JOHN 14 – Judas has been dismissed to play his part in betraying Jesus (Jn 13:27-30), and Jesus prepares the 11 Apostles for all that will happen in His death, resurrection, ascension, sending the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ return to take His people physically home to heaven with Him. Although there is much here that is correctly used at funerals, there’s comfort for ALL the tough times believers will go through on our way to our eternal home with Jesus.
Jn 14:1-6 – This is about how Jesus will take believers to our eternal Home with Him one day. Much of the rest of the chapter is how He’ll be with His disciples again. Both that He’d see them again soon (after His resurrection) and still make a way, through His Holy Spirit, to be with them and continue to minister through them after He ascended back to heaven. Often when our hearts are troubled (v 1) the most troubling thing is feeling alone. And though we may truly feel this way (so many of the Psalms start with this perception), Jesus is reminding us of deeper realities than what we can sense on the surface.
Jn 14:6 – So clear that the ONLY WAY to God the Father is through Jesus! And not a Jesus of OUR making, but the fully divine (notice this is another “I AM” statement) Jesus who is God in the flesh, the perfect image of God the Father.
Jn 14:8-11 – From ESV Study Bible: [“Philip apparently asks for some sort of appearance by God. In the OT, Moses asked for and was given a limited vision of God’s glory (Ex. 33:18; cf. Ex. 24:10). Isaiah, too, received a vision of God (Isa. 6:1; see note on John 12:41). Jesus is the greater fulfillment of these limited OT events (see also Ezek. 1:26–28). In keeping with OT teaching, Jesus denied the possibility of a direct vision of God (John 5:37; 6:46; cf. 1:18), yet he makes the stunning assertion that those who have seen him have seen the Father—a clear claim to deity. Philip’s request shows that he has not yet understood the point of Jesus’ coming, namely, to reveal the Father (1:14, 18).”]
Jn 14:12 – “greater works” – There’s so much misunderstanding on this phrase! From the ESV Study Bible: [“The disciples’ greater works will be possible because Jesus is going to the Father, subsequent to his finished work on the cross (12:24; 15:13; 19:30); this indicates that the “greater works” will be possible because of the power of the Holy Spirit who would be sent after Jesus goes to the Father (see 16:7; also 7:39; 14:16, 26). … These “greater works” include evangelism, teaching, and deeds of mercy and compassion—in short, the entire ministry of the church to the entire world, beginning from Pentecost. (E.g., on the day of Pentecost alone, more believers were added to Jesus’ followers than during his entire earthly ministry up to that time; cf. Acts 2:41.) These works are “greater” not because they are more amazing miracles but because they will be greater in their worldwide scope and will result in the transformation of individual lives and of whole cultures and societies.”]
Jn 14:13-14 – Asking in Jesus’ name is far more than tacking on a phrase at the end of a prayer. It’s at least praying for heavenly Kingdom priorities that will glorify God (compare v 13 to the Model Prayer in Matt 6:9ff), not for selfish desires. It’s also praying based on what Jesus was accomplishing with His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection NOT based on any merit in us. Don’t miss the implication that we need to actually ask in prayer. It’s easy to get so busy DOING in life that we forget that by far the most effective thing we can do is PRAY.
Jn 14:15-17 – Beginning a focus in Jn 14-16 on the character and work of the Holy Spirit.
Jn 14:18 – I think Jesus is both letting the Apostles know that they’ll see Him physically soon (after His resurrection), AND that He will ALWAYS be with them (even after His ascension back to heaven) through the Holy Spirit (v 16-17, 25-26).
Jn 14:15, 21-24 – A life characterized by obedience to Jesus and His commands is not a “deeper life” OPTION for super-Christians, but what characterizes increasingly the life of all who love Him. Not sinless perfection but a clearly different-from-the-world direction. I love the truth that until He takes us Home to heaven to be with Him (Jn 14:2-3), Jesus and the Father (through the Holy Spirit) will make a way to be at home in the lives of those who love Him.
Jn 14:25-26 – The primary meaning of this is specifically for the Apostles. Once Jesus went to the cross and rose again, they were going to realize how much they had missed. How much more of the OT than they had imagined was actually pointing to Messiah Jesus. Not only the triumphant King passages, but also the Suffering Servant texts and the sacrificial system and ALL the Law and the Prophets and the Wisdom writings were FULL of pointers to Him. And now they needed to apply the OT Scriptures to life that is NOT a theocracy that encouraged believers but a government that often helped persecute them. And Jesus is promising that the Holy Spirit will guide them in all this understanding. This is why one of the key things the early church looked for in a writing is if it was written by or supervised by one of the Apostles with this Holy Spirit enabling and authority.
Jn 14:27 – Jesus promising HIS peace (even hours away from the cross), as their lives were about to feel as if they were falling apart. Note that HIS peace is “NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES”. The world’s peace is based on things going well – HIS peace is promised even when life SEEMS to be falling apart. Note the intentionality of v 27 – our hearts will be TEMPTED to be troubled and anxious, but by God’s help (remember to pray – v 13-14) we must not STAY there. Compare the very intentional setting of our mind in Phil 4:6-9 connected to the peace of God.
Jn 14:28 – Again, though Jesus is FULLY EQUAL in divinity and essence with His Father (all members of the Trinity are fully God – see 14:1, 8-9; cf Jn 5:18, 22-23, 8:51-59) He is also HAPPILY SUBMISSIVE to His Father’s leadership role in the Trinity (Jn 14:10; cf 5:19, 26-27). Jesus was not just submissive in role when He walked on earth, but for all eternity – see 1 Cor 15:24-28.
Jn 14:29-31 – A huge part of comforting our troubled hearts (see v 1, 27) is resting in the sovereign plan of God. Knowing that HE is in charge of every detail that happens. Although Satan (‘the ruler of this world” – v 30) is clearly involved and has tremendous power, that’s NOTHING compared to the FINAL and FOUNDATIONAL word of God the Father. Even though Satan is referred to as a powerfully destructive lion (1 Pet 5:8), he’s definitely a lion on a leash (see Jn 13:26-27; Lk 22:31-32, 53; Job 1-2, 2 Cor 12:7-10, Rev 20)!
Don’t miss that though the cross is definitely a display of God’s love for believers (Rom 5:8), it’s even more fundamentally a display of Jesus’ love for His Father. In that love and resting in His Father’s plan (see also how Jesus set His mind here in Jn 13:1-4 and compare to notes at Jn 14:27), they leave the upper room heading towards the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus will be taken to hours of trumped-up trials and torture before the cross. And we know from Matt 26:30 and Mk 14:26 that they left SINGING (probably including Ps 118 which sings in joyful praise because God’s plan WILL triumph, and don’t miss Ps 118:27 in light of heading towards the cross as God’s Perfect Sacrifice).
Optional Psalm 59:1-10 – The historical setting (see the title) is 1 Sam 19:11. King Saul and his jealous rage towards David SEEMS to be winning for now, but God WILL triumph! Compare Jesus resting in His Father’s sovereign plan even as He heads towards the cross in Jn 14:29-31 (see notes just above).
Optional Proverbs 15:20-24 – Apply Prov 15:21, 24 to media consumption, entertainment, hobbies – how we spend our free time.