Two things Christ here comforts his disciples with:—
I. That they should be under the tuition of his Spirit, John 14:25, 26, where we may observe,
1. The reflection Christ would have them make upon the instructions he had given them: These things have I spoken unto you (referring to all the good lessons he had taught them, since they entered themselves into his school), being yet present with you. This intimates, (1.) That what he had said he did not retract nor unsay, but ratify it, or stand to it. What he had spoken he had spoken, and would abide by it. (2.) That he had improved the opportunity of his bodily presence with them to the utmost: “As long as I have been yet present with them, you know I have lost no time.” Note, When our teachers are about to be removed from us we should call to mind what they have spoken, being yet present with us.
2. The encouragement given them to expect another teacher, and that Christ would find out a way of speaking to them after his departure from them, John 14:26. He had told them before that the Father would give them this other comforter (John 14:16), and here he returns to speak of it again; for as the promise of the Messiah had been, so the promise of the Spirit now was, the consolation of Israel. Two things he here tells them further concerning the sending of the Holy Ghost:—
(1.) On whose account he should be sent: “The Father will send him in my name; that is, for my sake, at my special instance and request:” or, “as my agent and representative.” He came in his Father’s name, as his ambassador: the Spirit comes in his name, as resident in his absence, to carry on his undertaking, and to ripen things for his second coming. Hence he is called the Spirit of Christ, for he pleads his cause, and does his work.
(2.) On what errand he should be sent; two things he shall do:—[1.] He shall teach you all things, as a Spirit of wisdom and revelation Christ was a teacher to his disciples; if he leave them now that they have made so little proficiency, what will become of them? Why, the Spirit shall teach them, shall be their standing tutor. He shall teach them all things necessary for them either to learn themselves, or to teach others. For those that would teach the things of God must first themselves be taught of God; this is the Spirit’s work. See Isa. 59:21. [2.] He shall bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you. Many a good lesson Christ had taught them, which they had forgotten, and which would be to seek when they had occasion for it. Many things they did not retain the remembrance of, because they did not rightly understand the meaning of them. The Spirit shall not teach them a new gospel, but bring to their minds that which they had been taught, by leading them into the understanding of it. The apostles were all of them to preach, and some of them to write, the things that Jesus did and taught, to transmit them to distant nations and future ages; now, if they had been left to themselves herein, some needful things might have been forgotten, others misrepresented, through the treachery of their memories; therefore the Spirit is promised to enable them truly to relate and record what Christ said unto them. And to all the saints the Spirit of grace is given to be a remembrancer, and to him by faith and prayer we should commit the keeping of what we hear and know.
II. That they should be under the influence of his peace (John 14:27): Peace I leave with you. When Christ was about to leave the world he made his will. His soul he committed to his Father; his body he bequeathed to Joseph, to be decently interred; his clothes fell to the soldiers; his mother he left to the care of John: but what should he leave to his poor disciples, that had left all for him? Silver and gold he had none; but he left them that which was infinitely better, his peace. “I leave you, but I leave my peace with you. I not only give you a title to it, but put you in possession of it.” He did not part in anger, but in love; for this was his farewell, Peace I leave with you, as a dying father leaves portions to his children; and this is a worthy portion. Observe,
1. The legacy that is here bequeathed Peace, my peace. Peace is put for all good, and Christ has left us all needful good, all that is really and truly good, as all the purchased promised good. Peace is put for reconciliation and love; the peace bequeathed is peace with God, peace with one another; peace in our own bosoms seems to be especially meant; a tranquillity of mind arising from a sense of our justification before God. It is the counterpart of our pardons, and the composure of our minds. This Christ calls his peace, for he is himself our peace, Eph. 2:14. It is the peace he purchased for us and preached to us, and on which the angels congratulated men at his birth, Luke 2:14.
2. To whom this legacy is bequeathed: “To you, my disciples and followers, that will be exposed to trouble, and have need of peace; to you that are the sons of peace, and are qualified to receive it.” This legacy was left to them as the representatives of the church, to them and their successors, to them and all true Christians in all ages.
3. In what manner it is left: Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. That is, (1.) “I do not compliment you with Peace be unto you; no, it is not a mere formality, but a real blessing.” (2.) “The peace I give is of such a nature that the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away.” Or, (3.) “The gifts I give to you are not such as this world gives to its children and votaries, to whom it is kind.” The world’s gifts concern only the body and time; Christ’s gifts enrich the soul for eternity: the world gives lying vanities, and that which will cheat us; Christ gives substantial blessings, which will never fail us: the world gives and takes; Christ gives a good part that shall never be taken away. (4.) The peace which Christ gives is infinitely more valuable than that which the world gives. The world’s peace begins in ignorance, consists with sin, and ends in endless troubles; Christ’s peace begins in grace, consists with no allowed sin, and ends at length in everlasting peace. As is the difference between a killing lethargy and a reviving refreshing sleep, such is the difference between Christ’s peace and the world’s.
4. What use they should make of it: Let not your heart be troubled, for any evils past or present, neither let it be afraid of any evil to come. Note, Those that are interested in the covenant of grace, and entitled to the peace which Christ gives, ought not to yield to overwhelming griefs and fears. This comes in here as the conclusion of the whole matter; he had said (John 14:1), Let not your heart be troubled, and here he repeats it as that for which he had now given sufficient reason.
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