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John chapter 14

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. 12Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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. 13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
New King James Version

What does John chapter 14 mean?

During the last supper, Jesus made dire predictions. He noted that one of the inner circle would become a traitor (John 13:21), and said Peter would deny Him three times that very evening (John 13:38). This chapter begins a long address from Jesus: other than five moments where the disciples ask a question, Scripture from here until the end of chapter 17 is entirely composed of the words of Christ. Jesus begins with comfort and reassurance. This applies to their immediate emotions, but also serves to strengthen their faith in the hours to come. These words are spoken to the disciples, but include principles which apply to all believers.

The first words of this chapter continue uninterrupted from the prediction that Peter will deny Christ (John 13:36–38). Scripture indicates Jesus sometimes had a troubled spirit (John 11:33; 12:27), but here He tells His followers not to have troubled hearts. The distinction is between the unhappiness of circumstances, felt in the spirit, versus the despair one feels when they lose courage in their heart. Part of a believer's confidence comes from knowing that Jesus is preparing a reunion, where all things will be made right (John 14:1–3).

Although Jesus has often said His path is one others cannot follow (John 7:32–34), He now says His followers know "the way to" where He is going. That seems confusing, since in order to know how to get somewhere, it's usually necessary to know the end destination. Thomas expresses this very misunderstanding. Jesus responds that the knowledge in question is not intellectual. The means to obtain salvation is not a path or a process, it is a person. Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Arriving at our spiritual destiny is not a matter of seeking a goal on our own terms; it is a question of whether we know the Person who embodies ultimate Truth (John 14:4–7).

Philip then asks a question hinging on the idea of Jesus being the One to "show" them the Father. Jesus responds with another claim that He and God are One. To see Christ is to see God. The words, actions, teachings, and miracles of Jesus all serve as proof of these concepts. Along with that, Jesus notes that those who come after Him will be able to do "greater" works than He has. In context, this does not imply believers have more divine power than Jesus did. Rather, it means the opportunity to reach more people, and for longer, than Jesus did during His public ministry. As part of that, requests made in the name of Christ—aligned with His purposes and will—will be granted (John 14:8–14).

Just before promising the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus makes a strong comment about the relationship between a person's love for Christ and their actions. The statement is brutally brief and to-the-point: "if you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). To help us in that way, we are promised assistance from the Holy Spirit. This assistance will not be fully realized until after Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4; 10:47). This is a personal relationship the unbelieving world cannot know, since it rejects God (John 14:15–17).

Christ also explains the idea that this Helper is available only to believers. The world, which does not know God, cannot see God, or experience the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). One of the disciples asks Jesus to clarify this idea. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus also links to Himself and the Father, is for those who love Him and keep His teachings (John 14:18–24).

A recurring theme in this part of Scripture is Jesus' reminders that some of His words won't be fully understood until later. In this case, much of what Jesus says will only make sense after He has been arrested, executed, and resurrected. Telling the disciples these things in advance is a way of bolstering their faith when those very events happen. Jesus has little time left before He is sacrificed, but He again reminds us that Satan has no power over Him. What is about to happen occurs only by Christ's own choice (John 14:25–31).

We're not sure exactly where the upcoming dialogue is spoken. Chapter 18 indicates it will be completed before the group arrives at the Mount of Olives (John 18:1). Whether Jesus and the disciples complete the teachings recorded in chapters 15—17 in the upper room, or as they walk towards Gethsemane, Scripture does not specify. It seems most likely that they would have remained in that room until Jesus completed the prayer recorded in chapter 17.
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