The eleven were naturally fearful of what was about to happen and confused. Those of us who know the end of the story can hardly appreciate the tension of the moment. The disciples only knew that Jesus was about to depart from them, which was cause for hearts to be troubled. So with words that comfort us 2,000 years later, Jesus reassured them that everything was going to be OK. He was going to His Father to prepare a place for them, and He would ultimately return to personally escort them there (14:3). In the interim, He would send a marvelous helper and teacher to live in them, the Holy Spirit, who would be equivalent to having both the Father and Son living in them (14:16-17, 23).
Beyond those things, Jesus granted the eleven His supernatural peace, the peace that Paul wrote “surpasses all comprehension” (Phil 4:7). But their faith was a factor, and so He exhorted them: “Believe in God, believe also in Me” (14:3). He meant more than just to believe that He or God existed. It was an exhortation to trust both the Father and Jesus that everything was under their control.
Jesus told the eleven that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him (14:10-11). He also stated that if we’ve seen Him, we’ve seen the Father (14:9). Notice, however, that He didn’t say that He was the Father. The Father and Son are two distinct persons, but are so much alike that if you know one, you know the other. For that reason, when you hear a preacher say that many Christians know Jesus but don’t know the Father, you know that he hasn’t done his homework.
What did Jesus mean when He said that those who believe in Him would do the same works as He did and greater works (14:12)? Some think Jesus was referring to the entire body of Christ corporately doing the same and greater works than He did. Some think it means every believer should be doing the same and greater works than Jesus, yet I’ve noticed those who say that aren’t coming anywhere close to doing the same works Jesus did. In fact, even the original apostles never performed certain miracles that Jesus did, much less greater miracles.
Most of the miracles recorded in the book of Acts were done by apostles or evangelists, not ordinary believers. For this reason, I suspect that the promise of believers doing greater works will have its complete fulfillment in the future world. We know that the nine gifts of the Spirit are referred to in Scripture as “the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5). Through Isaiah, Jesus prophetically spoke of believers during His millennial reign, saying, “I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts who dwells on Mount Zion” (Is. 8:18; compare with Heb. 2:11-13).
This is not to say that miracles and gifts of the Spirit are not for today, but that not all believers should expect to walk on water, raise the dead and multiply food.
Three times in today’s reading Jesus reinforced the connection between loving and obeying Him.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments….He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him….If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him (14:15, 21, 23).
How often we list excuses for not obeying Jesus, yet how many of us will simply admit that the major cause is our lack of love for Him?
Notice also that Jesus only promised that He and the Father would come to live in those who love Him and keep His word (14:23). So there must be an initial repentance to even begin a relationship with the Lord. The idea that we can “accept Jesus as Savior” yet reject Him as Lord has no biblical foundation.