John Chapters 13 to 17, Part 4
by Karl Kemp
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We continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapters 13-17 here in Part 4. We are starting with the second paragraph of a three paragraph footnote under John 14:15.
God, who knows the heart, requires repentance and faith of all converts before He imparts the life-giving, sanctifying (making holy), gift-dispensing Spirit to them (cf., e.g., Matt. 4:17; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; and 26:20). There is, of course, a limit to how much repentance God requires before we become born-again Christians (the Spirit comes to dwell in us to enable us to get our lives in divine order), but He requires us to turn from sin and begin to cooperate with His saving grace and make righteousness and holiness top priority as part of our conversion to becoming Christians. Very often in our day prospective converts are not even informed of the need to repent and to make living in the righteousness and holiness of God by grace through faith a top priority. Saving faith includes a commitment from the heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, which includes a commitment to love Him and to live in line with His word and commandments by His grace/Spirit.
It must be understood, of course, that the Spirit was active among the people of God in the days of the old covenant, before the promised new-covenant Spirit was given, starting on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit was much more active in the transitional period when the Lord Jesus Christ (who was anointed with the Spirit without measure [John 3:34]) ministered on the earth than He was in the days of the old covenant. So too it must be understood that the Spirit works with prospective Christian converts before they receive the Spirit (before they are born again/from above): He draws, convicts, reveals, teaches, etc. We are totally dependent on the grace of God in Christ, but we must respond to, appropriate, and cooperate with that grace.))]] (16) ["And"; see under verse 15.] I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper [[Compare John 14:26; 1:33; 7:39; 16:7; Luke 24:49; and Acts 2:33. In the margin (for the word translated "Helper") the NASB has, "Greek "parakletos," one called alongside to help; or Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor." The NIV has, "another Counselor." This same Greek noun is used in 1 John 2:1 of the Lord Jesus Christ, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." As 1 John 2:1 shows, Jesus still is a PARAKLETE for Christians, even though He left them (in one sense) to go to the right hand of God the Father. In general His present help is mediated through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has indwelled believers since He was given (poured out), starting at Pentecost. "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ [the Holy Spirit], he does not belong to Him" (Rom. 8:9).]], that He may be with you forever [The glorious relationship we have with the Holy Spirit will continue forever, but it will be taken to a higher level when we are glorified at the end of this age. And we can and should continually grow in that relationship (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).]; (17) that is the Spirit of truth [[Compare John 14:6; 15:26; 16:13 ("But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth...."); 1 John 4:6; and 5:6. The truth of God includes His righteousness and holiness (cf. Eph. 4:24). We desperately need to learn/know, to be committed to, and to live in agreement with the truth (by grace/the Spirit through faith).]], whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him [[Compare John 1:10; 12:31; 14:30; 15:18-25; 17:6, 14-19; and 1 Cor. 2:14. The people of the world cannot see or come to know God or receive the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit) until they are willing to respond to Him and His saving grace with repentance and faith. They are spiritually dead; they live in a different dimension; they function on a different wavelength.]], but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. [[The apostles had come to know the Holy Spirit on a level far beyond what was available to believers under the old covenant through their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (who had been given/anointed with the Spirit without measure [John 3:34]), even before they received the Spirit. (Christians are anointed with the Spirit by measure.) The Spirit had been abiding with them (14:17). Starting on the day of Pentecost He would dwell in them in the full new-covenant sense, which includes the new birth, His new-covenant sanctifying (making holy) work, and His work of anointing for ministry and dispensing charismatic gifts. The apostles had already experienced something of His anointing for ministry and being used in charismatic gifts through ministering under the Lord Jesus Christ. (I had a footnote: God's ministers in the Old Testament were anointed by the Spirit to minister and some of them were used in charismatic gifts.)
I believe the Father's giving of the Spirit spoken of here (actually, as Acts 2:33 shows, Christ pours forth the Spirit on His disciples after He receives the promised Spirit from the Father, starting on the day of Pentecost) can be equated with baptism/immersion in the Spirit. I have discussed these things in some detail. See under John 1:33 in my paper on John 1:19-4:54 on this Christian article site.]] (18) I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. [[I believe (in agreement with many) that Jesus was speaking here of coming to His disciples, in a permanent (age-long) sense, through the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:19-23, 28; 17:23; Rom. 8:9, 10 ["However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ [the Holy Spirit], he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you...."]; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27; and Matt. 28:20). Jesus had already told them (in John 14:3) that He would come again and receive them to Himself (take them to heaven), but that is a later coming than the one spoken of here in verse 18.
Subsequent events show that Christ also came to His disciples on several occasions after He was resurrected (starting on the day of His resurrection) and before He went back to the Father - then He came to them in a very real spiritual/Spiritual sense through the coming of the Holy Spirit. ((I had a footnote that goes on for two paragraphs: Christ's post-resurrection, pre-ascension appearances to His disciples (especially to the apostles) were extremely important to their having a full assurance regarding His resurrection and their taking the gospel to the world. His resurrection was a very important part of the gospel of the new covenant. His resurrection proved that He was the righteous Son of God and that His atoning death had availed to overthrow death, sin, and Satan. He was the first man (though He was much more than just a man; He was the God-man) to be born into the fullness of eternal life and glory; He was the "firstborn from the dead" (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5).
The resurrected Christ's authority over death was further manifested by the events described in Matt. 27:51-53, "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split [at the time Jesus died]. (52) The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised [They were raised after Jesus was raised; He was the "firstborn from the dead."]; (53) and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.")) (See Matt. 28:1-20 [with Matt. 26:32]; Mark 16:1-18 [with Mark 14:28]; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:11-21:23; and Acts 1:1-11). The resurrection appearances spoken of in these references were all before Jesus returned to the Father and before the Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost. Jesus didn't go back to the Father until after forty days (Acts 1:3).
((I had a footnote after listing "Matt. 28:1-20 [with Matt. 26:32]; Mark 16:1-18 [with Mark 14:28]" in the preceding paragraph that goes on for three paragraphs: Matthew 26:32 and Mark 14:28 show that Jesus had told His apostles that after He was raised from the dead that He would go ahead of them to Galilee (cf. Mark 16:7; Matt. 28:7, 10, 16). Luke chapter 24 and John chapters 20, 21 don't mention that detail.
Apparently the unbelief of Jesus' disciples (especially unbelief regarding His being raised from the dead on the third day; cf. Mark 16:1-14; Luke 24:1-43; and John 20:1-29) led Him to modify what He had told them about going at once to Galilee, where they would see Him; He appeared to them in Jerusalem first. He did, however, eventually appear to His disciples in Galilee (cf. Matt. 28:16-20; John 21:1-23).
I'll quote part of what John D. Grassmick says under Mark 16:7, "The disciples did not go to Galilee immediately. Jesus' additional appearances to them in the Jerusalem vicinity were necessary to convince them of the reality of His resurrection (cf. John 20:19-29)" ("Bible Knowledge Commentary-New Testament" [SP Publications, 1983], page 193). And I'll quote part of what H. L. Ellison says under Matt. 28:1-10, "Jesus did appear to the Eleven in and near Jerusalem, because He knew their need. Ideally, however, the meeting place was to be Galilee (Matt. 28:7, 10; 26:32; Mark 14:28), so Matthew omits all the Jerusalem appearances, except the one that attested His resurrection...[cf. Matt. 28:9, 10]." ("New Layman's Bible Commentary" [Zondervan, 1979], page 1221).))
It is possible that Jesus intended to include those post-resurrection, pre-ascension appearances in what He said here ("I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you"), but I doubt it. ((I had a footnote: Some commentators see Jesus speaking only of His post-resurrection, pre-ascension appearances here (I can't live with that viewpoint); others see both His post-resurrection, pre-ascension appearances and His coming to them through sending the Spirit to dwell in them. We will further discuss these things under John 16:16-22.)) It seems that Jesus was speaking here in John 14:18 of a permanent coming (of His coming to stay throughout this age), so His disciples wouldn't be orphans, and the next verse (14:19) seems to speak of the apostles seeing Him in a very real spiritual/Spiritual sense (after receiving the Spirit and being born-again on the Day of Pentecost), which the spiritually dead world won't be able to do. Anyway, we know, based on the word of God, that those post-resurrection, pre-ascension appearances did take place.]] (19) After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me [[As I mentioned under verse 18, Jesus was apparently speaking here of His born-again disciples being able to see Him in a very real spiritual/Spiritual sense after the Spirit comes and they are born again. The last words of this verse speak of believers having spiritual/eternal life through (and in union with the resurrected) Christ by the Holy Spirit, and the following verse (verse 20) also speaks of a time after the Holy Spirit has been given (at Pentecost).]]; because I live, you will live also. [[Jesus would be raised from the dead into the fullness of spiritual/eternal life, but also, "In Him (in God the Son) was life" (John 1:4). He (after His atoning death, resurrection, and ascension) had the authority to impart life, spiritual/eternal life (cf., e.g., John 5:19-29). He imparts life to His disciples (all believers), starting with the new birth, and they (in union with Him and the Spirit of life) live also; at the end of this age, they will be born into the fullness of eternal life.]] (20) In that day you will know that I am in My Father [cf. John 10:38; 14:11], and you in Me, and I in you. [From the time believers are born again by the Spirit and are in the Spirit, they are in Christ, and He is in them (e.g., Rom. 8:9, 10). And they are better able to understand the union that Christ has with God the Father and with the Holy Spirit.] (21) He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me [[See John 14:15, 23; 15:9, 10. ((I had a footnote: John 14:16 speaks of the coming of the Spirit to dwell in the disciples of Christ; verse 23 speaks of the coming of the Father and the Son to make their abode with the disciples - apparently they come through the Person of the Spirit, who comes to dwell in the disciples; here in verse 21 Jesus speaks of disclosing Himself to the disciples - apparently that disclosure starts with His coming in the Person of the Spirit to indwell them.))
Jesus put a strong emphasis here on the need for the disciples to obey Him and keep His commandments. He wasn't speaking here (at least not for the most part) of a need for believers to keep His commandments so that their lives and ministries could be fruitful (though that much was true). He was speaking here (at least for the most part) of a need to love Him and keep His commandments (which is included in what saving faith means) so that they could establish and maintain a born-again, life-flowing relationship with Him and with God the Father (cf., e.g., John 14:23).
We can't earn God's love (we are saved 100 percent by grace), but if we don't respond to His grace with faith (which includes loving Him and obeying His Word by His grace) we forfeit His grace. See under John 13:34; 14:15. ((I had a footnote: It is possible for Christians to be fleshly and disobedient to some extent and still be born-again Christians (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-15), but it is an unacceptable and dangerous place to be, and all the more so if we are in positions of leadership (starting with the apostles), if we have been Christians for a while, and/or if we are living in the very last days before the Lord Jesus Christ returns for the day of judgment, which it seems we are.]]; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father [cf. John 14:23; 16:27; contrast, e.g., John 3:36], and I will love him and will disclose [make known, reveal, manifest] Myself to him.' [[In this context it seems that Jesus was speaking of disclosing Himself (making Himself known) to them by coming to dwell in them by the Spirit (cf. John 14:23) and then relating to them and working through them by the Spirit (cf. John 14:12-14). Anyway, it is also true that Jesus appeared to the apostles (and other disciples) after He was resurrected and before He went back to the Father and before they had received the Spirit (cf., e.g., John 20:11-21:23; Acts 10:40-42).]] (22) Judas (not Iscariot) [See Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; there is widespread agreement that this is the apostle called Thaddaeus in Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18.] said to Him, 'Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose [The Greek verb used here ("emphanizo") was also used in verse 21.] Yourself to us and not to the world?' [[What has happened is that Jesus is crucified, resurrected, and goes back to the Father. Then He pours forth the promised super-blessing of the new-covenant Spirit (starting on the day of Pentecost), but the Spirit just comes to believers, and He works in and through believers. Jesus will disclose, make known, reveal, manifest Himself to His disciples in various (very real) ways throughout this age.]] (23) Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word [Compare John 14:15, 21. Keeping Christ's word includes keeping His commandments, which includes keeping the moral law of the old covenant; cf. John 8:51; Rom. 8:4; 1 John 2:5; but it also includes holding the truths He taught about who He is, His atoning death, the new covenant, etc.]; and My Father will love him [See under verses 15, 21. I'll quote John 16:27, "for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father." People don't just automatically abide in the love of God, or the love of His Son (cf. John 14:21; 15:10).], and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. [Compare, for example, 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 3:17; 1 John 2:24; and Rev. 3:20. Apparently this refers to God the Father and God the Son's coming and making their abode with believers through the indwelling Spirit of God.] (24) He who does not love Me does not keep My words [cf. John 14:23]; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me [cf. John 7:16; 14:10]. (25) These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. (26) But the Helper [the Paraklete], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [[The fact that the Father will send the Holy Spirit in Christ's name includes the idea that He was sent to Christ's disciples in answer to the request of Christ (see John 14:16; cf. Acts 2:33). The Spirit glorifies Christ; He draws people (the elect) to Christ; He ministers to, and through, the disciples of Christ; etc. The Holy Spirit can even be called the Spirit of Christ, who is the Second Person of the Trinity (Acts 16:7; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6; and Phil. 1:19).]], He will teach you all things [See John 16:13-15; 1 John 2:20, 27.], and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you [This includes the Spirit's enabling the apostles to understand things that Jesus had said when He was with them (cf. John 2:18-22; 12:12-16).]. [[These words were spoken to the apostles, and they have a special application for them. They were the ones commissioned to lay the foundation for the Christian church and to lay out the truths on which the new covenant is founded (contained in the New Testament). But it is also true that the Spirit is involved with teaching all Christians of all generations (cf. 1 John 2:20, 27); most of His teaching involves helping believers understand the Bible and much of that help comes through God's appointed and anointed (by the Spirit) ministers. Also, the Spirit will help us remember the things we need to remember, especially dealing with spiritual matters, but not limited to spiritual matters. God is interested and involved with every aspect of the lives of His people.]] (27) Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. [[Compare John 16:33 (quoted below); 20:19-21. This peace, which is a glorious gift indeed, centers in having peace with God (but it includes having inner peace and peace in the body of Christ) through the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work, including the gift of the indwelling Spirit. This peace comes to Christ's disciples through His having solved the sin problem through His atoning death (and His resurrection and ascension). Unbelief (doubt) and disobedience (in partnership with Satan) bring separation, strife, confusion, chaos, the wrong kind of fear (where we fear beings or situations instead of fearing God and staying faithful to Him by His grace), and every other problem.
The fact that Christ spoke of giving His peace ("My peace") speaks of the fact that He Himself experienced this peace (even though He was at that time facing the extremely difficult trial of the crucifixion) through the trusting, obedient, loving relationship He had with God the Father. He calls His disciples to a similar relationship with God the Father. (I had a footnote: In John 15:11 Jesus goes on to call His disciples to partake of His joy, the joy that He experienced, that "My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." In the preceding verse (15:10) He told them that they would abide in His love if they kept His commandments, as He had kept the Father's commandments and abided in His love.)
Christ didn't say that we would have peace with the world, which hates God and His Son, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). But that doesn't mean we cannot have peaceful relations with most non-Christians, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men" (Rom. 12:18). We can and should have peace in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Christ has given us peace, but like most of the things that God has given us, peace will not be manifested in our lives to much of an extent if we do not continue to do the things we are required to do by God's grace through faith. Walking in faith and by the Spirit (which includes making God and His Word top priority in our hearts and walking in righteousness and holiness) is far from being automatic, and the enemies of God work overtime trying to get us out of faith and the Spirit into things like doubt, fear, and sin (the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil).
Jesus went on to say "Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." In Phil. 4:6, 7 the apostle Paul said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." In 1 Pet. 5:7 the apostle Peter said, "casting all your anxiety ["care" NKJV] on Him [in faith and prayer], because He cares for you." We must do the things God requires of us, by His grace/Spirit through faith on a continuous basis, for His glory, and for our good.
Jesus said these words ("Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful") to His apostles in the context of His leaving them. Apparently the words, "not as the world gives" make the point that though the people of Israel would often greet one another, or depart from one another, with the word "peace" ("shalom"), the world cannot give this peace - but Jesus can! (The Gospel of John shows that most of Israel was part of the "world.")
I'll quote part of what William Hendricksen says here ("Gospel of John" [Baker, 1953], page 287). "... That the peace here indicated implies absence of the troubled and fearful feeling is clear from the words which immediately follow, namely, 'Let not your hearts any longer be troubled, neither let them be fearful.' ... In the light of the entire chapter we believe that the word peace here in 14:27 indicates that absence of spiritual unrest and that assurance of salvation and of God's loving presence under all circumstances which results from exercising faith in God and in his Son (14:1) and from the contemplation of his gracious promises (see especially 14:1, 2, 3, 12-14, 16-21, 25, 26). It is the peace of which Paul speaks in Phil. 4:6, 7. When Jesus says, 'Not as the world gives do I give to you,' the context makes clear that what he means is, 'I give my peace,' which the world can never bestow, no matter how often it may say, 'Peace to you,' or 'Go in peace.' ...."]] (28) You heard that I said to you, "I go away, and I will come to you [cf. John 13:33; 14:2-4, 12, 18, 21-23]." If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I [cf. John 10:29]. [[Apparently the idea here is that if they loved Jesus, they would have rejoiced in His behalf because it was a great blessing for Him to go back to the Father. His going back to the Father would include, for one thing, His being exalted and glorified together with the Father with the glory He had with Him before the world was (John 13:31, 32; 17:5). He also informed them in this discourse that it was to their advantage that He go to the Father because, for one thing, having gone to the Father, He would be able send the Spirit to them (cf., e.g., John 16:7; Acts 2:33). It is also true, and extremely important, that He was going to the Father by way of the cross, where His atoning death would open the door for new-covenant salvation.]] (29) Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. [Compare John 13:19; 16:4. I'll quote a sentence from what Edwin A. Blum says here ("Bible Knowledge Commentary-New Testament" [Victor Books, 1983], page 324). "Fulfilled prophecy is a great comfort and support to believers (cf. Isa. 46:8-10)."] (30) I will not speak much more with you [That very evening Jesus was arrested, and He did not speak with His apostles again until after He was resurrected (cf. John 19:26, 27; 20:19-27).], for the ruler of the world [cf. John 12:31; 16:11] is coming [[Satan, who had motivated Judas to betray Christ (e.g., John 13:2, 26-30), was coming. For one thing, Judas would come that very evening to lead the soldiers, etc. to Christ to arrest Him, which would lead to His crucifixion. Little did Satan and the rulers of this world know that the crucifixion of Christ would result in their ultimate total defeat (cf. 1 Cor. 2:8).], and he has nothing in Me [[Satan and his followers succeeded in their plot to have Jesus put to death, but that was only because it was the will of God; the Son voluntarily submitted to (obeyed) the Father's will (see verse 31; cf., e.g., Matt. 26:53, 54; John 10:11-18; and Phil 2:8). Satan had nothing in Christ: He had no authority over Him; Christ was not spiritually dead, and there was nothing sinful or dark in Him that Satan could work with. He could tempt Christ, but He couldn't entice Him to sin or to deviate from the perfect will of God for Him (cf. Heb. 2:18; 4:15). We as Christians, by the sufficient saving grace of God in Christ, through faith, must not give Satan any place in us, "do not give the devil an opportunity ["Lit. a place"] in you" (Eph. 4:27; cf., e.g., 1 John 4:4).]]; (31) but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me [Jesus was speaking here (at least for the most part) of His going to the cross, in accordance with the commandment of God the Father. Note the following words to His apostles.]. Get up, let us go from here.' " [[It isn't clear whether Jesus and His disciples left the upper room (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12) at that time, or whether they ended up staying there until after Jesus had spoken the words of chapters 15, 16 and prayed the words of chapter 17 (cf. Matt. 26:26-36; Mark 14:22-32; and Luke 22:14-40). Both views are common in the commentaries. It doesn't make much difference where they were when He spoke these words. They could have left the upper room at that time and Jesus continued to speak as they headed for the garden of Gethsemane, and surely (if that is what happened) they would have stopped at some location(s) on the way to the garden.
John 18:1 says, "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth [This Greek verb could just as well be translated "He went out," which would fit their going out of the upper room at that time. Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 11:39; and John 18:1 all use the same Greek verb for going out/forth, but John 14:31 used a different verb. The NKJV; NRSV, for example, have "He/he went out" in John 18:1. John 18:1 could be understood of going out of the city.] with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron [a valley between the temple (on the east side of the temple) and the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives], where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples."]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapters 13-17 in Part 5, starting with John 15:1.
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