LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we examined more details about the Lord’s Supper and the great lesson Jesus taught His disciples about how His kingdom is about serving others and not ruling over them. In this lesson and we are going to begin looking at John 14-17, which is what Jesus taught His disciples after Judas left the room.
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 "And where I go you know, and the way you know."
After Jesus taught His disciples that He was going to die and Peter would deny Him before the night was over; He tried to comfort them starting in this chapter. He did not want them to be troubled by what He said because He knew all these events must happen so God’s plan would come to pass. When Jesus said, “You believe in God, believe also in me,” He was teaching them to believe in Him just as they believe in God because Jesus is the Son of God.
Heaven is the Father’s house, and there are many mansions or dwelling places there, which means there is plenty of room for all His disciples. If that was not true, Jesus would have told them. We will not know what those dwelling places look like until we get to see them with our own eyes, but one thing is for sure, they will be far greater than anything on the face of this earth. Even though these dwelling places are already there, Jesus is going to make these mansions ready for the faithful Christians. Jesus may have been drawing a parallel with how some of His disciples had prepared the room for the Passover before His arrival. Whether He was drawing a parallel or not, it is encouraging to know that He is making these preparations for us.
In verse 3, Jesus’ words are comforting because He is teaching us that He will come back again, which refers to His second coming (Acts 1:11; 1 Thes. 4:13-17). When He comes back, we will meet Him in the air, and He will take us to heaven to live with Him and the Father forever. Every faithful Christian should look forward to the day of His coming because that will be the day we get to be in the presence of God for eternity.
In verse 4, Jesus tells His disciples that they know where He is going, and they should have known by now because He has told them several times. He also tells them they know the way to where He is going, which is by living a faithful life. However, we are about to learn that His disciples did not understand what He was talking about.
John 14:5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 " If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
Many times Thomas is portrayed as being doubtful and slow to accept the truth, but he was just being honest. He was speaking for all the disciples because they were still thinking of a physical kingdom, and they thought Jesus would rein over it.
In verse 6, Jesus makes His sixth “I am” statement in John’s account. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is the only way a person can have the forgiveness of their sins, and He is the only way we can make it into heaven. He is the truth because everything about Him represents the truth, and everything He said and did came from the Father. Jesus is the life because only He can offer us eternal life, and He proved this by being raised from the dead.
Some teach there are several roads that lead to heaven, but Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” which means there is only one road that leads to heaven, and that road is through Jesus. Jesus describes that road as being narrow and difficult in:
Matt. 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because1 narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
So, if we want to find ourselves in heaven one day, we better go through Jesus and stay on the difficult road that leads to eternal life.
In verse 7, Jesus is teaching them that He and the Father are one, which is the same message He has taught them in the past. Jesus was God in the flesh, and He was the perfect manifestation of the Father. To see Jesus and to know Him is the same as seeing the Father and knowing Him.
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."
Philip joins the discussion, and he wants Jesus to literally show Him the Father. He wanted to be able to see the Father with his own eyes, but mortal man cannot see the Father in His true form and live (Ex. 33:20).
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
Even though they could not see the Father in His true state, they could see the Father through Jesus. Jesus disciples had been with Him for over three years. They saw the works He did, and they heard the words He spoke, which should have been enough for them to know this truth. Once again, Jesus is confirming how He and the Father are one in thought and purpose, and everything He said and did so far proves this.
John 14:12 " Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Verse 12 is limited to the time of miracles. When Jesus went back to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit in His place, and the Holy Spirit allowed the apostles and other Christians to work miracles. When Jesus said their works would be greater, I do not believe He was talking about greater miracles. Instead, He was talking about them being more numerous as they reached out into the world. While Jesus was on the earth, His work was limited to a small area, but His disciples would have the opportunity to reach out to all nations.
Verses 13 and 14 teach that we should pray by the authority of Jesus. Our prayers should be directed to the Father, but we should ask them in the name of Jesus. We also learn that Jesus is actively involved with our prayer request because, if we ask in His name, He said He will do it. Jesus is our mediator, and all our prayers go through Him.
John 14:15 " If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- 17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
One of the basic principles taught throughout the Bible is that love must be the primary motivation behind every Christian. When we love God with our whole being, we will want to keep His commandments. Paul went so far as to say that if we went through all the motions of keeping God’s commands but we did not do it out of love, then all our command keeping would be meaningless. In fact, let me just read those verses in:
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned1, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
It is possible for someone to follow commands and not have love for the one giving the commands. For instance, a prisoner or a slave may obey all the rules that are given to them, but they follow those rules because they were forced on them. They did not obey those rules out of love; they obeyed them because of fear.
Another example comes from how some people hate their jobs, but they work hard at them because they want to provide for their families. While they are motivated by love for their family, they have no love for their boss. If we find ourselves obeying God’s commands out of fear instead of love, we need to recognize that our command keeping is empty, and God will not be pleased with it.
In verse 16, Jesus says He will pray to the Father so another Helper will be sent if they keep His commandments. This helper or comforter is talking about the Holy Spirit. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are considered as helpers or comforters, but the Holy Spirit will be with them forever. While Jesus was talking directly to His apostles and was referring to how the Holy Spirit would indwell them and give them miraculous abilities, this principle also applies to us today as well because the Holy Spirit guides us through the inspired Word of God, and the Holy Spirit indwells us when we obey the Word of God (Acts 5:32; 2:38-39; 1 Cor. 6:19). Unlike the days of the apostles and first century Christians, the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. So, even though the Holy Spirit indwells us today, we do not possess any miraculous gifts.
Verse 17 calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth because He would reveal the Word of God through the apostles and other inspired Christians in the first century as we see in:
1 Cor. 2:6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him1." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Jesus will talk more about the work of the Holy Spirit later in our chapter. The reason the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit is because they do not see Him or know Him because they are not willing to hear the truth.
When Jesus told His apostles they knew the Holy Spirit and He was with them and will be in them, I believe He was referring to how the Holy Spirit was dwelling in Him. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit remained in Him, which was the sign that proved the Jesus was the Messiah (Jn. 1:32-33). Just as the apostles should have known the Father through Jesus, they should have known the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit was working in Jesus, He would be working in the Apostles.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, He did not leave His apostles as orphans. As promised, the Holy Spirit was sent on the Day of Pentecost and the 12 apostles received Him. When Jesus said, “I will come to you,” He meant that He would come through the Holy Spirit in that the Holy Spirit would be there to remind them of everything Jesus taught them, and He would serve as their new helper.
John 14:19 " A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
In less than 24 hours Jesus would be crucified, and the world would not see Him again until He comes again at His second coming. After Jesus was resurrected, 500 of His disciples saw Him alive, but He did not show Himself to the world. Since Jesus was raised from the dead, it proves that all faithful Christians will also be raised from the dead and live with Jesus in heaven after the final Judgment Day.
When Jesus’ disciples saw He was raised from the dead, they would understand that the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in them. This knowledge would be fully realized on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit entered the Apostles and gave them further confirmation of this.
When we become Christians, we become part of God’s family, and God saves us by allowing us to enter into Christ where all the spiritual blessings are found (Eph. 1:3). The Word of God states that baptism is the point we enter into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3), and we cannot be saved any other way.
John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
Once again, Jesus stresses the need for us to love Him and to show our love by keeping His commandments. We can say we love Jesus all-day long, but our actions prove that love. Jesus said if they love Him, He would manifest Himself to them, which is exactly what He did after He was raised from the dead as we read in:
Acts 10:40 "Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 "not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Even though Judas Iscariot had left the room, John wants to make it clear that this was another Judas asking this question in verse 22. Most believe this Judas was Thaddeus. The reason I believe Judas asked this question was because he was still thinking of an earthly kingdom that Jesus would rein over, and he could not understand how Jesus would just be seen by them, but not by the world.
For a third time, Jesus stresses the importance of loving Him and obeying His commands. If we follow Jesus’ commands the Father will love us, and He and Jesus will come to us and make us part of them. This fact shows that not only do Christians have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Father and Jesus is with us as well. It should be encouraging to know that we belong to the family of God. Once again, Jesus wants His disciples to understand that everything He has said came from the Father and not Him.
John 14:25 " These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I.
Jesus taught His disciples many things while He was living on the earth, but now the Holy Spirit, whom the Father would send, would teach the apostles all things and remind them of what Jesus taught them. This promise was only made to the apostles, and it was through them, and those they laid their hands on, that we have the fully revealed Word of God in our Bibles.
The peace the world offers fails in comparison to the peace Jesus offers because the peace Jesus offers surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Since Jesus offers us eternal peace, we should not let our hearts be troubled. We should not be afraid because God is with us, and if we remain faithful, we will spend eternity in heaven.
In verse 28, Jesus wants His disciples to understand how wonderful it will be for Him to be able to return to His Father. When we love someone, we want the best for them, and when it happens, we should rejoice, which is what Jesus wants His disciples to do.
When Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I” the Jehovah witnesses think this proves He is not Deity and that He was a created being. However, Jesus is not saying that He is not Deity or that He is not equal with the Father because notice what Paul wrote:
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
While Jesus was 100% God and man on the earth, He chose to make Himself a humble servant as He gave up the riches of heaven (2 Cor. 8:9). Even the writer of Hebrews says He was made a little lower than the angels while He was on the earth (Heb. 2:7-9). As Paul said, Jesus did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. So, when Jesus said that God was greater than Him, He was showing His humility as a servant of God, but He was not saying that He was not Deity or implying that He was a created being.
John 14:29 "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 "But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
When the disciples saw Jesus’ prophecy come to pass, it would cause them to believe what Jesus said was true. This same idea is the reason we should believe in Jesus as well. When we examine the prophecies of the Bible and the fulfillment of those prophecies along with the accuracy of the Bible, it should be enough evidence to make us believe.
In verse 30, Jesus is talking about the devil. He had been working through the opposing Jews to put Jesus to death, and now he was working through Judas. Notice, the devil had nothing in Jesus. In other words, he had no power over Him, and he was not in control. He tried his best to make Jesus sin, and he failed. He tried his best to get him put to death, and he failed. The only reason Jesus is about to be put to death is because He chose to allow it to happen, and it will not be the end of His life because He will conquer death.
In verse 31, Jesus gives us the example to follow, which is to love God and obey His commands. Even though Jesus knew the horrible death He faced, He was willing to be obedient to the Father’s commands (Phil. 2:8). Jesus only gives salvation to those who are willing to follow His example (Heb. 5:8-9).
When Jesus said, “Arise, let us go from here,” it does not mean that they left right away. It is possible they rose to their feet and He continued telling them what is recorded in chapters 15-17. It is also possible that they left the upper room and He told them these things in chapters 15-17 as they walked. However, I think the first possibility is the most probable. Of course, what He said is more important than where He said the words. However, when they did leave, they sung a hymn first according to Mt. 26:30 and Mk. 14:26. I hope you will join next time as we begin to examine John 15.