Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
Translation: Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone might love me, that one will keep my word, and my Father will love that one, and we will come to them, and we will make our dwelling place alongside them. The one not loving me does not keep my words, and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's, the one who sent me. These things I have spoken to you abiding alongside you, but the One-Called-Alongside, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things, and will remind you of all I have said to you.
Peace I leave to you. My peace I give to you, not as the universe gives, I myself give to you. Let not let your heart be troubled, and let it not be timid. You heard that I said to you, 'I go and I come to you.' If you were loving me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father because the Father is greater than I. And now, I have told you before it comes to be so that, when it happens, you might trust.
Background and situation: In 14:2, Jesus had said that there were many "dwelling places" (monen) in the Father's house, and that he went there to prepare a place to which he would take his followers. Here (14:23), however, that "dwelling place" is not in the Father's house, but with the one who trusts Jesus. Jesus and the Father will come and live "alongside them"--par' auto.
In the time of Jesus, the Judeans believed that God's "dwelling place" was the Temple. In the thought of the fourth gospel, the Temple has been replaced by Jesus who makes his "dwelling place" with those who love and follow him.
Jesus is speaking with Judas. The fourth gospel wants us to know that this Judas is "not Iscariot," but rather some other Judas, possibly Jesus' own brother (Mark 6:3), or perhaps Judas the "son of James" mentioned in Luke's gospel (Luke 6:16). This Judas is on Luke's list of the Twelve, but not on Matthew's or Mark's.
Love for Jesus: Judas had asked: "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" (14:22) Jesus does not respond directly to this question. Instead, he sets Judas straight on a very important point. Judas' question assumes special status for the disciples--Jesus will reveal himself "to us." They are "in the know" while everyone around them--"the world"--is not.
Jesus responds: "If anyone might love me, that one will keep my word." The pronoun is indefinite, indicating that revelation of Jesus may happen outside the boundaries of the Twelve, a.k.a. the "insiders".
If that indefinite someone "might love" Jesus, they will keep his word. If so, three actions follow which underline that anyone loving Jesus and keeping his word will have the same thing any true disciple has, whether or not they are part of the Twelve: the Father will love them, both Jesus and the Father will come to them, and both Jesus and the Father will make their home (monen) with them.
Conversely, "the one not loving" Jesus does not keep his words. In the fourth gospel, love for Jesus is the touchstone for everything. The author cannot stress enough that love for Jesus is the key mark of a disciple. Indeed, the fourth gospel's critique of Peter is that he doesn't seem to get this basic point (21: 15-19). As St. Augustine put it, "Love separates the saints from the world." (Like all of us, Augustine's words were more on target than his behavior.)
These things I have spoken to you abiding alongside you, but the One-Called-Alongside, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things, and will remind you of all I have said to you.
The Greek word menein means "to abide," "to remain," "to dwell." The word occurs 34 times in the fourth gospel, versus three times in Matthew, twice in Mark, and six times in Luke. The fourth gospel wants to emphasize the close bond between Jesus and his followers. He "abides" with them, and they with him. This close mutual indwelling is a hallmark of Johannine theology.
The word parakletos is formed from para, which means "alongside," and kletos, which means "called." Literally, the parakletos is "the one called alongside." The word appears to come from the Greek law courts where it referred to one who helped in court, i.e. an advocate, or one who pleads your case.
Parakletos does not appear in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament). Related words, such as paraklesis and parakaleo are used to translate the Hebrew hacham. Hacham means "comfort". It appears in Psalm 23: "thy road and thy staff, they comfort (hacham) me."
Taking the two strands--the secular use and Hebrew use--we arrive at a definition for parakletos that combines the concepts of help and comfort. The parakletos is an advocate for our case before God, and one who comforts in times of difficulty. Translations of parakletos include Advocate, Counselor, Helper, Comforter, Defender, Intercessor.
This One-Called-Alongside is otherwise known as "the Holy Spirit." This is the only use of the exact phrase "the Holy Spirit"--to pneuma to hagion--in the fourth gospel. The Father will send the Holy Spirit to do, in this case, two things: "teach you all things," and "remind you" of all Jesus has said.
The Holy Spirit does not function as a literal recorder. It will not supply a tape-recorded message of everything Jesus said. Rather, the Spirit will inspire by bringing to mind the message and mission of Jesus.
In Johannine theology, it is worth noting that, up until the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, there was no Holy Spirit. In 7:37-39, the fourth gospel remarks that "as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified." The Spirit, then, comes as a result of Jesus' "glorification," i.e. his death and resurrection, about which Jesus had recently spoken in 13: 31-32. His "glorification" is at hand, followed by the giving of the Spirit.
Peace I leave to you. My peace I give to you, not as the universe gives, I myself give to you. Let not let your heart be troubled, and let it not be timid.
Peace is eirene in Greek, which translates the Hebrew shalom. Shalom is more than absence of conflict. It includes maximal well-being for people and for society. Shalom is characterized by wholeness, healing, abundance, concord, reconciliation, social harmony, and spiritual and physical health.
This is work for the messiah. In the first century, however, the messiah was popularly understood to be a more or less conventional political figure, including one with military muscle. The messiah would be like King David, who ousted Israel's enemies and ushered in a Golden Age--or, at least that was the conception of David as one looked back through the dim (and distorting) mists of time.
The peace of Jesus--peace without violence--is peace "not as the universe gives." As John Dominic Crossan likes to point out, there were two types of peace in the first century. One was "peace through victory," which was the approach of the Romans, and pretty much everybody else before and since. The other was "peace through justice," which was the approach of Jesus.
The kardia: As he had said before (14:1), Jesus says again, "Do not let your heart be troubled." "Heart" (kardia) is singular, while "your" is plural. He is speaking of their collective heart, the one they have together. It is encouragement not to let the community be shaken by the difficulties of the time.
Further, he enjoins the disciples not to let their heart be "timid" (deiliato). Most versions translate deiliato as "afraid." It also carries, however, the additional sense of fear as a result of timidity or even cowardice. Jesus is calling for the disciples to stand firm in the face of the authority and power of their opponents.
Then, Jesus says, "You heard that I said to you, 'I go and I come to you.'" Jesus has not actually spoken such a sentence in the fourth gospel. Earlier in chapter 14, he had said something similar and lengthier:
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
He goes to prepare a place, and will come again to gather his disciples and take them where he is.
Despite the difficulties faced by his followers in his absence, he asserts that it is to their benefit that he go away (16:7). Not only is he gone to prepare a place for his followers, but the Holy Spirit will not come to them if he does not go (16:7).
If you were loving me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father because the Father is greater than I. And now, I have told you before it comes to be so that, when it happens, you might trust.
Not only is it to their benefit that he go, Jesus says, but if they really loved him, they would see this as a good thing. Ray Brown says that the disciples' love is "possessive not generous" (p. 654). The disciples are worried about their situation absent Jesus, and want to hold on to him as long as they can.
This begs the question, however, of whether or not a possessive variety of love is really love. Dependency can often masquerade as love, but is really an attempt at manipulation. This is not to say that the disciples weren't in a real jam, but rather that they have not yet fulfilled Jesus' instruction not to let their hearts be troubled or submit to cowardice.
Toward trust: "The Father is greater than I." This was one of the staple of verses that the fourth-century Arians used as Biblical support for their position that the Son was in some way subordinate to the Father. The Arians said that, while Jesus was divine, his divinity was of a somewhat lesser variety than that found in God the Father. The Arians--or, more generally, the "subordinationists"--were opposed by the "Nicene party" who asserted that Jesus' divinity was the equal of the Father's and always had been.
In terms of Biblical support, the Arians actually had more for their position than the Nicene party did for theirs. In any case, the fourth gospel is not interested in trinitarian debates that would emerge three centuries after its writing.
Still, it is interesting to see the paroxysms that early church fathers went through in order to make this verse fit with their own position. Some said that the text simply made a distinction between the Son's "generated divinity" and the Father's "ungenerated divinity"--(as if this clarifies the situation). Others explained that, in human form, the Son was less than the Father.
In any case, as mentioned above, the fourth gospel is not primarily concerned with later trinitarian theology, but is concerned with the psychological and spiritual health of Jesus' followers as they go forward with the mission of Jesus, a mission they perceive, correctly, as being under seige.
The purpose of these lengthy explanations by Jesus are so that the disciples might know beforehand what is to happen. That way, when it does happen, they see confirmed what Jesus has said, and thus "might trust." All this is preparing the ground for the encouragement of the disciples to have faith.
Image: Reflection in water of the Holy Spirit, Sue Ann Jackson