The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on John 14:7-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 19, 2011

7. If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also; and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him.

Having told them that He Himself is the way, He now proceeds to point out to them that if they had known this way in the manner they ought, they should also have known the term towards which it led. Hence the sense is You would know the Father to whom I go, if you knew Me; for I and the Father are the same divine substance (John 10:30). Thomas had said that they did not know the term of Christ’s journey, and therefore could not know the way thereto, implying that the way was to be known from, or at least after, the term to which it led. Christ now declares that the reverse is the case; and if they had known Him, the way, they should also have known the Father. The words: If you
had known me, imply that they had not yet known Christ as they ought. They had indeed  known Him to some extent as He admits in verse 4, but they had not realized fully His Divinity and consubstantiality with the Father, else they would have implicitly known the Father in knowing Him. And from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him. We would render the Greek
thus: “And even now (see John 13:19) you know Him, and you have seen Him.” The sense is, that even now they knew the Father in some way through their imperfect knowledge of Christ, and they had seen Him in seeing Christ, because, as Christ adds in verse 9: “He who seeth me, seeth the Father also.”  Thus it was true that in an imperfect manner they knew whither Christ went, and the
way thereto (verse 4), yet equally true that they knew neither way nor term so clearly as they might, considering that He had now for more than three years been gradually revealing Himself to them.

Joh 14:8  Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father; and it is enough for us.

Thomas is silenced, but Philip now interposes, and failing to understand Christ’s
statement that they had seen the Father, asks Him to show them the Father, probably in some visible form, and then they will ask no more.

Joh 14:9  Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou: Shew us the Father?

Christ replies, again insisting on His consubstantiality with the Father: He that seeth me, seeth the Father also (“also” is probably not genuine.) These words prove clearly, against the Arians, Christ s consubstantiality, or unity of nature, with the Father; otherwise in seeing Him they could not be said to see the Father even implicitly. Yet it is clear against the Sabellians that the Father and the Son
are distinct Persons, for Christ plainly distinguishes Himself from the Father in verse 6 where He says “No man cometh to the Father but by me” and again in verse 13, where He says that He goes to the Father. There is, then, identity of nature, but distinction of Persons. Cognovistis of the Vulgate ought to be cognovisti, Philip being addressed.

Joh 14:10  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works.

Do you not believe (cre ditis ought to be credis) that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? He who saw Christ saw the Father implicitly, in virtue of the unity of nature. The words, and the connection with verse 9, show clearly that such is the identity of nature in the Father and the Son that He who sees the Son, thereby in some sense sees the Father also. St Thomas says on this verse:  “He says, I am in the Father and the Father in me, because they are one in essence. This was spoke of before: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30.  We should not that in the divinity essence is not related to person as it is in human beings. Among human beings, the essence of Socrates is not Socrates, because Socrates is a composite. But in the divinity, essence is the same with the person in reality, and so the essence of the Father is the Father, and the essence of one Son is the Son. Therefore, wherever the essence of the Father is, there the Father is; and wherever the essence of the Son is, there the Son is. Now the essence of the Father is in the Son, and the essence of the Son is in the Father. Therefore, the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son.” (St Thomas Aquinas, Lecture 3 on John 14).

Then He goes on to prove that the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, from the fact that His words and works are the words and works of the Father. Instead of “the works” many authorities read “His works;” but the sense is the same, for the works were both Christ’s and the Father’s.

Joh 14:11  Believe you not that I am in the Father and the Father in me?

According to the Vulgate reading, Christ, for emphasis, repeats the question of verse 10. In the original there is not a question, but simply an injunction addressed to all the Apostles; “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me.”

Joh 14:12  Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen, I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do: and greater than these shall he do.

The sense is: But if My testimony does not suffice to satisfy you of My Divinity, at
least believe on account of My miracles.

Having thus replied to the interruptions of Thomas and Philip He now proceeds to put before the Apostles other motives of consolation. The mention of the fourth motive opens with the solemn “Amen, amen;” and the Apostles are told that whoever believeth in Him shall perform even greater miracles than His (“majora horum” is a Graecism for ” majora his”), the reason being that in leaving His followers He bequeaths to them His thaumaturgic power, and bequeaths it in great perfection, because He ascends to the glory of the Father.

Greater than these. The miracles of Christ s followers were greater than His in
their visible effects. “Evangelizantibus discipulis . . . gentes etiam crediderunt;
haec sunt sine dubitatione majora (St. Aug. ad loc.). We think it very probable that the charism of miracles is here promised not merely to the Apostles, but to the Church, in which it still resides; for it is promised to whoever believeth. Of course, not every faith is sufficient that we may work miracles; a specially strong, unwavering faith is necessary. See Matt 21:21.

Joh 14:13  Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

In the Vulgate the words: “Because I go to the Father,” are rightly connected with the preceding, and form portion of verse 12.

And whatsoever you shall ask the Father. The words “the Father” are probably not genuine, but they indicate the sense. For it is by the Son’s doing what is asked of the Father that the Father is glorified in the Son.

In my name (εν τω ονοματ). This phrase occurs here for the first time in this Gospel. Compare the phrase “in the name of my Father,” Jn 5:43; 10:25; also Jn 17:6, 11, 12, 26, and the words of the Evangelist in Jn 1:12; 2:23; 3:18. The phrase before us occurs again in Jn 14:26; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26. See also Acts 3:6; 4:10, 12. In the present verse, and wherever there is question of asking, it seems to mean: while invoking with faith the name of Christ.

Joh 14:14  If you shall ask me any thing in my name, that I will do.

Moreover, whatsoever miracle they shall ask of Himself, in His own name (and, of course, with the requisite faith), that He will perform. We incline to the view that in verses 13 and 14 there is question primarily of miracles; but the expression “si quid” (εαν τι) is so general, that we would not limit the promise,
but be inclined to believe that it proves the efficacy of all prayer of supplication offered with the proper dispositions.

3 Responses to “Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on John 14:7-14”

  1. […] Father’s Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Jn 14:7-14). […]

  2. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 14:7-14). […]

  3. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 14:7-14). […]

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