John 13:32–14:31. Jesus Dialogs With the Disciples. Part I.

Kye Notes: Jesus' uses questions and answers with disciples. A room and a place. Love and obedience.

The last personal words which Jesus had with His disciples can be divided into four parts.

Jesus spoke to the disciples after Judas was out of the way. 13:32–14:31
The parable of the vine. 15:1–11
A continuation  of the first dialog. 15:12–16:33
Jesus’ prayer to the Father in the presence of the disciples. 17:1–26

John leaves out of his narrative the details of the Lord’s Supper and the prophecy of the End-times that are found in the other Gospels, presumably because they did not need to be reported a fourth time. The material in John is unique, conveying sensitive messages, loaded with information about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, discipleship, and their future. It is one reason why the Gospel of John is cherished by students of Scripture.

Jesus’ teaching in John 13:32–14:31 is interrupted four times by questions the disciples asked. Are the questions appropriate or are they interruptions? If not interruptions, do they enhance Jesus’ teaching? Do they slow or advance the flow of the teaching? After we have screened the chapter looking for this pattern, we will go back and outline the topics that Jesus covered.

13:31–33 Jesus said He was going away and they could not come.
13:34–35 Then He commanded them to love each other.
Question: 13:36 Peter, stuck on the first statement, asked Jesus where He was going.
13:36 Jesus repeated that Peter could not come now, but would come later.
13:37 Peter said he was prepared to die for Jesus now. {That was an interruption.}
13:38  Jesus said that was wrong. Peter would betray Him.

14:1–4 Jesus then went on to say that He was going away to make a home for them and would return for them. They knew the way.
Question: 14:5 Thomas said they did not know where He was going or the way.
14:5–7 Jesus replied that He was the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one could come to the Father except through Him.

Knowing Him, they know the Father as well. He would come back to receive them and they would be together.
Question: 14:8 Philip, stuck on the first statement, asked Jesus to show them the Father.
14:9–14 With disappointment in His voice, Jesus asked Philip how he could not know who He was. He who had seen Jesus had seen the Father. Jesus was in the Father and the Father in Him. If he could not believe that in itself, then he should believe Jesus for the sake of His works. And the disciples would do greater works than Jesus because He was going away.
If fact, they could ask anything in His name and He would do it.

14:15 Jesus expanded on His first topic of love and obedience.
14:16–19 Then he went on with His going-away message and promised that the Holy Spirit would take His place, unknown to the World, to be with them and soon to be in them. He will not leave them “orphans” (14:18). Then He said “I will come to you” implying His oneness with the Holy Spirit, and their oneness with Him. However, we could also read the statement as a reference to the Resurrection.

14:21 He returned to the theme of love and obedience and His manifestation to the believer.
Question: 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) asked how it was that Jesus would manifest Himself to them and not to the world.
14:23–24 Jesus replied that He manifested Himself to those who love Him. In fact,  the Father and the Son would make their home with those who love Him.

14:25–26 He returned to the previous topic of the Holy Spirit who would teach them and remind them of all that Jesus had said.
14:27–29 Then He went back to theme One, His going away. He would leave His peace with them. They must not be afraid. In fact, they should be rejoicing that He was going back to the Father, who is greater than He.
He is telling them these things as a prophecy, a further reason to believe in Him.
14:30–31 He made the final point: that the Evil One has no power over Him. He did exactly as the Father commanded Him (under His power), so that the World might know that He loves the Father.


Summarizing the statements and questions:
                  I am going away. Where are you going?
                  You know the way. How can we know the way?
                  You know the Father. Show us the Father.
                  I manifest myself to believers. Why not manifest Yourself to the World?

It is clear that the questions are not interruptions, but that they are in line with Jesus’ teaching, and enhance the message. Moreover, we can see that Jesus led them to the questions in the way He spoke. He was prompting the questions and providing the answers;  the information is therefore more rich and complete. He is the master of communication whom we also witnessed in the dialog with Nicodemus and the Woman at the Well, as well as the teaching on the Bread of Life in John 6 and the Man Born Blind in John 9. We do well to learn from Him not only the truths He spoke, but also the way He made the truth known. A good preacher will anticipate the questions his audience is thinking of and answer them, because the audience does not have the opportunity to ask, and may drift off if they lose the thread of the message. A good teacher must also encourage questions and be prepared to answer all questions pertinent to the material, and sometimes those that are not.

Our next task is to compile the 6–7 topics that Jesus covered and outline them. This lesson includes the first two. The last five follow His parable of the Vine in chapter 16.

1. Jesus is leaving.
They have heard it many times, but now it is only hours away and they are still not able to grasp it. His death is unthinkable—even now.

“Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow afterward.” (13:36).
He will die like other mortals, before they do.“In my Father’s house are many rooms. …I go to prepare a place for you…that where I am you may be also” (14:1–3).
He will enter Heaven and there make a place for them. Heaven is a place “And when 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. (14:3–4)
They will not be anxious strangers waiting at St. Peter’s Gate, but beloved children welcomed home. When will He come? At their deaths (IICor.5:6–8), at His Second Coming and their resurrection. His Resurrection is the first fruit of this fulfillment. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” (14:6).
He is the only Way to the Father’s house. We must never try to find another way, by yogis, spirit-guides, shamans or fake evangelists.“If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.” (14:28). Death is entry into Life. We cling to life fiercely, against all odds, and God has given us the will to survive. We are afraid of dying, although He made that fear unnecessary (Heb.2:14–15). He knew when to let go of His life. We must learn that for ourselves and our relatives.
“And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.” (14:29). His leave-taking is a prophecy that must be fulfilled; they were witnesses to His death and Resurrection.

How can we be sure of Heaven? He fulfilled His promise. The definition of Heaven is “that is where God is." Heaven would be good news for the disciples. They have had vague ideas about Sheol, where God would not abandon His beloved David. (Psa.16:10–11). They hope that they too might “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psa.23:6). But they knew nothing so definite as a home prepared specifically for them. "Room" and "place" make Heaven more substantial.

2. Love for each other and for Him. This is the second major topic.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (13:34–35)
It is a new commandment; they have the old commandment “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev.19:18). The new commandment gives them a higher reference point (“as I have loved you”) and another motivation (“by this shall all men know that you are My disciples”). We do well to remind ourselves that love for each other characterizes believers, because the World sees us only as fighters, bigots and haters. We have a lot of work to do and undo. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments and I will pray the Father and He will give you another Counselor (advocate, helper) to be with you forever…for He dwells with you and will be in you." (14:15–17).
Loving Jesus and obeying Him result in the soon-to-come indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. “He who 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.” (14:20–21).
Love now is returned to Jesus Himself as obedience, to be rewarded by His love and personal presence, as well at that of the Holy Spirit. “If a man loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come and make Our home with him.” (14:23)
The message is further intensified to the unthinkable: God the Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will indwell the believer. We are accustomed to think of the Holy Spirit as the indwelling presence, but that the Trinity may indwell the believer is indeed awesome, beyond belief. See how He breaks it to us slowly and gently. First, the Holy Spirit will indwell. Then Jesus says He will manifest Himself. Finally He says the Father and the Son will indwell the believer.
Do I love Him? [I am commanded to love Him.] (Deut. 6:4). Do I obey Him? He gives us the power to fulfill His commands. (Rom.8:4). Ask God to help you love Him more than anything and ask to know His love as well.

“What wondrous love is this,
O my soul, O my soul,
That caused the Lord of Bliss
to bear the dreadful curse
for my soul, for my soul?”