John 14-16 Commentary

John 14 Commentary

Vs 2 – Jesus paints a picture of a groom going to prepare a place for his bride. The custom was for a Jewish man to go home and build an addition onto his Father’s house once he got engaged. It usually took about a year, but the groom could not go and get his bride, until his Father approved of the addition to the house and told him that it was time.

Vs 26 – It is significant that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. (Read Acts 2 also) This was the time that the Jews celebrated the giving of the Torah (Law) to Moses. Look at the parallels. I found on Followtherabbi.com:

Both events occurred on mountains known as "the mountain of God" (Ex. 24:13; Isa. 2:3).

Both involved similar sounds and symbols, such as wind, fire, and voices (Ex. 19:16-19; Acts 2:1-3). Note that the Hebrew for "thunder" (kolot) means "voices" (Acts 2:4). Jewish tradition said that the Israelites heard God speak in 70 languages.

Both events involved the presence of God (Ex. 19:18,20; Acts 2:4).

About 3,000 people died because of their sin when Moses received the Torah (Ex. 32:28). About 3,000 people believed (were born again into new life) when the Spirit came (Acts 2:41)

At Mount Sinai, God wrote his revelation on stone tablets (Ex. 31:18). On the fulfillment of Pentecost, God wrote his law on people’s hearts as he had promised He would (2 Cor. 3:3; Jer. 31:33).

Torah means "teaching." The Spirit, given on Shavuot, also became the "Teacher" of the new community of Jesus’ followers (John 14:26)

This festival celebrated the end of the wheat harvest. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the harvest of people that Jesus had spoken of was fulfilled that day.


John 15 Commentary

Since this is Jesus’ last teaching time with His disciples, before the cross, these must be pretty important things. I wonder how the disciples felt – they were looking for this conquering king Messiah, but Jesus had arrived on a donkey, and just finished washing their feet. Now He’s talking about grapes. And this is the night before the Passover is about to start – More than one prophet had predicted that on a day like this, the Messiah would come. They knew Jesus was the Messiah, but a donkey? Washing their feet? And grapes? What does this have to do with the Messiah? Grapes?

It is also important to note that the main message of these verses (Abide in me) are given to the disciples come at a time right before the cross when they are going to be tested and tempted to "fall away" from Christ. (John 16:1)

Vs 1 – "vine" is used in the OT (Ps 80:8-19) as a picture of Israel as the channel of God’s grace and power to the world. The Psalmist also foresees the coming a Israel’s Messiah. When Jesus says that He is the "true vine" the Jewish listener would have remembered this verse and recognized that He was calling Himself the Messiah. By the way, the "vine" is the trunk of the plant that grows out of the ground – not the long sprawling limb along the trellis.

Vs 2 – "Branches" have a relationship with the "vine" and receive life from it. "Fruit" and "good works" are used almost interchangeably in the Bible. (Ex: Titus 3:14) God receives glory as we do good works. (vs 8) "Fruit" also refers to the inner "good works" or the "fruits of Holy Spirit" (Gal 5:22)

This verse has been interpreted quite a few different ways regarding the branch that is "cut off":

1 – We can lose our salvation.

2 – God disciplines the unfruitful branch

3 – These branches were never real Christians in the first place

I personally would have to go with interpretation number 2 – God disciplines the unfruitful branch. Bruce Wilkinson gives a great explanation of this view in his book, "Secrets of the Vine." The word translated "cuts off" or "takes away" can also mean "lifts up" which paints a picture of the vinedresser bending over to "lift up" this unfruitful branch. New branches have a tendency to trail down and grow along the ground, but because of dust (mud when it rains) and mildew, these branches become sick and useless. Once they are washed off and lifted up (maybe wrapped around a trellis) they become fruitful again. The dirt does the same thing to these vines as sin does to a Christian life.

"Pruning" is done so a branch can be more fruitful. As a vine gets older it’s ability to produce fruit increases, but without intensive pruning it weakens and it’s crop diminishes. The older the vine, the more pruning it requires.

The word "prune" in verse 2 also means "cleanse" and is a play on words with the word "clean" in verse 3.

Vs 6 – This could be interpreted as someone who is a "false believer." Judas is the prime example of this idea. The other option is that this verse refers to Paul’s concept of a believer’s judgment. (Check 1 Cor 3:10-15)

In the OT, (Ezekiel 15:1-8; 19:12) vine imagery involves judgment and rejection by God for disobedience.

This is not a threat of "hell" but simply a statement of our value/worth outside of Christ. The branch of a grapevine is not worth anything if it is not producing fruit. Unlike the wood of an olive tree which can be made into something else, a grapevine branch is brittle and small and can’t be used for anything but kindling to start a fire. Maybe this idea speaks to the fact that we are "humble creatures" and our only value is in producing fruit by allowing the vine (Jesus) to flow through us.

Vs 8 – The NET Bible footnotes say that "bearing fruit" and "being Jesus’ disciple" are not two different actions, but one single action.

Vs 11 – Complete joy is found in "abiding with Christ"

Vs 12 – I’ll remind you that the original 10 Commandments were given for 2 reasons: (1) To set Israel apart from all other nations, and (2) to represent their love relationship with Yahweh. Jesus gives us this commandment for the same reason: (1) it will make us different from the rest of the world, and (2) in loving others we represent how we feel about God Himself. Jesus also gave them this commandment a couple chapters back in John 13:34.

Vs 13 – Jesus is speaking of what He’s about to do.

Vs 14 – Jesus is gonna lay down his life for His friends (vs 13), but now He defines "Friends" as those who obey his commandments. (recalling vs 10 too) Does this mean that He doesn’t lay His life down for those who are disobedient? (Limited Atonement?)

Vs 15 – "servants" or "slaves" refer to the idea of a "bondservant" – one who chooses to serve his master. This understanding makes vs 16 more clear when Jesus says "You didn’t choose me, but I chose you."

Vs 18 – Jesus is not speaking of the "hate" that we receive when we have treated someone badly or done them wrong, but this "hate" is one that comes simply because we are friends with Christ. This is the price we pay for His friendship – a pretty small one considering the benefits.

Vs 19 – In John 8:23, Jesus had said that He isn’t of this world, but that the Pharisees were. Here, we see him saying that He has chosen the disciples to be out of the world too. Jesus prays for them later in John 17:15-16 and speaks of this again. Also check 1 John 4:5-6.

Vs 20 – Jesus implies that the disciples will carry on His ministry after He is gone.

Vs 22-24 – The sin of unbelief is inexcusable – not just because of His words (vs 22), but also because of His sign and wonders. (vs 24)

Vs 25 – refers to Ps 35:19; 69:4


John 16 Commentary

Vs 5 – If you look at 13:36 you see Peter asking where Jesus is going. Jesus’ point here is not that no one has asked, but that the disciple’s main concern/shock seems to be more about the coming persecution and being away from Him than it is about where He is going.

Vs 8 – "convict" means to present evidence so as to "convince"

Vs 9-11 – The Spirit will convict the world in regards to sin, righteousness, and judgment, but how will He do it? He will dwell in the believer and work through him.

Vs 9 – check 3:19; 12:37

Vs 13 – Compare with John 14:6 where Jesus says He is the truth. This verse really says, "The Spirit will guide you to Jesus."

Vs 16 – Jesus speaks of His death and resurrection here. It could also be about His leaving to "prepare a place for us" and His 2nd coming.

Vs 20 – "I tell you the truth" should be "Amen, Amen" which infers that Jesus is going to speak something which He heard from the Father – Something very important. "Weep and wail" were terms used of a public display of grief at the death of a loved one. Professional mourners were normally hired to loudly lament as the body was prepared. They also walked through the town with the body wailing loudly as it was taken to the burial site.

Notice also that the Jewish leaders who rejoiced over Jesus’ death are called "the world."

Vs 21-22 – compare with Isaiah 66:7 & 66:14 (These passages refer to the coming messianic kingdom which will be set up @ Jesus’ 2nd coming, but parts of it may have been fulfilled here.)

Vs 22 – Notice also that joy comes and goes until the resurrection and then no one can take it away. Our joy is complete in Jesus’ resurrection.

Vs 23-24 – The disciples had probably prayed directly to God up to this point, but now, with Jesus, they are actually given the ability to represent His wishes before God and are assured of God’s answers. The literary construction of "Ask" implies "keep on asking"

Vs 29 – It is hard to believe that the disciples really understood the implications of all that Jesus had told them until after the resurrection. Pretty cool that they are trying so hard though.

Vs 32 – Compare with Zech 13:7

Vs 33 – "I have overcome the world" = John 1:5 – "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness, has not overcome it."

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