Jesus continues His farewell discourse in chapter 14 by softening the blow a bit after having told His chosen ones that He is leaving them. Verse 2 is translated in ways in some versions that confound the meaning. The King James says it in such a way as to make people think they will have their own mansion in heaven. The ESV (and NASB) simply says “In my Father’s house are many rooms (dwelling places),” not intending to convey that space is small, but to drive home the point that we are going to live with God – not separated from Him. Jesus is telling them that they will follow Him, and He will prepare a place for them.
Thomas points out that since they do not know where He is going, they do not know the way. Jesus then said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In Acts 9:2, Christians are for the first time described as belonging to “The Way,” a term which is repeated in scripture as well as by secular historians (such as Josephus Flavius). It is hard to imagine that the term did not come from these words of Jesus.
The vineyard references in chapter 15 are deeply embedded in the Old Testament as a symbol for Israel, especially in two vineyard songs in Isaiah (Isaiah 5:1-7 and Isaiah 27:2-6). But Israel failed in bearing fruit. God as the vinedresser is taken from the first vineyard song. In that passage, God is depicted tending His vineyard, but the vineyard produced wild grapes (unrighteousness). Jesus is the true vine, and His disciples are the branches. The fruit is the outward signs and effect on the world of the Christian life in those branches. Those who do not bear fruit are not abiding in Jesus – not being true disciples, perhaps just going through some of the motions. Verse 7 (“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”) is another important point to remember about prayer – but abiding in Him means that our prayers reflect His will.
As Jesus again commands them to love each other as He has loved them, He tells them they are His friends,not just servants; and because of that He has made known to them the things of the Father, and the Holy Spirit will come to guide them. He also warns that just as He was persecuted they will also be persecuted. The “word that is written in their Law” Jesus referred to being fulfilled in verse 25 comes from Psalm 69:4 and Isaiah 35:19.
Bible Reading Schedule for this month
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.