Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DISCOURSE AT THE
1-5. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be
offended--both the warnings and the encouragements
2. They shall put you out of the synagogue--
(Joh 9:22; 12:42).
the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth
God service--The words mean religious service--"that he is
offering a service to God." (So Saul of Tarsus,
Ga 1:13, 14;
4. these things I said not . . . at--from.
the beginning--He had said it pretty early
but not quite as in
because I was with you.
5. But now I go my way to him that sent me--While He was with them,
the world's hatred was directed chiefly against Himself; but His
departure would bring it down upon them as His representatives.
and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?--They had done so
in a sort
(Joh 13:36; 14:5);
but He wished more intelligent and eager inquiry on the subject.
6, 7. But because I have said these things . . . sorrow hath filled
your heart--Sorrow had too much paralyzed them, and He would rouse
7. It is expedient for you that I go away--
|My Saviour, can it ever be
That I should gain by losing thee?
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I
depart, I will send him unto you--(See on
8. And when he is come, he will, &c.--This is one of the passages
most pregnant with thought in the profound discourses of Christ; with a
few great strokes depicting all and every part of the ministry of the
Holy Ghost in the world--His operation with reference to individuals as
well as the mass, on believers and unbelievers alike [OLSHAUSEN].
he will reprove--This is too weak a word to express what is meant.
Reproof is indeed implied in the term employed, and doubtless the
word begins with it. But convict or convince is the thing
intended; and as the one expresses the work of the Spirit on the
unbelieving portion of mankind, and the other on the
believing, it is better not to restrict it to either.
9. Of sin, because they believe not on me--As all sin has its root
in unbelief, so the most aggravated form of unbelief is the rejection of
Christ. The Spirit, however, in fastening this truth upon the
conscience, does not extinguish, but, on the contrary, does
consummate and intensify, the sense of all other sins.
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no
more--Beyond doubt, it is Christ's personal righteousness which
the Spirit was to bring home to the sinner's heart. The evidence of this
was to lie in the great historical fact, that He had "gone to His
Father and was no more visible to men":--for if His claim to be the Son
of God, the Saviour of the world, had been a lie, how should the Father,
who is "a jealous God," have raised such a blasphemer from the dead and
exalted him to His right hand? But if He was the "Faithful and True
Witness," the Father's "Righteous Servant," "His Elect, in whom His soul
delighted," then was His departure to the Father, and consequent
disappearance from the view of men, but the fitting consummation, the
august reward, of all that He did here below, the seal of His mission,
the glorification of the testimony which He bore on earth, by the
reception of its Bearer to the Father's bosom. This triumphant
vindication of Christ's rectitude is to us divine evidence, bright
as heaven, that He is indeed the Saviour of the world, God's Righteous
Servant to justify many, because He bare their iniquities
Thus the Spirit, in this clause, is seen convincing men that there is in
Christ perfect relief under the sense of sin of which He had before
convinced them; and so far from mourning over His absence from us, as an
irreparable loss, we learn to glory in it, as the evidence of His
perfect acceptance on our behalf, exclaiming with one who understood
this point, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is
God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died;
yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,"
(Ro 8:33, 34).
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged--By
supposing that the final judgment is here meant, the point of this
clause is, even by good interpreters, quite missed. The statement, "The
prince of this world is judged," means, beyond all reasonable doubt,
the same as that in
"Now shall the prince of this world be cast out"; and both mean
that his dominion over men, or his power to enslave and so to ruin
them, is destroyed. The death of Christ "judged" or judicially
overthrew him, and he was thereupon "cast out" or expelled from his
Thus, then, the Spirit shall bring home to men's conscience: (1) the
sense of sin, consummated in the rejection of Him who came to
"take away the sin of the world"; (2) the sense of perfect relief in
the righteousness of the Father's Servant, now fetched from the
earth that spurned Him to that bosom where from everlasting He had
dwelt; and (3) the sense of emancipation from the fetters of Satan,
whose judgment brings to men liberty to be holy, and
transformation out of servants of the devil into sons and daughters of
the Lord Almighty. To one class of men, however, all this will carry
conviction only; they "will not come to Christ"--revealed though
He be to them as the life-giving One--that they may have life. Such,
abiding voluntarily under the dominion of the prince of this world, are
judged in his judgment, the visible consummation of which will
be at the great day. To another class, however, this blessed teaching
will have another issue--translating them out of the kingdom of
darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
12-15. when he, the Spirit of truth, is come . . . he shall not speak
of himself--that is, from Himself, but, like Christ Himself, "what
He hears," what is given Him to communicate.
he will show you things to come--referring specially to those
revelations which, in the Epistles partially, but most fully in the
Apocalypse, open up a vista into the Future of the Kingdom of God, whose
horizon is the everlasting hills.
14. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine and show it unto
you--Thus the whole design of the Spirit's office is to glorify
Christ--not in His own Person, for this was done by the Father when He
exalted Him to His own right hand--but in the view and estimation of
men. For this purpose He was to "receive of Christ"--all the
truth relating to Christ--"and show it unto them," or
make them to discern it in its own light. The subjective nature of
the Spirit's teaching--the discovery to the souls of men of what is
Christ outwardly--is here very clearly expressed; and, at the same
time, the vanity of looking for revelations of the Spirit which shall do
anything beyond throwing light in the soul upon what Christ Himself is,
and taught, and did upon earth.
15. All things that the Father hath are mine--a plainer expression than
this of absolute community with the Father in all things cannot be
conceived, though the "all things" here have reference to the things of
the Kingdom of Grace, which the Spirit was to receive that He might show
it to us. We have here a wonderful glimpse into the
inner relations of the Godhead.
16-22. A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again a little
while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father--The joy of the
world at their not seeing Him seems to show that His removal from them
by death was what He meant; and in that case, their joy at again
seeing Him points to their transport at His reappearance amongst them on
His Resurrection, when they could no longer doubt His identity. At
the same time the sorrow of the widowed Church in the absence of her
Lord in the heavens, and her transport at His personal return, are
certainly here expressed.
23-28. In that day--of the dispensation of the Spirit (as in
ye shall ask--inquire of
me nothing--by reason of the fulness of the Spirit's teaching
(Joh 14:26; 16:13;
24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name--for "prayer
in the name of Christ, and prayer to Christ, presuppose His
ask--when I am gone, "in My name."
25. in proverbs--in obscure language, opposed to "showing
plainly"--that is, by the Spirit's teaching.
26. I say not . . . I will pray the Father for you--as if He were
not of Himself disposed to aid you: Christ does pray the Father for
His people, but not for the purpose of inclining an unwilling ear.
27. For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me--This
love of theirs is that which is called forth by God's eternal love in
the gift of His Son mirrored in the hearts of those who believe, and
resting on His dear Son.
28. I came forth from the Father, &c.--that is, "And ye are right,
for I have indeed so come forth,and shall soon return whence I came."
This echo of the truth, alluded to in
seems like thinking aloud, as if it were grateful to His own
spirit on such a subject and at such an hour.
29, 30. His disciples said, . . . now speakest thou plainly, and
speakest no proverb--hardly more so than before; the time for perfect
plainness was yet to come; but having caught a glimpse of His meaning
(it was nothing more), they eagerly express their satisfaction, as if
glad to make anything of His words. How touchingly does this show both
the simplicity of their hearts and the infantile character of their
31-33. Jesus answered . . . Do ye now believe?--that is, "It is well
ye do, for it is soon to be tested, and in a way ye little expect."
the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every
man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone--A
deep and awful sense of wrong experienced is certainly expressed
here, but how lovingly! That He was not to be utterly deserted, that
there was One who would not forsake Him, was to Him matter of ineffable
support and consolation; but that He should be without all human
countenance and cheer, who as Man was exquisitely sensitive to the law
of sympathy, would fill themselves with as much shame, when they
afterwards recurred to it, as the Redeemer's heart in His hour of need
with pungent sorrow. "I looked for some to take pity, but there was
none; and for comforters, but I found none"
because the Father is with me--how near, and with what sustaining
power, who can express?
33. These things I have spoken unto you--not the immediately preceding
words, but this whole discourse, of which these were the very last
words, and which He thus winds up.
that in me ye might have peace--in the sublime sense before
explained. (See on
In the world ye shall have tribulation--specially arising from its
deadly opposition to those who "are not of the world, but chosen out of
the world." So that the "peace" promised was far from an unruffled one.
I have overcome the world--not only before you, but for you,
that ye may be able to do the same
(1Jo 5:4, 5).