Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 7 August 2016; Revised 9 March 2017
Scripture Text: The Scripture text of John used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Besekh (New Testament), Torah (Law), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ). I use the title "The Testimony of John" because that is how John describes his book (John 21:24). See the article Witnesses of the Good News for background information on this book.
Methodology: For an explanation of abbreviations, acronyms, terminology, spelling conventions, and other information on organization of the commentary see my Commentary Writing Philosophy.
Primary Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Unless otherwise indicated the following primary sources are used:
• Different Bible versions may be cited for Scripture quotations. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Messianic Jewish versions are CJB, DHE, GNC, HNV, MW, OJB, & TLV.
• The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid–2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here.
• Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
• The meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), given as "BDB." The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
• Dates are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.
My Father's House, 14:1-6
Oneness with the Father, 14:7-11
Greater Works, 14:12-15
The Advocate, 14:16-26
Yeshua's Peace, 14:26-31
Thursday, Erev Nisan 15 (Friday), A.D. 30; 6 April (Julian)
John continues his narrative of the last supper with a discourse of Yeshua occurring after the new covenant ritual.
My Father's House, 14:1-6
1 "Let not the heart of you be troubled. You trust in God; and you trust in me.
Let not: Grk. mē, a particle of qualified negation, subjective in nature, involving will and thought; not. the heart: Grk. kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation, used fig. of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In the LXX kardia renders Heb. lebab (SH-3824), inner man, mind, heart, will (DNTT 2:181). The noun is singular. of you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. The phrase "heart of you" could have a corporate meaning signifying a common reaction to Yeshua's news. be troubled: Grk. tarassō, pres. pass. imp., caused to be in a disturbed state, agitate. Yeshua may be directing his comment to Peter, considering how chapter 13 ended, but the remaining Eleven had reacted with consternation at the news that he was going to be betrayed.
You trust: Grk. pisteuō, pres., in general Greek usage means to have confidence or faith in the reliability or trustworthiness of some thing or someone. The Hebrew concept of believing is not an intellectual agreement with a philosophical proposition or a formal creed. A verb describes action of the person and "trust" stresses both attitude and behavior. In the LXX pisteuō renders the Heb. 'aman (SH-539), which means to confirm or support, as well as to be true, reliable or faithful, and to stand firm or trust (BDB 52). In the Hebrew concept believing, trusting and being faithful are inseparable (cf. Matt 7:21; Heb 11:6). in: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival, or the nature of a relationship as here; lit. "into."
God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe and certainly not spirit as described in Scripture (John 4:24). In the LXX theos primarily renders the general names of God: El, Eloah and Elohim, but also YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70). As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos. The only God in existence is the triune God Elohim who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Gen 1:1) and who chose Israel out of all the nations on the earth (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21; 46:9). Only Christians and Jews worship the true God. The deities of all other religions and cults are the product of Satan-inspired imagination.
and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions and beginning verses with a conjunction, as in this verse, is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. In contrast to most Bible versions I translate all the instances of kai (and all the other conjunctions) as a reminder of John's Hebraic writing style.
you trust: Grk. pisteuō, pres., 2p-pl. Most versions translate the verb as an exhortation, but it is in the same grammatical form as the preceding use. in: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. Yeshua affirms that his disciples have a relationship of trust with him. He does not imply that they don't believe in him.
2 In the household of my Father are many abodes. Now, if not so, would I have said to you that I go to prepare a position for you?
In: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, and may be rendered "in, on, at, among, within, with, because of, or by means of" as appropriate to the context (DM 105). Here the preposition may possibly mark a location or an association. the household: Grk. oikia (from oikeō, engage in housing) may mean either (1) a habitable structure; house, abode, private residence (Matt 2:11; John 11:31); (2) fig. of a group within a house; household or family (Matt 10:13; John 4:53); (3) fig. of goods, property or means (Matt 23:13); (4) fig. of a life built on certain values (Matt 7:24-27); or (5) fig. of the bodily abode of the soul (2Cor 5:1). The word oikia is never used to represent the body of Messiah or a congregation, but the noun oikos is used for that purpose (1Tim 3:15; Heb 3:5-6; 10:21; 1Pet 2:5; 4:17; cf. Acts 7:42).
In Classical Greek oikia had a more narrow meaning than the related noun oikos (house, dwelling-place). Both words meant a dwelling place and by extension the household of that dwelling. The nouns were distinguished by oikia denoting the actual dwelling space and oikos denoting the whole house, the family property and even the inheritance (DNTT 2:247). Oikos could be used for any kind of structure in which someone might stay, but also a temple. The LXX maintains this distinction and oikia, along with oikos, translates Heb. bayit (SH-1004), house as a dwelling habitation, household, descendants.
of my: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. Father: Grk. patēr, normally of a male biological parent or ancestor, but frequently in reference to God, which emphasizes His activity as creator, ruler and sustainer (BAG). In the LXX patēr renders ab ("av"), which occurs about 1180 times, generally in the human sense, but also of God as father (DNTT 1:616f). In the Hebrew vernacular Yeshua and the apostles would have used the word abba, as occurs in (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). In the Tanakh God's identity as a parent is first mentioned in reference to His covenantal relationship with Israel (Deut 1:31; 8:5; 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 43:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:19; 31:9; Hos 1:10: Mal 1:6). Israel is specifically identified as God's son (Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1). The God of Israel is also father of the king as the embodiment of Israel (2Sam 7:14; Ps 89:27).
Only in late Jewish apocryphal writings is God called the Father of the pious Jew as an individual (Sir 23:1, 4; Tob 13:4; Wsd 2:16; 14:3; 3Macc 5:7). While Jews recognized the God of Israel as the "father" of mankind in the sense of creator (Acts 17:28; Josephus, Ant. IV, 8:24), the capitalized "Father" in the Besekh continues the meaning found in the Tanakh. Unfortunately the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed removed the association with Israel and presented the Father as only the "Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Yeshua acknowledged this covenantal relationship when he taught his Jewish disciples to pray "our Father" (Matt 6:9). Yeshua also spoke to his Jewish disciples of "your Father" (Matt 5:45, 48; 6:14, 26, 32; Mark 7:11; Luke 6:36). Thus, for the Body of Messiah the God of Israel becomes "our Father" (Rom 1:7; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2).
Even though God prophesied through Jeremiah that Israel would call God "My Father" (Jer 3:19), Yeshua is the only individual in Scripture to do so. There are 44 verses in the apostolic narratives in which Yeshua refers to the God of Israel as "My Father," more than half of which are in John. Yet, Yeshua's use of "Father" in this personal sense was predicted. God informed David,
"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me." (2Sam 7:12-14 NASB)
In a Messianic psalm Ethan the Ezrahite prophesied that the son of David would declare, "You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation" (Ps 89:26). Yeshua's usage of My Father, then, is perfectly in accord with prophecy.
Most versions render the opening phrase as "in my Father's house," of which Reinhartz offers this Jewish perspective.
"My father's house" implies that eternal life pertains to another realm. "There may be an allusion here to the Jewish "Hekhalot" ("places") tradition, involving stories in which a seer visits the heavenly realm and explores its different rooms (based on the chariot vision in Ezekiel 1, and in such works as 1Enoch 17, 18). More immediately, the verse also alludes to the Temple, which Yeshua called his Father's house in 2:16 and to the son/slave contrast in 8:35." (185)
Against the suggestion of Reinhartz is that in the LXX the expression "house [Heb. bayit] of ADONAI" in reference to the tabernacle, sanctuary or temple uses oikos, not oikia. When Yeshua spoke previously of his "Father's house" in reference to the temple (John 2:16), the noun oikos is used there instead of oikia. Other verses that refer to the temple as a "house" also use oikos instead of oikia (Matt 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). Yet this may be a distinction without a substantive difference. The fact remains that the only other time Yeshua mentioned "my Father's house" was in reference to the temple. Nevertheless, Christian commentators interpret "My Father's house" as referring to heaven (e.g., Gill, Lightfoot, Morris, Robertson, Tenney). Clarke identifies the location as "the kingdom of glory."
Milligan and Moulton modify the traditional view by including the earth as well as heaven in the definition of "My Father's house." We see this combination in the apologetic of Stephen: "Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool." (Acts 7:48-49 ESV). While an attractive proposal, these interpretations are problematic. Yeshua does not mention heaven (Grk. ouranos) at any point in his upper room teaching, including in the Synoptic Narratives. He only uses the term in addressing his Father in prayer (John 17:1). Surely, if Yeshua had meant heaven, he would have said so. In addition, the nouns oikia and oikos are never used elsewhere in Scripture as metaphors of heaven. Lastly, we should consider that oikia can refer to a household or family, and God's family includes those in heaven and on the earth.
are: Grk. eimi, pres., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope, which may relate to (1) number; many, much, numerous; or (2) high degree of quantity or quality; extensive, great, large, many, much, plentiful. The adj. in the plural, as here, may also be used as a superlative, which means the word conveys the highest kind, quality, or order, surpassing all else or others. Yeshua could have used the adjective to mean what the apostles will receive is greater than what they were arguing about. Most versions translate the word as "many," but Yeshua could also have intended the adjective as an understatement in the sense of "sufficient."
abodes: pl. of Grk. monē (from menō, to remain or stay) may mean (1) the state of staying in a place or (2) a place to stay or live; room. BAG defines the term as dwelling (place), room or abode. Most versions translate the plural noun as "rooms" or "dwelling places." In classical Greek writings the word meant (1) abiding, tarrying; (2) permanence or (3) stopping place, station, apartment, quarters, or billets. The noun does not appear in the LXX (except in 1Macc 7:38 in the sense of tarrying), but it is found in Josephus in the sense of a place of abode (Ant. VIII, 13:7; XIII, 2:1). In the Besekh monē occurs only twice, in this verse and verse 23 below in which the dwelling places are individuals on the earth with whom the Father will take up residence (through the Holy Spirit).
A few versions have the archaic word "mansions" (ASV, DRA, KJV, NKJV), but its association with wealth in contemporary English makes it an inappropriate translation. In British English a "mansion" is a building with many apartments. The original meaning of English "mansion" was simply an abode or dwelling place. It did not mean an impressive or stately residence. In addition, in modern English it would be illogical to say that are "mansions" inside a house. Most versions have either "dwelling places" or "rooms." BAG, reflecting general Christian interpretation, assumes that the rooms of which Yeshua speaks are heavenly dwellings. However, Yeshua's terminology could allude to the fact that the temple had apartments for the priests when they came to perform their annual duty.
Tenney says the imagery of "rooms" is taken from the oriental house in which the sons and daughters have apartments under the same roof as their parents. Morris says the term represents permanent residences in heaven. Milligan and Moulton, taking 'my Father's house' as referring to earth and heaven together, sees the dwellings as
"abiding places here as well as there. The universe, in short, is presented to us by our Lord as one 'house' over which the Father rules, having 'many' apartments, some on this side, others on the other side, the grave. In one of these the believer dwells now, and the Father and the Son come unto him, and make their abode with him (verse 23 below): in another of them he will dwell hereafter."
Interpreting the adjective polus as "many" in terms of quantity of rooms can lead to a fruitless speculation on just how many "rooms" there must be in heaven to house all the people who have ever been born since Adam, or will be born, and qualify for heaven. Henry Morris in his commentary The Revelation Record (Tyndale Publishers, 1983) observes that the size of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:16; at least 41,063,625 cubic miles!) would easily accommodate 20 billion people (451). (See my commentary on the New Jerusalem, Rev 21:9-14.)
An important consideration is that while Scripture speaks of the names of God's people being recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20; Php 3:20; Heb 12:23), there is no specific mention of dwelling places in heaven, although such terminology is used in 1Enoch of the future abode of "spiritual ones" and the righteous (1Enoch 15:7, 10; 38:4-5, 8). Yeshua intended to establish his kingdom on the earth. In fact, the New Jerusalem that John was shown during his Patmos visions comes down out of heaven so that God may dwell among His people on the new earth (Rev 21:1-3, 10, 27).
Interpretation of this section of John should not overlook the parabolic nature of the last supper discourses in John. In the Synoptic Narratives of the last supper there is no mention of going to heaven. Yeshua's disciples have already been likened to a bride (John 3:29), farm laborers (John 4:35-38), a flock of sheep (John 10:1-3). In the next chapter his disciples will be likened to branches of a vine (John 15:5). So, here Yeshua is depicting his disciples as part of his Father's household.
Rienecker offers a spiritual meaning by suggesting that John may be referring to places where the disciples can dwell in peace by remaining with the Father. On the other hand, since plurality in a noun can denote comprehensiveness then Yeshua's statement could be idiomatic for "in My Father's house there is plenty of room." In favor of this approach the CEB has "My Father's house as room to spare." The MSG has "there is plenty of room for you in my Father's home." Similarly, the NLT has "there is more than enough room in my Father's home."
A reader of my website offered the observation that the "many rooms" could mean many places to stay on earth and allude to the future provision for the apostles of people to provide hospitality and lodging during their travels (cf. Acts 9:11, 43; 10:6; 15:35; 16:12, 15, 32; 18:3, 7; 20:6; 21:7-8; 28:12, 14; Rom 12:13; Heb. 13:2; 1Pet 4:9). In contrast Yeshua did not own a house during his time on earth (Matt 8:20). When he sent out his disciples on their first mission he instructed them to look for a host to provide lodging (Matt 10:11; Mark 6:10; Luke 9:4; 10:7), just as he did (Luke 19:5; John 1:39; 2:12; 4:40). The many places of abode could also include the use of private homes to host the formation of congregations (Acts 12:12; Rom 16:5; 1Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Phm 1:2). So, in that sense the Father's household has many dwelling places on earth.
The syntax of the rest of the verse is difficult. The Greek text is literally "if-but-not-I said-would-you-that-I go-to prepare-place [or position]-you." Most versions translate these words as a simple declaration, such as in the ASV, "if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you." Some versions, though, translate this sentence as a question (CEB, ESV, GW, MRINT, NAB, NIV, NLT, NOG, NRSV, OJB, RSV, TLV), which seems to be the intention of the grammar. Now: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also" (BAG). The second usage applies here. if: Grk. ei, conj., a contingency marker used to introduce a circumstance or assumption considered factual or valid for the sake of argument. The particle can also be interrogative to introduce a question, as here.
not so: Grk. mē, neg. particle. See the previous verse. In other words, Yeshua means "if it is a fact that my Father's house has many places of abode," then the following declaration (phrased as a rhetorical question) is just as true. Would: Grk. an, disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization; would, ever, might. The particle can be used in a rhetorical question as here. I have said: Grk. legō, aor., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or in written form; say, tell, declare. The Greek verb "say" functions as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. Some versions translate the verb as subjunctive mood "would have said," but it is indicative mood, which is the mood of certainty, denoting a simple assertion.
to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. that: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, in this instance introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb, that. I go: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid., may mean (1) to move from one area to another, to go or to make one's way or (2) in an ethical sense, to conduct oneself, live, walk. The verb is also used fig. of going to one's death (Luke 22:33). In the LXX poreuomai renders mainly Heb. halak (SH-1980), to go, come, walk, first occurring in Genesis 3:14 (DNTT 3:946). The verb often has the literal sense of going, journeying or traveling (e.g., Gen 12:4). In contrast to LXX usage poreuomai in the Besekh seldom mentions the physical act of walking.
Yeshua says he is going someplace. The verb poreuomai is used previously of Yeshua going to his death (Luke 13:33; 22:22; John 13:33, 36-38). He also used the verb of going or returning to the Father (John 13:3), which also seems to be the point of the verb in this verse. He states the matter more explicitly in verse 12 and 28 below, as well as in 16:10, 28. The verb could well encompass the complete Messianic work of atoning death, resurrection, ascension and seating at the right hand of the Father. to prepare: Grk. hetoimazō, aor. inf., put in a state of readiness; make ready, prepare.
a position: Grk. topos is used to mean (1) a spatial area, as a locality or a location for some activity; place; (2) a position with obligation; responsibility; or (3) a circumstance that offers a chance to do something; opportunity. Most commentators assume the first meaning is in view here, but the second and third meanings could have greater application. for you: pl. pron.; i.e., the Eleven disciples. Lightfoot sees in the statement "go to prepare a place" an allusion to Numbers 10:33, "the Ark of the covenant of Adonai going [LXX proporeuomai] ahead of them for those three days to seek out a resting place for them" (TLV).The expected answer to Yeshua's question is "no."
Christian interpreters assume Yeshua is talking about returning to heaven to prepare places for disciples to live in for eternity. The assumption implies that (1) the disciples had a concern about this, which explains their being troubled in the previous verse, and (2) the "many rooms" must be inadequate in some manner. Firstly, the reason for being troubled was not about having a home in heaven (a concern of modern Christians), but about being informed that Yeshua would be betrayed and that he was going someplace they could not come.
Secondly, we must believe that heaven was deficient in its accommodations. In reality, there shouldn't be any need for something to be prepared. When the poor man Lazarus died he went to the bosom of Abraham (heaven) and the description of his state does not indicate that he was in any need (Luke 16:25). Yeshua will later promise the thief on the cross to be in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:43), and this term implies nothing deficient about the heavenly destination. When John some years later sees God's people in heaven, they are standing together without any mention of living spaces (Rev 7:9; 15:2).
We should also note that the conditional question Yeshua asks in this verse is directed specifically at his apostles. The point of the question is that he had told them he was preparing a "place-position" for each of them in his kingdom. When did he make such a promise? We need to go back to the encounter with the rich young ruler. After the young man went away Yeshua told the parable of the camel and the needle and emphasized how the pursuit of wealth was an impediment to salvation. Then, Peter said, "we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" (Matt 19:27). Peter was concerned about future financial security, as well as his own significance within that kingdom. So, Yeshua made this promise:
"Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt 19:28 ESV)
The issue of "position" was revived during the last supper when the disciples began their argument over their own importance. So, Yeshua repeated the promise as reported by Luke,
"just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:29-30 NASB)
John's narrative simply summarizes and distills the promise found in Luke's version. The mention of "Father's house" with its connection to the temple was a reminder that the priests who served there not only had places to stay, but more importantly significant positions of importance and responsibility that were guaranteed. Yeshua wished to assure the apostles of their future places of authority and responsibility in his kingdom, but he first has to return to his Father in order to fulfill his promise.
3 And if I go and prepare a position for you, I am coming back and will take you to myself, that where I am you also may be.
And if: Grk. ean, conj. that serves as a conditional particle and produces an aspect of tentativeness by introducing a possible circumstance that determines the realization of some other circumstance. I go: Grk. poreuomai, aor. pass. subj. See the previous verse. and prepare: Grk. hetoimazō, aor. subj. See the previous verse. a place: Grk. topos. See the previous verse. for you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron.; i.e., "for each of you eleven apostles." The subjunctive mood of both verbs indicates that the opening clause to this verse is a hypothetical situation. In other words, "You should know that if I am about to leave and prepare a place for you that I will also do something else before that happens."
I am coming: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid., 'to come or arrive' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place or 'to go' with the focus on the goal for movement. In reference to Yeshua this verb is used for (1) moving or traversing an area in the ordinary physical sense (John 1:29), (2) coming to exercise judgment (Rev 2:5, 16) and (3) coming from heaven to earth on the last day (Matt 24:30; Rev 1:7). Morris says the present tense introduces a note of greater certainty. back: Grk. palin, adv., may mean (1) "back," when used with verbs involving motion; or (2) "again, once more, anew" when someone repeats something he has already done (BAG). Christian commentators assume the coming back is eschatological, but just as likely Yeshua means his coming back in the immediate future from death in his post-resurrection appearance. In other words Yeshua won't ascend to heaven without spending time with his apostles.
and will take: Grk. paralambanō, fut. mid., may mean (1) to receive to one's side; take, receive; or (2) to cause to go along; take. The first meaning applies here and depicts an intimate reunion. you: Grk. humeis. to: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near or facing" (DM 110). Since the pronoun following is in the accusative case, then pros would have the meaning of being "in company with" (BAG). myself: reflexive first person pronoun, which gives a subtle meaning of "me, as I am." that: hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed; in order that, so that, that.
where: Grk. hopou, adv., in what place. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. am: Grk. eimi, pres. See the previous verse. you: pl. pron. also may be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj., 2p-pl. Yeshua views the cross as a necessity for establishing his kingdom in which the apostles serve as rulers. Yeshua does not say that he is going to come and take his disciples to heaven. In fact, in his high priestly prayer he asks his Father not to take his disciples out of the world (John 17:15). Also, in the Synoptic narrative as soon as the Seder ends and they leave the upper room Yeshua tells his disciples "after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee" (Matt 26:32; Mark 14:28). It is there that Yeshua received his disciples to himself.
4 And where I am going, you know the way."
And where: See the previous verse. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. am going: Grk. hupagō, pres. to proceed from a position, sometimes (1) with the focus on the departure point; go away, leave; or (2) with the focus on an objective or destination; go, be on one's way. The second usage applies here with a nuance of the first meaning. The present tense is used here of an anticipated future event or an action purposed. Yeshua's eventual destination was heaven, but the cross would of necessity come first.
you know: Grk. oida, perf., 2p-pl., to have seen or perceived, hence to know. The perfect tense refers to action completed in the past with continuing results in the present. The verb "know" is used for experiential knowledge, whether (1) to know about someone; (2) to be intimately acquainted with someone; (3) to understand how to do something; and (4) to remember (BAG). In the LXX oida occurs frequently to render Heb. yada (SH-3045; e.g., Num 11:16; Deut 1:39; Josh 2:4; 2Sam 19:6), which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning (DNTT 2:395).
the way: Grk. hodos, with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. It can also refer to the act of traveling; journey, way, trip. Then, hodos is used fig. of conduct or a manner of life (cf. Deut 11:28; Ps 1:6; 1Cor 12:31; Jas 1:8). The LXX uses hodos to translate Heb. derek (way, road, journey). As a metaphor "way" is also used of the Lord's "way" of doing things according to a righteous standard (cf. John 1:23; Heb 3:10; 2Pet 2:15). Yeshua uses "way" here in the fig. sense of "the way of sacrifice." They should know the "way" since he told them on three prior occasions that he was going to be arrested and killed, and the third day rise from the dead (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). So, they have known, but they rejected that knowledge as being unacceptable and impossible (Matt 16:22).
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we have known not where you are going. How can we have known the way?"
Thomas: Grk. Thōmas, a transliteration of Heb. Toma (from Heb. toam, SH-8420, "twin"). This is the only person in the Bible named Thomas. In 11:16 Thomas is called Didymus (Grk. Didumos, double, twin). Some scholars think it was his actual surname because in the apocryphal work Acts of Thomas (3rd cent.) his name is given as "Judas [Heb. Judah] Thomas." All that is known of Thomas in the Besekh, besides his inclusion in lists of apostles (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), is found in the book of John where his name appears seven times. Plummer suggests that Thomas was probably a twin, possibly of Matthew with whom he is coupled in two of the three lists of the Synoptic narratives.
Against this view is that Thomas is coupled with Philip in Acts 1:13. In addition, since "Thomas" is a transliteration of a Hebrew name then "Didymus" may only be a translation of Thomas, much as "Peter" translates "Kêfa" (John 1:42). As in John 11:16 Thomas speaks up, this time to ask a question. His recorded words here and elsewhere indicate a scientific mind. Thomas is best known for his doubting Yeshua's resurrection without physical evidence (John 20:25), and his great reversal of belief afterwards (John 20:28).
said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to him: pers. pron. Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case., may mean either (1) one in control through possession, and therefore owner or master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, thus lord or master. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, the great majority to translate Heb. words for God, principally the name YHVH. Kurios also occurs a number of times to identify men of higher rank to whom respect is owed (DNTT 2:511). Thomas does not use the title with the sense of deity. For more information on the use of kurios see the note on John 1:23.
we have known: Grk. oida, perf., 1p-pl. See the previous verse. not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle that makes a strong denial or negation of an alleged fact or proposition (DM 264). where: Grk. pou, adv. of place; where, at which place. you are going: Grk. hupagō, pres. See the previous verse. Thomas must have looked really quizzical to Yeshua. What Thomas meant was, "What are you talking about? We don't have a clue where you're going. You haven't told us." The fact that Thomas said this rebuts the common interpretation of verse 2-3 above that Yeshua meant he was going to heaven to begin construction of mansions for Christians.
How: Grk. pōs, adv. introducing a query concerning manner, way, or reason in respect to a matter; how? in what manner/way? can: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid., to be capable of doing or achieving, to have power. we have known: Grk. oida, perf. inf., 1p-pl. the way: Grk. hodos. See the previous verse. Thomas probably means "way" in a literal sense and thus employs simple linear reasoning. "We haven't known where you're going, so we also can't know which road you're going to take to get there. If we knew your destination we might be able to deduce your route." Thomas might have thought to himself, "This is a most bizarre conversation. Yeshua is not making any sense."
6 Yeshua said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?
said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron.; i.e., Thomas. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. am: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above. The pronoun-verb expression is often a conversational way of Yeshua identifying himself to others (e.g., Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; Acts 9:5). However, in John's book Yeshua couples egō eimi with a descriptive metaphor, known as the "Seven I AM Sayings" (John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 11; 11:25; 15:1). Such statements indicate that Yeshua had a firm grasp of his own identity.
Stern suggests that these "I AM sayings" imply a claim even greater than being the Messiah (168). They are too similar to the God of Israel's self-revelation in the Tanakh to be accidental. In the LXX egō eimi is predominately spoken by the God of Israel in reference to Himself. The present tense of "I am" asserts that Yeshua's identity does not change. He is the "same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). He now makes a significant three-fold declaration pertaining to his identity and mission.
the way: Grk. hodos. See verse 4 above. By saying "I am the way" Yeshua means at least three things. First, his life and character are the model for people to emulate. As Peter says in his first letter, Yeshua left us an example that we should walk in his steps (1Pet 2:21). Second, his instruction provides the standard for righteousness and holiness and that instruction is grounded in the Torah. Third, Yeshua is the way of salvation, indeed the only road to heaven. Tenney notes that Yeshua is the way to the Father because only he has an intimate knowledge of God unmarred by sin. Eventually the title of "the Way" would become associated with the Spirit-filled disciples (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22), because they proclaimed Yeshua as the way of salvation (Acts 16:17) and taught the lifestyle values and ethics of Yeshua (Acts 18:25-26).
and the truth: Grk. alētheia may mean (1) truthfulness, dependability, uprightness in thought and deed, (2) truth as opposed to what is false, or (3) reality as opposed to mere appearance (BAG). Danker has "that which is really so." In the LXX alētheia regularly translates the Heb. emet (SH-571), "firmness, faithfulness, truth" (BDB 54); also "permanency, durability" (HELB 19), although Christian Bibles sometimes render it as "truth" and sometimes as "faithfulness" (DNTT 3:877). Emet is often used for truthfulness in God and piety in man. The Rabbis explain rather pedantically that emet contains the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and that truth ought to be trustworthy through and through (Santala 72).
The God of Israel is the true God (Deut 4:39; 2Chr 15:3; Isa 45:6; Jer 10:10; John 17:3; 1Jn 5:20) and YHVH (who is Yeshua) is the God of truth (Ps 31:5). All other deities worshipped by man are the products of Satan-inspired imagination. Yeshua, the Son of God, is truth personified (John 1:14). Even his enemies acknowledged that he was always truthful and taught the way of God truthfully (Matt 22:16). As demonstrated by his life and instruction truth is not relative. The modern mantra "all truth is God's truth" conceals a lie. It is quoted by people who wish to blend worldly philosophy (with its roots in Greek philosophies) and biblical principles, of which Paul warned disciples to avoid (Col 2:8; cf. Job 17:12; Isa 5:20; Heb 3:12).
and the life: Grk. zōē, the state of being alive in contrast with being dead. The Besekh not only uses zōē in its normal meaning of physical existence on planet earth in the presence age, but over forty times for life that continues into the next age and eternity, half of which are in the writings of John. In the LXX zōē renders Heb. chay (SH-2416, alive, living) with both literal and figurative uses. First, Yeshua is the life in the sense of creation. John begins his book with the point that Yeshua as the Logos (Word) brought all things into being (John 1:3; cf. Col 1:16; Rev 4:11; 10:6). Scripture stands squarely against the lie of evolution that non-living matter converted itself into life. Also, Yeshua had life in himself; he was not created (John 1:4), just as the Father has life in Himself (John 5:26).
Genesis affirms that Yeshua as YHVH (LORD; John 8:58), acting for Elohim (God), created the heavens and the earth (Gen 2:4) and human life (Gen 2:7). In the creation context it is no accident that Adam named his wife Chavvah (Khav-vah; unfortunately "Eve" in Christian Bibles), which means "life," because the first woman was the mother of all the living. It was the promised Seed of Chavvah (Gen 3:15) who would be the Life of the world (Lightfoot 3:239). Second, Yeshua is the life in the sense of resurrection. Life-giving was manifested in the ministry of Yeshua through restoration of life to the dead (Matt 9:18-25; Luke 7:11-15). Third, more importantly Yeshua is the life in regeneration, that is, the provision of spiritual life (John 4:14; 5:21; 6:27, 33; 10:28) to those dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).
No one: Grk. oudeis, adj., a noun marker used to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; no one, nobody. The adjective admits no exceptions other than what is stated. comes: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. See verse 3 above. The "coming" would include seeking and then remaining. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 3 above. The preposition depicts coming into the presence. the Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. The Father is not very far from anyone (Acts 17:27), and can be found if sought (Deut 4:29; 1Chr 28:9; 2Chr 2:15; Jer 29:13). The word picture of coming to the Father might include (1) praying, petitioning or seeking for a personal need or the need of another (Heb 11:6), (2) identifying with the God of Israel as Ruth did (Ruth 2:12), and (3) coming before God after death (Heb 9:27).
except: Grk. ei, conj., mē, adv., lit. "if not." The phrase introduces the single exception to "no one." through: Grk. dia, prep. The root meaning of dia is two, but in composition it normally means 'through' or 'between' (DM 101). Here the preposition stresses agency. me: Grk. egō. Yeshua's claim parallels the John's pronouncement in the beginning of the book, "No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, who is identical with God and is at the Father's side -- he has made him known" (John 1:18 CJB), and anticipates Peter's later declaration to the Sanhedrin that "no other name under heaven has been given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 NASB).
The assertion of Yeshua totally rebuts Universalism, the belief that all persons will ultimately be saved, as well as Two Covenant Theology, which affirms that Jews are in an eternal covenant with God and have no need of the atonement provided by Yeshua. The way of Yeshua is obviously exclusive and only religion based on Yeshua the Jewish Messiah and Son of God can be considered authentic. I state the principle this way because while there is a core of biblical truth in Christianity there is also much that violates biblical teaching. Nevertheless this exclusivity is qualified by three factors:
(1) There is no genetic guarantee of salvation (John 1:12-13; Rom 9:6). The way of Yeshua stated in this verse is available to everyone (Rom 10:9–13).
(2) The way of Yeshua sets no precondition except turning from sin to the one true God. In particular it does not require Gentiles to stop being Gentiles or Jews to stop being Jews.
(3) The way of Yeshua is God's one true path and it exists for the good of mankind. Opponents should be thankful that God provided a simple solution to the sin problem.
The tragedy is that most people in the world refuse to seek salvation from the God of Israel (Matt 7:13-14), and thus reject the way of Yeshua. The Satan-inspired false religions dominant in most countries stand against Yeshua's true religion and persecute its adherents to death. Even in Western countries in which constitutions guarantee freedom of religion, liberal politicians and courts invent ways to infringe the rights of people to practice Yeshua's religion according to their conscience. Conversely, Christianity has distorted the way of Yeshua with syncretism of worldly philosophies and replacement theology from the time of the church fathers. This situation illustrates the great divide between the way of Yeshua and the way of Satan, the god of this world.
Oneness with the Father, 14:7-11
7 If you had known me, you also would have known my Father. From now you know Him and have seen Him."
If: Grk. ei, conj. The conditional particle conveys "let's say for the sake of argument." you had known: Grk. ginōskō, plperf., 2p-pl., to know, but has a variety of meanings, including (1) to be in receipt of information; know, learn, find out; (2) form a judgment or draw a conclusion; think, understand, comprehend, perceive, notice, realize, conclude; or (3) have a personal relationship involving recognition of another's identity or value; make acquaintance, recognize. The second meaning dominates the thought here. In the LXX ginōskō renders Heb. yada, which has a similar wide range of meaning, but in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning from a teacher (DNTT 2:395). The verb does not depict intuition or theoretical knowledge.
me: pers. pron. In other words, "me" as I really am, the "I AM." you also: Grk. kai, conj. would: Grk. an, conj. See verse 2 above. have known: Grk. eidō, plperf. of oida, 2p-pl.. See verse 4 above. Yeshua seems to be contrasting what might be called head knowledge with heart knowledge. my Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. From: Grk. apo, prep. generally used to denote separation, and here indicates a point in time; from. now: Grk. arti, adv. expressing concurrence of event with time viewed as present, (just) now. you know: Grk. ginōskō, pres., 2p-pl. In other words, "you possess knowledge that you don't realize." Him: Grk. autos, pers. pron., i.e., the Father and have seen: Grk. horaō, perf., 2p-pl., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience extraordinary mental or inward perception. Yeshua meant the verb in more than the physical sense. Him: i.e., the Father.
8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
Philip: Grk. Philippos, "fond of horses," composed etymologically from philia, "fondness, affection," and hippos, "horse." This was the name of five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. It might seem strange for Philip to have a name of Greek origin since there is no indication that he was anything other than a traditional Jew (John 1:45), but such a practice was not uncommon in Israel. Philip was the fourth to follow Yeshua and may have been a follower of Yochanan the Immerser previously. Immediately after his call from Yeshua, he informed Nathanael, his close friend, of the Messiah.
He was not discouraged by Nathanael's cool response to the invitation, but insisted that Nathanael meet Yeshua in person (John 1:45–46). Philip was a practical man who later determined the cost of feeding the multitude (John 6:5–7). In 12:21-22 the narrative amplifies Philip's "come and see" viewpoint in introducing Hellenistic Jews to Yeshua. Now Philip inserts himself into the conversation with a heartfelt request. Philip is included in the list of those who awaited Pentecost (Acts 1:13), but the Besekh says no more of him. According to Polycrates, an early church writer Philip was "one of the great lights of Asia" (Barker 284).
said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to him: pers. pron. Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 5 above. show: deiknumi, aor. imp., may mean to show (1) so as to be observed by another, point out, make known; or (2) or so as to be understood by another, explain, demonstrate. The imperative mood is used her for entreaty rather than command. The verb emphasizes having a personal experience. us: pl. pers. pron. the Father: Grk. ho patēr. See verse 2 above. and it is enough: Grk. arkeō, pres., to be adequate enough to meet a need; be enough, suffice. for us: 1p-pl. pers. pron. Philip very likely did express the desire of the rest of the disciples. Yeshua had spoken so often of "my" Father that they wanted that personal connection as well.
9 Yeshua said to him, "Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known me Philip? The one having seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?'
Yeshua said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to him: pers. pron., i.e., Philip. Yeshua replies with a gentle rebuke. Have I been: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above. The verb is lit. "am I?" so long: Grk. tosoutos (from tosos, so great), a correlative adj. used to express intensity relative to something mentioned in context, here in terms of temporal quantity. a time: Grk. chronos may mean (1) a span or period of time, or (2) a point or definite moment in time. In the LXX chronos occurs about 100 times and most often renders yōm, "day, days" (DNTT 3:841). The Hebrews did not conceive of time in the abstract, but used yom overwhelmingly in the sense of ordinary measurable time. with: Grk. meta, prep. of association or accompaniment. you: 2p-pl. pers. pron., used of all the disciples.
Bible readers might assume that since Yeshua's ministry from immersion to crucifixion lasted just over three years all his disciples must have been with him the entire time. In reality the disciples were called at various times. Yeshua was immersed c. February A.D. 27 (Santala 110). From John's report Philip and Nathanael began following Yeshua from shortly after his immersion (John 1:44-45) and likely remained with him. Although Andrew, John and Simon Peter were introduced to Yeshua at the same time as Philip and were with him a short time, they returned to their fishing business for financial reasons. The Synoptic Narratives depict the calling of the fishermen and other disciples in the context of Yeshua's Galilean ministry, which began in the spring of A.D. 28.
and you have not known: Grk. ginōskō, perf., 1p-sing. See the previous verse. me: pers. pron. Philip: Grk. Philippos, voc. case. See the previous verse. Almost all versions include "Philip" in the question, but its position in the Greek text could just as easily introduce the declaration that follows. Normally, vocative case nouns introduce sentences rather than ending them. Morris comments that it makes quite good sense for Yeshua to address the following statement to Philip. Yet, the second person singular verb "known" seems to require the inclusion of Philip in the question. the one: Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pron. having seen: Grk. horaō, perf. part., 3p-sing. See the previous verse. me has seen: Grk. horaō, perf. the Father: Grk. ho patēr. See verse 2 above.
How: Grk. pōs, adv. can you: pl. pers. pron. say: Grk. legō, pres., 2p-sing. Show: Grk. deiknumi, aor. imp. See the previous verse. us: pl. pers. pron. the Father: ho patēr. Morris suggests the question implies that Philip, being one of the chosen apostles, might have been expected to know better. Of interest is that Yeshua makes no comment on the fact that Philip asserted himself to speak for the rest of the disciples. Normally Peter was the one who took that role. Yeshua's question amplifies the declaration of John 1:18, "No one has seen God at any time; the Only One, God, The One being in the bosom of the Father, That One has declared Him." Tenney observes that Yeshua was both pleased and saddened by Philip's request: pleased by his earnestness and saddened by his obtuseness. Had he truly not seen it?
Stern sees an apparent contradiction between this verse and 1:18, and quotes the first clause of that verse, which states the literal truth. Yeshua himself declared "Not that anyone has seen the Father" (John 6:46) and John will echo this declaration in his first letter, "No one has seen God at any time" (1Jn 4:12 NASB). By "God" John could mean the triune being "Elohim" or "the Father" because in context (1Jn 4:7-14) "God" is distinguished from the "Son." Paul also described God as "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see" (1Tim 6:15-16 NASB), and in Colossians 1:15 referred to Him as the "invisible God."
In the background of Yeshua's statement is the declaration of God to Moses, "You cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live" (Ex 33:20). The anthropomorphism of "face" alludes to the concept of personhood. That is, God presents Himself to the world in three persons or faces: Father, Son and Spirit. In the Tanakh the only physical representation people experienced of God was the Angel of ADONAI. Now the fullness of God is revealed in the face or person of Yeshua. The benevolence of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit have been demonstrated from the beginning, and people have "seen" the nature of God whether they may acknowledge it. Before Yeshua came people saw God, as it were, through a glass darkly, but now in Yeshua they see God as He wants to be seen.
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I speak not from myself, but the Father dwelling in me does His works.
Yeshua then addresses an important question to Philip in a manner that Philip might have been expected to believe (Morris). Do you not believe: Grk. pisteuō, pres., 2p-sing. See verse 1 above. Yeshua does not refer to a mere cognitive assent, but a commitment to and trust in what they know by experience. that: Grk. hoti, conj. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first person. am in: Grk. en, prep. See verse 2 above. the Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. and the Father is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above. in: Grk. en, prep. me: Grk. egō. The preposition "in" denotes being united with and conveys both the intimacy of a close relationship as well as singularity of purpose (John 10:30). Morris defines Yeshua and the Father being "in" each other as "mutual interpenetration." The nature of the triune God is a mystery, but Yeshua makes the point that he and the Father can share in each other without blurring their individual personalities.
The words: pl. of Grk. rhēma, a communication consisting of words, often with the implication of importance or special significance. In secular Greek works rhēma referred to a statement, discourse or explanation. In the LXX rhēma occurs predominately in the Pentateuch (Torah) and the Prophets (Neviim) for the Heb. dabar, which can mean both (a) a word or vocalized utterance as well as (b) a matter or event in the sense of the result of things said or done (DNTT 3:1119f). that: Grk. hos, relative pron. I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pron. of the second person. Yeshua addresses all the disciples. I speak: Grk. laleō, pres., make an oral statement, to speak or talk about something. The verb is often used of public speaking. not: Grk. ou, adv. from: Grk. apo, prep. myself: Grk. emautou, reflexive pron.
but: Grk. de, conj. the Father dwelling: Grk. menō, pres., to be in a situation for a length of time; abide, dwell, lodge, remain, sojourn or stay. In the LXX menō translates 15 different Hebrew words, the most common being amad ('stand, remain') and qum (stand, arise). The verb is particularly used of God to emphasize His constancy (DNTT 3:224). in: Grk. en. me: Grk. egō. does: Grk. poieō, pres., a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. In the LXX poieō renders chiefly Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7), and used of a wide range of human and divine activity. Poieō also renders the special word bara (SH-1254), 'shape, fashion, create,' used of God's creative deeds (first in Gen 1:1). Both meanings of poieō suit actions of Yeshua during his ministry.
His: pers. pron. works: pl. of Grk. ergon generally means a tangible deed, action or accomplishment that may be observed. In John's narrative "works" is a major theme with the word occurring 25 times, often on the lips of Yeshua, and referring either to evil actions of men, good actions of men or the missional actions of God and Yeshua in the form of revelation, miracles, signs, and sacrifice, the ultimate good works. Yeshua has previously said that what he accomplished was actually works the Father gave him to do (John 4:34; 5:36; 10:25, 32, 37).
11 Believe me that 'I am in the Father and the Father in me,' but if not believe because of the works themselves.
Yeshua continues to address all the disciples, because he recognizes that Philip is not the only one having difficulty in accepting his words. Believe: Grk. pisteuō, pres. imp., 2p-pl. See verse 1 above. While the verb is in the imperative mood, it may be intended more as an entreaty than a command. me that: The opening phrase "believe me that" appears to be used to introduce an axiomatic proposition. Yeshua calls on the disciples to put their trust in the fact of his identity.
I am: Grk. egō. in: Grk. en, prep. the Father: See verse 2 above. and the Father in me: This statement repeats the declaration of the previous verse in a more concise form. but: Grk. de, conj. if: Grk. ei, conj. not believe: Grk. pisteuō, pres. imp., 2p-pl. because of: Grk. dia, prep. the works: pl of Grk. ergon. See the previous verse. themselves: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. Yeshua gives a logical rationale he had used with his adversaries (John 10:38). There could be no doubt that the works Yeshua performed represented the power of God, as Nicodemus noted (John 3:2).
Greater Works, 14:12-15
12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, the one trusting in me the works that I do also that one will do; and greater ones than these he will do, because I am going to the Father.
Truly: Grk. amēn ("ah–mayn") reflects a strong affirmation, meaning "so let it be" or "truly." In the LXX amēn transliterates the Heb. ’amen (ah–mayn, SH–543), which means "it is true, so be it, or may it become true." The Heb. root aman means "to confirm or support." The word amēn reflects an Hebraic conviction that God’s words were to be reverently received. In typical Jewish usage the singular amēn points to something previously said (Stern 26). For example, in the Torah people responded with "amen" for each of the curses as they were pronounced (Deut 27:15 +11t) and on other occasions "amen" was a congregational response to a public blessing of God (1Chr 16:36; Neh 5:13; Ps 106:48). In the Synoptic narratives amēn occurs 57 times in declarative statements of Yeshua, of which 34 are unique.
According to standard versions amēn is used to introduce axiomatic statements in Kingdom instruction, parables and prophecies. Stern contends, though, that many of those occurrences follow Jewish practice and rather than introducing statements the "amen" actually affirms the sentence spoken immediately before. (Examine the context of Matt 5:18, 26; 6:2, 5, 16; 10:15, 42; 13:17; 18:18; 23:36; 24:34, 47; and 26:13). Christian interpreters may have assumed "amen" begins statements because of the arbitrary verse divisions imposed on the Greek text in the mid-16th century by Robert Stephanus (aka Robert Estienne). However, Yeshua sometimes uses "amen" to introduce a declaration (e.g., Matt 8:10; 11:11; 16:28; 17:20; 19:23; 21:21; 24:2; 25:12, 45; 26:21). Similar usage does occur in the Tanakh (1Kgs 1:36; Jer 28:6). However, Yeshua employs amēn in a different manner here.
truly: Grk. amēn is repeated. In the Besekh the double use of amēn occurs only in the Book of John (25 times). The double "amen" does occur in the Tanakh as a response to a priestly declaration (Num 5:22; Neh 8:6), as well as in the construction "amen and amen" as the appropriate affirmation of a blessing (Ps 41:13; 72:19; 89:52). However, Yeshua uses "amēn amēn" as a prefix to the statement that follows, which is without parallel in Jewish literature (Morris 169). There is no good reason not to accept the grammar as authentic and Yeshua was quite capable of being innovative. The double use of amēn reinforces the complete reliability and truthfulness of Yeshua's prophetic teaching. Moreover, the double "amen," spoken in the presence of God, asserts the character of the Messiah who is the Truth (John 14:6) and implies God's endorsement.
I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to you: pl. pers. pron., "you apostles." the one trusting: Grk. pisteuō, pres. part. with the definite article. See verse 10 above. The participle is a verbal adjective and emphasizes that trusting-faithfulness is the character of the person's life. in: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." See verse 1 above. Some versions translate the preposition as "on," denoting a cognitive affirmation, whereas eis emphasizes entry into a relationship. me: pers. pron., the great I AM. the works: pl. of Grk. ergon. See verse 10 above. that: Grk. hos, relative pron. I do: Grk. poieō, pres. See verse 10 above. also that one: Grk. kakeinos, demonstrative pron. (from kai, "and" + ekeinos, "that one") used in reference to someone or something previously mentioned; and/also that one. will do: Grk. poieō, fut., 3p-sing.
Yeshua makes an important point with "I am saying to you my apostles," and so offers a significant prophecy concerning the future ministry of his apostles. They would perform the same works. The apostles would teach great crowds. They would bring the light of God to a dark world. They would organize God's people to provide practical help to needy Jews. The apostles did not perform every specific sign John records of Yeshua, but they would perform signs of the same order (Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6; 14:3; 15:12; Rom 15:19; 2Cor 12:12). Signs performed by the apostles served to validate the message of Yeshua and the authority of the apostles. The identified miracles include the following:
• Healing of a lame man at the Temple Gate by Peter, Acts 3:6-8.
• Healing of Aeneas by Peter, Acts 9:33-34.
• Raising of Tabitha from the dead by Peter, Acts 9:40-41.
• Blindness of Elymas pronounced by Paul, Acts 13:11.
• Healing of a cripple at Lystra by Paul, Acts 14:8-10
• Raising of Paul after stoning, Acts 14:19-20.
• Exorcism of a girl by Paul, Acts 16:18.
• Raising of Eutychus by Paul, Acts 20:9-12.
• Healing of Publius' father by Paul, Acts 28:8.
and greater ones: pl. of Grk. megas, adj., exceeding a standard and therefore impressive; great. BAG notes a wide variety of applications and here perhaps a general reference to a measure of quantity. In the LXX megas is used to translate several Heb. words, but by far the most numerous is gadôl (SH-1419), 'great' (first in Gen 1:14), with a similar range of meaning. Many versions insert "works" after "greater" even though it is not in the Greek text. than these: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. he will do: Grk. poieō, fut., 3p-sing. inasmuch as: Grk. hoti, conj. I am going: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. See verse 2 above. The present tense is used here to express intentionality or purpose. to: Grk. pros, prep. the Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above.
Yeshua's declaration presents a certain conundrum? How can anyone do greater works than Yeshua? Has anyone since Peter walked on water? Has anyone turned water into wine? Has anyone in the history of Christianity done any of the creation type signs that Yeshua performed? Miracles claimed for those named as "saints" in the Roman Catholic Church were often occultic in nature (e.g., stigmata, levitation, voices from the afterlife, apparitions of the Virgin Mary, etc.). Miracles of divine healing after prayer have been experienced down through history in the Body of Messiah but those miracles do not necessarily reflect Yeshua's assertion here. After all, the Spirit distributes the gift of healing and miracles to whom He desires (1Cor 12:9-11). Yeshua's point is that his apostles trusting in him would do things that are greater.
It is easy for Bible readers to misinterpret Yeshua's intention. Greater works would be such that transform the soul. Yeshua's miracles were certainly of immediate benefit to one or more persons. But, turning water into wine did not accomplish spiritual transformation in the wedding guests. The greatest work is surely convincing another person of his or her need of Yeshua and witnessing the spiritual change that occurs after confession and repentance. The heavens and the earth God created in the beginning will pass away (Matt 24:35), but human regeneration through the Holy Spirit, raising a person from death to life, the "new creation" (2Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:4) will last for eternity.
Yeshua was limited by his body (what he could physically see to accomplish), his location (he did not travel outside the holy land) and time (he had a short time to complete his mission). He did not have thirty or forty years to do ministry like the apostles would have. So, the apostles as a group would have a tremendous impact on the world. The greater work would be to complete Yeshua's mission of spreading the good news and building the spiritual Commonwealth of Israel. Yeshua continues to explain the method of accomplishing the greater works, which includes prayer and the provision of the Holy Spirit.
13 And that thing you would ask in my name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
And that: Grk. hos, demonstrative pron.; this, that. thing: Grk. tis, neut. indef. pron.; a certain thing, some thing, any thing. Most Bible versions combine the two pronouns with "whatever," but Yeshua combines specificity with manner of approach to God. you would: Grk. an, particle. See verse 2 above. ask: Grk. aiteō, aor. subj., 2p-pl., to ask in expectation of a response; ask, ask for, request. The subjunctive mood points to a hypothetical situation. in: Grk. en, prep. my name: Grk. onoma, is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. In this context "name" conveys authority to act as an agent. Noteworthy is that beginning with this verse the phrase "in my name" occurs seven times (14:14, 26; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26).
this: demonstrative pron. The antecedent of "this" is "that thing" I will do: Grk. poieō, fut. See verse 10 above. We should note that the future tense does not necessarily mean the next moment. Because Yeshua came from heaven and would return to the Father as mediator he can establish the means of answered prayer. Indeed the greater works mentioned in the previous verse cannot be accomplished without prayer. The means Yeshua asserts to obtain answers to prayer does not refer to a formula used to end a prayer. Rather, as Andrew Murray explained,
"It is to come with the power and authority of that other, as his representative and substitute. We know how such a use of another’s name always supposes a community of interest. No one would give another the free use of his name without first being assured that his honor and interest were as safe with that other as with himself." (With Christ in the School of Prayer, Fleming H. Revell, 1895; Lesson 24)
Yeshua promises that that the proper use of his authority will result in answers to prayer. This promise is not a carte blanche ("blank check") to satisfy selfish or sinful desires, because the only requests that will be granted are those that are truly good and in accordance with the lifestyle will of God (Matt 7:11; 1Jn 5:14). Other principles of effective prayer include:
• Confidence in God, trust (John 11:22; Heb 11:6)
• Character of the one praying (Prov 15:29; 1Jn 3:22)
• Persistence (Isa 62:7; Matt 7:7-8; Luke 18:1; 1Th 5:17)
• Simplicity (Matt 6:7-8)
• Submission to God’s sovereign will (Rom 1:10; Jas 4:15)
• Specificity (1Sam 1:17, 27; 1Kgs 3:5; 2Chr 1:7; Matt 7:7-8; Luke 1:13; 18:41; Rom 1:10; Jas 5:16)
• Patience, waiting on the Lord (Ps 37:7; Isa 30:18; 1Pet 5:10)
Hindrances to answered prayer include (1) sin (Isa 59:1-2); (2) idolatry (Ezek 14:1-3); (3) wickedness (2Chr 7:14); (4) ignoring God (Jer 35:17); (5) injustice (Matt 23:14); (6) decadence (Jas 4:3); (7) dishonoring a mate (1Pet 3:7); (8) stinginess (Prov 21:13; Isa 58:7; Luke 6:38); (9) toxic doubt (Jas 1:5-7); and (10) unforgiveness (Mark 11:25-26).
We should note that this promise applies first and foremost to the apostles to whom Yeshua had given the authority to "bind and loose" (Matt 16:19; 18:18). Yeshua repeats this promise for his apostles several more times in the upper room discourse (next verse; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26). Paul expressed that he had this same authority from Yeshua (1Cor 11:23; 14:37; 15:3; Gal 1:12; Col 3:24). Other disciples do have the privilege to ask of the Father in the name of Yeshua as stated in the Sermon on the Mount, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matt 7:7 NASB). Jacob affirms this principle in his instruction about prayer (Jas 5:14). However, we should not presume to have the scope of authority possessed by the apostles.
so that: Grk. hina, conj. the Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. may be glorified: Grk. doxazō, pres. pass. subj. (from doxa, "glory"), enhance esteem or reputation through word (of praise) or action to honor. In the LXX doxazō renders Heb. navah (SH–5115), to beautify, adorn with praises (Ex 15:2), but principally kabad (SH–3513), to be weighty, to be honored or praised (Lev 10:3; Ps 15:4). in: Grk. en, prep. the Son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios generally renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used: (1) to identify immediate paternity (Gen 5); (2) to mean a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32; Matt 1:1); or (3) to mean having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3).
The mention of "Son" lacks the usual descriptor "of God" or "of Man." The solitary form "Son" occurs occasionally in the Synoptic Narratives, but often in the narrative of John. Since the previous use of Son was "Son of Man" in 13:31, then this may be the intended meaning. On the other hand, since Yeshua is both Son of God (the Davidic King) and Son of Man (Daniel's divine deliverer), then the singular "Son" may merge both roles.
Yeshua asserts the all important outcome of answered prayer: glorification of the Father and the Son. Answered prayer should bring about praise to God, both by the beneficiary of the prayer and others (Matt 5:16). Normally when Yeshua performed a miracle for an individual he or she praised God publicly which in turn caused others to praise God (Matt 9:8; 15:31; Luke 1:64; 5:25-26; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43; 19:37; Acts 3:8-9).
14 If you should ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
If you should ask: Grk. aiteō, aor. subj., 2p-pl. See the previous verse. me: pers. pron. A few versions omit "me" (ASV, KJV, MW, NKJV, RSV, WEB), but the pronoun is well attested in the earliest Greek MSS (GNT 388). The omission in later MSS was apparently a desire to avoid contradiction with 16:23 (Metzger). anything: Grk. tis, indef. pron. John will later qualify this statement in his letter that petitions to God must be in accord with His will (1Jn 5:14). in my name: Grk. onoma. See the previous verse. The phrase "in my name" means "within my authority." I will do it: Grk. poieō, fut. See verse 10 above.
Stern comments that the verbal phrase "ask me" creates a "Jewish problem,"
"because it makes it appear that the New Testament teaches people to "pray to Jesus and not to God," in denial of Judaism’s correct doctrine that prayer should be to God alone. However, there is no contradiction. Elsewhere Yeshua instructs his followers to pray to the Father (John 16:23, Matt 6:9). But here Yeshua has just taught that he is one with the Father, who is living in him and doing his own works through him (vv. 10–11; also 10:30, 17:21–23); we also know that Yeshua does just what the Father tells him to do (5:17–30). So petitioning Yeshua is tantamount to petitioning the Father. Yeshua the divine Son is the divine agent of the Father, no less God than the Father, and therefore justifiably addressed in prayer. …
"But perhaps the whole question is moot now, because below, at 16:23, Yeshua says a day will come when talmidim will no longer ask Yeshua but the Father, as he earlier taught in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9). One can argue that that day came when Yeshua rose from the dead, or when he sent the Holy Spirit (see 16:20–22, 14:26, 15:25–26). If so, then praying to Yeshua is already out of date, and the "Jewish problem" of this verse is no longer so pressing. Perhaps one should construe the behavior of those who still pray to Jesus as demonstrating their belief that that day has not come yet."
We could say that praying to Yeshua in his own name has precedence in the Tanakh in that YHVH (who is Yeshua) is appealed to "for your name's sake" (Ps 25:11; 31:1-3; 143:11; Jer 14:7, 21). An important point to consider is that the verb "ask" is directed to the apostles and the authority of which Yeshua speaks was for his apostles. They were his agents to speak for him. Indeed the Body of Messiah is built on the foundation of the apostles (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14). They had the privilege of fellowship that other disciples did not and would never possess and they knew that because of that privilege they had "the ear" of the King. Conversely, they could not take his permission literalistically, because they could not have asked him to avoid the cross. Petitioning with the authority of Yeshua cannot violate the other principles of prayer given in Scripture.
If you love: Grk. agapaō, aor. subj., 2p-pl., to have such an interest in another that one wishes to contribute to the other's well-being, even if it means making a personal sacrifice to do so. In the LXX agapaō translates aheb (SH-157), but aheb is a far more comprehensive word than agapaō. The Hebrew word is comparable to the English verb "love," which may be used with a variety of applications. me: pers. pron. Yeshua expects to be loved before all others (Matt 10:37). Peter had professed his total devotion to Yeshua (John 13:37) and the other disciples echoed the same sentiment (Matt 26:35). "If you love me" includes the implication "and you want me to answer your prayers."
you will keep: Grk. tēreō, fut., 2p-pl., may mean (1) to maintain in a secure state with a focus on personal interest or obligation; keep; or (2) to be in compliance in regard to instruction; keep, observe. The second meaning applies here. The future tense normally is used to predict an event, but in this case the future tense has the force of a command. The "imperative future" conveys both confidence that something will happen as well as the expectation of accomplishment (DM 192). my: Grk. emos, an emphatic possessive pronoun for the first person (Thayer); my, mine. The pronoun occurs 46 times in the apostolic narratives (37 in the book of John), all either on the lips of Yeshua referring to what is connected directly to him (e.g., my words, my name, my love, my disciples, my body, etc.) or in parables of what belongs to the key figure which symbolizes him.
commandments: pl. of Grk. entolē, a directive for action, command, order or instruction. The noun refers to instruction that is obligatory and not merely informative. In the LXX entolē is concentrated in the Torah and generally renders Heb. mitsvah (SH-4687), 'commandment' (e.g., Ex 20:6; Ps 119:6). A mitsvah may be a human command, but mostly the term is used for divine instruction intended for obedience. We should note that the verb "keep" is second person plural. During the upper room discourses Yeshua gave a number of commands for his apostles to keep in the future.
• "Do this in remembrance of me," Luke 22:20.
• "When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (directed to Peter), Luke 22:32.
• "Wash one another's feet," John 13:14.
• "Love one another," John 13:34.
• "Let not your heart be troubled," John 14:1, 27.
• "Believe me that I am in the Father," John 14:11.
• "Let not your heart be fearful," John 14:27.
• "Abide in me," John 15:4.
• "Abide in my love," John 15:9.
• "Remember the word I spoke to you," John 15:20.
• "Ask and you will receive," John 16:24.
• "Be of good courage," John 16:33.
However, it is also reasonable to assume that Yeshua intends all his disciples then and in the future to keep his commandments. This is certainly the viewpoint of the apostolic letters. Stern quotes Dake's Annotated Reference Bible as saying there are 1050 commands in the Besekh to be obeyed. The list (found here) omits instructions that were unique to an individual. Of the 1050 commands, 157 are spoken by Yeshua and recorded in the apostolic narratives, at least 30 of which are in the Sermon on the Mount. A few commands are redundant (e.g., ask, seek, knock). Nevertheless, Dake's list could be misleading since some commands were clearly situational and not universal for all disciples (e.g., Matt 23:8; Luke 22:36).
Some Christians react negatively to any talk of keeping biblical commandments, branding the requirement as legalism. ("We're not under the Law.") See my article Under the Law for more discussion of this issue. In my view the objection could mask an antinomian or lawless spirit (1Jn 3:4). People in general don't want God telling them what to do and some Christians are infected with the same disease. They are not unlike the Israelites in the time of the judges who lived according to their own desires rather than the instruction of God (Jdg 17:6; 21:25). Yeshua made it abundantly clear that discipleship requires obeying his instructions (also verse 21 below; John 15:10).
We should also consider that the expression "my commandments" includes not only instruction given for all disciples during his earthly ministry but also the commandments given to Moses for Israel. Yeshua is YHVH ("I AM," John 8:58), and YHVH gave the commandments to Israel (Ex 34:32; Deut 4:2-5). Yeshua specifically affirmed the Two Great Commandments (Mark 12:30-31) and the Ten Commandments (Matt 6:9; 15:9; Mark 2:27-28; 7:10, 21-22; 10:19). Yeshua also alluded to sins prohibited by other commandments (Mark 7:21-22).
The New Covenant which was enacted in the Last Supper was not a rejection of commandments given in the Old Covenant, but the promise of divine enablement to keep God's commandments (Jer 31:31-33; 32:37-40; Ezek 11:17-21). John will later say in his first letter that keeping God's commandments is essential to answered prayer (1Jn 3:22). "My commandments" also include two he added: love your enemies (Matt 5:44) and love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34). Regardless of the teaching of some in Christianity to the contrary God expects those who belong to Him to live in accordance with His commandments (Matt 5:19; 1Jn 2:3-4; 5:2-3; 2Jn 1:6).
Stern rightly observes that the distinction drawn between Old Testament Judaism as a religion of law and New Testament faith as a religion of love is unfounded. In both the Tanakh and the Besekh biblical religion is based on both love and law, both mercy and justice; it has always been so and always will be. The most important issue is who will direct my life - God or me? The simple answer of Scripture echoes from Isaiah 33:22, "ADONAI is our Lawgiver" (TLV; cf. Matt 5:17-19; 7:21; Col 1:9-10).
Additional Note on Torah Commandments
Supercession: When we say the divine instruction to Israel is obligatory on Yeshua's disciples we do not mean all the commandments found in Exodus through Deuteronomy. We may note that about half of the commands have been invalidated by virtue of Yeshua's atonement and the destruction of the Temple.
Jews Only: Some commandments were intended strictly for Israel and not Gentiles, such as the food laws (Lev 11:4, 27), infant circumcision (Lev 12:3) and Levirate marriage (Deut 25). Christians should not make an issue of something that was never intended for them.
Situational: Some of the commands of the Old Covenant were situational, such as instruction for sanitation (Deut 23:13), roof parapets (Deut 22:8), and exterminating the seven nations in Canaan (Deut 20:16-17). Even if such commands ceased to be applicable in a literal sense they nonetheless imply important principles for righteous living.
Exceptions: Sometimes God permitted exceptions to specific instructions of the Torah. Deborah, a woman, served as a judge, when normally this was a prescribed duty for men (Jdg 4:5). Samuel, who was not descended from Aaron, served as a priest (1Sam 7:3-10). King David changed the duties of Levites (1Chr 23:25-26). God did not order David to be executed for adultery (2Sam 12:10). When Yeshua had the opportunity to rescind Levirate marriage (Deut 25:5) he did not do so (Matt 22:23-33).
Changes: New Covenant changes to the Torah include shifting responsibility for handling criminal matters to the government (Rom 13:1-4). However, civil matters between believers are still to be handled within the community of faith (Matt 18:15-19; 1Cor 6:1-8). The principles of justice God established (due process, impartiality, accountability, responsibility, liability, equity, and proportionality) remain in force (Isa 56:1; Mic 6:8; Matt 23:23; Col 4:1).
Exercise: The applicability of the commandments given in Exodus ─ Deuteronomy can be determined by a comparison with the apostolic writings. The goal of such an exercise is not to determine the least I have to do so I can live the way I want. Conversely, the goal is not to produce a legalistic checklist comparable to the Jewish law that prohibited 39 categories of work on the Sabbath (Shab. 7:2). Scripture is the sole authority for the practice of a disciple, not man-made rules and customs. The purpose of examining Scripture is to determine what is really important to God that will please Him and make our relationship with Him stronger.
Basic Ethical Guidelines: These are the principles of ethical decision-making that may be deduced from Scripture.
1. Clear commands of God, Yeshua and the apostles are to be obeyed (Ex 19;5; Matt 7:21; John 3:36; Acts 5:29; 1Cor 7:19; Eph 2:19-20; 2Th 1:8; 3:14; Heb 13:17).
2. Freedom is determined by what God imposed or prohibited. Freedom is not equal since the Torah has rules for priests and Nazirites not required of other Israelites. The same is true in the apostolic rules for qualifications of congregational leaders.
3. Ethical decisions of Bible characters must be weighed in light of their situation and divine instruction. (No ex post facto application. In other words, Lot cannot be charged with incest.)
4. The example of Yeshua is our supreme model for ethical decision-making (1Pet 2:21; 1Jn 2:6).
The Advocate, 14:16-26
16 and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate, so that he might be with you into the age,
and I: Grk. kagō, conj., formed from combining kai and egō and serves to link in parallel a personal affirmation by way of addition to or confirmation of a preceding statement. will ask: Grk. erōtaō, fut., can mean (1) to ask with the focus on querying for information; or (2) to ask in the sense of making a request, frequently with the effort to soften the tone for what might sound peremptory. The second meaning applies here. the Father: See verse 2 above. Yeshua affirms that he will "pray" (ASV, KJV, NKJV, RSV) or petition the Father, which may anticipate the high priestly prayer in chapter 17. Fulfilling the request of Yeshua expressed in this verse is necessary to accomplish his desires expressed in the high priestly prayer.
and he will give: Grk. didōmi, fut., to give, often with the focus on generosity. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, SH-5414, to give, used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). The verb alludes to giving by inheritance. you: pl. pers. pron. another: Grk. allos, adj. used to distinguish something from something else, frequently focusing on a qualitative distinction; other, some other, another. Stern points out that allos differs from the other Greek word for "another" (Grk. eteros, a different kind) in that allos refers to another of the same kind.
advocate: Grk. paraklētos, one who is summoned or called to one's side to provide aid (Thayer). Rienecker has "advocate, comforter." Mounce has "one who pleads the cause of another, advocate," but Danker translates the word as "counselor, encourager." In Greek culture a paraklētos functioned as either a legal assistant or advocate (LSJ). Paraklētos also appears as a loanword in the Targums and the Talmud (Avot 4:11) for any intercessor, defender or advocate. Paraklētos is not found in the LXX but a derivative form, paraklēteros, is used in Job 16:2 to translate the participle of Heb. nacham (comfort, console) in reference to Job's "comforters." The term appears several times in the works of Philo with the meaning of "intercessor."
The first Latin translators (Tertullian, Cyprian, Novatian, Eusebius, Augustine), as well as many Bible MSS commonly rendered the word as advocatus (BAG), but Jerome chose paracletus for his Vulgate (405) version, which Wycliffe then translated as "Comforter." In the apostolic writings paraklētos occurs only five times, all in John (14:26; 15:26; 16:7; and 1Jn 2:1). Each occurrence adds to the scope the advocate's work. Bible versions are divided in translating the term here as Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, or Helper, but considering the historical usage, biblical and extra-biblical, "advocate" seems the best choice. In reality all these functions could be combined in one person. The identity of the paraklētos is explained in the next verse.
so that He might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 2 above. with: Grk. meta, prep. you: pl. pers. pron., alluding to the apostles. into: Grk. eis, prep. the age: Grk. aiōn may mean (1) a long period of time and in reference to the future a period with no apparent end; eternity; or (2) a segment of extended time determined by qualifiers as present or future; age. The prepositional phrase "into the age" means the age to come, the Messianic Age. The great majority of Bible versions fog the meaning with "forever."
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see Him nor know Him. You know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.
the Spirit: Grk. pneuma (for Heb. ruach), wind, breath or spirit as the animating force for bodily movement (Luke 8:55). Pneuma is used frequently for transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Holy Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). The noun "Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because God is Spirit (pneuma ho theos, John 4:24), just as God is the Word (John 1:1). of truth: Grk. alētheia. See verse 6 above. While late Jewish literature speaks of "a spirit of truth" in contrast to "a spirit of error" (1QS 3:18f; Test. Jud. 20:1, 5; cf. 1Jn 4:6), Yeshua's description of the Holy Spirit as the "Spirit of truth" is unique in all of Jewish literature. Just as Yeshua is "the truth" (verse 6 above) so the Holy Spirit is the truth. The Spirit is the advocate of the truth about the righteousness of Yeshua, the guilt and consequences sin, and the judgment to come (John 16:8-11).
whom: relative pron. the world: Grk. kosmos has a variety of uses in the Besekh and other Jewish literature, including (1) the orderly universe; (2) the earth as the place of habitation; (3) the world as mankind, sometimes in reference to a segment of population; and (4) representative of people and values opposed to God. In the LXX kosmos occurs five times for Heb. tsaba, the "hosts of heaven and earth," i.e., the stars (Gen 2:1; Deut 4:19), but the meaning of kosmos as "the world of mankind" is only found in Apocryphal writings. Here kosmos is used to mean the people and governments opposed to God.
is not: Grk. ou, adv., particle of strong negation. able: Grk. dunamai, pres. pass. See verse 5 above. to receive: Grk. lambanō, aor. inf. The verb marks the transit of something from a position to another person who is the agent with the latter being also the receptor; to take or receive. because: Grk. hoti, conj. it does not: Grk. ou. see: Grk. theōreō, pres., may mean (1) to pay attention to; look at, observe, watch, behold; (2) conclude on the basis of personal experience; infer, see; or (3) have awareness in depth; perceive. The third meaning has application here, although nuances of the other two meanings may have relevance.
Him: pers. pron. nor: Grk. oude, conj., links a negative statement as complement to a preceding negative; nor. know Him: Grk. ginōskō, pres. See verse 7 above. The world has no information about the Spirit, nor comprehends the work of the Spirit, nor has any kind of relationship with the Spirit. You: 2p-pl. pers. pron. know: Grk. ginōskō, pres. Him: pers. pron. Yeshua could say the apostles knew the Spirit, because they had witnessed his Spirit-anointed ministry. for: Grk. hoti, conj. He abides: Grk. menō, pres. See verse 10 above. with: Grk. para, prep. that conveys association; beside, alongside of, with. you: 2p-pl. pers. pron. and will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. See verse 2 above. in: Grk. en, prep., within, inside of. you: 2p-pl. pers. pron., "all of you."
A few versions minimize the significance of the preposition en by translating it as "with" (CEB) or "united with" (CJB). EXB has a marginal note "among." These translations, while linguistically possible, would reduce the work of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as sort of a corporate manifestation, rather than an individual indwelling. Moses had expressed the wish that God would put His Spirit "upon" all His people (Num 11:29). Luke records that all the apostles and other disciples gathered in the upper room on Pentecost were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). The book of acts goes on to record large numbers of individual "fillings" of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8, 31; 13:9, 52).
Stern notes that this is an amazing promise for a Jewish person to read, because the Tanakh speaks of only a limited number of persons as having the Holy Spirit "with" or "upon" them. Those whom the Spirit came upon include Moses (Num 11:17), the seventy elders (Num 11:25-26), Balaam (Num 24:2), Othniel (Jdg 3:10), Gideon (Jdg 6:34), Jephthah (Jdg 11:29), Samson (Jdg 14:6), Saul (1Sam 11:6; 19:23), Saul's messengers (1Sam 19:20), David (1Sam 16:13; 2Sam 23:2; Ps 51:11), Amasai (1Chr 12:18), Azariah (2Chr 15:1), Jahaziel (2Chr 20:14), and Ezekiel (Ezek 11:5). There are even fewer mentioned as having the Holy Spirit "in" them: Joseph (Gen 41:38), Joshua (Num 27:18), Bezalel (Ex 31:3; 35:31), Ezekiel (Ezek 2:2) and Daniel (Dan 4:8-9). Semantically there may be little difference between the action of the Spirit being "upon" and "in" (cf. Matt 22:43). In addition, the Hebrew prophets spoke through the Holy Spirit (Neh 9:30; Zech 7:12; Eph 3:5; 2Pet 1:21), so in that circumstance the Spirit was likely both "upon" them and "in" them.
18 "I will not abandon you as orphans; I am coming to you.
I will not abandon: Grk. aphiēmi, fut., to release or send away with a range of meaning: (1) release from one's presence; (2) release from an obligation; (3) let remain behind; (4) leave standing or lying; and (5) permissive sense of let, let go, allow or tolerate. The third meaning applies here. you: pl. pers. pron. as orphans: pl. of Grk. orphanos, deprived of parents, with implication of being left to one's own resources; orphan, orphaned. I am coming: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. See verse 3 above. The present tense is used here of an action purposed. Thus, some versions translate the verb as future tense.
to you: pl. pers. pron. The plural pronoun would be the eleven apostles. Murray suggests that Yeshua deliberately used language that could be applicable to both post-resurrection appearances and the Second Coming, but favors the former. The promise of Yeshua also alludes to his returning to the Father and to insure they will not be left with heaven's resources he will come to them in the Holy Spirit. After all the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Messiah (Rom 8:9).
19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Yet: Grk. eti, adv. used to either express (1) continuance of an action or circumstance or (2) express addition; yet, still; here the latter. a little while: Grk. mikros, adj., relatively limited in extent, whether in size, measure, quantity or rank, here in reference to time; small, short, little. Yeshua uses this same expression in 13:33 of how much longer he would be with his disciples, as well as in 12:35 but there adds chronos, time. The expression "yet a little while" indicates that Yeshua is not talking about the remote future (Murray). and the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 17 above. Yeshua likely means his unbelieving adversaries. will see: Grk. theōreō, pres. See verse 17 above. The present tense indicates an action purposed. me no more: Grk. ouketi, adv. of cessation of an activity or condition; no longer, no more. After his resurrection Yeshua only appeared to those who were his followers.
but you: pl. pron.; the apostles. will see: Grk. theōreō, pres. Yeshua alludes to his promised appearance after resurrection. me: 1p pers. pron. Because I live: Grk. zaō, pres., be in the state of being alive in a physical sense. In the LXX zaō renders the Heb. adjective chay (SH-2416), alive, living, used for animal and human life (Gen 1:20; 3:20); the verb chayay (SH-2425), live, revive, save life (Gen 3:22; Ex 33:20); and the verb chayah (SH-2421), live, which appears often in texts describing how long someone lived (Gen 5:21) and in other passages as a reward of God for righteousness (Prov 4:4). In this passage the present tense of zaō may have a dual sense indicating the immediate as well as the future, i.e., "I will live."
you: pl. pron. also: Grk. kai, conj. will live: Grk. zaō, fut. The future tense could have a dual meaning of the life in the Spirit the apostles will have after Pentecost (cf. John 7:38-39), as well as the resurrection on the last day (John 6:39). The resurrection of Yeshua is the ground of hope for the disciple's future resurrection.
20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
In that: Grk. ekeinos, dem. pron., that, that one there. day: Grk. hēmera may refer to (1) the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset, (2) the civil or legal day that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose or (4) a longer or imprecise period, such as a timeframe for accomplishing something or a time of life or activity (BAG). The third usage applies here with perhaps a hint of the fourth usage. Used in a fig. sense "day" could refer to the entire 40-day period between the resurrection and the ascension. you will know: Grk. ginōskō, fut. mid. See verse 7 above. Yeshua speaks of certain knowledge, as well as understanding of truth. that I am: Grk. egō, 1p-sing. pron.
in: Grk en, prep., which has the sense of "united with." my Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. Yeshua reminds his apostles again of his intimate union with the Father. He is not speaking in metaphysical terms as the church fathers will later confront challenges to Yeshua's deity and produce the Nicene Creed to declare Yeshua to be of "one substance" with the Father. and you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron.; i.e., all the apostles. in: Grk. en, prep. me, and I: Grk. kagō, conj. in: Grk. en, prep. you: Grk. humeis. Yeshua promises that his apostles will understand more fully the truth of his union with the Father. The description of Yeshua being in his disciples and the disciples being in Yeshua reflects and intimate and enduring bond.
21 The one having my commandments and keeping them, that one is the one loving me. Moreover, the one loving me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and disclose myself to him."
Yeshua now changes the object of his instruction from his apostles to all disciples. The one: Grk ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pron. having: Grk. echō, pres. part., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. The participle is a verbal adjective and like the "trusting" described in verse 12 above emphasizes the character of the person's life. my commandments: pl. of Grk. entolē. See verse 15 above. This "having" Yeshua's commandments does not refer to a written form, but holding close them to the heart and making them one's own. and keeping: Grk. tēreō, pres. part. See verse 15 above. The verb describes an compliant attitude, willing to obey, and the present participle points to the daily life.
Augustine in his Homilies on the Gospel of John describes the man who fulfills this saying as one "who hath them orally, and keepeth them morally" (LXXV, 5; cited by Murray, fn 57, 653). them: pl. pron.; i.e., the commandments. that one: Grk. ekeinos, masc. dem. pron. See the previous verse. Many versions translate the pronoun as "he," but the masculine gender does not necessarily exclude women. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above. the one loving: Grk. agapaō, pres. part. with the definite article. See verse 15 above. me: 1p-pron. The love of which Yeshua speaks is manifested by deeds, not just words or emotion. Yeshua had already made this point in verse 15 above. Yeshua continues to point out a blessed benefit for the one loving Yeshua as demonstrated by keeping his commandments.
Moreover: Grk. de, conj. the one loving: Grk. agapaō, pres. part. with the definite article. me: 1p-pron. will be loved: Grk. agapaō, fut. pass. The two mentions of agapaō should be seen as coincidental in time. by: Grk. hupo, prep. denoting position, lit. "under," but used here to express agency. This preposition is used rarely in John's narrative (only elsewhere in 1:48), whereas hupo occurs frequently in the Synoptic narratives. In John's narrative the word dia ("by, through") is normally used to express agency. It may be that Yeshua intended a word picture involving both position and agency to denote sovereign care. my Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. Murray observes that the Father is not indifferent to the attitude men take to the Son. Love calls for love. Just as man's love for Yeshua is manifested by actions, so is the love of the Father.
Someone might observe that the Father already loves the world (John 3:16) and so Yeshua's assertion is redundant. However, this love of the Father for disciples who love Yeshua is akin to the preference God expressed for Jacob over Esau (Mal 1:2-3) or His preference of Israel over the nations (cf. 1Kgs 10:9; Isa 40:17). and I: Grk. kagō, conj. will love: Grk. agapaō, fut. him: pers. pron. and disclose: Grk. emphanizō, fut., may mean (1) make visible; appear; or (2) provide information; inform, make known. In the LXX emphanizō is used for Heb. yada (SH-3045, to know) in Exodus 33:13; for Heb. amar (SH-559, to utter, say) in Esther 2:22; and Heb. nagad (SH-5046, to be conspicuous) in Isaiah 3:9.
In addition, an adverbial derivative emphanōs appears in Psalm 50:2 to describe a visible manifestation of God and in Zephaniah 1:9 for a divine action that will be visible to all. The usage in Exodus 33 is noteworthy because there Moses expresses a desire for a visible manifestation of YHVH. myself: reflexive pron. to him: pers. pron. Rienecker comments that the presentation of Yeshua is in a clear, conspicuous form, but what that presentation is Yeshua does not explain. Loving Yeshua precedes the disclosure. So, in some undefined way Yeshua make himself known to a loving disciple, no doubt through the Holy Spirit.
22 Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, "Lord, and what has happened that you are about to disclose yourself to us, and not to the world?"
Judas: Grk. Ioudas, a transliteration of Heb. Y'hudah ("Judah") meaning "praise YHVH." The proper name Judas was very common in the time of Yeshua because it was not only the Greek form of one of the twelve patriarchs, but it was also made popular by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabaeus who led the nation in their fight for independence from Syria in 166 BC. The Besekh mentions seven men named Judas. When this Judas became a disciple of Yeshua is nowhere stated, but it may have occurred during Yeshua's Galilean ministry. The first mention of this disciple's name is his inclusion in Luke's listing of the twelve apostles (Luke 6:13-15) where he is identified as the son of Jacob (Heb. Ya‛akov, also in Acts 1:13).
Bible scholars believe him to be the same as Thaddaeus, whose name is only mentioned in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18 (Barker 205). Some Greek MSS of the Synoptic passages read "Lebbaeus" (KJV), which Smith says originated from Aramaic, meaning courageous or hearty (129). not the Iscariot: Grk. Iskariōtēs with the definite article to give emphasis to identity. "Iscariot" is from the Hebrew ish-K'riot, "a man of K’riot," a town some twenty miles south of Jerusalem (Stern 38), and an obvious allusion to the traitor. said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to him: pers. pron., i.e., Yeshua. Murray observes that the repeated interruptions of Yeshua's discourse by various disciples illustrates graphically the fact that they were indeed the "friends of Yeshua (15:14f) and were perfectly at home with him.
Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 5 above. and what: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun, who, which, what. has happened: Grk. ginomai, perf., to transfer from one state to another, and here means come to be, become, take place, happen, occur. that you are about to: Grk. mellō, pres., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, being in the offing, be about to, be going to. disclose: Grk. emphanizō, pres. inf. See the previous verse. yourself: Grk. seautou, reflexive pron. of the second pers. to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pers. pron.; i.e., "us apostles." Judas no doubt is thinking of a physical manifestation.
and not to the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 17 above. These are the only spoken words of Thaddaeus-Judas in the Besekh, but it is an important question. Again, the silence of Peter is striking, but Judas admits the confusion of all the apostles. He along with the rest of the apostles expected Yeshua to reveal himself openly as Israel's king and begin his glorious reign, so something must have happened to change that plan.
23 Yeshua 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 an abode with him.
Yeshua: See verse 6 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass., to answer or reply to someone, whether to a question, request, exhortation, command, etc. (BAG). In the LXX apokrinomai renders Heb. anah, to answer or respond to something said in conversation; to respond to an occasion and speak in view of circumstances or to testify or respond as a witness in a legal proceeding (BDB 772). and said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. The use of "answered and said" is typical Hebraic way of advancing the narrative of dialog (e.g., Gen 27:39; 40:18; Josh 24:16; Jdg 20:4; 1Sam 1:17). The verb "answered" emphasizes that a verbal response was made and "said" introduces the quotation. to him: pers. pron. Yeshua chose to ignore the question of Judas and focus on the issue of greatest importance.
If: Grk. ean, conj. anyone: Grk. tìs, indef. pron. The opening phrase "if anyone" makes a general application, not limited to the apostles. loves: Grk. agapaō, pres. See verse 15 above. me: pers. pron. he will keep: Grk. tēreō, fut. See verse 15 above. As in the previous usage the verb is intended here as an imperative future. my word: Grk. logos, vocalized expression, word, discourse, statement, message or speech. In Greek philosophical writings logos took on the meaning of a common universal law or truth and that which gives order in the universe. In the LXX logos stands principally for Heb. dabar, which has a range of meaning "speech, word, report, command, advice, counsel, thing, matter" (Gen 29:13; BDB 182) (DNTT 3:1087). In this context "my word" is equivalent to "my commandments."
and my Father: See verse 2 above. will love: Grk. agapaō, fut. him: pers. pron. Yeshua repeats the promise of verse 21. and we will come: Grk. erchomai, fut. mid. 1p-pl. See verse 3 above. to him: pers. pron. and make: Grk. poieō, fut. mid. See verse 10 above. an abode: Grk. monē. See verse 2 above. The usage of monē here gives definition to Yeshua's statement of there being many abodes in the Father's household. Disciples are the abodes of the Father. with: Grk. para, prep., lit. "alongside." The use of the preposition hints at the Paraklētos in whom the Father and Son will come. him: pers. pron.
24 The one not loving me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine but of the One having sent me, the Father.
Yeshua reverses the declaration he made in the previous verse, again with a general application. The one: Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pron. not: Grk ou, neg. particle. loving: Grk. agapaō, pres. part. See verse 15 above. me: 1p-sing. pron. does not: Grk. mē, neg. particle. See verse 1 above. keep: Grk. tēreō, pres. See verse 15 above. my words: pl. of Grk. logos. See the previous verse. Yeshua makes a direct correlation again between loving and obeying. Properly speaking, someone who does not love Yeshua cannot be viewed as a disciple. and the word: Grk. logos. that: Grk. hoti, conj. you hear: Grk. akouō, pres., 2p-pl., properly to hear aurally and in Scripture with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said.
In the LXX akouō consistently stands for Heb. shama, which not only means to apprehend with the ears, but also to accept and to act upon what has been heard (DNTT 2:173). The apostles, of course, physically heard the words of Yeshua and were willing to act on his instruction, but for disciples after the apostolic era, "hearing" means the willingness pay attention to the recorded words of Yeshua and put his teaching into practice. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above. not: Grk. ou. mine: Grk. emos, possessive pron. but: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. of the One having sent: Grk. pempō, aor. part. with the definite article, to dispatch someone as an agent, usually to convey a message or complete a task; send. me: pers. pron. the Father: See verse 2 above. Yeshua repeats again his theme of being sent by the Father.
25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.
These things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. I have spoken: Grk. laleō, perf. See verse 10 above. The perfect tense indicates action completed in the past with continuing results to the present. Morris suggests the perfect tense is meant to indicate the permanence of the words spoke (656). to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pers. pron. The phrase "these things I have spoken to you" occurs seven times in the last supper discourse and nowhere else in John's book (15:11; 16:1, 4, 6, 25, 33). while abiding: Grk. menō, pres. part. See verse 10 above. with: Grk. para, prep., lit. alongside, which emphasizes the physical nearness of Yeshua. you: Grk. humeis. Yeshua emphasizes that his message here is not new. In fact, his invitation to "follow" him implied loving and obeying him.
26 But the Advocate, 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.
But: Grk. de, conj. the Advocate: Grk. paraklētos. See verse 16 above. the Holy: Grk. hagios has two distinctive uses in Scripture: (1) as an adj. of things dedicated to God (e.g., the temple, Jerusalem), of persons consecrated to God (e.g., prophets), then of angels, of Messiah, and of God (Lev 19:2); (2) as a pure substantive used of the name of God (Luke 1:44), and then of what is set apart for God to be exclusively His, e.g., the temple, the holy land, Jerusalem, sacrifices, angels and human persons. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy. Qadosh is first used of God in Lev 11:44. Spirit: Grk. pneuma. See verse 17 above. In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit, a name or face of God.
The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11) given as Ruach Qodesh. The Holy Spirit is identified by three other forms in the Tanakh (Ruach Elohim, Gen 1:2; Ruach YHVH, Judg 3:10; and Ruach Adonai YHVH, Isa 61:1). The full name of "Holy Spirit" occurs about 100 times in the Besekh and all of the passages indicate that the Holy Spirit is divine, not less or other than God. whom: Grk. hos, relative pron. the Father: See verse 2 above. will send: Grk. pempō, fut. See verse 24 above. in: Grk. en, prep. my name: Grk. onoma. See verse 13 above. The Holy Spirit has all the character qualities and authority of Yeshua. He: Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pron., lit. "that one."
will teach: Grk. didaskō, fut., to teach or instruct, a verb used frequently of Yeshua. In the LXX didaskō is used to render several different Hebrew verbs (Deut 4:1; Ps 94:10; 119:99; 144:1; Prov 1:23; 4:4; 5:13; Isa 9:15). In contrast with Greek education Jewish teaching since the time of Moses has been more concerned with communicating God's ethical demands than imparting information (DNTT 3:766). The teaching of the Holy Spirit accomplishes the same purpose. you: pl. pers. pron. all things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope; all, every. and bring to your remembrance: Grk. hupomimnēskō, fut., cause to be in the mind in a time subsequent to earlier experience or awareness, remind, remember, think of. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. that: Grk. hos, relative pron. I: pers. pron. have said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. to you: pl. pers. pron. The closing clause emphasizes particularly what Yeshua taught his disciples in contrast to the public or his adversaries.
Yeshua's promise of the work of the Holy Spirit would be important in the oral teaching all the apostles would do in the years as they endeavored to live by his teachings and proclaim his teachings as part of the good news (e.g., Acts 2:22-32; 3:13-15; 4:13; 5:32; 10:37-42; 13:23-30; Heb 2:3-4; 2Pet 1:16-18; 1Jn 1:1-3). Yeshua's statement also emphasizes the manner of inspiration of the apostolic narratives (Luke 1:1-2). The promise would be extended to the narratives of Mark and Luke who were among the seventy disciples Yeshua sent out (Luke 10:1; Hippolytus, On the Seventy Apostles). Even though the narratives were composed twenty to thirty years after Yeshua departed for heaven, the Holy Spirit ensured that the literary apostles produced accurate histories of Yeshua's life and ministry on earth.
In contrast to the statement of this verse Yeshua will speak in 15:26 of personally sending the Holy Spirit from the Father. In the history of Christianity the issue of whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son jointly or from the Father alone became a controversy that caused the Greek Orthodox Church to split from the Roman Catholic Church (Stern). The presence of the controversy illustrates more the spiritual condition of the Church at that time than any doctrinal correctness. In reality this is a matter of a distinction without a difference. Yeshua's words in this verse and 15:26 are complementary. There is no action of the Father, Son and Spirit that the other two do not share.
Yeshua's Peace, 14:27-31
27 Shalom I leave with you; my shalom I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not the heart of you be troubled, nor let it fear.
Shalom: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which is generally a reference to a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships. The Greek word corresponds to Heb. shalom, which means completeness, soundness, welfare, or peace (BDB 1022). In Jewish culture shalom is never peace in the negative sense, the absence of conflict, but the possession of everything that makes for man’s highest good. The biblical word "peace" is relational in scope and does not necessarily depict an emotional state. I leave: Grk. aphiēmi, pres. See verse 18 above. The verb is used to emphasize what remains after departure. Morris suggests the verb means to "leave as a bequest" (657). with you: pl. pers. pron.
my shalom: Grk. eirēnē. I give: Grk. didōmi, pres. See verse 16 above. The verb reflects the generosity of Yeshua. to you: pl. pers. pron. The Lord's shalom is a gift of grace and a sign of his faithfulness. not as the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 17 above. The "world" likely alludes to governmental structures. gives: Grk. didōmi, pres. From the world's point of view peace is the absence of war or a certain level of community harmony by virtue of law enforcement. Yet, the world is incapable of facilitating relational peace and certainly not peace with God. I give: Grk. didōmi, pres. to you: pl. pers. pron. The shalom provided by Yeshua enables the disciple to be at peace with the Father. Those who are at peace with the Father through the faithfulness of Yeshua (cf. Rom 5:1) have the best foundation for peace among themselves (cf. Mark 9:50; 1Th 5:13; 1Pet 5:14).
Let not: Grk. mē, neg. particle. See verse 1 above. the heart: Grk. kardia. See verse 1 above. of you: pl. pers. pron. Most versions have "let not your hearts," emphasizing the individual apostles, even though "heart" is singular. However, the phrasing is purposeful and Yeshua likely intended "heart" as the combined sentiment of the apostles. They were all feeling the same anxiety. be troubled: Grk. tarassō, pres. mid. imp. See verse 1 above. nor: Grk. mēde, conj., negative particle used in escalation of negation; not, nor. let it fear: Grk. deiliaō, pres. mid., paralyzing fear of consequences, living in dread, to be timid or cowardly.
Yeshua's instruction is apropos for the events about to unfold, because the apostles will indeed experience these emotions during the time between his death and resurrection. The angels had announced at Yeshua's birth "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth shalom to men of goodwill" (Luke 2:14). Unbelievers criticize the biblical message by noting that there is no peace in the world. They fail to recognize, as Stern notes, that peace does not come to those who refuse it, or to those who fight peace, but to those who gladly receive it. The peace of which the apostles write is having peace with God, not necessarily having social peace in the world.
28 You heard that I said to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced anyhow because I am going to the Father and because the Father is greater than I.
Yeshua recalls his teaching from verses 3-4 above. You heard: Grk. akouō, aor. See verse 24 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 2 above. I: pers. pron. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. to you: pl. pers. pron. I am going away: Grk. hupagō, pres. See verse 4 above. The verb focuses on the destination. The immediate destination is the cross and the final destination is heaven. and I am coming: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. See verse 3 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 3 above. you: pl. pers. pron. Like the verb "going away," the immediate point of return is to meet with the apostles after the resurrection. If: Grk. ei, conj. See verse 2 above. you loved: Grk. agapaō, impf., 2p-pl. See verse 15 above. me: pers. pron. you would: Grk. an, particle. See verse 2 above. have rejoiced: Grk. chairō, aor. pass., 2p-pl., to be in a state marked by good feeling about an event or circumstance; be happy, glad, delighted, rejoice.
In any other human conversation if someone said "if you love me you would have…" the speaker would be viewed as engaging in self-pity and attempting to induce guilt, and in the extreme represent a passive-aggressive disorder. We know the eleven apostles sitting before Yeshua loved him, at least in the sense of their loyalty (in contrast to Judas Iscariot) and their willingness to fight alongside of him to establish his throne (Matt 26:51-52; Luke 22:36, 38, 49; John 13:37; 18:10-11). In their defense they might say, "how can we rejoice when we don't understand why you're talking like this." Yeshua, of course, was not one to engage in psychological games. It's more likely that he made this statement to indicate regret. "If you loved me as much as I love you." Like the Sanhedrin the apostles did not understand the atoning purpose of Yeshua's death (cf. 1Cor 2:8) and they weren't quite ready to take up their own crosses.
because: Grk. hoti, conj. with a causal meaning here. I am going: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. See verse 2 above. Morris maintains there is no substantive difference in the change of verbs for "going," but the verbs hupagō and poreuomai, while similar, are not exactly synonyms. Yeshua had to have a purpose for using a different verb. Since poreuomai verb generally focuses on the physical act of movement, the change in verbs for "going" is to emphasize his journey to the cross to fulfill his mission (cf. John 13:33, 36-38). to: Grk. pros, prep. the Father: See verse 2 above. "I am going to the Father" is probably idiomatic of going to the place determined by the Father and there doing His will. Yeshua will meet with the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:39, 42) and on the cross (Mark 15:34; Luke 23:34, 46). because: Grk. hoti, conj. the Father is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above.
greater than: Grk. megas, adj. See verse 12 above. The adjective is used here in a comparative sense. I: pers. pron. As Stern notes, Yeshua here is most likely speaking of himself in his limited capacity as a human being. He certainly does not imply that he was a created being less than deity as the 3rd century Arians taught, and its manifestation in modern quasi-Christian cults. As the Word he is certainly equal to and one with the Father (John 1:1-3; 5:23, 6:62, 10:30; 14:9; 17:5). Yet, he took on the limitations of humanity through the incarnation (Php 2:6-8). In addition, "greater than" functions in an idiomatic sense of one deserving greater honor by virtue of position. For example, all priests descended from Aaron had the right to officiate in Temple worship activities, but one priest was elevated over the others and designated by the Hebrew adjective gadôl, ("great" or "high"), which is translated by the Greek megas.
29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it has taken place you may trust.
And: Grk. kai, conj. now: Grk. nun, adv. of time in the present, 'now' or more emphatically 'right now.' I have told: Grk. ereō, perf., inform through utterance, here denoting speech completed. you: pl. pers. pron. before: Grk. prin, adv., at a point in time earlier than the moment of a specified event or activity; before. it takes place: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. inf. See verse 22 above. so that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 4 above. when: Grk. hotan, conj., a temporal marker indicating 'when' or 'whenever.' it has taken place: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. subj. you may trust: Grk. pisteuō, aor. subj., 2p-pl. See verse 1 above. Yeshua is concerned that in the face of the adverse circumstances to come his disciples will not lose heart, but keep their confidence in God's sovereign working. Then, after his prophesied resurrection they will trust him all the more.
30 I will speak with you not much longer, for the ruler of the world comes, and he has nothing in me,
I will speak: Grk. laleō, fut. See verse 10 above. with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 9 above. you: pl. pers. pron. not much: pl. of Grk. polus. See verse 2 above. longer: Grk. ouketi, adv. See verse 19 above. Yeshua alludes to the fact of the last supper nearing its end. for: Grk. gar, conj., is generally accepted as a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that." Gar often functions to connect statements in narratives with preceding statements and is normally translated "for." the ruler: Grk. archōn, one who has eminence in a ruling capacity or one who has administrative authority, used of appointees in a government capacity. Normally, the term is used of human authority figures, whether in the synagogue or the temple, but here it is applied to a single power.
of the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 17 above. Yeshua refers to the world as that which is opposed to God. The ruler of this world is none other than Satan, the adversary of God and His people (cf. Luke 4:5-6; John 12:31; 16:11; 2Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; 6:12; 1Jn 4:4; 5:19; Rev 12:9). Yeshua had previously referred to the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31), but there the term archē is used. comes: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. See verse 3 above. Yeshua speaks in a metaphoric sense of the Judean rulers and officers whom Satan will manipulate to arrest Yeshua.
and he has: Grk. echō, pres., to have, hold or possess. See verse 21 above. nothing: Grk. oudeis, adj. See verse 6 above. in: Grk. en, prep. See verse 2 above. me: pers. pron. Some versions interpret the last statement to mean "he has no claim on me" (AMP, CJB, ESV, MRINT, MSG) but many other versions have "he has no power over me" (CEV, ERV, EXB, GW, HCSB, ISV, LEB, MEV, NAB, NCV, NET, NIRV, NJB, NLT, NOG, NRSV, RSV, TEV, TLB). Morris observes that it is sin which gives Satan his hold on men, but there is no sin in Yeshua that Satan can take advantage of.
31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father and just as the Father commanded me, thus I do. Get up, let us go on from here.
but: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. so that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 4 above. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 17 above. may know: Grk. ginōskō, aor. subj. See verse 7 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 2 above. I love: Grk. agapaō, pres. See verse 15 above. the Father: See verse 2 above. and just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. emphasizing similarity, conformity, proportion or manner; as, just as. the Father commanded: Grk. entellō, aor. mid., to give instruction with magisterial claim; instruct, command, order. me: pers. pron. thus: Grk. houtōs, adv. used to introduce the manner or way in which something has been done or to be done; thus, in this manner, way or fashion, so. I do: Grk. poieō, pres. See verse 10 above. Yeshua sets the example for the expectation expressed in verse 23 above. He does what the Father wants because he loves the Father.
Get up: Grk. egeirō, pres. mid. imp., to rise from a recumbent or lower position, used in reference to (1) waking sleeping persons; wake up, awaken; or (2) rising from a lower position; rise, get up (BAG). The verb could imply some of the disciples had dozed off as will happen later in Gethsemane. The verb is intended to get the disciples on their feet since they had been enjoying the evening's festivities in a reclined position. let us go on: Grk. agō, pres. subj., 1p-pl., may mean (1) to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take; (2) to cause a specific time for something; spend; or (3) intransitive "to go" as an exhortation. Danker applies the third meaning here and says the subjunctive mood of the verb means "let's go." However, LSJ gives many different applications of this verb, some of which do not involve physical movement.
from here: Grk. enteuthen, adv. with three applications: (1) of place; from here, out of here, away from here; (2) of time; henceforth, thereupon and (3) causal; thence, from that source (LSJ). As Morris says, the last statement of Yeshua is curious at this stage of the evening's proceedings. The exhortation might give the impression that Yeshua and his disciples left the upper room at this point, which begs the question of where the teaching of chapters 15 and 16, and the prayer of chapter 17 took place.
A much earlier generation of scholars (Lightfoot, Gill, Wesley and Clarke) associate the mention of "supper" in John 13:2 with the meal Yeshua enjoyed at the home of Simon in Bethany (John 12:1-2), and the teaching of John 13─14 occurred at that time. The assumption is that this verse depicts the departure from Bethany to go into Jerusalem for the Passover meal, which is then the setting for John 15─17. Modern scholars reject this division of Yeshua's last supper discourses. Tenney says of Yeshua's exhortation here,
"At this point Jesus proposed leaving the upper room. Whether chs. 15-17 were spoken en route to Gethsemane or whether he and the disciples lingered while he finished the discussion is not plain; but in either case the words conclude the open dialogue.
However, John's narrative does not describe the actual departure from the upper room until after Yeshua had spoken the words in his high priestly prayer (18:1). Morris offers a simple and humorous solution.
"Anyone who has tried to get a group of a dozen or so to leave a particular place at a particular time will appreciate that it usually takes more than one brief exhortation to accomplish this. There is nothing at all unlikely in an interval between the uttering of the words and the departure of the group. And if an interval, then there is no reason why Yeshua should not have continued to speak during it."
Morris says it is more likely that the words should be taken as referring to a stage in the teaching or a pause in the discourse rather than a change of scene. So what does the command to "get up" signify? Coffman quoting another commentator says that it is likely that the next three chapters, which might easily have been spoken in ten or fifteen minutes, were uttered while they were standing and prior to leaving.
Ant.: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Antiquities of the Jews. Online.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barker: William P. Barker, Everyone In the Bible. Fleming H. Revell Co., 1966.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.
Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762–1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible. 6 vols. Online.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 3 Vols., ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.
Gill: John Gill (1697–1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
HELB: Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Bible. ed. Leo Rosten. Schocken Books, 1975.
Lightfoot: John Lightfoot (1602–1675), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1859 ed.), 4 Vols. Hendrickson Pub., 1989. Online.
Metzger: Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. German Bible Society, 1994.
Morris: Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1971.
Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek–English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.
Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Vol. 1. Zondervan Pub. House, 1976.
Reinhartz: Adele Reinhartz, Annotations on "John," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy–Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Robertson: Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 Vols. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1933. (Parsons CD–ROM Version 2.0, 1997) Online.
Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Trans. William Kinnaird. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992. Online.
Smith: Asbury Smith, The Twelve Christ Chose. Harper & Brothers, 1958.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Strong: James Strong (1822–1894), Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890). Online.
Tenney: Merrill C. Tenney, John, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 9. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989–1999.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889.
Wesley: John Wesley (1703-1791), Notes on the Bible. Wesleyan Heritage Publishing, 2009. Online.
Copyright © 2015–2017 Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.