Last will and testament
John 14 is like the last will and testament of Jesus.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document where a person specifies their final wishes regarding their assets and specifies how they wish to provide for family members, friends, pets, and other organizations.
Most standard in a will is what a person gives to their spouse and children. Millionaires have left vast fortunes to families, endowed scholarships at universities and donated to various philanthropic endeavors. People have given money to churches, charities, and communities.
People have used wills to give to loved ones or to take a final jab at people with whom they had strained relationships.
When the hotel heiress Leona Helmsley died in 2007, she entirely cut two of her grandchildren out of her will. For the other grandchildren, their inheritance was contingent upon them making regular visits to their father’s grave. And she left $12 million dollars to her dog, a Maltese named Trouble.
When the comedian Jack Benny died in 1974, he had made a provision in his will that his widow was to receive a single long-stem red rose everyday for the rest of her life. She outlived him by nine years and received more than 3,000 roses.
In John 14, we see the caring provision that Jesus made for his disciples and ultimately for the church.
Jesus will highlight three provisions he’s made for his disciples, and ultimately for his church in John 14:22-31.
- The Holy Spirit
In John 14:21, Jesus says:
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.
This prompts an apostle named Judas (but not the same Judas who betrayed Jesus to ask in verse 22: Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
In verse 23, Jesus says: 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.
Jesus talks about obedience to him and keeping his word. And in answering, he says that Jesus and his Father will love the person who keeps his word and make their home with them. There’s some nuance here.
In 14:16, Jesus has talked of giving a helper, advocate, counselor to his disciples. That is the Spirit.
But in verse 23, Jesus is saying that it is he and his father who will make a home with the person. Think of it like progressing a thought. Jesus is giving further elaboration on the Spiritual dimension of how he is to provide for his disciples.
In verse 26, Jesus will specify that the helper he’s referring to here is the Holy Spirit.
So he is giving the helper – the Spirit – but the Father and Son will make a home with the person who loves Jesus and keeps his word. This passage emphasizes the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are working together.
And it is because we have the Triune Godhead that the Spirit who indwells a Christian can be mentioned in conversation with God and the Son making a home in a person. It is the Spirit who indwells. It is the Spirit who is in us.
And that is why it is necessary that the Spirit share in all of the divine attributes. Anything less would be inadequate. Anything else could not sanctify. The Spirit brings the presence and the experience of the Father and Son into our lives. It is by the Spirit, that Christ is manifested to us, is revealed to us.
- The Word
Jesus is speaking in 14:25-26. He will point again to his departure.
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.
Jesus is saying these things while there’s still time. But he knows where he’s going. He knows what lies ahead. As we said a few moments ago, Jesus talks of the Holy Spirit that he will give to his followers.
It’s only the second time in this gospel where we’ve seen the term Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is holy. Again, the Spirit has all of the attributes of God. The Spirit is not a force. It’s a person. The Spirit is not created, he’s eternal. And in this passage, Jesus is saying that the Spirit will teach those things that Christ has said.
he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
What does that mean?
When Jesus says to his disciples that the Spirit will teach all things and bring to remembrance all that he has said, he’s referring to the witness of the disciples in the writing of the New Testament.
All throughout the gospels, the disciples are not this really sharp, buttoned up group. We see their ignorance. At times, we see their vanity. They often miss the point. But these are the people who wrote the New Testament and were the first ones sent out to spread the good news of the gospel?
For these disciples who lived with Jesus, heard Jesus, saw Jesus, and beheld the risen Jesus, the Spirit would endow them with the ability to recount the word of God.
Like Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament who were entrusted to communicate the very words of God, the disciples too would communicate the greatest revelation of God to the world: the Word, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospels are not just four eyewitness accounts. The secular world likes to treat the gospels like that. Just four accounts of a teacher. But they’re more than that. It is the Spirit breathed and perfect word of God to the world. It is because of that work that we have our gospels and our New Testament.
And it is because of the Spirit that we can trust the New Testament and the gospels. That these are not just opinions of men. It is the word of God.
For the disciples, it meant that the Spirit would point the disciples to the truths about the gospel and the ministry of Christ which were necessary to be communicated.
And this is also the reason why the scripture must trump everything. Because there is no new revelation about Jesus today.
Jesus gives us the Spirit, he gives us the Word.
Jesus gives us peace. 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 hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
One thing that’s interesting to consider is the idea of peace in Ancient Rome. For the Romans, “peace” was kept through power. And I think it’s fair to say that that’s true in America too. And I’m not really trying to make a political statement. But there’s peace by force.
But that’s not what Jesus is talking about with the peace that he gives.
As Jesus says, he brings peace Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
That’s because the world cannot give us ultimate peace. There are all sorts of things we can look to in order to have a sense of security. Money, our favored politician, to name a couple. They can’t give true peace.
A person can have all the money in the world. I’ve been going through a biography of John D. Rockefeller. Adjusted by inflation, his net worth when he died would be worth upwards of $400 billion today.
He still died. Money can give a person many things. But it can’t give you eternal life and it can’t give eternal peace. Jesus gives a heavenly peace. Jesus gives peace between people who were once hostile to God and God, yes, that’s part of it.
But here, the idea of peace has more to do with an inward peace in spite of the turmoil of the world and what’s around us.
In Psalm 4, in the midst of chaos, David looks at being able to get a good night’s sleep as a sign of the true peace he has with God.
Psalm 4:8:In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
In Galatians, Paul will call peace a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). In Philippians 4, Paul will talk about peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace is a sign in the Old Testament of the Messianic Age.
Jesus offers a peace that the world cannot give. Do we always feel perfect peace? I highly doubt anyone who’s honest would say so. Some of the greatest Christian thinkers who have ever lived have written about their own struggles and faith challenges.
But know that we have a savior who is the way, the truth, and the life. He came to give peace. In a world where there’s so much turmoil, he is meant to be our true hope and our true peace.
Perhaps part of the reason why we so often lack peace is that we too often get too caught up in a worldly perspective what peace ought to look like.
Bruce Barton is helpful in the Life Application Study Bible Commentary on this. I’m paraphrasing his ideas. The world’s peace is meant to give us a sense of security in ourselves, in this life. Jesus is meant to give us peace in him and knowing his gospel and who he is and walking with him.
The world likes to say that peace should bring ease. The Bible points us to having peace that God will provide, but gives no such promise that things will always be easy. But through the difficulty, we have God.
The world likes to say that peace is the absence of conflict. Ultimately, that is the future hope we have in a perfected state. It is the hope we have today in that we have peace with God. But with a world that is sinful and opposes God, in spite of the conflict, Jesus invites us to remember that we are his.
The world wants us to look to a certain set of circumstances for our security. Jesus invites us to be secure in him.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please share and subscribe!