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The New Testament Commentary Vol Iii John by B.W. Johnson

The House of Many Mansions.

|No sooner had Judas left the room than, as though it had been relieved of some ghastly incubus, the spirits of the little company revived. The presence of that haunted soul lay with a weight of horror on the heart of the Master, and no sooner had he departed than the sadness of the feast seems to have been sensibly relieved. The solemn exultation that dilated the soul of their Lord -- that joy like the sense of a boundless sunlight beyond the earthborn mists -- communicated itself to the spirits of his followers. In sweet, tender communion, perhaps two hours glided away at that quiet banquet.| -- Farrar. (Joh 14:1)

1. Let not your heart be troubled. The darkness of night had settled down on Jerusalem and Christ well knew that before the morning dawned he would be in the hands of his enemies. Just before him was Gethsemane, the betrayal, the denial, the mock trial, the scourging and the cross, but with these in full view, such are the wonders of his love that he does not think of himself. He does not ask comfort but he gives it. His heart is full of the sorrow of his disciples over his departure. It is a disappointment of all their hopes, for they cannot yet understand it, and the last moments of this sacred hour are devoted to cheering and instructing them. Believe also in me. They had believed in him, but they were so confused over the prospect of his death and departure, that they stumbled. He bids them to believe in him as they believed in God; to trust him even if they did not comprehend; to walk by faith rather than by sight through the darkness of that hour. To understand these words the confusion, sorrow and despair of his disciples over his death must not be forgotten. (Joh 14:2)

2. In my Father's house are many mansions. By the |Father's house| is meant the heavenly abode. He is about to return there, from whence he had come. It was not a small, narrow place, where few could be admitted, but it had many |abiding places,| room enough for all, room enough for them to follow him in due time and be with him, so that the separation about to take place would not be an eternal separation. Had it been otherwise he would have told. I go to prepare a place for you. If the separation was to be an eternal one he would have forewarned them. Rather, he goes before to prepare a home for them where they can all be together. The departure of Jesus was needful to open an entrance to them and us. From the cross he went to rend the vail of the temple |thus signifying that the way into heaven was now open.| On the cross he shed the blood that cleanses us from sin, defiled with which we could never enter. He not only prepares a place for us, but prepares the way. It is a blessed thought that in heaven his thoughts are upon us and that he is preparing a congenial home for us. Just how he makes that preparation we may not understand but the fact is sure. (Joh 14:3)

3. I will come again, and receive you unto myself. The reference is not to Christ's return from the grave, but to a return from heaven, the second coming of the Lord, which is a part of the Christian faith. There is a presence of the Lord with his people, there is a call of the Lord to those who die in him to |depart and be with Christ,| but there is also a personal coming of the Lord to summon all men to his presence and then, at the final judgment, every saint shall be |received to himself,| when the Lord shall say, |Come ye blessed of my Father.| Then shall they be |forever with the Lord| (1 Thess.4:17). Death is simply a going home to be with Christ (Phil.1:23). (Joh 14:4)

4. Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. The Lord probably made this statement to provoke questions, such as followed. He had stated so clearly before that it seems strange to us that the apostles did not understand, but they were wedded to the idea that Christ was to be an earthly king, like all the rest of the Jews. The place to which he was going was the presence of the Father from whom he came and the way by which he would go was the cross, the tomb, the resurrection and the exaltation. He had often spoken of these things. See Matt.16:21, also 17:22 and 20:17. (Joh 14:5)

5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not, etc. Thomas, a plain, honest apostle, lost all hope when the Lord died; nor could he believe in the resurrection until he saw with his own eyes. Now he declares, |we do not know whither thou goest.| We have heard thee talking of going away and dying when we expected thee to stay here and reign as the Christ. We cannot understand thy departure nor whither thou goest. Then, How can we know the way? (Joh 14:6)

6. I am the way, the truth, and the life. The Lord only answers his difficulty in part. He points him to the way in which he must walk if he would follow him. He must follow Christ in his life if he would follow him to the Father's house. He is the Way. The words of Christ here are words that could have only been spoken by a divine being. |I am the way,| the exemplar, the living embodiment of what is needful to impart immortality. He who follows in his footsteps will tread the sure path. He is the Truth; not merely truth, but the Truth, truth embodied and speaking to men; the key of all truth, and in himself a revelation of all truth needful to lift men to God. And the Life. He is life itself , the living waters, the bread of life, the source from whence the germ of immortal being is imparted to the human soul. Without him there would be no Way revealed; no divine and saving truth, no immortal life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. Not only can no one enter the Father's house without him, but no man can come to the Father on earth so as to enjoy his favor. |There is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.| Hence all must cling to him as the way. |By me| is equivalent to |follow in the way that I point out.| (Joh 14:7)

7. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. After over three years under the ministry of Christ they did not yet know him, except in part. The great truth declared is that the way to study God and know him is to know Christ. The universe may reveal his matchless grandeur, the Old Testament may reveal his moral government, but it is only in Christ that he reveals his surpassing love, tenderness and mercy, his solicitude for the salvation of the race. It is in the Son that he reveals himself as a Father. Until Christ came men did not dare to bow upon their knees and pour out such a prayer as |Our Father who art in heaven,| etc. From henceforth ye know him and have seen him. From the cross. On the next morning they would see Christ dying. From the sepulcher would burst forth upon their minds a new revelation of the character and mission of the Son whom they had up to this time supposed to be only an earthly, temporal king. Then, comprehending Christ, understanding that he would ascend a heavenly throne, that |all power| would be given into his hands, they would also know that |he was the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person.| They would know that in Christ they had beheld the revelation of the Father. (Joh 14:8)

8. Shew us the Father and it sufficeth us. Philip fails to comprehend that the Father was to be seen in Christ and when the Lord declares that henceforth they have seen the Father; he at once requests such a revelation. He perhaps expected such a manifestation as Moses saw on the holy mount and from whence he came with a face shining like the sun (Ex.33:18). The disciples were not only confused but filled with wonder; almost stupefied with the immediate prospect of the death of the Lord, but still had some expectation of the manifestation, in some way, of the kingdom. Philip's request is for a vision of God, of which he may have thought that Christ spoke. He wanted to walk by sight, instead of by faith. (Joh 14:9)

9. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Philip, one of the chosen apostles, over three years an attendant on the ministry of Christ, seeing and hearing him daily, after such opportunities and |so long time, had not known| the Lord in his real character. He did not yet comprehend that the Son came to reveal the Father. He wanted a literal sight of God with the natural eyes, when God incarnate had been present with him for three years, manifesting the mind, the purity, the saving power, the fatherly tenderness, the unutterable love of the Father. Natural eyes cannot behold him who is |Spirit| no more than they can see the human soul; hence man |cannot see God and live,| but we can see and understand |God manifest in the flesh.| Let it be noted that Christ was not an ambassador from God, but |Immanuel, God with us,| the |Godhead in bodily form.| No man, nor any angel, nor any created being could say, |He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.| Even the best, most Christlike Christian, would not dare to say, |He that hath seen me hath seen Christ.| (Joh 14:10)

10. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? There was the completest union of the personalities of the Son and the Father. We may never on earth comprehend fully its nature, but we can understand it to be so complete that he was the manifestation of God in the flesh. In him was no sin and in him was the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9). Hence his words were not his own but the words of God, and |the Father that dwelt in him did the works| that he wrought. The source of Christ's authority, wisdom and power, was in the Father. (Joh 14:11)

11. Believe me that I am in the Father. The Lord did not wish only that they would accept his statement but that they would rise to such spiritual discernment as to behold in him the revelation of the Father's will and character. If needful to their faith they should believe for his works' sake. These, such as man had never wrought, ought to convince them that the Father worked through him. (Joh 14:12)

12. Greater works than these shall he do, because I go to my Father. Those who believe shall have power given to do works, in some respects greater; not greater miracles, but to effect greater moral and spiritual revolutions. At the time of his death, as far as we know, he had only about five hundred disciples, but he |went to his Father| and |shed forth the things seen and heard| on Pentecost, and the eleven apostles converted 3,000 in a single day. Paul made far more converts than the Master. It was needful that he go to the Father in order to enable his disciples to accomplish these |greater works.| (Joh 14:13) (Joh 14:14)

13, 14. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. What man would dare to make such a promise? It will be noted that in order to enjoy the fulness of these glorious promises we must, 1. Believe. It is limited thus in verse 12. Without faith it is impossible to please God.2. We must ask in his name, or, in dependence upon the merit and intercession of Christ.3. As shown elsewhere, we must come with a spirit of complete submission to the Father's will, feeling that his will is best, and saying in our hearts, Thy will be done. Every prayer |in the name,| must be in the spirit of Christ, and that always says, |Not my will but thine be done.|

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