John 14:1-14

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This discourse is part of Jesus' last conversation with his disciples and is part of the long discourse that is present in John 13 to 17 where Jesus talks with his disciples prior to his death the next day. This is a simple part of the speech. There is no major change in who is being addressed or on the topics that are being discussed. It is about the relationship between Jesus and his disciples and is addressed to us as the listeners. So in the telling of this story, you as the storyteller are Jesus addressing your audience as the disciples of Jesus. This is the first time in the entire Gospel of John in which there is an extended address by Jesus to his disciples and this is part of that address that begins in chapter 13in the aftermath period and the end of his washing the disciples feet. This is about what it means to love Jesus and to be in an intimate relationship of trust, faith, and love. I would recommend that you read the article on the voice of Jesus and John as a framework for the development of Jesus' voice in your telling of this discourse.

This last speech is not intended to be told in an authoritative voice as a series of theological pronouncements. Jesus’ voice here is the voice of one who is talking to his closest friends on the night before his death. He is sharing with them the things that they need to know. The basic dynamic of this speech is his communicating to his disciples how much he loves them.

The verbal threads in the story are easy to identify. At the beginning and the end "if you love me you will keep my commandments" and "those who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me." A second is "because it neither sees him nor knows him" and "in a little while the world will no longer see me" and then later "but you will see me" and fourth "on that day you will know that I am in my father and you and me and I and you." So these are the words of a teacher and friend speaking with the students with whom he has traveled for three years.

The dynamics of the story are the dynamics of love. "If you love me you will keep my commandments and I’ll ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever." "Advocate" here is a translation of the Greek word Paraclete which means both an advocate and a counselor. It is one who is also named the Spirit of Truth and later this figure was called the Holy Spirit. So the Paraclete will be sent by Jesus as a source of teaching and consolation. So, Jesus will ask the Father to send the Paraclete to be a source of consolation and teaching in the aftermath of his death.

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