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himself. Nothing could be better adapted to reconcile their minds to a painful separation than an assurance of this kind, that a separation was necessary to accomplish some design for their benefit, and that when this work was finished they should meet again, and remain together for ever.
Having spoken so often to his disciples of a future life, and said so much about the means necessary to secure it, he had good reason to conclude that when he talked of leaving the world they must know whither he was going, and how they might be able to follow him; yet we find that his disciples did not understand him.
4. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5. Thomas saith unto him, Master, we know 'not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?
The apostles had so little expectation of their master's death at this time, that they never referred what he said about his departure from them to that event; but seem to have thought that he was speaking of retreating to some unknown place in Judæa, in order to avoid his enemies. This is the reason of the reply made by Thomas, that they did not know the way. Jesus assures him that he himself was the way.
6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life :
That is, I am the true way unto eternal life. Jesus often says that of himself which is only true of his doctrine; thus he calls himself a door and a vine, meaning that his doctrine answered purposes correspondent to the uses and qualities of these objects. So when he says of himself that he is the true way to eternal life, he means that his doctrine is so.
No man cometh to the Father but by me.
No one can find the way to the presence of God, my Father, in heaven, and to those mansions of which I have been speaking, but by my doctrine. Christ cannot mean to exclude all but believers in his gospel from the possession of eternal life: for the patriarchs and the disciples of Moses, by conforming to that instítution of religion under which they lived, no doubt found their way thither, but in a less perfect manner. Christ teaches us the best way, and there is no other who has any claim to this prerogative. Our coming to God may perhaps mean here knowing him, and Jesus may have intended to assert that he alone can communicate the true knowledge of the Father. This sense seems to be rendered probable by the observation which follows in the next verse.
7. If ye had known me ye would have known my Father also.
If you had attended to the doctrine which I have taught, and to the miracles which I have wrought, you would have seen sufficient manifestations of the power and wisdom of God, to enable you to know him.
And from hence forth ye know him, and have seen himn.
Notwithstanding what I have just said, which seems to imply that you are ignorant of God, yet, in consequence of what you have been witnesses to in my ministry, you do actually know him, and may be said to have seen him.
8. Philip saith unto him, Master, show us the Father and it sufficeth us.
The words of Philip imply that they had not yet seen God in their master, in the way which he had suggested: for he requests to be indulged with such a favour, and declares that if it be granted he should be satisfied. To this request Jesus replies with some warmth.
9. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in
Believest thou not that I am acquainted with the divine purposes and counsels respecting the salvation of mankind; and that the power of God resides in me? The words that I speak unto you
I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works.
The doctrine which I teach is not the suggestion of my own mind, but communicated to me by the Father, with whom I have the most intimate intercourse. This was intended to explain what he meant by saying, “I am in the Father.” The miracles whicho I perform are not so much mine as the Father's, whose power resides in me, and is exerted, under my direction, whenever I please. This explains the words, “ The Father is in me."
11. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else, believe me for the very works' sake.
Believe me on my own authority, when I assure you of the intimate union subsisting between me and the Father, in the way which I have just explained; or else believe me on the authority of my miracles, which are 12.
sufficient to prove that I am a divinely commissioned teacher, and that the power of God resides in me.
Having mentioned his own miracles, Jesus is hereby reminded of those miraculous powers which his apostles should possess, and directs their thoughts to this subject, as a proper ground of consolation upon the present occasion, because it was an advantage which they would derive from his personal absence.
Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, he shall work the same kind of miracles as I work; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go
Father. Having finished the work which God gave me to do, and suffered death in doing it, I shall be taken up to God, and shall receive from him, as a reward of my sufferings and obedience, authority to bestow more extraordinary powers than I was ever able to confer while I continued with you. Christ is usually supposed to refer to the gift of tongues, which the apostles themselves possessed and could communicate to others
13. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do;
Whatever miraculous gifts you shall ask the Father as my disciples, these I will confer upon you. They had before asked for blessings in the name of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or as the descendents of these patriarchs, to whom great favours had been promised; but now they are to ask as the disciples of Christ, to whom a promise of such powers had been given.
“ I will do it,” says Christ. Miraculous powers came from Christ. During the apostolic age, a particu
Dr. Priestley thinks that Christ refers to the greater number of miracles which the apostles should work, and the greater number of their converts. See his Harnony.
lar intercourse subsisted between Christ and his apostles, which consisted in his enabling them to work mira, cles, and frequently appearing to them. It was to these he referred, when he said, Lo, I am with you always to the end of the age. This intercourse is now suspended, at least it is no longer sensible; but even while it contipued, observe that Christ directs his disciples to pray to God and not to himself.
That the Father may be glorified in the Son,
14. If shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
He now assigns the reason of his making this pro. mise: it was that he might hereby glorify the Father, from whom all miraculous power proceeds. He shows the apostles, likewise, the limitation of the promise: their desire of miraculous powers was only so far to be gratified as complying with their request might contribute to the glory of the Father. On this subject there seems to have been a striking difference between Jesus and his apostles: he had a power of working miracles at his own pleasure; but they, being limited to such occasions as were deemed by the Son conducive to the divine glory, were sometimes unable to work miracles when they must have desired it; as Paul, when he left Trophimus sick at Miletus. It should be remembered, likewise, that this promise related wholly to miraculous powers, as is evident from the connection, and not to the ordinary blessings of life.
The words which have been explained, although they contain some things peculiar to the apostles, likewise contain important truths, which are applicable to Christians of every age.