A word for the heart

with Alan Bailey

John 14:15-31 - The Gospel of John

Bible study

Introduction

Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.

Verse 21

John 14:15-31

The Lord Jesus gives teaching and encouragement to His followers in chapters 14, 15 and 16. They are gathered in the Upper Room prior to His betrayal and crucifixion which we will read about in chapters 18 and 19. So much of what He says is personal and intimate, preparing His men for the trying days that are ahead of them. We will see comforting and reassuring words in today’s section. It is right for us to see His promises applying to us too.

Verse 15 ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’

It is possible for this sentence to read ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.’ Loving Christ in a genuine way will mean obeying Him. John points out elsewhere that it is not possible to say we love the Lord if we go about doing everything our own way. If He is Lord, then we are His servants.

Verses 16-18 ‘And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.’

This teaching is of great importance as it introduces the Third Person of the Trinity who is to come and continue Jesus’ ministry. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Jesus is soon to leave this scene, He promises that His Spirit will come to live in each believer and provide all the strength and help needed to live the Christian life. They will not be left to flounder. As Jesus has to this point been their defender and encourager, so will the Spirit be to them in the future. The unbelieving world knows nothing of the Spirit and His ministry.
Please note that the Spirit is a divine Person, not an impersonal force or influence.

Verses 19 & 20 ‘A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you.’

The world will see Jesus no more because He will ascend to heaven after His resurrection.
The disciples will see Jesus more than once after He rises from the dead and speaks with them. But they will be given the faith to see Jesus as Lord, intimately related to the Father and to His people as well. He is about to teach them more concerning this close relationship.

Verse 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.’

These words make clear that Jesus is talking about all those who truly believe and obey having the privilege of the Father’s love and the Son’s close acquaintance.

Verse 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 was one of the twelve disciples but not the betrayer. He seemed puzzled about how Jesus would be obvious to them and yet not seen by the world. Like the other disciples, he needed to grasp a new concept.

Verses 23 & 24 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. 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.

While it is hard for us to understand the relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we can accept the fact that God comes to live within those who love the Lord Jesus. This is how Christ is made real to those who believe. We know Him with more than knowledge in our heads. Though we cannot see Him, we live with His presence, His company, His friendship in our daily experience. Those who do not believe are rejecting the very words of God.

Verses 25 & 26 ‘These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 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.’

The disciples had experienced unique teaching under their tutor, Jesus, but it is now to go on with the Spirit instructing and reminding them of all that they had learned. It is in this way that the record that we are now reading was put together. There would be no Gospel of John without the work of the Spirit of God.

Verse 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.’

Peace in heart and mind is a wonderful legacy. Troubles may even surround the disciples (and surely did shortly afterwards) but an inner peace will prevail. The world around does not have the capacity to give peace like this. Only the certainty of the promises of God and His power to keep and safeguard His people is enough. Today, people strive for peace, but a lasting serenity is found only in Him.

Verses 28 & 29 ‘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. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.’

The understanding of the disciples is not great at this point but gradually truth takes shape. They have no need to have sorrow at Jesus’ departure. He goes to be with the Father He loves. As the Father exercises His will, the Son obeys it completely. The coming of the Spirit will mean the disciples are by no means worse off than they were. Jesus’ words will be fulfilled and will thus strengthen their faith.

Verses 30 & 31 ‘I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 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.

Jesus knew that the plot to kill Him involved Satan (called ‘the ruler of this world’) and that there would be various attacks made by the evil one against Him. However, he has no grip on the Lord and nothing will sway the determination of Jesus to do all of God’s will, even though it meant death on a cross. Such is His obedience and such is His love.

CONCLUSION

We come to the end of the chapter but not the end of the messages that Jesus is leaving with His men. There are lessons to come, all designed to aid them in living for Christ in a sinful and hostile world. Today, in our world, attitudes are not much different. The lines are drawn in the same places. Therefore it is necessary to ask ourselves how these words apply to us and just what is our personal relationship with the Saviour of mankind. If we belong to Him, we too can live with peace in heart and mind despite the troubling things that go on around us. We can learn more of God’s truth by reading His Word and asking for understanding. Also, we can look forward to Christ’s return which comes ever closer. His word cannot fail.

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