The Divine Lamp

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St John Chrysostoms Homiletic Commentary on John 14:27-31

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 21, 2011

Jn 14:27. “Peace I leave to you.”

All but saying, “What are ye harmed by the trouble of the world, provided ye be at peace with  Me? For this peace is not of the same kind as that. The one is external, is often mischievous and unprofitable, and is no advantage to those who possess it; but I give you peace of such a kind that ye be at peace with one another, which thing rendereth you stronger.” And because He said again, “I leave,” which was the expression of One departing, and enough to confound them, therefore He again saith,

 “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Seest thou that they were affected partly by loving affection, partly by fear?

Jn 14:28. “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father; for My Father is greater than I.”

And what joy would this bring to them? What consolation? What then mean the words? They did not yet know concerning the Resurrection, nor had they right opinion concerning Him; (for how could they, who did not even know that He would rise again?) but they thought that the Father was mighty. He saith then, that “If ye are fearful for Me, as not able to defend Myself, and if ye are not confident that I shall see you again after the Crucifixion, yet when ye heard that I go to the Father, ye ought then to have rejoiced because I go away to One that is greater, and able to undo all dangers.” “Ye have heard how I said unto you.” Why hath He put this? Because, He saith, “I am so firmly confident about the things which come to pass, that I even foretell them, so far am I from fearing.” This also is the meaning of what follows.

Jn 14:29. “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe that I Am.”  As though He had said, “Ye would not have known, had I not told you. And I should not have told you, had I not been confident.” Seest thou that the speech is one of condescension? for when He saith, “Think ye that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of Angels” (Mt 26:53), He speaketh to the secret thoughts of the hearers; since no one, even in the height of madness, would say that He was not able to help Himself, but needed Angels; but because they thought of Him as a man, therefore He spoke of “twelve legions of Angels.” Yet in truth He did but ask those who came to take Him a question, and cast them backwards. (Jn 18:6). (If any one say that the Father is greater, inasmuch as  He is the cause of the Son, we will not contradict this. But this doth not by any means make the Son to be of a different Essence). But what He saith, is of this kind: “As long as I am here, it is natural that you should deem that I am  in danger; but when I am gone ‘there,’  be confident that I am in safety; for Him none will be able to overcome.” All these words were addressed to the weakness of the disciples, for, “I Myself am confident, and care not for death.” On this account, He said, “I have told you these things before they come to pass”; “but since,” He saith, “ye are not yet able to receive the saying concerning them, I bring you comfort even from the Father, whom ye entitle great.” Having thus consoled them, He again telleth them sorrowful things,

Jn 14:30. “Hereafter I will not talk  with you.” Wherefore? “For the ruler of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.”

By “ruler of this world,” He meaneth the devil, calling wicked men also by the same name. For he ruleth not heaven and earth, since he would have been subverted, and cast down all things, but he ruleth over those who give themselves up to him. Wherefore He calleth him, “the ruler of the darkness of this world,” in this place again calling evil deeds, “darkness.” “What then, doth the devil slay Thee?” By no means; “he hath nothing in Me.” “How then do they kill Thee?” Because I will it, and,

Jn 14:31. “‘That the world may know that I love the Father.’”

“For being not subject,” He saith, “to death, nor a debtor to it, I endure it through My love to the Father.” This He saith, that He may again rouse their souls, and that they may learn that not unwillingly but willingly He goeth to this thing, and that He doth it despising the devil. It was not enough for Him to have said, “Yet a little while I am with you” (Jn 7:33), but He continually handleth this painful subject, (with good reason,) until He should make it acceptable to them, by weaving along with it pleasant things. Wherefore at one time He saith, “I go, and I come again”; and, “That where I there ye may be also”; and, “Ye cannot follow Me now, but afterwards ye shall follow Me”; and, “I go to the Father”; and, “The Father is greater than I”; and, “Before it come to pass, I have told you”; and, “I do not suffer these things from constraint, but from love for the Father.” So that they might consider, that the action could not be destructive nor hurtful, if at least He who greatly loved Him, and was greatly loved by Him, so willed. On this account, while intermingling these pleasant words, He continually uttered the painful ones also, practicing their minds. For both the, “remaineth with you” (Jn 16:7), and, “My departure is expedient for you,” were expressions of One giving comfort. For this reason He spake by anticipation ten thousand sayings concerning the Spirit,  the, “Is in you,” and, “The world cannot receive,” and, “He shall bring all things to your remembrance,” and, “Spirit of truth,” and, “Holy Spirit,” and, “Comforter,” and that “It is expedient for you,” in order that they might not despond, as though there would be none to stand before and help them. “It is expedient,” He saith, showing that It  would make them spiritual.

This at least, we see, was what took place. For they who now trembled and feared, after they had received the Spirit sprang into the midst of dangers, and stripped themselves for the contest against steel, and fire, and wild beasts, and seas, and every kind of punishment; and they, the unlettered and ignorant, discoursed so boldly as to astonish their hearers. For the Spirit made them men of iron instead of men of clay, gave them wings, and allowed them to be cast down by nothing human. For such is that grace; if it find despondency, it disperses it; if evil desires, it consumes them; if cowardice, it casts it out, and doth not allow one who has partaken of it to be afterwards mere man, but as it were removing him to heaven itself, causes him to image to himself all that is there. (Acts 4:32, and Acts 2:46). On this account no one said that any of the things that he possessed was his own, but they continued in prayer, in praise, and in singleness of heart. For this the Holy Spirit most requireth, for “the fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace—faith, meekness.” (Gal 5:22-23). “And yet spiritual persons often grieve,” saith some one. But that sorrow is sweeter than joy. Cain was sorrowful, but with the sorrow of the world; Paul was sorrowful, but with godly sorrow. Everything that is spiritual brings the greatest gain, just as everything that is worldly the utmost loss. Let us then draw to us the invincible aid of the Spirit, by keeping the commandments, and then we shall be nothing inferior to the Angels. For neither are they therefore of this character,  because they are incorporeal, for were this the case, no incorporeal being would have become wicked, but the will is in every case the cause of all. Wherefore among incorporeal beings some have been found worse than men or things irrational, and among those having bodies some better than the incorporeal. All just men, for instance, whatever were their righteous deeds, did them while dwelling on earth, and having bodies. For they dwelt on earth as those who were pilgrims and strangers; but in heaven, as citizens. Then say not thou either, “I am clothed with flesh, I cannot get the mastery, nor undertake the toils  which are for the sake of virtue.” Do not accuse the Creator. For if the wearing the flesh make virtue impossible, then the fault is not ours. But that it does not make it impossible, the band of saints has shown. A nature of flesh did not prevent Paul from becoming what he was, nor Peter from receiving the keys of heaven; and Enoch also, having worn flesh, was translated, and not found So also Elias was caught up with the flesh. Abraham also with Isaac and his grandson shone brightly, having the flesh; and Joseph in the flesh struggled against that abandoned woman. But why speak I of the flesh? For though thou place a chain upon the flesh, no harm is done. “Though I am bound,” saith Paul, yet “the word of God is not bound.” (2 Tim 2:9). And why speak I of bonds and chains? Add to these the prison,  and bars, yet neither are these any hindrance to virtue; at least so Paul hath instructed us. For the bond of the soul is not iron but cowardice, and the desire of wealth, and the ten thousand passions. These bind us, though our body be free. “But,” saith some one, “these have their origin from the body.” An excuse this, and a false pretense. For had they been produced from the body, all would have undergone them. For as we cannot escape weariness, and sleep, and hunger, and thirst, since they belong to our nature; so too these, if they were of the same kind, would not allow any one to be exempt from their tyranny; but since many escape them, it is clear that such things are the faults of a careless soul. Let us then put a stop to this, and not accuse the body, but subdue it to the soul, that having it under command, we may enjoy the everlasting good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

4 Responses to “St John Chrysostoms Homiletic Commentary on John 14:27-31”

  1. […] St John Chrysostom on Today’s Gospel (John 14:27-31a). […]

  2. […] St John Chrysostom on Today’s Gospel (John 14:27-31a). […]

  3. […] St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 14:27-31). […]

  4. […] St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 14:27-31). […]

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