John 14 The Two Comforters
Note: Jesus gave the teachings in this chapter while He and the apostles were still in the Upper Room, after the departure of Judas and before they left for Gethsemane. On this night of terrors the Savior speaks comfort to His disciples:
- Read verses 1-27, searching for teachings of Jesus that can bring peace, comfort, and solace to His followers.
- Find the word believe in verses 1, 10, 11, 12, 29. How do these teachings strengthen your faith in Christ?
- Verse 15 is only seven words, yet so powerful. The measure of our obedience to God is tied to the measure of our love for Him (see also Matthew 22:36-39).
- Also, President Russell M. Nelson taught, “They who are willing to be called the Lord’s people … truly seek to live the first and second great commandments. When we love God with all our hearts, He turns our hearts to the well-being of others in a beautiful, virtuous cycle. that our obedience begins with the two great commandments; to love God and to love our neighbor” (October 2019 general conference).
- In John 14:16, Jesus promises that if we love Him and keep His commandments, He will give us “another Comforter.” This is the Second Comforter, which is the blessing of Jesus Christ appearing and promising eternal life and exaltation, which is also known as having one’s calling and election made sure (see Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:380-381). See also John 14:17-18, 21, 23.
- In verses 26-27, Jesus is speaking of the First Comforter, which is the gift of the Holy Ghost. He teaches of some of the blessings of the Holy Ghost. For you, how is the peace from Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost different from what “the world giveth”?
- As Jesus concludes His teachings at the Last Supper, He and the eleven apostles sing a hymn (as noted in last week’s lesson; see Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 22:39) He then announced to the apostles, “The prince of this world cometh [referring to Satan]…. Arise, let us go hence [to Gethsemane]” (verses 30-31).
Note: The teachings of Jesus in chapters 15-17 of John were given as He and the apostles walked to Gethsemane, and before His agony in the garden, which was followed by the betrayal and the arrest (much of which we studied last week in Matthew 26; Mark 13; Luke 22; and John 18).
John 15:1-11 The True Vine
If a branch is separated from its tree or vine, the branch and its fruit will die. In this chapter Jesus continued teaching the apostles as they left Jerusalem, heading toward the foot of the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane. Perhaps they passed a grape vineyard as Jesus taught them about themselves, His Father, and Himself:
- The “true vine” and source of life is Jesus Christ; and His Father is the “husbandman” who cares for the vineyard (verse 1). The branches can be compared to each of us.
- It is Passover in Jerusalem, which means it is springtime, when vineyards are pruned in order to produce good fruit. A branch that fails to bear fruit is cut away, and even the fruitful branches are “purged” (pruned), in order to “bring forth more fruit” (verse 2; see also the allegory of the wild and tame olive trees in Jacob 5).
- With this background in mind, read John 15:3-11 and continue to apply the elements of this story to our lives. How can you better “abide” in Christ?
John 15:12-17 More Teachings on Love
- Compare John 15:12, 17 to what Jesus taught earlier on this same night, in John 13:34-35.
- Who is your best friend, and why? According to John 15:13, what is the “greatest love” one can show for his friends? How can we be “friends” of Jesus, according to verse 14?
- What does verse 16 teach about priesthood authority? How can we “bring forth fruit” that will “remain”?
John 15:18-27; 16:1-3 Hate and Persecution
Although in these verses Jesus is speaking specifically to His apostles, we also know that Christian discipleship means that “the world” will in a sense hate and persecute us, just as they did to the Savior. What do you see in John 15:18-27; 16:1-3 that can help you accept and endure such treatment?
John 16:4-7, 13-15, 19-27, 32-33 His Death and Resurrection; Our Comfort
Jesus again refers to His pending death (verses 4-5). Despite their hearts being filled with sorrow (verse 6), the Lord again promises the apostles that He will send the Holy Ghost to comfort them (verse 7).
- In addition to comfort, what else did Jesus say that He (Jesus), the Holy Ghost, and the Father will do for His disciples, in verses 13-15, 19-27, 32-33?
- We have learned that the Holy Ghost comforts us, teaches us, brings things to our remembrance (John 14:26), testifies of Christ (15:26), guides us into all truth, and shows us things to come (16:13). Of course, there is so much more: How many different ways can you complete this sentence: “When I feel the Spirit, I feel …”?
- Read again John 16:20. Has there been a time in your life when sorrow was turned to joy?
John 17 He Prays for Us
As Jesus and the apostles continue their path toward Gethsemane, and just before crossing the brook Kidron to enter the Garden, Jesus paused to pray (17:1; 18:1). The glorious prayer in John 17:1-26 is often referred to as “The Intercessory Pray,” wherein the Savior prays to the Father, interceding (“coming between”) in our behalf, pleading our cause to Heavenly Father, as our Righteous Advocate. President David O. McKay said, “The greatest, most impressive prayer ever uttered in this world is found in John 17” (Pathways to Happiness, p, 345). Others have called this the most important chapter in the Bible.
- Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5, wherein Jesus reveals to Joseph Smith part of His role on Judgment Day (see also 1 John 2:1-2).
- Read John 17:1-3. What does it mean to you to “know” Jesus? (see also 1 John 2:3). John 17:3 may be the most important verse in the Bible.
- What did Jesus say about His work in John 17:4-8?
- Look carefully for all the things Jesus prayed to the Father regarding the apostles—and regarding us—in verses 9-11, 13-17, 20-26. Does anything in these verses stand out for you?
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “The greatness of this prayer is exceeded only by those which it is not lawful or possible for man to record nor to utter” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:760).