Chapter fourteen is the first of three chapters called the “Upper Room Discourse,” although only chapter fourteen actually took place in the upper room (John 14:31). In this time of extended teaching, it is essential to note three keys for proper interpretation. First, only the eleven believing apostles were present, since Judas had already left. Second, the entire teaching is based on the assumption of their belief. Jesus had already told them that they were clean (John 13:10) and reaffirmed that in John 15:3. Spiritual growth or maturity, not salvation or belief, is the defining issue throughout. Third, much of this teaching referred to things that were still future for the apostles. A comparison of what was future to them at this point with what was present in their later writings (along with Paul’s) proves that this teaching was the first detailed information given about the Church Age.
After the promise that he would return for them after having gone away, Jesus offered his sixth declaration: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). It would be essential that they understood this truth in their upcoming evangelistic ministry. However, in a demonstration of continued misunderstanding, Philip asked if they could see the Father, prompting Jesus to state again his full deity and role within the Godhead (John 14:8-14).
The first new future Jesus promised would be the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31). His coming would accomplish three things. First, he would replace Jesus as the apostles’ personal connection to God while Jesus was away. This would be through an indwelling presence rather than a physical presence as when Jesus had been with them. Second, he would cause them to remember everything that Jesus had taught them for their own later ministry (both for teaching and writing). Third, he would bring God’s peace upon them during what would prove to be a tumultuous time. Believers throughout the Church Age have continued to share in some of these blessings.