RPM, Volume 17, Number 52, December 20 to December 26, 2015

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical
Part 34

By Albert Barnes


Verse 1. The feast of the passover. See Barnes "Mt 26:2, See Barnes "Mt 26:17".

His hour was come. The hour appointed in the purpose of God for him to die, Joh 12:27. Having loved his own. Having given to them decisive and constant proofs of his love. This was done by his calling them to follow him; by patiently teaching them; by bearing with their errors and weaknesses; and by making them the heralds of his truth and the heirs of eternal life.

He loved them unto the end. That is, he continued the proofs of his love until he was taken away from them by death. Instances of that love John proceeds immediately to record in his washing their feet and in the institution of the Supper. We may remark that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. He does not change; he always loves the same traits of character; nor does he withdraw his love from the soul. If his people walk in darkness and wander from him, the fault is theirs, not his. His is the character of a friend that never leaves or forsakes us; a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Ps 37:28: "The Lord forsaketh not his saints." Isa 49:14-17; Pr 18:24.

{a} "Now before the feast" Mt 26:2

{b} "his hour was come" Joh 17:1,11

{c} "having loved his own" Jer 31:3; Eph 5:2; 1 Jo 4:12; Re 1:5


Verse 2. Supper being ended. This translation expresses too much. The original means while they were at supper; and that this is the meaning is clear from the fact that we find them still eating after this. The Arabic and Persic translations give it this meaning. The Latin Vulgate renders it like the English.

The devil. The leader or prince of evil spirits.

Having now put it into the heart. Literally, having cast it into the heart. Comp. Eph 6:16: "The fiery darts of the wicked." See Ac 5:3; Lu 22:3. The meaning of this passage is that Satan inclined the mind of Judas to do this, or he tempted him to betray his Master. We know not precisely how this was done, but we know that it was by means of his avarice. Satan could tempt no one unless there was some inclination of the mind, some natural or depraved propensity that he could make use of. He presents objects in alluring forms fitted to that propensity, and under the influence of a strong or a corrupt inclination the soul yields to sin. In the case of Judas it was the love of money; and it was necessary to present to him only the possibility of obtaining money, and it found him ready for any crime.

{d} "the devil" Lu 22:3,53; Joh 6:70


Verse 3. Jesus knowing, &c. With the full understanding of his dignity and elevation of character, he yet condescended to wash their feet. The evangelist introduces his washing their feet by saying that he was fully conscious of his elevation above them, as being intrusted with all things, and this made his humiliation the more striking and remarkable. Had he been a mere human teacher or a prophet, it would have been remarkable; but when we remember the dignity of his nature, it shows how low he would stoop to teach and save his people.

Had given all things, &c. See Barnes "Mt 28:18".

Was come from God. See Barnes "Joh 8:42".

Went to God. Was about to return to heaven. See Joh 6:61,62.

{e} "knowing that the Father" Mt 28:18; He 2:8

{f} "he was come from God" Joh 17:11


Verse 4. He riseth from supper. Evidently while they were eating. See Joh 13:2.

Laid aside his garments. His outer garment. See Barnes "Mt 5:40".

This was his mantle or robe, which is said to have been without seam. It was customary to lay this aside when they worked or ran, or in the heat of summer.

Took a towel and girded himself. This was the manner of a servant or slave. See Barnes "Lu 17:8"


Verse 5. Began to wash, &c. It was uniformly the office of a servant to wash the feet of guests, 1 Sa 25:41. It became a matter of necessity where they travelled without shoes, and where they reclined on couches at meals. It should be remembered here that the disciples were not sitting at the table, as we do, but were lying with their feet extended from the table, so that Jesus could easily have access to them. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".


Verse 6. Dost thou wash my feet? Every word here is emphatic. Dost thou— the Son of God, the Messiah—perform the humble office of a servant—toward me, a sinner? This was an expression of Peter's humility, of his reverence for Jesus, and also a refusal to allow him to do it. It is possible, though not certain from the text, that he came to Simon Peter first.

{1} "Peter", or "he"

{g} "dost thou wash my feet" Mt 3:14


Verse 7. Thou knowest not now. Though he saw the action of Jesus, yet he did not fully understand the design of it. It was a symbolical action, inculcating a lesson of humility, and intended to teach it to them in such a manner that it would be impossible for them ever to forget it. Had he simply commanded them to be humble, it would have been far less forcible and impressive than when they saw him actually performing the office of a servant.

Shalt know hereafter. Jesus at that time partially explained it (Joh 13:14,15); but he was teaching them by this expressive act a lesson which they would continue to learn all their lives. Every day they would see more and more the necessity of humility and of kindness to each other, and would see that they were the servants of Christ and of the church, and ought not to aspire to honours and offices, but to be willing to perform the humblest service to benefit the world. And we may remark here that God often does things which we do not fully understand now, but which we may hereafter. He often afflicts us; he disappoints us; he frustrates our plans. Why it is we do not know now, but we yet shall learn that it was for our good, and designed to teach us some important lesson of humility and piety. So he will, in heaven, scatter all doubts, remove all difficulties, and show us the reason of the whole of his mysterious dealings in his leading us in the way to our future rest. We ought also, in view of this, to submit ourselves to him; to hush every murmur, and to believe that he does all things well. It is one evidence of piety when we are willing to receive affliction at the hand of God, the reason of which we cannot see, content with the belief that we may see it hereafter; or, even if we never do, still having so much confidence in God as to believe that WHAT HE DOES IS RIGHT.


Verse 8. Thou shalt never wash my feet. This was a decided and firm expression of his reverence for his Mater, and yet it was improper. Jesus had just declared that it had a meaning, and that he ought to submit to it. We should yield to all the plain and positive requirements of God, even if we cannot now see how obedience would promote his glory.

If I wash thee not. This had immediate reference to the act of washing his feet; and it denotes that if Peter had not so much confidence in him as to believe that an act which he performed was proper, though he could not see its propriety—if he was not willing to submit his will to that of Christ and implicitly obey him, he had no evidence of piety. As Christ, however, was accustomed to pass from temporal and sensible objects to those which were spiritual, and to draw instruction from whatever was before him, some have supposed that he here took occasion to state to Peter that if his soul was not made pure by him he could not be his follower. Washing is often thus put as an emblem of moral purification, 1 Co 6:11; Tit 3:5, 6.

This is the meaning, also, of baptism. If this was the sense in which Jesus used these words, it denotes that unless Christ should purify Peter, he could have no evidence that he was his disciple. "Unless by my doctrine and spirit I shall purify you, and remove your pride (Mt 26:33), your want of constant watchfulness (Mt 26:40), your anger (Mt 26:51), your timidity and fear (Mt 26:70,74), you can have no part in me" (Grotius).

Hast no part with me. Nothing in common with me. No evidence of possessing my spirit, of being interested in my work, and no participation in my glory:

{h} "If I wash thee not" 1 Co 6:11; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5


Verse 9. Not my feet only, &c. Peter, with characteristic readiness and ardour, saw now that everything depended on this. His whole salvation, the entire question of his attachment to his Master, was involved. If to refuse to have his feet washed was to be regarded as evidence that he had no part with Jesus, he was not only willing, but desirous that it should be done; not only anxious that his feet should be cleansed, but his hands and his head—that is, that he should be cleansed entirely, thoroughly. Perhaps he saw the spiritual meaning of the Saviour, and expressed his ardent wish that his whole soul might be made pure by the work of Christ. A true Christian is desirous of being cleansed from all sin. He has no reserve. He wishes not merely that one evil propensity should be removed, but all; that every thought should be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Co 10:5); and that his whole body, soul, and spirit

should be sanctified wholly and be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Th 5:23. His intellect, his will, his affections, his fancy, memory, judgment, he desires should be all brought under the influence of the gospel, and every power of the body and mind be consecrated unto God.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 10

Verse 10. He that is washed. This is a difficult passage, and interpreters have been divided about its meaning. Some have supposed that it was customary to bathe before eating the paschal supper, and that the apostles did it; Jesus having said, "he that hath bathed his body is clean except in regard to his feet—to the dirt contracted in returning from the bath, and that there was need only that the feet should be washed in order to prepare them properly to receive the supper." They suppose, also, that the lesson which Jesus meant to teach was that they were really pure (Joh 15:3); that they were qualified to partake of the ordinances of religion, and needed only to be purified from occasional blemishes and impurities (Grotius). Others say that there is not evidence that the Jews bathed before partaking of the paschal supper, but that reference is made to the custom of washing their hands and their face. It is known that this was practised. See Barnes "Mt 15:2".

See Barnes "Mr 7:3".

See Barnes "Mr 7:4".

Peter had requested him to wash his hands and his head. Jesus told him that as that had been done, it was unnecessary to repeat it; but to wash the feet was an act of hospitality, the office of a servant, and that all that was needed now was for him to show this condescension and humility. Probably reference is had here to internal purity, as Jesus was fond of drawing illustrations from every quarter to teach them spiritual doctrine; as if he had said, "You are clean by my word and ministry Joh 15:3; you are my followers, and are prepared for the scene before you. But one thing remains. And as, when we come to this rite, having washed, there remains no need of washing except to wash the feet, so there is now nothing remaining but for me to show you an example that you will always remember, and that shall complete my public instructions to you."

Is clean. This word may apply to the body or the soul.

Every whit. Altogether, wholly.

Ye are clean. Here the word has doubtless reference to the mind and heart.

But not all. You are not all my true followers, and fitted for the ordinance before us.

{i}"For he knew" Joh 6:64

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Who should betray him. Greek, "He knew him who was about to betray him."

{i} "For, he knew" Joh 6:64

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Know ye what, &c. Do you know the meaning or design of what I have done unto you?

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Ye call me Master. Teacher.

And Lord. This word is applied to one who rules, and is often given to God as being the

Proprietor and Ruler of all things. It is given to Christ many hundred times in the New Testament,

Ye say well, &c. Mt 23:8,10.

So I am. That is, he was their Teacher and Instructor, and he was their Sovereign and King.

{k} "call me Master and Lord" Mt 23:8-10; Php 2:11.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 14

Verses 14,15. Ye also ought to wash, &c. Some have understood this literally as instituting a religious rite which we ought to observe; but this was evidently not the design; for,

1st. There is not evidence that Jesus intended it as a religious observance, like the Lord's Supper or the ordinance of baptism.

2nd. It was not observed by the apostles or the primitive Christians as a religious rite.

3rd. It was a rite of hospitality among the Jews, a common, well-know thing, and performed by servants.

4th. it is the manifest design of humility; to teach them by his example that they ought to condescend to the most humble offices for the benefit of others. They ought not to be proud, and vain, but to regard themselves as the servants of each other in every way. And especially as they were to be founders of the church, and to be greatly honoured, he took this occasion of warning them against the dangers of ambitions, and of teaching them, by an example that they could not forget, the duty of humility.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 15

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "For I have given you" 1 Pe 2:21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 16

Verses 16,17. The servant is not. This was universally true, and this they were to remember always, that they were to manifest the same spirit that he did, and that they were to expect the same treatment from the world. See Barnes "Mt 10:24" See Barnes "Mt 10:25".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "If ye know these things" Jas 1:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 18

Verse 18. I speak not of you all. That is, in addressing you as clean, I do not mean to say that you all possess this character.

I know whom I have chosen. He here means evidently to say that he had not chosen them all, implying that Judas had not been chosen. As, however, this word is applied to Judas in one place (Joh 6:70), "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" it must have a different meaning here from that which it has there. There it evidently refers to the apostleship. Jesus had chosen him to be an apostle, and had treated him as such. Here is refers to purity of heart, and Jesus implies that, though Judas had been chosen to the office of apostleship, yet he had not been chosen to purity of heart and life. The remaining eleven had been, and would be saved. It was not, however, the fault of Jesus that Judas was not saved, for he was admitted to the same teaching, the same familiarity, and the same office; but his execrable love of gold gained the ascendency, and rendered vain all the means used for his conversion.

But that the scripture, &c. These things have occurred in order that the prophecies may receive their completion. It does not mean that Judas was compelled to this course in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, but that this was foretold, and that by this the prophecy did receive a completion.

The scripture. This is written in Ps 41:9. It is commonly understood of Ahithophel, and of the enemies of David who had been admitted to his friendship, and who had now proved ungrateful to him.

May be fulfilled. See Barnes "Mt 1:22".

It is difficult to tell whether this prophecy had a primary reference to Judas, or whether it be meant that it received a more complete fulfillment in his case than in the time of David. The cases were similar; the same words would describe both events, for there was an exhibition of similar ingratitude and baseness in both cases, so that the same words would fitly describe both events.

He that eateth bread with me. To eat with one was a proof of friendship. See 2 Sa 9:11; Mt 9:11; Ge 43:32.

This means that Judas had been admitted to all the privileges of friendship, and had partaken of the usual evidences of affection. It was this which greatly aggravated his offence. It was base ingratitude as well as murder.

Hath lifted up his heel. Suidas says that this figure is taken from those who are running in a race, when one attempts to trip the other up and make him fall. It was a base and ungrateful return for kindness to which the Lord Jesus referred, and it means that he who had been admitted to the intimacies of friendship had ungratefully and maliciously injured him. Some suppose the expression means to lay snares for one; others, to kick or injure a man after he is cast down (Calvin on Ps 41:9). It is clear that it denotes great injury, and injury aggravated by the fact of professed friendship. It was not merely the common people, the open enemies, the Jewish nation that did it, but one who had received all the usual proofs of kindness. It was this which greatly aggravated our Saviour's sufferings.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Now I tell you before it come, &c. They would see by that that he had a knowledge of the heart and the power of foretelling future events, and must therefore have been sent by God. This does not imply that they had no faith before this, but that their faith would be increased and strengthened by it.

{2} "Now", or "From henceforth"

{o} "I tell you" Joh 14:29; 16:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 20

Verse 20. He that receiveth, &c. This sentiment is found in the instructions which Jesus gave to his disciples in Mt 10:40. Why he repeats it at this time cannot now be known. It is certain that it is not closely connected with the subject of his conversation. Perhaps, however, it was to show how intimately united he, his Father, his apostles, and all who received them were. They who received them received him, and they who received him received God. So he who betrayed him, betrayed, for the same reason, God. Hence Judas, who was about to betray him, was also about to betray the cause of religion in the world, and to betray God and his cause. Everything pertaining to religion is connected together. A man cannot do dishonour to one of the institutions of religion without injuring all; he cannot dishonour its ministers or the Saviour without dishonouring God. And this shows that one prominent ground of the Saviour's solicitude was that his Father might be honoured, and one source of his deep grief at the treason of Judas was that it would bring injury upon the whole cause of religion in the world.

{p} "He that receiveth" Mt 10:40

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Trouble in spirit. See Joh 12:27. The reason of his trouble here was that Judas, a professed friend, was about to betray him. He doubtless foresaw the deep and dreadful sorrows of his approaching death, and was also deeply affected with the ingratitude and wickedness of a professed friend. Jesus was man as well as God, and he felt like other men. His human nature shrank from suffering, and his tender sensibilities were affected not less deeply than would be those of other men by baseness and treason.

Testified. He bore witness to the truth; openly declared what he had before intimated — that one of them would betray him.

{q} "When Jesus had thus said" Mt 26:21; Mr 14:18; Lu 22:21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Doubting of whom, &c. The word translated doubting denotes that kind of anxiety which a man feels when he is in perplexity, and knows not what to say or do. We should say they were at a loss. See Barnes "Mt 26:22".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 23

Verse 23. Leaning on Jesus' bosom. This does not mean that he was at that time actually lying on his bosom, but that he occupied a situation next to him at the table, so that his head naturally fell back on his bosom when he spoke to him. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".

Whom Jesus loved. This was doubtless John himself. The evangelists are not accustomed to mention their own names when any mark of favour or any good deed is recorded. They did not seek publicity or notoriety. In this case the appellation is more tender and honourable than any mere name. John was admitted to peculiar friendship, perhaps, because the natural disposition of our Saviour was more nearly like the amiableness and mildness of John than any of the other disciples (Robert Hall). The highest honour that can be conferred on any man is to say that Jesus loved him. Yet this is an honour which all may possess, but which none can inherit without his spirit and without loving him. It is an honour which cannot be won by wealth or learning, by beauty or accomplishments, by rank or earthly honours, but only by the possession of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price, 1 Pe 3:4; comp. Re 8:9.

{r} "one of his disciples" Joh 20:2; 21:7,20

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 24

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 25

Verse 25. He then lying on Jesus' breast. This a different word from the one rendered Joh 13:23 leaning. It means falling back or laid his head back on the bosom of Jesus, so that he could speak to him privately without being heard by the others.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 26

Verse 26. Jesus answered. That is, he answered John. It does not appear that either Judas or the other apostles heard him.

Shall give a sop. The word translated sop means a morsel, a piece of bread, or anything else eaten—as much as we are accustomed to take at a mouthful. Jesus was about to dip it in the sauce which was used at the Passover. The word dip, in the original, is that from which is derived the word baptize. It means here that Jesus would dip it into the sauce as we do a piece of bread. It is probable that it was not an unusual thing for the master of a feast to help others in this way, as it does not appear to have attracted the attention of the others as at all remarkable. It was an indication to John who the betrayer was, and a hint which Judas also probably understood.

{3} "sop" or, "morsel"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 27

Verse 27. After the sop. After he had taken and probably eaten it. By this Judas saw that Jesus knew his design, and that he could not conceal his plan. He saw, also, that the other disciples would be acquainted with it; and, aroused by sudden anger, or with the apprehension that he should lose his reward, or that Jesus might escape, he resolved on executing his plan at once.

Satan entered into him. The devil had before this put it into his heart to betray Jesus (Joh 13:2), but he now excited him to a more decided purpose. See Lu 22:3; Ac 5:3. "Why hath Satan filled thine heart," &c.

What thou doest, do quickly. This showed to Judas that Jesus was acquainted with his design. He did not command him to betray him, but he left him to his own purpose. He had used means enough to reclaim him and lead him to a holy life, and now he brought him to a decision. He gave him to understand that he was acquainted with his plan, and submitted it to the conscience of Judas to do quickly what he would do. If he relented, he called on him to do it at once. If he could still pursue his wicked plan, could go forward when he was conscious that the Saviour knew his design, he was to do it at once. God adopts all means to bring men to a decision. He calls upon them to act decisively, firmly, immediately. He does not allow them the privilege to deliberate about wicked deeds, but calls on them to act at once, and to show whether they will obey or disobey him; whether they will serve him, or whether they will betray his cause. He knows all their plans, as Jesus did that of Judas, and he calls on men to act under the full conviction that he knows all their soul. Sin thus is a vast evil. When men can sin knowing that God sees it all, it shows that the heart is fully set in them to do evil, and that there is nothing that will restrain them.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 28

Verses 28,29. No man at the table knew. This shows that Jesus had signified to John only who it was that should betray him.

The bag. The travelling-bag in which they put their common property. See Barnes "Joh 12:6".

Have need of against the feast. The feast continued seven days, and they supposed that Jesus had directed him to make preparation for their wants on those days.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 29

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

{t} "Judas" Joh 12:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 30

Verse 30. If was night. It was in the evening, or early part of the night. What is recorded in the following chapters took place in the same night.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Now is the Son of man glorified. The last deed is done that was necessary to secure the death of the Son of man, the glory that shall result to him from that death, the wonderful success of the gospel, the exaltation of the Messiah, and the public and striking attestation of God to him in the view of the universe. See Barnes "Joh 12:32".

{u} "Now is the Son" Joh 12:23; 17:1-6

{v} "God is glorified in him" Joh 14:13; 1 Pe 4:11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 32

Verse 32. If God be glorified in him. If God be honoured by him. If the life and death of the Messiah be such as to lead to the honour of God, such as shall manifest its perfections, and show his goodness, truth, and justice, then he will show that he thus approves his work.

God shall also glorify him. He will honour the Messiah. He will not suffer him to go without a proper attestation of his acceptance, and of the honour that God puts on him. Jesus here confidently anticipated that the Father would show that he was pleased with what he had done. He did it in the miracles that attended his death, in his resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and in the success of the gospel. We may remark that God will always, in the proper time and way, manifest his approbation of those who live so as to promote the honour of his name.

In himself Or by himself; by a direct and public expression of his approbation. Not by the ministry of angels or by any other subordinate attestation, but by an expression that shall be direct from him. This was done by his direct interposition in his resurrection and ascension to heaven.

Shall straightway. Immediately, or without delay. This refers to the fact that the time when God would put this honour on him was at hand. His death, resurrection, and ascension were near.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 33

Verse 33. Little children. An expression of great tenderness, denoting his deep interest in their welfare. As he was about to leave them, he endeavours to mitigate their grief by the most tender expressions of attachment, showing that he felt for them the deep interest in their welfare which a parent feels for his children. The word children is often given to Christians as implying—

1st. That God is their Father, and that they sustain toward him that endearing relation, Ro 8:14,15.

2nd. As denoting their need of teaching and guidance, as children need the aid and counsel of a father. See the corresponding term babes used in 1 Co 3:1; 1 Pe 2:2

3rd. It is used, as it is here, as an expression of tenderness and affection. See Ga 4:19; 1 Jo 2:1,12,28; 3:7,18; 4:4; 5:21.

Yet a little while I am with you. He did not conceal the fact that he was soon to leave them. There is something exceedingly tender in this address. It shows that he loved them to the end; that as their friend and guide, as a man, he felt deeply at the thoughts of parting from them, and leaving them to a cold and unfeeling world. A parting scene at death is always one of tenderness; and it is well when, like this, there is the presence of the Saviour to break the agony of the parting pang, and to console us with the words of his grace.

As I said unto the Jews. See Joh 7:34.

So now I say to you. That is, they could not follow him then, Joh 13:36; 14:2. He was about to die and return to God, and for a time they must be willing to be separated from him. But he consoled them (Joh 13:36) with the assurance that the separation would be only temporary, and that they should afterward follow him.

{w} "as I said unto the Jews" Joh 7:34; 8:21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 34

Verse 34. A new commandment. This command he gave them as he was about to leave them, to be a badge of discipleship, by which they might be known as his friends and followers, and by which they might be distinguished from all others. It is called new, not because there was no command before which required men to love their fellow-men, for one great precept of the law was that they should love their neighbour as themselves (Le 19:18); but it was new because it had never before been made that by which any class or body of men had been known and distinguished. The Jew was known by his external rites, by his peculiarity of dress, &c.; the philosopher by some other mark of distinction; the military man by another, &c. In none of these cases had love for each other been the distinguishing and peculiar badge by which they were known. But in the case of Christians they were not to be known by distinctions of wealth, or learning, or fame; they were not to aspire to earthly honours; they were not to adopt any peculiar style of dress or badge, but they were to be distinguished by tender and constant attachment to each other. This was to surmount all distinction of country, of colour, of rank, of office, of sect. Here they were to feel that they were on a level, that they had common wants, were redeemed by the same sacred blood, and were going to the same heaven. They were to befriend each other in trials; be careful of each other's feelings and reputation; deny themselves to promote each other's welfare. See 1 Jo 3:23; 1 Th 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 2 Th 1:3; Ga 6:2; 2 Pe 1:7. In all these places the command of Jesus is repeated or referred to, and it shows that the first disciples considered this indeed as the peculiar law of Christ. This command or law was, moreover, new in regard to the extent to which this love was to be carried; for he immediately adds, "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another." His love for them was strong, continued, unremitting, and he was now about to show his love for them in death. Joh 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." So in 1 Jo 3:16 it is said that "we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." This was a new expression of love; and it showed the strength of attachment which we ought to have for Christians, and how ready we should be to endure hardships, to encounter dangers, and to practise self-denial, to benefit those for whom the Son of God laid down his life.

{x} "new commandment" Le 19:18; Joh 15:12,17; Eph 5:2; 1 Th 4:9 Jas 2:8; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jo 2:7,8; 3:11,23; 4:20,21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 35

Verse 35. By this shall all men, &c. That is, your love for each other shall be so decisive evidence that you are like the Saviour, that all men shall see and know it. It shall be the thing by which you shall be known among all men. You shall not be known by peculiar rites or habits; not by a peculiar form of dress or manner of speech; not by peculiar austerities and unusual customs, like the Pharisees, the Essenes, or the scribes, but by deep, genuine, and tender affection. And it is well known it was this which eminently distinguished the first Christians, and was the subject of remark by the surrounding pagans. "See," said the heathen, "see how they love one another! They are ready to lay down their lives for each other." Alas! how changed is the spirit of the Christian world since then! Perhaps, of all the commands of Jesus, the observance of this is that which is least apparent to a surrounding world. It is not so much that they are divided into different sects, for this may be consistent with love for each other; but it is the want of deep-felt, genuine love toward Christians even of our own denomination; the absence of genuine self-denial; the pride of rank and wealth; and the fact that professed Christians are often known by anything else rather than by true attachment to those who bear the same Christian name and image. The true Christian loves religion wherever it is found—equally in a prince or in a slave, in the mansion of wealth or in the cottage of poverty, on the throne or in the hut of want. He overlooks the distinction of sect, of colour, and of nations; and wherever he finds a man who bears the Christian name and manifests the Christian spirit, he loves him. And this, more and more as the millennium draws near, will be the peculiar badge of the professed children of God. Christians will love their own denominations less than they love the spirit and temper of the Christian, wherever it may be found.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 36

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "but thou shalt follow me" Joh 21:18; 2 Pe 1:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 37

Verse 37. No Barnes text on this verse.

{z} "I will lay down my life" Mt 26:33; Mr 14:29; Lu 22:33

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 13 - Verse 38

Verse 38. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 1. Let not your heart be troubled. The disciples had been greatly distressed at what Jesus had said about leaving them. Comp. Joh 16:6,22. Perhaps they had indicated their distress to him in some manner by their countenance or their expressions, and he proceeds now to administer to them such consolations as their circumstances made proper. The discourse in this chapter was delivered, doubtless, while they were sitting at the table partaking of the Supper (Joh 16:33); that in the two following chapters, and the prayer in the 17th chapter, were while they were on their way to the Mount of Olives. There is nowhere to be found a discourse so beautiful, so tender, so full of weighty thoughts, and so adapted to produce comfort, as that which occurs in these three chapters of John. It is the consolatory part of our religion, where Christ brings to bear on the mind full of anxiety, and perplexity, and care, the tender and inimitably beautiful truths of his gospel—truths fitted to allay every fear, silence every murmur, and give every needed consolation to the soul. In the case of the disciples there was much to trouble them. They were about to part with their beloved, tender friend. They were to be left alone to meet persecutions and trials. They were without wealth, without friends, without honours. And it is not improbable that they felt that his death would demolish all their schemes, for they had not yet fully learned the doctrine that the Messiah must suffer and die, Lu 24:21.

Ye believe in God. This may be read either in the indicative mood or the imperative. Probably it should be read in the imperative—"Believe on God, and believe on me." If there were no other reason for it, this is sufficient, that there was no more evidence that they did believe in God than that they believed in Jesus. All the ancient versions except the Latin read it thus. The Saviour told them that their consolation was to be found at this time in confidence in God and in him; and he intimated what he had so often told them and the Jews, that there was an indissoluble union between him and the Father. This union he takes occasion to explain to them more fully, Joh 13:7-12.

Believe in. Put confidence in, rely on for support and consolation.

{a} "Let not" Isa 43:1,2; 14:27; 2 Th 2:2

{b} "believe also" Isa 12:2,3; Eph 1:12,13; 1 Pe 1:21


Verses 2,3. In my Father's house. Most interpreters understand this of heaven, as the peculiar dwelling-place or palace of God; but it may include the universe, as the abode of the omnipresent God.

Are many mansions. The word rendered mansions means either the act of dwelling in any place (Joh 14:23), "we will make our abode with him"), or it means the place where one dwells. It is taken from the verb to remain, and signifies the place where one dwells or remains. It is applied by the Greek writers to the tents or temporary habitations which soldiers pitch in their marches. It denotes a dwelling of less permanency than the word house. It is commonly understood as affirming that in heaven there is ample room to receive all who will come; that therefore the disciples might be sure that they would not be excluded. Some have understood it as affirming that there will be different grades in the joys of heaven; that some of the mansions of the saints will be nearer to God than others, agreeably to 1 Co 15:40,41. But perhaps this passage may have a meaning which has not occurred to interpreters. Jesus was consoling his disciples, who were affected with grief at the idea of his separation. To comfort them he addresses them in this language:

The universe is the dwelling-place of my Father. All is his house. Whether on earth or in heaven, we are still in his habitation. In that vast abode of God there are many mansions. The earth is one of them, heaven is another. Whether here or there, we are still in the house, in one of the mansions of our Father, in one of the apartments of his vast abode. This we ought continually to feel, and to rejoice that we are permitted to occupy any part of his dwelling-place. Nor does it differ much whether we are in this mansion or another. It should not be a matter of grief when we are called to pass from one part of this vast habitation of God to another. I am indeed about to leave you, but I am going only to another part of the vast dwelling-place of God. I shall still be in the same universal habitation with you; still in the house of the same God; and am going for an important purpose—to fit up another abode for your eternal dwelling.

If this be the meaning, then there is in the discourse true consolation. We see that the death of a Christian is not to be dreaded, nor is it an event over which we should immoderately weep. It is but removing from one apartment of God's universal dwelling—place to another—one where we shall still be in his house, and still feel the same interest in all that pertains to his kingdom. And especially the removal of the Saviour from the earth was an event over which Christians should rejoice, for he is still in the house of God, and still preparing mansions of rest for his people.

If it were not so, &c.

"I have concealed from you no truth. You have been cherishing this hope of a future abode with God. Had it been ill founded I would have told you plainly, as I have told you other things. Had any of you been deceived, as Judas was, I would have made it known to you, as I did to him."

I go to prepare a place for you. By his going is meant his death and ascent to heaven. The figure here is taken from one who is on a journey, who goes before his companions to provide a place to lodge in, and to make the necessary preparations for their entertainment. It evidently means that he, by the work he was yet to perform in heaven, would secure their admission there, and obtain for them the blessings of eternal life. That work would consist mainly in his intercession, Heb 10:12-13,19-22; 7:25-27; 4:14-16.

That where I am. This language could be used by no one who was not then in the place of which he was speaking, and it is just such language as one would naturally use who was both God and man —in reference to his human nature, speaking of his going to his Father; and in reference to his divine nature, speaking as if he was then with God.

Ye may be also. This was language eminently fitted to comfort them. Though about to leave them, yet he would not always be absent. He would come again at the day of judgment and gather all his friends to himself, and they should be ever with him, He 9:28. So shall all Christians be with him. And so, when we part with a beloved Christian friend by death, we may feel assured that the separation will not be eternal. We shall meet again, and dwell in a place where there shall be no more separation and no more tears.

{c} "I go" He 6:20; 9:8,24; Re 21:2

{d} "prepare a place for you" He 9:28

{e} "where I am" Joh 12:26; 17:24; 1 Th 4:17


Verse 3. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 4. Whither I go ye know. He had so often told them that he was to die, and rise, and ascend to heaven, that they could not but understand it, Mt 16:21; Lu 9:22; 18:31,32.

The way ye know. That is, the way that leads to the dwelling-place to which he was going. The way which they were to tread was to obey his precepts, imitate his example, and follow him, Joh 14:6.


Verse 5. We know not whither thou goest. Though Jesus had so often told them of his approaching death and resurrection, yet it seems they did not understand him, nor did they fully comprehend him until after his resurrection. See Lu 24:21. They entertained the common notions of a temporal kingdom; they supposed still that he was to be an earthly prince and leader, and they did not comprehend the reason why he should die. Thomas confessed his ignorance, and the Saviour again patiently explained his meaning. All this shows the difficulty of believing when the mind is full of prejudice and of contrary opinions. Had Thomas laid aside his previous opinions—had he been willing to receive the truth as Jesus plainly spoke it, there would have been no difficulty. Faith would have been an easy and natural exercise of the mind. And so with the sinner. If he were willing to receive the plain and unequivocal doctrines of the Bible, there would be no difficulty; but his mind is full of opposite opinions and plans, occupied with errors and vanities, and these are the reasons, and the only reasons, why he is not a Christian. Yet who would say that, after the plain instructions of Jesus, Thomas might not have understood him? And who will dare to say that any sinner may not lay aside his prejudices and improper views, and receive the plain and simple teaching of the Bible?


Verse 6. I am the way. See Isa 35:8. By this is meant, doubtless, that they and all others were to have access to God only by obeying the instructions, imitating the example, and depending on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the leader in the road, the guide to the wandering, the teacher of the ignorant, and the example to all. See Joh 6:68: "Thou hast the words of eternal life;" 1 Pe 2:21. "Christ—suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps;" Heb 9:8,9.

The truth. The source of truth, or he who originates and communicates truth for the salvation of men. Truth is a representation of things as they are. The life, the purity, and the teaching of Jesus Christ was the most complete and perfect representation of the things of the eternal world that has been or can be presented to man. The ceremonies of the Jews were shadows; the life of Jesus was the truth. The opinions of men are fancy, but the doctrines of Jesus were nothing more than a representation of facts as they exist in the government of God. It is implied in this, also, that Jesus was the fountain of all truth; that by his inspiration the prophets spoke, and that by him all truth is communicated to men. See Barnes "Joh 1:17".

The life. See Joh 11:25, See Barnes "Joh 1:4".

No man cometh to the Father but by me. To come to the Father is to obtain his favour, to have access to his throne by prayer, and finally to enter his kingdom. No man can obtain any of these things except by the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. By coming by him is meant coming in his name and depending on his merits. We are ignorant, and he alone can guide us. We are sinful, and it is only by his merits that we can be pardoned. We are blind, and he only can enlighten us. God has appointed him as the Mediator, and has ordained that all blessings shall descend to this world through him. Hence he has put the world under his control; has given the affairs of men into his hand, and has appointed him to dispense whatever may be necessary for our peace, pardon, and salvation, Ac 4:22; 5:31.

{f} "the way" Isa 35:8,9; Joh 10:9; Heb 10:19,20

{g} "the truth" Joh 1:17; 15:1

{h} "the life" Joh 1:4; 11:25

{i} "no man" Ac 4:12


Verse 7. If ye had known me. By this Jesus does not intend to say that they were not truly his disciples, but that they had not a full and accurate knowledge of his character and designs. They still retained, to a large extent, the Jewish notions respecting a temporal Messiah, and did not fully understand that he was to die and be raised from the dead.

Ye should have known my Father also. You would have known the counsels and designs of my Father respecting my death and resurrection. If you had been divested of your Jewish prejudices about the Messiah, if you had understood that it was proper for me to die, you would also have understood the purposes and plans of God in my death; and, knowing that, you would have seen that it was wise and best. We see here that a correct knowledge of the character and work of Christ is the same as a correct knowledge of the counsels and plans of God; and we see, also, that the reasons why we have not such a knowledge are our previous prejudices and erroneous views.

From henceforth. From this time. From my death and resurrection you shall understand the plans and counsels of God.

Ye know him. You shall have just views of his plans and designs.

Have seen him. That is, they had seen Jesus Christ, his image, and the brightness of his glory (Heb 1:3), which was the same as having seen the Father, Joh 14:9.


Verse 8. Lord, show us the Father. Philip here referred to some outward and visible manifestation of God. God had manifested himself in various ways to the prophets and saints of old, and Philip affirmed that if some such manifestation should be made to them they would be satisfied. It was right to desire evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, but such evidence had been afforded abundantly in the miracles and teaching of Jesus, and that should have sufficed them.


Verse 9. So long time. For more than three years Jesus had been with them. He had raised the dead, cast out devils, healed the sick, done those things which no one could have done who had not come from God. In that time they had had full opportunity to learn his character and his mission from God. Nor was it needful, after so many proofs of his divine mission, that God should visibly manifest himself to them in order that they might be convinced that he came from him.

He that hath seen me. He that has seen my works, heard my doctrines, and understood my character. He that has given proper attention to the proofs that I have afforded that I came from God.

Hath seen the Father. The word Father in these passages seems to be used with reference to the divine nature, or to God represented as a Father, and not particularly to the distinction in the Trinity of Father and Son. The idea is that God, as God, or as a Father, had been manifested in the incarnation, the works, and the teachings of Christ, so that they who had seen and heard him might be said to have had a real view of God. When Jesus says, "hath seen the Father," this cannot refer to the essence or substance of God, for he is invisible, and in that respect no man has seen God at any time. All that is meant when it is said that God is seen, is that some manifestation of him has been made, or some such exhibition as that we may learn his character, his will, and his plans. In this case it cannot mean that he that had seen Jesus with the bodily eyes had in the same sense seen God; but he that had been a witness of his miracles and of his transfiguration—that had heard his doctrines and studied his character —had had full evidence of his divine mission, and of the will and purpose of the Father in sending him. The knowledge of the Son was itself, of course, the knowledge of the Father. There was such an intimate union in their nature and design that he who understood the one understood also the other. See Barnes "Mt 11:27"

See Barnes "Lu 10:22" See Barnes "Joh 1:18".

{k} "he that hath seen me" Col 1:15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 10

Verse 10. I am in the Father. See Barnes "Joh 10:38".

The words that I speak, &c. See Barnes "Joh 7:16"

See Barnes "Joh 7:17".

The Father that dwelleth in me. Literally, "The Father remaining in me." This denotes most intimate union, so that the works which Jesus did might be said to be done by the Father. It implies a more intimate union than can subsist between a mere man and God. Had Jesus been a mere man, like the prophets, he would have said, "The Father who sent or commissioned me doeth the works;" but here there is reference, doubtless, to that mysterious and peculiar union which subsists between the Father and the Son.

He doeth the works. The miracles which had been wrought by Jesus. The Father could be said to do them on account of the intimate union between him and the Son. See Joh 5:17,19,36; 10:30.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Believe me, &c. Believe my declarations that I am in the Father, &c. There were two grounds on which they might believe; one was his own testimony, the other was his works.

Or else. If credit is not given to my words, let there be to my miracles.

For the very works' sake. On account of the works; or, be convinced by the miracles themselves. Either his own testimony was sufficient to convince them, or the many miracles which he had wrought in healing the sick, raising the dead, &c.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 12

Verse 12. He that believeth on me. This promise had doubtless peculiar reference to the apostles themselves. They were full of grief at his departure, and Jesus, in order to console them directed them to the great honour which was to be conferred on them, and to the assurance that God would not leave them, but would attend them in their ministry with the demonstrations of his mighty power. It cannot be understood of all his followers, for the circumstances of the promise do not require us to understand it thus, and it has not been a matter of fact that all Christians have possessed power to do greater works than the Lord Jesus. It is a general promise that greater works than he performed should be done by his followers, without specifying that all his followers would be instrumental in doing them.

The works that I do. The miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, &c. This was done by the apostles in many instances. See Ac 5:15; 19:12; 13:11; 5:1-10.

Greater works than these shall he do. Interpreters have been at a loss in what way to understand this. The most probable meaning of the passage is the following: The word "greater" cannot refer to the miracles themselves, for the works of the apostles did not exceed those of Jesus in power. No higher exertion of power was put forth, or could be, than raising the dead. But, though not greater in themselves considered, yet they were greater in their effects. They made a deeper impression on mankind. They were attended with more extensive results. They were the means of the conversion of more sinners. The works of Jesus were confined to Judea. They were seen by few. The works of the apostles were witnessed by many nations, and the effect of their miracles and preaching was that thousands from among the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the Christian faith. The word greater here is used, therefore, not to denote the absolute exertion of power, but the effect which the miracles would have on mankind. The word "works" here probably denotes not merely miracles, but all things that the apostles did that made an impression on mankind, including their travels, their labours, their doctrine, &c.

Because I go unto my Father. He would there intercede for them, and especially by his going to the Father the Holy Spirit would be sent down to attend them in their ministry, Joh 14:26,28; 16:7-14.

See Mt 28:18. By his going to the Father is particularly denoted his exaltation to heaven, and his being placed as head over all things to his church, Eph 1:20-23; Php 2:9-11. By his being exalted there the Holy Spirit was given (Joh 16:7), and by his power thus put forth the Gentiles were brought to hear and obey the gospel.

{l} "He that believeth on me" Mt 21:21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Whatsoever ye shall ask. This promise referred particularly to the apostles in their work of spreading the gospel; it is, however, true of all Christians, if what they ask is in faith, and according to the will of God, Jas 1:6; 1 Jo 5:14.

In my name. This is equivalent to saying on my account, or for my sake. If a man who has money in a bank authorizes us to draw it, we are said to do it in his name. If a son authorizes us to apply to his father for aid because we are his friends, we do it in the name of the son, and the favour will be bestowed on us from the regard which the parent has to his son, and through him to all his friends. So we are permitted to apply to God in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, because God is in him well pleased (Mt 3:17), and because we are the friends of his Son he answers our requests. Though we are undeserving, yet he loves us on account of his Son, and because he sees in us his image. No privilege is greater than that of approaching God in the name of his Son; no blessings of salvation can be conferred on any who do not come in his name.

That will I do. Being exalted, he will be possessed of all power in heaven and earth (Mt 28:18), and he therefore could fulfil all their desires.

That the Father may be glorified in the Son.

See Barnes "Mt 13:31"

{m} "And whatsoever" 1 Jo 5:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 14

Verse 14. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 15

Verse 15. If ye love me. Do not show your love by grief at my departure merely, or by profession, but by obedience.

Keep my commandments. This is the only proper evidence of love to Jesus, for mere profession is no proof of love; but that love for him which leads us to do all his will, to love each other, to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow him through evil report and through good report, is true attachment. The evidence which we have that a child loves its parents is when that child is willing, without hesitation, gainsaying, or murmuring, to do all that the parent requires him to do. So the disciples of Christ are required to show that they are attached to him supremely by yielding to all his requirements, and by patiently doing his will in the face of ridicule and opposition, 1 Jo 5:2,3.

{n} "If ye love me" Joh 15:10,14; 14:21,23; 1 Jo 5:3

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 16

Verse 16. I will pray the Father. This refers to his intercession after his death and ascension to heaven, for this prayer was to be connected with their keeping his commandments. In what way he makes intercession in heaven for his people we do not know. The fact, however, is clearly made known, Ro 8:34; Heb 4:14,15; 7:25.

It is as the result of his intercession in heaven that we obtain all our blessings, and it is through him that our prayers are to be presented and made efficacious before God.

Another Comforter. Jesus had been to them a counsellor, a guide, a friend, while he was with them. He had instructed them, had borne with their prejudices and ignorance, and had administered consolation to them in the times of despondency. But he was about to leave them now to go alone into an unfriendly world. The other Comforter was to be given as a compensation for his absence, or to perform the offices toward them which he would have done if he had remained personally with them. And from this we may learn, in part, what is the office of the Spirit. It is to furnish to all Christians the instruction and consolation which would be given by the personal presence of Jesus, Joh 16:14. To the apostles it was particularly to inspire them with the knowledge of all truth, Joh 14:26; 15:26. Besides this, he came to convince men of sin. See Barnes "Joh 16:8-11".

It was proper that such an agent should be sent into the world—

1st. Because it was a part of the plan that Jesus should ascend to heaven after his death.

2nd. Unless some heavenly agent should be sent to carry forward the work of salvation, man would reject it and perish.

3rd. Jesus could not be personally and bodily present in all places with the vast multitudes who should believe on him. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, and can reach them all. See Barnes "Joh 16:7".

4th. It was manifestly a part of the plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform his appropriate work—the Father in sending his Son, the Son in making atonement and interceding, and the Spirit in applying the work to the hearts of men.

The word translated Comforter is used in the New Testament five times. In four instances it is applied to the Holy Spirit— Joh 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7.

In the other instance it is applied to the Lord Jesus—1 Jo 2:1: "We have an advocate (Paraclete — Comforter) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

It is used, therefore, only by John. The verb from which it is taken has many significations. Its proper meaning is to call one to us (Ac 27:20); then to call one to aid us, as an advocate in a court; then to exhort or entreat, to pray or implore, as an advocate does, and to comfort or console, by suggesting reasons or arguments for consolation. The word "comforter" is frequently used by Greek writers to denote an advocate in a court; one who intercedes; a monitor, a teacher, an assistant, a helper. It is somewhat difficult, therefore, to fix the precise meaning of the word. It may be translated either advocate, monitor, teacher, or helper. What the office of the Holy Spirit in this respect is, is to be learned from what we are elsewhere told he does. We learn particularly from the accounts that our Saviour gives of his work that that office was,

1st. To comfort the disciples; to be with them in his absence and to supply his place; and this is properly expressed by the word Comforter.

2nd. To teach them, or remind them of truth; and this might be expressed by the word monitor or teacher, Joh 14:26 Joh 15:26, 27.

3rd. To aid them in their work; to advocate their cause, or to assist them in advocating the cause of religion in the world, and in bringing sinners to repentance; and this may be expressed by the word advocate, Joh 16:7-13. It was also by the Spirit that they were enabled to stand before kings and magistrates, and boldly to speak in the name of Jesus, Mt 10:20. These seem to comprise all the meanings of the word in the New Testament, but no single word in our language expresses fully the sense of the original.

That he may abide with you for ever. Not that he should remain with you for a few years, as I have done, and then leave you, but be with you in all places to the close of your life. He shall be your constant guide and attendant.

{o} "another Comforter" Joh 15:26

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 17

Verse 17. The Spirit of truth. He is thus called here because he would teach them the truth, or would guide them into all truth, Joh 16:13. He would keep them from all error, and teach them the truth, which, either by writing or preaching, they were to communicate to others.

The world. The term world is often used to denote all who are entirely under the influence of the things of this world —pride, ambition, and pleasure; all who are not Christians, and especially all who are addicted to gross vices and pursuits, 1 Co 1:21; 11:32; Joh 12:31; 2 Co 4:4.

Cannot receive. Cannot admit as a teacher or comforter, or cannot receive in his offices of enlightening and purifying. The reason why they could not do this is immediately added.

Because it seeth him not. The men of the world are under the influence of the senses. They walk by sight, and not by faith. Hence what they cannot perceive by their senses, what does not gratify their sight, or taste, or feeling, makes no impression on them. As they cannot see the operations of the Spirit (Joh 3:8), they judge that all that is said of his influence is delusive, and hence they cannot receive him. They have an erroneous mode of judging of what is for the welfare of man.

Neither knoweth him. To know, in the Scriptures, often means more than the act of the mind in simply understanding a thing. It denotes every act or emotion of the mind that is requisite in receiving the proper impression of a truth. Hence it often includes the idea of approbation, of love, of cordial feeling, Ps 1:6; Ps 37:18; 138:6; Na 1:7; 2 Ti 2:19.

In this place it means the approbation of the heart; and as the people of the world do not approve of or desire the aid of the Spirit, so it is said they cannot receive him. They have no love for him, and they reject him. Men often consider his work in the conversion of sinners and in revivals as delusion. They love the world so much that they cannot understand his work or embrace him.

He dwelleth in you. The Spirit dwells in Christians by his sacred influences. There is no personal union, no physical indwelling, for God is essentially present in one place as much as in another; but he works in us repentance, peace, joy, meekness, &c. He teaches us, guides us, and comforts us. See Barnes "Ga 5:22-24".

Thus he is said to dwell in us when we are made pure, peaceable, holy, humble; when we become like him, and cherish his sacred influences. The word "dwelleth" means to remain with them. Jesus was to be taken away, but the Spirit would remain. It is also implied that they would know his presence, and have assurance that they were under his guidance. This was true of the apostles as inspired men, and it is true of all Christians that by ascertaining that they have the graces of the Spirits—joy, peace, long-suffering, &c.—they know that they are the children of God, 1 Jo 3:24; 5:10.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 18

Verse 18. Comfortless. Greek, orphans. Jesus here addresses them as children, Joh 13:33. He says that he would show them the kindness of a parent, and, though he was going away, he would provide for their future welfare. And even while he was absent, yet they would sustain to him still the relation of children. Though he was to die, yet he would live again; though absent in body, yet he would be present with them by his Spirit; though he was to go away to heaven, yet he would return again to them. See Joh 14:3.

{1} "comfortless" or, "orphans"

{r} "I will come to you" Joh 14:3,28.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 19

Verse 19. A little while. This was the day before his death.

Seeth me no more. No more until the day of judgment. The men of the world would not see him visibly, and they had not the eye of faith to discern him.

But ye see me. Ye shall continue to see me by faith, even when the world cannot. You will continue to see me by the eye of faith as still your gracious Saviour and Friend.

Because I live. Though the Saviour was about to die, yet was he also about to be raised from the dead. He was to continue to live, and though absent from them, yet he would feel the same interest in their welfare as when he was with them on earth. This expression does not refer particularly to his resurrection, but his continuing to live. He had a nature which could not die. As Mediator also he would be raised and continue to live; and he would have both power and inclination to give them also life, to defend them, and bring them with him.

Ye shall live also. This doubtless refers to their future life. And we learn from this,

1st. That the life of the Christian depends on that of Christ, They are united; and if they were separated, the Christian could neither enjoy spiritual life here nor eternal joy hereafter.

2nd. The fact that Jesus lives is a pledge that all who believe in him shall be saved. He has power over all our spiritual foes, and he can deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and from all temptations and trials.

{s} "because I live" Heb 7:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 20

Verse 20. At that day. In the time when my life shall be fully manifested to you, and you shall receive the assurance that I live. This refers to the time after his resurrection, and to the manifestations which in various ways he would make that he was alive.

That I am in my Father, &c. That we are most intimately and indissolubly united. See Barnes "Joh 10:38".

Ye in me. That there is a union between us which can never be severed. See Barnes "Joh 15:1, also Joh 15:2-7.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 21

Verse 21. He that hath, &c. This intimate union is farther manifested by these facts:

1st. That true love to Jesus will produce obedience. See Joh 14:15.

2nd. That those who love him will be loved of the Father, showing that there is a union between the Father and the Son.

3rd. That Jesus also will love them, evincing still the same union. Religion is love. The love of one holy being or object is the love of all. The kingdom of God is one. His people, though called by different names, are one. They are united to each other and to God, and the bond which unites the whole kingdom in one is love.

Will manifest myself to him. To manifest is to show, to make appear, to place before the eyes so that an object may be seen. This means that Jesus would so show himself to his followers that they should see and know that he was their Saviour. In what way this is done, see Joh 14:23.

{t} "He that hath" Joh 14:15,23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Judas saith unto him. This was the same as Lebbeus or Thaddeus. See Mt 10:3. He was the brother of James, and the author of the Epistle of Jude.

How is it, &c. Probably Judas thought that he spake only of his resurrection, and he did not readily see how it could be that he could show himself to them, and not be seen also by others.

{u} Lu 6:16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 23

Verse 23. Will keep my words. See Joh 14:15.

We will come to him. We will come to him with the manifestation of pardon, peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost. It means that God will manifest himself to the soul as a Father and Friend; that Jesus will manifest himself as a Saviour; that is, that there will be shed abroad in the heart just views and proper feelings toward God and Christ. The Christian will rejoice in the perfections of God and of Christ, and will delight to contemplate the glories of a present Saviour. The condition of a sinner is represented as one who has gone astray from God, and from whom God has withdrawn, Ps 58:3; Pr 27:10 Eze 14:11. He is alienated from God, Eph 2:12; Is 1:4; Eph 4:18

Col 1:21. Religion is represented as God returning to the soul, and manifesting himself as reconciled through Jesus Christ, 2 Co 5:18; Col 1:21.

Make our abode. This is a figurative expression implying that God and Christ would manifest themselves in no temporary way, but that it would be the privilege of Christians to enjoy their presence continually. They would take up their residence in the heart as their dwelling-place, as a temple fit for their abode. See 1 Co 3:16: "Ye are the temple of God;" Joh 14:19: "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost;" 2 Co 6:16: "Ye are the temple of the living God." This does not mean that there is any personal union between Christians and God—that there is any peculiar indwelling of the essence of God in us— for God is essentially present in all places in the same way; but it is a figurative mode of speaking, denoting that the Christian is under the influence of God; that he rejoices in his presence, and that he has the views, the feelings, the joys which God produces in a redeemed soul, and with which he is pleased.

{v} "and we will come into him" 1 Jo 2:24; Re 3:20

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 24

Verse 24. The word which you hear is not mine. See Barnes on "Joh 5:19, See Barnes on "Joh 7:16".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Have I spoken. For your consolation and guidance. But, though he had said so many things to console them, yet the Spirit would be given also as their Comforter and Guide.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 26

Verse 26. Will send in my name. On my account. To perfect my work. To execute it as I would in applying it to the hearts of men. See Joh 14:13.

Shall teach you all things. All things which it was needful for them to understand in the apostolic office, and particularly those things which they were not prepared then to hear or could not then understand. See Joh 16:12. Comp. See Barnes "Mt 10:19, See Barnes "Mt 10:20".

This was a full promise that they would be inspired, and that in organizing the church, and in recording the truths necessary for its edification, they would be under the infallible guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Bring all things to your remembrance. This probably refers to two things:

1st. He would seasonably remind them of the sayings of Jesus, which they might otherwise have forgotten. In the organization of the church, and in composing the sacred history, he would preside over their memories, and recall such truths and doctrines as were necessary either for their comfort or the edification of his people. Amid the multitude of things which Jesus spake during a ministry of more than three years, it was to be expected that many things which he had uttered, that would be important for the edification of the church, would be forgotten. We see, hence, the nature of their inspiration. The Holy Spirit made use of their memories, and doubtless of all their natural faculties. He so presided over their memories as to recall what they had forgotten, and then it was recorded as a thing which they distinctly remembered, in the same way as we remember a thing which would have been forgotten had not some friend recalled it to our recollection.

2nd. The Holy Spirit would teach them the meaning of those things which the Saviour had spoken. Thus they did not understand that he ought to be put to death till after his resurrection, though he had repeatedly told them of it, Lu 24:21,25,26.

So they did not till then understand that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, though this was also declared before. Comp. Mt 4:15,16; Mt 12:21, with Ac 10:44-48.

{w} "but the Comforter" Joh 16:23; 1 Jo 2:20,27

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 27

Verse 27. Peace I leave with you. This was a common form of benediction among the Jews. See Barnes "Mt 10:13".

It is the invocation of the blessings of peace and happiness. In this place it was, however, much more than a mere form or an empty wish. It came from Him who had power to make peace and to confer it on all, Eph 2:15. It refers here particularly to the consolations which he gave to his disciples in view of his approaching death. He had exhorted them not to be troubled (Joh 14:1), and he had stated reasons why they should not be. He explained to them why he was about to leave them; he promised them that he would return; he assured them that the Holy Ghost would come to comfort, teach, and guide them. By all these truths and promises he provided for their peace in the time of his approaching departure. But the expression refers also, doubtless, to the peace which is given to all who love the Saviour. They are by nature enmity against God, Ro 7:7. Their minds are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, Isa 57:20. They were at war with conscience, with the law and perfections of God, and with all the truths of religion. Their state after conversion is described as a state of peace. They are reconciled to God; they acquiesce in all his claims; and they have a joy which the world knows not in the word, the promises, the law, and the perfections of God, in the plan of salvation, and in the hopes of eternal life. See Ro 1:7; 5:1; 8:6; 14:7; Ga 5:22; Eph 2:17; 6:15; Php 4:7; Col 3:15.

My peace. Such as I only can impart. The peculiar peace which my religion is fitted to impart.

Not as the world.

1st. Not as the objects which men commonly pursue— pleasure, fame, wealth. They leave care, anxiety, remorse. They do not meet the desires of the immortal mind, and they are incapable of affording that peace which the soul needs.

2nd. Not as the men of the world give. They salute you with empty and flattering words, but their professed friendship is often feigned and has no sincerity. You cannot be sure that they are sincere, but I am.

3rd. Not as systems of philosophy and false religion give. They profess to give peace, but it is not real. It does not still the voice of conscience; it does not take away sin; it does not reconcile the soul to God.

4th. My peace is such as meets all the wants of the soul, silences the alarms of conscience, is fixed and sure amid all external changes, and will abide in the hour of death and for ever. How desirable, in a world of anxiety and care, to possess this peace! and how should all who have it not, seek that which the world can neither give nor take away!

Neither let it be afraid. Of any pain, persecutions, or trials. You have a Friend who will never leave you; a peace that shall always attend you. See Joh 14:1.

{y} "Peace" Eph 2:14-17; Php 4:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 28

Verse 28. Ye have heard, &c. Joh 14:2,3.

If ye loved me. The expression is not to be construed as if they had then no love to him, for they evidently had; but they had also low views of him as the Messiah; they had many Jewish prejudices, and they were slow to believe his plain and positive declarations. This is the slight and tender reproof of a friend, meaning manifestly if you had proper love for me; if you had the highest views of my character and work; if you would lay aside your Jewish prejudices, and put entire, implicit confidence in what I say.

Ye would rejoice. Instead of grieving, you would rejoice in the completion of the plan which requires me to return to heaven, that greater blessings may descend on you by the influences of the Holy Spirit.

Unto the Father. To heaven; to the immediate presence of God, from whom all the blessings of redemption are to descend.

For my Father is greater than I. The object of Jesus here is not to compare his nature with that of the Father, but his condition. Ye would rejoice that I am to leave this state of suffering and humiliation, and resume that glory which I had with the Father before the world was. You ought to rejoice at my exaltation to bliss and glory with the Father (Professor Stuart). The object of this expression is to console the disciples in view of his absence. This he does by saying that if he goes away, the Holy Spirit will descend, and great success will attend the preaching of the gospel, Joh 16:7-10. In the plan of salvation the Father is represented as giving the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the various blessings of the gospel. As the Appointer, the Giver, the Originator, he may be represented as in office superior to the Son and the Holy Spirit. The discourse has no reference, manifestly, to the nature of Christ, and cannot therefore be adduced to prove that he is not divine. Its whole connection demands that we interpret it as relating solely to the imparting of the blessings connected with redemption, in which the Son is represented all along as having been sent or given, and in this respect as sustaining a relation subordinate to the Father.

{z} "I go to the Father" Joh 14:12

{a} "for my Father is greater" 1 Co 15:27,28

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 29

Verse 29. Before it come to pass. Before my death, resurrection, and ascension.

Ye might believe. Ye might be confirmed or strengthened in faith by the evidence which I gave that I came from God—the power of foretelling future events.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 30

Verse 30. Will not talk much. The time of my death draws nigh. It occurred the next day.

The prince of this world. See Barnes "Joh 12:31".

Cometh. Satan is represented as approaching him to try him in his sufferings, and it is commonly supposed that no small part of the pain endured in the garden of Gethsemane was from some dreadful conflict with the great enemy of man. See Lu 22:53: "This is your hour and the power of darkness." Comp. Lu 4:13.

Hath nothing in me. There is in me no principle or feeling that accords with his, and nothing, therefore, by which he can prevail. Temptation has only power because there are some principles in us which accord with the designs of the tempter, and which may be excited by presenting corresponding objects till our virtue be overcome. Where there is no such propensity, temptation has no power. As the principles of Jesus were wholly on the side of virtue, the meaning here may be that, though he had the natural appetites of man, his virtue was so supreme that Satan "had nothing in him" which could constitute any danger that he would be led into sin, and that there was no fear of the result of the conflict before him.

{b} "prince of this world" Joh 16:11; Eph 2:2

{c} "hath nothing in me" 2 Co 5:21; He 4:15; 1 Jo 3:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 31

Verse 31. That the world may know that I love the Father. That it might not be alleged that his virtue had not been subjected to trial. It was subjected. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, Heb 4:15. He passed through the severest forms of temptation, that it might be seen and known that his holiness was proof to all trial, and that human nature might be so pure as to resist all forms of temptation. This will be the case with all the saints in heaven, and it was the case with Jesus on earth.

Even so I do. In all things he obeyed; and he showed that, in the face of calamities, persecutions, and temptations, he was still disposed to obey his Father. This he did that the world might know that he loved the Father. So should we bear trials and resist temptation; and so, through persecution and calamity, should we show that we are actuated by the love of God.

Arise, let us go hence. It has been commonly supposed that Jesus and the apostles now rose from the paschal supper and went to the Mount of Olives, and that the remainder of the discourse in chapters 15-16, together with the prayer in chapter 17, was delivered while on the way to the garden of Gethsemane; but some have supposed that they merely rose from the table, and that the discourse was finished before they left the room. The former is the more correct opinion. It was now probably toward midnight, and the moon was at the full, and the scene was one, therefore, of great interest and tenderness. Jesus, with a little band, was himself about to die, and he went forth in the stillness of the night, counselling his little company in regard to their duties and dangers, and invoking the protection and blessing of God his Father to attend, to sanctify, and guide them in the arduous labours, the toils, and the persecutions they were yet to endure, chapter 17.

{d} "as the Father gave me commandment" Ps 40:8; Php 2:8


Verse 1. I am the true vine. Some have supposed that this discourse was delivered in the room where the Lord's Supper was instituted, and that, as they had made use of wine, Jesus took occasion from that to say that he was the true vine, and to intimate that his blood was the real wine that was to give strength to the soul. Others have supposed that it was delivered in the temple, the entrance to which was adorned with a golden vine (Josephus), and that Jesus took occasion thence to say that he was the true vine; but it is most probable that it was spoken while they were going from the paschal supper to the Mount of Olives. Whether it was suggested by the sight of vines by the way, or by the wine of which they had just partaken, cannot now be determined. The comparison was frequent among Jews, for Palestine abounded in vineyards, and the illustration was very striking. Thus the Jewish people are compared to a vine which God had planted, Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80:8-16; Joe 1:7; Jer 2:21; Eze 19:10.

When Jesus says he was the true vine, perhaps allusion is had to Jer 2:21. The word true, here, is used in the sense of real, genuine. He really and truly gives what is emblematically represented by a vine. The point of the comparison or the meaning of the figure is this: A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether these are large or small. All the nourishment of each branch and tendril passes through the main stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth. So Jesus is the source of all real strength and grace to his disciples. He is their leader and teacher, and imparts to them, as they need, grace and strength to bear the fruits of holiness.

And my Father is the husbandman. The word vine-dresser more properly expresses the sense of the original word than husbandman. It means one who has the care of a vineyard; whose office it is to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare. See Barnes "Mt 21:33".

The figure means that God gave, or appointed his Son to be, the source of blessings to man; that all grace descends through him; and that God takes care of all the branches of this vine—that is, of all who are by faith united to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus and all his church he feels the deepest interest, and it is an object of great solicitude that his church should receive these blessings and bear much fruit.

{a} "true vine" Isa 4:2

{b} "husbandman" So 8:12


Verse 2. Every branch in me. Every one that is a true follower of me, that is united to me by faith, and that truly derives grace and strength from me, as the branch does from the vine. The word branch includes all the boughs, and the smallest tendrils that shoot out from the parent stalk. Jesus here says that he sustains the same relation to his disciples that a parent stalk does to the branches; but this does not denote any physical or incomprehensible union. It is a union formed by believing on him; resulting from our feeling our dependence on him and our need of him; from embracing him as our Saviour, Redeemer, and Friend. We become united to him in all our interests, and have common feelings, common desires, and a common destiny with him. We seek the same objects, are willing to encounter the same trials, contempt, persecution, and want, and are desirous that his God shall be ours, and his eternal abode ours. It is a union of friendship, of love, and of dependence; a union of weakness with strength; of imperfection with perfection; of a dying nature with a living Saviour; of a lost sinner with an unchanging Friend and Redeemer. It is the most tender and interesting of all relations, but not more mysterious or more physical than the union of parent and child, of husband and wife (Eph 5:23), or friend and friend.

That beareth not fruit. As the vinedresser will remove all branches that are dead or that bear no fruit, so will God take from his church all professed Christians who give no evidence by their lives that they are truly united to the Lord Jesus. He here refers to such cases as that of Judas, the apostatizing disciples, and all false and merely nominal Christians (Dr. Adam Clarke).

He taketh away. The vine-dresser cuts it off. God removes such in various ways:

1st. By the discipline of the church.

2nd. By suffering them to fall into temptation.

3rd. By persecution and tribulation, by the deceitfulness of riches, and by the cares of the world (Mt 13:21,22); by suffering the man to be placed in such circumstances as Judas, Achan, and Ananias were—such as to show what they were, to bring their characters fairly out, and to let it be seen that they had no true love to God.

4th. By death, for God has power thus at any moment to remove unprofitable branches from the church.

Every branch that beareth fruit. That is, all true Christians, for all such bear fruit. To bear fruit is to show by our lives that we are under the influence of the religion of Christ, and that that religion produces in us its appropriate effects, Ga 5:22,23. See Barnes "Mt 7:16-20".

It is also to live so as to be useful to others. As a vineyard is worthless unless it bears fruit that may promote the happiness or subsistence of man, so the Christian principle would be worthless unless Christians should live so that others may be made holy and happy by their example and labours, and so that the world may be brought to the cross of the Saviour.

He purgeth it. Or rather he prunes it, or cleanses it by pruning. There is a use of words here —a paronomasia - in the original which cannot be retained in the translation. It may be imperfectly seen by retaining the Greek words—"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away (airei); every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it (kathairei); now ye are clean (katharoi)," &c. The same Greek word in different forms is still retained. God purifies all true Christians so that they may be more useful. He takes away that which hindered their usefulness; teaches them; quickens them; revives them; makes them more pure in motive and in life. This he does by the regular influences of his Spirit in sanctifying them, purifying their motives, teaching them the beauty of holiness, and inducing them to devote themselves more to him. He does it by taking away what opposes their usefulness, however much they may be attached to it, or however painful to part with it; as a vine-dresser will often feel himself compelled to lop off a branch that is large, apparently thrifty, and handsome, but which bears no fruit, and which shades or injures those which do. So God often takes away the property of his people, their children, or other idols. He removes the objects which bind their affections, and which render them inactive. He takes away the things around man, as he did the valued gourds of Jonah (Joh 4:5-11), so that he may feel his dependence, and live more to the honour of God, and bring forth more proof of humble and active piety.

{c} "Every branch" Mt 15:13

{d} "that beareth" Heb 12:15; Re 3:19


Verse 3. Now ye are clean. Still keeping up the figure (katharoi). It does not mean that they were perfect, but that they had been under a process of purifying by his instructions all the time he had been with them. He had removed their erroneous notions of the Messiah; he had gradually reclaimed them from their fond and foolish views respecting earthly honours; he had taught them to be willing to forsake all things; and he had so trained and disciplined them that immediately after his death they would be ready to go and bear fruit among all nations to the honour of his name. In addition to this, Judas had been removed from their number, and they were now all true followers of the Saviour. See Barnes "Joh 13:10".

Through the word. By means of the teachings of Jesus while he had been with them.

{e} "Now, you are clean" Joh 17:17; Eph 5:26; 1 Pe 1:22


Verse 4. Abide in me. Remain united to me by a living faith. Live a life of dependence on me, and obey my doctrines, imitate my example, and constantly exercise faith in me.

And I in you. That is, if you remain attached to me, I will remain with you, and will teach, guide, and comfort you. This he proceeds to illustrate by a reference to the vine. If the branch should be cut off an instant, it would die and be fruitless. As long as it is in the vine, from the nature of the case, the parent stock imparts its juices, and furnishes a constant circulation of sap adapted to the growth and fruitfulness of the branch. So our piety, if we should be separate from Christ, or if we cease to feel our union to him and dependence on him, withers and droops. While we are united to him by a living faith, from the nature of the case, strength flows from him to us, and we receive help as we need. Piety then, manifested in good works, in love, and self-denial, is as natural, as easy, as unconstrained, and as lovely as the vine covered with fruitful branches is at once useful and enticing.

{f} "abide in me" Joh 2:6

{g} "As the branch" Hos 14:8; Ga 2:20; Php 1:11


Verse 5. I am the vine, Joh 15:1

Without me ye can do nothing. The expression "without me" denotes the same as separate from me. As the branches, if separated from the parent stock, could produce no fruit, but would immediately wither and die, so Christians, if separate from Christ, could do nothing. The expression is one, therefore, strongly implying dependence. The Son of God was the original source of life, Joh 1:4. He also, by his work as Mediator, gives life to the world (Joh 6:33), and it is by the same grace and agency that it is continued in the Christian. We see hence,

1st. That to him is due all the praise for all the good works the Christian performs.

2nd. That they will perform good works just in proportion as they feel their dependence on him and look to him. And

3rd. That the reason why others fail of being holy is because they are unwilling to look to him, and seek grace and strength from him who alone is able to give it.

{1} "without me", or "severed from me"


Verse 6. If a man abide not in me. See Joh 15:4. If a man is not truly united to him by faith, and does not live with a continual sense of his dependence on him. This doubtless refers to those who are professors of religion, but who have never known anything of true and real connection with him.

Is cast forth. See Barnes "Joh 15:2".

See Barnes "Mt 8:12, Also See Barnes "Mt 22:13".

Is withered. Is dried up. A branch cut off withers. So of a soul unconnected with Christ, however fair it may have appeared, and however flourishing when a profession of religion was first made, yet when it is tried, and it is seen that there was no true grace, everything withers and dies. The zeal languishes, the professed love is gone, prayer is neglected, the sanctuary is forsaken, and the soul becomes like a withered branch reserved for the fire of the last great day.

See a beautiful illustration of this in Eze 15:1-8.

Men gather them. The word men is not in the original, and should not have been in the translation. The Greek is "they gather them," a form of expression denoting simply they are gathered, without specifying by whom it is done. From Mt 13:40-42, it seems that it will be done by the angels. The expression means, as the withered and useless branches of trees are gathered for fuel, so shall it be with all hypocrites and false professors of religion.

Are burned. See Mt 13:42.

{h} "If a man abide" Mt 3:10; 7:19


Verse 15. My words. My doctrine; my commandments.

Abide in you. Not only are remembered, but are suffered to remain in you as a living principle, to regulate your affections and life.

Ye shall ask, &c. See Joh 14:13. This promise had particular reference to the apostles. It is applicable to other Christians only so far as they are in circumstances similar to the apostles, and only so far as they possess their spirit. We learn from it that it is only when we keep the commandments of Christ—only when we live by faith in him, and his words are suffered to control our conduct and affections, that our prayers will be heard. Were we perfect in all things, he would always hear us, and we should be kept from making an improper petition; but just so far as men regard iniquity in their heart, the Lord will not hear them, Ps 66:18.

{i} "Ye shall ask" Joh 16:23


Verse 8. Herein. In this—to wit, in your bearing much fruit.

Glorified. Honoured.

Bear much fruit. Are fruitful in good works; are faithful, zealous, humble, devoted, always abounding in the work of the Lord. This honours God,

1st. Because it shows the excellence of his law which requires it.

2nd. Because it shows the power of his gospel, and of that grace which can overcome the evil propensities of the heart and produce it.

3rd. Because the Christian is restored to the divine image, and it shows how excellent is the character after which they are formed. They imitate God, and the world sees that the whole tendency of the divine administration and character is to make man holy; to produce in us that which is lovely, and true, and honest, and of good report. Comp. Mt 7:20; Php 4:8.

So. That is, in doing this.

Shall ye be my disciples. This is a true test of character. It is not by profession, but it is by a holy life, that the character is tried. This is a test which it is easy to apply, and one which decides the case. It is worthy of remark that the Saviour says that those who bear MUCH fruit are they who are his disciples. The design and tendency of his religion is to excite men to do much good, and to call forth all their strength, and time, and talents in the work for which the Saviour laid down his life. Nor should anyone take comfort in the belief that he is a Christian who does not aim to do much good, and who does not devote to God all that he has in an honest effort to glorify his name, and to benefit a dying world. The apostles obeyed this command of the Saviour, and went forth preaching the gospel everywhere, and aiming to bring all men to the knowledge of the truth; and it is this spirit only, manifested in a proper manner, which can constitute any certain evidence of piety.


Verse 9. As the Father hath loved me. The love of the Father toward his only-begotten Son is the highest affection of which we can conceive. Comp. Mt 3:17; 17:5. It is the love of God toward his coequal Son, who is like him in all things, who always pleased him, and who was willing to endure the greatest sacrifices and toils to accomplish his purpose of mercy. Yet this love is adduced to illustrate the tender affection which the Lord Jesus has for all his friends.

So have I loved you. Not to the same degree, for this was impossible, but with the same kind of love—deep, tender, unchanging; love prompting to self-denials, toils, and sacrifices to secure their welfare.

Continue ye. The reason which he gives for their doing this is the strength of the love which he had shown for them. His love was so great for them that he was about to lay down his life. This constitutes a strong reason why we should continue in his love.

1st. Because the love which he shows for us is unchanging.

2nd. It is the love of our best friend—love whose strength was expressed by toils, and groans, and blood.

3rd. As he is unchanging in the character and strength of his affection, so should we be. Thus only can we properly express our gratitude; thus only show that we are his true friends.

4th. Our happiness here and for ever depends altogether on our continuing in the love of Christ. We have no source of permanent joy but in that love.

In my love. In love to me. Thus it is expressed in the Greek in the next verse. The connection also demands that we understand it of our love to him, and not of his love to us. The latter cannot be the subject of a command; the former may. See also Lu 11:42; 1 Jo 2:5 Jude 1:21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 10

Verse 10. See Joh 14:23,24

{k} "If ye keep my commandments" Joh 14:21,23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 11

Verse 11. These things. The discourse in this and the previous chapter. This discourse was designed to comfort them by the promise of the Holy Spirit and of eternal life, and to direct them in the discharge of their duty.

My joy. This expression probably denotes the happiness which Jesus had, and would continue to have, by their obedience, love, and fidelity. Their obedience was to him a source of joy. It was that which he sought and for which he had laboured. He now clearly taught them the path of duty, and encouraged them to persevere, notwithstanding he was about to leave them. If they obeyed him, it would continue to him to be a source of joy. Christ rejoices in the obedience of all his friends; and, though his happiness is not dependent on them, yet their fidelity is an object which he desires and in which he finds delight. The same sentiment is expressed in Joh 17:13.

Your joy might be full. That you might be delivered from your despondency and grief at my departure; that you might see the reason why I leave you, be comforted by the Holy Spirit, and be sustained in the arduous trials of your ministry. See 1 Jo 1:4; 2 Jo 1:12. This promise of the Saviour was abundantly fulfilled. The apostles with great frequency speak of the fulness of their joy—joy produced in just the manner promised by the Saviour— by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And it showed his great love, that he promised such joy; his infinite knowledge, that, in the midst of their many trials and persecutions, he knew that they would possess it; and the glorious power and loveliness of his gospel, that it could impart such joy amid so many tribulations. See instances of this joy in Ac 13:52; Re 14:17; 2 Co 2:3; Ga 5:22; 1 Th 1:6; 2:19, 20; 3:9; 1 Pe 1:8; Ro 5:11; 2 Co 7:4.

{l} "that your joy" Joh 16:24; 17:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 12

Verse 12. This is my commandment. The peculiar law of Christianity, called hence the new commandment. See Barnes "Joh 13:34".

As I have loved you. That is, with the same tender affection, willing to endure trials, to practise self-denials, and, if need be, to lay down your lives for each other, 1 Jo 3:16.

{m} "This is my commandment" Joh 13:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Greater love hath, &c. No higher expression of love could be given. Life is the most valuable object we possess; and when a man is willing to lay that down for his friends or his country, it shows the utmost extent of love. Even this love for friends has been rarely witnessed. A very few cases—like that of Damon and Pythias—have occurred where a man was willing to save the life of his friend by giving his own. It greatly enhances the love of Christ, that while the instances of those who have been willing to die for friends have been so rare, he was willing to die for enemies—bitter foes, who rejected his reign, persecuted him, reviled him, scorned him, and sought his life, 1 Jo 4:10; Re 5:6,10.

It also shows us the extent of his love that he gave himself up, not to common sufferings, but to the most bitter, painful, and protracted sorrows, not for himself, not for friends, but for a thoughtless and unbelieving world.

"O Lamb of God, was ever pain,
Was ever LOVE like thine!"

{n} "greater love" Ro 5:7,8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 14

Verse 14. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "Greater love" Joh 15:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 15

Verse 15. I call you not servants. This had been the common title by which he addressed them (Mt 10:24,25; Joh 12:26; 13:13); but he had also before this, on one occasion, called them friends (Lu 12:4), and on one occasion after this he called them servants, Joh 15:20. He here means that the ordinary title by which he would henceforth address them would be that of friends.

The servant knoweth not, &c. He receives the command of his master without knowing the reason why this or that thing is ordered. It is one of the conditions of slavery not to be let into the counsels and plans of the master. It is the privilege of friendship to be made acquainted with the plans, wishes, and wants of the friend. This instance of friendship Jesus had given them by making them acquainted with the reasons why he was about to leave them, and with his secret wishes in regard to them. As he had given them this proof of friendship, it was proper that he should not withhold from them the title of friends.

His lord. His master.

I have called you friends. I have given you the name of friends. He does not mean that the usual appellation which he had given them had been than of friends, but that such was the title which he had now given them.

For all things, &c. The reason why he called them friends was that he had now treated them as friends. He had opened to them his mind; made known his plans; acquainted them with the design of his coming, his death, his resurrection, and ascension; and, having thus given them the clearest proof of friendship, it was proper that he should give them the name.

That I have heard, &c. Jesus frequently represents himself as commissioned or sent by God to accomplish an important work, and as being instructed by him in regard to the nature of that work. See Barnes "Joh 5:30".

By what he had heard of the Father, he doubtless refers to the design of God in his coming and his death. This he had made known to them.

{p} "friends" Jas 2:23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 16

Verse 16. Ye have not chosen me. The word here translated chosen is that from which is derived the word elect, and means the same thing. It is frequently thus translated, Mr 13:20; Mt 24:22,24,31; Col 3:12. It refers here, doubtless, to his choosing or electing them to be apostles. He says that it was not because they had chosen him to be their teacher and guide, but because he had designated them to be his apostles. See Barnes "Joh 6:70" See Barnes "Mt 4:18, also Mt 4:19-22. He thus shows them that his love for them was pure and disinterested; that it commenced when they had no affection for him; that it was not a matter of obligation on his part, and that therefore it placed them under more tender and sacred obligations to be entirely devoted to his service. The same may be said of all who are endowed with talents of any kind, or raised to any office in the church or the state. It is not that they have originated these talents, or laid God under obligation. What they have they owe to his sovereign goodness, and they are bound to devote all to his service. Equally true is this of all Christians. It was not that by nature they were more inclined than others to seek God, or that they had any native goodness to recommend them to him, but it was because he graciously inclined them by his Holy Spirit to seek him; because, in the language of-the Episcopal and Methodist articles of religion, "The grace of Christ PREVENTED them;" that is, went before them, commenced the work of their personal salvation, and thus God in sovereign mercy chose them as his own. Whatever Christians, then, possess, they owe to God, and by the most tender and sacred ties they are bound to be his followers.

I have chosen you. To be apostles. Yet all whom he now addressed were true disciples. Judas had left them; and when Jesus says he had chosen them to bear fruit, it may mean, also, that he had "chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," 2 Th 2:13.

Ordained you. Literally, I have placed you, appointed you, set you apart. It does not mean that he had done this by any formal public act of the imposition of hands, as we now use the word, but that he had designated or appointed them to this work, Lu 6:13-16; Mt 10:2-5.

Bring forth fruit. That you should be rich in good works; faithful and successful in spreading my gospel. This was the great business to which they were set apart, and this they faithfully accomplished. It may be added that this is the great end for which Christians are chosen. It is not to be idle, or useless, or simply to seek enjoyment. It is to do good, and to spread as far as possible the rich temporal and spiritual blessings which the gospel is fitted to confer on mankind.

Your fruit should remain This probably means,

1st. That the effect of their labours would be permanent on mankind. Their efforts were not to be like those of false teachers, the result of whose labours soon vanish away (Ac 5:38,39), but their gospel was to spread—was to take a deep and permanent hold on men, and was ultimately to fill the world, Mt 16:18. The Saviour knew this, and never was a prediction more cheering for man or more certain in its fulfillment.

2nd. There is included, also, in this declaration the idea that their labours were to be unremitted. They were sent forth to be diligent in their work, and untiring in their efforts to spread the gospel, until the day of their death. Thus their fruit, the continued product or growth of religion in their souls, was to remain, or to be continually produced, until God should call them from their work. The Christian, and especially the Christian minister, is devoted to the Saviour for life. He is to toil without intermission, and without being weary of his work, till God shall call him home. The Saviour never called a disciple to serve him merely for a part of his life, nor to feel himself at liberty to relax his endeavours, nor to suppose himself to be a Christian when his religion produced no fruit. He that enlists under the banners of the Son of God does it for life. He that expects or desires to grow weary and cease to serve him, has never yet put on the Christian armour, or known anything of the grace of God. See Lu 9:62.

That whosoever, &c. See Joh 15:7.

{q} "Ye have not chosen me" 1 Jo 4:10,19

{r} "ordained you" Eph 2:10

{s} "whatsoever you shall ask" Joh 15:7; 14:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{r} "These things" Joh 15:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 18

Verse 18. If the world hate you. The friendship of the world they were not to expect, but they were not to be deterred from their work by its hatred. They had seen the example of Jesus. No opposition of the proud, the wealthy, the learned, or the men of power, no persecution or gibes, had deterred him from his work. Remembering this, and having his example steadily in the eye, they were to labour not less because wicked men should oppose and deride them. It is enough for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord, Mt 10:25.

{u} "If the world hate you" 1 Jo 3:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 19

Verse 19. If ye were of the world. If you were actuated by the principles of the world. If, like them, you were vain, earthly, sensual, given to pleasure, wealth, ambition, they would not oppose you.

Because ye are not of the world. Because you are influenced by different principles from men of the world. You are actuated by the love of God and holiness; they by the love of sin.

I have chosen you out of the world. I have, by choosing you to be my followers, separated you from their society, and placed you under the government of my holy laws.

Therefore, &c. A Christian may esteem it as one evidence of his piety that he is hated by wicked men. Often most decided evidence is given that a man is the friend of God by the opposition excited against him by the profane, by Sabbath-breakers, and by the dissolute, 1 Jo 3:13; Joh 7:7.

{v} "therefore the world hateth you" Joh 17:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Remember the word that I said, &c. At their first appointment to the apostolic office. See Mt 10:24,25.

{w} "Remember" Mt 10:24; Lu 6:40; Joh 13:16

{x} "if they have kept" Eze 3:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 21

Verse 21. My name's sake. On my account. Because you are my followers and possess my spirit. See Barnes "Joh 14:13".

Because they know not him that sent me. They will not believe that God has sent me. They do not so understand his character, his justice, or his law, as to see that it was fit that he should send his Son to die. They are so opposed to it, so filled with pride and opposition to a plan of salvation that is so humbling to men, as to be resolved not to believe it, and thus they persecute me, and will also you.

{y} "But all these things" Mt 10:22; 24:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 22

Verse 22. And spoken unto them. Declared unto them the will of God, and made known his requirements. Jesus had not less certainly shown by his own arguments that he was the Messiah than by his miracles. By both these kinds of proof their guilt was to be measured. See Joh 16:26. No small part of the gospel of John consists of arguments used by the Saviour to convince the Jews that he came from God. He here says if he had not used these arguments, and proved to them his divine mission, they had not had sin.

Had not had sin. This is evidently to be understood of the particular sin of persecuting and rejecting him. Of this he was speaking; and though, if he had not come, they would have been guilty of many other sins, yet of this, their great crowning sin, they would not have been guilty. We may understand this, then, as teaching,

1st. That they would not have been guilty of this kind of sin. They would not have been chargeable with rejecting the signal grace of God if Jesus had not come and made an offer of mercy to them.

2nd. They would not have been guilty of the same degree of sin. The rejection of the Messiah was the crowning act of rebellion which brought down the vengeance of God, and led on their peculiar national calamities. By way of eminence, therefore, this might be called the sin—the peculiar sin of their age and nation. Comp. Mt 23:34-39; 27:25. And this shows us, what is so often taught in the Scriptures, that our guilt will be in proportion to the light that we possess and the mercies that we reject, Mt 11:20-24; Lu 12:47,48.

If it was such a crime to reject the Saviour then, it is a crime now; and if the rejection of the Son of God brought such calamities on the Jewish nation, the same rejection will involve the sinner now in woe, and vengeance, and despair.

No cloak. No covering, no excuse. The proof has been so clear that they cannot plead ignorance; it has been so often presented that they cannot allege that they had no opportunity of knowing it. It is still so with all sinners.

{z} "If I had not come" Joh 9:41

{a} "but now " Jas 4:17

{2} "cloak" or, "excuse"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 23

Verse 23. He that hateth me, &c. To show them that this was no slight crime, he reminds them that a rejection of himself is also a rejection of God. Such is the union between them, that no one can hate the one without also hating the other. See Joh 5:19,20 Joh 14:7,9.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 24

Verse 24. The works which none other man did. The miracles of Jesus surpassed those of Moses and the prophets—

1st. In their number. He healed great multitudes, and no small part of his life was occupied in doing good by miraculous power.

2nd. In their nature. They involved a greater exertion of power. He healed all forms of disease. He showed that his power was superior to all kinds of pain. He raised Lazarus after he had been four days dead. He probably refers also to the fact that he had performed miracles of a different kind from all the prophets.

3rd. He did all this by his own power; Moses and the prophets by the invoked power of God. Jesus spake and it was done, showing that he had power of himself to do more than all the ancient prophets had done. It may be added that his miracles were done in a short time. They were constant, rapid, continued, in all places. Wherever he was, he showed that he had this power, and in the short space of three years and a half it is probable that he wrought more miracles than are recorded of Moses and Elijah, and all the prophets put together.

{b} "the works" Joh 7:31

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 25

Verse 25. In their law, Ps 35:19. All the Old Testament was sometimes called the law. The meaning here is that the same thing happened to him which did to the psalmist. The same words which David used respecting his enemies would express, also, the conduct of the Jews and their treatment of the Messiah. In both cases it was without cause. Jesus had broken no law, he had done no injury to his country or to any individual. It is still true that sinners hate him in the same way. He injures no one, but, amid all their hatred, he seeks their welfare; and, while they reject him in a manner for which they can give no reason in the day of judgment, he still follows them with mercies and entreats them to return to him. Who has ever had any reason to hate the Lord Jesus? What injury has he ever done to any one of the human race? What evil has he ever said or thought of any one of them? What cause or reason had the Jews for putting him to death? What reason has the sinner for hating him now? What reason for neglecting him? No one can give a reason for it that will satisfy his own conscience, none that has the least show of plausibility. Yet no being on earth has ever been more hated, despised, or neglected, and in every instance it has been "without a cause." Reader, do you hate him? If so, I ask you WHY? Wherein has he injured you? or why should you think or speak reproachfully of the benevolent and pure Redeemer?

{c} "They hated me without cause" Ps 35:19; 69:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 26

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "Comforter is come" Joh 14:17

{e} "he shall testify of me" 1 Jo 5:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 27

Verse 27. Ye also shall bear witness. You shall be witnesses to the world to urge on them the evidences that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah.

Have been with me. They had for more than three years seen his works, and were therefore qualified to bear witness of his character and doctrines.

From the beginning. From his entrance on the public work of the ministry, Mt 4:17-22. Comp. Ac 1:21,22.

{f} "And ye also shall bear witness" Lu 24:48; Ac 2:32; 4:20,33; 2 Pe 1:16

{g} "ye have been with me from the beginning" 1 Jo 1:2.

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.