By: Steve Shirley
It is interesting to note that in John Chapter 14, we get questions / comments from 3 disciples of Jesus who we don't hear much from: Thomas, Philip, and Judas (not Iscariot).
Let's begin by reading (Jn 14:1-14).
(Verses 1-2) "In my Father's house are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you."
Are these "mansions" actual buildings? Is Jesus "building mansions" right now for us to live in when we get to Heaven?
Virtually no scholar believes that the word "mansions" means there are actual mansions in Heaven. The NASB uses "dwelling places." The NIV, ESV and NLT use "rooms." The Greek word is "mone," which means "an abode." This Greek word is used in only one other place in the Bible, and that is in (verse 23) of this chapter where it is translated "abode" (KJV).
Most scholars believe that this should be interpreted one of two ways. The first (which I hold to) is that "mansions" is referring to the glorified bodies all Christians will one day receive. This "mansion" will be: imperishable (1 Cor 15:42), powerful (1 Cor 15:43), and never die (1 Cor 15:54)(Lk 20:36) (more on this these new bodies here: https://jesusalive.cc/ques145.htm). A correlation can be made between the Tabernacle and Temple in the Old Testament. The Tabernacle was a tent and temporary structure which correlates to our "earthly body." The Temple was a permanent structure (like a mansion) which correlates to our future "glorified body." (2 Cor 5:1-5) points to this (also see: 2 Pet 1:13-14, Phil 3:20-21). So, with this way of thinking we might say, "In Heaven are many abodes (glorified bodies)."
A second interpretation believes Jesus was saying that "In His Father's house" (Heaven) will be "many believer's from all over the world [abiding] together" (in that house).
For those who would take "mansions" literally, I would also ask this question, "Why would we need to live in an ACTUAL mansion in Heaven?" For shelter? For sleep? For safety? To have a place to cook? To use the bathroom? These are not things associated with Heaven. It really makes no sense to think there will be neighborhoods full of mansions in Heaven.
***Note: There are a few people who believe that "mansions" refers "offices, responsibilities, or positions of authority" in Heaven.
(Verse 3) "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
I will quote what John MacArthur says in his study Bible for this verse: "This is one of the passages that refers to the rapture of the saints at the end of the age when Christ returns. The features in this description do not describe Christ coming to earth with His saints to establish His kingdom (Rev. 19:11-15), but taking believers from earth to live in heaven. Since no judgment on the unsaved is described here, this is not the event of His return in glory and power to destroy the wicked (cf. Matt. 13:36-43; 47-50). Rather, this describes His coming to gather His own who are alive and raise the bodies of those who have died to take them all to heaven. This rapture event is also described in 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)."
(Verse 5) "Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?"
As we first mentioned in John Chapter 11, this is one of three "important" statements that Thomas makes in the Gospel of John. The first was in (Jn 11:16), where Thomas states that he is ready to die with Jesus! The second is here, and the third is in (Jn 20:28), where Thomas makes one of the clearest proclamations of Jesus' deity in the Bible: "My Lord and My God." ***Note: The synoptic Gospels do not mention Thomas speaking at all.
(Verse 6) "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
This is one of the most well-known, and perhaps most important statements of Jesus in the Bible. Why do you see this as important?
This is the 6th of 7 key "I AM" statements (metaphors used to describe Himself) by Jesus in the Book of John. For the other 6 "I AM" statements, see: (Jn 6:35)(Jn 8:12)(Jn 10:7,9)(Jn 10:11,14)(Jn 11:25)(Jn 15:1,5).
(Verses 7-11) "Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us... Jesus saith unto him, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father."
If we want to know the Father, we simply need to look at Christ. He is the exact representation of the Father (Heb 1:3)(Col 1:15). This is also a claim to deity.
(Verse 8) is one of four verses in the Gospel of John in which Philip speaks (also see: Jn 1:45 & 46, Jn 6:7). ***Note: As with Thomas, the synoptic Gospels do not mention Philip speaking at all.
***Note: There is also a "Philip" mentioned in the book of Acts (i.e. Acts 8:26-40), who was one of seven men chosen to serve and evangelize (along with Stephen) (Acts 6:1-7), but he is a different Philip from the disciple Philip who is mentioned in the Gospels and in (Acts 1:13).
(Verse 11) "believe me for the very works' sake" As we have mentioned in previous chapters in John, the primary purpose of Jesus' works ("miracles") in the Bible was to confirm that He was from God (Jn 3:2)(Jn 5:36)(Mk 2:10-12), and so that people would believe in Him (Jn 10:37-38)(Jn 20:30-31)(Mt 11:2-6). (Other places showing this: Acts 2:22, Heb 2:3-4).
(Verse 12) "greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
"Greater" is not talking about greater "types" of miracles (i.e. it is hard to top raising the dead), but rather, greater in "extent." "Greater" must be tied to "because I go unto my Father." While on earth, Jesus could only physically be at one place at a time. However, once He "returned to the Father," the Holy Spirit would be sent (at Pentecost: Acts 2). The Holy Spirit would dwell in ALL believers, and therefore, miraculous things could happen in numerous places all over the world at the same time.
(Verses 13-14) "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do" A HUGE claim to deity here. Jesus is saying that after He "goes to the Father" (in Heaven), the disciples can pray to Him, and He "will do it" so "that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
The question sometimes comes up, "Can we pray to Jesus?" Certain "religions" forbid this (i.e. Jehovah Witnesses, Islam).
The Bible tells us that we should pray to the Father (Mt 6:6)(Mt 6:9-13) (Lk 11:2-4)(Rom 8:15), and that we should pray to the Father in Jesus' name (Jn 15:16)(Eph 5:20). (Eph 2:18) tells us that "through Him (Jesus) we have access by one Spirit unto the Father." In other words, it is through Jesus that we have the ability pray to the Father. Jesus also confirmed that He is the way to the Father (Verse 6)(Mt 11:27). Therefore, it seems pretty apparent that this should be the primary way in which we pray.
However, as part of the process of beginning a relationship with Jesus, we are told in (Rom 10:13) that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (also see: Acts 2:21). In other words, we are "calling upon" (or praying to) "the Lord" (who is Jesus - see Rom 10:9), and asking Him to save us. Therefore, it seems clear that the most important prayer ANY person can pray is directed to Jesus for salvation.
There are also examples of people in the New Testament praying to Jesus (i.e. Stephen - Acts 7:59-60, Paul - 1 Cor 16:22, John - Rev 22:20, The Apostles - Acts 1:23-26). Paul greeted all those who "call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1:2). Therefore, while it seems clear that we should primarily direct our prayers to the Father, we can also pray to Jesus.
***Note: "Whatsoever ye ask... I will do" does not mean that we will always get "everything" we want when we pray. The primary purpose of prayer is to conform our will to God's will. (1 Jn 5:14) says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." Therefore, when we pray in accordance with His will, God will grant our petitions.
Next, let's read (Jn 14:15-21).
(Verses 15 & 21) "If ye love me, keep my commandments." What are Jesus' commandments?
The right reason to keep Jesus' commandments is out of our "love" for Him. What are the "wrong reasons" to keep Jesus' commandments?
(Verses 16 & 26) "Comforter (Advocate / Helper), that he may abide with you for ever..." The Greek word used here for "Comforter" is "parakletos," which means "the one summoned, called to one's side, esp. called to one's aid" (Strong's). This word is also used in (Jn 15:26)(Jn 16:7) and (1 Jn 2:1), which says, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate ("parakletos") with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
A few other things John says the Holy Spirit does in this book are that He: teaches us - (Jn 14:26), helps us to witness - (Jn 15:26-27), guides us - (Jn 16:13), and convicts us of sin - (Jn 16:8).
(Verse 17) "the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
We learn 4 things in this verse:
1. The Holy Spirit is truth (also see: Jn 15:26, Jn 16:13). (He also teaches us truth 1 Cor 2:13, 2 Pet 1:21.)
2. The "world" (non-Christians: 1 Cor 11:32, 1 Cor 1:21, Jn 12:31) cannot "receive" the Holy Spirit, nor do they "see" Him, or "know" Him.
3. The disciples "knew" the Holy Spirit, as do all Christians today.
4. The Holy Spirit "dwelled with" the disciples, but He was not "in" the disciples. The Holy Spirit did not permanently reside "in" them until Pentecost (Acts Ch. 2). When a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of that person and "abides with them forever."
(Verse 18)(NASB) "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." Jesus is speaking of His impending death, and how after He died, they would feel like "orphans," with no one to care for them. However, Jesus would not leave them in that state. He would "come to them" at His Resurrection, and also through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
(Verse 19)(NASB) "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me."
Jesus is likely speaking here of His impending Resurrection. After Jesus' burial, "the world" (unbelievers) would "no longer see Jesus" on earth. However, Jesus would arise from the dead, and appear to His disciples (and a few other believers) at His Resurrection (see John Chapters 20 & 21).
(Verse 20) "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
The Resurrection of Jesus would be overwhelming proof that Jesus was who He claimed to be.
Finally, let's read (Jn 14:22-31).
(Verses 21-25) "I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (22)(NKJV) "Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?"
Judas likely asked this question because he held a view of the Messiah that most of the other Jews had too, and that view was that the Messiah was expected to be a "king" who would overthrow the ruling parties that oppressed Israel. How could Jesus overthrow them without the "world" seeing Him?
Jesus responded to Judas' question by again speaking of the need to obey His commandments. ***Note: This is the only time Judas (not Iscariot) speaks in the Gospels.
(Verse 26) "the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Jesus said many things that the disciples did not comprehend. At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given, one of the things He would do for the disciples is to "bring all things to remembrance" that Jesus did, and to help them understand. For a few (Peter, John, Matthew), He would help them to write infallible books of the Bible. It is worth noting that it says here that the Father will send the Holy Spirit, and in (Jn 15:26) it says that Jesus will send the Holy Spirit.
(Verse 27) "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." (also see: Jn 16:33, Rom 5:1, Col 1:20)
I LOVE this verse! The Bible has a "lot" to say about "peace." The Hebrew word for peace is one that many of you have probably heard: "shalom."
Without getting into my whole testimony, one of the main things I lacked before I gave my life to Christ was peace. When I finally surrendered my life to Christ on Oct. 27, 1994, the one immediate change that took place was peace. While my life, like most of yours, has had its ups and downs, the inner peace that I got that night has never left me. That is the difference between the peace of God and the peace of the world. The peace of the world is the absence of problems or conflict, but the peace of God is peace in the midst of problems and conflict."
(Phil 4:7) says this, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." While obviously the most important reason to tell others about Jesus Christ is so that they can have eternal life, to me the next most important reason is so that they can find this peace "that passeth all understanding." It is truly life changing! (For more on "peace," you can go here: https://jesusalive.cc/peace.htm)
Can you think of some reasons why we can have peace in Jesus Christ?
(Verse 28) "for my Father is greater than I" Jesus has already claimed "equality" with the Father in several verses (Jn 5:17-18)(Jn 10:30), and other places in the Bible say He is equal with the Father (Jn 17:21-23)(Phil 2:5-6). So, why does Jesus say this?
I believe that this is speaking about Jesus positionally submitting to the Father. For example, using a Biblical view concerning men and women, the Bible says that men and women are equal (Gal 3:28), however, a wife is told to submit to her husband (Col 3:18)(Eph 5:22-24)(1 Pet 3:5-6). All humans are equal, but yet we are told to submit to our elders (1 Pet 5:5), and to Christian leaders (Heb 13:17)(1 Th 5:12-13). In Jesus' case, yes, He is "equal" to the Father (He is God), but the Bible also says that He "submits" ("positionally") to the Father (1 Cor 11:3)(1 Cor 3:23).
Another view of this is that Jesus was saying that the Father was "greater" while He (Jesus) was on earth (His "incarnation"). The Bible tells us that while Jesus was on earth, aspects of His divinity were "veiled" (Phil 2:6-7)(Heb 2:9). However, once He returned to the Father, He would return to His "full glory" (Jn 17:5).
(Verse 30) "for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." As we have mentioned previously in (Jn 12:31) (also see: Jn 16:31), "the prince of this world" is referring to Satan.
"Hath nothing in Me:" I will quote the "Cambridge Study Bible" for this, "Quite literal: there is nothing in Jesus over which Satan has control. 'Let no one think that My yielding to his attack implies that he has power over Me. The yielding is voluntary in loving obedience to the Father.' This declaration, in me he hath nothing, could only be true if Jesus were sinless." In other words, sin gives Satan a "hold" on people, and since Jesus was sinless (2 Cor 5:21)(Jn 8:46)(Heb 4:15), Satan had no "hold" on Him.