J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 6.)
These chapters to chapter 17 are all regular and distinct subject, we may say introduced by verse 32 before; chap. 13:32. Believe on Me absent, yet on Me divinely present, but as absent. "There are many abiding places in my Father's house." I am not going merely to escape trouble. If it were not thus, I would not have kept it concealed from you, and kept you through to this point when I was to go and escape for Myself. I am going to prepare a place for you, not shrinking from the place you are in, leaving you. You could not go there now, but I go to prepare a place.
Nor is this all. If He went to prepare a place for them it was for a definite purpose, not in vain, leaving their arrival there uncertain. If He went and prepared a place for them, if that was His errand, if that was what He went for, He (blessed for ever be His name!) would not leave it incomplete: "I come again." It is a great truth, not merely a fact, not merely what He would do. It was part of the necessary truth of their concernment in His sure and fulfilling and establishing love. Do not be troubled, I come again, and I will receive you (here His love was in exercise), to Myself; that where I am, ye may be. Here was the way; for this embraces the whole case in which that would be met. They must wait awhile. "Whither I go, ye cannot follow me now." He must prepare a place for them. Still His love, His continually serving love, to their glory with Him. They must bear with Him doing this. Love for them alone (forgive Him, as it were, the wrong), this comfort He must have, be spent in His love for them, and bring them in in peace. And so it must be, for who else could have done it? And this though one should deny Him in passing through it. But He must have His own way.
Neither was this all; we shall see more yet. It was not, observe, "Where I go," but "Where I am." First, His love to have them in the same place; and, secondly, they would not be where He was going then properly, but where "I am" in the day He took them to Himself. Yet have they to pass through and follow Him morally in His own time; that is, through the suffering. See chapter 19:20 and following. Where He was, that is, when He came again, they would be; but where He went they knew; for though they were distinct as to position and relationship, yet were they identified, that is to say, in His Person.
239 Note also how they are said, "Ye cannot follow me now," because it was through death, and they had not the power then to pass through death, as was fully shown in Peter, not having the power of the resurrection life in the Spirit. But afterwards they could. For it is not merely His going to the Father, but passing through death; for therein He took the power of resurrection life, and was "determined" (as Man, connected with the impossibilities and sufferings of man), "to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." That is, He took, as regarded man under sin, Sonship with the Father; as it is said, looking at Him thus as the Head of office, "This day have I begotten thee." He entered into this position, into which the believer altogether enters, declaring the Father as Son through death and resurrection. In Jesus it is going to the Father, which is the gist of all this. But that going is from Jesus' absence, from death and resurrection. Hence they did follow Him after; some, as a consequence, actually passing through death therefore.
And hence our glory is more than it would have been had Jesus not been away, our glory in that day, because we know Him as gone to the Father, and as set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, on the Father's throne; a glory in which we now see Him in a righteousness which could bring nothing unsuitable, not a spot or shade, upon the Father's throne (this is most blessed), but specially rest on the glory of Sonship therein. Therefore, says the Lord, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know"; because they saw the Father in Him; and hence, knowing Him, not only knew Him, the Way, but the Father the end in Him. Blessed unity of glory! and this in Him a Man. Well may we adore, and find Jesus marvel at their unbelief. But His sheep hear His voice. Thomas saith, "We know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?" Now, this is the very point we do know, being believers, where He is gone; we see Jesus, we see Sonship in Him, Sonship "as of an only begotten with a father."
Here is the present position of the children's glory. They see Jesus not ashamed, by reason of being all one, to call them brethren. Him with whom they are associated at the right hand and in the Father's glory, they are one with Him, members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, and He as such is at the right hand of the Father, and His Spirit is in them, so that they see Him there in the fulness of the glory. They see the Father in Him, in Him, in the Father's throne, and known as Man, as one with Him. Hence the Church, looking at Him as there, and coming in the glory to take it into it with Him, is said to be "the Church" (of the Thessalonians) "which is in God the Father." Here is the sufficing point, seeing the Father. But Jesus in one with the Father, and the Father in Him; and in Jesus we do see the Father.
240 Our Lord's answer therefore was, "I am the way," the way to the Father; for knowing the Father in Jesus is the way to the Father, in Jesus slain; and the truth for God is in this, the perfect witness and manifestation of God; not a flaw, not a defect, in showing forth God, the truth of what He was, and not only of what He was, but the central truth round which all else revolved too, of the mystery in which God was unfolding Himself, all things that the creature (instructed) could know, the unity of all God's moral ways. And this embraces a wide scope, as see Colossians 1:15-20, etc. Moreover, it was eternal life to know the Father, and Jesus Christ whom He had sent, which is here supposed, and the subject.
But there is more than this in it. I, Jesus, am the Way of access. It is in the knowledge of Me that the renewed soul comes to the Father; the truth of these things with which the soul is conversant in coming to the Father; that is, in My Person; and not only so, but the life in which the soul has vivifying apprehension, the life and power in which it holds communion with these things, with the Father. For it is as one with Him so quickened we stand in this blessed apprehension and relationship.
Truth is the substance of a revealed thing, the reality of what is spoken. "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." He is the Way, and as the Truth and the Life are these things brought into operation so as to bring one in the way. And not only so, but if they had known Him they would have known the Father also, the end they sought for. In thus being the Way and the Truth and the Life, He was the revealer in His Person in unity with the Father, as perfectly leading them to, and revealing, all in fulness.
"The Father": this is the blessed character of our Lord's thus manifestation to us. He was "God manifest in the flesh"; but as the Son He was all three things of which He had spoken, but therein revealed also the Father. The Persons in the covenant, for it pleased that in Him should all fulness dwell, the fulness of the Godhead, dwelt in Him bodily; and thus knowing Him we were introduced through the glory of His Person into the knowledge of, and fellowship (as a creature) with, all that fulness. Here only we remark, as following the text, that we should in revelation know "The Father." "And from henceforth"; that is, I take it, from the rejection of the Son of Man, they would not see Him in the veil of His (not dead Messiah character), but as the Son of God in the fulness of the glory revealed in Him, and therefore seeing the Father.
241 From the 31st verse of the 13th chapter this character of Jesus opens out. He was as dead from that act, and was stating the result as specially here: "From henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." For he speaks as knowing Him, and this fulness was now revealed in Him, His necessary glory, which must break forth if rejected, Who He was, which would necessarily be manifested if slain, for He would necessarily rise again, "for it was not possible he should be holden of it"; and be "marked out Son of God in power … by resurrection of the dead." Now, though revealed in a certain sense, as in Matthew 16 to Peter, yet hidden in His living as in His unglorified state, but the veil then rent, and the glory there seen which was seen in Him. Now, on Judas' going out this was the thing He had to reveal, telling it us before it came to pass. His own mind had entered into it, as we saw in verses 31, 32: "Now is the Son of Man glorified." This is very blessed and clear, true always in Him. Now the veil just to be taken off and He preparing their minds for the glory; for let us see the structure and position of this chapter.
The Lord had said that where He went His disciples could not go, and declared the perfect impotency of the flesh (of Peter) that if it attempted it would only deny Him deliberately; that is, over and over again. He thereon gives them the ground on which they would have much further blessing, and much greater even now, than if He stayed with them. In the first place He was going to prepare a place for them, and if He went for such errand He would come again, and receive them to Himself. Not He stay with them in this miserable world, of which He at any rate could feel the sorrow, but prepare a place for them; not such as we had prepared for Him, evil over good, not good over evil; a place of His preparing, suited for His bringing them into it, and if so come again (for He loved them much), and receive them to Himself, that where He was, there they might be also. Their hearts were not therefore to be troubled. There were many abiding places there, even in His Father's house; and He went to prepare a place for them. This to take the trouble from them. He would not have brought them thus far else. Here was but a tabernacle for any.
242 But the great central point was they were to believe on Him (they did so in God), and so find blessing. And what then came in, they knew where He went, and the way. They would know hence Him as one with the Father, and on the Father's throne, know Him in His personal glory and that which vindicated it to them and therein; know the Father and, by the Spirit (given by Him from the Father, the gift of God), have fellowship with the Father; and being indeed in union with the Son the consequence of association with Him in His risen and ascended glory, in union with the Father, rather than in His human love; that is, I mean, His love to them while in our nature upon earth; for indeed His love was the Good Shepherd's. The power of association, or into which we were associated, was different; but they had the comfort of knowing where He went, and the way. But here it was rather what was in Jesus and what was in them, and to them where He was ascended as their fulness, than living with Him there.
The great point was going to the Father. This must be in the glory of Sonship, and so risen, specially sin being in the world, that is, through death. Therefore, hence, passing through death and to the Father (being righteous) were one. They could not therefore follow Him now; but being risen with Him now in spirit and power, they would know, He being upon the Father's throne, His Person with the Father, the glory of the Father in Him, and fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus. Till we see this unity we cannot understand this chapter. "Henceforth" is therefore our Lord's word from the time of His giving Himself up to death.
But if it had been only thus we might have been defective in the apprehension of His Person. Philip says therefore, "Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Our Lord asserts the same glory of His Person and unity as when ascended, though not thus manifested: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" It was true in His life though gloriously manifested to us (in spirit) in His sitting on His Father's throne, and showing the Father's glory. "With you": "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." For indeed all the glory of the Father was in Him, being the Son, being who He was. They could not see Him without seeing the Father; they could not know Him, the Son, without knowing the Father also. What had he known of Him? "Dost thou not believe that the Father is in me, and I in him?" Could anything more show His divine glory?
243 The words which follow I believe to be connected with these: "I am in my Father, and my Father in me." "I speak not of myself." And, "The Father that dwelleth in me," etc. He could not say, But the Father speaketh; for the Son was the word of the Father. He did not speak of Himself, but He could not distinguish the Persons here. He spoke the word of God, as in the Father He spake as the Word of God. This manifested His unity with the Father; namely, that He did not speak "from myself."
That the Father did the works proved that the Father dwelt in Him (equivalent glory). Thus while He hid His glory He really told it; but both told on the same point, only that the first was clearly the most blessed, the care of the sheep. "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works' sake." Now, the latter surely proved that the Father was in Him; but it could be and was used here only to prove the truth of His word, "Believe me for." The "believe me" was depending on His Person, and brought into communion in affiance on His word with the Father. If they could not see that He was in the Father, and therein know the value of His word as speaking the words of God, being so one with the Father, let them take the evidence of His truth from the works He did; which indeed was from the Father dwelling in Him, thus showing His Person even in their despisal of it, though, so to speak, at the other end in His apparent humiliation, in which they did not see His Person as Son of God, nor know His word as God's word; though it were so that "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," but here of the union thus revealing the glory of the Person.
- 12. I have spent or delayed several days waiting as to light on this verse, to know the Lord's mind in it; and I certainly find rest in my mind. Who does not from the Lord? The truth of the Lord is the first settled position of our souls; His power, all power being His in heaven and in earth, the next great point (on His resurrection) that we know. Knowing this, and exercised in His perfect love, we have to exercise faith in His will, the divine purpose. What I desire to know is His will, His mind, in the matter; nothing else. Would to God I could do all miracles, were it His glory and will. Rather would I have Him glorified than all the miracles in the world. It is for the Church and for Christ, not for fancy. This was the point in the quails (there was failure). This is the proposal of the tempter to the Son of Man (the Lord), on the pinnacle of the temple, wherein He was perfect; in the making bread of stones.
244 A miracle then is not always to the glory of God, always obedience. Does it make miracles unimportant? Far from it; but for God's glory, not man's. If we seek our own there is no righteousness in it. This is the great point, the glory of Christ. Existing miracles are to His glory. Hence, may be, the desire for miracles, as in the prayers after the Council. But miracles are addressed to the unbelief of men. Hence the desire for them when they do not exist may be evil, the occasion of the surest reproach. "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it." Hence faith founded on miracles alone is rejected faith; that is, faith not trusted to, no vital faith at all, not enduring faith.
But miracles are the proof of the glory of Christ. Hence rejected miracles are a proof of the positive hardening of the natural man. Now, here we have the character of the dispensation chiefly, not the extent of the fact. I say, rather than the extent, because it is a great principle. It is not looked at in miracles in the ordinary sense of the word universal. Were it so there would be no special gifts at all. It is the result in dispensation of His going to the Father, the witness of His (the Lord's) identity with Him as in glory. It was necessary to the dispensation as the way of the dispensed glory. Hence it is rested on faith, in that (in Him in whom it is revealed) it is not "every one that believes," as concerning eternal life universal assertion, but a great principle which has its truth where it is revealed; and one person doing it would have been sufficient to prove; not sufficient peradventure to God's goodness or for man's weakness, but for the truth of the thing. Not that this excuses us in any wise for the low estate of the Church, or our works being so few. If our faith were greater surely the fruits would be more.
245 But we must remember that the works and fruits are but the witness, aye, the weak witness of the glory - not the glory. Multiply them too far, it would not be the glory, but rather disprove it, as evincing the continuance of the evil under such ministration, and appear to show it a feeble instrument of remedial process, not the witness of that glory which was above all the evil. Comfort, present comfort, as it would be to us to vindicate from the evil, and desirable as a present witness, I mean to us, which our hearts would yearn after to His glory, as present with us. Nor do I exculpate any, I only affirm it is not "every one that believes."
The great point is it is demonstration, not fulfilment; the other, eternal life is the thing given, connected with faith; hence the question trustworthiness for Christ's glory, none such as to eternal life. "He counted me worthy [faithful], putting me into the ministry." But I put no limit to faith. It is an "Amen, Amen," a great principle resulting from Christ's going to the Father. This was the point, the point to be proved (in condescension to us), the point here, but put as a result, the natural result, that the defect might be manifestly ours, not God's; for power was not wanting. Now, the character of it was this: it was the exhibition of the resurrection and ascension life of Christ; the character of service, not the number of the things done.
The works which Jesus did were witness that the Father dwelt in Him, and His word to be heard. They were works, upon the face of them, worthy of a man, and proving One with whom God was. There was an energy suited to such a display. But now the risen Jesus, one with the Father, was to be "declared" (not Messiah, for Messiah surely would do no greater miracles than this Man's, but) "the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection"; "of God"; and not only so, but His being by the right hand of God ascended. Hence in His being gone to the Father, and taking this higher official place, He would shed forth brighter and more powerful witness, suitable to that place in witness whereunto He was going, His new place of glory with the Father, new in accomplished position, for it was the glory which otherwise He had before the world began. Hence, inasmuch as it was the glory of the Lord absent (bodily) on high in the glory of the Father, "he that believes" was the instrument of its testimony, its exhibition, its exhibition to the world.
246 The publicity of its character was one thing connected with the works being greater, the manifestation of public power in exaltation. And this is the force (it seems to me) of the argument or course of instruction in Luke 12, from verses 2 to 10, which note. By the works which Jesus did it was shown (v. 10) that the Father dwelt in Him, looking at Him now a Man upon earth, but now going into His proper glory: that is, as to His Person crowned with the witness of who He was in Person sitting on the Father's throne. The works were correspondingly to bear witness of that which now was evolved as the object of the believer's faith. This was not witness of His glory as of the Father dwelling in Him (though that remained necessarily true), but of His unity with the Father now brought by His position as an object of faith into actual developed manifestation (horismenos). Of this the believer was witness, who held His place upon the earth in the work done. It was a displayed glory of His Person, displayed to the believers who saw Him as it were (compare Stephen's martyrdom), and by the fruits of that faith, by the Spirit, by the believer.
And this characterises all from the principle of resurrection life to the works and miracles done in the name of Jesus in the days of the apostles. Witness the 3,000 converted at once; witness its universal publication. It embraced the world. It was now not, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles," etc., but "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." It was shown, not in Dorcas or the like as contrasted with Jairus' daughter, but in the universality of their character, in the resurrection character of their own lives, the power of His resurrection. Lazarus returned to bodily life; they were alive with eternal (compare the extent, Acts 15, Jewish, chap. 19:11-12, Paul and Gentiles), the power of death gone as to all of it in the word, the resurrection and glory as on the Father's throne, of Christ demonstrated in all the power, demonstration and power, exhibited by the apostles or whosoever "believes."
Nothing can be more strikingly illustrative of this than the Acts of the Apostles. This was the witness to the world (which indeed brought in condemnation), the witness of the proper glory of Christ as one with the Father, as sitting on His throne, though rejected. This afforded to the believer, established, the great point of faith and only consolation to one now left by Him on earth, seemingly deserted, that it was much better in all ways, for He was on the Father's throne; the witness of His Person far more blessed than if merely, however blessed that was, upon earth; in universality and publicity more than in difference of works; save in resurrection, quickening power; as see the difference of Lazarus' and our Lord's resurrection. The "greater" was shown, greater works were done; but it was not in mere surpassingness of physical miracles, but as this competently glorified the Son, therefore resurrection power (all power in heaven and in earth), and bore testimony to them all around, so there was a testimony to them, immediate pledge of the ground of their affiance in Him as connected with the Father, the all-prevailing power of His name in all their looking to the Father, its acceptance, and therefore theirs with Him, their being brought as sons into nearness with the Father (which was all attributable to Him), a pledge to themselves, the full revelation of the Father's character, to whom they were approximated in Him. Whatever they asked the Father in His name He would do it, that the Father might be glorified in the Son. The Son does it for the Father's glory. In the other case the Spirit did it for the Son's glory.
247 This is the main thing, the immediate intimacy we are brought into, and in which indeed all are one; Christ shown to be one with the Father in His throne of glory, and we in Him having access, that He, competent to do so, may glorify the Father's name as Son in us, doing all that is asked by the sons. For here it is "will do" before we do it, evidence merely of the absent glory of Christ, though the perfect glory, glory of Christ with the Father, having the one throne, as one and equal (as the object of faith). Now, as our nearness is shown, and the nearness of His Person as Son, what we ask of the Father He takes up, and does the greater thing. Yea, whatever we ask He will do. Here His glory, and simply in title, to say what He will do, as before of His zeal for His Father's glory, with whom He showed Himself one. Thus was the great circle of His position, service, and their unity brought out. There was more behind as to their direct, actual position upon earth, their actual estate and condition. This is all very feebly brought out, but verse 12 shows the administrative result of the Son's sitting on the Father's throne in the works they did, in which He was glorified, though shown in them, as the Father in Him, by His works on earth (compare Acts 3:12).
248 - 13. What He would still do, for the Father's glory, towards the Church. The world would not see Him, but they would see the left witness of the Spirit in them asserted to His risen glory out of it. But the Son would still be in Person working towards them, the continuance of His acting in witness towards them. Verse 13 rests it on "My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Verse 14, the extent of His power, "If … anything … I will do." This is the general great truth.
Then comes the manner of its administration: "If ye love me." This is rather an answer to Peter's unwise proposal, as the former of the trouble in which they should seek Him, how and as what they would now plainly see Him, that though after the flesh they sought Him, yet they knew where He went, and the way. The Father's glory was really in Him. He was going to the Father, and going to prepare a place for them where were many abodes. If they had known Him while with them they would have known His Father and the meaning of His going away (v. 7). If they loved Him, as Peter so strongly, and in one sense so truly, under God's mercy, asserted, the natural consequence was keeping His commandments, though the "ye love" is an emphatic word; the "Me" is also; they are conjointly so, the previous part, and brought out the glory of His Person, and consequently where He went; this their association with Him upon earth, as loving Him known to them in Person, then known, and the consequence, "My commandments." From verse 7 in a measure hangs the discourse to end of verse 14. From verse 15 a new ground is taken; not now the perception of the glory through the knowledge of Him, but the consequences appropriated to them that loved Him, so knowing Him even then.
A great additional comfort and boon was to be bestowed upon them, blessings of which they were to be the depositaries, as heaven was of Him. "Keep my commandments"; this is the way I shall recognise you; and "I will ask the Father, and he will give you" (from Him it was to come forth, for we know now our fellowship with the Father) "another Comforter, which shall abide with you for ever." "He will give." It is from the Father, as we have seen; but the subject of the gift is the Comforter Himself; as God otherwise gave His Son, whom now in bodily presence deprived of; but this should not be thus taken away. He gave it that it should abide with them for ever; that is, the Holy Ghost to be in the place of Christ, but here designated as "the Spirit of truth." This is His first grand character.
249 The world cannot receive Him, as not the object of bodily apprehension or knowledge. For this presence of the Holy Ghost was not necessarily a manifested one, that the world could know, but which was known by virtue of, and because of, His dwelling, abiding with them, and being in them. It was not therefore that which was, or was known, by being exhibited in outward signs, but indeed the comfort confined to the saints, and known by the peculiarity that He dwelt in them, so that they knew Him, and the world did not. The other thing had been spoken of before, distinct from the indwelling of the Comforter. This was a distinct thing, and stood on a distinct ground, "with you"; that is, it is with you it is "He abides." It is a prerogative act in which He establishes His own constancy, not man's: "and shall be in you," the manner of His enjoyment, and blessing of the saints by Him. In some sort He was "with you" then in the Person of Christ. But it is not that, I think, He means here.
Here was a distinct, blessed, and very settled and dispensed order and promise, the abiding and indwelling of the Comforter; I mean of dispensation, "covenant," an ordinance of God this "abode" of the Comforter, par autois, and His being en autois. But more than this, they would not in any wise be left orphans. He would come to them. The world (yet a little while) would see Him no more; but they would see Him, and because He lived they would live. He was not going to die. The world would not see Him. To their natural man they might account it death; but as to them the real interpretation of it was He was going to the Father. The veil (of His flesh) was just going to be rent that they might see into His glory, and because He lived there, really lived, they should live also, for they saw, and they were one with, Him. Consequently He says, "In that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you." This path of association with Christ in obedience involves the whole thing.
He is then concerned to pray to bring full blessing of the knowledge of their real place, His real place for them to them, when by the Comforter they saw His glory. They knew that He was in the Father, but at the same time they knew that they were in Him. For thus seeing Him by the Spirit they knew their identity with Him; and He was in them, by virtue of which they saw all these things, "for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." There was the peculiar order (as we have seen) of the dispensation in which they stood, seeing, not as they did or ought to have done, the Father in Him, but their present (revealed to them as ever true) portion, Him (whom they loved) in the Father. But this necessarily involved their being in Him. Otherwise they would not have seen Him at all, for the world saw Him no more. And how was this sealed and known? He was in them. This was their position. For there is a break in the matter here again; that is, from verses 15 to 20 inclusive; and there are two parts: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." There is the consequence set first. Then Jesus' "I will ask." Now, we are sanctified to obedience, but then the Spirit by which we are so is grieved when it is not so in the love of Jesus; and therefore, though it be there, it is as though it was not there. Hence the Comforter was their portion, and there for their portion; for being quickened they are sanctified, quickened, to obedience, and Jesus asks the Father for them as members of His body - one Spirit. So it is, but not being practically obedient they have little of the joy or comfort of it, they walk comparatively speaking in darkness, as though they were really orphans when they are not; for He doth abide with them for ever. It is the Church's position, if there be any Church at all, I mean vitally, which there must be, or the Lord has failed. It is the Lord's word, necessarily He shall abide with you "for ever." Being given, it is given to them who do believe. The consequence of this was they would know, they would not be ignorant, and they would know more than now by virtue of this indwelling Spirit. Jesus in the Father, they in Him, and He in them; they would know this in and by this union and indwelling in corporation to Him so glorified, and that far from dead. Such was the union: because He lived, they would live, and by this life, the Comforter being present, know the union.
250 The Lord having spoken of the presence of the Comforter (this was the gift to the believers, and Jesus coming to them in His union with them, as Christ, filled with His Spirit), He now goes on to speak of His manifestation and abiding, that is, by virtue of the union of the Father with Him (as objectively His with the Father), the abiding of the Father and the Son with them. This was the portion of the informed believer (chanochs, taught in the house). "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, that is the person who loves me." Thus he is distinguished: having them, and keeping them. The world will say, How keep them, if we have not them? But the saint knows it is grace to have them, that it is grace finds them out by the revelation of God, that (found with desire through the grace of God) they are treasured with delight in that grace; that the discernment of grace finds them. How came John to be leaning on the bosom of Jesus? How, further, Paul to say, "The things which I speak are the commandments of the Lord"? Whence the judgment of the spiritual as to the Lord's mind? However, it is he that has and keeps them.
251 We may suppose an intellectual having, and of course, some kept. No love here. We may suppose a small measure of keeping, and little known what they are sign of. Little love here. However, he that has and keeps. There is the Lord's work of love, and such shall be loved of My Father. So it will, so it must, from the Father's love and its object, be; for now we have them the subject, not exercised on Jesus in the Father as the object. But what a link of love! Loved of My Father! What can Jesus do but love him? and how shown? (their love was on Him; here was another link of this necessary bond of love). In showing Himself. They were loving Him; but one that is loved of His Father, on whom the stamp of love is, he will see Him; Jesus will reveal Himself, the portion and centre from the Father, and from the energy Himself of this love. Judas understood thus much, that He spoke of showing Himself to such a one, as one with Jesus, and not to the world. He asks how; for the questions of unbelief or of reason are the occasion of the full answers of God in love, where it is anxiety towards Him, not closing of heart.
And this was a great point, all hingeing on this sense with the Father and of His abiding interest in them: "If a man love me, he will keep my words." This was an actual resulting case, "he will keep my words"; not merely now obedience to found commandments, but the guardianship of His word, that which is associated with a personal acquaintanceship with His mind expressed. There will be the intercourse, so to speak, of mind. "And my Father will love him," as so acquainted with the mind of Christ, the Son, the source on which it all rests. "And we will come, and make our abode with him," this communed dwelling with of the Father and the Son making the closing portion of the believing, obedient, loved disciple to whom Jesus manifests Himself; not to the world, their portion apart from it.
252 It is beautifully and blessedly in contrast with, "In my Father's house are many abodes"; and then the climax of the intermediate (and everlasting as the subject of blessing) present portion of His people is that the Father and He make their "abode" with them. Oh, what a portion! Oh, what a perfectness of present portion! For it is as present portion we have to look at it, the to menon objectively of the Spirit's revelation; 2 Cor. 3. First, the object ought to have been learnt in person in Jesus, then the Comforter - Jesus comes - thus in gift and dispensation the portion of gift to them. This involves their union being in Him; hence knowledge of who, in whom, He was, and the Father, they in Him and He in them, then the consequence, practical doing of His commandments, having them as such a one would, and His word; and not only His manifesting Himself to them as obedient but as keeping His word, the Father and He in this blessed communion of presence making their abode with such a one.
You will remark that from verse 21 it is personal. This closes the personal portion of the disciples, their everlasting portion. The contrast is short and simple: "He that loveth me not keepeth not my words." Not here word, for that is the taught mind, to the willing heart and ear, the taking the mind as such. But here the words are not kept; not commandments, for they are not taken as such. The Lord does not here press them as such. His words are unheeded. Not so the believer. "And the word," taken all together, "which ye hear is not mine." I am not speaking of Myself as a Man, but of the Father which sent Me. He is necessarily in question by it, for it is autou tou p. He was not only or merely sent to speak for, but indeed while the words were His they were the Father's, and if they were His they were the Father's; hence the responsibility and sign of sin in rejecting Him, not seeing the Father in Him.
This was the point He urged, the great point "not mine, but of the … ." The Father sent; but not only so; being the Son, the Father was in Him, and during His humiliation this was the point to recognise, that His glory might be sustained. These things He said being with them, the right time. It was the association of it with His own personal love to them, and with His Person, for in His Person these things were now centred. In Him faith perceived the centre of their truth and the love that made them ours. Their display in order of glory after His resurrection did not make them less dear as known in Him. Nay, they ever centred in His Person. We knew we had them all.
253 But there was another point, not the association with Him in person and affection, but the wide instruction of the Spirit of God present concerning His glory and all truth. Here the Holy Spirit is so called; before "the Spirit of truth," and so subsequently He is called "the Spirit of truth," as that which the world cannot receive, but this being the question. But He is a Holy Spirit solely to the saints, the Holy Ghost, that Comforter whom the Father would send in Jesus' name, "the Paraclete." He comes in here more substantively; before, asked for by the Son, and given to them; here, sent of the Father in His name to teach them all things; a wide and blessed word; at the same time associating them with the remembrance of Messiah's words, the remembrances of His people.
I feel this distinction of importance. No person can read the gospels without seeing that forth-coming of what Messiah was, the exercise of spirit in His humiliation, the sweet breathings through of the divine mind. Yet the ordering of all things suited the circumstances in which they were expressed, and expression of One so walking in righteousness, walking in subjection, and though a Son learning obedience by the things which He suffered, Jewish things, yet wise things, perfect things, wise things; and we have no need of wise things "in public," of that which is unveiled. The hidden, subject character of Christ stamping a power upon all that He was and said, this fund of gracious forbearance and wise expression in His subject estate, exceeding perfectness of spirit and truth in living life here, the Spirit would call to mind in the epistles. In the Spirit we see all the glory unfolded, all things taught; not, "Ye cannot bear them now," but, "Let us go on to perfection." For in the glory unveiled "the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things." When it came from the Father, the sanctifying Spirit to the disciples, it would do anything but obliterate the former; it would remember to us the precious and savour-bearing words of Jesus, and besides that open out the wide scene of glory and knowledge of truth which His breaking the bands of death had opened out, or us into their personal position. He had told them it was material to know from His lips who was the Truth before He went. It might have been feeling else, or so supposed. But all the knowledge of things in it was left for the time when the results of that position should be given in the presence of the Comforter. There were promises, great and precious promises, rather a condition of blessing by the presence of the Spirit and revelation of the Father and the Son. But there was an immediate result of association. They were not the result of the things promised. That was to be waited for, because known by them. But there was an immediate, present result from and by Christ, besides this scope of hope: "Peace I leave with you"; a present solid condition in the midst [of], or as throwing its power over, all the varied exercises which thought however blessed could afford.
254 But there is more in this sentence, I am persuaded, than meets the eye in common. The fact is stated; but it is [in] the result of His going away I learn it. All that He here speaks of is the consequence of their state by virtue of His going to the Father. It includes that, and while it involves what He had (been and) said upon earth, and the Comforter coming, the time of its place with them was His leaving them. He left peace with them as One to whom it belonged to leave. He was peace with God, the Man of peace with God. This He left, whatever the advancement of His glory; this He did not take away with Him to heaven. He left it here; their portion, as His; and still as before. This is most blessed; there was "good pleasure" in Him. He knew it, and delighting in God was answerably in perfect delight in Him. So we in our new nature, and in Him in fact. And this is what He has left us, that perfect acceptance in the good pleasure of God in which He delighted and found rest in. He left it; for it was His, and in Him. He gave it; for none had it else; in intrinsic relationship in renewal of mind. But He did leave peace. He gave us His own peace, that in which He stood in its perfectness. Peace He gave to us. But how could He give His peace? It was clearly only in spirituality of mind; for to be so is life and peace; but so as that it was by and given of Him. The spiritual mind has peace because of (for they go together) what Jesus here spoke of, but Jesus' own peace, His position with God, with the Father. This was what was given in sense and blessing.
255 Then comes the word, "Not as the world giveth give I unto you"; and here is the power and blessing of the sentence; for the world gives consumable fruits, and inexpensive, though gainful to itself; not so Jesus: the gift of peace was at the cost of Himself; they of their abundance; but He, taking the necessity and burden of evil, left peace for them. Peace He had, and might have gone so away to His own glory. But He did not so. He passed through the evil, gave Himself for them, that (purchasing them, freed from sin, at the cost of Himself) the peace He had as righteousness with God might be theirs. It was the manner of the gift. Then the infinite difference that was here distinguished: the gift of peace was the gift of Himself to perfect trouble for them, all perfect trouble, His own peace. But that as sinners they could not have but through the sacrifice of Himself. But, being given, He in perfect, self-sacrificing love did give them peace.
It took away fear as well as trouble: "Do not be troubled." There was definiteness of object (Christ was not gone, that is, lost; the same is seen in Revelation 19), known and enjoyed, and that in a much higher way. "Do not fear"; there was constancy of peace. Christ gave peace. He was able, as sacrificing Himself, and that in the certainty of love. Therein there was nothing to fear: God was love, and He was given for them. "Hereby know we love." Trouble is uncertainty. All from verses 1 to 25, took that away. "Fear," the opposite of peace, it "hath torment." But peace given, as the world could not give, took that away; for "perfect love casteth out fear"; and "herein is love" (1 John 4:10-17, etc.); but here the fact of grace. But this gift implied all other gifts; for it was the necessity of such love; not as giving being a reason for giving no more, but the proof of love, and that in the highest degree; all else but the making good the necessity of that. Christ's own peace in the world, and given to us as removing sin, is the measure of our not fearing.
"Ye have heard how I said, I go away, and come again to you." This removed their uneasiness as to themselves. It was not disappointment or death, but going to return. But if they had loved Him they would have rejoiced because He was going to the Father. For the Church looking at Jesus (at Christ officially) is given as one with Him an interest and delight in His full joy. If they had loved Him they would have rejoiced He was going from sorrow to full joy at God's right hand. In all these things Christ is spoken of as the complex Person whom we know, whereby we have communion and fellowship with Him, the incarnate One. In the same way we see the Jewish Church's joys and interest in Psalms 20 and 21, beautifully illustrating and expressing this, as for them. Nothing can be more beautiful than giving the Church an interest in His happiness at such a moment, in its sorrow, of giving it such express identity with Himself. It was not as though they were left, but He was going to the place of His glory and blessing. They were so one with Him; that was their happiness.
256 And with what delicacy and (to them) exalting condescension does He bring them into identity with Himself then, instead of leaving them with their thoughts here, where only their sorrowful and undignified selves would be found! I am going to greater glory, and you are one with Me in affection and interest. "My Father is greater than I," Jesus incarnate, in office and position in this revelation of glory of which I am assuming the Head; and you are made heirs in blessing, and so in this covenant, as men call it. It is so in the way in which we know God revealed in dispensation in this wondrous economy in which all the Trinity is revealed. Not that which is essentially in Godhead is here spoken of; the difference of Persons in Trinity is never so spoken of; but revealed in knowledge. Ye would rejoice because I; for My Father is greater than Me. Of course nothing else could be sound. It is not in office properly; for in one sense the Father takes the office of Servant of Christ about His people; nor in Godhead, for that is not the question; but as known to the disciples in the revelation of diathecal relationship.
The incarnate Son holds the subordinate place in the way we know Him, as all the Scriptures testify in speaking of it from Genesis; Proverbs 8, which particularly shows it; through to the express revelation in the Apocalypse. Indeed, as all blessedness is in dwelling on it connected with His glorious unity with the Father, so no sort of difficulty arises at all in a simple believer's mind, but blessing and strength; because it is believed it does believe. In the covenant the Son holds the place of service; that is, in our knowledge of Him.
257 "And now I have told you before it come to pass"; that is, this great truth about His going away, etc., to His Father. This testimony before was evidence of truth. Compare Isaiah 41:22-23; and before, chap. 13:19. All, whatever the gift, turns to this, to revert to it, believing in Jesus and His glory. This is the great end of God, a great end of previous testimony, though the Church has another portion in it. So also all apparent sorrows become confirmatory of faith; apparent discreditings turn to accredit the truth and strength of our hope in the Lord. But this includes the glory; that is, the knowledge of it by the presence of the Spirit; as in chapter 13:19 the sorrow and evil, the prediction of either, confirming the truth of all. In chapter 13:19 the Lord had not spoken of it before; but from that, as it was just coming, He spoke of it. It did not affect the mission of Judas; but it was now needful to tell it them. It might otherwise have called in question His wisdom or knowledge. The disciples are apprised before, as due, as it were, to them, that their faith might not be shocked; as the blessing of privileged association. The world learned it in the accomplished fact.
But there was more than this in the order of the words. He had not much more to say to them, because possible intercourse with them was near a close. His was discipular intercourse; but the prince of this world was coming, to have it (humanly) all his own way. But this close of His intercourse with them was not at all that the prince of this world had anything in Him; he had nothing; but it was that the world might know He thus showed it in freely communicating His thoughts in it to them; that He loved the Father. This was the meaning of His death, and that as the Father gave Him commandment so He did.
He then arose, and went out; for this had passed before He left the place where they had been sitting. It would appear, from Matthew 26:30-31, that after singing a hymn they went to the Mount of Olives. The 31st verse in Matthew 26 evidently is not immediately consequent, for in verse 36 He comes to Gethsemane. Verse 30 merely states generally what He did after the Supper. Taking all from the hymn to Mount of Olives as one act, it appears to me that our Lord said these things while moving to go out, after the hymn; first as to Peter, and then before they actually went away to the Mount of Olives. This 14th chapter, at the close of which He bids them arise to follow Him, doubtless slow to stir in the great scene which He had now opened to them of unlooked-for sorrow and woe, in which Judas had just now led the way, in this it was the Lord said, "Let not your heart be troubled," there are better things to come out of it all. On the way He entered on what was consequent on it all, the state of their position, and judgment of the Lord on it, and His final commending them to God in it so left, in the 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters, on which we now enter, these important chapters thus seen as the Lord's designation of their state.
258 - 29, 30, 31. Perhaps "but that" follows as another object besides their believing on Him, and "hereafter" to "in me" (that is, v. 30), is in parenthesis. Consider then here what was done; with these objects He said these things; what the objects were; what He said, and the connection of what He said with these objects; and how His saying them tended to bringing these truths to bear on these ends.
There are three things in verses 19, 20 of John 14; that is, when we have received the Spirit, Christ is an object; we see Him when the world does not. He is our life; because He lives we shall live. We know (still having the Spirit) that He is in the Father (not here the Father in Him; it is divine union, not even exaltation, and in proper divinity), and we in Him, and He in us. The knowledge of our oneness with Him, as in Him, and He in us, and He in the Father. Then comes another thing: manifestation of Himself to us. Then the Holy Ghost teaches all things, all truth, and brings to remembrance what Jesus said when here; divine truth, and the expression of life in Christ down here, what He was in the world.
Note, in John 14, verse 3 gives Christ as going away and coming again, the position of the disciples as to His personal presence. Then comes what they ought to have known by the presence of the Lord Jesus as an abiding truth, whether He were on earth or in heaven; the revelation of the Father by the Son; that He was in the Father, and the Father in Him; the coming of the Comforter involved; and the truth, not that the Father was in Him that was manifested on earth, but that He was in the Father (being on high), and that they were in Him, and He in them. The union and reciprocal indwelling was first of the Father and the Son; then (the divine union of the Son with the Father being repeated, He being in the Father, which was divine, and the natural point as their Head) the union, and reciprocal union, of the disciples and the Son was next stated, the knowledge of which depended on the presence of the Comforter, on His going away, which note.
259 Note, in John 14:20 it is not merely that the divine side of union in Christ is noted because He was no longer on earth displaying the Father, but the whole depth of personal union in Him is brought out as now existing: He in the divine side, in the Father, one with Him; we on the lower side, so to speak; He being Man, we in Him who is Son and one with the Father; and then He in us, to be manifested here below; though it ceases not there. What a chain! And there is light, I suppose, through this, thrown on the glory seen and displayed.
John 14 gives the Comforter as personal blessing and comfort, and being in Christ, and Christ in us. Hence, also, the coming of the Lord is to take us to Himself; so it is the Father sends Him in Christ's name, so as to place us as children to Himself. In chapter 15, it is Christ sends it, as glorified; hence it is witness and power. With this is connected Acts 2, and the character of testimony. Hence, Christ is sitting at God's right hand till His enemies are made His footstool (chap. 16, as often observed, in His personal presence on earth, not His sending). All this connection is very interesting. Note how very carefully the sure, abiding place in, and living connection of the believer with, Christ is brought out (John 14:18-21) before the Lord speaks of the manifestation of Himself to the obedient; which then has a most important place as to communion, though consequently being an abiding, and felt so when manifested. Yet obedience remains a groundwork in principle (see v. 15), for we are sanctified unto obedience; but we have life to obey, not life for obedience; and this life, and all its character (as the revelation of and being in Jesus, and Jesus in us) is absolutely and unqualifiedly put (vv. 18-21).
260 Note, in John 14, the effect of the coming of the Comforter on Jesus' intercession. The Holy Ghost abides with us, and is in us. Christ thus comes to us as the One we have known and believed in (we live because He lives). We know that He is in the Father. We know that we are in Him, and that He is in us. All that is stated as our absolute condition. But then there is, through grace, a loving of Him, an attention to His mind, will, words; so that we have His commandments, and keep them. He who so walks in love to Jesus will be loved of His Father. Jesus will love him, and will manifest Himself to him. Thus, by the abode of the Comforter, walking in Jesus' commandments, He manifests Himself to us.
But further: if a man love Him, and keep His words (which is more intelligently intimate than His commandments, though the same principle; only one is more penetrated with His mind and spirit in keeping His words), the Father takes delight in such, and He and the Lord Jesus come, and make their abode with him. It is not the blessed fact simply that Jesus, though absent, manifests Himself to the soul, gives it the consciousness of His blessed presence and the love that brings Him there (that is, in him), but walking in His mind, in the spirit of heart, attention to every expression of His wish and mind. The abode of Father and Son gives a more full and peaceful consciousness of where we are; we are at home there; not yet in the Father's house with Jesus where He personally is, but in a divine way they manifest their love, and stay with us, and make themselves, thus revealed, our home.