“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus says this and teaches about the Holy Spirit in this chapter.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled…” When we face troubling times we often feel overwhelmed by fear, doubts, grief, and conflict. Our outer resources may evaporate and our inner strength may prove inadequate. Though faced with possible or certain failure, we have assurances in Jesus’ words to remain calm and hopeful:
This and other *Life Applications are in today’s reading.
Jesus Is the Way to the Father / 14:1-14
After predicting Peter’s denial (13:38), Jesus spoke to the deep concerns of the disciples. They were confused; he encouraged them to trust. They needed to anchor that trust in Jesus. He indicated that he and the Father would prepare a place for them while he was gone, but that he would return to gather them.
After this intimate opening dialogue, the Last Supper discourse began. The next several chapters have been among the most treasured of those who follow Jesus. They not only draw us close to him; they also give us compelling reasons to invite others into that fellowship with our Savior.
14:1 Jesus spoke to Peter (whose denial of Jesus had just been predicted—see 13:38) and to all the other disciples, telling them, “Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me.” All of the disciples must have been troubled about Jesus’ predictions of betrayal, denial, and departure. After all, if Peter’s commitment was shaky, then every disciple should be aware of his own weaknesses. Jesus urged his disciples to maintain their trust in the Father and in the Son, to continue trusting through the next few very difficult days
*LIFE APPLICATION: STRONG WEAK PEOPLE
Jesus did not want his followers to imitate Peter’s impulsive self-confidence. Potential weaknesses and possible failures trouble us. So we don’t like to think about them. Peter denied his own frailty and claimed more faith than he had. Jesus’ solution for troubled hearts requires us to trust in him. Trust does not mean pretending we are strong; it means recognizing our weakness and need for God’s help. If we believe for a moment that we can follow Jesus in our own strength, we will fail as miserably as Peter.
*LIFE APPLICATION: TRUST IN ME?
When we face troubling times we often feel overwhelmed by fear, doubts, grief, and conflict. Our outer resources may evaporate and our inner strength may prove inadequate. Though faced with possible or certain failure, we have assurances in Jesus’ words to remain calm and hopeful:
- God is trustworthy, and he has sent Christ, who is also trustworthy, to us. No one else deserves our trust.
- God has a gracious welcome and plenty of space in his “house.” We need not fear exclusion or separation from him.
- Jesus spoke the truth. His description of the future was realistic. He has never been proven wrong. We can rely on both Jesus’ teaching and his promises.
- Jesus did exactly what he said he would do, return to the disciples after the Resurrection. In so doing, he guaranteed our entrance into God’s presence and our place in God’s house.
- Jesus is always with us, and someday we will be face to face with him. Whatever the future holds, Jesus promised to be our companion. We know who Jesus is and how much he loves us.
14:2 The traditional interpretation of this phrase teaches that Jesus is going to heaven to prepare rooms or “mansions” for his followers. Based on that imagery, entire heavenly subdivisions and elaborate “mansion blueprints” have been described. Many commentators think that Jesus was speaking about his Father’s house in heaven, where he would go after his resurrection in order to prepare rooms for his followers. Then he would return one day to take his believers to be with him in heaven. The day of that return usually has been regarded as the Second Coming.
The other view is that the passage primarily speaks of the believers’ immediate access to God the Father through the Son. The place Jesus was preparing has less to do with a location (heaven) than it does with an intimate relationship with a person (God the Father). This interpretation does not deny the comfort of heaven’s hope in this passage, but it does remove the temptation to view heaven purely in terms of glorious mansions. Heaven is not about splendid accommodations; it is about being with God. The point of the passage is that Jesus is providing the way for the believers to live in God the Father. As such, the way he prepared the place was through his own death and resurrection and thereby opened the way for the believers to live in Christ and approach God.
According to this view, the Father’s house is not a heavenly mansion, but Christ himself in whom all the believers reside. By expansion, the Father’s house is Christ and the church (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:20-22; Hebrews 3:2). The believers don’t have to wait until the Second Coming to live in this house; once Christ rose from the dead he brought them into a new, living relationship with God (see 20:19-23). He would be the means whereby the believers could come to dwell in the Father and the Father in them. As such, the promise in 14:2-3 relates to the corporate fellowship that would be possible through Christ’s departure and return in the Spirit. In this view, the many rooms would be the many members of God’s household. Christ went to prepare a place for each member in God’s household (1 Chronicles 17:9)—the preparation was accomplished by his death and resurrection.
14:3 There are three ways to understand the words, “I will come and get you”: (1) Jesus’ coming again to the disciples would be realized in a short while. When Jesus said, “I will come,” that coming again occurred on the day of his resurrection. (2) Jesus’ coming is the Second Coming. (3) This “coming” refers to both the Resurrection and the Second Coming—the former foreshadowing the latter. Those who hold this view, therefore, extract a double meaning from Jesus’ words in verses 2 and 3; they say the passage speaks both of the believers being brought into the risen Christ as the many “rooms” in the Father’s house and of the believers being brought by the returned Christ into the Father’s house in heaven. It does seem that both meanings merge. Christ has us completely in his care.
*LIFE APPLICATION: ETERNITY TODAY
There are few verses in Scripture that describe eternal life, but these few verses are rich with promises. Here Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you,” and “I will come again.” We can look forward to eternal life because Jesus has promised it to all who believe in him. But we can actually begin to enjoy eternal life now, for it became ours the moment we believed in Jesus. We can live today with a new destiny in mind. Although we do not know all the details of eternity, we need not fear because Jesus is preparing us to share with him the eternity that he and the Father have prepared for us.
14:4 Jesus said, “You know where I am going and how to get there.” This statement anticipated Thomas’s question (in the next verse) and prepared the groundwork for what Jesus was about to teach regarding himself. Jesus was not naively hoping his disciples understood; he was inviting them to declare their ignorance so they might receive the truth.
*LIFE APPLICATION: THE WAY
Many people are shocked that Christians insist upon Jesus being the Way and the only Way. But Christians did not invent the claim. No ancient committee decided that Jesus’ uniqueness would be a distinctive teaching of Christianity. Jesus himself made the claim. It really isn’t a question of tolerance or being open to diversity; it is a question of whether we want to accept what Jesus said.
Following are three reasons why people reject Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God:
1. They are satisfied with their own way or with doing nothing; they refuse on principle to examine Christ’s claims.
2. They deny they are lost or have need of a savior.
3. They are convinced that there must be several valid ways besides Jesus to get to God.
Jesus claimed to be the only way to God the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow. In reality, it is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only one way, we should be saying, “Thank you, God, for providing a sure way to get to you!”
14:5-6 Clearly, the disciples didn’t know what Jesus meant. Thomas expressed the obvious by asking, “We haven’t any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Like us, the disciples thought in terms of this world—time and space. So going must mean physically moving from one place to another. Jesus replied: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus’ response shows that the destination is not a physical place but a person (the Father), and that the way to that destination is another person (the Son). Jesus is the Way to the Father; Jesus is the Truth (or reality) of all God’s promises; and Jesus is the Life as he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally. Jesus is the way that leads to the truth and life.
*LIFE APPLICATION: THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE
Jesus provides for us as much as we need to know and can know about God. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (1:18 nrsv).
- He is the WAY: John 1:18; 8:36; 10:9; Colossians 1:15.
Jesus is both God and man, knowing intimately our experience and our needs. He is our path, bridge, transport—not just an example or road sign. He is our guide with dependable directions and powerful protection. Our personal relationship with Christ links us to God. Our response should be to follow his guidance, trusting his ability to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
Jesus is our source of intimate knowledge of the Father. His answers, teaching, and commands were right. No shadow of dishonesty, falsehood, or lying was in his life. He is the reality of all God promised. Our response should be to believe in him and put into practice what he taught.
Jesus gives us life both now and eternally. His life provides the surest model for our own. He promises to join his life to ours. There is no other source of life beside him. Our response should be to receive that life and allow it to work itself out in our daily experience.
Jesus’ exclusive claim is unmistakable. It forces an unconditional response. Jesus invites people to accept or reject him, making it clear that partial acceptance is rejection. His self-description invalidates alternative plans of salvation. Some would say that a single way is entirely too restrictive. But that attitude fails to see the desperate state of the human condition. That there is a way at all is evidence of God’s grace and love. The state of human rebellion can be seen in this: We are like people drowning at sea who are graciously thrown a life-saving rope but who respond by insisting that we deserve a choice of several ropes along with the option of swimming to safety if we so choose.
14:7 In verses 2-6, Jesus told the disciples that he provides the one and only way to the Father. In verses 7 and following, he tries to explain that he is the visible manifestation of the Father. To know Jesus is to know the Father (see 1:18; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus shifted the questioning from the future to the present. Instead of being preoccupied with Jesus’ going and how they could get there, they were to realize that Jesus opened the way to the Father right now. The disciples needed to discern the meaning of Jesus’ time on earth and then respond to him as their Savior. Jesus holds the way open for us today—from now on, we can begin a relationship with the Father by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. The disciples had not yet thoroughly understood this incredible truth, for the death and resurrection of Jesus had not yet occurred (although Jesus had spoken about them), and the Holy Spirit had not yet arrived to help them understand.
14:8-9 Philip was not satisfied—he wanted to see the Father. But Jesus explained that to see him is to see the Father, for Jesus is God in human form (see 1:14, 18). Philip and the disciples, after their years with Jesus, should have come to know and recognize that the one among them was God in human, physical form. He is the visible, tangible image of the invisible God. He is the complete revelation of what God is like. Jesus’ answer contains no rebuke; he explained to Philip, who wanted to see the Father, that to know Jesus is to know God. The search for God, for truth and reality, ends in Christ. (See also Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-4.)
*LIFE APPLICATION: UNMET DESIRES
Was Philip wrong, shallow, or out of place to question the Lord? Whatever Philip’s personal reasons for asking Jesus to “show us the Father,” his question shows how much easier it is to ask for more proof than to act on what we already know. We expect God to satisfy our conditions before we will trust him. These conditions take some of the following forms:
- The desire for assurance: “Please give us bomb-proof faith in who you are and exactly what you expect from us. Protect us from doubts and ambiguity.”
- The desire for intimacy: “Please give us such a constant feeling of being close to you that we will never be alone or afraid again. Protect us from the risks of broken relationships and living in a fallen world.”
- The desire for knowledge: “Please give us a deep understanding of your nature. Protect us from confusion.”
These desires may be real, but God is not obligated to satisfy them. Most of us will experience desires that will go unfulfilled in this life. In fact, unmet desires remind us to submit to God. He is in charge; not us. In Christ, God has given us all the resources we need to live, to love, and to serve. Eventually, Christ will help us understand why some of our desires go unmet. In the meantime, we are to trust and go on.
14:10-11 This statement conveys the complete unity between Jesus and the Father (see 10:30, 38; 17:21-24). This unity ensures that Jesus truly and completely revealed God to us. This unity goes far deeper than Jesus being of one mind with the Father—merely reflecting the intentions of the Father. Jesus and God were one in essence and purpose. Because of this oneness, Jesus said, “The words I say are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.” If believing in this oneness is too difficult for you just now, Jesus told the disciples, “at least believe because of what you have seen me do.” God’s power was revealed through Jesus’ works.
14:12 Very likely Jesus gave this promise specifically to his disciples concerning evangelism—”bearing much fruit” (see 15:7-8). There are two parts to the greater works: There would be a greater number of converts, and there would be a greater scope to the converts. Jesus performed some truly impressive miracles during his earthly ministry; his disciples would perform even greater ones after his resurrection. Furthermore, the disciples, working in the power of the Holy Spirit that would be sent to them after Jesus went to the Father, would carry the gospel of God’s Kingdom out of Palestine and into the whole world and thus to the Gentiles.
14:13-14 To pray “in Jesus’ name” is to pray in union with Jesus’ person and purpose because the “name” of a person symbolized his essence and destiny. We have the promise of answered prayer described in these verses if we properly understand the context of Jesus’ last discourse. Jesus promised the disciples that their requests concerning fruit bearing would be answered because it would bring glory to God (see 4:41; 7:18; 8:50, 54). The next chapters clarify this (15:7-8, 16; 16:23-24).
When Jesus says we can ask for anything, we must remember that our asking must be in his name—that is, according to God’s character and will. God will not grant requests contrary to his nature or his will, and we cannot use his name as a magic formula to fulfill our selfish desires. If we are sincerely following God and seeking to do his will, then our requests will be in line with what he wants, and he will grant them. (See also 15:16; 16:23.)
*LIFE APPLICATION: IN JESUS’ NAME
Asking in Jesus’ name means more than tacking a required phrase at the end of hasty and often self-centered prayers. The privilege to approach God “in Jesus name” ought not to be taken lightly. We demonstrate maturity in our faith as we practice the use of Jesus’ name in ways which recognize his enabling power and his unlimited resources. Keep in mind:
- Christ’s kingdom purpose—Everything Jesus did aimed at glorifying God and bringing those who believe into his kingdom. Do your prayers fit in with Christ’s kingdom purpose?
- Christ’s larger perspective—Christ considers our needs in the context of the needs and desires of his larger family. He knows us individually, but responds to us in community. Do your prayers insist on your will being done or do you seek God’s will for all your Christian brothers and sisters?
- Christ’s requirement to follow him—Because we are his obedient disciples, Christ promises to answer our prayers. Do your prayers flow from an obedient life? Are you willing to fulfill what God has already asked you to do?
- Christ’s promise of peace—Lack of peace stems from a prayerless life, not from unanswered prayer. Are you overanxious to speed up God’s timetable for your benefit? His peace enables us to sort through our desires in order to discover what we really want him to do. We are encouraged to bring all our requests to God—even our desperate and fearful ones.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit / 14:15-31
The second half of chapter 14 includes Jesus’ teaching on the resources of discipleship. Jesus prepared his followers for his physical absence by telling them that they would experience his presence more fully and intimately because the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, would take up residence in them.
14:15-17 Prior to this, Jesus had urged the disciples to love one another. Then he spoke of their love for him. Truly loving Jesus requires that we do what he commands. Eternal life is a gift that we cannot work for or earn. Once we begin that life in Christ, loving and obeying Christ’s commands become the evidence that he is in us. This is John’s emphasis in his first epistle (see 1 John 5:2-3).
Various translations use different words for the Holy Spirit here: Advocate, Helper, Comforter. The Greek word parakletos denotes the Helper or Counselor who is always there to give special care in times of need. But the Holy Spirit is more than a Comforter, Helper, and Counselor; he is also an Advocate and an Encourager. In this context, it is also clear that the Holy Spirit is the Son’s “Representative,” even as the Son was the Father’s “Representative.”
The expression another Counselor means “another counselor of the same kind as the first.” This implies that Jesus was the first Counselor (see 1 John 2:1), and that the Spirit would be the same kind of Counselor. When Jesus would no longer be with the disciples physically, the Holy Spirit would be their constant companion to guide, help, and empower them for the tasks ahead. Jesus identified the Counselor as the one who leads into all truth because he is the Spirit who reveals the truth about God.
*LIFE APPLICATION: THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus would soon leave the disciples, but he would remain with them. How could this be? The Counselor—the Spirit of God himself—would come after Jesus was gone to care for and guide the disciples. The regenerating power of the Spirit came on the disciples just before his ascension (20:22), and the Spirit was poured out on all the believers at Pentecost (Acts 2), shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven. The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God within all believers, helping us live as God wants, and building Christ’s church on earth. By faith we can appropriate the Spirit’s power each day.
The following chapters teach these truths about the Holy Spirit:
- He will be with us forever (14:16).
- The world at large cannot accept him (14:17).
- He lives with us and in us (14:17).
- He teaches us (14:26).
- He reminds us of Jesus’ words (14:26; 15:26).
- He convicts us of sin, shows us God’s righteousness, and announces God’s judgment on evil (16:8).
- He guides into truth and gives insight into future events (16:13).
- He brings glory to Christ (16:14).
The Holy Spirit has been active among people from the beginning of time, but after Pentecost (Acts 2) he came to live in all believers. Many people are unaware of the Holy Spirit’s activities, but to those who hear Christ’s words and understand the Spirit’s power, the Spirit gives a whole new way to look at life.
It may seem, at first, that the world at large cannot receive the Spirit because of its sin and disobedience. But if that were the case, no one could accept the Spirit, for all of us sin and are disobedient. Instead, the world cannot receive this Spirit of truth because the world isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. In the same way that Jesus was not accepted by the world (see 1:11-12), the Spirit would also not be received. But the disciples (and all believers) can receive the Spirit, for Jesus said, “But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” The disciples, sinful men, not clear in their understanding at this point, even somewhat greedy in their quest for positions in God’s Kingdom, would be able to know the Spirit, for the Spirit would come to live in them, helping them understand and empowering them to do great works for God. The world has refused to know Jesus; but any sincere seeker, no matter how sinful or how ignorant, who humbly comes to Jesus, can receive this gift of the Spirit.
*LIFE APPLICATION: THEY CAN’T SEE OR UNDERSTAND
Jesus later pointed out that the Holy Spirit works in the world (16:8) convicting people of sin. People may become aware of their sin but they will not recognize how they came to this awareness. Several factors prevent people’s understanding the Holy Spirit until after they have believed in Christ:
- The Holy Spirit speaks a heavenly message (the words of Christ). His message of service, sacrifice, and faith is unintelligible to those who have not yet known Christ.
- The Holy Spirit reverses one’s way of thinking. People naturally place themselves at the center of everything. The Holy Spirit places Christ and his purposes at the center.
- The Holy Spirit begins with a different starting point. People tend to refer to their own needs and desires first. The Holy Spirit makes the love for Christ and obedience to God the starting point.
14:18-19 This statement showed Jesus’ fatherly care for his own, those whom he loved (see 13:1); it also affirmed Jesus’ presence with the disciples through the Spirit of truth, for he said, “I will come to you.” After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to the disciples in his glorious resurrection body and spoke to them prior to returning to the Father (20:19–21:25). At that time, he breathed into his disciples the Holy Spirit (20:22). This assured the disciples that Jesus would come to them when the Spirit was given to them. This coming would be in just a little while, during which time Jesus would experience crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (see 16:16-23). The disciples and many of Jesus’ followers saw him in his resurrection appearances (see 20:20, 26; 21:1, 14). Through the Resurrection, the living Jesus became the disciples’ life because they became united to him like branches in a vine. This is the intent behind the words: “For I will live again, and you will, too.” As the Son’s life is dependent upon the Father’s life (5:26; 6:57), so the believer’s life is dependent on the Son’s life. The reality of the Resurrection becomes the basis for our hope of eternal life.
*LIFE APPLICATION: YOU WILL LIVE
Jesus spoke with profound confidence even though he faced his own physical death. He affirmed his resurrection as a fact to undergird our way of living and dying. Christ’s teaching contradicts the way our culture denies and avoids the reality of death.
We may freely participate in this life while at the same time we must be ready to let go of it in favor of a life that will not end. We miss the joy of Christ’s teaching if we hold desperately to this life. Is there someone who needs to hear us say: “Because Jesus lives, I will live also”? It could be the start of a great conversation, with eternal consequences.
14:20 After Jesus was raised to life again, the disciples would realize by their own experience that Jesus lived in his Father, they lived in Jesus, and Jesus lived in them. In other words, they would begin to know what it meant to live in God and have God live in them.
14:21 We who love Jesus demonstrate our love by keeping Jesus’ commands. Love means more than words; it requires commitment and action. If we love Christ, then we must prove it by obeying what he says in his word. In return, the Father and Jesus himself love us. Furthermore, Jesus reveals himself to those who love him. Since the Greek word translated reveal means “to appear,” it is likely that Jesus was speaking of his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. But the statement extends beyond that special time to include believers of all time. To all those who love and obey him, he reveals himself as an invisible, spiritual presence (see 20:29; 2 Corinthians 4:6).
*LIFE APPLICATION: IF ONLY
“If only God would show me what to do! I wish God would reveal himself!” In personal experience, most Christians admit to wishing God would reveal himself more openly. We want God to show us exactly what he wants us to do. We may think
we are asking God for clear directions so we can carry them out, but our practice shows that we want to know first what God wants us to do so we can decide if we want to obey.
Jesus listed obedience before revelation. He said, in effect, “Obey what you know and you will know more.” The Scriptures contain many clear instructions for obedience that are never out of season. If we truly love God, we not only hang on his every word, but we also take our duties seriously. When we feel confused or lack answers, we should ask how we can follow through on directions he has previously given.
14:22 John clarified for us that this is not Judas Iscariot, but Judas the son of James (see Luke 6:16). This disciple asked Jesus how he would reveal himself only to the disciples and not to the world. The disciples may still have been expecting Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom and overthrow Rome; they found it hard to understand why he did not tell the world at large that he was the Messiah. Or at least they felt that if he was going to rise from the dead, everyone should see it and know about it, for surely then they would believe. But Jesus explained that such a revelation to the world was not in the plans—at least not then. Not everyone would understand Jesus’ message, and a hardened and unbelieving world would not believe even someone who had come back from the dead (Luke 16:31). Ever since Pentecost, the gospel of the Kingdom has been proclaimed in the whole world, and yet not everyone is receptive to it. Jesus reveals himself most deeply to those who love and obey him.
14:23 In effect, Jesus’ response reassured Judas and the disciples that neither he nor the Father would be abandoning them. At first, it must have seemed to the disciples that they had no advantage over everyone else—Jesus would die and leave them. In answering Peter’s question in the previous chapter, Jesus had explained that, as opposed to the Jewish leaders who had been told they could not go where Jesus was going, the disciples eventually would be able to be with Jesus, but it would be later (see 7:32-34; 13:36). Here Jesus offered the best comfort of all—there wouldn’t really be any separation from him for these disciples. Because Jesus would return to the Father, the Holy Spirit would be made available, allowing every believer constant access to the Father and the Son. To those who love Jesus, the Son and the Father would come to them and live with them.
*LIFE APPLICATION: LOVE AND OBEY
Some people have taught that keeping Jesus’ words is too stringent or unrealistic. “We are under grace,” they say, “not under law, so why should we even worry about keeping commandments?” The key question isn’t really about what words to keep or how to keep them, but whether we still love Jesus. Do we relate to him mainly as a traditional religious figure, an object of curious historical study, a source of interesting biblical discussion, or an optional model among many equally qualified persons? Or do we know him as Lord and Savior of our lives? The following questions should clarify our thinking:
- Are we grateful he found us even though we were not truly seeking him?
- Are we glad he rescued us from sin?
- Are we thrilled he chose us to be his followers?
- Are we excited about his presence in us and his words of guidance?
- Are we considering daily how to be more aware of his directions for us?
- Are we making his will the central pursuit in our vocation, education, and family life?
14:24 Obedience comes from love and trust. So a person who doesn’t love Jesus will not obey him. A sobering way of stating Jesus’ point is to say, “The quality of our obedience is a direct reflection of our love for Jesus.” Jesus repeated that all he said was from God himself (see also 12:49; 14:10).
14:25 Jesus gave his last words to his disciples. The coming days would bring horrifying, then glorious, events, but Jesus would not be able to talk to his disciples during those events. Before the disciples could understand any more, Jesus’ death and resurrection would have to take place. Then, the disciples’ understanding would be heightened by the coming of the Holy Spirit.
14:26 The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, would be sent as Jesus’ representative The Spirit would continue Jesus’ ministry of teaching. The Spirit would also remind the disciples of what Jesus had told them. The apostles remembered and wrote with the help of the Spirit. John’s Gospel, even the entire New Testament, would not exist if not for this reminding work of the Holy Spirit.
In the case of the disciples, the reminding role of the Holy Spirit uniquely guided the recording of the New Testament. However, the process is still in place. The disciples first heard Jesus speak; we discover Jesus’ words in Scripture. Reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, and obeying place Christ’s words firmly inside us, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of their further application as we move through life.
*LIFE APPLICATION: PLANTED TRUTH
Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them remember what he had been teaching them. This promise ensures the validity of the New Testament. The disciples were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and teachings; the Holy Spirit helped them remember without taking away their individual perspectives. We can be confident that the Gospels accurately record what Jesus taught and did (see 1 Corinthians 2:10-14). The Holy Spirit can help us in the same way. As we study the Bible, we can trust the Holy Spirit to plant truth in our minds, convince us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from it.
14:27 This verse echoes the first verse of the chapter. Jesus’ peace would not guarantee the absence of trouble—for Jesus himself faced excruciating spiritual, physical, and emotional struggles in the coming hours. Instead, Jesus’ peace supplies strength and comfort for the burdens we are called to carry. Jesus gave the disciples peace that would help them through their own time of trial ahead. After three days, the risen Jesus would come to them and again bestow his peace upon them (20:19).
The peace Jesus offers his disciples isn’t like the peace the world gives. It is his peace, the peace he modeled every day of his life. Jesus’ peace did not flee conflict, pain, or death. In fact, the more intense the difficulties, the more apparent Jesus’ peace became. Jesus derived his peace from his relationship with the Father.
Sin, fear, uncertainty, and doubt work to make us troubled and afraid. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offers comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him. The Holy Spirit’s work in our lives brings deep and lasting peace. We have confident assurance in any circumstance; with Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future.
14:28 Jesus repeated what he had said in 14:3. Although Jesus was sad to leave his disciples, he was glad to return to his Father. If the disciples truly loved Jesus, they would understand this and be very happy for him—instead of feeling sorry for themselves. In saying that the Father is greater than he, Jesus was asserting his role as the Father’s servant, for the Son was the one sent to do the Father’s will. This does not deny his equality with God (see 10:30); rather, it affirms Jesus’ humble attitude about his relationship with the Father.
14:29 Jesus told the disciples about his imminent departure and return so that they would recognize these events, realize that he knew about them, and believe that Jesus upholds his claims. Jesus gave them the tools and resources to understand later events even though at the time he gave them, they did not appreciate their value.
*LIFE APPLICATION: ANTICIPATION
Jesus modeled an important leadership characteristic in preparing his disciples for future events. As leaders we should do all we can to speak truthfully about our own experiences so that others will be warned of the conflicts, struggles, and feelings they will face during various stages of life. Not warning them may lead to disillusionment. Our children ought to benefit from firsthand reflections on what it means to be a spouse, parent, coworker, roommate, employer, retired person, etc. They will not understand all we say, but they may remember some important lessons along the way. Our children, and those we teach, may not learn from our mistakes, but withholding the lesson will make it certain that they won’t learn.
Too often, leaders make destructive assumptions, relying on what they think people already know instead of making sure that the people know. When we do not equip people we love, we set them up for failure. For instance, the refusal to talk about sexual abuse has allowed the problem to take on epidemic proportions. Not talking about it did not make it go away.
Talking about problems openly doesn’t eliminate them, but it does provide people with preparation for the time of temptation or trial. Move beyond your comfort zone to equip others for survival.
14:30-31 The hour was at hand; Jesus was about to leave his disciples and go to the cross. In so doing he would face the prince of this world (12:31) who has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Although Satan was unable to overpower Jesus (Matthew 4), he still had the arrogance to try. Satan’s power exists only because God allows him to act. But because Jesus is sinless, Satan has no power over him. Satan would not be able to exert this power over Jesus because Jesus would conquer death. Jesus faced death as one who did so out of love for his Father, for his Father had sent him to die for the sins of the world. Ironically, when Jesus died, Satan thought he had won the battle. He did not realize that Jesus’ death had been part of the plan all along. In dying, Jesus defeated Satan’s power over death, for Jesus would rise again (16:11; Colossians 2:15).
The words, “Come, let’s be going,” suggest that chapters 15–17 may have been spoken en route to the Garden of Gethsemane. Another view holds that Jesus was asking the disciples to get ready to leave the upper room, but they did not actually do so until 18:1. However, it is also likely that these words are spoken, not as a separate sentence, but as an ending to the discourse above. He has just said that the prince of this world is coming, and perhaps by this sentence he is saying, “Let us rise and be ready to meet him.” This conveys more of a spiritual movement and preparation than a physical one.
*LIFE APPLICATION: CATCHING IT
The lesson may be taught, but the learning hasn’t happened until the lesson has been caught. Jesus had taught, in a variety of ways, his identity with the Father as God. He had spoken about and demonstrated his obedience repeatedly. But the world needed an undeniable, irrefutable lesson about obedience to God. Jesus provided this by submitting to the worst kind of death. To the very end, Jesus still trusted the Father and continued to obey. On the cross, when he realized that the Father had forsaken him, he still entrusted himself to his Father.
The feeling that Satan has a hold on us, even when we follow Jesus, may seem overpowering. Hope may vanish. Our family may be disintegrating, children rebelling, income gone, and future grim. We may find ourselves saying, with Jesus, “Why have you forsaken me?” In such a time, we can renew our trust in God or rebel bitterly. Jesus showed that Satan’s hold may seem apparent even in death, but God’s power can break his hold anytime.