21.  “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Again, He emphasizes that those who have His commandments and keep them are those who love Him.  We can see how much the disciples loved Him by their keeping of His commandments in the Acts period!  Many are there who claim to love the Lord in our day, and yet who seem to have little care about pleasing Him or keeping His precepts.  These prove that the love they claim is not as strong as they would like to make out.  We can know who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ by seeing how careful they are to do the things that please Him!

He who loves Jesus Christ will be loved by His Father.  The Father is ever ready to honor those who honor His Son!  And Jesus Christ will love him as well, and will manifest Himself to him.  Many there are who know very little of Jesus Christ, and we cannot help but think that it may be because they have never really showed Him that they love Him.  The Lord is ever ready to reveal more of Himself to those who have shown by their love that they will appreciate it.  Yet what motivation would He have to reveal Himself to someone who has shown by his actions that he doesn’t really care?

22.  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

This Judas (not Iscariot) was the Judas often listed in the last (or least important) group of the twelve disciples.  He is mentioned in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 as “Judas the son of James.”  In Matthew 10:3 he is called “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus,” and in Mark 3:18 he is called simply “Thaddaeus.”  Judas was a good name, and was the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Judah,” which was the ruling tribe of Israel from which David and Christ Himself were descended.  Nowadays we tend to look down on this name as a bad name, but really this was not at all the case.  This was a common name, much like John or David or Paul in our day.

Judas wants to know here how the Lord will manifest Himself to them and not to the world.  It must have seemed to him that if the Lord was manifest to them, the world must realize the truth about Him also.

23.  Jesus 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 Our home with him.

The Lord answers Judas by emphasizing to him that if anyone loves Him, he will keep His word.  Then, the Father will love him.  The Lord repeats what He had been teaching, bringing Judas back to it from where he had been distracted by this question he had about how the Lord could manifest Himself to them and not to the world.

Then He reveals He and the Father would come to this one who loves Him and is loved by the Father and would make their home with him.  Yet this word “home” is the word we studied earlier in the chapter that occurred in the plural form in verse 2 and was translated “mansions.”  It means a place or a center of activity or business.  I likened it to an office in our day.  Christ was revealing that He and the Father were going to center their activities on earth around this man who loved Him and kept His word.  And we see this happening with these very men later in the book of Acts, when the actions of the Lord were no longer centered around Jesus Christ on earth, but instead were centered around these twelve men (once Matthias had joined them) and the actions they were doing on His behalf on earth.  Indeed, Jesus Christ’s and the Father’s works were centered around these men in that time soon to come.

24.  “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s Who sent Me.

Then the Lord reveals something that seems obvious: that he who does not love Him does not keep His words.  Yet we need to remember this in regards to those who claim to love Him.  Some there are, and there were some in the Acts period as well, who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet who do not keep His words.  These prove themselves to be lacking in true love for our Lord.  We might not be able to judge people regarding faith, but we certainly can regarding love, and those who do not live their lives according to the Lord’s words prove that they do not love Him in truth.  And this is a more grim thing than merely not loving the Lord, for the words which they heard of Him were not His but the Father’s Who sent Him.  To not keep the words of the Lord Jesus Christ was to not keep the words of God.  To not love the Lord Jesus Christ, then, was the same thing as not loving God!

Notice here the very interesting statement that Christ’s words were not His, but the Father’s.  Many Bibles now are made as “red letter editions” with the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in red.  These words are made out to somehow be more special since they are the words of Jesus Christ rather than some other Biblical words.  This way of treating the Bible must be rather repulsive to those of us who view all of Scripture as being God’s inspired word.  Yet from this verse we can see that these editions are doubly in error, for these words that the Lord spoke were not the words of Jesus Christ at all, but the words of His Father!  If we wanted to find the words of Jesus Christ, where would we find them?  In John 16:14, the Lord Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”  Thus, the words that the apostles spoke through the Holy Spirit were actually the words that the Spirit gave them from Jesus Christ.  If we truly wanted to mark the “words of Christ” in red letters, we would have to mark the epistles in red, for they contain the actual words of Jesus Christ!  The words Christ spoke in the gospels were not His words, but the words of the Father.
“Sent” here is a derivative of the Greek word for a simple sending, pempo.  This is simply speaking of the fact that the Father was the One Who sent Him to earth, and does not speak of the authority with which He came.

25.  “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.

The Lord spoke these things to His disciples while He was still abiding with them.  There would come a time when He would send His words to them while abiding in heaven, and they would receive them, not from His mouth, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.

26.  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Now the Lord speaks again of this Helper, this Advocate, this Paraclete Whom He is sending to be beside them in His stead.  He reveals beyond a shadow of a doubt here Who this Paraclete is: the Holy Spirit.  In Greek, this is “the Spirit the Holy.”  We know that the Holy Spirit is always intimately connected with the things He does.  He is the Bearer of power, the Revealer of truth, the Helper of those in need.  Yet sometimes those great gifts He gives and the power He supplies can be called “holy spirit” because it proceeds from Him.  Yet when the definite article “the” is used with His name in Greek, it is telling us (unless it is required to be there by the rules of Koine Greek, which is seldom the case,) that the Person, not His work, is meant.  This Comforter, this Helper, is not the power that the Holy Spirit gives, but the Person of the Holy Spirit Himself.

The Holy Spirit was to be sent (pempo again in Greek) by the Father in the name (or the authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He would then teach them all things.  These men had a crucial ministry to perform.  They would face hundreds of different and difficult situations.  They would have many hard decisions to make, and many important precedents to set.  How would they know that they would be doing the right thing in all these cases?  The fact was that they didn’t have to wonder.  They would be taught by the Holy Spirit Himself everything they needed to know to fulfill their offices perfectly to the fullest extent.  There was no knowledge that they were lacking in performing their duties.  There was no opportunity they had for human error or understandable mistakes.  They knew everything about their ministry that they needed to know, for it was all revealed to them by the One Who had come alongside them to help them.  What an amazing thing this was!  We can only dream about what it would be like to have such a Helper for our ministries today.

The Holy Spirit was also going to bring to their remembrance all things that He said to them.  It could be that, when the Lord finished speaking this discourse to the disciples, they could not have accurately repeated half of what He had just said.  It is certain that none of them could have repeated His sayings word-for-word.  And yet these teachings were crucial, as they were to be the basis for their ministries, and were to even find their way through their pens into the Word of God.  How could these men accurately remember what the Lord had said when no scribe was present to write them down and no audio equipment like we have today was available to record them so that they could ever be listened to again?  In human terms, it would seem that many of the Lord’s words would be lost, or that the disciples would have been confused and in disagreement about what He had meant by many of the things He had told them, even as many today are confused or disagree about the Lord’s words.  Yet in truth for these disciples this would not be the case.  For the Holy Spirit was going to do a work for these men that would bring to their minds everything that the Lord had taught them.  And not just the words themselves, but the meaning of the words, so that they could understand them and use them to minister to the people as the Lord intended them to do.  What a great work the Spirit did for these men!  How we could use such a work today!  But God has not given us His Spirit in this way.  Instead, we must study the Word and seek to learn and understand, as best we can, what it is that the Lord has for us to know.

27.  “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Now the Lord declares that He is leaving them with peace.  When we think of peace, we tend to think of an inner feeling of mental, emotional, or even physical well-being.  People talk of religion as the “search for inner peace,” although in truth such a search is ultimately selfish.  Our desire should be to search for God, not to search for inner peace.  The fact is that inner peace such as the world seeks for is merely a side effect of knowing and loving our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The world will never find this peace, for it seeks for it anywhere except in Him.  Peace does not come by seeking for it.  Those who try to search it out will never find it.  Peace is a fruit of the spirit, and comes only from God.

Yet “peace” as we have it here is not speaking of any such inner feeling.  We also think of peace as peace between nations, such as the notion of “world peace.”  Many there are in our day who seek for peace for this world.  They cry out, “Peace, peace,” all the while not seeing that peace can never be ours without the help of the Prince of Peace.  He was crucified and cast out of this world, yet He is the only One Who can ever bring this world to peace among nations.  His Kingdom will bring peace, and what a blessed peace it will be!

Yet “peace” here is again not speaking of peace between nations.  “Peace” is the Greek word eirene, from which we get the woman’s name “Irene.”  It means literally a joining together.  We can see this in our ideas of peace.  Once one is at peace within, he is “joined together” or whole inside.  When the nations have peace, they are joined together and not at odds.  Yet the joining together Christ was speaking of here was not these kinds of peace, but rather a joining together with God.

Before we knew Christ, when we were still in our sin, that sin cut us off from God.  Yet through Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to be joined to God once more.  We are “reconnected” by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s grace to the only true source of love, joy, and hope.  It is this peace that the Lord Jesus left with His disciples.  He left them joined together with God, the joining to God that He Himself had to give to them.  For the Prince of Peace is the One through Whom all must come to be joined together with God.

The world has many ways and methods it uses to try to connect with God.  It makes up all kinds of religions and promotes all kinds of ways.  Yet these ways do not lead to an ultimate connection with God, but only to self-deception.  The Lord Jesus does not offer peace as these offer it, but He offers the true peace that results in a real relationship with our loving Creator.

Now the Lord starts once again to comfort His disciples.  He admonishes them, “Let not your heart be troubled.”  Remember, these are the same words with which He started this chapter back in verse 1.  The disciples were very troubled by the revelations that the Lord had given them in chapter 13.  They were troubled by the fact that one of them was to betray Him.  They were troubled to learn that He was leaving them, and that where He was going they could not follow.  And they were troubled to know that even Simon Peter, with all his love for the Lord, was going to deny knowing Him three times before the rooster crowed.  These things all troubled their hearts, and these things were starting to make them afraid.  Yet the Lord assures them that they have no need to let their hearts be troubled or to be afraid.  Now He will tell them why they should not.

28.  “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’  If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

This verse is a favorite verse of those who like to belittle the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is used by many who try to make out that the Lord Jesus was just a created being like Satan or one of the angels.  They point out that the Lord said, “My Father is greater than I,” and claim that this means the Jesus Christ was not God, for how could God be greater than Himself?

I would go back to the illustration of the Lord Jesus as an extension of God.  Like a pool that is an extension of a great chain of lakes, the Lord is an extension of the invisible and unknowable God.  As the water in that pool cannot be distinguished from the water in the lakes, so the Lord Jesus cannot be distinguished from God.  Yet which is greater, the water in the pool, or the water in the lakes?  Certainly, the water in the lakes would be greater.

As long as Jesus Christ was in the world, He was separated from His Father.  He was limited by the mission God had for Him as to what He could do.  In Luke 12:50, the Lord proclaimed, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”  This word translated “distressed” means “pressed.”  The Lord was restricted, not able to act in all ways as He would, as long as He was on earth waiting for His mission to be accomplished.  He was limited as long as He was on earth and away from His Father.

Now, He reveals to His disciples more truth about His going away from them (and coming back to them.)  He tells them that if they loved Him, they would rejoice when He said He was going to the Father.  This is because His Father is greater than He is.  Though He was in every way God, separated from His Father on earth He was limited in what He could do.  We can see an example of this earlier in this chapter, when He said that His disciples would do greater works than He had done “because I go to My Father.”  Once He was with His Father, He would have the power to let His disciples work even greater miracles than He had been working while He was limited on earth.  That was why they should have rejoiced: not that He was leaving them, but where He was leaving them to go: back to His Father.

29.  “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.

He was telling them of the greater power He would have once He had returned to His Father now before it happened.  That way, He says, when it does come to pass, they may believe.  This was the test for a true prophet as set forth by the Old Testament.  Deuteronomy 18:21-22 sets forth this principle.

21.  You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?”
22.  If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

The great test for the truth or falsehood of a prophet who spoke in the name of the LORD was if his words came to pass or not.  (A prophet who spoke in the name of another God was false, even if his words did come to pass.  Deuteronomy 13:1-3.)  The Lord, of course, was far greater than a mere prophet.  Yet it was still true that the fact that His words came to pass proved that what He said truly came from the LORD.  Thus, when His words came to pass, they could believe.  And remember that this is the purpose of this book of John: that we too might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have life in His name.  (John 20:31)  Do you believe this truth about Jesus Christ?

30.  “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.

Many teach the idea that Satan was coming here, and that meant that the Lord had to stop talking with them.  It was as if He was saying, “I have to be quiet now because Satan is coming.”  Yet this idea makes little sense.  Why should Satan’s coming make the Lord stop talking?  Did the Lord fear Satan?  In James 4:7b, the Lord tells us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Why should the Lord stop talking here just because Satan was coming?

The word for “ruler” here is the Greek word archon.  It means the prince, the first, or the chief.  I believe that the Lord was referring to Himself here.  He was not going to talk much longer with them, but He was going to tell them this.  The chief or ruler of this world was coming.  He was, and the promise remains true still today.  Remember, this is what He had just told them back in verse 28.  He was going away, and yet He was coming back to them.  And He is coming, and great will be the day when He comes!  Yet the world that existed then had nothing in Him.  I believe this should read “it” has rather than “he” has, meaning that the world has nothing in Him.  The world had not invested in Him at all.  They had no claim upon Him.  Yet He had a claim upon the world, for He was the prince of it!

31.  “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.  Arise, let us go from here.”

Though the world had no claim upon Him, yet He was about to do a great work for the world.  As we read in John 3:16, God loved the world, and He gave His Son to save it.  Now the Son was going to His death, and He was doing it so that the world would know that He loves the Father and does as the Father gave Him commandment.  We need to remember this.  We often think of the great love the Jesus Christ showed for us when He died for us upon the cross.  Yet seldom do with think of the great love that He showed for His Father as well when He went through with such a terrible death in obedience to His commandment.  But the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ even to death on a cross shows how great His love for His Father truly is!

Now, in order to obey His Father’s commandment and to show the world His love for His Father, it is necessary for them to arise and go from where they were in the room they had celebrated the Passover.  The Lord lets them know that it is time to go, but I doubt they realize that the Lord is hurrying onward to His Own death!

So they leave and travel on to the garden.  Yet, as we will see in our study of the following chapter, the conversation continued as they walked from the room where they ate to the garden.  We will see what that continuing conversation was about in our next study.