1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
(For better viewing click HERE). Jesus assures his disciples that in spite of the fact that his death is approaching, they must maintain faith in him and in God. He makes a promise that he is going to prepare a place for them in God’s house, assuring them that God’s house is large enough to include all of God’s redeemed children. When Jesus returns, he will come back for his own and take them to be with him. Now comes the question: What is God’s house? The only house of God that we are familiar with in the context of the Bible is his Temple, whether in the form of the tabernacle or in its later elaborate structures of stone. Since we know that after his death Jesus went to be with his Father, we must conclude that the heavenly tabernacle is probably in view in this passage.
In the book of Revelation, we read about the final restoration and recreation of the earth – the new heavens and the new earth. The heavens will come down to the earth to form one entity. At this point there will not be a Temple in the city of Jerusalem. This is how John wrote about it:
“22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Rev.21:22)
Coming back to Jesus’ words to his disciples, in light the book of Revelation, we can understand that as Jesus told them that he must die, he was indicating that this would result in a process of recreation. Once he dies, he would begin to prepare a place of eternal joyful, peaceful, and righteous dwelling for his disciples. When he is resurrected and returns, he will take them there.
4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
It is likely that Thomas thought Jesus was referring to a secret hiding place where he may now withdraw to escape arrest. Jesus however spoke of something completely different.
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
The Gospel keeps driving the same point home again and again. To see Jesus is to see God. To accept him is to accept God. To serve him is to serve God.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
The name of Jesus is much more than the verbal or written form (Jesus vs. Yeshua, etc, Lord vs. YHWH vs. HaShem). The name of Jesus is a powerful symbol of the combined reality of all of that Jesus is; what he says and what he does. To ask something in the name of Jesus is to ask because of who he is, of what he says and of what he does. This is indeed the power of his Name and we must seek no other.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Once again Jesus states a series of very important points that prepare his apostles to continue his service in His place. Since in this Jewish-Samaritan journey through the Gospel of John I only highlight the things that other commentaries, either devotional or scholarly, don’t talk about I will dedicate much time to this very important and already well treated section.
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered 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. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.
Among literary theories of Gospel composition there is an important theory called the Q, meaning quelle (source) in German. Basically it claims that at some point before the Gospels were composed, there was another document of Jesus’ sayings that did not survive nor is it mentioned anywhere. The assumption is that the Gospels were composed from this hypothetical document (scholars call it “the Q”). The majority of liberal scholars accept this theory, while the majority of conservative scholars do not.
While I am not particularly interested in this theory, I must admit that in this chapter the Gospel sharply changes the way of its presentation. A series of terse statements by Jesus are presented one after another in a way that betrays (or at least feels like) an almost direct copying from another place where the statements may have been kept together. These statements do not appear to have been spoken by Jesus at the same time.
I do not argue in any way that these sayings are not authentic, but instead that they may have been said in other contexts or at least partially in another context.
An illustration of this can be seen in Mel Gibson’s movie Passion of the Christ. When Jesus had already been tortured and mutilated by the Roman soldiers, he is carrying the cross. He stops and kneels on one knee and tells his mother who ran towards him: “Behold, I make all things new!” Was Jesus making all things new when he was carrying the cross? Yes! It was part of his suffering on behalf of sinners. However, if we look for this saying within the passion narrative of any Gospel, we will be hard pressed to find it. Why? Because it is not there where Jesus said it in the film! We find this saying of Jesus in the Book of Revelation in John’s vision of him in heaven. What has happened? In his creative imagination, Mel Gibson places Jesus’ later words in his mouth when he is on the way to his death on the cross. I think that if (and for me this is still a big IF) there was ever such a document that we now call “the Q,” the dynamic at play would have been similar to the one I just described.
And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 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 that I have said to you. 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 hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
Whether or not Jesus’ words were taken by John the Evangelist from an earlier Q document at the time of composition of the Gospel itself is irrelevant. What is important is that the Gospel in its final form completes Jesus’ last training of the twelve with powerful words of exhortation to rise up and leave. This was probably because he did not want his arrest to take place where he was at the time. He had planned in advance what he was going to do.
Copyrights Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg