John 14:23-29 = Farewell, Promise, Peace
Bible Background: 1. We’re stepping back into the lengthy ‘farewell discourse’ in John’s Gospel, which is fit into the Last Supper scene in John. Chapter 14 begins with: “Do not let your hearts be troubled….in my Father’s house are many dwellings places, and I go and prepare a place for you…” Today’s reading is the promise of Jesus’ peace and the Spirit’s presence, that will surround and empower the disciples in the future.
Digging Deeper: 1. This scene, where Judas has left the group to betray Jesus, and where Peter has been cautioned that he’ll deny Jesus 3x’s takes place at the Last Supper. In John, Jesus has much to say to his disciples yet; followed by a long prayer to his heavenly Father (chapter 17.)
2. The Greek word Paraclete is the term Jesus uses for the Holy Spirit, here. It takes multiple English words to get at the full meaning: Advocate, Comforter, One who comes alongside (like in a courtroom), Counselor, Helper. The Paraclete will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you. Jesus promises to be present with the disciples through his Word and through the Holy Spirit.
3. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” Peace, here, is much more than an inner calm, and much more than the absence of conflict. Peace is also about the living, loving presence of Jesus, experienced in the community of faith, as well as in one’s own heart. When we say to one another in worship “The peace of the Lord be with you”, that is much more than just a friendly greeting! This is celebrating the presence of the risen Christ!
4. “I am going away, and I am coming to you.”?? John’s writing style can be over our heads at times. (Remember the saying about John’s Gospel we started out with months ago? That “it’s shallow enough for a child to wade in and deep enough to drown an elephant?”
5. The disciples are wondering: “Where are you going?” “Can we come?” “When will you be back?” “Who will take care of us?” The farewell discourse is where Jesus tries to address all these important questions. Jesus is going to the Father. One day, we can come (he prepares a place for us). Until then, the Holy Spirit will lead us in truth and teach us all things.