Commentary on John 14:21-26
Jesus continues his farewell message to his disciples at the Last Supper.
Those who really love him are those who carry out the teachings he has given them.
Words alone will not be enough. Where there is real love from the disciple, Jesus will return that love and reveal himself to his disciple. He will do this by coming with his Father to dwell in that person.
Now it is Jude’s turn to ask a question. Jude is called “son of James” and listed among the Twelve in Luke 6:16. He appears again in a list in Acts 1:13 (also by Luke). He is believed to be the ‘Thaddaeus’ of Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18.
He wants to know why Jesus only reveals himself to his disciples and not to the world. Jesus is rather elliptical in his reply but basically he is saying that anyone who responds to Jesus with love will certainly experience the love of Jesus (which is always there). The ‘world’ by definition in John’s gospel consists of those who turn their back on Jesus, his message and his love. “He who does not love me does not keep my words.”
Again, Jesus reminds his disciples that everything he passes on to them comes ultimately from the Father and not from him alone. He is the mediator, he is the Way, he is the Word of God. And later, after he has gone, this role will be taken over by the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
The word ‘paraclete’ (parakletes, paraklhths) has many meanings. It can mean a defence lawyer in a court of law, who stands beside the defendant and supports him in making his case. It means any person who stands by you and gives you support and comfort. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 where, in one brief paragraph, the word parakletes in various forms is used 7 or 8 times in the sense of ‘comfort’ and ‘support’). The Spirit will play that role in the Church after Jesus has returned to his Father. And he continues in that role still.
His role is to help the disciples keep in mind all that Jesus has told them. He is the inner voice of God who will lead those who listen to the fullness of truth (something which no one possesses at any given time). He will help them to understand the full meaning of Christ for them and for the world. The Spirit will show them that Christ is the fulfilment of the Scriptures, will help them understand ever more deeply the meaning of Jesus’ life, his actions, his ‘signs’. All this the disciples barely understand at this stage and it is a process that continues on into our own day.