6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The post-Pentecost manifestation of God in the hearts of His people.


John 14:23-29

Today’s short excerpt comes by way of response to the question of Judas (not Iscariot), “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22).

Typical of the disciples and many of their Jewish contemporaries, Judas seems to be expecting the Messiah to be a Maccabean type leader who will raise an army to vanquish the Romans from the Promised Land. This notion Jesus always resisted (e.g. John 6:15). The Lord’s own understanding of His exaltation was of a different order, and it included a Cross (John 12:32).

Jesus’ answer is that the manifestation of His Messiah-ship is of a much more personal nature. He will not manifest Himself to everyone, but only to those who love Him and keep His “word” (John 14:23a). Notice how closely our love and our obedience are bound together (cf. John 14:15; John 14:21; 1 John 2:3-5).

Jesus says of those who love Him and keep His word that “My Father will love” them (John 14:23b). Jesus is talking here of a particular delight that the Father has in those who have ‘known and believed the love that God has for us’ (1 John 4:16a). The result is a Spiritual abiding of the Father and the Son with such a person (John 14:23c; cf. 1 John 4:16b).

Those who do not love the Lord do not keep His words (John 14:24a; cf. John 8:42). Yet the word that Jesus speaks is the word of the Father who sent Him (John 14:24b; cf. John 7:16; John 5:38). So do WE believe it (John 14:10)?

There is a process of teaching going on here (John 14:25; John 14:29; John 15:11; John 16:1; John 16:12). Jesus sums it all up in His prayer at the end of the Upper Room Discourse (John 17:6-8). In today’s passage He says, “These are the things I have spoken to you while being present with you” (John 14:25).

As Jesus had already said, He would pray the Father who would send another advocate, or counsellor, who would abide with His people forever (John 14:16). Now Jesus is the advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1); and the Spirit of truth is the counsellor who dwells with us and is in us (John 14:17). Thus, Jesus had assured the disciples, “I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you” (John 14:18).

While Jesus is away, we have the Holy Spirit whom the Father sends in Jesus’ name, to help us and teach us and bring to mind the things which Jesus taught (John 14:26). This revivification of our memories is not only for the writers of the New Testament, although it is that. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit we also are enabled to learn, and to recollect the “all things” necessary for our salvation (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10).

Jesus’ parting gift is a “peace” such as the world cannot give (John 14:27a). The peace that Jesus gives is based in the salvation purchased for us with His own blood (cf. Romans 5:1). On this basis we are exhorted to “Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts” (Colossians 3:15).

“Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27b), Jesus reiterates from John 14:1a. To which He now adds, “neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27c). If God is for us, who can possibly prevail against us?’ (Romans 8:31).

Well, why should the disciples not let their heart be troubled: after all, Jesus kept saying He was going away? Jesus did not deny saying this, but He added: “If you loved Me you would rejoice because I said I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

As touching His Godhead, Jesus had taught earlier, ‘I and the Father are One’ (John 10:30). But here He says, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28c). This is the mystery of the incarnation, the Word becoming flesh (John 1:14).

Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be selfishly held on to, but ‘emptied Himself’ and took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6-7). This was a temporary situation, so Jesus’ going back to the Father (John 14:28) was a good thing, because then He could resume ‘the glory I had with You before the world was’ (John 17:5).

“I have told you all this before it takes place,” Jesus said, in effect, “so that when it happens you might believe” (John 14:29). So, let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1). Let not your faith be shaken!

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