The Farewell discourse (13:1–17:26) - continue

The promise of the Paraclete (14:15–31)

The Christian life is participation in God through Christ and in the Spirit, the Paraclete who guides the believer as the indwelling and eternal presence of God.

  1. An introduction to “another Paraclete” (14:15–21);
  2. Participation with the Father and the Son in the Spirit (14:22–24).
  3. The peace of Christ in the Spirit (14:25–31).


Till this moment, Jesus has spoken of his love for his disciples and of their obligation to love one another; now for the first time in this Gospel he speaks of their love for him.

In this verse, Jesus explains that the nature of the relationship between God and his children consists in love and obedience.

Fellowship and partnership with God is a relationship of love, God’s love for us and our love for God. But love is never a sentiment or an emotion; it is always moral!

The stress is on “my commandments” - even in his physical absence Jesus is the standard for the life of the disciple, for he is the one who fulfilled the law (cf. Mt 5:17).


The title “Paraclete” (παράκλητος), often with a definite article (the Paraclete - 14:26) is difficult to translate and define - in English “comforter, advocate, counsellor, helper”.

The term only occurs five times in the NT, all in the Johannine literature (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1).

The best way is to transliterate it instead of translating it. Thus, it will allow the doctrine of the Holy Spirit to determine its meaning.

Some general comments regarding the Paraclete.

First, the Paraclete is still to come (14:26). But it does not mean that the Spirit had not been active up to that point.

The Paraclete can only come when Jesus departs (16:7; 7:37–39), thus his coming is a direct consequence of the saving work of Christ.

Second, the Paraclete has a special relationship to the disciples. The function ascribes to the Spirit are elsewhere in this Gospel assigned to Christ.

The disciples (all believers) will be granted the ability to know and relate to the Paraclete just as they have the privilege of knowing Jesus (14:7, 9).

The Paraclete will indwell the disciples and remain with them just as Jesus is to remain in and with the disciples (14:16–17, 20, 23; 15:4–5; 17:23, 26).

The Paraclete as the Spirit of truth (14:17; 15:26; 16:13) will teach and guide the disciples into “all the truth” (16:13), just as Jesus is the truth (14:6).

The Spirit bears witness to Christ (15:26) and glorifies Christ (16:14), just as it is Christ from whom the Paraclete receives what he makes known to the disciples (16:14).

Third, the Paraclete has a unique role in the world: to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement (16:8). The world cannot see or accept the Paraclete, just as they could not accept or see Jesus (5:43; 12:48). Not only does The Paraclete acts as an “advocate” in relation to Jesus - bearing witness about Jesus (15:26; 16:14); the Paraclete also acts as an “advocate” in relation to the disciples, helping them in their witness in the world. The Paraclete empowers the disciples in their witness to the world, thus continuing the mission of Jesus (20:21–22), who was sent by the Father (3:16).

These three aspects of the Paraclete point directly to a close relationship between the Paraclete and Jesus Christ - He is “another Paraclete”. The adjective “another” signifies “another of the same kind” in contrast to the other adjective that could have been used, “other - έ͑τερον”, which signifies “another of a different kind” (see the use of both adjectives in Gal 1:6–7). The implication is that Jesus was also a Paraclete - just a different Paraclete than the Spirit (1 John 2:1).

Here, we encounter the mystery of the Trinity.

The title “Paraclete” therefore expresses the intimate presence of God with his people, a presence that formally began with the incarnation and will carry on until the new creation.

First Jesus and now the Spirit witness to God, speak on behalf of God, console, guide, and teach in the way of God, and help in the work of God.

This is why “Paraclete” cannot be translated into any one word or concept, nor can any language grasp its fulness. For “Paraclete” is the title of an office of God, the one from which he ministers to the world he loves. It is the term that guarantees that God is present and that nothing can separate us from God and his love for us (Rom 8:38–39).

End of the general comments of the Holy Spirit.

According to Jesus the Paraclete had always been the intention of God “in order that he will be with you forever”.

God always wanted to be with his people and so we have the sending of two “Paracletes” - His Son and His Spirit.


Jesus describes the Paraclete as “the Spirit of truth” (cf. 15:26; 16:13) - the Spirit who communicates truth.

“Truth” is an important concept in the Gospel (1:14; 16:12–15). In the light of 14:6, truth is more than a statement of fact or even a doctrine, for it speaks of the reality of God now accessed through Christ and in the Spirit.

Truth, therefore, is something to be received and obeyed, which is exactly the kind of help the Paraclete intends to offer the disciples.

The possession of this truth by the Spirit of truth according to Jesus is not something “the world” is able to receive (1:10). The Spirit is alien to the world for “it does not see or know him”. The terms “see” and “know” are not to be distinguished; they are referring to the experience of knowing and relating to God, the Spirit.

But the Spirit of truth is known to the disciples of Jesus, because he remains “beside you and is in you”. “Beside you” is an equivalent to “with you” in 14:16. Both points to the presence of the Spirit in the life of Christ’s disciple. The preposition “in” highlights the indwelling nature of the Spirit of truth.


Without Jesus with them - without his physical presence - the disciples could indeed feel like “orphans” - children without a father (1:12).

The coming of the Paraclete allows Jesus to state that he will not leave them as “orphans”. Moreover, he himself is “coming” to them. But which coming does Jesus speak about? (1) about his coming after his resurrection? (2) about his second coming? (3) about the coming of the Holy Spirit? Probably, all “three” could be put in proper order.

  1. 14:20 seem to refer to the resurrection day - the third day.
  2. 14:16–17, 23 refer to the coming of the Holy Spirit by means of whom the Father and the Son dwell with believers.
  3. 14:2–3 seem to point to the second coming of Jesus.

The statement of Jesus “I am coming” can be explained also from the point of the Trinity - wherever the Spirit is there the Father and Son are also.

Since “Paraclete” refers to the multifaceted presence of God with his people, Jesus speaks not merely of himself but of the Trinitarian God (14:23).


Jesus compares the new (eschatological) experience of the disciples to that of the world.

The departure of Jesus changes his relationship to the world, but not to the disciples, who still “will see” him. Once Jesus leaves, the world will no longer see him in the flesh.

The source of this difference in vision between the world and the disciples is the statement: “because I live and you also will live”.

“I live” - Jesus is life himself and after defeating death He “lives for ever” (Rev 1:18). Therefore, the “life” the disciples experience is rooted in the new eschatological life only God can provide. This life is more than the earthly existence.

The resurrection of Christ does not merely guarantee that death is defeated but also means that life itself is new (cf. 6:57).


“On that day” refers to the resurrection day - to that glorious day - when Jesus not only defeated death, but also went to the Father and came back to pour the Holy Spirit upon his disciples (cf. 20:17, 19–23).

On that day, they “will know” or “realise, understand, perceive”.

That day will inaugurate a new age - eschatological age - in which the reality of God’s kingdom is experienced within the historical reality of this world. The day of Easter is extended in the experience of all who love the Lord (14:15).


Jesus goes back to the theme of love for him and obedience to his commandments (14:15).

The verb “manifest” can also mean “make clear, explain, inform”. After Christ’s resurrection with the help of the Holy Spirit, they will be able to grasp the mystery of Christ (cf. Phil 3:8; Col 1:15–20).

14:22 - cf. Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13 - probably the same person.

“What has happened?” - the question of Judas (not Iscariot). He wants to know the reason for Jesus’ statement in 14:21 - “reveal/manifest”. Judas seems to presume that they already know Jesus but it is the world that does not know Jesus yet. And so, why Jesus needs to reveal himself to them and not to the world?

Again, the world will see him and tremble (see Mt 24:30), but the disciples will “see” him in a way that the world will not experience unless it repents and comes to faith in him.


Jesus’ answer returns to the relationship of love that is uniquely established between the Trinitarian God and his children. It is a love within personal relationship.

This relationship is experienced in a concrete way - God takes up residence with the disciples. The noun translated as “dwelling place - μονὴν” is the same noun used in 14:2 regarding “my Father’s house - μοναὶ”. While it could be translated as “room”, the term is used here to depict the indwelling presence of God in the individual believer.

The “we” must includes not only the Father and the Son, but also the Spirit (Rom 8:9).


In light of the depth of the relationship that exists between God and a disciple, the difference Judas (not Iscariot) was pressing for is now made more manifest.

The world has not known or seen God and therefore does not love or obey God. Without loving Christ the world cannot keep Christ’s word - which is not his but the Father’s. But the world cannot see it that way. The world is in its state of blindness.

The word “sent” reminds the reader again that Christ’s mission has its source in the Father.

Jesus makes it clear that the grace of life with God is not for all but only for those who love and obey Christ; that is the true expression of faith in Christ that leads to eternal life (20:30–31).


Jesus reminds his disciples that his presence with them and personal instruction to them is about to come to an end.

There is going to be a transition from the first Paraclete to “another Paraclete” (14:16), who will continue to mediate God’s presence and personal instruction to the disciples.


The departure of Jesus is not the departure of God!

For the second time Jesus mentions the Paraclete, who will take his place and fulfil the role of teacher and God’s presence for the disciples. The Spirit fills the ‘office of the Paraclete’ first occupied by Jesus. But it does not mean that Jesus ended his ministry. He will continue doing it but in a different and even greater way.

Here, Jesus further describe the Spirit (cf. 14:16–17).

(1) The Spirit was sent by the Father - before it was the Son regularly described as sent by the Father (3:16).
(2) The Spirit was sent in Jesus’ name. The ministry is not replacing the ministry of Jesus but a continuation, giving further insight into the use of the title “Paraclete” for both Jesus and the Spirit.

“In my name” places the work of the Spirit within the work of Christ. The work of the Spirit continues and facilitates the same work. In this way Jesus never stopped working when he departed and the Spirit came, for the Spirit’s work is also the work of Christ.

(3) The Spirit will “teach and remind” the disciples. The Spirit will teach the disciples “all things” - it means “all things” they will need in their mission and life. The Spirit will “remind” them to what they need to grasp from Christ.

The message of Christ was not lacking but fully sufficient, so that the Spirit is not adding to the Word. The Spirit ‘explains’ the true meaning of the Gospel, enables the disciples (and the Church) to understand the message of the Gospel (cf. Luke 24:45).

14:27 - cf. Phil 4:7

“Peace (shalom) be with you” was (and is) the usual Jewish greeting when friends met and parted. What Jesus called “my peace” was something deeper and more lasting, peace at heart which would banish anxiety and fear. It is the peace of God through Christ in the Spirit.

The newly inaugurated state of existence for the disciple involves receiving the peace of Christ, which is an unbroken union with the Father even in a world filled with continuous strife, persecution, humiliation, and even death.

The OT concept of peace - shalom (Num 6:26; Ps 29:11; Is 54:13; 57:19; Ezek 37:36) - is here described as being fulfiled.

Jesus offers peace to his disciples in the two related phrases, “peace I leave with you” and “my peace I give to you”.

  1. The peace given to the disciples is grounded in and belongs to Christ. It is the peace of Christ that the disciple receives, a peace rooted in his person and in the cross.
  2. This peace now belongs to the disciples. The participation in the life of God included the peace of God. The world, which can neither see God nor relate to God, cannot provide this peace. The believer is to live by means of this peace.

14:28 - cf. 10:30; 13:16

Jesus tells his disciples that his departure to the Father should be viewed positively - they should rejoice. The reason is: “because the Father is greater than I”.

This comparison is not to be interpreted that the Son is less equal to the Father. From the first verse of the Gospel their ontological equality was stressed (1:1; 1:18; 5:16–18; 20:28).

The usual interpretation is that the Father is greater than Jesus who “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7). Another interpretation is that the Father is greater than Jesus, because Jesus always insists on the fact that He was sent by the Father and came to do the will of the Father.

It is interesting to notice how Jesus humbles himself and presents himself in the Gospel as the obedient Son of the Father whose aim is to fulfil the will of the Father (4:34; 5:19–30; 8:29; 12:48–49).


Jesus concludes his invitation to believe, which began at 14:1. By understanding what is to come, the disciples should be firmly grounded in faith in God.

The purpose for which the Son was sent is about to be accomplished. When it is accomplished the disciples should recognise in it the fulfilment of Jesus’ words and believe in Him (13:19).


But there is also a negative side to Jesus’ departure. The departure of Jesus sets the stage not only for the “coming” of the Holy Spirit, but also for the “coming” of the ruler of this world.

This is the second use of this title (12:31 - where Jesus’ speaks about the downfall of the ruler of this world).

In 12:31, the departure of Jesus was depicted as a cosmic battle in which Jesus defeats Satan - a battle fought and won by the death of Jesus on the cross.

Here (14:30), the emphasis is on the spiritual battle, in which Satan, though defeated by the Son of God, will also become an opponent of the children of God (Eph 6:10–17; Rev 12:17).

Later in the discourse, Jesus will give further insight and instruction regarding spiritual battle.

“And he has nothing on me”. This idiom often occurs in legal context and means something like “he has no claim on me” or “he has nothing over me”.

In John 16:11 the ruler of the world shall be judged!


Jesus makes a further statement related to “ruler of this world” and his inability to make a claim on Christ.

Jesus wants the world to know two things: (1) that He loves the Father and (2) that He does what the Father has commanded.

This is very important statement. Jesus expects his disciples to exhibit the same attitude towards him: (1) to love him and (2) to obey (do) his commandments (14:15, 21, 23).

By this statement Jesus urges the disciples to see that his death is actually for the purpose of victory and his departure is to provide an even more empowering presence.

Jesus exhorts the disciples to do what he himself is already doing - to love and obey God. Thus, Jesus clearly becomes the “way”, so that the “truth” can be understood with the hope that “life” can be fully attained.

This is what the world must know and it serves as the mission statement of the church (20:21; cf. Mt 28:18–20).

The pericope concludes with a command by Jesus “rise, let us go from here”. This statement has convinced many modern scholars that the farewell discourse is edited. They think so, because the “going out from here” only takes place in 18:1.

But, it does not have to be the case. Instead of being edited and chapters 15–17 considered as being out of place, it can be seen as a literary device called “delayed exit”. The author of the Gospel ‘suspends’ Jesus’ exit - his going out from here - in order to prepare the reader for more teaching from Jesus. But this literary device also offer a pause for the speaker. The device apparently was known in Greek tragedies.

After Jesus’ statement, the reader can also pause and reflect on what Jesus had just say before moving further.

The pause created by the “exit device” halts momentarily the progression of the action towards Jesus’ death and gives Jesus the opportunity to offer consolation to his disciples.

What follows is one of the most intimate sections of his farewell discourse.

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