Peace I Leave
Departures are difficult. Jesus announced He would go away, prepare a place and come again. No wonder the disciples were perplexed and confused. Thomas asked the question that the other disciples most likely wanted to ask (v. 5). Thomas confessed to misunderstanding where Jesus was going and possessing no knowledge of the way.
Jesus answered both questions and more. He encouraged all believers, not only the ones in the upper room, by revealing the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and among the followers of Christ.
The Counselor (16–21)
The disciples were confused. Jesus said He would go and prepare a place for them. For three years, the men in the upper room had followed Him. Now the One to whom they dedicated their lives abruptly announced He would go away (John 14:3). The context of the announcement no doubt added to their confusion over His planned departure. How would the disciples have responded to Jesus’ words, “If you love me”? The wording of the Greek New Testament expresses future probability. “You will probably love me” are words that would have pricked the apostles’ hearts.
In response to the note of probability, Jesus promised to send another Counselor (or Helper), a reference to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s ministry is multifaceted involving revealing truth, dwelling with believers and being in believers. After Jesus’ departure, His followers will not live life as orphans. On the day the disciples no longer saw Jesus (the day of His ascension), they would be aware of His presence through His indwelling of the Spirit. The intimate relationship created by mutual indwelling is one of love. While it is easy for an individual to claim to love Jesus, the real evidence of love is obedience rather than emotion.
The Teacher (22–26)
Judas asked a question concerning Jesus’ promise to reveal Himself to those who love Him and the Father. In essence, Judas asked, “Why do You not reveal Yourself to the world?” Jesus reiterated the connection between love and obedience. The world does not love Jesus; therefore, the world will not obey Jesus.
The attitude of followers of Christ is different from the world’s attitude. Because we love Jesus, individual Christians will have a heart of obedience. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to teach and to remind disciples of the teachings and commands of Jesus. Remembering is one of the keys to godly discipleship. One way the Holy Spirit may remind believers is through Scripture memory.
The Peace (27–29)
As Jesus anticipated His approaching death, He proclaimed one of His greatest promises. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you.” Believers may experience peace because of the truths Jesus expressed this very night. Why can believers experience peace? Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit — an Advocate and a Counselor
(v. 16). Jesus stated that He would give peace.
One of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. Disciples do not need to be afraid. Jesus’ departure means believers of any generation may experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. During His earthly life, the bodily Jesus could only be one place at a time. Believers in any location can experience the peace Jesus gives through the indwelling Spirit.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida