Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).
1. What is the context and the situation when Jesus addresses to His disciples the discourse recorded in John 14? What has happened just prior to this discourse? Note John 13:21 and 33 (printed below)
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in his spirit and testified, I tell you the truth, one of you shall betray me. (John 13:21)
Little children, I will be with you for only a little while longer. You will miss me; but what I told the Jews, I now tell you, Where I am going, you cannot come. (John 13:33)
Jesus has just announced that He is about to be betrayed by one of His own disciples (John 13:21). Furthermore, Jesus has announced that within a very short time He will depart from His disciples. His disciples will miss Him (desiring His fellowship as they have enjoyed it for the past three and a half years), but for the time being they will not be able to follow Him. This is the context and the situation at the time Jesus addresses to His disciples the discourse recorded in John 14.
2. What does Jesus reveal to His disciples in John 14:2 (printed below?)
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
Our Lord Jesus Christ directs His disciples’ attention to the house of God (i.e.; the heavenly kingdom of God). He speaks about the spaciousness of that house (in His Father’s house are “many rooms”—there is ample room for all who believe in Christ the Son of God). Jesus reveals the fact that He is departing in order to prepare a place for His disciples (and for all of His disciples throughout the ages) in that house.
3. Jesus specifically declares that one of the reasons for His departure is to go and prepare a place in His Father’s house for each one of His disciples. What things does this imply?
Jesus specifically declares that one of the reasons for His departure is to go and prepare a place in His Father’s house for each one of His disciples. This implies, and is the assurance, that He will come again to bring us unto that place He has gone to prepare for us. Note the testimony of the angels recorded in Acts 1:11. Furthermore, Jesus’ testimony implies, and is the assurance, that He will guard His people and preserve us so that we may enter into that place He has gone to prepare for us. Note, also, Jesus assurance recorded in Luke 12:32.
4. In response to Jesus’ request, whom will the Father give to the disciples? How is He described? See John 14:16 (printed below)
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever (John 14:16)
Jesus will request His Father to provide His disciples with “another Counselor” (or, “Comforter”)—that One being the Holy Spirit. The Greek term refers to one who appears on another’s behalf as a mediator, intercessor, and helper. When Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as being “another Counselor,” He indicates that the Holy Spirit will continue to carry on the work and fulfill the role of Christ Himself. Jesus’ request of His Father is that this Counselor (the Holy Spirit)—who carries on the work of Christ and by whom Christ Himself continues to abide with His people—be present with us “forever.” The Holy Spirit shall abide in the individual hearts of God’s people and in the midst of Christ’s church until we are safely gathered into the Father’s eternal kingdom and then He shall continue to do so for all eternity.
5. In distinction from the world, what is the Christian’s relationship with Christ? See John 14:19 (printed below)
After a little while the world will no longer see me; but you will see me. Because I live, you shall live also. (John 14:19)
In verse 19a the Lord Jesus assures us that as His disciples, unlike the world, we have an abiding fellowship with our Lord. Following the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, the world would no longer observe Jesus walking among them as He has done in the years of His earthly ministry. But Christ’s disciples continue to fellowship with Him spiritually through the person of the Holy Spirit. In verse 19b Jesus informs us that as His disciples we participate in His resurrection life: “because I live, you shall live also.” Prior to the crucifixion, Jesus was physically living with His disciples; following His resurrection and ascension, His disciples would spiritually live in Him (note Colossians 3:3-4).