Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart – A Spiritual Perspective [4]

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart – A Spiritual Perspective [4]

John 14:22-31

Doubts swarm as life takes a hairpin turn away from the expected path, and you wonder: did I really know God as well as I thought? Perhaps I misunderstood the Scriptures that I thought were speaking directly to me. Perhaps I was mistaken after all. Have you been there, dear believer? As we will observe in the Upper Room, this very issue pressed upon the disciples. God’s ways are higher than our ways and accomplish more than the singular goals we conceive, so naturally there are times when we don’t understand how things are unfolding. We are not unlike young children, given a pat answer in order to pacify us for a time because we have no framework for understanding the great undertakings the parent has planned on our behalf. In time, as we grow in spiritual wisdom and knowledge, the Lord will give us eyes of understanding, upholding us with sustenance that the world knows nothing about.

V22-26 – The Revelation of the Son to His Disciples

V22-24 – The Abiding of the Son and the Father with the Disciples

The disciples were still confused about the Kingdom of God and its manifestation. The Lord said He would manifest Himself. But how? Judas, not Iscariot, asks, “What [...] happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” (NET).  It sounds like he’s worried that the original plan of Christ reigning as king has been thwarted and now Plan B must be hatched. In actuality, nothing had changed in the ultimate plan of God, but the disciples could not fathom how the kingdom would develop during the absence of Christ.

In v17 we learned that the Spirit of God would come to indwell believers. Now in v23 the Lord reveals that not only will the Spirit indwell, but the Father and the Son will make their abode within the believer. This one is marked by love Christ through keeping His word. The one who does not love Christ does not keep His words. Obedience is the mark of a true lover of Christ and God. This will change our lives to understand that not only the Spirit resides within the believer, but the Father and Son as well.

V25-26 – The Work of the Comforter with the Disciples

The Lord is leaving the disciples presently. He continually sustained them with truth to them while He was with them, but how would they forge on once He leaves? This would be the work of the Paraclete, first mentioned in v16. [1] He is the “Holy Spirit.” He is “Holy” here in the sense of being set apart from others in the work that He would do of teaching and bringing Christ’s teachings to remembrance.

We should notice in v26 that the Lord demonstrates in His grammar that the Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a power. It is common knowledge that the gender of a noun must match the gender of the pronoun. But here the Lord says, “The Comforter, the Holy Spirit (neuter), whom (neuter) the Father will send in My name, He (masculine) shall teach you all things…” To follow the rules of grammar, the Lord ought to have said, “it shall teach you.” But the Lord makes a point to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is a person, not a power without affection or feelings. What a comfort to the troubled heart of the disciple-- truly they wouldn’t be left alone!

We learn a few more things about the Paraclete from the Lord in v26:

  1. The Father would send Him, and His ministry would be in keeping with the character and person of Christ (see also v13).

  2. He shall teach you all things. As a believer, with the Paraclete indwelling you, you may sit down with an open Bible and glean from your Bible through the process of time and dependence. There are no special individuals with special revelations from the word of God which you cannot glean for yourself regardless of spiritual gift.[2]

  3. The Spirit of God is the One who refreshed John’s mind some 60 years later as to the words and works of Christ.

V27 – The Peace of the Son left with the Disciples

The Lord leaves His peace. Notice also 15:9-11. He speaks of “My love” and “My joy.” His peace is the very peace which Christ enjoyed even on this night. It is the peace that comes from faith in God (v1) regardless of the circumstances around. He bestows this peace, but it must be embraced. This peace would also include everything that He has told them in this chapter. For any believer troubled in heart, this peace that passes understanding is available if you will only take hold of it.

V28-31 – The Greatness in the Departure of the Son

How could the Son’s departure supersede his earthly presence? The Lord says that it is because “My Father is greater than I.” In this context the greatness of the Father is due to His location: in His house. It is a place apart from sin and apart from suffering. The Son was departing to the Father’s house, but it would not come before His suffering and propitiatory sacrifice for sins.

Secondly, the departure of the Son would mean the coming of the Spirit of God whom the Father would send (v25-26). We as believers enjoy an Advocate in heaven and an Advocate on earth.

The Lord repeats[3] that His predictions are to stabilize their faith. How gracious is the Saviour who also gives us what we need so that we might live by faith.  

The Lord’s departure was near. The time had come for them to leave the Upper Room. The prince of this world was coming, possibly referring to the meeting of Christ and Judas Iscariot in the garden since Judas was possessed by Satan for a period. Satan would then continue His work in the hearts of the rulers of the people, convincing the mob to call for the crucifixion of Christ. Yet in spite of all of the evil that would be displayed, the Lord was stalwart. Though it appeared that the prince of this world, who by the crucifixion became “the god of this world,”[4] had the upper hand the Lord says, “he hath nothing in Me.”

Demonstrating to the world His love for and obedience to the Father, the Lord initiates the next step toward to cross. With loins girded and staff in hand, He says, “Arise, let us go hence.” If He could rise to meet such a moment, our troubled hearts should be calmed as we face any circumstance when knowing we are in the Father’s will, even when circumstances seem to indicate otherwise. As the Lord, look at your circumstance with a spiritual perspective.

[1] See the previous post in this series for more on the Paraclete.

[2] 1 John 2:27

[3] John 13:17

[4] 2 Cor 4:4

The Word–Jn.1:18 [10]

The Word–Jn.1:18 [10]

The Word–Jn. 1:15-17 [9]

The Word–Jn. 1:15-17 [9]