Truly wonderful and infinite is the blessing which is opened out for us in the fourteenth and following chapters of John. I desire to trace it a little.
We will notice first, the commencement of all, the way to the Father, "I am," says Jesus, "the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." No way but through Him - through His blood - the new and living way now made open for us into the holiest of all, even the presence of God. The point of connection between this and verses 1 to 3 being, that they who have access or entrance to the Father by Him have of course entrance also to the Father's house.
We next learn the blessed truth, that by coming through Jesus we not only come to the Father, but we get the Father. "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him." The poor weak heart, ignorant of its full blessedness in Jesus, would embody its soul in that language, "Show me the Father, and it sufficeth me." Only let me know that the Father too is mine, and it is enough - it is all. And that satisfaction is nigh at hand: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." We cannot separate between the two; we cannot get Jesus without getting the Father, because the Father was - is in Jesus. If by faith we have looked upon Jesus crucified and risen for the forgiveness of our sins; if we have thus seen Jesus, we have seen the Father; if we have thus got Jesus, we have got the Father. Too much have these things been separated between, Jesus looked at as an averter between us and an offended God: so that the love of Jesus has been honoured, to the disparagement of the love of the Father that gave Him (John 3:16), that raised. Him up from the dead when His work was completed, that our faith and our hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:21.)
It was the Father's love that provided the Son's satisfaction; the sheet is let down from Him and takes us back to Him.
Surely therefore here we find full satisfaction. Blessed truth! to know that God, even our Father's countenance, ever rests upon us now in love. (2 Cor. 4:6.) It can never in reality change. As Christ is, so are we; and His position now is so blessedly opened to us in spirit. (Ps. 21:6.) And the Lord says, "Ye know Him." What a nobility there is in the saint. It is not only that our sins are forgiven, and we are in an acceptable relation to Him. The poorest saint can say what the proudest, most lofty amongst men cannot say with truth by nature, "I know God." And surely this is eternal life in its truest sense, to know Him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. "I know Him," I suppose, constitutes the full blessing of our portion.
This thought of the union of the Father and the Son brings in another thought, I think; viz., of our union in them. But I will pass on now to preserve more order. The next truth I notice is union with Christ. This is our full joy. "In that day [the Spirit being come] ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." Blessed truth! We may say it is the centre truth of God. Union for the Church; union for the individual. The Church His body; the individual bone of His bone, etc. I would notice here that I believe the Spirit is here spoken of as the witness and agent of this our union with the Head, taking verses 17, 18, 20 in connection.
I would notice now what two important truths we have here together - opposite, yet connected. As to our union with Christ, we know, blessed be God! that it does not depend upon our walk and doings; it is settled and secured for us by Him in Christ Jesus. It does not depend upon our frames and feelings. It ever exists. But the realization of that union is closely connected with our walk. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them," says the Lord, "he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (v. 21.)
Yea, He has something more than manifesting to speak of. He does not come alone in verse 23, but another with Him; and they come to abide. "We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." How important to see these two. That our union is established irrevocably in Him, thus giving full rest to our souls, independent of our works, and yet called so to walk as to have its full joy in us.
This union with Christ brings in another thing which I passed over before, our position here of power as in union with Christ, having the Spirit, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall He do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (v. 12.)
Our place now in the world, if we use it aright, is one of power. I do not mean necessarily external power at all; because we are united with Him who is in the place of power, "gone to His Father" (v. 12), "exalted by the right hand of God," says Peter (Acts 2:33), "glorified." (Acts 3:13.) This was, I judge, a great power of their testimony just then. I suppose this was quite verified at Pentecost, when the Spirit was given, when three thousand souls were added to them in that day. "The time of power, the demonstration of power, was come, because Jesus was glorified." Perhaps this thought is a little conveyed to us in the words, "the day of Pentecost was fully come." The fruits of the seed which He had sown were quickened. Remark in the beautiful connection between Jesus glorified and the Spirit present, the power of our union with Him, "He that believeth on me . . . out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38.) And let us remark, this is equally our portion now, though it may be modified in application by apostasy; "we are in union with Jesus, we have the indwelling Spirit." We ought therefore to show forth the power of Him with whom we are in union, that good vine into which we have been grafted. Our power to do this is shown in Jesus. (John 15:4, 8.)
A further way of our power is shown in John 14:13; how regulated, John 15:7.
When I add to this the teaching of chap. 15, our power of service as in the living vine, our relation to Him as friends, having the full knowledge and communion of His mind" the mind of Christ," the Spirit's agency, as "the Revealer" (John 16:7, 12, 13) - the boundless store that, in consequence of our position, belongs to us (John 16:14, 15), the simple, naked position of love in which we stand before the Father, so as, in one sense, to need nothing to support us (John 16:26, 27)though we know in His wisdom and grace there is something more to support us, quite indispensable, even the priesthood of Christ - and finally, presentation unto Him in glory according to His own will (John 17:24), we may truly say, "Who hath heard such a thing? who hath known such a thing?" "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:9, 10.),