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John 14:12-21

Context
14:12 I tell you the solemn truth, 1  the person who believes in me will perform 2  the miraculous deeds 3  that I am doing, 4  and will perform 5  greater deeds 6  than these, because I am going to the Father. 14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, 7  so that the Father may be glorified 8  in the Son. 14:14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Teaching on the Holy Spirit

14:15 “If you love me, you will obey 9  my commandments. 10  14:16 Then 11  I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate 12  to be with you forever – 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, 13  because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides 14  with you and will be 15  in you.

14:18 “I will not abandon 16  you as orphans, 17  I will come to you. 18  14:19 In a little while 19  the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me; because I live, you will live too. 14:20 You will know at that time 20  that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you. 14:21 The person who has my commandments and obeys 21  them is the one who loves me. 22  The one 23  who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal 24  myself to him.”

1 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

2 tn Or “will do.”

3 tn Grk “the works.”

4 tn Or “that I do.”

sn See the note on miraculous deeds in v. 11.

5 tn Or “will do.”

6 tn Grk “greater works.”

sn What are the greater deeds that Jesus speaks of, and how is this related to his going to the Father? It is clear from both John 7:39 and 16:7 that the Holy Spirit will not come until Jesus has departed. After Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit to indwell believers in a permanent relationship, believers would be empowered to perform even greater deeds than those Jesus did during his earthly ministry. When the early chapters of Acts are examined, it is clear that, from a numerical standpoint, the deeds of Peter and the other Apostles surpassed those of Jesus in a single day (the day of Pentecost). On that day more were added to the church than had become followers of Jesus during the entire three years of his earthly ministry. And the message went forth not just in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, but to the farthest parts of the known world. This understanding of what Jesus meant by “greater deeds” is more probable than a reference to “more spectacular miracles.” Certainly miraculous deeds were performed by the apostles as recounted in Acts, but these do not appear to have surpassed the works of Jesus himself in either degree or number.

7 tn Grk “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do it.”

8 tn Or “may be praised” or “may be honored.”

9 tn Or “will keep.”

10 sn Jesus’ statement If you love me, you will obey my commandments provides the transition between the promises of answered prayer which Jesus makes to his disciples in vv. 13-14 and the promise of the Holy Spirit which is introduced in v. 16. Obedience is the proof of genuine love.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then” to reflect the implied sequence in the discourse.

12 tn Or “Helper” or “Counselor”; Grk “Paraclete,” from the Greek word παράκλητος (paraklhto"). Finding an appropriate English translation for παράκλητος is a very difficult task. No single English word has exactly the same range of meaning as the Greek word. “Comforter,” used by some of the older English versions, appears to be as old as Wycliffe. But today it suggests a quilt or a sympathetic mourner at a funeral. “Counselor” is adequate, but too broad, in contexts like “marriage counselor” or “camp counselor.” “Helper” or “Assistant” could also be used, but could suggest a subordinate rank. “Advocate,” the word chosen for this translation, has more forensic overtones than the Greek word does, although in John 16:5-11 a forensic context is certainly present. Because an “advocate” is someone who “advocates” or supports a position or viewpoint and since this is what the Paraclete will do for the preaching of the disciples, it was selected in spite of the drawbacks.

13 tn Or “cannot receive.”

14 tn Or “he remains.”

15 tc Some early and important witnesses (Ì66* B D* W 1 565 it) have ἐστιν (estin, “he is”) instead of ἔσται (estai, “he will be”) here, while other weighty witnesses ({Ì66c,75vid א A D1 L Θ Ψ Ë13 33vid Ï as well as several versions and fathers}), read the future tense. When one considers transcriptional evidence, ἐστιν is the more difficult reading and better explains the rise of the future tense reading, but it must be noted that both Ì66 and D were corrected from the present tense to the future. If ἐστιν were the original reading, one would expect a few manuscripts to be corrected to read the present when they originally read the future, but that is not the case. When one considers what the author would have written, the future is on much stronger ground. The immediate context (both in 14:16 and in the chapter as a whole) points to the future, and the theology of the book regards the advent of the Spirit as a decidedly future event (see, e.g., 7:39 and 16:7). The present tense could have arisen from an error of sight on the part of some scribes or more likely from an error of thought as scribes reflected upon the present role of the Spirit. Although a decision is difficult, the future tense is most likely authentic. For further discussion on this textual problem, see James M. Hamilton, Jr., “He Is with You and He Will Be in You” (Ph.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2003), 213-20.

16 tn Or “leave.”

17 tn The entire phrase “abandon you as orphans” could be understood as an idiom meaning, “leave you helpless.”

18 sn I will come to you. Jesus had spoken in 14:3 of going away and coming again to his disciples. There the reference was both to the parousia (the second coming of Christ) and to the postresurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples. Here the postresurrection appearances are primarily in view, since Jesus speaks of the disciples “seeing” him after the world can “see” him no longer in the following verse. But many commentators have taken v. 18 as a reference to the coming of the Spirit, since this has been the topic of the preceding verses. Still, vv. 19-20 appear to contain references to Jesus’ appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. It may well be that another Johannine double meaning is found here, so that Jesus ‘returns’ to his disciples in one sense in his appearances to them after his resurrection, but in another sense he ‘returns’ in the person of the Holy Spirit to indwell them.

19 tn Grk “Yet a little while, and.”

20 tn Grk “will know in that day.”

sn At that time could be a reference to the parousia (second coming of Christ). But the statement in 14:19, that the world will not see Jesus, does not fit. It is better to take this as the postresurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples (which has the advantage of taking in a little while in v. 19 literally).

21 tn Or “keeps.”

22 tn Grk “obeys them, that one is the one who loves me.”

23 tn Grk “And the one.” Here the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated to improve the English style.

24 tn Or “will disclose.”



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