The Promise of a Comforter

John 14:15-26

SS Lesson for 03/08/2015


Devotional Scripture:  Acts 1:3-5


Overview and Key Verse of the Lesson

The lesson reviews Jesus' declaration of The Promise of a Comforter.  The study's aim is to gain assurance of the Lord's plan for our spiritual growth.  The study's application is to live obediently to Jesus Christ through the Spirit's continual ministry.  (Adapted from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator Commentary).


Key Verse: John 14:26

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.


Commentary from The Bible Knowledge Commentary

The disciples’ love for Christ is revealed in their obeying His commands (cf. vv. 21, 23; 1 John 2:3; 3:22, 24; 5:3). Christ has set the pattern of love and obedience (John 14:31); His disciples are expected to follow (13:15-16).  This is the first of several passages on the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room Discourse. Up to this point in John’s Gospel, little has been said about the Holy Spirit. The words to Nicodemus (3:5-8) were private and 7:39 pointed ahead to Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is to be the Counselor (paraklētos; also used in 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; for its meaning see comments on 16:7). In a sense He has now replaced Jesus’ physical presence; and He mediates God to believers. The Spirit is in a believer forever (cf. Rom. 8:9). He is also the Spirit of Truth (lit., “Spirit of the truth”; cf. John 15:26; 16:13) and thus would guide the apostles. He is invisible (the world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him), yet He is real and active. Without a radio, radio waves go unnoticed. The Holy Spirit is unnoticed by the unsaved who have no spiritual life. The disciples had some experience with the Spirit (doubtless in preaching and miracle-working) but now His working would be much more intimate. Why did Jesus say that the Holy Spirit will be (fut. tense) in them? Because in Old Testament times the Spirit came on some believers for special enablement, but after Pentecost He indwells every believer permanently (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13). What did Jesus mean when He said, I will come to you? Was He referring to (1) His resurrection, (2) the Rapture, (3) the death of a believer, (4) a mystical experience, or (5) the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost? Views 1 and 5 seem best. Verse 19 favors view 1 since the disciples did see Him after His resurrection. His resurrection is also the pledge of their resurrection (Because I live, you also will live; cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-21) and the foundation of a new life. On that day refers to the day of Pentecost when the outpoured Spirit gave evidence of Jesus’ Ascension to the Father. (Some, however, take the “day” to refer to Jesus’ resurrection, the basis for believers’ assurance.) The Spirit would come into believers (v. 17), and would teach them of their union with Jesus (you are in Me, and I am in you) while He manifested Christ in them. Christian love is manifested as a believer obeys the Lord’s words (cf. vv. 15, 23). The rewards of loving Him are great: (a) the Father will show His love to him (cf. v. 23), and (b) the Son will love him and show Himself to him. This passage does not teach a “works” religion, but rather that one who believes and obeys Christ’s Word is loved by the Lord. Saving faith results in obedience (cf. “the obedience that comes from faith,” Rom. 1:5). Judas (not Judas Iscariot) may have been the same man called Thaddaeus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18). He was puzzled that Jesus would manifest Himself to them and not to the world (cf. John 14:19a).  Jesus answered that He and the Father will not manifest themselves to those who are disobedient to His teaching. Obedience grows out of love for Jesus and His Word (cf. vv. 15, 21; 1 John 2:3; 3:22, 24; 5:3). And as a result, the Father and the Son abide (make Our home) with him. “Home” is monēn, the singular of plural monai, translated “rooms” in John 14:1. This word occurs in the New Testament only in those two verses. To rebel against Jesus’ word is to rebel against God the Father who sent Him. Jesus’ words were not His own, as He had said previously (12:49; 14:10). What Jesus said in the days of His earthly ministry was only partially understood. Three things were needed for the apostles to understand Jesus’ person and mission: (1) His death had to occur. (2) He had to rise again to vindicate His claim and demonstrate His victory. (3) The Spirit had to come (He would be sent by the Father... in My name, i.e., in Jesus’ place and for Him) and interpret the meanings of Jesus’ words and deeds. The Spirit, Jesus said, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. This verse is addressed to the apostles. The context limits the “all things” to the interpretation and significance of His person and work. The Spirit worked in their minds, reminding them of His teaching and giving them insight into its meaning (cf. 2:22; 7:39; 20:9).


Commentary from The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Jesus now summarizes the forthcoming ministry of the Advocate, who is also known as the Holy Spirit. This is God’s own Spirit, who will soon be sent to the apostles in the name of Jesus. Jesus also adds information about what the apostles can expect the Holy Spirit to do. First, he will teach you all things. This will become the basis of the inspiration of the men who will write the New Testament. Things that they do not know will be taught to them by the Holy Spirit. Like the prophets of old they will be moved by the Spirit to write Scripture. The Spirit will also remind them of things previously seen and heard. Since two of those present, namely Matthew and John, will later write Gospels of Jesus’ life, it will be vital for them to be able to recall accurate details of what they have witnessed. Even as they write decades later, their thoughts on the life of Jesus will be clear and correct. In an indirect way, the work of the Spirit to teach and to remind is a promise to all of us. First through Scripture and then through his indwelling presence, the Spirit leads us toward the truth and to recall it. The Spirit is our helper, indeed!


Lesson Introduction and Background

From the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

“Sorry, I have to leave now.” Words like these have broken many hearts. Someone goes off to war, a dear friend moves far away, an elderly loved one passes on. There is likely a sad embrace, a final farewell, and cold reality sets in: abandoned! For some, it is even worse. By one estimate, there are over 100 million people in our world who are faced with the harsh reality of being left as orphans. War, famine, and disease have no respect for the plight of little children. Parents are stripped from their lives; they are left all alone. They have little hope unless someone steps in to help. They feel—and often really are—abandoned (Lamentations 5:3). For most of three years, Jesus had been the constant companion of his chosen 12. They had left everything to follow him. But he was about to leave them. What would the sheep do if they were abandoned by their shepherd?


Jesus came to reveal God to humanity. Jesus was the Word who “was God”; he was the Word who “became flesh” (John 1:1, 14). He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (1:29). As the Gospel of John progresses, we see an increasing emphasis on the divine identity of Jesus. He was accused of “making himself equal with God” (5:18). He exhibited the power to raise the dead and the authority to pronounce judgment (5:21, 22). He said, “I and the Father are one” (10:30). His miracles confirmed that his claims were true (10:36-38). The climax of Jesus’ claims came in the upper room in the final week before his death. There Jesus told his disciples that no one could come to the Father except through him (John 14:6). Even more stunningly he said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9). Truly God was present with his people! But Jesus also had an unpleasant shock to give his disciples that night: he was leaving. Just when they were realizing that they had God’s presence in their very midst, it seemed that they were about to lose it! It was in this setting that Jesus promised to send another advocate—the Holy Spirit. From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Spirit had had an active role. The Spirit had descended as a dove to Jesus at his baptism (John 1:32). Nicodemus had been told of the need to be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter God’s kingdom (3:5). The woman at the well in Samaria learned that those who would worship God acceptably must worship “in the Spirit and in truth” (4:24). Although the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, Jesus promised that one day the Spirit would be granted to all believers (7:39). And on a Thursday night in an upper room, Jesus made final preparations for that to be possible.


Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Pledge of the Comforter (John 14:15-17)


15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.


Pledge in response to obedience (15)

Obedience that is consistent with God's will (Isa 58:6-9)

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —  when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

Obedience that delights God (1 Sam 15:22)

22 But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Obedience that is from humble, praying, repentant people of God (2 Chron 7:14)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Obedience that is bold and steadfast (Dan 3:16-18)

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Obedience that leads to righteousness (Rom 6:16)

16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey — whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Obedience learned (Heb 5:8)

8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered

Obedience in love (2 John 1:6)

6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.


Pledge of abiding (16)

Abiding because of we are His temple (1 Cor 6:19)

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Abiding because He is the power to obey God (Ezek 36:27)

27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Abiding because He provides spiritual life (Rom 8:11)

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Abiding because He guides us in truth (John 16:13)

13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Abiding because He teaches us how to live (Gal 5:16)

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Abiding because He is the conduit of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Abiding because He is the guarantee and proof of our Divine ownership (1 John 4:13)

13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.


Pledge of enabling (17)

Enablement that is glorious (2 Cor 3:7-11)

7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

Enablement that is at work in us (Gal 2:8)

8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.

Enablement of spiritual power (1 Cor 2:4-5)

4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Divine enablement (2 Cor 10:3-6)

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Enablement that strengthens the inner being (Eph 3:16)

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Enablement of the gospel (1 Thess 1:5)

5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.


Assurance of the Comforter (John 14:18-24)


18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

19 "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?"

23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.


Assurance of His presence (18)

Assured because God fills the heaven and earth (Jer 23:23-24)

23 "Am I only a God nearby,"  declares the Lord, "and not a God far away? 24 Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?"  declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?"  declares the Lord.

Assured because God cannot be contained (1 Kings 8:27)

27 "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

Assured because nothing can keep God away (Rom 8:38-39)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Assured because without God's presence, man is doomed (Ex 33:15-16)

15 Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"

Assured because God's presence is everywhere (Ps 139:7-12)

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,  10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"  12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Assured because God will never forsake His people (Heb 13:5)

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Assured because God will never reject His people (1 Sam 12:22)

22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.

Assured because God provides from youth to old age (Ps 37:25)

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Assured because God always upholds (Isa 41:10)

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Assurance of life (19)

Eternal life that is a gift from God (Rom 6:23)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Eternal life that comes through being in Jesus (1 John 5:11-12)

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Eternal life that God promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2)

2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,

Eternal life that comes from God's promise because of being an heir of God (Titus 3:7)

7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Eternal life through belief in Jesus (John 3:16)

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Eternal life realized when we believe in Jesus (John 5:24)

24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

Eternal life realized only when we go to Jesus for it (John 5:39-40)

39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Eternal life realized when we fight a good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12)

12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Eternal life realized in the words of God (John 6:68)

68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.


Assurance of knowledge (20)

Knowledge from the enrichment of God (1 Cor 1:5)

5 For in him you have been enriched in every way — in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—

Knowledge from the light of God in our hearts (2 Cor 4:6)

6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Knowledge of insight to discern what is best and pure (Phil 1:9-11)

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.

Knowledge of the mystery of God (Col 2:2-3)

2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Knowledge that is renewed by God (Col 3:9-10)

9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Knowledge of God leads to eternal life (John 17:3)

3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Knowledge that preserves life (Eccl 7:12)

12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.


Assurance of obedience (21-24)

Assurance of an obedience that puts God's words into practice (Matt 7:24-25)

24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Assurance of an obedience that focuses on the eternal (2 Cor 4:16-18)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Assurance of an obedience that leads to living holy (1 Peter 1:14-16)

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

Assurance of an obedience that loves (John 14:15)

15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

Assurance of an obedience that helps one stand firm (1 Cor 15:58)

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Assurance of an obedience that comes from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2)

2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Assurance of an obedience that is an obligation (Rom 8:12-14)

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.


Purpose of the Comforter (John 14:25-26)


25 "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.


Purpose of teaching (26)

By teaching about adoption into the family of God (Rom 8:16) 

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

By teaching me how to pray (Rom 8:26-27)  

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

By teaching the truth in Jesus (Eph 4:21)  

Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

By teaching about all things (1 John 2:27)  

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-- just as it has taught you, remain in him.


Purpose of enlightenment (26)

Enlightenment to become sons of light (John 12:36)

36 Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

Enlightenment of opening up the Scriptures (Luke 24:30-32)

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Enlightenment of the inner being to the knowledge of God's love (Eph 3:16-19)

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Enlightenment to know God better and to know the hope to which we are called (Eph 1:17-21)

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Enlightenment to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45)

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.


Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Bob Deffinbaugh


Those who love the Lord Jesus should eagerly seek to obey His commandments—His Word. Having trusted in Him and having obeyed His commandments, Jesus will request that the Father send “another Advocate” who will be with them forever. He is an “Advocate,” a “Helper” like our Lord. He is not an “Advocate” of a different kind, but an “Advocate” of the same kind, an “Advocate” like Jesus. The difference is that this “Advocate” will be with them forever. When He comes, He will not leave them. In order for Him to come, to be sent to them, Jesus must first go away. He will ask the Father, who will send the Holy Spirit to be with them—forever. He will not only dwell among them, He will indwell them. He is called the “Spirit of truth.” It is He who will call our Lord’s teaching to their remembrance. It is He who will cause all that once confused them to become clear. It is He who will transform them into bold witnesses who proclaim the gospel in the face of great opposition. The Lord is leaving this world, and He is leaving His disciples behind, at least for a time. But Jesus is not abandoning His disciples as though they were orphans (verse 18). These are those whom He regards as His “little children” (13:33). When He ascends to the Father, the world will see Him no longer. This is not a detriment to the gospel, but a witness to the righteousness of Jesus Christ (see 16:8, 10). While the world will not “see” Him, His disciples will. This “seeing” is not with one’s physical eyes, but with the eyes of faith. They will “see” Him by faith. It is then that they will grasp the unity of the Father, the Son, and the sons of God. It is those who love God and who keep His commandments whom God will love, and to whom the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself (verse 21). Believing and obeying (the Word of God) results in seeing.


There is yet one more question to be asked, this time by Judas. This is not Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord, but another Judas (verse 22). He understands Jesus to say that henceforth He will reveal Himself to His disciples, but not to the world. Judas questions Jesus as to what has happened, what has gone wrong, to produce this change. What has changed so that Jesus will no longer reveal Himself to the world, but only to His disciples? I believe that Judas, like his fellow-disciples, was wrong. Jesus did promise to reveal Himself to His disciples. He made it clear that “the world” would not see Him any longer. But Judas was wrong to assume that Jesus had given up on all but His handful of disciples. Jesus means that He will no longer reveal Himself physically and visibly to the world, just as He will no longer be (literally) seen by His disciples. Jesus will continue to reveal Himself to the world in the same way He reveals Himself to His disciples—through His Word. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ words to His disciples will be remembered and recorded in the Gospels. This gospel will be proclaimed throughout the world. Anyone who loves Jesus and keeps His commandments will enjoy the Lord’s dwelling among and within them through His Spirit, just as His disciples will (verse 23). Those who reject His Word do not love Him, nor do they keep His commandments. In rejecting the words of our Lord, they reject the words of the Father. In so doing they reject both the Father and the Son. These words have been spoken by our Lord to the disciples, but they have not been understood. When Jesus leaves this earth and returns to His Father in heaven, the Holy Spirit will be sent by the Father in the name of the Son. He will teach the disciples what they are to proclaim to the world, and by means of this teaching, some will believe, obey, and “see” Jesus.


The final verses of this chapter (27-31) return to the peace which our Lord gives, which will keep their hearts and minds so that they need not be distressed by His absence. He gives them peace, but it is not a peace like the world offers. It is not a peace rooted in what is seen. It is a peace based upon what is unseen, upon what is said by our Lord, who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” They heard Him say that He was leaving, but these words should bring them great joy. He is leaving them to go to the Father, who is even greater than He (verse 28). Having died on the cross of Calvary, and having been raised from the dead, it is from heaven that our Lord can be of the greatest help and comfort to His disciples. He can, and will, be their Intercessor with the Father. And, from heaven, the Father and the Son will be glorified, as they accomplish great things through the disciples. Our Lord’s words are the basis for men’s faith and comfort. Jesus is telling His disciples all these things, not because they will immediately understand them and find comfort in them, but because they will remember that He told them all these things before they took place. Our Lord’s words to His disciples here are actually prophecy. When His prophetic words are fulfilled, the faith of the disciples will be greatly strengthened. If the things He promised in the near future are fulfilled, then surely His promises about heaven are sure and certain as well. There is little time left for Jesus to say more, because Satan is drawing near in the person of Judas Iscariot and the religious leaders, who are seeking to arrest Him. But in what He is doing, Jesus is Himself obeying the command He has been given by the Father. In doing this, the world will know (if not now, in the future) that He loves the Father. Jesus now says to His disciples, “Get up, let us go from here.” Jesus does not wish to stay too long in any one place. Is Judas leading the Jewish authorities to this Upper Room at this very moment? It could be. Jesus may therefore have directed His disciples to leave that place, so that they can continue their conversation elsewhere—somewhere Judas cannot find them until it is His “time.” Once again, Jesus is in full control of the situation. He will not be arrested or put to death until it is “His time.”


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Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

The disciples in the upper room were startled, even frightened, to hear that their shepherd was going to leave them. They did not really understand about the good shepherd laying down his life for his sheep (see John 10:11), and they certainly did not want to be left alone. Their lack of understanding was still evident at the empty tomb (20:9), and again at the ascension (Acts 1:6). But was their Lord going to abandon them? Never! One of the most precious promises in the Bible, stated in both the Old and New Testaments, is God’s promise not to abandon his people (see Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). Even though we walk through the darkest valley, our shepherd is with us (Psalm 23:4). Even if a cruel cross should slay our shepherd, he rises again and is always with us. We are not forsaken. As we are reminded each Christmas season, one of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” That truth transcends the miracle of the incarnation in the first century to become true for believers in every generation. When Jesus was no longer to be present on earth physically, he promised the Holy Spirit to be sent as God’s own presence within us. Because we have this divine presence, we are never abandoned.


Practical Points from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

1.      If we love God, we will obey Him (John 14:15)

2.      The Holy Spirit is always at work within the believer (vss. 16-18)

3.      Believers can live confident lives knowing that Jesus will never leave us

4.      The Holy Spirit gives believers a new perspective on life and God's love (vss. 19-21)

5.      When we love and obey God, He reveals more of Himself and His truth (vss. 22-24)

6.      As we study God's Word, He teaches us His truth and reminds us of that truth when we need it most (vss. 25-26)