Chrysostom on John 73
"Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now, but thou shalt follow Me afterwards."
[1.] A Great thing1 is love, and stronger than fire itself, and it goeth up to the very heaven; there is2 no hindrance which can restrain its tearing3 force. And so the most fervent Peter, when he hears, “Whither I go ye cannot come,” what saith he? “Lord, whither goest thou?” and this he said, not so much from wish to learn, as from desire to follow. To say openly, “I go,” he dared not yet, but, “Whither goest thou?” Christ answered, not to his words, but to his thoughts. For that this was his wish, is clear from what Christ said, “Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now.” Seest thou that he longed for the following Him, and therefore asked the question? And when he heard, “thou shalt follow Me afterwards,” not even so did he restrain his longing, and, though he had gainedgood hopes, he is so eager as to say,
Jn 13,37. “Why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thee.”
When he had shaken off the dread of being the traitor, and was shown to be one of His own,4 he afterwards asked boldly himself, while the others held their peace. “What sayest thou, Peter? He said, ‘thou canst not,’ and thou sayest, ‘I can’? Therefore thou shalt know from this temptation that thy love is nothing without the presence of the impulse5 from above.” Whence it is clear that in care for him He allowed even that fall. He desired indeed to teach him even by the first words, but when he continued in his vehemence, He did not indeed throw or force him into the denial, but left him alone, that he might learn his own weakness. Christ had said that He must be betrayed; Peter replied, “Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not happen unto Thee.” (Mt 16,22). He was rebuked, but not instructed. On the contrary, when Christ desired to wash his feet, he said, “Thou shall never wash my feet.”6 (Jn 13,8). Again, when he hears, “Thou canst not follow Me now,” he saith, “Though all deny Thee, I will not deny Thee.” Since then it was likely that he would be lifted up to folly by his practice of contradiction, Jesus next teacheth him not to oppose Him. This too Lc implies, when he telleth us that Christ said, “And I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Lc 22,32); that is, “that thou be not finally lost.” In every way teaching him humility, and proving that human nature by itself is nothing. But, since great love made him apt for contradiction, He now sobereth him, that he might not in after times be subject to this, when he should have received the stewardship of the world, but remembering what he had suffered, might know himself. And look at the violence of his fall; it did not happen to him once or twice, but he was so beside himself, that in a short tithe thrice did he utter the words of denial, that he might learn that he did not so love as he was loved. And yet, to one who had so fallen He saith again, “Lovest thou Me more than these?” So that the denial was caused not by the cooling of his love, but from his having been stripped of aid from above. He accepteth then Peter’s love, but cutteth off the spirit of contradiction engendered by it. “For if thou lovest, thou oughtest to obey Him who is beloved. I said7 to thee and to those with thee, ‘Thou canst not’; why art thou contentious? Knowest thou what a thing it is to contradict God? But since thou wilt not learn in this way that it is impossible that what I say should not come to pass, thou shalt learn8 it in the denial.” And yet this appeared to thee to be much more incredible. For this thou did, not even understand, but of that thou hadst the knowledge9 in thy heart. Yet still that came to pass which was not even 10 expected.
“I will lay down my life for Thee.” For since he had heard, “Greater love than this hath, no man,” 11 he straightway sprang forward, insatiably eager and desirous to reach even to the highest pitch of virtue. But Christ, to show that it belonged to Himself alone to promise these things with authority, saith,
Jn 13,38. “Before the cock crow.” 12
That is, “now”; there was but a little interval. He spake when it was late at night, and the first and second watch was past.
Jn 14,1. “Let not your heart be troubled.”
This He saith, because it was probable that when they heard they would be troubled. For if the leader of their band, one so entirely fervent, was told that before the cock crew he should thrice deny his Master, it was likely that they would expect to have to undergo some great reverse, sufficient to bend even souls of adamant. Since then it was probable that they considering these things would be astounded, see how He comforteth them, saying, “Let not your heart be troubled.” By this first word showing the power of His Godhead, because, what they had in their hearts He knew and brought to light.
“Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” That is, “All dangers shall pass you by, for faith in Me and in My Father is more powerful than the things which come upon you, and will permit no evil thing to prevail against you.” Then He addeth,
Jn 14,2. “In My Father’s house are many mansions.”
As He comforteth Peter when bewildered 13 by saying, “but thou shall follow afterwards,” so also He gives this glimpse of hope to the others. For lest they should think that the promise was given to him alone, He saith, “In My Father’s house are many mansions.”
“If it were not so I would have said to you, I go 14 to prepare a place for you.”
That is, “The same place which receiveth Peter shall receive you.” For a great abundance of dwellings is there, and it may not be said that they need preparation. When He said, “Ye cannot follow Me now,” that they might not deem that they were finally cut off, He added,
Jn 14,3. 15 “That where I am, there ye may be also.” “So earnest have I been concerning this matter, 16 that I should already have been given up to it, 17 had not preparation been made long ago for you.” Showing them that they ought to be very bold and confident. Then that He may not seem to speak as though enticing them, but that they may believe the thing to be so, He addeth,
[2.] Jn 14,4. “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
Seest thou that He giveth them proof that these things were not said without a meaning? And He used these words, because He knew in Himself that their souls now desired to learn this. For Peter said what he said, not in order to learn, but that he might follow. But when Peter had been rebuked, and Christ had declared 18 that to be possible which for the time seemed impossible, 19 and when the apparent impossibility led him to desire to know the matter exactly, therefore He saith to the others, “And the way ye know.” For as when He hath said, “Thou shalt deny Me,” before any one spake a word, searching into their hearts, He said, “Be not troubled,” so here also by saying “Ye know,” He disclosed the desire which was in their heart, and Himself giveth them an excuse for questioning. Now the, “Whither goest Thou?” Peter used from a very loving affection, Thomas from cowardice.
Jn 14,5. “Lord, 20 we know not whither Thou goest.” 21
“The place,” he saith, “we know not, and how shall we know the way leading thither?” And observe with what submissiveness he speaks; he saith not, “tell us the place,” but, “we know not whither Thou goest”; for all had long yearned to hear this. If the Jews questioned among themselves when they heard (of His departure), although desirous to be rid of Him much more would those desire to learn, who wished never to be separated from Him. They feared therefore to ask Him, but yet they asked Him, from their great love and anxiety. What then saith Christ?
Jn 14,6. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
“Why then, when He was asked by Peter, ‘Whither goest Thou,’ did He not say directly, ‘I go to the Father, but ye cannot come now’? Why did He put in a circuit of so many words, placing together questions and answers? With good reason He told not this to the Jews; but why not to these?” He had indeed said both to these and to the Jews, that He came forth from God, and was going to God, now He saith the same thing more clearly than before. Besides, to the Jews He spake not so clearly; for had He said, “Ye cannot come to the Father but by Me,” they would straightway hard deemed the matter mere boasting; but now by concealing this, He threw them 22 into perplexity. “But why,” saith some one, “did He speak thus both to the disciples and to Peter?” He knew his great forwardness, and that he would by reason of this 23 the more press on and trouble Him; in order therefore to lead him away, He hideth the matter. Having then succeeded in what He wished by the obscurity and by veiling His speech, He again discloseth the matter. After saying, “Where I am, no man can come,” He addeth, “In My Father’s house are many mansions”; and again, “No man cometh to the Father but by Me.” This He would not tell them at first, in order not to throw them into greater despondency, but, now that He hath soothed them, He telleth them. For by Peter’s rebuke He cast out 24 much of their despondency; and dreading lest they should beaddressed in the same way, they were the more restrained. “I am the Way.” This is the proof of the, “No man cometh to the Father but by Me”; 25 and, “the Truth, and the Life,” of this, “that these things shall surely be.” “There is then no falsehood with Me, if I am ‘the Truth’; if I am ‘Life’ also, not even death shall be able to hinder you from coming to Me. Besides; if I am ‘the Way,’ ye will need none to lead you by the hand; if I am also ‘the Truth,’ My words are no falsehoods; if I am also ‘Life,’ though ye die ye shall obtain what I have told you.” Now His being “the Way,” they both understood and allowed, but the rest they knew not. They did not indeed venture to say what they knew not. Still they gained great consolation from His being “the Way.” “If,” saith He, “I have sole authority to bring 26 to the Father, ye shall surely come thither; for neither is it possible to come by any other way.” But by saying before, “No man can come to Me except the Father draw him”; and again, “If I be lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men unto Me” (c. 12,32); and again, “No man cometh to the Father but by Me” (c. 14,6); He showeth Himself equal to Him who begat Him. But how after saying, “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know,” hath He added,
Jn 14,7. “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him”?
(He doth not contradict Himself; they knew Him indeed, but not so as they ought. God they knew, but the Father not yet. For afterwards, the Spirit having come upon them wrought 27 in them all knowledge. What He saith is of this kind. “Had ye known My Essence and My Dignity, ye would have known that of the Father also; and henceforth ye shall know Him, and have seen Him,” (the one belonging to the future, the other to the present,) that is, “by Me.” By “sight,” He meaneth knowledge by intellectual perception. For those who are seen we may see and not know; but those who are known we cannot know and not know. Wherefore He saith, “and ye have seen Him”; just as it saith, “was seen also of Angels.” (1 Tim. iii. 16). Yet the very Essence was not seen; yet it saith that He “was seen,” that is, as far as it was possible for them to see. These words are used, that thou mayest learn that 28 the man who hath seen Him 29 knoweth Him who begat Him. But they beheld Him not in His unveiled Essence, but clothed with flesh. He is wont elsewhere to put “sight” for “knowledge”; as when He saith,“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”(Mt 5,8). By “pure,” He meaneth not those who are free from fornication only, but from all sins. For every sin brings filth upon the soul.
[3.] Let us then use every means to wipe off the filthiness. But first the font cleanseth, afterwards other ways also, many and of all kinds. For God, being merciful, hath even after this 30 given to us various ways of 31 reconciliation, of all which the first is that by alms-doing. “By alms-deeds,” it saith, “and deeds of faith sins are cleansed away.” (Ecclus. iii. 30). By alms-doing I do not mean that which is maintained by injustice, for this is not alms-doing, but savageness and inhumanity. What profits it to strip one man and clothe another? For we ought to begin the action with mercy, but this is inhumanity. If we give away everything that we have got from other people, it is no gain to us. And this Zacchaeus shows, who on that occasion said, that he propitiated God by giving four times as much as he had taken. (Lc 19,8). But we, when we plunder unboundedly, and give but little, think that we make God propitious, whereas we do rather 32 exasperate Him. For tell me, if thou shouldest drag a dead and rotten ass from the waysides and lanes, and bring it to the altar, would not all stone thee as accursed and polluted? 33 Well then, if I prove that a sacrifice procured by plunder is more polluted than this, what defense shall we obtain? Let us suppose that some article has been obtained by plunder, is it not of fouler scent than a dead ass? Wouldest thou learn how great is the rottenness of sin? Hear the Prophet saying, “My wounds stank, and were corrupt.” (Ps 38,5 LXX). And dost thou in words entreat God to forget thy misdeeds, and dost thou by what thou thyself doest, robbing and grasping, and placing thy sin upon the altar, cause Him to remember them continually? But now, this is not the only sin, but there is one more grievous than this, that thou defilest the souls of the saints. 34 For the altar is but a stone, and is consecrated, but they ever bear with them Christ Himself; and darest thou to send thither any of such impurity? “No,” saith one, “not the same money, but other.” Mockery this, and trifling. Knowest thou not, that if one drop of injustice fall on a great quantity of wealth, the whole is defiled? And just as a man by casting dung into a pure fountain makes it all unclean, so also in the case of riches, anything ill-gotten entering in makes them to be tainted with the ill savor from itself. Then we wash our hands when we enter into church, but our hearts not so. Why, do our hands send forth a voice? It is the soul that utters 35 the words: to that God looketh; cleanness of the body is of no use, while that is defiled. What profits it, if thou wipe clean thine outward hands, while thou hast those within impure? For the terrible thing and that which subverts all good is this, that while we are fearful about trifles, we care not for important matters. To pray with unwashed hands is a matter indifferent; but to do it with an unwashed mind, this is the extreme of all evils. Hear what was said to the Jews who busied themselves about such outward impurities. “Wash thine heart from wickedness, how long shall there be in thee thoughts of thy labors?” 36 (Jr 4,14). Let us also wash ourselves, not with mire, but with fair water, with alms-doing, not with covetousness. First get free from rapine, and then show forth alms-deeds. Let us “decline from evil, and do good.” (Ps 37,27). Stay thy hands from covetousness, and so bring them to alms-giving. But if with the same hands we strip one set of persons, 37 though we may not clothe the others with what has been taken 38 from them, yet we shall not thus escape punishment. For that which is the groundwork 39 of the propitiation is made the groundwork of all wickedness. Better not show mercy, than show it thus; since for Cain also it had been better not to have 40 brought his offering at all. Now if he who brought too little angered God, when one gives what is another’s, how shall not he anger Him? “I commanded thee,” He will say, “not to steal, and honorest thou Me from that thou hast stolen? What thinkest thou? That I am pleased with these things?” Then shall He say to thee, “Thou thoughtest wickedly that I am even such an one as thyself; I will rebuke thee, and set before thy face thy sins.” (Ps 50,21 LXX). But may it not come to pass that any one of us hear this voice, but having wrought pure alms-deeds, and having our lamps burning, so may we enter into the bride-chamber by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost 41 be glory for ever and ever. Amen).
1 al). “a great good.”
2 al). “whence neither shall there be.”
4 tw`n gnhsijwn.
6 al). “Thou shalt never do this thing.”
7 in the Greek, “(He said.”
8 al). “shalt know.”
9 al). “the consciousness.”
10 al). “was not.”
11 the words occur later, c. 15,13.
12 “Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for Me? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied Me thrice.” N. T.
14 al). “shall go.”
15 Ver. 3). “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where,” &c. N. T.
16 i.e. the preparing a place for disciples.
17 h]dh a]n touvtou ejgenovmhn.
18 al). “had showed.”
19 i.e. that the disciples should follow).
20 “Thomas saith unto Him, Lord,” &c.
21 “and how shall we know the way?” N. T.
22 or, “these” (the disciples).
23 i.e. if He had so spoken.
24 al). “cast off.”
25 al). “that is, that ye come by Me.”
26 Kuvrio" eijmi tou` a]gein.
28 al). “showing that.”
29 the Son).
30 after baptism.
31 Ben). “ways of various.”
32 al). “not knowing that we.”
33 al). “abominable.”
34 i.e. of communicants.
35 al). “offers.”
36 E. V). “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?”
37 al). “the poor.”
38 al). “given.”
40 al). “Cain would have been better if he had not.”
41 Ben. omits, “with the Father and the Holy Ghost.”
"Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He who hath seen Me, hath seen the Father."
[1.] The Prophet said to the Jews, “Thou hadst the countenance of a harlot, thou wert shameless towards all men.” (Jer. iii. 3, LXX). Now it seems fitting to use this expression not only against that city,2 but against all who shamelessly set their faces against the truth. For when Philip said to Christ, “Show us the Father,” He replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip?” And yet there are some Who even after these words separate the Father from the Son. What proximity dost thou require closer than this? Indeed from this very saying some have fallen into the malady of Sabellius. But let us, leaving both these and those as involved in directly opposite error, consider the exact meaning of the words. “Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip?” He saith. What then? replieth Philip, “Art thou the Father after whom I enquire?” “No,” He saith. On this account He said not, “hast thou not known Him,” but,“hast thou not known Me,” declaring nothing else but this, that the Son is no other than what the Father is, yet continuing to be a Son. But how came Philip to ask this question? Christ had said, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also” (c. xiv. 7), and He had often said the same to the Jews. Since then Peter and the Jews had often asked Him, “Who is the Father?” since Thomas had asked Him, and no one had learnt anything clear, but His words were still not understood; Philip, in order that He might not seem to be importunateand to trouble Him by asking in his turn after the Jews, “Show us the Father,” added, “and it sufficeth us,” “we seek no more.” Yet Christ had said, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also,” and by Himself He declared the Father. But Philip reversed the order, and said, “Show us the Father,” as though knowing Christ exactly. But Christ endureth him not, but putteth him in the right way, persuading him to gain the knowledge of the Father through Himself, while Philip desired to see Him with these bodily eyes, having perhaps heardconcerning the Prophets, that they “saw God.”But those cases, Philip, were acts of condescension. Wherefore Christ said, “No man hath seen God at any time” (c. 1,18); and again, “Every man that hath heard and hath learnedfrom God cometh unto Me.” (c. 6,45). “Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.” (c. 5,37). And in the Old Testament, “No man shall see My face, and live.” (Ex 33,20). What saith Christ? Very reprovingly He saith, “Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip?” He said not, “hast thou not seen,” but, “hast thou not known Me.” “Why,” Philip might say, “do I wish to learn concerning Thee? At present I seek to see Thy Father, and Thou sayest unto me, hast thou not known Me?” What connection then hath this with the question? Surely a very close one; for if He is that which the Father is, yet continuing a Son, with reason He showeth in Himself Him who begat Him. Then to distinguish the Persons He saith, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” lest any one should assert that the same is Father, the same Son. For had He been the Father, He would not have said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen Him.” Why then did He not reply, “thou askest things impossible, and not allowed to man; to Me alone is this possible”? Because Philip had said, “it sufficeth us,” as though knowing Christ, He showeth that he had not even seen Him. For assuredly he would have known the Father, had he been able to know the Son.3 Wherefore He saith, “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” “If any one hath seen Me, he shall also behold Him.” What He saith is of this kind: “It is not possible to see either Me or Him.” For Philip sought the knowledge which is by sight, and since he thought that he had so seen Christ, he desired in like manner to see the Father; but Jesus showeth him that he had not even seen Himself, And if any one here call knowledge, sight, I do not contradict him, for, “he that bath known Me,” saith Christ, “hath known the Father.” Yet He did not say this, but desiring to establish the Consubstantiality, declared, “he that knoweth My Essence, knoweth that of the Father also.” “And what is this?” saith some one; “for he who is acquainted with creation knoweth also God.” Yet all are acquainted with creation, and have seen it, but all do not know God. Besides, let us consider what Philip seeks to see. Is it the wisdom of the Father? Is it His goodness? Not so, but the very whatever God is, the very Essence. To this therefore Christ answereth, “He that hath seen Me.” Now he that hath seen the creation, hath not also seen the Essence of God. “If any one hath seen Me, he hath seen the Father,” He saith. Now had He been of a different Essence, He would not have spoken thus. But to make use of a grosser argument, no man that knows not what gold is, can discern the substance of gold in silver. For one nature is not shown by another. Wherefore He rightly rebuked him, saying, “Am I so long with you?” Hast thou enjoyed such teaching, hast thou seen miracles wrought with authority, and all belonging to the Godhead, which the Father alone worketh, sins forgiven, secrets published, death retreating, a creation Wrought from earth,4 and hast thou not known Me? Because He was clothed with flesh, therefore He said, “Hast thou not known Me?”
[2.] Thou hast seen the Father; seek not to see more; for in Him thou hast seen Me. If thou hast seen Me, be not over-curious; for thou hast also in Me known Him.
Jn 14,10. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father?”5
That is, “I am seen in that Essence.”
“The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself,”
Seest thou the exceeding nearness, and the proof of the one Essence?
“The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.”
How, beginning with words, doth He come to works? for that which naturally followed was, that He should say, “the Father speaketh the words.” But He putteth two things here, both concerning doctrine and miracles. Or it may have been because the words also were works. How then doeth He6 them? In another place He saith, “If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not.” (c. 10,37). How then saith He here that the Father doeth them? To show this same thing, that there is no interval between the Father and the Son. What He saith is this: “The Father would not act in one way, and I in another.” Indeed in another place both He and the Father work; “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (c. 5,17); showing in the first passage the unvaryingness of the works,7 in the second the identity. And if the obvious meaning of the words denotes humility, marvel not; for after having first said, “Believest thou not?” He then spake thus, showing that He so modeled His words to bring him to the faith; for He walked in their hearts.
Jn 14,11. “Believe8 that I am in the Father and the Father in Me.”
“Ye ought not, when ye hear of ‘Father’ and ‘Son,’ to seek anything else to the establishing of the relationship9 as to Essence, but if this is not sufficient to prove to you the Condignity and Consubstantiality, ye may learn it even from the works.” Had the, “he that hath seen Me, hath seen My Father,” been used with respect to works, He would not afterwards have said,
“Or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” And then to show that He is not only able to do these things, but also other much greater than these, He putteth them with excess. For He saith not, “I can do greater things than these,” But, what was much more wonderful, “I can give to others also to do greater things than these.”
Jn 14,12. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father.”
That is, “it now remaineth for you to work miracles, for I go away.” Then when He had accomplished what His argument intended, He saith,
Jn 14,13. “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in Me.”
Seest thou again that it is He who doeth it? “I,” saith He, “will do it”; not, “I will ask of the Father,” but, “that the Father may be glorified in Me.” In another place He said, “God shall glorify Him in Himself” (c. xiii. 32), but here, “He shall glorify the Father”; for when the Son shall appear with great power, He who begat shall be glorified. But what is, “in My Name”? That which the Apostles said, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk.” (Ac 3,6). For all the miracles which they did He wrought in them, and “the hand of the Lord was with them.” (Ac 11,21).
Jn 14,14. “I will do 10 it,” He saith.
Seest thou His authority? The things done by means of others Himself doeth; hath He no power for the things done by Himself, except as being wrought in by the Father? And who could say this? But why doth He put it second? To confirm His own words, and to show that the former sayings were of condescension. But the, “I go to the Father,” is this: “I shall not perish, but remain in My own proper Dignity, and Am in Heaven.” All this He said, comforting them. For since it was likely that they, not yet understanding His discourses concerning the Resurrection, would imagine something dismal, He in other discourses promiseth that He will give them such things, soothing them in every way, and showing that He abideth continually; and not only abideth, but that He will even show forth greater power.
[3.] Let us then follow Him, and take up the Cross. For though persecution be not present, yet the season for another kind of death is with us. “Mortify,” it saith, “your members which are upon earth.” (Col 3,5). Let us then quench concupiscence, slay anger, abolish envy. This is a “living sacrifice.” (Rm 12,1). This sacrifice ends not in ashes, is not dispersed in smoke, wants neither wood, nor fire, nor knife. For it hath both fire and a knife, even the Holy Spirit. Using this knife, circumcise the superfluous and alien portion of thy heart; open the closedness of thine ears, for vices 11 and evil desires are wont to stop the way against the entrance of the word. The desire of money, when it is set before one, permits not to hear the word concerning almsgiving; and malice when it is present raises a wall against the teaching concerning love; and some other malady falling on in its turn, makes the soul yet more dull to all things. Let us then do away these wicked desires; it is enough to have willed, and all are quenched. For let us not, I entreat, look to this, that the love of wealth is a tyrannical thing, but that the tyranny is that of our own slackmindedness. Many indeed say that they do not even know what money is. For this desire is not a natural one; such as are natural were implanted in us from the first, from the beginning, but as for gold and silver, for a long time not even what it is was known. Whence then grew this desire? From vainglory and extreme slackmindedness. For of desires some are necessary, some natural, some neither the one nor the other. For example, those which if not gratified destroy the creature are both natural and necessary, as the desire of meat and drink and sleep; carnal desire is natural indeed but not necessary, for many have got the better of it, and have not died. But the desire of wealth is neither natural nor necessary, but superfluous; and if we choose we need not admit its beginning. At any rate, Christ speaking of virginity saith, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Mt 19,12). But concerning riches not so, but how? “Except a man forsake all that he hath, he is not worthy of Me.” (Lc 14,33). What was easy He recommended, but what goes beyond the many He leaveth to choice. Why then do we deprive ourselves of all excuse? The man who is made captive by some more tyrannical passion shall not suffer a heavy punishment, but he who is subdued by a weak one is deprived of all defense. For what shall we reply when He saith, “Ye saw Me hungry and fed Me not”? (Mt 25,42); what excuse shall we have? We shall certainly plead poverty; yet we are not poorer than that widow, who by throwing in two mites overshot all the rest. For God requireth not the quantity of the offering, but the measure of the mind; and that He doth so, comes from His tender care. Let us then, admiring His lovingkindness, contribute what is in our power, that having both in this life and in that which is to come obtained in abundance the lovingkindness of God, we may be able to enjoy the good things promised to us, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 “And how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” N. T.
2 i.e. Jerusalem
3 al). “to do this.”
4 i.e. eyes given by means of the clay.
5 “and the Father in Me?” N. T.
6 the Father.
7 i.e. those of the Father and the Son.
8 “Believe Me,” N. T.
9 th`" kata; th;n oujsian suggeneiva".
10 “If ye shall ask anything in My Name, I,” &c., N. T).
11 lit). “maladies.”
that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him."
[1.] We need everywhere works and actions, not a mere show of words. For to say and to promise is easy for any one, but to act is not equally easy. Why have I made these remarks?Because there are many at this time who say that they fear and love God, but in their works show the contrary; but God requireth that love which is shown by works. Wherefore He said to the disciples, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” For after He had told them, “Whatsoever ye shall ask,2 I will do it,” that they might not deem the mere “asking” to be availing, He added, “If ye love Me,” “then,” He saith, “I will do it.” And since it was likely that they would be troubled when they heard that, “I go3 to the Father,” He telleth them “to be troubled now is not to love, to love is to obey My words. I have given you a commandment that ye love one another, that ye do so to each other as I have done to you; this is love, to obey these My words, and to yield to Him who is the object of your love.”
“And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.” Again His speech is one of condescension. For since it was probable, that they not yet knowing Him would eagerly seek His society, His discourse, His presence in the flesh, and would admit of no consolation when He was absent, what saith He? “I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter,” that is, “Another like unto Me.” Let those be ashamed who have the disease of Sabellius,4 who hold not the fitting opinion concerning the Spirit. For the marvel of this discourse is this, that it hath stricken down contradictory heresies with the same blow. For by saying“another,” He showeth the difference of Person, and by “Paraclete,” the connection of Substance. But why said He, “I will ask the Father”? Because had He said, “I will send Him,” they would not have so much believed and now the object is that He should be believed. For afterwards He declares that He Himselfsendeth Him, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (Jn 20,22); but in this place He telleth them that He asketh the Father, so as to render His discourse credible to them. Since Jn saith of Him, “Of His fullness have all we received” (Jn 1,16); but what He had, how receiveth He from another? And again, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (Lc 3,16). “But what had He more than the Apostles, if He was about to ask It of His Father in order to give It to others, when they often even without prayer appear to have done thus?” And how,5 if It is sent according to request from the Father, doth It descend of Itself? And how is that which is everywhere present sent by Another, that which “divideth to every man severally as He will” (1Co 12,11), and which saith with authority, “Separate Me Paul and Barnabas”? (Ac 13,2). Those ministers were ministering unto God, yet still It called them authoritatively to Its own work; not that It called them to any different work, but in order to show Its power. “What then,” saith some one, “is, ‘I will ask the Fathers’?” (He saith it) to show the time of Its coming. For when He had cleansed them by the sacrifice,6 then the Holy Ghost lighted upon them. “And why, while He was with them, came it not?” Because the sacrifice was not yet offered. But when afterwards sin had been loosed, and they were being sent forth to dangers, and were stripping themselves for the contest, then need was that the Anointer7 should come. “But why did not the Spirit come immediately after the Resurrection?” In order that being greatly desirous of It, they might receive It with great joy. For as long as Christ was with them, they were not in tribulation; but when He departed, being made defenseless and thrown into much fear, they would receive It with much readiness.
“He remaineth with you.” This showeth that even after death It departeth not. But lest when they heard of the “Paraclete,” they should imagine a second Incarnation, and expect to see It with their eyes, He setteth them right by saying, “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not.” “He will not be with you as I have been, but will dwell in your very souls”; for this is the, “shall be in you.”8 He calleth it the “Spirit of truth”; thus explaining the types in the Old Testament. “That He may be9 with you.” What is, “may be with you”? That which He saith Himself, that “I am with you.” (Mt 28,20). Besides, He also implieth something else, that “the case of the Spirit shall not be the same as Mine, He shall never leave you.” “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not.” “Why, what is there belonging to the other Persons that is visible?” Nothing; but He speaketh here of knowledge; at least He addeth, “neither knoweth Him.” For He is wont, in the case of exact knowledge, to call it “sight”; because sight is clearer than the other senses, by this He always representeth exact knowledge. By “world,” He here speaketh of “the wicked,” thus too comforting the disciples by giving to them a special gift. See in how many particulars He raised His discourse concerning It. He said, “He is Another like unto Me”; He said, “He will not leave you”; He said, “Unto you alone He cometh, as also did I”; He said, that “He remaineth in you”; but not even so did He drive out their despondency. For they still sought Him and His society. To cure then this feeling, He saith,
Jn 14,18. “I will not leave you orphans, I will come unto you.”
[2.] “Fear not,” He saith, “I said not that I would send you another Comforter, as thoughwere Myself withdrawing from you for ever; I said not that He remaineth with you, as though I should see you no more. For I also Myself will come to you, I will not leave you orphans.” Because when commencing He said, “Little children,” therefore He saith also here, “I will not leave you orphans.” At first then He told them, “Ye shall come whither I go”; and, “In My Father’s house there are many mansions”; but here, since that time was long, He giveth them the Spirit; and when, not knowing what it could be of which He spoke, they were not sufficiently comforted, “I will not leave you orphans,” He saith; for this they chiefly required. since the, “I will come to you,” was the saying of one declaring a “presence,” observe how in order that they might not again seek for the same kind of presence as before, He did not clearly tell them this thing, but hinted at it; for having said,
Jn 14,19. “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me not”; He added, “but ye see Me.”
As though He had said, “I come indeed to you, but not in the same way as before, ever being with you day by day.” And lest they should say, “How then saidst Thou to the Jews, Henceforth ye shall not see Me?” He solveth the contradiction by saying, “to you alone”; for such also is the nature of the Spirit.
“Because I live, ye shall live also.”
For the Cross doth not finally separate us, but only hideth for a little moment; and by “life” He seemeth to me to mean not the present only, but the future also.
Jn 14,20. “At that day ye shall know that am in the 10 Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
With regard to the Father, these words refer to Essence; with regard to the disciples, to agreement of mind and help from God. “And how, tell me, is this reasonable?” saith some one. And how, pray, is the contrary reasonable? For great and altogether boundless is the interval between Christ and the disciples. And if the same words are employed, marvel not; for the Scripture is often wont to use in different senses the same words, when applied to God and to men. Thus we are called “gods,” and “sons of God,” yet the word hath not the same force when applied to us and to God. And the Son is called “Image,” and “Glory”; so are we, but great is the interval between us. Again, “Ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1Co 3,23), but not in like manner as Christ is God’s are we Christ’s. But what is it that He saith? “When I am arisen,” He saith, "ye shall know that I am not separated from the Father, but have the same power with Him, and that I am with you continually, when facts proclaim the aid which cometh to you from Me, when your enemies are kept down, and you speak boldly, when dangers are removed from your path, when the preaching of the Gospel flourisheth day by day, when all yield and give ground to the word of true religion. “As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.” (Jn 20,21). Seest thou that here also the word hath not the same force? for if we take it as though it had, the Apostles will differ in nothing from Christ. But why saith He, “Then ye shall know”? Because then they saw Him risen and conversing with them, then they learnt the exact faith; for great was the power of the Spirit, which taught them all things.
[3.] Jn 14,21. “He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.”
It is not enough merely to have them, we need also an exact keeping of them. But why doth He frequently say the same thing to them? as, “If ye love Me, ye will keep 11 My commandments” (Jn 14,15); and, “He that hath My commandments and keepeth them”; and, “If any one heareth My word and keepeth it, he it is that loveth Me—he that heareth not My words, loveth Me not.” (Jn 14,24). I think that He alluded to their despondency; for since He had uttered many wise sayings to them concerning death, saying, “He that hateth his life in this world shall save it unto life eternal” (Jn 12,25); and,“Unless a man take 12 his cross and follow Me, he is not worthy of Me” (Mt 10,38); and is about to say other things besides, rebuking them, He saith, “Think ye that ye suffer sorrow from love? The not sorrowing would be a sign of love.” And because He wished all along to establish this, as He went on He summed up His discourse in this same point; “If ye loved Me,” He saith, “ye would have rejoiced, because—I go to My Father” (Jn 14,28), but now ye are in this state through cowardice. To be thus disposed towards death is not for those who remember My commandments; for you ought to be crucified, if you truly loved Me, for My word exhorteth you not to be afraid of those that kill the body. Those that are such both the Father loveth and I. "And I will manifest Myself unto him. 13 Then saith Judas, 14
Jn 14,22. “How is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us?” 15
Seest thou that their soul was close pressed 16 with fear? For he was confounded and troubled, and thought that as we see dead men in a dream, so He also would be seen. In order therefore that they might not imagine this, hear what He saith.
Jn 14,23. “I and the Father will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” 17
All but saying, “As the Father revealeth Himself, so also do I.” And not in this way only He removed the suspicion, but also by saying, “We will make Our abode with him,” a thing which doth not belong to dreams. But observe, I pray you, the disciple confounded, and not daring to say plainly what he desired to say. For he said not, “Woe to us, that Thou diest,and will come to us as the dead come”; he spake not thus; but, “How is it that Thou wilt show Thyself to us, and not unto the world?” Jesus then saith, that “I accept you, because ye keep My commandments.” In order that they might not, when they should see Him afterwards, 18 deem Him to be an apparition, therefore He saith these things beforehand. And that they might not deem that He would appear to them so as I have said, He telleth them also the reason, “Because ye keep My commandments”; He saith that the Spirit also will appear in like manner. Now if after having companied with Him so long time, they cannot yet endure that Essence, or rather cannot even imagine It, what would have been their case had He appeared thus to them at the first? on this account also He ate with them, that the action might not seem to be an illusion. For if they thought this when they saw Him walking on the waters, although His wonted form was seen by them, and He was not far distant, what would they have imagined had they suddenly seen Him arisen whom they had seen taken 19 and swathed? Wherefore He continually telleth them that He will appear, and why He will appear, and how, that they may not suppose Him to be an apparition.
Jn 14,24. “He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.”
“So that he that heareth not these sayings not only doth not love Me, but neither doth he love the Father.” For if this is the sure proof of love, the hearing the commandments, and these are of the Father, he that heareth them loveth not the Son only, but the Father also. “And how is the word ‘thine’ and ‘not thine’?” This means, “I speak not without the Father, nor say anything of Myself contrary to what seemeth good to Him.”
Jn 14,25. “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.”
Since these sayings were not clear, and since some they did not understand, and doubted about the greater number, in order that they might not be again confused, and say, “What commands?” He released them from all their perplexity, saying,
Jn 14,26. “The Comforter, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you.” 20
“Perhaps these things are not clear to you now, but ‘He’ 21 is a clear teacher of them.” And the, “remaineth with you” (Jn 14,17), is the expression of One implying that Himself will depart. Then that they may not be grieved, He saith, that as long as He should remain with them and the Spirit should not come, they would be unable to comprehend anything great or sublime. And this He said to prepare them to bear nobly His departure, as that which was to be the cause of great blessings to them. He continually calleth Him “Comforter,” because of the afflictions which then possessed them. And since even after hearing these things they were troubled, when they thought of the sorrows, the wars, His departure, see how He calmeth them again by saying,
Jn 14,27. “Peace I leave to you.” 22
All but saying, “What are ye harmed by the trouble of the world, provided ye be at peace with 23 Me? For this peace is not of the same kind as that. The one is external, is often mischievous and unprofitable, and is no advantage to those who possess it; but I give you peace of such a kind that ye be at peace with one another, which thing rendereth you stronger.” And because He said again, “I leave,” which was the expression of One departing, and enough to confound them, therefore He again saith,
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Seest thou that they were affected partly by loving affection, partly by fear?
Jn 14,28. “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father; for My Father is greater than I.”
[4.] And what joy would this bring to them? What consolation? What then mean the words? They did not yet know concerning the Resurrection, nor had they right opinion concerning Him; (for how could they, who did not even know that He would rise again?) but they thought that the Father was mighty. He saith then, that “If ye are fearful for Me, as not able to defend Myself, and if ye are not confident that I shall see you again after the Crucifixion, yet when ye heard that I go to the Father, ye ought then to have rejoiced because I go away to One that is greater, and able to undo all dangers.” “Ye have heard how I said unto you.” Why hath He put this? Because, He saith, “I am so firmly confident about the things which come to pass, that I even foretell them, so far am I from fearing.” This also is the meaning of what follows.
Jn 14,29. “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe that I Am.” 24 As though He had said, “Ye would not have known, had I not told you. And I should not have told you, had I not been confident.” Seest thou that the speech is one of condescension? for when He saith, “Think ye that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of Angels” (Mt 26,53), He speaketh to the secret thoughts of the hearers; since no one, even in the height of madness, would say that He was not able to help Himself, but needed Angels; but because they thought of Him as a man, therefore He spoke of “twelve legions of Angels.” Yet in truth He did but ask those who came to take Him a question, and cast them backwards. (Jn 18,6). (If any one say that the Father is greater, inasmuch as 25 He is the cause of the Son, we will not contradict this. But this doth not by any means make the Son to be of a different Essence). But what He saith, is of this kind: “As long as I am here, it is natural that you should deem that I am 26 in danger; but when I am gone ‘there,’ 27 be confident that I am in safety; for Him none will be able to overcome.” All these words were addressed to the weakness of the disciples, for, “I Myself am confident, and care not for death.” On this account, He said, “I have told you these things before they come to pass”; “but since,” He saith, “ye are not yet able to receive the saying concerning them, I bring you comfort even from the Father, whom ye entitle great.” Having thus consoled them, He again telleth them sorrowful things,
Jn 14,30. “Hereafter I will not talk 28 with you.” Wherefore? “For the ruler of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.”
By “ruler of this world,” He meaneth the devil, calling wicked men also by the same name. For he ruleth not heaven and earth, since he would have been subverted, and cast down all things, but he ruleth over those who give themselves up to him. Wherefore He calleth him, “the ruler of the darkness of this world,” in this place again calling evil deeds, “darkness.” “What then, doth the devil slay Thee?” By no means; “he hath nothing in Me.” “How then do they kill Thee?” Because I will it, and,
Jn 14,31. “‘That the world may know that I love the Father.’” 29
“For being not subject,” He saith, “to death, nor a debtor to it, I endure it through My love to the Father.” This He saith, that He may again rouse their souls, and that they may learn that not unwillingly but willingly He goeth to this thing, and that He doth it despising the devil. It was not enough for Him to have said, “Yet a little while I am with you” (Jn 7,33), but He continually handleth this painful subject, (with good reason,) until He should make it acceptable to them, by weaving along with it pleasant things. Wherefore at one time He saith, “I go, and I come again”; and, “That where I there ye may be also”; and, “Ye cannot follow Me now, but afterwards ye shall follow Me”; and, “I go to the Father”; and, “The Father is greater than I”; and, “Before it come to pass, I have told you”; and, “I do not suffer these things from constraint, but from love for the Father.” So that they might consider, that the action could not be destructive nor hurtful, if at least He who greatly loved Him, and was greatly loved by Him, so willed. On this account, while intermingling these pleasant words, He continually uttered the painful ones also, practicing their minds. For both the, “remaineth with you” (c. 16,7), and, “My departure is expedient for you,” were expressions of One giving comfort. For this reason He spake by anticipation ten thousand sayings concerning the Spirit, 30 the, “Is in you,” and, “The world cannot receive,” and, “He shall bring all things to your remembrance,” and, “Spirit of truth,” and, “Holy Spirit,” and, “Comforter,” and that “It is expedient for you,” in order that they might not despond, as though there would be none to stand before and help them. “It is expedient,” He saith, showing that It 31 would make them spiritual.
[5.] This at least, we see, was what took place. For they who now trembled and feared, after they had received the Spirit sprang into the midst of dangers, and stripped themselves for the contest against steel, and fire, and wild beasts, and seas, and every kind of punishment; and they, the unlettered and ignorant, discoursed so boldly as to astonish their hearers. For the Spirit made them men of iron instead of men of clay, gave them wings, and allowed them to be cast down by nothing human. For such is that grace; if it find despondency, it disperses it; if evil desires, it consumes them; if cowardice, it casts it out, and doth not allow one who has partaken of it to be afterwards mere man, but as it were removing him to heaven itself, causes him to image to himself all that is there. (Ac 4,32, and Ac 2,46). On this account no one said that any of the things that he possessed was his own, but they continued in prayer, in praise, and in singleness of heart. For this the Holy Spirit most requireth, for “the fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace—faith, meekness.” (Ga 5,22-23). “And yet spiritual persons often grieve,” saith some one. But that sorrow is sweeter than joy. Cain was sorrowful, but with the sorrow of the world; Paul was sorrowful, but with godly sorrow. Everything that is spiritual brings the greatest gain, just as everything that is worldly the utmost loss. Let us then draw to us the invincible aid of the Spirit, by keeping the commandments, and then we shall be nothing inferior to the Angels. For neither are they therefore of this character, 32 because they are incorporeal, for were this the case, no incorporeal being would have become wicked, but the will is in every case the cause of all. Wherefore among incorporeal beings some have been found worse than men or things irrational, and among those having bodies some better than the incorporeal. All just men, for instance, whatever were their righteous deeds, did them while dwelling on earth, and having bodies. For they dwelt on earth as those who were pilgrims and strangers; but in heaven, as citizens. Then say not thou either, “I am clothed with flesh, I cannot get the mastery, nor undertake the toils 33 which are for the sake of virtue.” Do not accuse the Creator. For if the wearing the flesh make virtue impossible, then the fault is not ours. But that it does not make it impossible, the band of saints has shown. A nature of flesh did not prevent Paul from becoming what he was, nor Peter from receiving the keys of heaven; and Enoch also, having worn flesh, was translated, and not found So also Elias was caught up with the flesh. Abraham also with Isaac and his grandson shone brightly, having the flesh; and Joseph in the flesh struggled against that abandoned woman. But why speak I of the flesh? For though thou place a chain upon the flesh, no harm is done. “Though I am bound,” saith Paul, yet “the word of God is not bound.” (2Tm 2,9). And why speak I of bonds and chains? Add to these the prison, 34 and bars, yet neither are these any hindrance to virtue; at least so Paul hath instructed us. For the bond of the soul is not iron but cowardice, and the desire of wealth, and the ten thousand passions. These bind us, though our body be free. “But,” saith some one, “these have their origin from the body.” An excuse this, and a false pretense. For had they been produced from the body, all would have undergone them. For as we cannot escape weariness, and sleep, and hunger, and thirst, since they belong to our nature; so too these, if they were of the same kind, would not allow any one to be exempt from their tyranny; but since many escape them, it is clear that such things are the faults of a careless soul. Let us then put a stop to this, and not accuse the body, but subdue it to the soul, that having it under command, we may enjoy the everlasting good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 “But ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be with you.” N. T.
2 “in My Name,” N. T.
3 al). “depart.”
4 Sabellius was a bishop in Upper Egypt in the third century. The heresy which bears his name denies the Personality of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and holds that they are manifestations or characters of the Godhead.
5 The objection is met by other questions.
6 i.e. of Himself.
8 al). “remaineth in you.”
9 “may abide,” N. T).
10 “My,” N. T.
11 “If ye love Me, keep,” &c.
12 “(He that taketh not,” &c.
13 “and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest,” &c. N. T.
14 “not Iscariot,” N. T.
15 “and not unto the world,” N. T.
16 pepilhmevnhn, “crushed like felt.”
17 Ver. 23). “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come,” &c).
18 i.e. after the Resurrection.
20 Ver. 26). “But the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.”
22 Ver. 27). “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you,” N. T.
24 The words “that I Am” are not read here, but in c. 13,19.
25 kaqAE o).
26 Gr). “we are.”
27 i.e. to the Father.
28 “talk much,” N. T.
29 “And as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do.” N. T.
30 al). “concerning It.”
31 i.e. the Holy Spirit).
32 i.e. keeping God’s commands.
33 al). “I cannot master the toils.”
34 al). “prisons.”
Chrysostom on John 73