(Vs. 1) The Saviour had told His disciples that one of them would betray Him, that they would all be offended because of Him (Matt. 26:31), that He would go where they could not come at this time, and that Peter would deny Him. These things lay heavily upon their hearts and greatly depressed their minds (John 16:6). Now in the multitude of these thoughts of grief, fear, and unbelief, our Lord comforts them and exhorts them to exercise faith. The best way to get rid of heart depression and fear is to BELIEVE GOD (I Peter 5:6-7: Psalm 37:5). "You do believe in God; you put your trust in God," He says, "Believe also in Me." "For I and the Father are one. I am of the same nature and essence with Him." The Saviour knew that their faith in Him as Messiah, Mediator, and God-man was yet weak; so He exhorts them to exercise faith in Him. "You have nothing to fear nor to be troubled about. As your Mediator and Redeemer, 1 will take care of all your concerns" (Col. 2:9-10; Rom. 9:33).
(Vs. 2) The Lord Jesus now assures them that His going away to the Father's house is not a permanent separation; but THE PURPOSE of His coming into the world, dying on the cross, and ascending to the Father was to effect a perfect, permanent reunion with all of His elect. He would have them cease to think of an earthly kingdom and think of a spiritual, heavenly kingdom (Eph. 1:9-10). The Father's house is not one palace but MANY dwelling places. The word "mansion" does not indicate different degrees of glory; for all saints are loved with the same love, bought with the same price, and are equally the sons of God. Their glory will be the same. "Many mansions" denotes sufficiency of room. "It is certain; it is My purpose and mission to go to the cross, to the tomb, and to glory to prepare a place for you. If this were not true, I would have told you." Christ prepares us for the place, and He prepares the place for us.
(Vs. 3) Rather than using the word "if," many writers prefer the word "when." "And WHEN I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." There is no uncertainty connected with our Lord's purpose. This is the third reason tie gives for rejoicing and peace of heart. (1) Believe in Me, (2) I go to prepare a place and you, and (3) I will return for you and receive you unto myself. "I will come again, for you, either by your death or in person the second time to take you with Me to heaven, that where I am eternally in glory and perfection, there you will be also." Redemption is THROUGH Christ, salvation is IN Christ, and heaven is to be WITH Christ (II Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:21-23).
(Vs. 4-5) The Lord had told them again and again that He must die, that He must be buried and rise again, that He must go to the Father. "I go to My Father and to your Father." In these verses He talked of the Father's house, He had also told them that by faith in Him they would have eternal life and glory. "You know where I go and you know that the way there is by faith in Me." Though they had heard Him speak often of these things, and they knew Him to speak the truth, yet their knowledge was imperfect, and they were filled with anxiety and questions. Thomas, whether speaking for himself or for them all, blurted out, "Lord, we don't even know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
(Vs. 6) This is one of the seven great "I AM's" of John's gospel. (6:48) "I am the bread of life." (8:12) "I am the light of the world." (10:9) "I am the door." (10:11) "I am the good shepherd." (11:25) "I am the resurrection and the life." (14:6) "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (15:1) "I am the true vine."
He is saying to the disciples that HE IS THE WAY TO GOD. He does not merely show us the way by example, He is not merely a prophet to teach us the way, nor does He merely guide us in the way by strong help and assistance He is HIMSELF the way! He is the way from God to men in that all divine blessings come from the Father through the Son (Eph. 1:3). He is the way from man to God in that He is our righteousness, our High Priest, and our sin offering. By His holy life He honored the law of God, and by His death He enabled God to be just and justify those who believe (Rom. 3:25-26; Heb. 10:9-22).
HE IS THE TRUTH ITSELF. He is not only the true God and true man, but tie is truth itself, He is the sum and substance of all the truth of the gospel, of all the types and shadows; and He is the true way in, opposition to every false way. Pilate asked, "What is truth?" Our Lord answers here, "I am the truth."
HE IS THE LIFE. Christ speaks of life as opposed to death all death and all kinds of death. He has life in Himself (John 1:4' John 5:26). He is the source and giver of life for His own (John 6:33; John 10:28). He is the light of life, the word of life, and He came that we might have life. Since men in Adam lost the way to God (your sins have separated you and your God), lost the truth of God (let God be true and every man a liar), and lost the life of God (for in Adam all died), no man can come to God, know God, nor live before God except in Christ. Christ Jesus is the only way of access to God (Acts 4:12; II Cor. 5:21).
(Vs. 7) In one sense of the word the disciples knew Him and knew what He had said. But in another sense they did not know Him like they would know Him when all that He had said and done would be taught them by the Spirit (John 16:12-15). If their minds had been freer of their traditions, of thoughts of an earthly kingdom, and if they had listened and learned to know Him, they would have known the Father; for knowledge of Christ and the Father go together, He who believes one believes the other, he who sees one sees the other, and the knowledge of both is necessary to life (John 17:3). "In a short time, when the Spirit is poured upon you, you will have an enlarged knowledge both of Me and of My Father."