! the strength of which shall continue to the remotest ages; even faith in his Father, and in him. May that divine and operative principle be confirmed by what we have been now reading!

It is striking to observe, with what a holy familiarity our Lord speaks of the regions of glory—not like one dazzled and overwhelmed with the brightness of the idea; but as accustomed and familiarized to it by his high birth. In my Father's house are many mansions: delightful, and reviving thought!—and many inhabitants in them, who, we hope, through grace, will be our companions there, and every one of them increase and multiply the joy.

It was not for the apostles alone, that Christ went to prepare a place: he is entered into heaven as the forerunner of all the faithful; and we, if we are believers indeed, may be said by virtue of our union with him, to sit together in heavenly places in him. It is our duty and our happiness continually to be tending thither in more affectionate desires, and more ardent pursuits. We know the way, we hear the truth; may we also feel the life! by Christ, as the true living way, may we come to the Father: in Christ may we see him, and have our eyes and hearts opened to those beams of the divine glory, which are reflected from the face of his only-begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

Has he been thus discovered to us as our Father and our God?—If he have, let it diffuse a sacred and lasting pleasure over our souls, though other desirable objects may be veiled or removed; and engage us to maintain a continual fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

We are invited to this by every declaration of his readiness to hear and answer our prayers; and although those miraculous powers are ceased, whereby the apostles were enabled to equal, or even to exceed, the works of their Master, yet as we have so many important errands to the throne of grace, in which the glory of God and the salvation of our souls are concerned, let us come with a holy boldness to it; in dependance on Jesus, that great High Priest over the house of God, who is passed into the highest heavens, and, amidst all the grandeur of that exalted state, regards his humble followers on earth, and ever appears under the character of their advocate and friend.

If we are not entirely strangers to the divine life, we cannot surely read such discourses as these before us, without feeling some warm emotions of love to Christ: and if indeed we feel them, we shall seriously consider how they are to be expressed. Our Lord directs us to do it in the most solid and most acceptable manner, by a constant care to keep his commandments: and certainly such commandments as his cannot be grievous to a soul that truly loves him. The more we live in the practice of them, the more cheerfully may we expect the abundant communication of his Spirit to animate and strengthen us.

If we are Christians indeed, we cannot in any circumstance of life look on ourselves as helpless and abandoned orphans. Human friends may forsake us, but Christ will come to us: he will manifest himself to the eye of faith, though to the eye of sense he is invisible: and his heavenly Father will love us, and watch over us for our good: yea, he will come and dwell in the obedient soul, by the gracious tokens of his intimate and inseparable presence. Do we any of us experience this blessing? We have surely reason to say that by way of admiration, which the apostles said by way of eminence: "Lord, how, and whence is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not to the world? What have we done to deserve these gracious and distinguishing manifestations? Nay, how much have we done to forfeit them?"

With what unutterable joy should we review that rich legacy of our dying Lord, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you. Lord, evermore give us this peace; peace with God, peace with our own consciences, peace with our fellow-creatures: for if thou wilt give quietness, who can cause trouble? How serenely then 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 preserve the precious purchase, an inestimable gift, inviolate till it issue in everlasting peace! In this let our hearts be encouraged; in this let them rejoice; and not in our own happiness alone, but also in that of our glorified and exalted Redeemer. As the members of his body we ought certainly to maintain a pleasing sympathy with our Head, and to triumph in his honour and felicity as our own. If we love

Christ, we should rejoice, because he is gone to the Father. The same consideration may in its degree comfort us, when our pious friends are removed. If we love them with a rational and generous friendship, and are not too much influenced by selfish affections, under that specious name, our joy for their exaltation will greatly temper the sorrow which our own loss must give us.

Our Lord uttered the words John 14:30 in the near view of a grievous assault from the prince of this world, who is the prince of darkness. But there was no corruption in him to take part with the enemy. Too much alas! does he find in us to abet his temptations. Let us earnestly pray, that the grace of God may be sufficient for us; and that as his love to the Father engaged him to go through this painful conflict with the tempter, his love to us may make us partakers of his victory, even here below. In his name let us set up our banners, and the powers of hell shall flee before us.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, To comfort his disciples against the approaching trials, which would be apt to shake the foundation of all their hopes,

1. Our Lord exhorts them to maintain unshaken confidence in him amidst all their difficulties. Let not your heart be troubled: the thought that one disciple should betray him; another deny him; that he should suffer, die, and leave them; these things deeply affected them: and he, who knows the souls of his people in adversity, endeavours to provide for their comfort. Ye believe in God, in some good measure, according to the revelation that he had made of himself in his word: believe also in me, as the true Messiah, as the almighty Saviour, able to support you in all your exigencies, and to comfort you under every affliction. Or, it may be read, Believe in God; live in the constant exercise of faith in the power and grace of my Father: and believe also in me; have the same confidence in me, who am one with him in the same undivided Godhead.

2. He assures them that his absence would be to their great advantage. In my Father's house, in heaven, the place where the Father makes the brightest manifestations of his glory, there are many mansions, abiding dwelling places, where there is most perfect peace and joy, and love and happiness. If it were not so, I would have told you; and not encouraged you to follow me at the loss of all things, if I had not an eternal recompence to bestow upon you. I go to prepare a place for you, as your forerunner, to take possession of the purchased inheritance, to be ready there to receive and welcome you, having previously prepared you for the mansions prepared for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, though I leave you soon, I will come again, and that quickly, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also; admitted to my presence, partaking of my glory, and made for ever blessed and happy in the enjoyment of my love and favour. Note; (1.) The believing prospect of the glory which shall be revealed, should comfort us under all our present trials and afflictions. (2.) In heaven there are mansions for all the faithful of every age and nation: none shall thrust his mate; for there is room enough for all. (3.) None who steadily trust in Jesus, whatever they may quit or lose for his sake, shall ever have cause to lament their choice: in heaven they will be abundantly repaid. (4.) They who perseveringly look for a better country, that is, a heavenly, shall by blessed experience shortly prove the faithfulness of him who hath promised to bring thither all his faithful people; who also will do it: and well may we comfort one another with these words.

2nd, Having set before them the happiness provided for them, Christ farther encourages them, saying, Whither I go, ye know; I have repeatedly told you; and the way ye know, which I have taught you by my word and my example.

1. Thomas replied to this, Lord, We know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way? Though in general they had some knowledge of the way to heaven, where Christ was going; yet Thomas, mistaking our Lord's discourse, and having his head filled with the conceits of Christ's temporal kingdom, like the rest, supposes that he was going somewhere to erect his throne upon earth, but where was a secret to him; and he wished to know, as Peter had done, that, though with less self-confidence, he might follow his Master.

2. Jesus answers, I am the way; through his blood alone there is access to God, and, by his grace alone, can we be enabled to walk in the path which leads to eternal glory: the truth; whom all the ritual services prefigured, in whom they were fulfilled, whose promises are faithful, and who has never failed those that trust him: and the life; who has life in himself, and is the author of spiritual and eternal life to his faithful saints: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me; in our present fallen state we can neither draw near to the throne of grace with acceptance, but by Jesus Christ as our advocate and surety; nor can we ever hope to appear before the throne of glory but through the infinite merits and prevalent intercession of the same all-sufficient Saviour. If ye had known me, in my true character as God, as well as man, ye should have known my Father also; forasmuch as we are in nature and essence one: and from henceforth, as by this intimation you may perceive my meaning, ye know him, and have seen him, in me. Note; (1.) The knowledge of the Godhead of the Redeemer is an essential and fundamental article of our faith. (2.) Christ can discover in his disciples more knowledge of his blessed self than they sometimes think themselves possessed of.

3. Philip, not yet entering fully into his Master's meaning, saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, some divine representation of him, and it sufficeth us; this will fully satisfy us, and silence all our further inquiries.

4. Jesus gently rebukes the dulness of his comprehension, and saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? my divine original, as well as mission? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; the divine perfections which I have displayed, prove my essential Godhead, as partaker of the same nature, attributes, and glory with him: and how sayest thou, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? though in person distinct, yet in essence one, inseparably united in the same eternal Godhead? The words that I speak unto you, deep and mysterious as some of the doctrines are which I declare, I speak not of myself, by any authority purely my own, or as apart from the Father; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works which confirm my divine mission, and set God's seal to the truths which I deliver. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, upon the credit of the testimony which I bear; or else if you think that insufficient, believe me for the very works' sake, which are such convincing proofs of the truths which I preach, and done in such a godlike manner, by my word, in my own name, and by my own power, as shews my Godhead and glory. Note; (1.) They who have been long in Christ's school, should make their profiting appear. They are justly culpable who, blessed with the richest means, do not grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2.) In Christ Jesus we behold a brighter display of God's glory and presence than ever otherwise appeared, seeing in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

3rdly, The thoughts of the loss of their Master's presence and company dejected his poor disciples. To comfort them, therefore, he promises,

1. To endue them with the most astonishing miraculous powers. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, as you do, the works that I do, shall he do also; the same miracles ye have seen me perform: yea, and greater works than these, shall he do; more numerous and more wonderful, (see Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12.) And particularly this may refer to the gift of tongues, and the vastly superior success which should attend the preaching of the apostles, and the much more numerous converts that they should make, than their Master had done; and this because I go unto my Father, when, having received all power in heaven and earth, he would, in the most abundant manner, pour out his Spirit upon them from on high, to enable them for the great work whereunto he had ordained them.

2. To grant them all their petitions. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, pleading my promises, and depending on my intercession; that will I do, by my own divine power, giving you an answer to every prayer according to the various necessities of your souls; that the Father may be glorified in the Son; and his glory should be the end of all our petitions; and, in glorifying them, Christ designs to advance his Father's honour, and manifest his power, grace, and faithfulness. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it, grant you every needful supply of grace and strength for your support and success in the work of the gospel.

4thly, Our Lord proceeds to encourage and comfort them in the view of the service before them, and in the prospect of his departure from them.

1. They must give a proof of their love to him by their observance of his commandments. If ye love me, keep my commandments. He speaks not as doubting the truth of their regard, but as quickening them to give increasing proofs of the sincerity of their love, by a conscientious respect to all his precepts.

2. He promises to send them another Comforter, who should abundantly supply the loss of his bodily presence. I will pray the Father, and be effectually your advocate, and he shall give you another Comforter and counsellor, to support, direct, and quicken you; that he may abide with you for ever, carry you through all your trials, and death itself, to an eternal inheritance in glory; even the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of the true God, whose inspiration has dictated the sacred oracles, and who leads the minds of benighted sinners into the knowledge of all truth; whom the world cannot receive, the men of the world, who harden their hearts in pride and impenitence; because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; are wilful strangers to his operations; are led by sight, not by faith; and therefore count his teaching to be foolishness and enthusiasm. But ye know him, as having already illuminated your hearts, and sanctified, in a measure, your souls: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you, as his living temples, guiding, governing, strengthening, comforting, and blessing you continually. Note; (1.) In the one Godhead there are three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each possessed of the same divine perfections. (2.) All Christ's true disciples to the end of time may expect divine teaching and consolation amidst all their trials; and, while they are looking to him, shall be strengthened, quickened, and comforted in his blessed work and ways. (3.) Every faithful soul is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and by experience feels the indwelling power of his grace.

5thly, Christ pursues the same reviving subject. He was indeed going from them for a while, but his absence would not be long.

1. I will not leave you comfortless, as orphans: I will come to you; either at his resurrection, or by the mission of his Spirit, or by his final appearing to judgment. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; they who rejected him, would no more be favoured with a sight of him after his resurrection, till he should come to judgment; but ye see me; I will appear to you; you shall see me now by faith, and shortly shall eternally enjoy the full vision of me in glory. Because I live, ye shall live also; I, as the fountainhead of spiritual life, will communicate the living influences to you my faithful members; and, vitally and perseveringly united to me, you shall live in holy conformity to me here, and in the eternal enjoyment of me hereafter. At that day, of Christ's resurrection as a triumphant conqueror over all his foes; or when, by the effusion of the Holy Ghost, their minds should be more deeply illuminated; and most especially when they should come to meet him in the kingdom of his glory; ye shall know that I am in my Father, one in essential union; and ye in me, and I in you, as living members of my body mystical, joined to me in one spirit. And, in consequence of this, he that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, who truly understands, and in simplicity obeys them; he it is that loveth me; he gives hereby an undoubted proof of his unfeigned affection to me: and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father for my sake, who am his Well-beloved and Only-begotten; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him, making the richest discoveries of my grace to his soul. Note; (1.) Every faithful soul is a partaker of a divine nature, and lives in a state of close spiritual union with the Son of God. (2.) Christ gives increasing discoveries of his truth and love to the souls of his faithful people. (3.) The proof of our love to Jesus must appear in our fidelity and obedience. If we say we abide in him, and walk in darkness, we lie. (4.) Though our love to him is not the cause of his love to us, but the effect; yet, if we, through grace, perseveringly cleave to him in faith and love, and more and more manifest the fruits thereof, we shall find brighter manifestations made to our souls of our interest in him; shall experience sweeter foretastes of the eternal bliss which is promised to the faithful; and shall receive increasing supplies of his Spirit, to perfect in us what is yet lacking, and to prepare us for our eternal abode with him.

2. One of Christ's disciples, not fully apprehending his meaning, desired him to explain it; Judeas saith unto him, not Iscariot, but Jude the brother of James the Less, Lord, How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? What is the wondrous method by which thou wilt honour us with thy presence, when thou comest in thy kingdom, and yet not be manifest to the world at large? See the Annotations.

3. Christ graciously confirms and explains what he had spoken, Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and make the most delightful discoveries to him of his grace and favour; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him; talking up our dwelling in the temple of his heart, manifesting our gracious presence to him, and maintaining the most blessed and abiding communion with him. On the other hand, He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings; and thereby proves his aversion to me, shuts the door of his heart against me, and wilfully rejects my gospel, with all its inestimable blessings. And the word which ye hear, is not mine, but the Father's which sent me; therefore they who disrelish and reject it, must be necessarily excluded from his favour as well as mine.

6thly, For the further encouragement of his disciples, he proceeds,

1. To assure them of the teachings and consolations of the Holy Ghost. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you; the time being short, I have endeavoured to lay them clearly before you: but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, the third person in the sacred Trinity, whom the Father will send in my name, at my intercession, to supply my absence, and to advance my kingdom and glory; he shall teach you all things, opening your understandings to clearer discoveries of the truth, enlarging your capacities, and strengthening your memories; for he shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you; he would not only revive the memory of all the works and discourses of Christ, which they had forgotten, but give them a distinct knowledge of what, at the time Christ spoke, they did not understand.

2. He engages to give them peace under all their troubles. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, as my last bequest; peace with God, as reconciled to you; peace in your own consciences, from the confidence of his love; peace with each other, united in bonds of firmer union; my peace, which none but I your Master could procure or bestow, the purchase of my blood, the fruit of my intercession; I give it freely, fully to you, and all who follow you as my disciples. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you: not as a piece of compliment, but as a real blessing; not as worldly gifts, of little or no price, but as a gift infinitely more valuable than all that earth can bestow. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, under the apprehension of any sufferings or trials when I am absent from you: my peace, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds.

3. He assures them that his departure would be for his own glory and their good, and therefore they ought rather to rejoice than be sorry for it. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away and come again unto you, to take you to the mansions prepared for you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto the Father, and receive the mediatorial throne; for my Father is greater than I, not in his divine nature, but as in the oeconomy of man's salvation the Son of God humbled himself to take the human nature, and submitted to the form of a servant: and therefore, though equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead, yet he was inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood; however, it became them to be joyful in his exaltation, as the man Christ Jesus. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, in my death, resurrection, ascension, and the effusion of the Holy Ghost, ye may believe that I am the true Messiah, and will assuredly fulfil all the promises which I have made unto you.

4. He tells them, that the great enemy of souls would now be finally vanquished. Hereafter I will not talk much with you; the time of my departure is at hand: for the prince of this world, he who has usurped the dominion over the hearts of fallen men, and once pretended to offer me the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-7.), he cometh, with all his fury and rage, to make his last, his desperate attack; and hath nothing in me; all his attempts will be baffled, and his malice recoil upon his own head with greater aggravation of his guilt; and, to his utter confusion and destruction, he will find no guilt in me to accuse my conscience, no legal power over me in consequence of sin, no corruption to work upon, or to afford an opening for his temptation: and as Christ once conquered for his faithful people in his own person, so will he conquer in them, and bruise Satan shortly under their feet.

5. He informs them, that his departure from them was according to the Father's commandment, and a matter of his most willing obedience. But, that the world may know that I love the Father, though Satan hath no power over me, I am ready to lay down my life, according to my Father's will: and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do; readily offering myself to suffer according to his most gracious will. Arise, let us go hence, and meet the approaching danger. Note; When duty calls, and God so ordains, instead of flying from sufferings, we must cheerfully offer ourselves up, willing to glorify God, if he so please, even in the fire.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 14:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-14.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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