14 is probably one of the most beloved chapters in the book and the one
most easily remembered and quoted, with the exception of chapter one.
Perhaps, although not consciously recognized, a pattern may exist in
these chapters and in John as a whole. John may
contain an intricate literary structures, as argued by Kym Smith in The
Amazing Structure of John. He argues that John contains sets of
or chiasm, is a literary tool used by the writers of the Scriptures.
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible says, Biblical writers
used chiasmus extensively to lend variety and charm to their parallel
structures. Onmicro and macro levels chiasmus has been shown to be a
basic element in the formal structure of biblical literature, so that
critics can use it to determine the reading of a difficult text, the
meaning or grammatical function of a word, or the limits of extensive
The Gospel of
John is a collection of chiasms, a veritable cascade of chiasms. Every
part is caught up in one or other of the seventy chiasms which make up
this gospel. All but thirteen of these chiastic structures are based
on the number seven, the significance of which, in ancient literature,
was ‘completion, fulfillment and perfec-tion.’ By using the number
seven John was not stressing the perfection of his gospel but the
perfection of Christ, the perfection of all that God has done in
creation and redemption and the perfection of all that he will do in
the ultimate glorification of all things.
which are not based on the number seven are five of the six signs and
the seven discourses of the Signs and Discourses section (these vary
in size), and the final formation which has ten complementary parts.
‘The simplest use of ten is to denote a round or complete number’
and so, numerically, this is an appropriate chiasm to bring the gospel
to completion. Considering the significance of both numbers, seven and
ten, it is not without significance that the whole gospel is built on
seventy (i.e. 75 10) separate chiastic structures.
The chiasms, as
I have presented them, are shown in the opposite way to that in which
they are normally arranged in Biblical studies. Usually they are
ordered by increasing the left hand indent of each successive line or
phrase to the center point and then reversing that to the end. I have
inverted this sequence because, if John ‘stepped’ his chiasms at
all, this is most likely the way he did it to form the image already
mentioned. That same image may have demanded that the chiasms which
make up the second half of the Signs and Discourses structure were
formed in the ‘normal’ way. To avoid confusion, however, I have
maintained the same pattern throughout. http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/sherpub/
two chiasms for John 14;
LS3 — 14:1-11
...believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s
b 3-5 I...prepare
a place for you...that where I am you may be also.
c 6a Jesus said
to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
d 6b no one comes
to the Father, but by me
e 7a If you had
known me, you would have known my Father also
f 7b henceforth
you know him and have seen him
g 8 Philip said,
"Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
g¢ 9a Jesus said..."Have
I been with you...and yet you do not know me, Philip?"
f¢ 9b He who
has seen me has seen the
e¢ 9c how can you
say, ‘Show us the Father’?
d¢ 10a Do you not
believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?
c¢ 10b The words
that I say to you I do not speak on my own
b¢ 10c but the
Father who dwells in me does his works.
a¢ 11 Believe me
that I am in the Father and the Father in me...
LS4 — 14:12-31
a 12-14 ...who believes...works
I do...greater...he do...I go to the Father.
b 15 ...If you
love me, you will keep my commandments.
c 16-17 ...the
Father...will give you another Counselor,
even the Spirit...
d 18-20 I will not
leave you desolate; I will come to you...
e 21a He who has
my commandments and keeps them,
f 21b and he
who loves me will be loved by my
g 21c and I
will love him and manifest myself
g¢ 22 Judas
(not Iscariot)..., "Lord, how...will manifest yourself
f¢ 23 Jesus:
"If a man loves me...my Father...we
will...make our home with him.
e¢ 24 He who does
not love me does not keep my
d¢ 25 These
things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.
c¢ 26-27 ...Counselor...Holy
Spirit...the Father will send...peace I
b¢ 28 ...If
you loved me, you would have rejoiced...
a¢ 29-31 ...I do
as the Father...commanded...believe...I love the
If Kym is right, then John's
intricate detail and structure lead theologically to the question of
authorship and the time of composition. I have touched on authorship in
my work in Revelation and noted similarities between John and
Kym also points out resemblances in much more depth:
I have held
several presuppositions which have some bearing on what follows. These
should be made apparent at the beginning. They are (1) that the
Revelation preceded the Gospel of John, (2) the Apostle John was the
‘author’ of both books, (3) while John gave the gospel its final
form it is actually a collation of contributions from a number of
apostles and other eye-witnesses of Jesus and (4) at the time of
preparing this work John had seen the Gospel of Mark and knew of the
intended production of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. I have
presented a case for these presuppositions in another book which Ihope
to publish shortly titled Redating the Revelation and… While
these presuppositions do not affect the structure of the gospel they
do affect some of the implications which I will be drawing from it.
Even if each of the pre-suppositions is proved false, along with their
related implications, the structure still stands.
Edersheim in The Life and Times of Jesus places John 14 in
the context of the Last Supper, citing the unlikelihood that the narrow
streets of Jerusalem would allow extended discourses enroute:
The new Institution of the
Lord’s Supper did not finally close what passed at that Paschal
Table. According to the Jewish Ritual, the Cup is filled a fourth
time, and the remaining part of the halel repeated. Then
follow, besides Ps 136, a number of prayers and hymns, of which the
comparatively late origin is not doubtful. The same remark applies
even more strongly to what follows after the fourth Cup. But, so far
as we can judge, the Institution of the Holy Supper was followed by
the Discourse recorded in Jn 14. Then the, concluding Ps of the halel
were sung, after which the Master left the ‘Upper Chamber.’ The
Discourse of Christ recorded in Jn 16, and His prayer were certainly
uttered after they had risen from the Supper, and before they crossed
the brook Kidron. In all probability they were, however, spoken before
the Saviour left the house. We can scarcely imagine such a Discourse,
and still less such a Prayer, to have been uttered while traversing
the narrow streets of Jerusalem on the way to Kidron. (Book Five,
Edersheim continues by stating
the elements of the discourse provide teaching and comfort. Jesus' going
would lead to ultimate union with God in the eternal:
At the outset we ought,
perhaps, to remember the very Common Jewish idea, that those in glory
occupied different abodes, corresponding to their ranks. If the words
of Christ, about the place whither they could not follow Him, had
awakened any such thoughts, the explanation which He now gave must
effectually have dispelled them. Let not their hearts, then, be
troubled at the prospect. As they believed in God, so let them also
have trust in Him. It was His Father’s house of which they were
thinking, and although there were ‘many mansions,’ or rather
‘stations,’ in it - and the choice of this word may teach us
something - yet they were all in that one House. Could they not trust
Him in this? Surely, if it had been otherwise, He would have told
them, and not left them to be bitterly disappointed in the end.
Indeed, the object of His going was the opposite of what they feared:
it was to prepare by His Death and Resurrection a place for them. Nor
let them think that His going away would imply permanent separation,
because He had said they could not follow Him thither. Rather did His
going, not away, but to prepare a place for them, imply His Coming
again, primarily as regarded individuals at death, and secondarily as
regarded the Church - that He might receive them unto Himself, there
to be with Him. Not final separation, then, but ultimate gathering to
Himself, did His present going away mean. ‘And whither I go, ye know
the way.’ (Book Five, Chapter Eleven)
What was the goal of the
teaching? That the way to the Father led directly through Christ, that
coming remains a matter of personal apprehension of Christ in the life,
the mind, and the heart. Gazing on Christ, those who apprehend see
"the shining track up to heaven, the Jacob's ladder at the top of
which was the Father:
Jesus had referred to His
going to the Father’s House, and implied that they knew the way
which would bring them thither also. But His Words had only the more
perplexed, at least some of them. If, when speaking of their not being
able to go whither He went, He had not referred to a separation
between them in that land far away, whither was He going? And, in
their ignorance of this, how could they find their way thither? If any
Jewish ideas of the disappearance and the final manifestation of the
Messiah lurked beneath the question of Thomas, the answer of the Lord
placed the matter in the clearest light. He had spoken of the
Father’s House of many ‘stations,’ but only one road led
thither. They must all know it: it was that of personal apprehension
of Christ in the life, the mind, and the heart. The way to the Father
was Christ; the full manifestation of all spiritual truth and the
spring of the true inner life were equally in Him. Except through Him,
no man could consciously come to the Father. Thomas had put his
twofold question thus: What was the goal? and, what was the way to it?
In His answer Christ significantly reversed this order, and told them
first what was the way - Himself; and then what was the goal. If they
had spiritually known Him as the way, they would also have known the
goal, the Father, and now, by having the way clearly pointed out, they
must also know the goal, God; nay, He was, so to speak, visibly before
them - and, gazing on Him, they saw the shining track up to heaven,
the Jacob’s ladder at the top of which was the Father. (Book Five,
certainly points the reader correctly into understanding John
begins a discourse that contains Jesus' farewell discourse and prayer, a
discourse continuing through John 17.26 and interpreting Jesus'
completed work on earth and relation to believers, according to the Oxford
Jesus’ farewell discourse and prayer;
an interpretation of Jesus’ completed work on earth and relation
to both believers and the world after his resurrection and
ascension. It is a meditation, which—like a love-letter—is
difficult to outline.
believers’ relation to the glorified Christ;
no separation, but deepened fellowship. 1: Belief in God has
new meaning in Jesus. 2–3: For him to go, through
death and resurrection, to his Father’s house (with dwelling
places for all) was to prepare a place of permanent
fellowship with him (John 13.33; John
13.36). 4–7: Access to God is solely through Jesus (Matthew
11.27; John 1.18; John
6.46; Acts 4.12).
Knowledge of God is solely
through the person, words, and works of Jesus. 12–17:
Greater works (of a more exalted nature because
redemption is achieved) will be done by the believers through prayer
(John 14.13; John
14.15), obedience (John 14.15),
and the Holy Spirit (Advocate, John
14.16; John 14.17).
The Spirit imparts
Christ’s life (Acts 2.33) and unites
the believer to God. 21–24: Fellowship with Christ is
dependent on love which issues in obedience.
The Holy Spirit
interprets Christ’s teachings (John 14.26),
and imparts his peace (John 14.27). 28–31:
To go to the Father meant Jesus’ self-chosen conflict with the
ruler of this world (i.e. Satan), whose power would be
broken by death and resurrection.
reveals that he himself
becomes the way
to the Father. The disciples should command their hearts, not being
disturbed or troubled that Jesus is going away, and that where he is
going, they cannot come. The reader will recall from chapter eleven that
Jesus has been disturbed at the tomb of Lazarus:
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jewish people who had come with
her weeping, he was intensely moved
in spirit and greatly distressed.
Just prior to
being affirmed glorified by the Father, Jesus also expressed this state
of being troubled; importantly, though, he recognizes his purpose for
coming to the earth in the first place:
“Now my soul is greatly distressed. And what should I say?
‘Father, deliver me53
from this hour’?54
No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour.
sentiment precedes his announcement of betrayal:
When he had said these things, Jesus was greatly distressed
in spirit, and testified, “I tell you the solemn truth,5
one of you will betray me.”
As the Net
Bible concludes, "Jesus is looking ahead to the events of the
evening and the next day, his arrest, trials, crucifixion, and death,
which will cause his disciples extreme emotional distress."
14 "Do not let your
hearts be troubled. Believea in God, believe also in
me. 2In my Father's house there are
many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I
go to prepare a place for you?b 3And
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take
you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And
you know the way to the place where I am going."c 5Thomas
said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can
we know the way?" 6Jesus said to
him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through me. 7If you
know me, you will knowd my Father also. From now on
you do know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us
the Father, and we will be satisfied." 9Jesus
said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you
still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can
you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Do
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; but the Father who
dwells in me does his works. 11Believe
me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not,
then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very
truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works
that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am
going to the Father. 13I will do
whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in
the Son. 14If in my name you ask mee
for anything, I will do it.
should not be surprising that Jesus seeks to console at the same time
that he begins to instruct once again relative to spiritual matters. The
identity of Jesus is complete in verse one: “You believe in God,
believe also in me.”
the writer of the Fourth Gospel, faith in Jesus cannot
be separated from
faith in God. Jesus addresses precisely this point in context as he is about to undergo rejection by his own people as their
disciples' faith in him as Messiah and Lord would be cast into extreme
doubt by these events, which the author makes clear were not at this
time foreseen by the disciples. After the resurrection it is this
identification between Jesus and the Father which needs to be
reaffirmed (cf. John 20:24-29). Thus it seems best to take the first
pisteuvete as indicative and the second as imperative, producing the
translation "You believe in God; believe also in me." (Net
disciples have little understanding that Jesus speaks to them about a
journey that will take him physically away from them.
He speaks to them in words that have been picked up and used by
generations of Christians who wish to console loved ones in the face of
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?
3 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.
And you know the way where I am going."
Thomas responds by indicating he does not know physically where Jesus is
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how
can we know the way?"
response makes clear that the way, the truth, and the life indicate an
understanding of spiritual matters and an obedient walk in faith:
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no
one comes to the Father, but by me.
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you
know him and have seen him."
always, the text
presents theological difficulty, and the time
indicated here becomes an issue:
(14:7) Again there is a difficult textual problem: the statement reads
either "If you have known (ejgnwvkate, egnwkate) me, you will
know (gnwvsesqe, gnwsesqe) my Father" or "If you had really
known (ejgnwvkeite, egnwkeite) me, you would know (ejgnwvkeite) my
Father." The division of the external evidence is difficult, but
would appear to favor the first alternative, since there is an
Alexandrian-Western alliance supported by Ì66. In this case (a first
class condition) Jesus promises the
that (assuming they have known him) they will know the Father.
Contextually this fits better with the following phrase (7b) which
asserts that "from the present time you know him and have seen
him" (compare John 1:18).
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do
not know me, Philip? He who 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 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.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe
me for the sake of the works themselves.
explains to Phillip that his words do not originate with him but with
the Father. When one recalls the beginning of John,
one remembers that the Word has been from the beginning an active and creative power,
so it is not surprising here to see Jesus combining words with works:
says that his teaching (the words he spoke to them all) did not
originate from himself, but the Father who permanently remains (mevnwn,
menwn) in relationship with Jesus performs his works. One would have
expected church fathers (e.g., Augustine and Chrysostom) identified the
two by saying that Jesus' words were works. But there is an implicit
contrast in the next verse between words and works, and v. 12 seems to
demand that the works are real works, not just words. It is probably
best to see the two terms as related but not identical; there is a
progression in the idea here. Both Jesus' words (recall the Samaritans'
response in John 4:42) and Jesus' works are revelatory of who he is, but
as the next verse indicates, works have greater confirmatory power than
words. Net Bible Notes)
tells his disciples that if they love him, as they have professed, then
they will follow his example:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the
works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go
to the Father.
Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be
glorified in the Son; 14
if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. 11
you love me, you will keep my commandments.
connection between words (prayer) and action (keeping commandments)
results from a genuine love:
(14:15) Jesus' statement If you love me, you will obey my commandments
provides the transition between the promises of answered prayer which
Jesus makes to his disciples in vv. 13-14 and the promise of the Holy
Spirit which is introduced in v. 16. Obedience is the proof of genuine
apprehension of Christ is the life, mind, and the heart, a matter of
personal choice and committed understanding .
That Jesus now directs his discourse to his disciples’ need of
yet another teacher
may be anticipated.
Too many times throughout the Gospels, the faithful fail
to understand or to see clearly.
And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to
be with you for ever,
directs his disciples from seeking externally to themselves for the
truth to seeking for it internally: “the Spirit of truth…dwells with
you, and will be in you.” This completes what has begun in John the
Baptist, who calls for repentance and baptism with water or concern with
external cleanliness, although to John’s credit, he did call for a
repentance requiring a change of heart and direction.
With Jesus, the baptism is that of Spirit. One notes, once again,
a question from Judas, not Judas Iscariot; one notes that, like Luke,
John introduces a second individual names Judas:
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.
"I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.
"These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.
26 But the Counselor, 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.
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
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 a man loves me, he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home
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.
answer reveals an indwelling of spirit manifesting itself in action:
“keeping the word.” In short, true disciples of Jesus will follow
his example. Jesus then
bids his disciples a traditional peace of shalom or
14:27 "Peace I leave with you;62 my peace I give to you; I
do not give it63 to you as the world does.64 Do not let your hearts be
distressed or lacking in courage.” Jesus
knows that the disciples must continue to be taught and that they will
not understand a great deal of what he has said to them until he is no
longer physically present with them.
They have been told before events have taken place so that when
they finally occur, they will believe in retrospect.
You heard me say to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.' If you
loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go 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 power over 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 hence.
conclude my discussion of chapter fourteen with reference again to
Alfred Edersheim and his commentary on the final discourses:
in this sense also should they have rejoiced, because, through the
presence of the Holy Ghost in them, as
sent by the Father in His 'greater' work, they would, instead of the
present selfish enjoyment of Christ's Personal Presence, have the more
power of showing their love to Him in apprehending His Truth, obeying
His Commandments, doing His Works, and participating in His Life (The
Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah).