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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

John 14:1

Consider the connection between believing in God and believing in Jesus Christ.

I. Note first that the difficulty which men find in their way when asked to believe in Christ arises from the supernatural character of His manifestation and working. Take this away and there would be no difficulty for them in believing in Christ, no more difficulty in believing in Him than they have in believing in Socrates or Plato. Admitting that Jesus Christ was no more than a man, that His birth was that of an ordinary mortal, that He lived and died as any other man might, and that being dead and buried, He rests in the grave and was never seen again upon earth; admitting all this, you remove the whole difficulty which the unbeliever says he finds in the way of His believing in Christ, and he will then perhaps join you, in extolling the virtues, in admiring the character and in praising the conduct of Jesus of Nazareth. But such admissions cannot be made. A Christ divested of the supernatural is not the Christ whom the Gospels invite us to believe in, no such being, in fact, ever existed. If these men profess to believe in God, they by that very profession bring themselves under obligation to examine carefully and impartially the historical evidence on which Christianity rests its claim. If God be what they say they believe Him to be, then with Him all things are possible, and nothing can be more probable than that He should reveal Himself to His intelligent creatures, and by many infallible proofs show them that it is indeed He who speaks unto them. They are thus by their own premisses bound to examine the evidences of Christianity, and if these are found to stand the test, they are bound as they believe in God to believe also in Jesus Christ.

II. Advancing a step further, I would now go on to affirm that apart from the revelation of God in and through Jesus Christ, it may be doubted if man can believe in God in any real sense, or as He is. Jesus Christ presents Himself as the Revealer of God to men. It is to Christ then that we are to look for instruction in the knowledge of God, and it is only as we believe in Him, and receive out of that fulness of wisdom and knowledge which is in Him, that we shall so acquaint ourselves with God as really and intelligently to believe in Him. It is only a little way that the light of nature can guide us in the search after God, and a man dependent solely upon that light can hardly be said to believe in God as He is.

III. It is Christ alone who supplies what is wanted for a religion for man. Man needs (1) an incarnation, (2) an atonement. Man, with his conscious weakness and his deep wants, and that sore hunger of the soul which no viands the earth furnishes can fill, and that terrible sense of guilt which oppresses the spirit and fills him with that fear which hath torment, finds in Christ at length that which meets his need and satisfies his convictions, and calms his fears, and gives peace to his conscience, and lifts him up from despair to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

W. L. Alexander, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 161.


Something is wanting then, till the believer in God is a believer also in Christ. This is our subject.

I. Now some one might say, Look at the saints of the Old Testament! What grace of reverence, of affiance, of holy aspiration, was lacking in the patriarch Abraham, or in the poet king of the Psalms? And yet Christ was not manifested to them. We venture to dispute the very fact taken for granted. The psalmist, the prophet, the patriarch, yea, the very first father himself, lived and prayed and worshipped in the shadow cast before of Him that should come.

II. Or you might come nearer home, and speak of men who, in this century or the last, have not only led good lives, but have had many pious feelings, and done many beneficent works, without realising what we should call the fulness of the Christian faith. In examples such as these, it is but truth to remember that men thus dispensing with Christ are yet unspeakably indebted to Him. The very idea of God as our Father comes from revelation. It is one ray of that Divine truth which is reflected now in a thousand unconscious or ungrateful intellects.

III. Still, you may say, having made this great revelation, may not Christ Himself disappear? It is an obvious answer, and surely a just one, to such reasonings as these: We cannot take Christ by halves; if Christ said one thing from God, He said all things.

IV. Observe too how the particular truth received, no less than the accompanying doctrine objected to, runs up into matters which we can neither dispute as facts nor yet, apart from God, settle. No man dispenses with or disparages the Cross without being a definite loser in some feature of the Christian character. Where there is a reluctance to rely on Christ alone for forgiveness, you will generally perceive one of two great deficiencies: (1) There is often a feeble sense of the sinfulness of sin; (2) there is often a want of true tenderness towards sinners.

V. Nor is it only in this negative aspect that we perceive the distinctive value of faith in Christ. God, in arranging that we should receive this greatest, this most profound of His gifts, forgiveness and reconciliation, through another, His Divine, His Incarnate Son, has not only made the Gospel of one piece with His dealing with us in this life, but has also given a charm and pathos to the Gospel which it could not otherwise have possessed. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."

C. J. Vaughan, Temple Sermons, p. 11.


I. What do we mean, apart from the Christian revelation, when we say we believe in God? We mean that we believe in infinite thought, infinite intelligence, and that all things of which we are conscious, and especially all thought, are derived from this omnipresent thought; nay, are parts of it. We believe in absolute, eternal, infinite, intelligence, exercising itself in the incessant movement of thought, when we believe in God. But if that is all we believe we are only Pantheists. We believe in God not only as infinite thought and life, but as infinite goodness. He is a moral Being; He is absolute Holiness, Truth, Justice, and Beauty; and wherever these things are, in matters of the spirit or the intellect, they are there by Him and through Him. But where thought and life and moral character are, we have also a will, and where there is a will with these things, we have that which we call personality. We believe in God and conceive Him then as personal. Hence there springs up the idea of God as the moral Governor of the world and our personal King, and in God as such we believe.

II. All humanity is lifted by Christ's revelation into union with divinity. Fancy the power of that in life. It does not only exalt it, regenerate it, set it on fire, it makes it completely beautiful. And above all, it fills it with unspeakable love. It binds God and man together like husband and wife, like two beings who, loving one another with perfect sympathy, dwell in one another, and are not two, but one being. That is the faith of the Christian concerning God and man. Christ called God our Father, and made Fatherhood on His side and childhood on ours, the terms that expressed our relation of love to God, and His relation of love to us. God is still to us the infinite thought, and will, and life, and righteousness, by which the material and spiritual universe consists; but in His relation to us as Father, He thinks for us and lives in us, and wills in our behalf, and makes Himself our righteousness. Therefore we not only worship and reverence Him; we also love Him. How? With all our soul and mind and strength, with all the love of children. And now, in being loved by God, and in being able and joyous to love Him, our deepest need is satisfied, our deepest longing quenched. The very root of our heart is watered with the dew of this belief. God is love, and we love Him. It has transfigured all humanity. And that expanded and ennobled belief is the work of Christ. What wonder that He said, "Ye believe in God, believe also in Me."

S. A. Brooke, The Spirit of the Christian Life, p. 305.


References: John 14:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., No. 730; W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 40. John 14:1-3.—D. Davies, Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 10. John 14:1-4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix., No. 1741; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ix., p. 244; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 200; C. Stanford, The Evening of our Lord's Ministry, p. 72. John 14:1-14.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 224; A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 385.


Verse 2

John 14:2

The truthfulness of Jesus Christ

I. These words were an appeal to the disciples' knowledge of Christ. Had He ever painted His discipleship in false colours? Had He kept back any hard terms? Had He softened down any harsh conditions, that He might parade among His followers as One whom it was policy to conciliate? "One thing thou lackest," He had said to the rich young ruler, and that one thing was the sacrifice of his all. It was so in everything. The same voice which said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," would have said, if it was the truth: I have no revelation and no promise, of another "life." I can but speak of truth and of duty. I can but share with you the sorrows of time, and leave you at the gate of that mystery which none can solve—what, or whether anything, shall be hereafter.

II. "If it were not so, I would have told you"—and in the telling there would have lain for Me no defeat and no discomfiture. I might still have come into the life; I might still have been the Comforter, the Sympathiser, and the Friend. If, then, He does not tell us that there is no life beyond this life—shall we not believe that He speaks that He doth know? I will insult the intelligence of no man by supposing that he will accuse Jesus Christ—whose character (I speak as a man) he knows perfectly well by biography and by history—of wilfully fabricating revelations of the truth of which He Himself was not persuaded. Either he must say, if he is a man of sense and honesty, "We have not His real words," or he must say, "He was Himself deluded." The third thing he durst not say—durst not, I mean, for his intellectual character's sake—"Though He knew that it was so, yet He said it." The hearing ear is from above; but prayer will draw down the gift. If we believe in the home above; if we believe that Jesus lives; if we believe that He will come again to receive us unto Himself—let us look now at the things not seen but eternal, let us live the life now which alone can survive death.

C. J. Vaughan, Temple Sermons, p. 361.


Man's hope of immortality uncontradicted by God

I. Our position with God is similar to that in which the disciples stood to Christ—we are looking to Him for the fulfilment of hopes which reach beyond our present life.

II. The same considerations which would have led Christ to undeceive His disciples, had they been in error, apply to God in His position to us. These reasons fall under a twofold division—those which lie in God's own character, and those which lie in the relation between Him and us. Whatever could press on Christ as a moral obligation to speak out to His disciples, would lead us to expect that, if we were deceiving ourselves, God would speak out to us.

J. Ker, Sermons, p. 245.


References: John 14:2.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 72; Homilist, vol. v., p. 87; T. S. Berry, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 397; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 363; A. Blomfield, Sermons in Town and Country, p. 124; R. L. Browne, Sussex Sermons, p. 1; H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Sermonettes for a Year, p. 97. John 14:2-3.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 127; vol. ix., p. 90.

I. Had the Lord Jesus remained with us here below, various great ends of His mission must have rested unfulfilled. (1) Both His crucifixion and His resurrection were but steps in the way of the greatest event of His whole appointed course—the glorification of His manhood and of us in Him. Had He remained below, we may not say that this could not have been; because it is not for us to limit God to any defined place in His workings; but according to His own declaration, it would not have been. (2) Again, it was not the purpose of God in redemption merely to clear us from guilt, nor merely to place us in acceptance, but to renew us after the Divine likeness—to build up again, infinitely more glorious for the conflict with sin and suffering, that image which in our first parents had been ruined. And this, our Lord again and again taught His disciples, could not be accomplished without His being taken from them. It was to be the especial work of the Holy Spirit, and this Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Builder-up and Strengthener of Mankind, would not come unless our Lord first went to the Father. (3) Moreover, the Ascension was necessary for the manifestation of Christ's sovereignty. No manifestation of majesty here below could ever have been equivalent to the resumption by Him of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was—still less to the accession of glory with which Redemption has crowned Him. (4) Another great necessity for our Lord's removal from us, is the work of His High Priesthood in heaven.

II. Consider the results of the Ascension with a view to our own faith and practice. (1) It is the token to us of the entire acceptance of the Saviour's finished work in our nature. (2) The Ascension of our Lord should draw our present thoughts and affections to the place whither He is gone before. If we really love our Saviour, if His glorified humanity is to us the spring of our joys, and the centre of our interests, the world may catch our fleeting thoughts and employ our less earnest attentions, but He will have all our serious determinations, all our deepest affections; the world may be our tabernacle, but the place where He is will be our home.

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. i., p. 366.


I. Our Lord teaches us to connect with heaven the thought of permanence. It is a place of mansions.

II. Our Lord teaches us to connect with heaven the thought of extent and variety. It has many mansions.

III. Our Lord further teaches us to connect with the heavenly world the thought of unity. It is a house of many mansions.

IV. Our Lord teaches us to carry to the thought of heaven a filial heart. It is the Father's house, a paternal home.

V. Our Lord has taught us to connect heaven with the thought of Himself—"My" Father's house. "No man cometh into the Father but by Me."

J. Ker, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 247.


References: John 14:2.—J. S. Davies, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 321; J. H. Hitchens, Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 6; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 72; J. Vaughan, Sermons, 6th series, p. 141. John 14:2, John 14:3.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 228; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvii., p. 87. John 14:2-4.—Homilist, vol. ii., p. 583.


Verse 3

John 14:3

With Christ for Ever

I. This whole passage is beautifully calculated to place in their right proportions that hope which every one feels of meeting again in heaven those that are gone before us, and the one all-satisfying anticipation of being with Christ. I feel persuaded that many are far too much afraid of dwelling on the idea of our knowing and loving and enjoying one another again in the future state. I believe, if rightly understood, the danger lies more on the side of thinking of it too little, than of magnifying it too much. Are we not to know all things—to know even as we are known, and if all things, then certainly one another?

II. But perhaps the real mistake and confusion of thought is in this, that we do not connect and identify the saints, as we ought to do, with Christ. Now it is a deep mystery, but it is a most certain fact, that Christ is not a complete Christ without His members. We know and admire Christ in every one of His members, and every one of His members in Christ, and so the very fact of the rejoining of the departed, which some think to be contravened by the text, is by the text promoted and established, and is actually in the words when Christ says, "That where I am, there ye may be also."

III. The nearest approach we can make to the idea of glory lies, I think, in the text. Let any child of God take what Christ's felt presence has been to his soul, in its most favoured season of spiritual communion. Let him conceive that sweet ecstasy rid of its clogs—multiplied a thousand-fold, and perpetuated for ever—and then this, not any picture of colour or shape, place or circumstance, will be the closest approximation he can make to a true imagination of the heavenly state. He will see how independent everlasting happiness becomes of those things of which the natural heart generally makes it to consist; and how there is enough, and more than enough, for eternity in that single assurance, "Where I am, there ye shall be also."

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 31.


Reference: John 14:5, John 14:6.—H. P. Liddon, Christmastide Sermons, p. 18.



Verse 6

John 14:6

Christ the Way

I. If it be asked where this way begins, and whither it goes, the answer is evident. It begins in the cold, dark, desolate region, into which sin has thrown the moral and material condition of every living man. And it goes along a course of ever-nearing communion with God—through many stages of prayer, and devout thought and humiliation and assimilation to the character of God, up to the many mansions of the Father's house.

II. There were three difficulties which had to be overcome in the return of a guilty creature to his God. (1) A road must be made clear before the love of God could travel without trespassing on God's justice. (2) The false and alien mind of man must be willing to occupy the road when it was made. (3) The returning man must be fit for the happiness to which he is restored. To remove the first obstacle, Jesus, in His own person, and by His own vile death, harmonised the attributes of God. To do away with the second, the commanding spirit works in His sovereignty, which makes willing in the day of His power. To destroy the third, the mediatorial throne is planted on the way, to shed beauty and glory on everything which passes by it, and which acknowledges its efficacy. But over each barrier, rased to the ground, Christ's banner floats, "I am the Way."

III. Immediately you are in the way, you find yourself in a state of progress. Marvellously you will feel your thoughts and affections begin to rise. Evidences you cannot mistake will tell you you are in the way. Old things will be dwindling behind you into insignificance in the distance, and new things will be brought to you in the present. You will understand the essential progressiveness of the grace of God, and you will need no human voice to explain to you what that means, "I am the Way."

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 1868, p. 229.


Christ the Truth

I. The truth of Christ was an attribute above all others essential to the offices which He undertook to fulfil. I shall take five of these offices. (1) That of a witness. What is a witness without truth? (2) The substance of that of which the whole of the Old Testament was the shadow. But the substance of anything is the truth of anything. Therefore, Christ is Truth. (3) The founder of a faith very different from all others which ever appeared upon this earth. Its precepts are the strictest—its doctrines are the loftiest—its consolations are the strongest. Now what intense veracity did that require in Him. (4) Christ is His people's truth, His people's righteousness. And what must be the truth of Him who was to be the Truth of the whole world? (5) Christ is Judge. How unspeakably momentous it is that in the last great division of all human destiny, the Judge should be true.

II. There are three empires of truth—the intellectual, the moral, and the spiritual. (1) I doubt whether any mind ever attains the highest order of intellect without an acquaintance with Jesus Christ. For if everything took its rise in the mind of Christ, then the true science of every subject must revert to Christ. (2) Christ is the Sun, the centre of moral Truth. In proportion as nations have departed from Christ, they have wandered out of the orbit of truth. And every man, as he dwells more with Christ, grows in rectitude of conduct and integrity of practice. (3) Christ is that "Amen" in the Revelation which clenches and ratifies to men the whole scroll of love. And every glimpse of joy, and every flood of sorrow in a believer's heart, coming and working its appointed purpose there, just according to the chart which God laid down from all eternity—gives another and another evidence of the fact that Christ is Truth.

III. Let us draw one or two conclusions. (1) Repose upon Christ. No storms can shake a man when he has a promise, and feels it under him like a rock. (2) Cultivate the truth. Be real; get rid of phraseologies—go deeper than words to facts. Go deeper than facts—get thoughts. Go deeper than thoughts—get principles. Be real—wherever you are, be the same man—a ray of light put into this dark world, to be clear, and make clearness all about it.

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 1868, p. 237.


Christ the Life

I. We are accustomed to think and speak of life as issuing into death. And the thought is unquestionably true. But there is a yet deeper one, that death issues into life. Consider how many things that live had their cradle in death. The whole animal creation is full of the beautiful transformations of an inferior creature that dies into another formation of itself, much lovelier than the first. In the moral world means are continually dying for the ends to which these means were subservient and lived. In the spiritual and hidden life, every Christian knows too well what an inward dying to self there must be in daily mortifications and most painful crucifixions, that the Divine life may come forth in its power. And all this is leading us up to that great crowning doctrine of our faith, of which all this is only the allegory, that all life sprang first out of the death of Jesus Christ.

II. The supremacy of Christ over the whole history of life, or rather, I would say, the identity of Christ with the life of every soul, will be the more apparent, if we look at the subject in one or two of its bearings. (1) Let us take the life of nature. "By Him all things consist,"—i.e., are kept together, are held in their places and being. And thus the heavens and the earth, and all that are left in them of order, and promise, and stability, and sweetness, is kept against that day when by Him again, by His promise in the midst of them, they shall be restored to more than their original dignity and loveliness. (2) Turn now to things spiritual. Christ is life not for Himself but for His Church. For whatever God gives to the Son, He gives Him for the Church's sake. The first Adam was a being of real, inherent, energetic life; but he could not communicate it, he was not intended to communicate it to another. But the Second Adam was not only to live, but to diffuse life to live in other lives, to be a fountain of life, to be the life of the whole world. That is what it means; "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 1868, p. 245.


Union with Christ

I. It is not given to us to know the beginnings of anything, much less of the deep process of union between the soul and Christ, but this much I can say, the great power of the Holy Ghost comes forth in its sovereignty and lays hold of a man's thoughts and the desires and feelings of his mind, and under its influence draws it and makes it come near to Christ. That thought, having come near to Christ, becomes impregnated with a new principle, "life." All other living things shall have their death. The stars will go out, the world will cease, but without the cessation of a single moment from that date, stronger, happier, brighter, intenser, gladder, it will go on through time into eternity, and through eternity rising everlastingly. And why? It has in it all the immensity and all the eternity of Him who says "I am the Life."

II. Look now alone on two points concerning this life of Christ, so begun in a man's soul. See (1) its completeness; (2) its security; "Your life is hid with Christ in God." What God hides who shall find? (3) its strength. An infant's hand, held by a giant's arm, assumes gigantic force. The very seaweed, with the ocean at its back, is borne with something of the ocean's might. And what duty is too high, what trial too heavy, what attainment inaccessible for a man who has and realises that he has Christ in him. (4) Its peace. Surely where He dwells no wave of troubled thought can roll heavily. (5) Its expectation. Christ in you the hope of glory. (6) Its finality, its end of ends—God's glory. That makes and will make for ever and ever your soul a paradise to God, when He can behold everything which He has made in you, and behold it is very good, because Christ is the life thereof.

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 1868, p. 253.


In these marvellous words our Lord has grappled with the question of all questions, and has answered the enquiry of all times and of all ages. He has told us how we can be accepted with God.

I. "I am the Way." What does that mean? Our Lord takes Thomas' last question and answers it first. He tells him first that He is the Way, before He tells him whither He is going; and therefore seeing that that was the method adopted by Him who knew what was in man, we may be quite sure that this answer of our Blessed Lord is the one that first appeals to the questionings of the human heart. The first question which the soul asks when it becomes anxious about its eternal state is, "Lord, what must I do to be saved?" Our Lord says, "I am the Way," and therefore the first thing we must do is to place the living Christ before us. If it is possible for Christ to be with us now, as His own word promises that He would be, then we cannot understand how He is to be the way unless we first have the eyes of our mind opened to behold Him. If I am to come into the presence of God, there must be some person who can come between me and God, who can lay his hand upon us both and make us one. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ. He it is who has joined together in Himself heaven and earth, God and man.

II. But even when we have the first question answered, then comes another question, What is truth? "I am the Truth," says our Lord; and if we would know the truth, then we must ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to Christ, who is Himself the Truth. Thus, you see, the words of our Blessed Lord appeal first to the timid, to those who are anxious about their eternal state; and secondly, to the thoughtful, to those who are perplexed by the conflict of opinion.

III. But there is yet another class to whom these words are addressed; and that is the practical, to those who want to know what is the life. Christ is Himself the Life. He is not only our mediator with God, He is not only our redemption from sin, but He is also our sanctification. He is not only the life which we must all live, if we would serve Him, but he is Himself the centre of life to us. He is the source of our spiritual life. If we feel that we are dead, if we feel that our heart within us is dull and lifeless, then what is the reason? It is because we do not know Christ as our Life. Thomas did not believe in his Master, therefore he did not understand, and therefore he did not know his Master. If, therefore, we would find in the Lord Jesus in ourselves the fulness of His meaning when He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," we must ask of Him to give us that grace which the doubting Thomas needed, and we must ask Him to help us to believe in Him.

S. Leathes, Penny Pulpit, No. 701.

The Patient Master and the Slow Scholars

I. This question of our Lord's seems to me to carry in it a great lesson as to what ignorance of Christ is. Why does our Lord charge Philip here with not knowing Him? Because Philip had said," Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us. And why was that question a betrayal of Philip's ignorance of Christ? Because it showed that he had not discerned Him as being the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; and had not understood that "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;" not knowing that all his knowledge of Christ, howsoever tender and sweet it may have been, howsoever full of love and reverence and blind admiration, is the twilight knowledge, which may be called ignorance. Not to know Christ as the manifest God is practically to be ignorant of Him altogether. You do not know a man if you only know the subordinate characteristics of His nature, but not the essential ones. The very inmost secret of Christ is this, that He is the Incarnate God, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

II. These words give us a glimpse into the pained and loving heart of our Lord. We very seldom hear Him speak about His own feelings or experience, and when He does it is always in some such incidental way as this. There is complaint and pain in the question, the pain of vainly endeavouring to teach, vainly endeavouring to help, vainly endeavouring to love. But the question reveals also the depth and patience of a clinging love that was not turned away by the pain. Let us remember that the same pained and patient love is in the heart of the throned Christ today.

III. Let us look at this question as being a piercing question addressed to each of us. It is the great wonder of human history that after eighteen hundred years the world knows so little of Jesus Christ. In Him are infinite depths to be experienced and to become acquainted with, and if we know Him at all, as we ought to do, our knowledge of Him will be growing day by day. Let us seek to know Christ more, and to know Him most chiefly in this aspect, that He is for us the manifest God and the Saviour of the world.

A. Maclaren, A Year's Ministry, 2nd series, p. 59.


References: John 14:6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v., No. 245; vol. xvi., No. 942; H. P. Liddon, Advent Sermons, vol. ii., p. 362; Bishop Monkhouse, Church of England Pulpit, vol. i., p. 191; Homilist, vol. vi., p. 326; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons to a Country Congregation, vol. i., p. 174; R. Lorimer, Bible Studies in Life and Truth, pp. 315, 333; G. Moberly, Plain Sermons at Brightstone, p. 101; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 54; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 154; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 179; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 331; R. W. Pearson, Ibid., vol. iv., p. 157; J. T. Stannard, Ibid., vol. x., pp. 340, 373, 383; J. C. Gallaway, Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 42; Outline Sermons to Children, 206; E. Bersier, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 367; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 8th series, pp. 292, 300, 308, 314. John 14:7, John 14:8.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 519. John 14:7, John 14:9.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 209. John 14:8.—F. Wagstaff, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 390; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. ii., p. 301. John 14:8-9.—H. Melvill, Voices of the Year, vol. ii., p. 427; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 239; Homilist, vol. v. p. 42; Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 128; J. C. Gallaway, Ibid., vol. xii., p. 346; Homiletic Magazine, vol. viii., p. 8; Ibid., vol. xiv., p. 215. John 14:8-11.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 148; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vii., p. 61. John 14:8-14.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 401. John 14:8-16.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., pp. 224, 225.


Verse 9

John 14:9

The Surprise Christ felt

I. To Christ, that He was the revealer and the image of the Father was the one foremost truth of His life. Ever since He had sense, He had felt that, and it had grown with His growth and been the one proclamation of His ministry. The blind and the deaf in heart might, He thought, see and hear it, so intense, so vivid, was it to Him. And now one of His hearers asks a question, which suddenly makes Him feel that what is to Him as the sun in heaven is not perceived at all. What wonder that we hear in the question the note of wondering surprise? "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?" At such a time our tendency is to be angry, or to turn aside with scornful silence, or to be filled with the sense of wrong; mark in contrast with his, the tenderness of Christ, a tenderness which we hear in every word of the reply. There is a faint touch of reproach in it; but it is the reproach of love, and it would not hurt the most sensitive heart. And this was said at a time when irritation might have been indeed excused, when His whole soul was darkened with pain and presentiment when He felt with exquisite surprise that all He had ever said had been mistaken.

II. The answer itself to Philip's question comes before us now, and is a striking answer, astonishing, indeed, from its sublime boldness, and separated by that from the utterances of every other prophet, none of whom dared to say anything like this: "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Who knows Me, knows God; who hears Me, hears God. Nor is this an isolated saying; it is the constantly repeated thought of Christ, repeated in fifty different ways. That was Christ's teaching concerning God and Himself, and therefore concerning God and man. All our life is God's life. We are in His hand and abide in Him, and no one can pluck us out of His hand. We are eternal because He is eternal; and when all mankind shall have arrived at likeness to Christ, it will have arrived at likeness to God. He who shall see the perfected humanity shall say, "He who hath seen humanity, hath seen the Father."

S. A. Brooke, The Spirit of the Christian Life, p. 123.


References: John 14:9.—H. S. Holland, Oxford and Cambridge Journal, Nov. 22nd, 1883? A. Maclaren, A Year's Ministry, 2nd series, p. 59; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 307; S. Green, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 261. John 14:10-14.—W. Roberts. Ibid., vol. ix., p. 250. John 14:10-28.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 309. John 14:11.—W. M. Taylor, The Gospel Miracles, p. 29. John 14:12.—C. Wilson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 241; J. Aldis, Ibid., vol. xi., p. 376; Homilist, vol. iii., p. 493. John 14:12, John 14:13.—A. Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 140. John 14:13.—Ibid., p. 48; E. W. Shalders, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 298. John 14:13-14.—Ibid., p. 180. John 16:14.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x. p. 333. John 14:15.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxii., No. 1932; G. Calthrop, Words Spoken to my Friends, p. 177; Parker, Christian Commonwealth, vol. vi., p. 347; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 199.


Verses 15-17

John 14:15-17

The Christian the Temple of God

I. This is the misery of sin, that it brings what is so unholy, so close, into the Presence of the All-Holy. Sin begins in thought, yet thought is of the soul, and in the soul dwelleth God the Holy Spirit. Thought goes on to consent of the will. No deadly sin is committed, but the soul has first willed it; it has willed it in the very presence of God; not afar off, not under heaven, not under His holy eye alone, but there where He came to hallow us; where by the voice of our conscience, He pleaded with us; where, if we held on in sin, we must first stifle our conscience, that is, deaden His voice, nay, cast Him forth. Yet however marred, defiled, sin-stained, a soul may be, He hath not left that soul, which can yet loathe its own stains, His love hath not yet forsaken the soul which can yet hate what it has been, and long to love Him whom once she would not have to reign over her. Yea, He will yet fan that remaining spark into a flame which shall kindle the whole soul.

II. Great as God's gift is, the soul which can contain it cannot contain the world also. The soul can contain God who is infinite, for He hath said, "I will dwell in them and walk in them." The whole world cannot fill the soul, for it can be filled by nothing but God. Had it all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them, it would still crave; for they are ashes and not bread, earth, and not its God. For although all the world could not fill it and it can contain God, it cannot contain the world and God, for God is a jealous God. He, the infinite source of love, must be loved with an entire love. He would give us all He is. He asks of us in return the nothingness we are. Seek therefore to win thy soul more and more from all which is not God. Seek as thou mayest to win to Him the souls of thy brethren whom Christ hath made His own. Commit thyself daily to God, to guard thee as His own shrine.

E. B. Pusey, Sermons from Advent to Whitsuntide, p. 342.


References: John 14:15-17.—H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 275; W. Roberts, Ibid., vol. ix., p. 332; D. Bagot, Church of England Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 73. John 14:15-21.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 388. John 14:15-31.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 270. John 14:16.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xviii., No. 1074; E. Cooper, Practical Sermons, p. 230; J. Armstrong, Parochial Sermons, p. 272; C. Stanford, The Evening of our Lord's Ministry, p. 93; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 9th series, p. 107; W. Hutchings, The Person and Work of the Holy Ghost, p. 78.


Verse 16-17

John 14:16-17

Consider how in His residence with the Church the Holy Spirit has verified this title, "The Spirit of Truth." What reasons have we for concluding that this Comforter who descended at Pentecost, has acted among men as the Spirit of Truth?

I. We cannot say that the Spirit's work has yet been complete in the largest possible extent; but what has been done, however partial in amount, is sufficient as an earnest of the unlimited sovereignty which truth shall yet acquire. It is curious and interesting to observe how truth of every kind has advanced hand in hand with religion. Not, indeed, that it was the office of the Holy Ghost to instruct the world in natural philosophy, to teach the motions of stars or to lay open the mysteries of the elements. He came to unfold Redemption, and so to strengthen the human understanding, that it might be able to bear the vast truths of the mediatorial work. But nevertheless it did come to pass, and there is nothing which should surprise us in the result—that the understanding which the Holy Spirit strengthened to receive redemption, found itself strengthened also to investigate creation. The Christian era has been distinguished by a rapid advance made in every branch of science; by the emancipation of mind from a thousand trammels; by the discovery of truths which seemed to lie beyond the scope of human intelligence. Assign what you will as the cause, the fact has been that the progress of Christianity has identified itself with the progress of natural philosophy.

II. The Holy Ghost was "the Spirit of Truth," to the Apostles. Through His unerring influence it is that we possess most accurate annals of the Redeemer's life—that we can trace His footsteps as He went about doing good, and listen to His voice as He preached the gospel to the poor. If the Spirit were thus the Spirit of Truth in regard of apostles, is He not still such in regard of every real Christian? It is the office of this Divine person—an office whose discharge must be experienced by every man who will enter heaven—to rectify the disorder of the moral and mental constitution, and thus to communicate that sort of inner light in which alone can be discerned the great truths of religion.

III. There remains much, very much, for this Spirit to teach. How great still is our ignorance. But observe what our Lord says in the text, "that He may abide with you for ever." Things which we cannot bear now shall not always be too vast for our comprehension. We may be led on from degree to degree of intelligence, and trained and taught by the Spirit; eternity shall be one continued growth, immortality one accumulating treasure.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2206.

I. As our Lord had created and stimulated and developed the spiritual life of His disciples, so would the Holy Spirit further develop, and finally perfect it. He would move in them. He would encourage and stimulate them. He would create the hungering and thirsting after righteousness which has the promise of being filled, and so absolutely has the Holy Spirit taken the place of Christ as the fountain and wellspring of the life of the soul that the indwelling and inworking of the one are stated by St. Paul to be the same as the indwelling and inworking of the other.

II. Observe that as our Saviour prayed to the Father for them, so now they would pray for themselves by the grace of the Advocate. Much of our Saviour's work among men was teaching them to help themselves. Through the grace of the Holy Ghost they would be enabled to plead for themselves as earnestly and successfully as Christ had done for them; which would be a clear spiritual gain. Prayer heralded every fresh enterprise for the diffusion of the Gospel, and was the great support on which they leaned when they had to endure persecution for the Gospel's sake. Truly they learned under the teaching of the new Advocate who was within them how to make full use of their privilege of access to the Father in the name of His Son.

III. As Christ had led His disciples into truth, so would the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, continue to lead them. The presence of Jesus must have been most stimulating to the disciples because of the constant flashes of light and truth that emanated from Him. He never spoke platitudes. The commonest truths were adorned with fresh beauty when they fell from His lips. At the prospect of losing such a Guide into the realms of truth the disciples might well feel as if their onward march would be stayed. The loss of Christ would be as the setting of the sun and the coming on of a great darkness over the soul. But they were assured by Christ Himself that even in this respect they should be no losers; in the other Comforter, the other Advocate, would be the Spirit of Truth who should guide them into all truth. They possessed in the words of their Lord the seeds of truth which would burst into bloom when the Holy Ghost began to shed His light upon them, and other and higher truth would be brought to their hearts.

J. P. Gledstone, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 355,


Christ's Absence—Quiet Times

I. Our state at this moment is exactly that of the rich man's brethren in the parable. We have Moses and the prophets, and should hear them. We have the ordinary means of grace in our hands, with no peculiarly awakening call, so far as we can foresee, to arouse us to make use of them. What a state of heart does it show, that the absence of all especial calls to God should be a relief to it! If we feel it a relief not to be forced to think upon God, it is a relief which we shall continually enjoy more plentifully—a relief which the heart will make for itself, when it cannot readily find it. Let it be that we find these quiet and ordinary seasons a relief to us, and we shall soon become insensible to seasons of excitement; great festivals, solemn occasions, the most touching accidents of life, the celebration of the Christian communion, will all pass over us without making any impression; nothing will break the deep rest of averseness to God which we so dreaded to have disturbed. Our hearts' desire will indeed be gratified; we shall see Christ's face, we shall hear His words, no more, so long as heaven and earth endure.

II. Most dreadful indeed is the faintest show of that feeling which rejoices to escape from Christ's call. But others do not rejoice to escape from it, but dread to think that it will not force them to listen to it. Do we desire some stronger religious excitement than usual? some solemn occasion to oblige us to think and to pray? some event that may break through the unmoved current of our daily life and not allow it to stagnate? It is a natural desire, but a vain one. Life will have its tranquil hours, its unvaried days, its ordinary and unexcited feeling. How precious are these quiet moments, when we may show our love to God's call by listening for and catching its softest sound! With the world all around us; with death and sorrow and care seemingly at a distance; on the plain road of human life, so far from the edge of the hill that we can enjoy no prospect of the distant country, none of the far-off horizon where earth and heaven meet—have we not God's light to guide and cheer us, and God's air to refresh us, and God's work to do? If the period now before us is indeed to go on quietly, let us be awake ourselves, and then we may be sure that its quiet will have nothing of dulness; that God will be near enough, and the aid of His Spirit abundantly ready, and our progress in grace marked by no obscure or doubtful signs.

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 62.


References: John 14:16, John 14:17.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 4.; H. Melvill, Voices of the Year, vol. i., p. 503; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons to a Country Congregation, vol. ii., p. 315; Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. ix., p. 167.


Verses 16-21

John 14:16-21

I. The Holy Spirit is promised as another Comforter. This surely indicates, not a new office to be discharged, but an old one, or one already subsisting, to be discharged by a new person. The term "Comforter" is common to the Holy Ghost, and to the incarnate Son. In its highest and holiest import, it is clearly not the exclusive property of the Spirit. The ministry is the same though another minister is to be employed in it. The work is the same, though a new and different workman is to be engaged about it. "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter."

II. And for that office of Comforter or Advocate, the Holy Spirit is better fitted, at least for the present, than even the Lord Jesus in person, had He remained on earth, could have been. (1) The other Comforter or Advocate is to be no passing visitor merely, but a permanent resident here on earth, "He may abide with you for ever." His peculiar functions, the department of the work falling to Him, is not of such a sort as to limit the duration of His stay or sojourn here. On the contrary, it requires His unceasing and uninterrupted ministry always, from the beginning of the Gospel down to the end of time. (2) He is the Spirit of Truth. In that character and capacity, He spiritualises the truth; making it spirit and life. In the hands of any other, even of Christ, the truth, the highest truth, the truth Divine and heavenly, the truth consisting of the very Son Himself, His person and His work, is but flesh which profiteth nothing. The Lord's own personal teaching, had it been prolonged, would have lacked a certain element of living and life-giving energy—a certain vitality and vivifying force, which it can only have when the Spirit makes it His own—impregnates it with His own life, and assimilates it in some sense, to His own nature. (3) The Spirit is an agent or worker, such as the world does not see or know, and therefore cannot receive. Were He other than that, He would not meet your case; He might dwell with you, but He could not be in you. "It is expedient for you that I go away," for this among other reasons, that He whom I am to send can reach the inmost recesses of your inner man and fix My words deeply there. "He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

R. S. Candlish, Sonship and Brotherhood of Believers, p. 192.


References: John 14:16-26.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vii., p, 336. John 14:17.—W. Sanday, The Fourth Gospel, p. 221; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., No. 754; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ix., p. 280; R. Tuck, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 381. John 14:18.—Wilberforce, Church Sermons, vol. ii., p. 17; G. Moberly, Plain Sermons at Brightstone, p. 219; Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 401; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 199. John 14:18, John 14:19.—J. H. Newman, Sermons on Subjects of the Day, p. 137. John 14:18-20.—G. Moberly, Parochial Sermons, p. 145; W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 56; J. Vaughan, Sermons, 13th series, p. 165.


Verse 19

John 14:19

I. Christ lives. In Him was life. He was the Prince, the Author of life. He submitted to die for the sin of the world. But it was impossible that He should be holden of death. He has resumed the body of His humanity, but it is now a glorified body, a body freed from the laws to which He before submitted it, of space and motion; no longer the body of our vileness, but the body of His glory.

II. He liveth; and now what does our text announce to us from His own lips as the consequences of that His life? "Because I live, ye shall live also." Immense consequences shall result from this resumption of His Body, and reunion of it in its resurrection form to His Godhead and His glorified humanity. (1) "In Christ shall all be made alive," In this lowest, but evident sense, because He lives, we shall live also. Every body of man shall one day be re-animated; known as his body was known, by its distinguishing marks and features; built up again by Him who built it up at first, and reunited to the human soul, which has been waiting in the abode of the departed the fulness of the Father's time. (2) All are united to Christ in the flesh. His body was our body; and the unbeliever, as well as the believer, is one flesh with Christ. All have the same animal and intellectual soul which Christ took upon Him; all, unbeliever as well as believer, are sharers in the immortality which He conferred on our nature by His resurrection, as far as this is concerned in it. All have the same immortal spirit; but here comes in the difference. The man who has degraded that Spirit by which he should have reached out after God, who has never sprinkled it with Christ's atoning blood, nor had God's Spirit dwelling in it, he shall live for ever in one sense—but how live for ever? In no spiritual life or enjoyment of God, in no apprehension of Him; for he has rejected the Son of God; and thus for him is reserved a final state of banishment from the presence of God and disappointment of all the high ends of his being. But in the opposite case of the spiritually minded, of those who have learned to look above the world and its animal enjoyment, and its intellectual power and pride, and to seek after the Father of their Spirits by believing on the Son of His love,—they are united to Christ not only in the flesh, not only in the animal and intellectual soul, but in the Spirit also. When Christ, who is their life shall appear, then shall they also appear with Him in glory.

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. i., p. 251.


Life in Christ

I. What we all want, and most of us feel that we want, is to live lovingly. Most persons have a consciousness that they are not living up to the intention of their being, and this sense of the interval which there is between the life we live and the life we might live, is perhaps the chief cause of that general undefined feeling of dissatisfaction and uncomfortableness by which so many of us are continually oppressed. So long as there is an interval between what a man might live, and what he ought to live, and what he does live, there will never be any real rest, and the greater the distance, the greater the restlessness. Seeing that we are constituted as we are, no man can have the true enjoyment of the sense of life until there is something of eternity in his living. It is an element which God has made to be a part of our spiritualised nature. And there will always be a void until it is in the mind, and we can say of anything we feel, think, or do, "This is for eternity."

II. Now, it is of this life of a man, in his body, soul, and spirit—it is of this life in a man, as forming a part of his immortality, that Christ is speaking, when He makes this comfortable promise concerning His resurrection and ascension, "Because I live, ye shall live also." See how the life of every Christian, i.e., of everyone who really lives, owes itself to the life of Jesus Christ. We live because the death of Christ upon the Cross redeemed us from a state of death; the dying of Jesus being in substitution for our dying, released us from the necessity of dying for ever. And having thus made us capable of living, the death of Christ placed us under those processes by which a certain new inward life is formed and perfected in us.

III. As water is ever seeking the level from which it flows, so the Christian life is always rising towards the standard of that life of Christ in which its own hidden fountain lies. It is a self-evident truth that if we live by Christ and on Christ, we must also live in Christ and to Christ. Our being, true to its great prototype, of which indeed it is only a part, is passing, for a short appointed period, through a risen spiritual life, preparatory to its glorified condition, of which it is always standing upon the eve, when, like Jesus, it will ascend and be taken up to its perfected consummation, and rise to life indeed for ever and ever.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 44.


The Natural Immortality of the Human Soul

I. Note some considerations which go to establish the radical unlikeness between spiritual and material beings. (1) The spirit of man knows itself to be capable of continuous improvement and development. (2) The spirit or mind of man is conscious of, and it values, its own existence. (3) Unless a spiritual being is immortal such a being does count for less in the universe than mere inert matter, for matter has a kind of immortality of its own.

II. How does Christ communicate life when He is out of reach of the senses? (1) By His spirit; (2) by the Christian sacraments.

H. P. Liddon, Penny Pulpit, No. 945.

Consider some aspects in which our Lord's words light up for us our life. I propose to show how the risen Saviour dispels the darkness in which we walk, fills the vacancy which we dread, gives us the victory over death.

I. The resurrection of Christ is emphatically the accomplishment of our redemption. Apart from that there is no hope for us as sinners in the sight of God. If Jesus Christ had only died, the perfect man would have appeared, but the perfect man would have gone down into the abyss of darkness like the rest. There would have been no proof that the Sacrifice was pleasing to God, no evidence that the Father had accepted Him. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and therein is our salvation sure.

II. But, again, the resurrection of Christ is our victory over death. The life which He has purchased He has given to us, and that life scorns death. He is so One with us that His victory is ours. And so He Himself declares that if we believe in Him we shall never die. Not only death cannot terrify Christ's children, death has no power over them; death is not death, it is a sleep, or rather it is a birth—a birth into a new and glorious life. It is a deliverance, it is a joy. Do not call it death; there is no real death but separation from God; that is death, death of body and death of soul, death temporal and death eternal. The believer who is one with Christ can say, "O death, where is thy sting?"

III. But the text is true in another sense. The resurrection is the pledge of the resurrection of our bodies. Because He lives, we also shall live, not only as disembodied spirits, but with new bodies, clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.

IV. The resurrection of Christ implies that we are now, even in this world, risen with Him. St. Paul's great object, he tells us, was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. It was his aim and endeavour, it was his constant prayer, to be conformed to the image of his risen Saviour. It was to this that he exhorted his converts, "Our conversation is in heaven." "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."

J. J. S. Perowne, Sermons, p. 274.


References: John 14:19.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii., No. 968; Preacher's Monthly, vol. x., p. 18; J. Vaughan, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 91; T. T. Munger, The Freedom Faith, p. 257.


Verse 19-20

John 14:19-20

Waiting for God in Christ

I. Wait for Christ, for we are privileged to do so; wait for Him, wait at the outer gate, though the gate may be fast closed, and we can see nothing of the glory within; yet wait, for so Christ bids you. Within that gate is your home, if you will not turn your backs upon it; wait, and it will one day be opened. But we grow tired of waiting. Seven days we wait, and He who alone can sacrifice for us, comes not to us sensibly; nay, He seems to linger beyond His promised time; we pray, and He has not seemed to hear; we are bound, and He has not yet delivered us. And then we are tired of waiting, and we try to offer our own sacrifice; in some way or other—the ways are infinitely various—we try to help ourselves. This is the one great lesson to press upon you, "Wait for Christ." Wait patiently; if your prayers are cold, if your faith is weak, if your sins are many, still wait and watch; pray still, believe amidst unbelief; watch your lives, and struggle with your sins, amidst your constant defeats. This is the state of him who through much tribulation enters into the kingdom of God.

II. And can any tongue adequately describe the joy, when those who so watch behold the dawn? Not the Sun—He is not yet risen—but the gracious dawn. Most touching is the natural dawn, when the forms of things first, and then their colours, begin to appear to us, and there is a stillness over everything, a freshness, yet a calmness inexpressible, the preparation, as it were, for the brightness of the full day. It is a true image of the spiritual dawn to them who have been long waiting. That is the dawn when prayer becomes welcome, when God begins to be realised to our minds, when we think of Him as our loving Father, and so begin to feel towards Him as His children. This is the dawn; not the day, for that may still be distant; the sun arises, when the beasts of the field get them away together, and lay them down in their dens; when evil haunts us no more, and Christ is seen face to face. But the dawn brightening more and more unto the perfect day—that is the Christian's course when he is truly Christ's, when he waits and is not weary.

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. v., p. 321.


References: John 14:19, John 14:20.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ix., p. 208. John 14:20.—Ibid., vol. iii., p. 289. John 14:21.—J. W. Colenso, Village Sermons, p. 89; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xvii., p. 312; Parker, City Temple, 1871, p. 159; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 133; G. G. Findlay, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 30. John 14:21-23.—H. W. Beecher, Forty-eight Sermons, vol. i., p. 279. John 14:21-26.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 91. John 14:22.—T. Gasquoine, Ibid., p. 83; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 29; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. v., p. 326; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 175; J. Keble, Sermons for Saints Days, p. 406; Plain Sermons by Contributors to Tracts for the Times," vol. vi., p. 181; Church of England Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 13. John 14:22, John 14:23.—J. C. Gallaway, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 298; H. W. Beecher, Sermons, 4th series, p. 236.


Verses 22-26

John 14:22-26

Observe:—

I. The harmony we may trace between the Spirit's working and the working of our own hearts and minds, according to the ordinary laws of thought and feeling which regulate their movements. Here, as always, it may be seen that grace and nature are not antagonistic but concurrent, not conflicting but conspiring forces. Grace renovates and quickens nature. In the common course of nature, the keeping of the loved one's sayings tends to give a realising sense and sight of the loved one himself, as present in them; not only acknowledging them as having been his own once, but speaking them as his own now. And grace, the gracious ministry of the Holy Ghost, fits into this natural operation, adopts it, uses it, turns it to account, intensifies and vivifies it. Nor is there anything mystical or fanatical in the process. It is a simple quickening of the two faculties that are in exercise, the understanding and the memory.

II. Consider what you lose and forfeit if you have no love to Christ. The faith which works by love is no mere notion of Christ, or barren belief of some facts or doctrines concerning Christ. It is the real personal closing of my soul with Christ, and the accepting of Him as my own Saviour; mine in the sense of my appropriating Him to myself—to myself personally and individually. "Unto you that believe He is precious."

III. When Christ's sayings are lovingly kept, when they are kept altogether; the whole sayings of the book kept as His; how clear and full may His manifestation of Himself to you be expected to be; and to become more and more day by day. Everywhere He comes forth and manifests Himself the same yesterday, today, and for ever; in creation, providence, judgment, the same; in wrath, in mercy, the same. No more will there be any severing of one part of Holy Writ from another; any setting up of detached passages against one another; any divorce of Christ from Moses or from Paul. Christ is everywhere, Christ alone, Christ always the same.

R. S. Candlish, Sonship and Brotherhood of Believers, p. 233.


Reference: John 14:22-31.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 408.



Verse 23

John 14:23

Consider:—

I. The connection between Christ and His words. (1) Christ and His words are both very fully made known to us. (2) There is a perfect harmony between Christ and His words.

II. The connection between loving Christ and keeping His words. The way in which our Lord states this brings before us (1) the central truth of Christian doctrine—viz., that in some way, there must be a change of heart before there is a change of life. (2) The Christian philosophy of morality. There is no system but Christianity that gathers all the grand motives to morality round a person, and makes the strength and essence of them spring from love to Him.

J. Ker, Sermons, p. i.

References: John 14:23.—S. Cox, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 278; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 148; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. v., p. 451. John 14:23-31.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xii., p. 273. John 14:24-26.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi., No. 1842; F. W. Farrar, Church of England Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 169. John 14:25, John 14:26.—F. D. Maurice, Gospel of St. John, p. 383. John 14:25-31.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 138. John 14:26.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 5; vol. vi., No. 315; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 288; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 103; A. Barry, Cheltenham College Sermons, p. 370; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xviii., p. 26; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 187; R. W. Church, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 92; B. F. Westcott, The Historic Faith, p. 103.


Verse 27

John 14:27

These are musical words, but the music is not of earth alone. They touch a strain above the world. In their Divine consciousness of vast spiritual power, in their farness from the strife and trouble of men, they are of that true supernatural which abides in the secret of God.

I. What was it? It was not peace from the outward pains that beset life. The Jewish and the Roman world, the Church and State, were alike against the disciples of Christ. They were driven into deserts, thrown to the beasts, stoned, butchered to make a Roman holiday. It was not then the peace of an easy life Christ left them. On the contrary, He bade them, would they follow Him, expose themselves to the tempest.

II. Was it freedom from the unrest of the heart—freedom from sorrow and care, and bitter pain of thought and love? No, not that either; for it was My peace, said Christ, and He had not peace of heart. On Him the restlessness we know so well abided; He suffered as we suffer; and it is well. For were freedom from these things His peace, we should have no certainty of His sympathy. The consoler needs to have been the sufferer, and the conqueror of suffering.

III. What was the peace, then? It was a spiritual peace—peace in the deep region of the human spirit—peace in that inner life, which, striking its thoughts into eternity, is linked unbrokenly to God. Nay, which is a part of God. In that deep Life in Christ there was entire and perfect peace. It was (1) the peace that comes through fulfilment of duty. (2) It was peace that comes from the Triumph of Love. It is in the depth of God's love that His peace is rooted, and in the depth of that life of His which love makes for ever. (3) Christ's peace consisted in conscious union with God. "I and My Father are One." And because Christ had it, and was one of us, we will not despair, however grim and dim the battle in which we fight with phantoms. If one of us (our Brother in humanity) had this peace, if He was at home in the very truth of things, in the very Central Truth, then we also may win it. We, too, may be at one with God. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you."

S. A. Brooke, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 337.


The Peace of Christ is—

I. The peace of obedience. The submission which we owe to God is stripped from all servileness and obsequiousness by the fact that this submission is not only to a sovereign, but to a righteous and loving sovereign. It is submission of trust in God, and that knows what it trusts. This trust is also a large word when you think of it. It shuts out fear—that it may shut in a perfect love. It means friendly confidence with the unseen, the boldness of a favoured child. It means, therefore, a joyful peace. When the soul has got this relation with the eternal God—of utter submission to Him as a righteous sovereign, and love to Him as a loving parent—then the heart has obtained the peace of Jesus.

II. This inward peace is what St. Paul calls peace with God. This phrase refers to the pacification of conscience. Faith accepts God's gift of His Son as a sincere gift; it seeks to be reconciled, to be justified, and forgiven in God's way, and thus bowing to the obedience of faith, the sinful man finds that He has recovered that peace with God which is the absence of all condemnation.

III. In this spiritual submission to God, Jesus, in His spiritual character, is our great example. To it His great atonement is our great compeller. To this real loving subjection let us strive continually to bring ourselves, that we may have peace and confidence in Him. There are many sorrows and disturbances to contend with; yet it will not do to give up. It will not do to relegate the hope of inward peace to a future life. Christ had it here. More profound submission to our Father's will, more childlike confidence in the Father and Son; and surely the Spirit, who is the Dove, will descend, and breathe sweet repose wherever His white wings brood? Surely He will make His nest within your spirit; and then, while storms surge and beat around your steps, you shall have the peace of Christ throughout the ages.

J. Oswald Dykes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxii., p. 11.


Let us take the word "Peace" in at least some of the senses which our Saviour would give to it, and which are on our part fulfilled.

I. There is peace within ourselves. Everyone knows what it is to be at peace with ourselves, or not at peace. We may be perfectly prosperous, and yet there is a secret pang which makes us ill at ease. There is a something of which we do not like to speak, of which we do not like to hear, and of which, if possible, we would rather not think. "Keep innocency," says the Psalmist, "and do the thing that is right, for that will bring a man peace at the last."

II. Peace with one another. Christ Himself was the great Peacemaker. In Him Jew and Gentile, Greek and Barbarian, came together and were one. We must differ. We cannot make all men to be of the same character, of the same pursuits, of the same tastes, and of the same opinions. But here, as in the natural world, we can and we ought to prevent any difference, except the difference of sin, from becoming a separation. Always open the door wide for repentance. Always make the return as easy and as pleasant as it is possible to be made. There are, no doubt, occasions when truth and justice must be preferred to peace, whether in nations, churches, or private life. There are, no doubt, differences which are widened instead of smoothed by saying, "Peace, peace, when there is no peace." But these are the exceptions, and we must be very careful not to multiply the exceptions lest we should make them the rule of life. The peace of the Holy Spirit of Christ is something much wider and deeper than outward diversities or likenesses. "Not as the world giveth," not as outward appearance giveth, not as the mere letter giveth, but as the Spirit, speaking to our inmost spirits, so is the peace which Christ gives to His disciples.

III. Peace with God. Dwell for a moment on the thought of God—of God in His threefold essence as it were, completed for us. Think of God, the one Eternal Judge, perfectly just and perfectly merciful, who sees not as man sees, who knows whereof we are made, who knows our ignorance and our blindness, who sees us exactly as we are, and not as the unjust, capricious world sees us. That thought is the peace of God the Father. Truly in the Spirit of God is the everlasting peace which broods over the face of the waters, whether of chaos or of cosmos—the peace which lies not on the ruffled outward outward surface, but in the silent depths below.

A. P. Stanley, Penny Pulpit, No. 154 (new series).

References: John 14:27.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi., No. 300; vol. v., No. 247; C. Stanford, Evening of our Lord's Ministry, p. 112; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 93; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 327; W. T. Bull, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 133; R. A. Bertram, Ibid., vol. iv., p. 234; G. W. Conder, Ibid., vol. vii., p. 196; A. P. Peabody, Ibid., vol. xi., p. 358; J. Oswald Dykes, Ibid., vol. xxii., p. 11; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 394; vol. xviii., p. 127; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 2nd series, p. 181; W. G. Blaikie, Glimpses of the Inner Life of our Lord, p. 178; S. Baring Gould, Literary Churchman Sermons, p. 145; J. H. Thorn, Laws of Life after the Mind of Christ, 2nd series, p. 152; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. viii., p. 259.

I. These words imply (1) the possession of a power of control over our own hearts. (2) Responsibility as to the exercise of such control. (3) They do not require that we should harden our hearts against the due influences of grievous circumstances, or shut our eyes to danger or to threatening sorrow. (4) Fear is here distinctly and separately condemned.

II. The disciple of Christ has sources of joy counteractive of his sorrows, and he has no ground for fear. (1) The Christian disciple is in the keeping of the Saviour personally. The Saviour has charge of us individually. He has charge of the Church; but He takes care of the Church by taking care of us personally, and He takes as much care of us personally as though He had only one of us to look after. (2) Then, the Father in heaven loves the disciple of Christ. Christ tries to comfort His sorrowing ones by reminding them of this very love. He tells them, in the words that follow, "The Father Himself loveth you." (3) Again, a place is prepared in heaven as the eternal home of Christ's disciples, and they are moving to that place continually. (4) Farther, a Comforter is sent to the followers of Christ, to abide with them for ever. (5) Moreover, Jesus Christ gives peace to His disciples—a sure and immoveable foundation of reliance; a trust and confidence which loving intercourse with the Almighty Father is calculated to give. To seek, then, and to cherish this peace, to yield ourselves to the ministrations of the Comforter—to look up unto the heavenly home which the Saviour has in readiness for us—to think of our Father in heaven as really loving us—to realise the fact that we are in Christ's holy keeping—is to prevent fear or to quench fear, and to reduce the stream of sorrow which flows through our souls, and prevent its overflowing its appointed channels and overwhelming our spirit.

S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Sermons, 3rd series, p. 91.



Verse 28

John 14:28

Present Relations of Christ with His Followers

The great change of administration to be introduced by the going away and coming again of Christ, includes several points that require to be distinctly noted.

I. That Christ now institutes such a relationship between Himself and His followers that they can know Him when the world cannot. Before this, the world had known Him just as His disciples had, seeing Him with their eyes, hearing His doctrine, observing His miracles; but now He is to be withdrawn, so that only they shall see Him—the world seeth Him not; as being rational persons they may recollect Him, they may read other men's recollections of Him, but His presence they will not discern. He is not manifest unto them, but only to His followers. He that loveth knoweth God, and he only.

II. It is a point included that the new presence or social relationship is to be effected and maintained by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. And He it is that Christ, in His promise, calls so freely Himself. The New Testament writings are not delicate in maintaining any particular formula or scheme of personality, as regards the distributions of Trinity. And when Christ calls the Comforter whom He promises Himself, He gives precisely the best and truest representation of the Spirit, in His new office, possible to be given. It is to be as if the disincarnated soul or person of Christ were now to go away and return as a universal Spirit invisible, in that form to abide for ever. And the beauty of the conception is, that the Spirit is to be no mere impersonal effluence or influence, but to be with us in the very feeling and charity of Jesus. He will be as forgiving as Christ in His passion, as tenderly burdened as Christ in His agony, as really present to physical suffering, as truly a Comforter to all the shapes of human sorrow. All which Christ outwardly expressed, He will inwardly show.

III. In this coming again of Christ by the Spirit, there is included also the fact that He will be known by the disciple, not only socially, but as the Christ, in such a way as to put us in a personal relationship with Him, even as His own disciples were in their outward society with Him. Christ is so related now to the soul of them that receive Him, that He is present with them in all places, at all times, bearing witness with their spirit, in guidance and holy society a friend, a consoler, a glorious illuminator, all that He would or could be, if we had Him each to himself, in outward company. Our answer then, to the question, What are Christ's present relations to His followers? is, that He is present to them as He is not and cannot be to the world; present as an all-permeating Spirit—present as the all-quickening life—consciously, socially present—so that no explorations of science or debates of reason are wanted to find Him, no going over the sea to bring Him back, or up into Heaven to bring Him down, because He is already present, always present, in the mouth and in the heart. In this manner He will be revealed in all men, waits to be revealed in all, if only they will suffer it. The word for every trusting, loving heart is, I will come unto it; I will be manifest unto it; lo, I will be with it always.

H. Bushnell, Christ and His Salvation, p. 295.


References: John 14:28.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi., No. 1871; Ibid., My Sermon Notes: Gospels and Acts, p. 154; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xv., p. 226; T. M. Herbert, Sketches of Sermons, p. 214. John 14:30.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 330.


Verse 30-31

John 14:30-31

Consider:—

I. Christ as meeting the prince of this world. (1) The prince of this world comes as an accuser. When the willing Surety took our place, and submitted to the treatment which we deserved, the prince of this world could lay nothing to His charge. He could find no fault in Him, either personally or as our substitute, in His character or in His finished work. (2) The prince of this world comes, not only as an accuser, but as a ruler and lord, claiming dominion over all the world. Still, the Lord says, the prince of this world has nothing in Me. He may be this world's prince, but he is not Mine. I owe him no allegiance; nor can he, by any minister of his, have any power against Me, except it be given him from above. I give no heed to his suggestions or to his threats. It is not his will that I do, but the will of Him who sent Me; and if that will appoint a Cross, better far a Cross from the Father than a hundred crowns from the prince of this world.

II. The Christian as meeting the prince of this world. (1) He comes to accuse. In this matter let the Father alone deal with you, as having something in you. Fall into His hands. Let Christ's willing endurance of the Father's righteous sentence of death for sin become yours. Be ye crucified with Christ. Be ye partakers in His passion, in His cross. Let the Father search and judge and condemn you. That sets you free from every other accuser. (2) The prince of this world comes to claim you as subject to himself. But his title is now null and void, for prince of the world though he be, he has no natural, no original, no legitimate right to be your prince. His right can be only a right of conquest on his part, or of consent on your part, or both. But on neither of these grounds has he anything in you now.

R. S. Candlish, The Gospel of Forgiveness, p. 67.



Verse 31

John 14:31

Let us go hence. What was He leaving? Whither was He going? He was going to Gethsemane, to the kiss of the traitor; to the tribunals of Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate; to His shameful and bitter Cross; to the unknown agonies of His last great conflict with the prince of this world. He had a baptism to be baptized with, and He was straitened until it was accomplished.

I. He was impelled by His supreme sense of duty. No self-interest, no sentiment was ever permitted to interfere with this sense of duty. In all truly great lives the sense of duty is dominant. A man who will not, for duty's sake, do an arduous or unpleasant thing, will neither build up his own moral strength and nobility nor glorify God before men. Had he taken counsel of His own inclinations, He would not have gone from the upper room to Gethsemane, He would not have made men feel the grandeur and sacredness of His Father's service.

II. Another impulse was to produce the impression of His filial affection. Love is the inspiration of all high duty, for duty is more than the mere sense of right, it is the impulse of sympathy; a thing done with an averted face and a reluctant heart is not duty. Duty, therefore, is more than mere measured service, it is the feeling that prompts us to do all that we can do to accomplish God's purposes, to satisfy His heart. Our Lord attached great importance to the impression which His love of duty made upon men. He would have the world to see and know His love, because it would inspire love in them. The only talisman of faith is dutiful love. They who worthily love are held and ruled by love; they whose love is weaker than circumstance do not love at all. Be it ours by ever higher duty, by ever growing love, by ever greater work, to make the world know that we love the Master whom we serve. The one supreme question of every servant of Christ is not, What will most conduce to my ease? What will most please my preference? but, What will most glorify Him?

H. Allon, Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 72.


References: John 14:31.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Gospels and Acts, p. 157; Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 24; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xvi., p. 225. John 15:1—F. D. Maurice, Gospel of St. John, p. 396; C. Stanford, Evening of our Lord's Ministry, p. 133. John 15:1, John 15:2.—Philpot, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 409. John 15:1-4.—A. Mackennal, Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p.. 235; Church of England Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 41; vol. xvi., p. 184. John 15:1-5.—H. Batchelor, The Incarnation of God, p. 121; D. Fraser, Metaphors of the Gospels, p. 347; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 311; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 486. John 15:1-6.—R. C. Trench, Studies in the Gospels, p. 283. John 15:1-8.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 80; W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 196. John 15:1-11.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 220. John 15:1-17.—A. B. Bruce The Training of the Twelve, p. 415.



 


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 14:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-14.html.

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