We are currently looking at the Upper Room Discourse, which runs from John 13-17. At the end of chapter 13 Yeshua has shocked His disciples ,who were gathered in the Upper Room by telling them that one of them will betray Him and that even their spokesman Peter will deny Him. And what's worse, He tells them that He is leaving them. All of these factors caused the disciples to be deeply disturbed. So He tells them in 14:1 to stop being troubled. And then He goes on to give them a promise to strengthen and encourage them. In this Upper Room Discourse our Lord is instructing His disciples in light of His soon departure from them.
Let me draw your attention to something very significant that Yeshua said:
Yeshua 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'? John 14:9 ESV
"Whoever has seen me has seen the Father"—If you want to know the glory, the moral beauty of the father, read the Gospels and behold the person of Yeshua, because He's the radiance of the glory of Yahweh. Those who know Yeshua should have no more questions about Yahweh. All we need to do is to look at Yeshua. Here all the questions about Yahweh that have ever been asked and ever will be asked are answered. Whoever has seen Yeshua has seen the Father. Yeshua is God incarnate. Every act of Yeshua, the Son, was an act of God the Father. Is this a clear enough statement on the Deity of Christ? Is this a good enough reason to read the Gospels continually?
In our last study we saw that Yeshua promised the disciples that they were going to do the same works that He did, and even greater works than He did. "Works" is used here of the miraculous. He also promised them that He would answer their prayers and provide everything that they needed if it was in His name, to His glory, and to His purpose.
Believers, these promises in verses 12-14 are not to us. We are not going to do miraculous works and have all our prayers answered. These promise were made to the first century saints who would be used of God to bring the newly emerging church from infancy to maturity.
Continuing His words of comfort and encouragement to His disciples Yeshua explains why it is good for them if He goes away.
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV
This is Yeshua's first reference in this Gospel to the believer's "love" for Himself.
In John 14:15-31 Yeshua makes a number of similar statements about our love for Him and our obedience to Him:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments," 14:15.
"Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me," 14:21.
"If anyone loves me, he will keep My Word," 14:23.
"Whoever does not love me does not keep My Words," 14:24.
"If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father," 14:28
So how is our love for God demonstrated? Through our obedience to His teaching. If someone is not living in obedience to Christ's teaching do they love Him? No, love is not a feeling; it is obedience to the revealed will of God. To Lazarus there is only one test of love, and that test is obedience:
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 ESV
This idea of love being demonstrated by obedience is not something new. The Tanakh already closely connected love for God with obeying His commandments:
but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:6 ESV
"You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always. Deuteronomy 11:1 ESV
For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, Deuteronomy 11:22 ESV
So if someone is not living in obedience to the Lord's teachings can they say that they love Him? No, obedience is love:
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. John 14:24 ESV
The reason we don't obey is because we don't love Him.
Okay, let's break down verse 15, "If you love me"—this is a third class condition, which means that Yeshua neither assumes that His followers love Him, nor assumes that they do not. A third class condition assumes neither a positive nor a negative response. Robertson's Word Pictures says, "if ye keep on loving (present active subjunctive) me." So Yeshua is saying to the disciples, If (maybe you will, maybe you won't) you keep on loving me, "You will keep my commandments"—"keep" is a future active indicative of tereo, this is not an aorist imperative. A future active indicative is a simple or progressive action in the future, you will be keeping my commands. The KJV has this imperative:
If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15 KJV
Robertson's Word Pictures says that this is a future active and not an aorist imperative.
So Yeshua is saying to the disciples, If (maybe you will, maybe you won't) you keep on loving me, you will keep my commandments. Love for Yeshua will motivate the believer to obey Him. We keep His commands because we love Him.
What commandments is Yeshua talking about? I think He is talking about the new commandment:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 ESV
How are we to love others? Yeshua says, "just as I have loved you"—the sacrificial work of Yeshua on the cross of Calvary is the "new" standard for the Christian's love for fellow-believers. You cannot live out the Christian life without a commitment to loving other people.
Now let me make this clear here, It is only by God's transforming grace that believers, and only believers, can "love one another" as Yeshua has "loved" them. And we can only love like this is we walk in dependence upon the Spirit of God for power and grace. Loving one another as Christ loved us is supernatural. It can only be done as the Spirit works through us.
So Yeshua is saying, If you guys continue loving me, you will keep my commands, you will love one another as I have loved you, and the world will know that you are my disciples. And because loving one another as I have love you is humanly impossible, I'm going to give you a divine helper:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth… John 14:16-17a ESV
Despite what some commentators might says, loving Christ and keeping His commandments are NOT the conditions for the gift of the Spirit. Yeshua is not saying, If you obey Me I will give you the Holy Spirit? The Spirit is promised to ALL believers not to a special group of believers who have met certain conditions.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified. John 7:38-39 ESV
These verses makes it quite clear that the Spirit would be given "'to those who believed" in Yeshua. The Rivers of Living Water is a reference to the ministries of the the Holy Spirit. "Whom those who believed in Him were to receive"—they were to receive the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, at the birth of the Church. This includes all subsequent believers of the Church Age, in addition to the believers on the Day of Pentecost.
Our text in verse 16 introduces us to the person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit He has already been mentioned five times up to this point in this Gospel. In 1:32 and following we see the reference to Yeshua baptizing with the Holy Spirit. In 3:5-8 we see the Spirit's work of regeneration or the birth from above explained. In 4:23 Yeshua declares that "God is Spirit." In 6:63 Yeshua tells the crowds that it is the Spirit who gives life. And in 7:37-39 Yeshua announces the indwelling work of the Spirit as being "rivers of living water" within the believer.
But in our text we are introduced to God the Holy Spirit, who is for the first time revealed as the Third Person of the Trinity. In this text the Spirit is called a Helper and the Spirit of truth.
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper"—so here Yeshua will ask the Father, and the Father will send the Spirit. In verse 26, The Father will send the Spirit in the name of Yeshua. In 15:26, Yeshua will send the Spirit to them from the Father. In 16:7, Yeshua will send the Spirit to them. So the Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son.
"Another Helper"—the Greek word translated here as "helper" is the word parakletos. This word is only found five times in Scripture and only in the Fourth Gospel and in First John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; and 1John 2:1). The word parakletos can have various meanings. It can mean advocate, intercessor, counselor, protector or supporter. The literal Greek entomology is from para, which means: "to the side of" and kaleo, which means, "to summon." Therefore, the word can be interpreted to mean to be called to someone's side in order to accompany, console, protect , or defend that person. There is really no equivalent English word to the Greek word parakletos. Some translate this as "counselor," which has problems if we understand it in its most popular form—that of someone who acts like a therapist. Or it could make us think of a camp counselor or a marriage counselor. And the word "Helper" can give us the idea of an inferior, which the Holy Spirit is not. This is not how the word was understood when Yeshua used it. It has more of the sense of a legal counselor, someone who acts like an advocate, who will present the case to you, and represent you to others when necessary. In secular contexts, parakletos often referred to a legal assistant, a representative in court.
"Another Helper"—the word "another" is significant to understanding what Yeshua meant in this promise. The Greek language has two words for another, allos and heteros. Allos, means that something is numerically distinct from its antecedent but of the same character. We could say, another of the same kind. Heteros, means that two things or people are qualitatively distinct or different in character. This would be another of a different kind. This is where we get our English word heterosexua,l referring to a relationship between two people of the opposite sex.
We see this word heteros used in:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— Galatians 1:6 ESV
"Different" here is heteros, another of a different kind. But the word Yeshua uses in our text means another of the same kind, one just like Him. This is clear in:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua the Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1 ESV
The word "advocate" here is parakletos. So when Yeshua tells them that the Father will send them another Helper, He means another just like Himself. Yeshua had been a paraclete to the disciples during His earthly ministry.
So since Yeshua is Yahweh and is equal to Yahweh the Father, and since the Holy Spirit is another just like Yeshua, what does that tell us about the Spirit? He is Yahweh!
The New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, but rather a divine person. In Acts, Peter confronted Ananias by asking why he had lied to the Holy Spirit:
But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? Acts 5:3 ESV
Then in the next verse Peter says:
While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God." Acts 5:4 ESV
He lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God. The Holy Spirit is God. You can't lie to an impersonal force! The New Testament writers attribute the inspiration of the Tanakh to the Holy Spirit (Acts 28:25; Heb. 10:15).
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 ESV
The New Testament writers ascribe divine attributes to the Spirit, such as omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10); the power to effect the new birth (John 3:5-8); the power to cast out demons (Matt. 12:28); the ability to baptize believers into the body of Christ and to bestow spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-13); and the power to sanctify believers (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).
All of those things we might say about the character or divine nature of Yeshua are equally true of the Holy Spirit. He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, righteous, holy, loving, just, faithful, true, kind, jealous, righteously angry, long-suffering, etc. The Holy Spirit is Yahweh.
The Spirit is linked with the Father and the Son in trinitarian texts. Yeshua directly referred to the Trinity, though not by that name, in our text:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, John 14:16 ESV
"I" the "Son" would ask that the "Father" send the "Spirit" to take the Son's place as the believer's encourager and strengthener. We see this same idea in:
The grace of the Lord Yeshua the Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 ESV
New Testament revelation is clear that there are three Persons within the Godhead. Most non-Christian religions deny the tri-unity of God (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, et al.). What is interesting is that Muslims believe that Mohammed is the fulfillment of Yeshua's promise that He would send another counselor. But Mohammed was nothing like Yeshua. Mohammed was another of a different kind.
"He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever"—this new advocate is going to be with them forever. He is not going to be with you for three years like I have been. He's going to be with forever. The word "forever" here is aion. Thayer says that aion means: "forever, an unbroken age," or "a period of time." The age he is talking about here is the everlasting age, which was to begin at Pentecost.
While Yeshua in His human nature could only be in one place at a time, the Holy Spirit in His divine nature knows no such obstacles. Christ comes to us in all of His fullness in the Holy Spirit!
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. John 14:17 ESV
We first see the Spirit in:
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2 ESV
"Spirit" here is from the Hebrew ruah, meaning: "wind, breath, air, or soul/spirit," it expressed the "spirit" or "divine wind" of God. Although the Hebrew word ruah can denote human breath, the use of this word in association with Yahweh is the very breathe which comes forth from the "mouth" of the Living God. It is His living power (see Psalms 33:6). It is the "breath of God" that inspired the holy prophets, and it is given to the kings of Israel at their coronation as Yahweh's anointed (Isaiah 11:2). In the Greek translation of the Tanakh and in the New Testament the Hebrew word ruah is usually translated by the Greek word pneuma and is used to identify God the Holy Spirit.
"The Spirit of truth"—the Helper is also called the Spirit of truth primarily because He communicates the truth. In 14:6, where Yeshua claims to be the truth, "the Spirit of truth" may in part define the Helper as the Spirit who bears witness to the truth, i.e. to the truth that Yeshua is Yahweh.
Notice the connection between Advocate and Spirit of Truth, an advocate uses the facts and presents truth. Therefore, as a description of the Holy Spirit's ministry we see one Who will come to us and apply truth to our lives. That's how strengthening and encouragement take place: as God's truth is presented to our hearts and minds. That's the Holy Spirit's ministry. He is not a vague force for good—He is God in action applying the Word.
In numerous places we find the Holy Spirit relating to truth. He is the giver of truth as the One who divinely inspires the Scripture, moving upon holy men of old to write precisely the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
"He dwells with you and will be in you"—the Spirit of God had come on Old Covenant believers temporarily to give them strength, but normally He did not remain with them (cf. Ps. 51:11). What Yeshua spoke of here was an abiding (permanent) relationship, in which the Spirit remained with believers for the rest of their lives (Rom. 8:9). This new relationship to the Holy Spirit is one of the distinctive differences between the New Covenant age and Old Covenant age.
The promise of the Spirit was given through the Old Covenant prophets as part of the New Covenant:
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV
Is this promise of the Holy Spirit here in Ezekiel and in John 14:17 for us? This promise was given to the disciples in the upper room. But the indwelling Spirit was given to all believers at Pentecost. From Pentecost on all believers have the Holy Spirit, all of Him.
"Whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him"—The word "world" is from the Greek term kosmos. If you look up all of Lazarus' uses of kosmos you will see that he uses the term in three different senses. It can refer to the the habitable part of the world in which Yeshua ministered. "World" can also refer to the spiritually corrupt world system dominated by Satan. Thirdly, "world" can refer to the elect of God, who are living in the world. Here it is used of the moral order in rebellion against God, cannot accept Him. The truth is that the world does not know the Spirit of truth, and cannot accept Hm (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14).
"You know him"—they knew Him because He is just like Yeshua. And they had seen Him working through Yeshua. That's why Yeshua said to those who said He did what He did by the power of Satan, "You have blasphemed, not Me; you've blasphemed the Holy Spirit."
"For he dwells with you and will be in you"—Yeshua seems to be drawing a contrast between the Spirit's present abiding with the disciples, and His future dwelling in them. That great change in spiritual history took place on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out on the early church. Since Pentecost all believers are indwelt by the Spirit:
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8:9 ESV
This gift of the Spirit makes each individual believer, and believers corporately, the dwelling place of God, the holy Temple of God.
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:22 ESV
Yeshua goes on to say:
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18 ESV
Orphans in that culture needed to be cared for by someone. What does Yeshua mean by, "I will come to you"? This is taken in three different ways. Some say it refers to the Second Coming. Some see it as Yeshua coming in the person of the Holy Spirit, and some see it as Yeshua's appearances to the disciples after the resurrection. Arguments have been advanced for all three comings—Yeshua's Resurrection, the gift of the Spirit, the Parousia—and for various combinations of them.
One commentator writes, "Some believe Jesus is referring to the Second Coming. If that is the case, the disciples there were orphaned because Jesus did not return in their lifetime." Really, so He lied?
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Matthew 16:27-28 ESV
Yeshua tells His disciples that He would return before they all died. But this commentator says, "The disciples there were orphaned because Jesus did not return in their lifetime."
I see Christ as referring to the fact that they will see Him again after the Resurrection when He will appear to them over a period of 40 days to continue teaching them.
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3 ESV
I see Yeshua as referring to His return after His resurrection because the language is personal: I will come to you … you will see me.
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. John 14:19 ESV
According to the Book of Acts, Yeshua appeared only to believers after His Resurrection:
but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. Acts 10:40-41 ESV
The "world," the lost world saw Him no more.
"Because I live, you also will live"—Yeshua's Resurrection was a pledge of their own resurrection.
If the Spirit of him who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 ESV
The Resurrection of Yeshua was God's demonstration of His power and willingness to give life.
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. John 14:20 ESV
"In that day"—the Day of Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit comes, and we all know His permanent indwelling presence. Some interpreters take the day in view as referring to the Resurrection. I won't argue over 50 days.
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." John 14:21 ESV
Again we see that obedience is simply the proof of love. The believer who walks in obedience is loving the Lord.
"And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him"—in the context (vv. 18-20), this was a promise that Yeshua would disclose Himself to the disciples after His Resurrection, and an encouragement for them to continue obeying Him and loving Him.
If I can make an application of this to us it would be this; Some believers love Yeshua more than other believers do. This results in some believers obeying Him more than others, and enjoying a more intimate relationship with Him, and a greater understanding of Him, than others enjoy.
Every individual who has believed in the Lord Yeshua has spiritual life, but not many have an abundant spiritual life. Why? If the abundant life is available to all, why don't all have it? I think it has to do with obedience. The abundant life is only available to those who walk in obedience to Christ.
Let me just say that the abundant life has nothing to do with material things. It is about joy and peace and contentment that comes from walking with Christ.