Jesus—His Life and Message: John 14: I Go to the Father
June 29, 2021
by Peter Amsterdam
Jesus—His Life and Message: John 14: I Go to the Father
In this last segment of John chapter 14, Jesus is still speaking with His disciples after Judas Iscariot has left the dinner. Having told His disciples that the words He had spoken to them were not His own, but were from His Father who sent Him, Jesus continued:
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.1
His time with His disciples was soon coming to an end, and He was speaking to them while He was still able to. His final teaching to His disciples continues on through the next three chapters in this Gospel.2
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 that I have said to you.3
Jesus then began to speak to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, whom His Father was going to send to them. The Greek word paraklētos is translated here (ESV, as well as in NAU and NAS) as Helper, and in other Bible translations as Comforter (KJV), Counselor (NIV, CSB), or Advocate (NLT).
Earlier in this chapter, the Helper was called the Spirit of truth,4 but now is referred to as the Holy Spirit. Jesus points out that the Holy Spirit will be sent by the Father in the name of the Son, which shows that the Spirit is closely related to both the Father and the Son. The Spirit’s mission comes from both the Father and the Son. Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is “sent” from the Father; however, the Spirit is sent in Jesus’ name, meaning in response to Jesus’ intercession.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.5
The Spirit would be the guide and teacher of the church and would remind the disciples of the things that Jesus had taught them. While the disciples didn’t always understand the importance of what Jesus taught, and they probably forgot some of what He said during the time He was with them, Jesus told them the Holy Spirit would bring back to their memories and emphasize all that He had said to them.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.6
The peace which Jesus gives comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit within believers, which He has been speaking about. When speaking of peace here, Jesus is speaking about a special gift He is giving to His disciples.
In the Hebrew language, “peace” is often used as a greeting when someone is arriving or as a way of saying goodbye.7 However, here Jesus isn’t using this word in this manner. Having stated that He gives peace, He makes the point that the peace He gives is different from the peace the world gives. The peace He gives doesn’t depend on outward circumstances; it is an inner peace. Since He gives such inner peace, He can tell them not to be troubled in heart or afraid.
“You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”8
Earlier in this chapter (verse 3), Jesus stated that He was going to go away and then come back again. Here the focus is on His departure. If they really loved Him, they would rejoice that He was returning to the Father.
Jesus returning to His Father is a joyful matter; though for the disciples, the thought of it likely brought sorrow, as it would mean Jesus would no longer be with them. Jesus’ statement that the Father is greater than I can present some confusion, as the understanding of the Trinity is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all equally God. In this instance, however, when stating that the Father is greater than I, Jesus was not referring to His essential being but to His incarnate state as a human being at the time, which involved a certain subordination.
Now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.9
What Jesus had told them would have a greater impact on the disciples in their future, when these things would come to pass. They would remember what He predicted, and it would increase their faith. They would grow in their trust and belief in Him when they saw His words come true.
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.10
Jesus said He would not speak much more with His disciples, because Satan was coming. Judas and the soldiers were on their way to arrest Jesus, and in them Jesus saw the coming of the evil one. Satan has no claim or hold on Jesus, however; as his hold on people is due to their sins, and Jesus was without sin.
He pointed out that He does exactly what the Father has commanded Him to do. While this was true throughout His life, in this context the focus is probably on the cross and Jesus’ soon-coming death. He was about to lay down His life in obedience to the command of His Father, and in doing so, He would demonstrate to the world that He loved the Father.
He then instructed His disciples to stand in preparation to leave. Some commentators feel that this seems out of place, as in the next three chapters Jesus is still speaking with and instructing His disciples, indicating that they probably remained in the room during that time. Other commentators propose that while Jesus and the disciples were walking toward the garden of Gethsemane, He continued to teach them. We can’t really know, neither does it matter. The Gospel writer most likely had a reason for putting things in the order that he did, and because he did, we are blessed with a beautiful account of Jesus’ last teaching before His death on the cross.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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1 John 14:25.
2 John 15, 16, 17.
3 John 14:26.
4 John 14:17.
5 John 14:16–17.
6 John 14:27.
7 John 20:19, 21, 26.
8 John 14:28.
9 John 14:29.
10 John 14:30–31.