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believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also ; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
The power was his own, and he could give it to whom he pleased. That he was returning to his Father was the very reason that he, instead of leaving them to struggle on as they could, would send them help from above. All who believed in Him henceforth should be as one with Him. While he was with them on earth, the God-man, he had given them powers like his own; they had gone forth in his name doing all manner of wonderful works, and when he should be again in glory with his father they should be able in his name to perform works more glorious still, worthy of the glorified Son.
They need not think that they had lost Him as their friend. He assures them thus
Verses 13, 14. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
Verse 15. “If ye love me, keep my commandments." The disciples of Jesus would have abundant reason to know that though absent for a time he did not forget them. Let them prove that they remembered him, by their loving obedience to the commandments he had left with them.
Verses 16, 17. “ And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with
you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth ; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him; for he duelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
This is the first time the Holy Spirit is spoken of as the Comforter. The word in the language in which it is written means much more than a mere Consoler. It means one who comforts by giving help and good counsel, as well as sympathy, a comforter indeed and one who never would be taken from them. He their Lord must leave them now, for his work on earth was nearly done ; but the work of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, was to abide for ever, bringing the kingdom of God out of the darkness in which the world had been lying since it fell away from God. Even as in the beginning, “the Spirit of God moved upon, or brooded over, the face of the deep, when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” and had brought order and beauty from the formless mass; then God had said “Let there be light, and there was light, and he divided the light from the darkness," so now that the time of the second birth of the world had come, the Spirit of God would again move over the darkness, and again from confusion and disorder should arise the kingdom of God, a Spiritual kingdom that never could have an end. In the beginning darkness at the word of God had fled away before the light, so would it be now. Error would give way before the Spirit of truth.
Those who loved darkness rather than light could not receive this Comforter, because they cared for nothing but outward things. They gave no heed to the works of the Spirit, for they could not see Him. They knew him not. All such are classed together in one word, “the world.” It is the first time the word has been used by our Lord to describe a class of people ; but we may observe that he speaks very differently on this his
last night from what he had ever done before. It is no more to Pharisee or Sadducee, or to any class of Jew. It is now to the whole family of man he speaks through his own Apostles, and he divides them but into two classes—his disciples and the world, those who will love him though they see him not, and loving him will serve him, and those who caring only for the things of the world, strive to grasp all they can, and to be happy without God. Just as distinctly as light arose from the bosom of darkness in the beginning, so from the world itself would arise a people of God, Christ's disciples, guided, helped, and consoled by the Holy Spirit, “the Comforter,” whom the worldly-minded could not receive, because they see him not, neither know him. How clear are his promises to the Apostles, cast down for a time by the grief of losing him !
Verse 18. “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you."
Yes, He will come to them “an inward presence in the mind.” With, and in the Spirit, Christ himself comes, for the Spirit takes that which is Christ's and imparts it to the mind of the Believer, so that he becomes like-minded with Christ. Let us mark this promise well, and eagerly seek the promised gift, each one of us for ourselves.
Verse 19. “ Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more ; but ye see me : because I live, ye shall live also.”
The bond that bound them together should not be broken. He would indeed pass out of their sight; but it was only that he might take again his place in the Father's glory, and his life would cause their life. The world would forget him-not so his disciples; and, lest they should at any time be discouraged, they have this promise of the Lord to bear them up, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Need they ever faint or droop ? Jesus liveth for evermore, therefore they shall live.
Verse 20. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
Yes, they shall lose him out of sight, but they shall be more closely bound to him than ever. They shall feel that they lived in Him, and that He was one with God. Thus whatever befel, they were safe in Him. The after-lives of the Apostles and of the early Christians show in a striking manner how faithfully this promise was kept. In their various trials even unto death, the Holy Spirit the Comforter never forsook them. It was fully proved that they possessed a life which the cruelty of man could not reach, and that even in death they were given “the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." *
The Saviour gives a simple rule by which his people may al. ways be known. They are those who study God's word to follow its directions, and he promises that they shall be taught of God.
Verse 21. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
The dullest among us can scarcely be more slow of understanding than the Apostles seem to have been ; and this is a blessing to us, for each question we could desire to ask is put by some one or other of them.
Verse 22. "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world ?"
The answer is remarkable, it is so simple, so clear, and all experience has shown how true.
* 1 Corinthians xv. 57.
Verse 23. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words : and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
How distinct and how blessed is this promise! By its divine simplicity it answers and puts to silence the thousand disputes wherewith men wear themselves out, and would, if possible, bury religion itself beneath a vain jargon of words. “If a man love
me, he will keep my words.” There is no doubt of this. It is the very nature of love to seek to please the object beloved, and what follows—"and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Love can only act as love, and will always draw nearer and nearer the object beloved. The Father and the Son are one in love, and They will abide with those whom They have taught to love Them. Thus will They manifest themselves to them, and not unto the world, for said the Lord Jesus,
Verse 24. “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings : and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”
Where there is no love there can be no communion of Spirit. Neither Father nor Son can be manifested to the unloving heart.
Having thus answered the question of Judas, Jesus continued thus
Verses 25, 26. “ These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Well is He called “The Comforter,” for He brings with him a power without which consolation would be vain. We know there is a grief beyond the reach of any man to comfort,