John 14:1-6 says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way? Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father, but by me.”
Those six verses comprise one of the most familiar texts in the entire Bible. Many people learn it as children in Sunday school. The central thought in it is Christ’s returning to receive us, although other things are discussed.
Every Christian knows that Jesus is coming back. We have always talked about that, but there seems to be a new anticipation in our day. Jesus could well come in this generation because there aren’t any more prophecies that have to be fulfilled before He returns. Everything is ready; the stage is set. However, our hope in Jesus Christ is not restricted to awaiting His return. Some people say, “Yes, Jesus is coming back, but can He comfort us now in times of deep tragedy and severe pain? John 14 answers that question. The whole chapter tells of Christ’s promise to give us comfort. Not only can we anticipate His return, but we can also know He will provide comfort for us in the present. You could call John 14 “the comfort chapter.” It details Christ’s promise of His future return and the present comfort He offers to His disciples. He said He would send them the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit.
Whatever we ask in Christ’s name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ’s name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ’s mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here signifies an advocate, counselor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfection. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the Disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favor God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer forever.
Christ promises that he would continue his care of his disciples. I will not leave you orphans, or fatherless, for though I leave you, yet I leave you this comfort, I will come to you. I will come speedily to you at my resurrection. I will come daily to you in my Spirit; in the tokens of his love, and visits of His grace. I will come certainly at the end of time. Those only that see Christ with an eye of faith, shall see him for ever: the world sees him no more till his second coming; but his disciples have communion with him in his absence. These mysteries will be fully known in heaven. It is a further act of grace, that they should know it, and have the comfort of it. Having Christ’s commands, we must keep them. And having them in our heads, we must keep them in our hearts and lives. The surest evidence of our love to Christ is obedience to the laws of Christ. There are spiritual tokens of Christ and his love given to all believers. Where sincere love to Christ is in the heart, there will be obedience. Love will be a commanding, constraining principle; and where love is, duty follows from a principle of gratitude. God will not only love obedient believers, but also he will take pleasure in loving them will rest in love to them. He will be with them as his home. These privileges are confined to those whose faith works by love, and whose love to Jesus leads them to keep his commandments. Such are partakers of the Holy Spirit’s new-creating grace.
Would we know these things for our good, we must pray for, and depend on the teaching of the Holy Ghost; thus the words of Jesus will be brought to our remembrance, and many difficulties be cleared up which are not plain to others. To all the saints, the Spirit of grace is given to be a remembrancer, and to him, by faith and prayer, we should commit the keeping of what we hear and know. Peace is put for all good, and Christ has left us all that is really and truly good, all the promised good; peace of mind from our justification before God. This Christ calls his peace, for he is himself our Peace. The peace of God widely differs from that of Pharisees or hypocrites, as is shown by its humbling and holy effects.
Christ raises the expectations of his disciples to something beyond what they thought was their greatest happiness. His time was now short, he therefore spoke largely to them. When we come to be sick, and to die, we may not be capable of talking much to those about us; such good counsel, as we have to give, let us give while in health. Observe the prospect Christ had of an approaching conflict, not only with men, but also with the powers of darkness. Satan has something in us to perplex us with, for we have all sinned; but when he would disturb Christ, he found nothing sinful to help him. The best evidence of our love to the Father is our doing as he has commanded us. Let us rejoice in the Savior’s victories over Satan the prince of this world. Let us copy the example of His love and obedience.