“Don’t let yourselves be anxious” does not mean “You must not be anxious” or “You will not be anxious” but “Don’t continue to be anxious”. Yeshua was anxious at times (John 13:21) and yet remained sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, it’s not a sin to be anxious, rather it is a sin to make anxiety your god. In those times when we are anxious we are afforded an opportunity to place our trust in God. When we do this we come to understand that the transcendent victorious Messiah suffers with us and will overcome in us.
This chapter continues the discourse of the previous chapter and follows the troubling revelation that Yeshua will soon be denied by Kefa, and indeed by all His disciples, perhaps with the exception of Yochanan (John) the Gospel writer, who was known to the priestly court and therefore, was not challenged as to his allegiance while he sought to observe the illegal trial of Yeshua among the priests.
Yehudah the betrayer has left, and while the disciples do not understand completely they do have a good general idea of what is about to take place. Therefore, they are distraught, anxious, afraid. Yeshua understands their emotional response because He has also experienced anxiety and turmoil regarding what lies before Him. The same Greek word tarasso used to describe Yeshua’s anxious emotional response in previous chapters is used here in Yeshua’s comforting of His disciples. He speaks as one who has experienced the full gambit of human emotion and ministers comfort as only the Comforter can. This is of great importance given that part of this chapter concerns the impartation of “another Comforter”, Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit).
John 14 contains some of the most misquoted, mis-taught, misused and misapplied Scripture of the Brit HaChadashah (New Testament). Read carefully, dispense with hubris, recall the words already spoken by Yeshua, and receive Him as He is, Lord, Master, Teacher, the manifest Father, Imanu (With us) El (God). His message is offered universally but His salvation is exclusive. Only those who receive Him are reconciled to the Father. A bride cannot be married unless she accepts the proposal and says “I will”!
1“Don’t let yourselves be troubled, anxious, agitated (tarasso[G]) of the heart, core being (kardia[G], leiv[H]); believe, be persuaded, place confidence, trust (pisteuo[G], ha’amiynu[H]) in the midst of (eis[G]) the God (Ho Theos[G], BEilohim[H]), believe, be persuaded, place confidence, trust (pisteuo[G]) also in Me.
“Don’t let yourselves be anxious” does not mean “You must not be anxious” or “You will not be anxious” but “Don’t continue to be anxious”. Yeshua was anxious at times (John 13:21) and yet remained sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, it’s not a sin to be anxious, rather it is a sin to make anxiety your god. In those times when we are anxious we are afforded an opportunity to place our trust in God. When we do this we come to understand that the transcendent victorious Messiah suffers with us and will overcome in us.
Perhaps one of the most misused Scriptures of the New Testament with regard to anxiety is Philippians 4:6. The context of Philippians 4 regards ongoing rejoicing in the Lord (Philippians 4:4) and the importance of moderation over lust and gluttony. “Let your moderation be known among all people, the Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5). Thus, the anxiety, or over thinking (merimnao[G]) of Philippians 4:6 is that which results from covetousness or lust for more, rather than that which results as a genuine emotional response to difficult circumstances. Therefore, we should read:
“Don’t continue to be anxious for anything; but in everything through prayer (conversation with God) and seeking with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” -Philippians 4:6
We note that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard the core being and mental wellbeing” of those who practice trusting God in their anxious state “through Messiah Yeshua!” (Philippians 4:7)
We further note that the anxiety the disciples are experiencing in John 14:1 is of the core being (heart). Meaning that the very foundation of their belief system is being shaken. We can surmise that the disciples may still have held out hope for the reign of the King Messiah in their time, a mighty Warrior King come to destroy the Roman Empire and set Israel free from physical oppression. The idea that Yeshua might be betrayed and subsequently killed was one that shook their worldview to the core.
Yeshua, knowing the turmoil His disciples were experiencing sought to reassure them that the stability of their core being was to be found in God the Father and the Son, and not in temporal physical redemption. Their trust was to be in the midst of God and in Yeshua even while they were experiencing anxiety and fear.
2 In the House (oikia[G], b’veiyt[H]) of My Father (Pater[G], Aviy[H]) are many (rabiym[H]) rooms, dwelling places (mone[G], m’dorot[H]); if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a specific place (topos[G], makom[H]) for you (lachem[H] Pl.).
For the Jew the House of God is none other than the Temple on Mt Moriah in Jerusalem, also known as Har Beit (Mountain House), and yes, the heavenly Temple from which the earthly Temple receives its design as a shadow of its heavenly counterpart.
In addition to this the house of one’s father was that place where a first century Jewish groom would go and, with his father’s help build an extension on to the family home, a room or rooms where he would bring is wife to live following the wedding celebration. In first century Jewish tradition the groom would seal his betrothal to a bride with a bride price and then depart to his father’s home to make preparations for the coming wedding. The betrothal period usually spanned one year and once the room was added to the father’s house and all had been prepared with regard to income and ongoing provision the groom would return to the bride’s village at an unannounced time, usually at night, with lamps and music and rejoicing in order to receive his bride and return with her household to the father’s home for the wedding celebration and subsequent feasting.
Therefore, the disciples understood “The House of My Father” to represent both the Temple of HaShem and a mashal (figure) concerning the common dwelling of an earthly Jewish father. When they heard Yeshua speak this way it must have invoked thoughts of the betrothal custom and thoughts of belonging in the Temple of God as priests, something that they had been cleansed for in the previous chapter (washing of the feet). Yeshua was assuring them of the priesthood He had conferred upon them and of their relationship to God as His bride. Something that Israel had understood from ancient times.
It is important to understand that Yeshua says these words to the disciples. These words apply to all who believe only as an outworking of the fact that those who receive the disciple of Messiah receive Messiah. First and foremost these words intend something very specific. Yeshua has a particular dwelling and role in mind when He speaks of preparing a place for His disciples. The Disciples of Yeshua will one day judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).
“You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” -Luke 22:28-30 NASB
By extension these words apply to all who believe and bring comfort to those who place their trust in God and His Messiah Yeshua. We note that Yeshua has gone to prepare a specific place, room, for each one of us and has also gone to prepare a collective room which He and the Father have built to house all who believe as the culmination and perpetual outworking of Yeshua’s betrothal to the community of believers both Jew and Gentile. This does not negate God’s marriage to the ethnic religious Jewish people but rather fully fills it in that through Yeshua the entire remnant of Israel (ethnic religious, empirical, chosen) will be joined to Him after the fullness of the nations (Gentiles/non-Jews) have come to faith (Romans 11:25-29).
Our rabbis share in common with Yeshua the belief in mansions/rooms prepared for the righteous in the Olam Haba (World to come):
"says R. Isaack, how many מדורין על מדורין, "mansions upon mansions", are there for the righteous in that world? and the uppermost mansion of them all is the love of their Lord.'' -Zohar in Deut. fol. 113. 1.
"in the world to come every righteous man shall have מדור, "a mansion", to himself.''
-Praefat ad Sepher Raziel, fol. 2. 1. Nishmat Chayim, fol. 26. 2. & 27. 1.
3 And provided (ean[G]) I transfer, carry over, lead over, depart (poreuomai[G]) and prepare a specific place (topos[G], makom[H]) for you, I will come again and join you (paralambano[G]) to Myself, in order that where I am, exist, am present, manifest (eimi ego[G]), you also will be. 4 And where I bring under, lead under, depart to (hupago[G]) you see, perceive (eido[G]) the way (ha-derek[H]).”
“I will come again and join you to myself” This is the language of marriage, the uniting of groom and bride. Therefore, unless the groom goes and prepares the dwelling in the father’s house, there will be no room in which the marriage can be consummated, no promise of security for the bride. In terms of first century Jewish custom this would make the marriage a farce (which would have been considered abhorrent). Every marriage is consummated by the shedding of blood (the hymen of the bride), and is therefore a covenant entered into by the groom, which is received by the bride. Thus, Yeshua is joined to His bride by paying the bride price in His own blood and breaking the blood barrier (hymen) of death so that the womb of His wife might bear life.
With regard to the ancient Jewish betrothal rite a Ketubah (marriage document) is given by the groom to the bride as a promise of His commitment to provide for her in every way, through food, housing, clothing, emotional, mental and physical security etc. It is worth noting that in the ancient rite the bride gives the groom no such document, her role is simply one of acceptance of the ketubah. This means that the responsibility for maintaining security for the bride is entirely that of the groom. In this we see the Gospel manifest. Salvation is reliant on Yeshua Himself in God alone, we receive this salvation through faith, acceptance, trust, not by our promising to provide security for Yeshua but in His promising to provide security for us.
NB: For more information on how the ancient Jewish betrothal and marriage rites figuratively convey the Gospel please read my article on the subject: https://www.bethmelekh.com/yaakovs-commentary---15081497151214931513-1497150615111489/eternal-security-in-the-ancient-jewish-art-of-betrothal-marriage
“And where I bring under, lead under, depart to, you see and perceive of the way.” The disciples do not yet fully understand or know (ginosko[G]) the way but they quite literally see and are beginning to perceive (eido[G]) Ha Derek (The Way). Yeshua is going toward the fulness of all things and ultimately toward the marriage between God and redeemed humanity. By dying on the cross, resurrecting and ascending and by returning, He is become the Way.
5 Toma[H] (Thomas, twin) said to Him, “Lord (Kurios[G], Adonay[H]), we do not see, perceive (eido[G]) where You are going, how are we able (dunamai[G]) to see, perceive (eido[G]) the way (ha-derek[H])?” 6 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) said to him, “I am, I exist (ego eimi[G], Anochiy[H]) the way (ho hodos[G], ha-derek[H]), and the absolute truth (ho aletheia[G], ha-Emet[H]), and the life, living, perpetual existence (ho zoe[G], ha-chayiym[H]); no one comes to the Father (ho Pater[G], ha-Av[H]) except through Me.
“Yeshua said to him, “I am, I exist, the way, and the absolute, truth, and the life, living, perpetual existence; no one comes to the Father except through Me.””
This is perhaps the most difficult declaration for unbelievers and universalists to accept. I have heard many who claim to be followers of Yeshua say that Messianic/Christian faith is one of inclusivity. They are tragically wrong. Our faith is the most exclusive faith in the world and as a true faith is the most despised. The Gospel welcomes all but the outworking of the same Gospel is exclusive. We believe with absolute faith that no one can be reconciled to right relationship with God except through Yeshua and we believe it based on Yeshua’s testimony. Anyone who denies this fact does so by the spirit of anti-Messiah (antichrist). There is but One Way to God and He is that One sent from God, Yeshua the King Messiah, Ha Derek. This is one of the reasons that the early Jewish followers of Yeshua were called by the Jewish sectarian name of Ha Derek (Acts 9:2)
“Aniy haderek v’haemet v’hachayiym…”
“Derek” the Hebrew word for “way” is used for the first time in Torah in Bereishit (Genesis) 3:24 to refer to “the way” that enables access to Eitz hachayiym (the Tree of Living).
“So HaShem drove out the man (by extension humanity) and He placed at the east of the garden (of Eden) Kerubiym (Mighty Approachers of Blessing) and a flaming sword that turned in every direction to guard ha derek (the way) to Eitz hachayiym (the Tree of Living).” -Bereishit (Genesis) 3:24 [Authors translation]
Note that following humanity’s choice to sin the Way (to sinless existence in the presence of God) is guarded by Mighty Approachers of Blessing, and a flaming sword. The Sword is a symbol of God’s Word and the Flame is a symbol of His Spirit. In the text of John 14 the Mightiest of all Approachers of Blessing (Yeshua) has come to give His disciples, Israel, and by extension all humanity, access to the Sword (Living Word/Yeshua) and the Flame (Holy Spirit) so that we might t’shuva return to God and dwell with Him forever. Thus, the Guardian of the Way has become the Way.
Put simply in our decision to sin we lost access to perpetual living, the way to life was kept from us because the blood of animals was insufficient to atone for us perpetually, an all existing blood was required to atone for the sin and death that had been allowed to enter the creation. Therefore, Yeshua is saying that He is the Way and that by His eternal blood He will atone for us so that we might enter into perpetual living through Him.
Throughout the Tanakh (OT) “Ha Derek” The Way of YHVH is presented as a path of righteousness lived out of love for God, a path that bears the fruit of obedience to His Torah. This is in part why Yeshua alludes to the fruit of keeping His commands (mitzvot) later in this chapter.
“Emet” Truth is first mentioned in the Torah when Avraham’s servant Eliezer worships YHVH due to His Mercy and Truth. By walking in the way of YHVH Eliezer was Divinely led to his lord’s family and a bride for Itzchaak (Genesis 24:27). Truth and Mercy are intrinsically linked as attributes of God.
"Moses and his law are the truth"; - Talmud Bavliy Bava Bathra. fol. 74. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 223. 2.
If the rabbis truly believe this then they must accept Yeshua Whom God announces to Moses, and Moses in turn records the words in the Torah (Devarim/Deut. 18:15-18).
“Chayiym” Living (Life perpetual) is in the intense plural form and means “perpetual living” rather than life (singular) finite. Yeshua is not just saying He gives life but that He is the living essence of all things. He is life everlasting. Those who receive Him do not receive a life but living perpetual and eternal. The Hebrew chayah (life) is first used in the Torah in Genesis 1:20 where it is used in conjunction with the Hebrew nefesh (soul, person, creature, passion, mind, being). Therefore, there is an intrinsic connection between life and person, soul life in this world and perpetual life through relationship in the Olam Haba (world to come).
Ultimately Yeshua is referring to a metaphysical (not non-physical but physical in a transcendent sense convergent with spirit) spiritual life described by the Tanakh (OT) as “the Spirit of YHVH”, “the Spirit of Wisdom”, “the Spirit of Understanding”, “the Spirit of Counsel”, “the Spirit of Might”, “the Spirit of Knowledge”, “the Spirit of the fear (awe) of YHVH” (Isaiah 11:2).That is, found in the attributes of the sevenfold Spirit of God (Rev. 1:4; 3:1). Subsequently the life lived in the Spirit of Yeshua is a life that produces the fruit of obedience and of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
7 If you (plural) had known (ginosko[G], y’da’tem[H]) Me, you would have known My Father (Pater mou [G], Aviy[H]) also; from now on you know (ginosko[G], y’da’tem[H]) Him, and have seen, become acquainted with, experienced (horao[G]) Him.”
In one sense Yeshua seems to be saying that if the disciples had properly accepted the guidance of the physical signs present in Yeshua, that they would have easily recognized that He was Imanu El (God with them), the Father.
Now, Yeshua is empowering them to see in a transcendent way that He and the Father are echad (a complex unity). In this context the Greek “ginosko” infers relational knowledge learned through experience, acquaintance and seeing beyond a person’s physical being and into the heart (core being). In this case the person is Yeshua, Who is the Father God manifest with the disciples as the Son.
8 Philippos (friend of horses) said to Him (Yeshua), “Lord (Kurios[G], Adonay[H]), show us the Father (ho Pater[G], ha-Av[H]), and it will give us unfailing strength (arkeo[G]).”
It’s clear from Philip’s response that he (and probably the disciples’ as a whole) was still not quite comprehending Yeshua. We note that Philip seeks a proof that will result in “unfailing strength”. Many of us seek irrefutable empirical proof of God even while God manifests His person right in front of us, and if God by His grace gives us an immutable evidence we none the less have a propensity for quickly forgetting it when our circumstances change.
Yeshua has and will give His disciples irrefutable proof of His divinity and the redemptive purposes of God. However, doubt must remain while the fallen world remains because without doubt there is no faith. This is why Rav Shaul says “These three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Faith is needed only so long as we await the Olam Haba (world to come), and hope is needed only so long as we are looking forward to Messiah’s return and life in the Olam Haba. But Love is eternal, defined by God Himself, and therefore, in the Olam Haba we will love but we will no longer have need of faith and hope because we will be experiencing the fullness of all that we hoped for and placed our trust in.
9 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) said to him, “I have been with you all this time, and yet you have not come to intimately know (ginosko[G]) Me, Philippos (friend of horses)? He who has seen, become acquainted with, experienced (horao[G]) Me has seen, become acquainted with, experienced (horao[G]) the Father (ho Pater[G], ha-Av[H]); how can you say, ‘Show us the Father (ho Pater[G], ha-Av[H])’?
Essentially, while this may sound like a rebuke, it is in fact the equivalent of saying, “Philip, you disciples have been with Me and have observed My actions, witnessed My character, heard My words, and seen My signs. You already know that I and the Father are one. So why ask to see Him Whom you already see?”
Speaking of Yeshua, Rav Shaul says:
“For all the fullness of Deity lives bodily in Him, and in Him you have been filled to fullness. He is the head over every ruler and authority.” -Colossians 2:9-10 TLV
10 Do you not believe, trust (pisteuo[G], ma’amiyn[H]) that I am (Ego[G], Anochiy[H]) in the Father (ho Pater[G], v’Aviy[H]), and the Father (ho Pater[G], v’Aviy[H]) is in Me? The spoken words (rhema[G]) that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father (ho Pater[G], v’Aviy[H]) abiding in Me outworks His occupation, business (ergon[G]).
Once again Yeshua explains that He speaks of the Father as One submitted to the Father. In short, anything asked in Yeshua’s Name is asked of the Father. Yeshua is God with us and thus, being that God cannot be outside of Himself, Yeshua submits Himself to the Father.
11 Believe, trust, be persuaded of (pisteuo[G], ha’amiynu[H]) Me that I am in the Father (ho Pater[G], v’Aviy[H]) and the Father (ho Pater[G], v’Aviy[H]) is in Me; otherwise believe, trust, be persuaded (pisteuo[G], ha’amiynu[H]) because of the outworking of the occupation, business (ho ergon[G]) itself.
While it is true to say that the signs Yeshua performed point to His redemptive work, that is not entirely what He means when He says “otherwise believe, trust, be persuaded because of the outworking of the occupation, business itself.” For the full outworking regards the death, resurrection, and ascension which is yet to come (from the disciples’ perspective). It is not individual signs and wonders that Yeshua is exhorting them to be persuaded by but “the outworking of the occupation” of God Himself.
12 Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, he who believes, trusts, is persuaded (pisteuo[G], ha’ma’amiyn[H]) in Me, the outworking of the occupation, business (ho ergon[G]) that I enact, he will enact also; and something greater (megas[G]) than these he will do; because I go to the Father (ho Pater[G], Aviy[H]).
Far too many foolish Christian theologians and Bible teachers use this verse to support the claim that believers can do greater miraculous signs than Yeshua. Not only does this misrepresent the text and its context, it is also the height of hubris and is tantamount to blasphemy of the most vile kind.
First of all, “No servant is greater than his Lord” (John 13:16; 15:20).
Second, the text does NOT say that “the one who trusts in Me will do the works I do and will do works greater than these”, but “the one who trusts in Me will emulate My works and will do something greater than these works, because I go to the Father.”
Note that the “something greater” is greater than works, miracles, signs, wonders. It is also qualified by the fact that Yeshua must first go to the Father. Before Yeshua ascended to the Father He gave His disciples this command:
“go and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” -Matthew 28:19-20 (Author’s translation)
Note that He did NOT say, “go and do greater miraculous signs than I have done…”
To the contrary, the “something greater” Yeshua is referring to in John 14:12 is that which the miraculous signs He performed pointed to, that is, that He is the Way, the Truth and the Perpetual Living. Therefore, the “something greater” which the one who believes in Yeshua will do is to spread the Gospel to all nations. It is NOT to perform greater miracles. What good are miracles devoid of Salvation and discipleship? More importantly, temporal healing and signs will never be greater than eternal wholeness. The purpose of miracles is to point to Someone greater, and not to manifest something greater by our own hand. Our foolish modern Christian teachers have taught us that we are superheroes, while neglecting to remind us that superheroes are the progeny of Greek gods and are a modern reflection of ancient idolatry. Neither we nor the world have need of heroes. Our greatest need is a Saviour, Deliverer, Redeemer, and Righteous Ruler. If you want to participate in the “greater” thing, remind yourself that a servant is never greater than his Lord, and that the greatest gift of God is Yeshua the Miracle Maker, and not miracles themselves.
13 Whatever you ask in My Name (bishmiy[H]), that will I do, so that the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]) may be glorified, extoled, celebrated, praised (doxazo[G]) in the Son (ho uihos[G], bub’no[H]). 14 If you ask Me anything in My Name (bishmiy[H]), I will do it.
Once again, this verse has been widely mis-taught and misused to validate ungodly prayer demands in place of godly prayer requests.
The key to understanding this verse is to read and comprehend the first clause, “Whatever you ask IN MY NAME”. “In My Name” means “In My Character”, “In My Will”, “In My Identity”, “In My Purposes”, “In My eternal perspective” and so on. The prerequisite to receiving anything asked for in Yeshua’s Name is that the thing asked for is “In His will”, “According to His purposes” etc. Therefore, the foolish modern Christian practice of praying prayers like “We claim the healing over this brother in Jesus Name”, or “We demand a breakthrough for the finances of this Church in Jesus Name” and the affirmations that follow prayers such as these, “We have agreed in Jesus Name brother, He will do it according to His promise in John 14:13-14”, and so on, are often nothing more than sinful and presumptuous Pride!
What is the purpose of asking things in His Name? “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” What if it is not to God’s glory to heal in certain circumstances? What if it is not God’s will to prosper a Church financially? What if suffering is sometimes the will of God? When we pray presumptuously in Yeshua’s Name we are committing blasphemy. When we demand that God heal we are not showing our faith but rather our pride, fear, and our temporal perspective.
So what does it mean to “ask anything… in His Name”? It means, to ask His will, purpose, direction, and to pray accordingly together. And for what purpose? For temporal healing? For financial gain? For a show of faith? No! “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
I am NOT saying we should not pray for miraculous healing or for manifest signs that point people to salvation. To the contrary, I am saying we should pray for those miraculous healings and signs that are according to God’s will and for the purpose of glorifying the Father and the Son so that salvation might come to the lost and make way for the reconciliation of the children of God.
Next time you pray, rather than making demands, try asking in humility; rather than presuming what God wants, try seeking His direction; rather than looking only to resolve the problems faced in temporal circumstances, try receiving God’s eternal perspective and walking in it.
15 “If you entirely love (agapao[G], ahav’tem[H]) Me, you will keep, guard (tishmoru[H]) My commandments (entole[G], mitzvotiy[H]).
Some commentators attribute as many as 1,050 commands of the Brit HaChadashah (NT) to Yeshua (Dake’s ref. Bible). While some may be considered contextually as being specifically for Jewish believers, most are consistent with the moral law of the Torah which applies to all human beings. Therefore, believers are not saved through Yeshua in order to break the commandments (mitzvot) but are empowered by the Spirit of God to live out righteousness from within as those who are born of the goal of the Torah, that is Yeshua Himself. This is one of the many reasons that Yeshua refers to Himself as “the Way”. Put simply as an example, we are free but we are not free to murder. In Messiah Yeshua we are free to do anything except that which returns us to bondage.
16 And I (v’Aniy[H]) will ask the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]), and He will give you another Helper, Comforter, Consoler, one to stand alongside (Parakletos[G]), that He may abide, dwell, remain (meno[G]) with you forever, into the unending age (aion[G]);
Note that God will give “another” Comforter. Meaning Yeshua is a Comforter (Menachem). Also, the Comforter that will stand alongside every believer will be with us forever.
Interestingly the Pirke Avot says:
פרקליט אחד, ενα παρακλητον,"one advocate", or "comforter"; and he that transgresses one command, gets for himself one accuser.'' -Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 11.
17 that is the Spirit, Breath, Wind (Ruach[H]) of absolute truth (aletheia[G], emet[H]), Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see (theoreo[G]) Him or know (ginosko[G]) Him, but you know (ginosko[G]) Him because He abides, dwells, remains (meno[G]) with you and will be in you.
The Spirit of God is at this time present with them in Yeshua but does not yet dwell within them. Therefore, “you know Him because He abides, dwells, remains with you and will be in you.” Only those who receive Yeshua can receive the Spirit of the Father and the Son.
It’s worth noting that one of the names that our rabbis attribute to the King Messiah is Menachem (Comforter):
“What is his (Messiah) name?... :His name is Menachem the son of Hezekiah, since it is written, ‘Because Menachem (a comforter) that could receive my soul, is far from me’ (Lamentations 1:16).” - Talmud Bavliy Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2.
18 “I will not leave you fatherless, orphans, alone (orphanos[G]); I will come to you.
It was customary among our rabbis to speak of the passing of righteous spiritual leaders as being like a father leaving orphans in his wake.
Concerning Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai, Rav Aba and others have said:
"woe to the world when thou shall go out of it, woe to the generation that shall be in the world when thou shall remove from them, וישתארון יתמין, "and they shall be left fatherless by thee".'' -Zohar in Num fol. 96. 3. & in Lev. fol. 42. 3. & in Exod. fol. 10. 3. & 28. 3. יתום, "fatherless by thee".'' -Midrash Hannealam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 65. 4.
19 After a short time the world (kosmos[G], haolam[H]) will no longer see (theoreo[G]) Me, but you will see (theoreo[G]) Me; because I live (zao[G], chay[H]), you will live (tichyun[H]) also. 20 In that day (hemera[G], bayom[H]) you will know (ginosko[G]) that I am in My Father (Aviy[H]), and that you are in Me, and I in you.
Yeshua will leave them to die and rise again and thereafter to ascend to the right hand of the Father. However, He will not leave His followers as orphans devoid of a Father. To the contrary, while in His metaphysical resurrected body He will physically ascend to the Father and no longer be seen by those who do not know Him, however in the Spirit He will never leave or forsake His disciples because He and the Father will pour out the Spirit of the Father and the Son into the disciples (Acts 2). Therefore, those who receive Yeshua will always see Him in a spiritual sense, while those who reject Him will not see Him and will therefore despise His existence and identity.
21 He who has My commandments (entole[G], mitzvotay[H]) and guards, keeps (shomeir[H]) them is the one who entirely loves (agapao[G], ye’ehavaniy[H]) Me; and the one who entirely loves (agapao[G], v’ohaviy[H]) Me will be entirely loved (agapao[G], ahuv[H]) by My Father (Aviy[H]), and I will entirely love (agapao[G], ohaveihu[H]) that one and will appear to, declare, show, manifest (emphanizo[G]) Myself to that person.”
The keeping of commandments that results from relationship with God in Yeshua is the evidence of love for Yeshua. We must be careful to note that Yeshua does not say “You must keep My commands in order to prove you love Me…” Rather, He says “He who has My commandments and guards, keeps them is the one who entirely loves Me.” The keeping of Yeshua’s commands is the evidence of love and not the purchase price. The former is faith that bears the fruit of works, whereas the latter is bondage through law keeping and vain religion.
Righteous acts are the evidence of right relationship in God. They are not the means of attaining it.
22 Yehudah (praise: not Iscariot) said to Him, “My Lord (kurios[G], Adoniy[H]), what then has happened that You are going to appear to, declare, show, manifest (emphanizo[G]) Yourself to us and not to the world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H])?”
There were two disciples named Yehudah (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13).
The answer that follows declares what will happen in order for Yeshua to show Himself to the disciples and not to the world. Of course Yehudah’s question is worded correctly, though He could not possibly know it, for from the perspective of God what will happen has already happened.
23 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) answered and said to him, “If anyone entirely loves (agapao[G], ye’ehavaniy[H]) Me, he will guard, keep (shomeir[H]) My word, essence, substance (logos[G], davar[H]); and My Father (Aviy[H]) will love (agapao[G], ye’ehav[H]) him, and We will come to him and make Our abode, dwelling (mone[G]) with him.
Yeshua affirms that it is through right love relationship to Him that the fruit of keeping Yeshua’s substance (davar) will give evidence of revelation. Thus, the Father revealed in the Son will come with the Son and dwell, abide, tabernacle in the believer. “I will send you (the Ruach HaKodesh) from the Father” -Yeshua (John 15:26).
24 He who does not entirely love (agapao[G], ye’ehavaniy[H]) Me does not guard, keep (shomeir[H]) My words, essence, substance (logos[G], davar[H]); and the word essence, substance (logos[G], davar[H]) which you hear, receive, understand, act on (shematem[H]) is not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. 25 “These things, words (dibartiy[H]) I have spoken to you while dwelling (meno[G]) with you.
Once again it is love relationship that is key. To deny Yeshua’s offer of relationship will result in a failure to walk as Yeshua walked. Furthermore, to fail to receive right relationship in Yeshua is to fail to receive right relationship with God the Father because “the word essence, substance which you hear, receive, understand, act on is not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me.”
26 But the Helper, Comforter, Consoler, One who comes alongside (Parakletos[G]) Ruach HaKodesh[H] (the Holy [set apart] Spirit, Wind, Breath), Whom the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]) will send in My Name [character, identity, attributes etc.] (onoma[G], bishmiy[H]), He will teach (didasko[G]) you all (pas[G], kol[H]), and quietly bring to your remembrance (hupomimnēskō[G]) all that I said to you.
We note that the role of the Ruach HaKodesh is to bring to remembrance the words of Yeshua. Therefore, while there is not a hierarchy in the Godhead in any earthly sense, there is an order to the Godhead. The Father sends the Son, the Father and the Son send the Spirit, the Spirit reveals the Son, the Son reveals the Father.
27 Peace, wholeness, wellbeing (eirene[G], shalom[H]) I leave with you; My peace, wholeness, wellbeing (eirene[G], shalom[H]) I give to you; I don’t give to you as the world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]) gives. Do not let your heart, inner being (leiv[H]) be troubled, anxious, agitated (tarasso[G]) nor let it be fearful, timid, afraid (deiliao[G]).
Yeshua leaves Himself with them (the Spirit). His peace is given perpetually, therefore, He does not give temporarily as the fallen world gives. Yeshua’s gift of peace, wholeness and wellbeing is sinless and transcendent. All giving of the fallen world is temporary, decaying, doomed to die.
Our rabbis teach that peace given must be returned:
ליתן לו שלום, "to give him peace"; he shall prevent him with peace (i.e. salute him first), as it is said, "seek peace and pursue it"; but if he "gives" it to him, and he does not return it, he shall be called a robber.'' -Talmud Bavliy Beracot, fol. 6. 2.
28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will return (shuv[H]) to you.’ If you loved (ahavtem[H]) Me, you would have rejoiced (s’meichiym[H]) because I go to the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]), for the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]) is greater, larger (meizon[G], gadol[H]) than I.
“If you loved Me” can be understood to refer to the fact that the love of the disciples for Him is yet to find its fullness in His death, resurrection, ascendance and the outpouring of the Spirit.
“The Father is greater” in the sense that Yeshua as a human being and as God with us is within the Father. However, as I have said previously in another way, God is not divisible or subordinate. He is echad, One, Unique, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
29 And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe, have faith, trust, be persuaded (pisteuo[G], ta’amiynu[H]). 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler, prince of this world (sar haolam[H]) is coming, and he has, holds, possesses nothing (echo[G]) in Me;
Yeshua has privileged His disciples with the knowledge of the outcome of His death, resurrection and ascension prior to these events taking place in order that when they do take place the disciples might come to understand the meaning and purpose of them and bear witness to them.
We note that while the disciples have been told that they will receive the Son and in doing so will receive the Father and the Spirit, the “prince of the fallen world” on the other hand neither has nor is able to possess anything in Yeshua. In other words, Satan is a footnote serving God’s purposes and has so wilfully rejected God as to have purchased for himself eternal damnation by his own choosing. This affirms the fact that those who don’t receive Yeshua are children of the prince of the fallen world.
31 but so that the world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]) may know, be aware of, understand (ginosko[G]) that I entirely love (agapao[G], oheiv[H]) the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]), I do exactly as the Father charged, commanded (entellomai[G]) Me. Get up, waken, rise (egeiro[G]) let us go from here.
The last clause connects the Gospel of John with the other Gospels and their account of the Passover Seder and subsequent journey to Gethsemane. It is interesting to note that Yeshua continues to reveal Himself to the disciples over the next few chapters and that it is not until 18:1 that He is said to have gone with His disciples over the Kidron to the garden of Gethsemane.
© Yaakov Brown 2020
Showing favour to one person does not detract from one’s love for another. Only when we allow the sin affected world to influence our thoughts are we driven to become jealous of the favour bestowed on others. As true followers of Yeshua we should rejoice when we see brothers and sisters honoured, regardless of whether honour is bestowed on us.
It’s not uncommon for English translations of the Biblical text to place headers at the beginning of sections of the Bible that have what the translators or compilers consider to be a consistent or common theme. The title used by the NASB to introduce verses 21 through 38 of chapter 13 of John’s Gospel is “JESUS PREDICTS HIS DEATH”.
One can see why this title might have been chosen, and from our position within time and space we can understand the chronological value of it, however, it misrepresents both Yeshua and Hebrew prophecy. Hebrew prophecy is that which is spoken into time and space from outside of time and space where it is already perfected. Therefore, the Hebrew prophet remembers the future. Yeshua, God with us, does not predict His death, rather He memorializes it. He has already seen it completed outside of time and space. Nor do the disciples benefit from this so called “prediction” at the time, because they do not understand what He is referring to.
With these things in mind, let’s allow God’s Spirit to open our hearts and minds afresh and impart a fuller understanding of the nature and purpose of what follows.
As we examine the following verses keep in mind the connection between the washing of the disciples’ feet and the priesthood, and the admonition to walk in the all existing Light, as well as the reference to betrayal by a close friend.
“It’s certain, it’s certain, I say to you, the one who receives whomever I send receives Me; and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” -John 13:20
21 When Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) had said this, He became troubled, agitated (tarasso[G]) in the (ho[G]) Spirit (pneuma[G], b’ruacho[H]), and testified and said, “Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, indeed, that one who comes out from (ex[G]) you will betray Me, give Me into the hands of another (paradidomi[G]).” 22 The disciples (talmidim[H]) began to discern, look (blepo[G]) between one another, at a loss, embarrassed, in doubt (aporeo[G]) to know which one He was speaking of.
We note that the Greek text says “He became troubled in the Spirit” rather than in “His spirit” as many English translations render it (the Hebrew text also mistranslates it as b’ruacho in His spirit). The reality is that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, and “his spirit” is effectively synonymous with “the Spirit”. Therefore, it’s important to note that the humanity of Yeshua is convergent with the Spirit of God and that the troubling of the Spirit is shared by the Father and the Son. This is why the author chose to say ho Pneuma “the Spirit”.
The double “Amein” is once again establishing the certain outworking of God’s redemptive purpose even as it applies to allowing Satan to direct the betrayer Yehudah (Judas). We note that the betrayer “comes out from” meaning that he has determined to be separated from the disciples and their devotion to Yeshua.
As one would expect the disciples are horrified at the thought that one of their own number might betray Yeshua. Thus, they were looking around the room trying to discern or perceive which of them might do such a thing. What is clear is that in spite of the questioning of Yochanan (the disciple whom Yeshua loved) and the dipping of the matzah which follows, none of the disciples seem to have any idea who is betraying Yeshua. In part this is because the meal is formal, and probably a Seder meal of some kind and therefore, has numerous dipping rituals that are shared among everybody making it difficult to determine which of the disciples Yeshua is referring to.
23 There was reclining on Yeshua’s[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) breast one of His disciples (talmidim[H]), whom Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) loved. 24 So Shimon Kefa[H] (Simon: hears; Peter: Rock) gestured to him (the disciple), and said to him, “Find out from Him and tell us who He’s speaking of.”
“Reclining” Is an indication that this was a Pesach Seder meal. One of the four questions of the Pesach Seder, asked during the Magid (telling) and called Mah Nishtanah in Hebrew, asks “On all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, why on this night do we eat only reclining?”
We know from rabbinic literature that the reclining was done toward the left:
"lying down on the back, is not called הסיבה, ‘lying down’; and lying on the right side, is not called lying down.'' -Mishnah Beracot, c. 6. sect. 6.
"they used to eat lying along, leaning on the left side, their feet to the ground, and every man on a single couch.'' -Gloss in Talmud Bavliy Beracot, fol. 46. 2. & Bartenora in Mishnah Beracot, c. 6. sect. 6.
"when there were but two couches, the principal person lay first, and the second to him above him; and when there were three, the principal person lay in the middle, the second to him above him, and the third below him; and if he would talk with him, he raised himself upright, and sitting upright he talked with him; that is, as the gloss explains it, if the principal person was desirous to talk with him that was second to him, he must raise himself up from his lying down, and sit upright; for all the white he is leaning, he cannot talk with him, because he that is second to him, is behind the head of the principal person, and the face of the principal person is turned to the other side; and it is better for the second to sit below him, that he may hear his words, whilst he is leaning.'' -Talmud Bavliy Beracot, fol. 46. 2.
The “disciple whom Yeshua loved” is obviously Yochanan (John) the author of the Gospel, who is writing in the third person and thus does not refer to himself by name (Ref. John 19:26-27; 21:20). This does not negate Yeshua’s love for all, nor His love for His immediate retinue. Rather, it shows that while God loves all equally, Yeshua, Who is also fully human has some friends who are closer than others and favours them in certain ways. Showing favour to one person does not detract from one’s love for another. Only when we allow the sin affected world to influence our thoughts are we driven to become jealous of the favour bestowed on others. As true followers of Yeshua we should rejoice when we see brothers and sisters honoured, regardless of whether honour is bestowed on us.
Notice that Kefa (Peter) must gesture to Yochanan (John) in order to get his attention, and uses further non-verbal signals to indicate what he would like Yochanan to ask Yeshua. This denotes a close friendship between Yochanan and Kefa, given that there is obviously a certain innate understanding between them concerning certain gestures and facial expressions. Nor is Kefa upset that Yochanan gets to sit closer to Yeshua, he simply wants to know what’s going on because he loves Yeshua and all the other disciples present with him.
25 Therefore, as he (the disciple whom Yeshua loved) was leaning back on Yeshua’s[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) breast, said to Him, “Lord (Kurios[G], Adonay[H]), who is it?” 26 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) then answered, “It is he to whom I will give the dipped matzah (psomion[G]: small piece of bread).” So when He had dipped the matzah (psomion[G]: small piece of bread), He gave it to Yehudah[H] (Judah: praise) ben Shimon[H] (son of he hears) Ish Kariot[H] (a man of Keriot[H], A town in the south of Judah: Joshua 15:25).
The Greek psomion means “small bit of bread”. From the Gospel accounts of Matthew 26:17, 23; Mark 14:1, 12, 20; and Luke 22:1, 7 we learn that the “small bit of bread” was unleavened bread, that is matzah: which is used in preparation for Pesach and eaten over the seven days of unleavened bread. This is yet another reason why it is highly likely that the meal in question is some form of pre-Passover Seder observance. It cannot be simply an ordinary meal as many Christian theologians insist because as we have previously discussed, the Greek deipnon denotes a formal meal (13:2). While Chapter 13 begins prior to Pesach proper, there is no way to determine a precise chronology following this except to say that these events took place before or on the eve of Passover at some point. This does not negate the possibility of a Seder, rather it informs us of the possibility that Passover practice in the first century during the Temple period may well have included multiple Seders and other varied traditions as pretext to the Temple Chagigah (a Pesach sacrificial practice of the first century Temple period).
“He gave it to Yehudah” But not only to Yehudah. This practice of dipping and passing matzot included everyone at the table. The text does not say that Yeshua gave it only to Yehudah, nor does it say that He gave it first to Yehudah, just that He gave it to Yehudah after dipping it. The fact that all received this ritual food qualifies the confusion of the disciples as to what was happening even after the food was received by Yehudah and he left to betray Yeshua. It is obvious from the following verses that the disciples still had no idea that Yehudah would betray Yeshua.
27 After he had received the matzah (psomion[G]: small piece of bread) then entered (eiserchomai[G]) toward (eis[G]) him [Judas] the (ho[G]) Satan[H] (accuser, opposition). Therefore Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one of those reclining to dine (anakeimai[G]) knew (ginosko[G]) for what purpose He (Yeshua) had said this to him (Judas).
We note that Satan did not enter into and possess Yehudah but that he “entered toward him”. God Who is just does not remove or allow the removal of a person’s freewill. Therefore, while Yehudah was influenced by and chose to be directed by Satan, he did so of his own freewill and not based on some kind of absolute possession of his will, mind, body, emotion, and being. If possession were the meaning, the text would both contradict the wealth of Scripture to the contrary and impugn the character of God.
“13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” -Yaakov (James) 1:13-15 NIV
As discussed previously, “no one of those reclining to dine knew” because the food was shared equally and from the same dipping bowl, in the same way hummus is shared on pita scooped from the same bowl. Yeshua offered dipped matzah to all present as part of the dining ritual. Therefore, every one of them was “one to whom” He gave dipped matzah.
29 For some were supposing, because Yehudah[H] (Judah: praise) had the money box (glossokomon[G]), that Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the festival (ha chag[H])”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.
There are a number of arguments put forward against the idea that this meal is a Passover Seder or ritual meal of some kind. Some say that Halakhah prohibits financial transactions on the Sabbath or festivals and therefore, the disciples would not have thought Yehudah to be going to buy at Yeshua’s command because Yeshua would not command this on the Holy day. However, this is wrong for two reasons: first, oral law denying purchase of necessities at certain times was not yet codified, second, the text does not say that Yeshua instructed Yehudah to buy but that the disciples “supposed” that Yeshua had done so.
Another argument against the idea that this is a Seder meal is that If Yehudah was thought to be purchasing supplies for the Passover, it was already too late to do so. However, Passover was the convergent point for the beginning of the days of unleavened bread which continued seven days and there were chol hamoed (intermediary days of the festival) on which Yehudah could have purchased goods for the remainder of the festival, had he been sent to do so. Therefore, again, this does not negate the possibility that this was a Passover Seder meal.
On weighing the evidence for this being a Seder meal against the arguments against, and keeping in mind that the chronology of John’s Gospel is by no means systematic. It is my opinion that this was a Seder meal (either one of two or a single Seder prior to the day of the Chagigah offering). This fits best with the collected accounts of the Gospels and the time line of events leading up to Yeshua’s death and resurrection.
30 So after receiving the small piece of matzah Yehudah[H] (he) went out immediately; and it was night (v’laylah hayah[H]). 31 Therefore when he had gone out, Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) said, “Now is the Son of Man (Ben-ha’Adam[H]) glorified, magnified, clothed with splendour (doxazo[G]), and the God (v’haElohiym[H]) is glorified, magnified, clothed with splendour (doxazo[G]) in Him;
“And it was night” is the counterpoint to the all existing Light alluded to in the previous chapter. Yehudah had chosen to walk in darkness rather than to walk in the all existing light of Yeshua.
“Now is the Son of Man glorified” Yeshua used the Messianic title prophesied by Daniel to indicate that by allowing Yehudah to leave Yeshua had set in place the final stages of His journey to glory. Also, in a very real sense the transcendent resurrected Messiah Yeshua had already died and raised to glory, and thus “Now” (outside of time and space) both He and the Father were glorified. This qualifies the concept of the eternal present.
32 if the God is (Ho Theos[G], Ha Elohiym[H]) glorified, magnified, clothed with splendour (doxazo[G]) in Him, God (Ho Theos[G], Ha Elohiym[H]) will also glorify, magnify, clothe with splendour (doxazo[G]) Him in Himself, and will glorify, magnify, clothe with splendour (doxazo[G]) Him immediately. 33 Little children (Teknion[G], mikron[G], Banay hay’kariym[H]), I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jewish religious leaders, Judeans (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
“Banay hay’kariym” is a term of endearment, as if speaking to one’s own precious progeny. Yeshua speaks as a Father to His disciples, because He speaks of the Father and the Father is echad with Yeshua. Elsewhere Yeshua says, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father”(John 14:9).
34 A new (kainos[G]) injunction, command, mitzvah[H] (entole[G]) I give to you, that you entirely love (agapao[G], t’eihavu[H]) one another, even as I have entirely loved (agapao[G], ahavtiy[H]) you, that you also entirely love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples (talmidim[H]), if you have love (agapao[G], te’ehavun[H]) for one another.”
Some have said that this is not a new command. After all HaShem has said “Love your neighbour as yourself” Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:18. However, the context, source and application of Yeshua’s mitzvah (command) is unique and truly “new” in every sense of the word. Note that Yeshua is speaking to His disciples, who are now ritually washed as priests. While this command can be said to apply to all believers by extension, it does not in its original context apply to anyone other than the Jewish disciples of Yeshua present at the meal. This mitzvah, unlike the command to love one’s neighbour (which means that one should love all human beings), refers specifically to the love between disciples of Yeshua. Therefore, if it is to be applied by extension to the body of believers it must be applied as the love of one believer for another believer. Additionally it is qualified by the phrase “as I have entirely loved you”. No human being can love as Yeshua does unless that person is filled with the Spirit of Yeshua.
Therefore, in order for the disciples to obey Yeshua’s mitzvah they will need to be filled with the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Of course that is exactly what happens at the subsequent Shavuot (Pentecost). Only when the disciples of Yeshua are filled with His Spirit will “all human beings know” that they are His disciples, and the same is true of us.
Far too many believing communities neglect love for one another in favour of loving and helping those outside the community. The great irony is that Yeshua teaches that only by loving one another will the Gospel spread. In contradiction to Yeshua’s teaching we seek to love and do good for unbelievers at the expense of the love and good of our believing brothers and sisters and in doing so we fail to see the spread of the Gospel. Rather than allow our love for one another to overflow into the community we instead go into the wider unbelieving community while our believing communities dwindle, diminish and cease to exist. Therefore, in contradiction to Yeshua’s teaching we snuff out the Light of the Gospel in our communities, leaving them in darkness.
If we desire to be effective in loving the unsaved we must first be effective in loving one another and that is only possible by the power of the Living Messiah in us, the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit). For He has said “Entirely love one another, even as I have entirely loved you”!
36 Shimon Kefa[H] (Simon: hears; Peter: Rock) said to Him, “Lord “(Kurios[G], Adonay[H]), where are You going?” Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”
Yeshua is going to His death, resurrection, ascension, a place that Kefa (Peter) cannot follow Him to yet. But Kefa will follow Yeshua later. Church tradition says that Kefa was crucified upside down for his faith in Yeshua, refusing to be crucified upright because his Messiah Who was greater than he was crucified that way.
37 Kefa[H] (Peter: Rock) said to Him, “Lord “(Kurios[G], Adonay[H]), why can’t I follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.”
Kefa often gets a bad rap. He is a man of excitable passion and true faith, at times presumptuous and rash but none the less devout and genuine. When Kefa said this he meant it with all his heart. We should be so bold.
38 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.
Yeshua, knowing the end from the beginning and in the emotion and turmoil of His humanity is perhaps hurt by Kefa’s rash proclamation. I hear Yeshua’s words in response said with a sad resolve and without malice, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? Oh Kefa, it is an immutable fact that you will deny me three times while I’m on trial, all before the cock crows at the dawn of the new day. I’ve already seen it happen.” (Author’s paraphrase)
© Yaakov Brown 2020
"The messenger of a man is as himself" - Talmud Bavliy. Beracot
What follows is an extension of Yeshua’s teaching regarding Him being the all existing Light in which a disciple should walk (practice faith: halakhah). This is worth remembering in light of the ritual washing of feet (means of walking, halakhah) Yeshua now performs for His disciples.
1Moreover, before the Festival (chag[H]) of the Passover (ha-Pesach[H]:to pass over), Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua), seeing, perceiving (eido[G]) that His certain definite time, fixed season, hour (hora[G]) had come, in which He would pass over (metabaino[G]) from this world (ho kosmos[G], ha-olam[H]) to the advantage of (pros[G]) the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]), having entirely loved (agapao[G], ahav[H]) those belonging to Him who were in the world (ho kosmos[G], ba-olam[H]), He entirely loved (agapao[G], aheivam[H]) them toward (eis[G]) the taxing goal (telos[G]).
These events appear to take place the evening prior to Pesach (Passover) during the first of two possible Seders (ritual Passover meals) practiced by post exilic Jews in the first century CE. If this is not a Seder then the Seder accounts of the other Gospels must fit between the current passage and the arrest of Yeshua which soon follows. Regardless, the Greek text calls this a formal (deipnon[G]) meal, which seems to fit with the Seder theory.
It is no coincidence that the Greek metabaino[G] means to “pass over”. Thus, Yeshua is about to become the figurative Pesach Lamb of Israel and pass over from this world into death and resurrection “to the advantage of the Father”, meaning in order to provide the means by which the Father might be reconciled to His children (humanity).
In the case of Messiah “entirely loving” His disciples, His people ethnic Israel, He would now pretext the fulfilment of that love (death on a cross) by acting the role of the lowliest servant of the household. Thus, He entirely loved them with the taxing goal of their redemption in mind (His death and resurrection).
2 During the formal (evening) meal (deipnon[G]: probably one of two Passover Seders in the post exilic returned Jewish community of first century occupied [Roman] Israel), the devil (ho diabolos[G], ha Satan[H]: accuser, slanderer) having already put into the inner being, heart (ho kardia[G], ha-leiv[H]) of Yehudah[H] (Judah: praise) Ish Kariot[H] (a man of Keriot[H], A town in the south of Judah: Joshua 15:25), the son of Shimon[H] (heard), to betray Him (Yeshua), 3 Seeing, perceiving (eido[G]) that the Father (ho Pater[G], Ha-Av[H]) had given (natan[H]) all things (et ha-kol[H]) into His hands (b’yado[H]), and that He had originated (apo[G]) from God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]) and was going back to God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]),
“The Father had given all things into His hands” tells us that Yeshua was completely free to choose whether He would go through with His mission. Elsewhere we read:
“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, breath, soul existence so that I may take it up again. No one, nothing has taken it away from Me or separated Me from it, but I lay it down on My own initiative, in My Own power, by My Own choice. I have authority, power, choice to lay it down, and to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” -Yochanan 10:17-18
4 He rose from the formal (evening) meal (deipnon[G]: probably one of two Passover Seders in the post exilic returned Jewish community of first century occupied [Roman] Israel), and put aside His garments, outer clothing (himation[G]); and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5 Then He poured water (hudor[G], mayim[H]) into the basin (nipter[G]), and began to ritually wash (nipto[G]) the disciples’ (talmidim[H]) feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
In John’s Gospel Yeshua acts out the teaching that He is recorded as having given in the Gospel according to Mark 10:43-44.
The Greek text uses the word nipto[G] which can refer to ritual washing. In the present context Yeshua rises from the dining table in order to wash the feet of His disciples. This means that the practical feet washing performed for guests entering the home had already occurred prior to the meal upon the arrival of Yeshua and His disciples. In short, their feet were already clean (of the dust of the road). Therefore, the correct translation is “began to ritually wash the disciples’ feet”.
It is not by accident that the water is poured into a basin and Yeshua strips down to His undergarment, a seamless white garment like that of the priesthood of Israel.
“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Yeshua, took his garments and divided them into four pieces; and they also took his undergarment (chiton) which was seamless, woven from top to bottom entirely. Therefore they said among themselves, ‘Let’s not tear it, but instead cast dice to decide who gets it’.” -Yochanan 19:23
“17 Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 18 “You will also make a basin of bronze with a bronze stand for washing. You are to place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and their feet there. 20 Whenever they go into the Tent of Meeting or come near to the altar to minister, to present an offering made by fire in smoke to Adonai, they are to wash with water so that they do not die. 21 They are to wash their hands and their feet, so that they do not die. It is to be an eternal statute for them, to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.” -Shemot (Exodus) 30:17-21 TLV
Yeshua is not only taking on the role of the lowliest servant of the household, as the Priest like Melkiy-tzedek (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5 through 7), He ritually washes the priests whom He has chosen to administer His Gospel when He ascends to the Father. Therefore, as is necessary before the priests approach the altar where His death will take place, He washes their feet as a symbol of their identity in Him and the role that they are to play in the events that follow. The text of Exodus 30:17-21 tells us that the ritual washing of the priests cleanses them for approaching the Holy God of Israel. This is one of the reasons for Yeshua’s dialogue with Kefa (Peter).
6 So He came to Shimon Kefa[H] (Simon: hears; Peter: Rock) who said to Him, “Adonay[H] (Kurios[G], Lord), do You wash my feet?” 7 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) answered and said to him, “What I do you do not see, perceive, recognize (eido[G]) now, in this moment (arti[G]) but you will know it intimately (ginosko[G], yodeia[H]) hereafter.”
It is interesting to note that Simon Peter’s name essentially means “He hears the Rock”. HaShem is the Rock of Israel, her place of strength and shelter, and His Son Yeshua is the physical manifestation of God as Rock.
“The Ruach Adonai has spoken through me
and His word is on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel has said,
the Rock of Israel has spoken to me,
‘He who rules over men righteously,
he who rules in the fear of God--
4 he is like the light of the morning when the sun rises,
a cloudless morning of glistening
as grass springs from the earth.’” -2 Samuel 23:2-4 TLV
Yeshua responds to Shimon Kefa by placing a marker in his mind that he is to recall later at such a time as is important for him to perceive of what Yeshua has done and the role that Simon Peter has been given in the outworking of God’s kingdom through Messiah Yeshua.
8 Kefa[H] (Peter: Rock) said to Him, “You will never wash my feet!” Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Shimon Kefa[H] (Simon: hears; Peter: Rock) said to Him, “Adonay[H] (Kurios[G], Lord), then wash not only my feet (rag’lay[H]), but also my hands (yaday[H]) and my head (roshiy[H]).”
Kefa (Peter) protests because he does not want the Rabbi Whom he venerates, respects, and adores to lower himself to a place of dishonour and servitude. He may be brash but his heart is in the right place. However, Yeshua is focused on the time that is at hand and has no time for playacting Kefa’s misplaced zeal. Therefore, Yeshua is harsh with Kefa because of His deep love for this disciple. “Snap out of it son, this is for your good!” Kefa’s response is incredible, rather than be deterred he doesn’t skip a beat but says “Okay, I’m in boots and all!”
Yeshua is washing feet because He has recently explained that those who desire to serve Him must become His disciples and walk (using their spiritual feet) in His Light.
Kefa adds the symbolism of hands (actions) and head (leader, governor of the body), and Yeshua responds…
10 Yeshua[H A] (YHVH Saves, Joshua) said to him, “He who has bathed, washed the whole body (louo[G]) needs only to ritually wash (nipto[G]) his feet, moreover he is completely clean, pure (katharos[G]); and you are clean, pure (katharos[G]), but not all of you.” 11 For He saw (eido[G]) the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean, pure (katharos[G]).”
Yeshua explains that in Him His disciples are entirely clean and need only be reminded of the fact that in their transcendent state of salvation in Him they must, at least for a while, continue to walk their faith in the sin affected world as ones who have been redeemed (past, present, future) and are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). This mysterious tension between certain salvation and continued sanctification is explained further in Yochanan’s first letter:
“5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you—that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in the darkness, we are lying and do not practice the truth. [a] 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of His Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [b] 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” -1 John 1:5-10 TLV
“But not all” refers to Yehudah (Judas), who has clearly not placed his trust in Yeshua as King Messiah and is therefore intent on following the desires of his baser nature and has been enticed by the lies of the father of lies Satan.
12 So when He had ritually washed (nipto[G]) their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know (ginosko[G], hay’da’tem[H]) what I have done to you? 13 You call Me the Teacher (Moreh[H]) and the Lord (ho Kurios[G], Adon[H]); and [b]you are right, for I am (eimi[G]). 14 If I then, the Teacher (Moreh[H]) the lord (ho Kurios[G], Adon[H]), ritually washed (nipto[G]) your feet, you also ought to ritually wash (nipto[G]) one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
Here Yeshua says “Do you ginosko (know)” rather than “Do you eido (perceive, see)”. This is because He is asking them if they have gained knowledge that will result in practice.
The message is that as disciples of Yeshua they are to follow His example of service and to affirm one another in the priesthood they share in Him. This is pretexted by the Torah which says that the ethnic, religious, empirical Jewish people have been chosen as a nation of priests. Therefore, the Gospel and priesthood of Messiah continues to be first for the Jew. Yeshua is saying that the gifts and calling of God upon the ethnic Jewish people are irrevocable (Romans 1:16; 11:29).
“and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” -Shemot (Exodus) 19:6 NASB
Only then is the offer of priesthood in Messiah extended to the nations, not as usurpers of Israel’s rightful place but as participants in the faith (a spiritual relationship) of Abraham. The later does not negate the former, nor does it cause the former to cease.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;” -1 Peter 2:9 NASB
16 Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, a bond servant (doulos[G]) is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you see, perceive, recognize (eido[G]) these things, you are blessed (well off) if you do them.
The double amein reminds us once again of the firmly established truth of what follows. Yeshua admonishes His disciples to accept the sight He has imparted to them and see with spiritual clarity the King Messiah as their ever present Servant King and the Father as the Originator of Israel’s relationship to Himself. Yeshua’s disciples must remember that He is greater than they and has submitted Himself to His Master YHVH. Therefore, they should emulate their Master Yeshua for God’s glory. In doing so Yeshua promises them that they will experience true blessing as a result of their right actions in emulating Him.
"R. Meir says, who is greatest, he that keeps, or he that is kept? from what is written in Psalm 91:11, he that is kept, is greater than he that keeps: says R. Judah, which is greatest, he that carries, or he that is carried? from what is written in Psalm 91:12, he that is carried, is greater than he that carries: says R. Simeon, from what is written, in Isaiah 6:8, הוי המשלח גדול מן המשתלח, "he that sends, is greater than he that is sent".'' - Bereshit Rabba, fol. 68. 1.
“If you recognise these things blessed are you if you do them.”
"he that learns but not to do", it would have been better for him, if he had never been created; and says R. Yochanan, he that learns but not to do, it would have been better for him if his placenta/membrane (secundine) had been turned upon his face, and he had never come into the world.'' - Hieros. Beracot, fol. 3. 2.
18 I don’t speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but that the Writing (graphe[G], ketviy[H]) may be fully filled, ‘He who eats My bread (lachmiy[H]) has lifted up his heel (akeiv[H]) upon Me.[Psalm 41:10(9)]’
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.
10 But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up,
That I may repay them.
11 By this I know that You are pleased with me,
Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And You set me in Your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.” -Psalm 41:9-13 NASB
We note that the fullness which the Gospel writer is alluding to begins with betrayal but ends with the betrayed one held up in His integrity and set before God’s presence forever.
“Lifted up his heel” is a Jewish idiom that means “He was inspired by his pride to do harm”.
19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe, trust, be persuaded (pisteuo[G], v’he’emantem[H]) that I am (ego eimi[G]).
“From now on” is an indication that Yeshua will no longer teach them in mashaliym (parables) but will speak in clear terms.
Yet again the Greek phrase ego eimi reflects the Divine title “I AM”.
Yeshua is placing yet another mental marker in the minds of the disciples so that when they see what is to come (His death, resurrection, and ascension), they might be certain of His Deity.
20 Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, the one who receives whomever I send receives Me; and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Again, the double amein establishes the truth of what follows.
Those who receive the disciples and their message of Yeshua’s Gospel are, in a spiritual and transcendent way, receiving Yeshua Who will dwell in them by His Spirit, that is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Subsequently those who will receive the messengers (disciples) sent by Yeshua will receive Yeshua Himself and in doing so will receive God the Father in perfect reconciliation and preordained eternal relationship. Of course, the opposite is also true. Those who reject those sent by Yeshua (His disciples, including modern believers) reject Yeshua and in turn reject the Father. This is especially true of those who reject Jewish believers who bring the message of the King Messiah Yeshua.
של אדם כמותו ששלוחו
"the messenger of a man is as himself".
- Talmud Bavliy. Beracot, fol. 34. 2. Kiddushin, fol. 41. 9. & 42. 1. & 43. 1. Bava Metzia, fol. 96. 1.
“Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Yeshua did!” -1 Yochanan (John) 2:6
© Yaakov Brown 2020
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.