Where the world comes to study the Bible

17. Exegetical Commentary on John 14


    [4 A The Book of Glory: Jesus accomplishes his return to the Father (13:1-20:31)]

      [2 B The Last Supper: Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure (13:2-17:26)]

        [2 C The Last Discourse (13:31-17:26)]

          1 D Jesus speaks of his departure and the disciples’ future (13:31-14:31)

            [1 E The arrival of the hour of Jesus’ glorification (his departure) (13:31-33)]

            [2 E The new commandment: love one another (13:34-35)]

            [3 E Jesus predicts Peter’s denial (13:36-38)]

            4 E Jesus presents himself as the Way to the Father for those who believe in him (14:1-14)

            5 E Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples after His departure (14:15-31)


Barrett, C. K., “‘The Father is Greater than I’ (Joh 14,28): Subordinationist Christology in the New Testament,” in Neues Testament und Kirche. Für Rudolf Schnackenburg, ed. J. Gnilka (Freiburg: Herder, 1974): 144-59.

Barrett, C. K., “The Holy Spirit in the Fourth Gospel,” Journal of Theological Studies 1 (1950): 1-15.

Borgen, P., “God’s Agent in the Fourth Gospel,” in Religions in Antiquity. Essays in Memory of E. R. Goodenough, ed. J. Neusner (Leiden: Brill, 1968): 137-47.

Boring, M. E., “The Influence of Christian Prophecy on the Johannine Portrayal of the Paraclete and Jesus,” New Testament Studies 25 (1978/79): 113-23.

Brown, R. E., “The Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel,” New Testament Studies 13 (1966/67): 113-32.

Burge, G. M., The Anointed Community: The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987).

Davies, J. G., “The Primary Meaning of PARAKLETOS,” Journal of Theological Studies 4 (1953): 35-38.

Ensley, E. C., “Eternity is Now. A Sermon on Joh 14:1-11,” Interpretation 19 (1965): 295-98.

Fensham, F. C., “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” Neotestamentica 2 (1968): 81-88.

Floor, L., “The Lord and the Holy Spirit in the Fourth Gospel,” Neotestamentica 2 (1968): 122-30.

Gundry, R. H., “‘In my Father’s House are many Monai’ (John 14,2,” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 58 (1967): 68-72.

Hoeferkamp, R., “The Holy Spirit in the Fourth Gospel from the Viewpoint of Christ’s Glorification,” Concordia Theological Monthly 33 (1962): 517-29.

Holwerda, D. E., The Holy Spirit and Eschatology in the Gospel of John: A Critique of Rudolf Bultmanns Present Eschatology (Kampen: Kok, 1959).

Hunt, W. B., “John’s Doctrine of the Spirit,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 8 (1965): 45-65.

Johnston, G., “The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John,” Pittsburgh Perspective 9 (1968): 29-37.

Johnston, G., The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John, Novum Testamentum Supplement 12 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970).

Klijn, A. J. F., “John 14,22 and the Name Judas Thomas,” in Studies in John. Presented to Professor J. N. Sevenster on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (Leiden: Brill, 1970): 88-96.

Kugelman, R., “The Gospel for Pentecost (John 14:23-31),” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 6 (1944): 259-75.

Leaney, A. R. C., “The Historical Background and Theological Meaning of the Paraclete,” Duke Divinity School Review 37 (1972): 146-59.

Lofthouse, W. F., “The Holy Spirit in the Acts and in the Fourth Gospel,” Expository Times 52 (1940/41): 334-36.

McCasland, S. V., “The Way,” Journal of Biblical Literature 77 (1958): 222-30.

McPolin, J., “Holy Spirit in Luke and John,” Irish Theological Quarterly 45 (1978): 117-31.

Patrick, J. G., “The Promise of the Paraclete,” Bibliotheca Sacra 127 (1970): 333-45.

Snaith, N. H., “The Meaning of ‘the Paraclete’,” Expository Times 57 (1945/46): 47-50.

Stockton, E., “The Paraclete,” Australasian Catholic Record 39 (1962): 255-63.

Windisch, H., The Spirit-Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel, trans. J. W. Cox (Philadelphia:Fortress, 1968).

Woodhouse, H. F., “The Paraclete as Interpreter,” Biblical Theology 18 (1968): 51-53.


            4 E Jesus presents Himself as the Way to the Father for those who believe in Him (14:1-14)

14:1 MhV tarassevsqw The same verb is used to describe Jesus’ own state in 11:33, 12:27, and 13:21. Jesus is looking ahead to the events of the evening and the next day—his arrest, trials, crucifixion, and death—which will cause his disciples extreme emotional distress.

pisteuvetepisteuvete The translation of the two uses of pisteuvete is difficult. Both may be either indicative or imperative, and as Morris points out, this results in a bewildering variety of possibilities.118 To complicate matters further the first may be understood as a question: “Do you believe in God? Believe also in me.” Morris argues against the AV (KJV) translation which renders the first pisteuvete as indicative and the second as imperative on the grounds that for the writer of the Fourth Gospel, faith in Jesus is inseparable from faith in God. But it seems to me that this is precisely the point that Jesus is addressing in context. He is about to undergo rejection by his own people as their Messiah. The disciples’ faith in him as Messiah and Lord would be cast into extreme doubt by these events, which the Evangelist makes clear were not at this time foreseen by the disciples. After the resurrection it is this identification between Jesus and the Father which needs to be reaffirmed (cf. 20:24-29). Thus it seems best to take the first pisteuvete as indicative and the second as imperative, producing the translation “You believe in God; believe also in me.” (Note: Both could be taken as imperatives without substantially altering this meaning if the first is understood as a conditional imperative.119)

14:2 There are four major difficulties in this verse: (1) what is the meaning of th'/ oijkiva/ tou' patrov" mou, (2) what is the meaning of monaiv, (3) should the o{ti be included or omitted, and (4) what is the meaning of the last clause with or without the o{ti? We shall attempt to deal with these in order:

(1) What is the meaning of th'/ oijkiva/ tou' patrov" mou? Jesus is probably using traditional terminology at this point. Morris states that the phrase “clearly refers to heaven” without elaborating,120 and this is supported by a similar use in Philo referring to heaven as “the paternal house.”121 Below we will consider the possibility of a typically Johannine double meaning.

(2) What is the meaning of monaiv? Many have associated it with the Aramaic anwa, which can refer to a stopping place or resting place for a traveler on a journey. This is similar to one of the meanings the word can have in secular Greek.122 Origen understood the use here to refer to stations on the road to God. This may well have been the understanding of the Latin translators who translated monhv by mansio, a stopping place. The English translation “mansions” can be traced back to Tyndale, but in Middle English the word simply meant “a dwelling place” (not necessarily large or imposing) with no connotation of being temporary. The interpretation put forward by Origen would have been well suited to Gnosticism, where the soul in its ascent passes through stages during which it is gradually purified of all that is material and therefore evil.

It is much more likely that the word monhv should be related to its cognate verb mevnw, which is frequently used in the Fourth Gospel to refer to the permanence of relationship between Jesus and the Father and/or Jesus and the believer. Thus the idea of a permanent dwelling place, rather than a temporary stopping place, would be in view. Luther’s translation of monaiv by Wohnungen is very accurate here, as it has the connotation of a permanent residence.

(3) Should the o{ti be included or omitted? The external evidence is almost equally divided. Most Alexandrian and Western manuscripts favor inclusion (it is unusual for the Alexandrian to favor the longer reading!) while most Byzantine manuscripts favor omission (again unusual!). Complicating things is the reading of 66, which aligns with the Byzantine. Because of the strength of a papyrus reading aligned with the Byzantine, and because the shorter reading is out of character for the Byzantine text, the shorter reading could certainly be authentic.

If the o{ti is included, there are no less than four possible translations of the phrase:

(a) “Otherwise I would have told you [= warned you], because I am going to prepare a place…”

(b) “Otherwise would I have told you so, because I am going to prepare a place…?”

(c) “Otherwise I would have told you that I am going to prepare a place…”

(d) “Otherwise would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place…?”

The first option (a) can be understood only if “otherwise I would have told you” is a parenthetical statement, and the o{ti-clause goes with the preceding “There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house…”. We should probably rule out (b) and (d) because they imply a previous statement by Jesus that either (b) there are many dwelling places in his Father’s house or (d) He was going off to prepare a place for them. There is no indication anywhere in the Fourth Gospel that Jesus had made such statements prior to this time. Finally, (c) is understandable—if there were no dwelling places Jesus would have told them that he was going off to make dwelling places. But the following verse makes clear that Jesus’ departure is not hypothetical but real—he is really going away.

Thus all the possibilities for understanding the verse with the inclusion of o{ti present some difficulties. It seems that Brown is right when he states: “all in all, the translation without o{ti makes the best sense.”123 Thus the following translation seems best: “Otherwise, I would have told you (= warned you). I go to prepare a place….”

(4) What is the meaning of the last clause with or without the o{ti? One of the questions that must be answered here is whether or not tovpo" is to be equated with monhv. In Rev 12:8 tovpo" is used to refer to a place in heaven, which would suggest that the two are essentially equal here. Jesus is going ahead of believers to prepare a place for them, a permanent dwelling place in heaven (the Father’s house).

In conclusion: Now at last we must consider the possibility of a Johannine double meaning to the saying. So far we have understood the reference to “my Father’s house” as a reference to heaven, and the monaiv and tovpoi as the permanent residences of believers there. This seems consistent with the vocabulary (see above discussion) and the context, where in verse 3 Jesus speaks of coming again to take the disciples to himself. However, when we look for the phrase th'/ oijkiva/ tou' patrov" mou in the Fourth Gospel, we find it was used previously in 2:16 to refer to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Evangelist in 2:19-22 then reinterpreted the Temple as Jesus body, which was to be destroyed in death and then rebuilt in resurrection after three days. Even more suggestive is the statement by Jesus in 8:35, “Now the slave does not remain (mevnei) in the household (th'/ oijkiva/) forever, but the son remains (mevnei) forever.” If in the imagery of the Fourth Gospel th'/ oijkiva/ tou' patrov" mou is ultimately a reference to Jesus’ body, the relationship of monhv to mevnw suggests the permanent relationship of the believer to Jesus and the Father as an adopted son who remains in the household forever. In this case the “dwelling place” is “in” Jesus himself, where he is, whether in heaven or on earth. The statement in verse 3, “I will come again and receive you to myself” then refers not only to the parousia, but also to Jesus’ post-resurrection return to the disciples in his glorified state, when by virtue of his death on their behalf they may enter into union with him and with the Father as adopted sons. Needless to say, this bears numerous similarities to Pauline theology, especially the concepts of adoption as sons (uiJoqesiva) and being “in Christ” (ejn Cristw'/)'/. It is also important to note, however, the emphasis in the Fourth Gospel itself on the present reality of eternal life (5:24, 7:38-39, etc.) and the possibility of worshipping the Father “in the Spirit and in truth” (4:21-24) in the present age. There is a sense in which it is possible to say that the future reality is present now.124

14:3 i{na o{pou eijmiV ejgwV kaiV uJmei'" h e The i{na gives the purpose of Jesus’ departure and return to receive believers to himself: it is in order that where he is, they may be also. That this is true in more than one sense and refers not only to the future parousia, but also to Jesus’ post-resurrection return to the disciples, has been discussed above under the conclusion to the preceding verse. By virtue of the believer’s identification with the risen and glorified Jesus, it is accurate to say that where Jesus is now, the believer is with him. This will be just as true when he returns in the future.

14:4 thVn oJdovn kaiV thVn oJdovn oi[date Once again there is a difficult textual problem in this verse. The division of the external evidence is similar (although not identical) to the evidence for the inclusion or omission of o{ti in verse 2. Either assertion on the part of Jesus would be understandable: “you know the way where I am going” or “you know where I am going and you know the way.” In this case the shorter reading is basically Alexandrian; the primary Western uncial D sides with 66 and the Byzantine text in favor of the longer reading. On the basis of the external evidence, the alliance of 66 with the Western and Byzantine text-types, the longer reading is probably to be preferred.

Jesus had spoken of his destination previously to the disciples, most recently in 13:33. Where he was going was back to the Father, and they could not follow him there, but later he would return for them and they could join him then. The “way” he was going was via the cross. This he had also mentioned previously (e.g., 12:32) although his disciples did not understand at the time (cf. 12:33). As Jesus would explain in verse 6, although for him the “way” back to the Father was via the cross, for his disciples the “way” to where he was going was Jesus himself.

14:5 Levgei aujtw'/ Qwma'" Jesus’ statement in verse 4 causes Thomas to reply in perplexity to both points: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?” This lack of understanding, directly stated, leads to Jesus’ statement in the next verse.

14:6 ejgwv eijmi hJ oJdoV" kaiV hJ ajlhvqeia kaiV hJ zwhv What is the meaning of this well-known statement?

Initially we might suspect a copula with three predicates: oJdov", ajlhvqeia, and zwhv. The first would be similar to John 10:7, 9: “I am the door”—that is, the way of entrance. The second would relate to Jesus’ statement in 8:31-32, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” The third sounds similar to 11:25, where Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life.”

However, the context suggests that the three ideas are not strictly coordinate. The next statement (“no one comes to the Father except through me”) seems to relate primarily to the first predicate, “I am the way”. Thus we suggest that the two remaining predicates, the truth and the life, are epexegetical or explanatory to the first: “I am the way, that is, the truth and the life.”

But what does this mean? Jesus is the way—the only avenue of access to the Father and thus to salvation (the “door” of 10:7, 9)—because he is the truth (the sole revelation of the Father who is the end and goal of the journey—cf. 1:18). Note that this is not, in context, an ontological statement but a statement of who Jesus is in relation to men.

Jesus is also the way because he is the life—the source and giver of the life from above. Just as in the original creation he was the giver of physical life (cf. 1:3-4), so in the new creation he is the giver of life from above (cf. 3:5-8). Again, this is a description of Jesus in terms of his relation to men (10:10). Brown remarks: “It is noteworthy that zwhv, “life,” which occurs thirty-two times in the Book of Signs, occurs only four times in the Book of Glory. Now that “the hour” is at hand, life is actually being given and need not be talked about.”125

14:7 ejgnwvkatevgnwvsesqe vs. ejgnwvkeitevejgnwvkeite Again there is a difficult textual problem: the statement reads either “If you have known (ejgnwvkate) me, you will know (gnwvsesqe) my Father” or “If you had really known (ejgnwvkeite) me, you would know (ejgnwvkeite) my Father”. The division of the external evidence is difficult, but would appear to favor the first alternative, since there is an Alexandrian-Western alliance supported by 66. In this case (a first class condition) Jesus promises the disciples that (assuming they have known him) they will know the Father. Contextually this fits better with the following phrase (7b) which asserts that “from the present time you know him and have seen him” (recall 1:18 of the Prologue).

14:8 kuvrie, dei'xon hJmi'n toVn patevra It is clear from Philip’s request (“Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us”) that he (if not all the disciples, as is probably the case) has misunderstood the statement of Jesus in verse 7. In what sense could they have seen the Father?

14:9 oJ eJwrakwV" ejmeV eJwvraken toVn patevra Philip’s misunderstanding gives Jesus the opportunity to explain once more his relationship to the Father. Because Jesus and the Father are one (cf. 10:30), Jesus is able to say “the one who has seen me has seen the Father” (cf. 1:18 again).

14:10 ejgwV ejn tw'/ patriV kaiV oJ pathVr ejn ejmoiv ejstin The mutual interrelationship of the Father and the Son (“I am in the Father and the Father is in me”) is something that Jesus expected even his opponents to recognize (cf. 10:38). The question Jesus asks of Philip (ouj pisteuvei"…) expects the answer “yes.” Note that the following statement is addressed to all the disciples, however, because the plural pronoun (uJmi'n) is used. Jesus says that his teaching (the words he spoke to them all) did not originate from himself, but the Father who permanently remains (mevnwn) in relationship with Jesus performs his works. We would have expected “speaks his words” here rather than “performs his works”; many of the Church Fathers (e.g. Augustine and Chrysostom) identified the two by saying that Jesus’ words were works. But there is an implicit contrast in the next verse between words and works, and verse 12 seems to demand that the works are real works, not just words. It is probably best to see the two terms as related but not identical; there is a progression in the idea here. Both Jesus’ words (recall the Samaritans’ response in 4:42) and Jesus’ works are revelatory of who he is, but as the next verse indicates, works have greater confirmatory power than words.

14:11 pisteuvetev moi In the first part of this verse Jesus appeals to the disciples to believe in the permanent interrelationship he has with the Father based on his words. In the latter half of the verse (eij deV mhv…) he calls on them to believe on account of his deeds.

14:12 meivzona touvtwn poihvsei Jesus then promises the disciples that the person who believes in him will do the works he does, and will do even greater works than Jesus did, because he is going to the Father.

What are the greater works that Jesus speaks of, and how is this related to his going to the Father? It is clear from both 7:39 and 16:7 that the Holy Spirit will not come until Jesus has departed. After Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit to indwell believers in a permanent relationship, believers will be empowered to perform even greater works than those Jesus did during his earthly ministry. When we examine the early chapters of Acts we find that from a numerical standpoint, the works of Peter and the other Apostles surpassed those of Jesus in a single day (the day of Pentecost). On that day more were added to the church than had become followers of Jesus during the entire three years of his earthly ministry. And the message went forth not just in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, but to the farthest parts of the known world. It seems more probable that this is what Jesus meant by “greater works” than that he referred to greater works in the sense of “more spectacular miracles.” Certainly miraculous works were performed by the Apostles as recounted in Acts, but these do not appear to have surpassed the works of Jesus himself in either scope or number.

14:13-14 kaiV o{ ti a]n aijthvshte ejn tw'/ ojnovmativ mou tou'to poihvsw What are we to make of verses 13-14, which appear to be a promise to grant any request so long as it is asked in Jesus’ name? Similar statements appear in other places in the Last Discourse: 15:7, 15:16, 16:23, 16:24, and 16:26. The key to understanding this and similar statements lies in the phrase ejn tw'/ ojnovmativ mou: to ask in Jesus’ name is to ask in his will, because it is to be in union with him. Brown offers a useful summary:

…Johannine theology has introduced into prayer in Jesus’ name an emphasis that goes beyond the use of a formula. A Christian prays in Jesus’ name in the sense that he is in union with Jesus. Thus, the theme of asking “in my name” in xiv 13-14 continues and develops the indwelling motif of 10-11: because the Christian is in union with Jesus and Jesus is in union with the Father, there can be no doubt that the Christian’s requests will be granted.126

            5 E Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples after His departure (14:15-31)

14:15 taV" ejntolaV" taV" ejmaV" thrhvsete: A close parallel is to be found in 1 John 5:3—”For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments….” This verse provides the transition between the promises of answered prayer which Jesus makes to his disciples in verses 13-14 and the promise of the Holy Spirit which is introduced in verse 16. Obedience is the proof of genuine love.

14:16 a[llon paravklhton Jesus says that in response to his disciples’ love, as shown by their continued obedience, he will ask the Father, who will send “another paraclete” (a[llon paravklhton) who will be with them forever. This implies that a paraclete has already been with the disciples; it seems best to understand this as a reference to Jesus himself, since the other paraclete is coming when he departs. 1 John 2:1 presents Jesus as a paraclete in his role as intercessor in heaven; here the implication is that Jesus has also been a paraclete to the disciples during his earthly ministry. Much is often made of the use of a[llo" here, that it should be understood to mean “another of the same kind”. It should be noted that not all commentators agree on a sharp distinction between the two words a[llo" and e{tero" in this context. But on the whole it may be said that Jesus, although he has not spoken of himself in the Fourth Gospel as a paravklhto", has generally performed actions for his disciples which a paravklhto" would perform.127

The translation of paravklhto" into English as “Comforter” is traditional; apparently it is as old as J. Wycliffe. Most would agree that this is not the idea, but would not agree on how in fact it should be translated. One of the better suggestions is that made by E. J. Goodspeed who concludes that the word meant a person called to someone else’s aid in court, a helper, intercessor, pleader, or character witness.128Defender’ comes very close to being equivalent, but more than just a defense witness is in view. Jesus’ statements about the coming paraclete teaching and reminding the disciples go beyond this meaning and call for a broader translation. Goodspeed suggests ‘Helper’ for a translation in the Fourth Gospel and ‘one who will intercede for us’ in 1 John 2:1.

eij" toVn aijw'na h/ Note that the Paraclete, when he comes to the disciples, will remain with them forever. The statement is indicative of a permanent presence.

14:17 toV pneu'ma th'" ajlhqeiva" Here Jesus describes the Paraclete as “the Spirit of truth”. Since according to 16:13 it is the Spirit who reveals truth to the disciples after Jesus’ departure, it is best to see the genitive here as descriptive of a characteristic: it is the Spirit who produces or communicates truth to the disciples.

o} Although neuter pronouns are used to refer to the Spirit in this verse, agreeing with the gender of pneu'ma, later in the Gospel masculine pronouns are used (constructio ad sensum) at 15:26, 16:7, 8, 13, and 14.

oJ kovsmo" ouj duvnatai labei'n The world will not be able to receive the Spirit, because it neither sees him nor knows him, but the disciples know him, because he remains with them and will be in them. Both ginwvskete and mevnei are present tense, but we should probably understand these as futuristic presents.129

14:18 e[rcomai proV" uJma'" Jesus has spoken in 14:3 of going away and coming again to his disciples. There, as we saw, the reference was both to the parousia and to the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples. Here it is probable that the post-resurrection appearances are primarily in view, since Jesus speaks of the disciples “seeing” him after the world can “see” him no longer in the following verse.

But many commentators have taken verse 18 as a reference to the coming of the Spirit, since this has been the topic of the preceding verses. Still, verses 19 and 20 appear to contain references to Jesus’ appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. It may well be that another Johannine double meaning is to be found here, so that it is true that Jesus ‘returns’ to his disciples in one sense in that he appeared to them after his resurrection, but in another sense he ‘returns’ in the person of the Holy Spirit to indwell them.

14:19 o{ti ejgwV zw' kaiV uJmei'" zhvsete Because Jesus “lives” after his death, his followers are assured that they too will “live” in the same sense that he does. This involves both (1) the experience of “eternal life” already in this life (cf. 5:24) and (2) the experience of “eternal life” in the life to come.

14:20 ejn ejkeivnh/ th'/ hJmevra/ This could be a reference to the parousia. But the statement in 14:19, that the world will not see Jesus, does not fit. It is better to take this as the post-resurrection apearances of Jesus to his disciples (which has the advantage of taking mikrovn in verse 19 literally).

Compare the statement in Acts 10:40-41: “God made him manifest, not to all the people, but to us who were chosen as witnesses.”

14:21 oJ deV ajgapw'n me ajgaphqhvsetai uJpoV tou' patrov" mou Remember that this is in a context of discipleship (or what we might call extended relationship with the Father and the Son). Keeping Jesus’ commandments is not here made a condition of salvation. Obedience is simply the proof of love.

14:22 hJmi'n mevllei" ejmfanivzein seautoVn The statement by Jesus raises a question from Judas (not Judas Iscariot—he has already departed in 13:30). Judas (and probably the other disciples as well) cannot understand what has happened that Jesus is going to manifest himself to them and not to the world. We should probably take this as an indication that the disciples, on the night before the crucifixion, still did not understand what lay ahead, and were expecting Jesus to reveal himself to the nation and the world as Messiah.

14:23-24 ejavn ti" ajgapa'/ me toVn lovgon mou thrhvsei As Jesus has done before in the Fourth Gospel (3:5, 4:13), he does not answer the question posed by Judas directly. What he says, however, when properly understood, does constitute an answer. He explains what he meant in verses 19-21 about manifesting himself to the disciples and not to the world, and expands it to include his earlier statement to Philip in verse 9, “he who has seen me has seen the Father.” To the person who loves Jesus, as demonstrated by his keeping of Jesus’ words, both Jesus and the Father will come and take up permanent residence (monhVn par! aujtw'/ poihsovmeqa). Conversely in verse 24, lack of love is indicated by lack of obedience, and once again Jesus affirms that his words have not originated with himself but with the Father.

14:25 Tau'ta lelavlhka These words by Jesus recur six more times in the Last Discourse, in 15:11, 16:1, 16:4, 16:6, 16:25, and 16:33.

14:26 oJ deV paravklhto", toV pneu'ma toV a{gion Here the Paraclete is specifically identified as the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in Jesus’ name. The ministries of the Paraclete are described as teaching the disciples all things and reminding them of all the things Jesus said to them. “All things” may refer, as Morris suggests, to “all you will ever need to know.”130 However, in light of the connection with “all the things” Jesus said to them, it is more likely that the teaching function of the Holy Spirit is not intended to reveal exhaustive truth to the disciples, but rather the full significance of what Jesus did and said while he was with them. In this sense the second clause is parallel and epexegetical or explanatory to the first.

14:27 Eijrhvnhn ajfivhmi uJmi'n In spite of appearances, this verse does not introduce a new subject (peace). Jesus will use the phrase as a greeting to his disciples after his resurrection (20:19, 21, 26). It is here a reflection of the Hebrew <lv (shalom) as a farewell. But Jesus says he leaves peace with his disciples. We should probably understand this in terms of the indwelling of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, which has been the topic of the preceding verses. It is his presence, after Jesus has left the disciples, which will remain with them and comfort them.

14:28 uJpavgw kaiV e[rcomai proV" uJma'" Jesus refers once again to his upcoming departure and return to the disciples, a topic he mentioned in 14:3 and returned to in 14:18-20 (see above, verse 18 and following).

o{ti oJ pathVr meivzwn mouv ejstin This phrase has caused much christological and trinitarian debate. Although the Arians appealed to this text to justify their subordinationist christology, it seems evident that by the fact Jesus compares himself to the Father, his divine nature is taken for granted. There have been two orthodox interpretations:

  • The Son is eternally generated while the Father is not: Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Hilary, etc.
  • As man the incarnate Son was less than the Father: Cyril of Alexandria, Ambrose, Augustine.

In the context of the Fourth Gospel the second explanation seems more plausible. But why should the disciples have rejoiced? Because Jesus is on the way to the Father who will glorify him (cf. 17:4-5). During his mission on earth he is less than the One who sent him, but his departure now signifies that the work the Father has given him is completed (cf. 19:30). Now Jesus will be glorified with that glory that he had with the Father before the world was (cf. 17:5). This should be a cause of rejoicing to the disciples because when Jesus is glorified he will glorify his disciples as well (17:22).

14:29 i{na o{tan gevnhtai pisteuvshte Jesus tells the disciples that he has told them all these things before they happen, so that when they do come to pass the disciples will believe. We are not to understand this as if they had not believed prior to this time; over and over the Evangelist has affirmed that they have (cf. 2:11 etc.). But when they see these things happen, their level of trust in Jesus will increase and their concept of who he is will expand. The confession of Thomas in 20:28 is representative of this increased understanding of who Jesus is.

14:30 oujkevti pollaV lalhvsw meq= uJmw'n Jesus does not have much more to say to them. Although this would certainly suit the end of the Discourse, it does not (as some who wish to rearrange chapters 13-17 maintain) require it. The reason Jesus gives that he does not have much more to say is that the ruler of the world is coming. Jesus has already used the descriptive title oJ tou' kovsmou a[rcwn in 12:31 to refer to Satan. The soldiers and Judas who are coming to arrest Jesus represent the coming of the Evil One, and it is possible in light of the statement in 13:27 (that Satan “entered into” Judas) that for the Evangelist, the coming of Judas indicates the coming of Satan himself.

14:31 ejgeivresqe, a[gwmen ejnteu'qen Some have taken it that at this point Jesus and the disciples get up and leave the room where the meal was served and begin the journey to the garden of Gethsemane. If so, the rest of the Last Discourse takes place en route. This is possible, but not really necessary. Jesus could simply have stood up at this point (the disciples may or may not have stood with him) to finish the discourse before departing (in 18:1). In any case it may be argued that Jesus’ refers not to a literal departure at this point, but to preparing to meet the Enemy who is on the way already in the person of Judas and the soldiers with him.

118 Morris, The Gospel According to John, 637.

119 See BDF 387.2.

120 Morris, The Gospel According to John, 638.

121 De Somniis (On Dreams) 1.43, line 256.

122 Pausanius 10.31.7.

123 Brown, The Gospel According to John, 620.

124 For further discussion see James McCaffrey, The House with Many Rooms: The Temple Theme of Jn. 14,2-3 (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1988). See 3:17 for a further discussion of “realized eschatology” in the Fourth Gospel.

125 Brown, The Gospel According to John, 620.

126 Brown, The Gospel According to John, 636.

127 For more discussion of the debate over whether Jesus is the “other” paraclete, see Morris, The Gospel According to John, 648, note 42.

128 E. J. Goodspeed, Problems of New Testament Translation (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1945) 110 ff.

129 See BDF 323.

130 Morris, The Gospel According to John, 656.

Related Topics: Christology, Soteriology (Salvation)

Report Inappropriate Ad