Introduction.
In these chapters of the Gospel of John (13-17), Jesus is preparing them for His departure – a shock to the faithful Jew who was taught that “the Christ abides for ever” (John 12:34). They supposed He would set up His kingdom then, to Israel’s glory. The concept of a risen and glorified Messiah, one who would not take up His rights immediately, was foreign to them. Psalm 110:1 was lost on them: “Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put thine enemies as footstool of thy feet”.

John introduces us to the Son of the Father, Matthew to the Son of David, Mark opens with the Son of God, and Luke shows Him as the Son of man.

John 14 gives us the Son’s relationship with the Father, and our place in Him who is in it - and that known by the Holy Spirit given to us.

Verse 1-3. “…ye believe on God, believe also on me”. The apostles already believed on God. He wanted them now to know the father through himself. As instructed Jews, they already knew him as Messiah come from God, but they had to learn the Son come from the Father. While with them, he was showing them the Father, he was now telling them that he was going to the Father and that he would come again and take them to the Father. These words were strange to the Jewish ear – Messiah [Christ] rejected here, glorified in heaven, believed on in the earth. It is a central thought for the Christian, that Christ is glorified on high as a result of being rejected here, and not yet reigning over the earth.
Q1. There is at least one verse in Hebrews that confirms Christ glorified but not yet reigning. Can you remember it?

He had brought the Father so near to them in his service that they ought to have concluded that His house was to be their home. As Jewish persons, their thoughts did not rise above having a safe dwelling - or dwelling safely - in Palestine [Canaan].

“I go to prepare you a place”. This waiting time is mentioned numerous times in Scripture. See Psalm 110:1, quoted above. In Luke 19:11-27, the Lord spoke a parable to correct the view that the kingdom was about to be manifested immediately. The nobleman went to a far country to receive a kingdom and return. It demonstrates the interval between the first appearing of Christ and His appearance in His kingdom. In Matthew, he corrects the idea that the Christ abides [here] for ever, by referring to verses that speak of the Stone rejected by the builders. Another has said: “In the action of John 13, in the teaching of chapters 14-16, and in the action of John 17, it is the heavenly priesthood that he exhibits or teaches, showing that in this present separation from Israel, He occupies Himself for the church.”

Christ himself will come for us, to take us above, see verse 3, and 1 Thess. 4:16. When He gathers Israel on earth, He will send angels to do it – see Matthew 24:31.

Verses 4-6.
The way. A way was not needed in the state of innocence in Eden. After sin came in, the world has become a wilderness and we have to find our way in it. Mankind needs a way to be reconciled to God. The law did not reveal the Father. Christ is the exclusive way to the Father. “No one comes to the Father except by me”. In John 6:44, Jesus said: “No one can come to me except the Father who has sent me draw him”.
Q2. Why is there no possibility for another way to the God?

The truth. Christ is the full expression of everything as it is before God – and everyone as they are. The law was from God - it was true - but it was not the truth. The law was a demand on God’s part for what a man [in the flesh] ought to do. But Christ expressed fully what man is, according to God. “For the law was given by Moses: grace and truth subsists by Jesus Christ”. John 1:17. [‘Subsists’ is singular in the original, so that grace and truth go together as a unit. ‘Grace and truth’ came into being down here with the incoming of Christ.]
Q3. Is there only one truth?

The life. He is that because he is the Son. He quickens [gives life]. “I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11:25. “He is the true God and eternal life” – 1 John 5:20.
Q4. Can science or other religions create new life?

Verses 7-10. The Lord was disappointed by the slowness to understand on the part of the disciples. They had been with Him for three and a half years, and He had to say to Philip, “Am I so long a time with you, and you have not known me, Philip?” And yet Philip was a bright one! We would describe him as an evangelist – he had sought out Nathanael and invited him to come to Christ; see John 1:45-46.
Q5. Why were they slow in understanding?

Q6. Why are we slow to learn?

Verses 11-14. Works and words. In Matthew’s Gospel, the works of Christ were the proof of his being the Son of David – see Matt. 12:23 which links directly to Isaiah 35:5,6. In John’s Gospel, his works are given as the proofs of his being the Son of the Father. His works in John showed that he was the Dispenser of the Father’s grace and power.

The greater works by the disciples were of the same character - they set forth the Father’s grace, the blessing of sinners. The Lord fed a multitude, but Peter was used to save a multitude. The Lord blessed individuals in Israel, but Paul and his company were used by the Lord to bless individuals and to form assemblies [churches] among the nations. The Lord kept within the borders of Israel, but the apostles went widely.
Q7. Why did the Lord say these greater works depended on His going to the Father?

MM March 2010



Suggested Answers to Questions on John 14:1-14

Q1. There is at least one verse in the Epistle to the Hebrews that confirms Christ glorified but not yet reigning. Can you remember it?
“But now we see not yet all things subjected to him, but we see Jesus … crowned with glory and honour,” – Hebrews 2:8,9.

Q2. Why is there no possibility for another way to the God?
If there was another way, Christ would not have needed to suffer and die for us. If there is only one way to the Father, then all other “ways” must be wrong.
If there are five religions, all providing different ways, then all cannot be right. Natural logic shows there can only be two possibilities - either all are wrong or one is right.

Q3. Is there only one truth?
Israel was taught that there is “one God”. In Christianity we know that “God is one”, (1 Timothy 2:5). Therefore there can only be one truth.

Q4. Can science or other religions create new life?
Science can modify existing living cells, etc. but not new life. False religions can only give rules for living, to man as he is as a child of Adam. When a person puts his/her faith in Christ, it can be said: “So if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation”, 2 Cor. 5:17. “In Christ” means that there is a new order of man - one where Christ is the head of the race, as opposed to Adam.

Q5. Why were they slow in understanding?
One reason was due to them not having yet received the Holy Spirit.
Judaism had been approved by God; in fact it was established by God. But they were not thinking of a new departure that was occurring in God’s ways, even though the Lord had set out new principles – the principles that govern the kingdom - that went beyond the law. See Matthew, chapters 5-7.

Q6. Why are we slow to learn?
We perhaps are not giving the Holy Spirit His rightful place with us. If we make way for the Spirit, He will guide us into all the truth. See John 16:13-14.
Perhaps we rely on traditions of men. We may have been wrongly taught and it is so much harder to “unlearn” something than to learn a thing correctly the first time.
Perhaps we hold tight to our own thoughts, just because they are our own. It has been well said that “a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”.

Q7. Why did the Lord say these greater works depended on His going to the Father?

His going to the Father meant that He was not only risen from the grave but ascended and glorified. From this position the Holy Spirit was given, as the Lord said in John 7:39, “But this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
The gift of the Holy Spirit gave a whole new dimension to God’s testimony on earth. Never had such a thing been known before. The Spirit came to unite us in one body – Jew and Gentile – and to unite us to Christ, the Head in heaven. The church, the body of Christ, was, and is, formed by this means. The preaching and teaching of the Christian message is to that end.

MM March 2010