Chapter 24: “My Peace I Give unto You”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 164–69


Map Chp. 24

The Week of the Atoning Sacrifice

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Fifth Day, continued

    

Jerusalem, Judea

Discourse About the Comforter

   

14:1–31

They Sing a Hymn—Proceed to the Mount of Olives

26:30

14:26

22:39

 

Their Relationship to Christ and the World; His Death Explained

   

15:1–27; 16:1–33

Interpretive Commentary

(24-1) John 14:2. What Are the Many Mansions?

“My text is on the resurrection of the dead, which you will find in the 14th chapter of John—‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’ It should be—‘In my Father’s kingdom are many kingdoms,’ in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with me. …

“There are mansions for those who obey a celestial law, and there are other mansions for those who come short of the law, every man in his own order.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 366.)

(24-2) John 14:7–11. How Is It Possible to Understand about the Father?

When Jesus ministered in this world, he looked like the Father would have looked; he said what the Father would have said, and he did what the Father would have done. As Elder Marion G. Romney has taught:

“Jesus in his mortal ministry, being, as Paul said, ‘the express image of his [Father’s] person’ (Heb. 1:3), was a true and complete revelation of the person and nature of God. This he confirmed to Philip when he said: ‘… he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. …’ (John 14:9.)” (CR, Oct. 1967, p. 135.)

(24-3) John 14:12. How Could His Servants Do Greater Works than Jesus Did?

“He does not say that they should do these works in time; but they should do greater works, because he went to the Father. He says in the 24th verse [of the 17th chapter of John]: ‘Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory.’ These sayings, taken in connection, make it very plain that the greater works which those that believed on his name were to do were to be done in eternity, where he was going and where they should behold his glory.” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture Seventh, vs. 12.)

(24-4) John 14:18–24. What Are the Two Comforters?

“These statements about the two Comforters climax and crown the teachings of the Son of God. We have no record of anything he ever said which can so completely withdraw the curtain of eternity and open to the faithful a vision of the glories of God. Based on love, born of obedience, Jesus promises the saints that they can have, here and now in this life, the following:

“(1) The gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost; the comfort and peace which it is the function of that Holy Spirit to bestow; the revelation and the sanctifying power which alone will prepare men for the companionship of gods and angels hereafter;

“(2) Personal visitations from the Second Comforter, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the resurrected and perfected being who dwells with his Father in the mansions on high; and

“(3) God the Father—mark it well Philip!—shall visit man in person, take up his abode with him, as it were, and reveal to him all the hidden mysteries of his kingdom.” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:735.)

(24-5) John 14:18–24. “I Will Come to You”

“Now what is this other Comforter. It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions—Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the First Born.” (Teachings, pp. 150–51.)

(24-6) John 14:26. When Did the Disciples Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith stated that “the disciples of Jesus did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost while he was with them. The reason for this, in part at least, was due to the fact that they had with them to guide and teach them the second member of the Godhead, even Jesus himself. While he was with them there was no occasion for them to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Before the Savior left them, he promised to send them the Comforter, or Holy Ghost.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:159.)

(24-7) John 14:30. “The Prince of This World Cometh”

“So powerful was he in the Master’s day that the Master referred to Satan as ‘the prince of this world,’ but he added, ‘the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.’ (John 14:30.) We must be able to say, though the power is evil on every side, ‘As for me and my house, we shall serve the God of this land.’ The prince of this world is coming to tempt every one of us, and the only ones who will stand through these evil days are those who have founded their houses upon the rock, as the Master said: when the storms descended and the winds blew and the rains came and beat upon the house, it fell not because it was founded upon the rock. That is what the Lord is trying to say to us today.” (Harold B. Lee in British Area Conference Report, Aug. 1971, p. 135.)

(24-8) John 16:24. Had the Apostles Never Before Prayed?

In this verse Jesus did not state that his apostles had never prayed, or asked anything; rather, he said that his apostles had never before prayed in his name, that is, in the name of Jesus Christ. Without doubt the apostles were men of faith who prayed often, else how could they ever merit the high and holy honor of a call to the apostleship?

“Since the divine law in all ages called for men to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, why had Jesus awaited this hour to institute the age-old system among his disciples? Perhaps it is a situation similar to that which is involved in receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost; as long as Jesus was with the disciples they did not enjoy the full manifestations of the Holy Ghost. (John 16:7.) Perhaps as long as Jesus was personally with them many of their petitions were addressed directly to him rather than to the Father. Such was the course followed by the Nephites when the resurrected and glorified Lord ministered among them. They prayed directly to him and not to the Father.” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:758; see also 3 Nephi 19:17–25.)

Points to Ponder

“My Peace I Give unto You”

Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will, and at the end of his mortal ministry he taught those principles contained in the chapters you are considering (John 14–17). In these verses the Lord taught his disciples the way to ultimate peace in a world that knows it not. He expounded to them the mission of the Holy Ghost.

(24-9) John 15:1–8. “Without Me Ye Can Do Nothing”

Members of the Church are like the branches and leaves on a great tree. They are on the tree, but that alone does not save them. If they do not receive the nourishment and sustaining power that comes from Christ, who is the trunk (whose sustaining power is carried to them by the Holy Ghost only as they make themselves worthy to receive it), then they wither and fall away like dry leaves. Of this, President John Taylor said:

“As a Saint you say, ‘I think I understand my duty, and I am doing very well.’ That may be so. You see the little twig: it is green; it flourishes and is the very picture of life. It bears its part and proportion in the tree, and is connected with the stem, branches, and root. But could the tree live without it? Yes, it could. It need not boast itself and get uplifted and say, ‘How green I am! and how I flourish! and what a healthy position I am in! How well I am doing! and I am in my proper place and am doing right.’ But could you do without the root? No: you bear your proper part and position in the tree. Just so with this people. When they are doing their part—when they are magnifying their calling, living their religion, and walking in obedience to the Spirit of the Lord, they have a portion of his Spirit given to them to profit withal. And while they are humble, faithful, diligent, and observe the laws and commandments of God, they stand in their proper position on the tree: they are flourishing; the buds, blossoms, leaves, and everything about them are all right, and they form a part and parcel of the tree. …” (John Taylor in JD, 6:108.)

Without any written response, contemplate carefully these questions:

Who is the source, or “vine,” whose power and influence may sustain and nurture the Saints?

Which member of the Godhead labors with a man, and corrects and teaches and refines him, so that he may be worthy enough to receive the blessings that come from Jesus?

What must a man do so that he will be firmly attached to the tree?

What will become of anyone who, through willfulness or disobedience or for whatever reason, separates himself from the tree?

John 14:26

What did Jesus say the Holy Ghost would do for those who were striving to be worthy?

John 15:26

Of whom does the Holy Ghost testify?

John 16:7–11

Jesus said the Holy Ghost would come to reprove the world for three reasons. What are they?

John 16:13–15

In what way does the Holy Ghost glorify Jesus and the Father?

(24-10) The Holy Ghost Brings Man to His Fullest Potential

“The gift of the Holy Ghost adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.

“In the presence of such persons, one feels to enjoy the light of their countenances, as the genial rays of a sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuses a thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy, to the heart and nerves of others who have kindred feelings, or sympathy of spirit.” (Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, p. 101.)

(24-11) As a Messenger of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost Teaches Faithful Members

“The Holy Ghost is a Personage of Spirit, in the likeness of God the Father, in other words a likeness of the Father and the Son. His mission is to instruct and enlighten the minds of those who, through their faithfulness have obeyed the commandments of the Father and the Son. He bears witness of the truth, quickens the minds of those who have made covenant and reveals to them the mysteries of the kingdom of God. He is a special messenger from the Father and the Son and carries out their will. …” (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:134.)

(24-12) John 16:33. “Be of Good Cheer; I Have Overcome the World”

There is a great difference between the kind of peace that Jesus spoke of and the world around us. We live in a wicked world, a world gone crazy with wanton indulgence and crime. Each day the news bears tragic record of wars, natural disasters, terror, and the frustrated efforts of mankind to avert or respond intelligently to the disasters. In spite of all this, Jesus has promised his followers that they may have peace in this world. Read John 16:33. Compare Philippians 4:7.

And Jesus’ promise is real, for those who obey his commandments do feel his influence and comfort in their hearts, and they are not afraid. In the face of every threatening peril, they can pray to God and he will answer them by the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit, and speak peace to their souls. Elder Harold B. Lee taught this:

“All too often when God speaks in this still, small voice, as he did to Elijah in the cave, it may not be audible to our physical hearing because, like a faulty radio, we may be out of tune with the infinite.” (In CR, Oct. 1966, p. 115.)

But if you will be obedient (for that is the condition), the Lord’s promise to you of peace is sure, absolutely certain!

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
[He] will not, [he] cannot, desert to his foes.
That soul, though all hell shall endeavor to shake,
[He’ll] never, no never, no never forsake!

(“How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, 66.)

Gordon was struggling. He had listened many times to his father’s testimony about the sweet and gentle influence of the Holy Ghost. But Gordon himself felt that he had never even approached having the companionship of that Spirit. He wondered about many things, and the wondering depressed him. Was there something wrong, something different about him that meant he could never have the same calm and assurance, the same peace that his father possessed? He was trying to live a good life, but was there something still that he lacked, something he had overlooked that was keeping him from obtaining what his father had?

And the most distressing question of all was this: Was his father misleading him? But this last thought always melted away, because Gordon knew that his father knew. It was that simple. He had lived in his father’s home, had heard him pray, had observed his father’s life and example.

One evening Gordon overheard his father reassure someone over the telephone by saying, “Well, I know things will work out, so let’s not worry about it any more.” As soon as his father put down the receiver, Gordon demanded, “Dad, how do you know? This is a shifting, unstable world! How can you pretend to know anything for sure?”

Surprised by Gordon’s outburst, his father hesitated, and then replied quietly, “Gordon, I just know.” Then, as though perceiving Gordon’s inward struggle, his father added, “And, Gordon, you can know just as I know, if you want to.”

“But, Dad,” Gordon interrupted, louder than was necessary, “I have lived good, and I pray, and I try, but I haven’t received any answers to prayers, and I haven’t had visions, or special feelings of comfort. I don’t feel sure of anything! Is there something wrong with me?”

“No, Gordon, there’s nothing wrong with you. And I repeat, you can have that peace and reassurance that you speak about, but only if you pay the price. You must be patient, for the companionship and peace of the Spirit does not come easily. You must live the commandments and keep the covenants that you have made as a holder of the priesthood. Beyond these things, you must pray earnestly and study diligently about Jesus and his church, for the Holy Ghost will not come simply to amuse you or to appease curiosity; but he will help you develop a relationship with your Redeemer if your efforts are tireless and your desires are sincere.” Read Matthew 13:45, 46.

“Now, Gordon, don’t be discouraged. Seek, knock, study, pray, be obedient, and you will receive the peace and calm assurance that you desire.”

Months passed after Gordon began his search. He studied and prayed with all his heart. He read in the New Testament (many times far into the night) the account of Jesus’ life, and he prayed and sincerely tried to live and act as Jesus had done.

And then gradually and very gently, there came into his heart the longed-for-peace and quiet assurance of the reality of Jesus. His father really did know, and now Gordon knew as well.

It Shall Be Manifest

Beautiful
is the operation of
the Holy Spirit.
It unveils and develops that which is
noble,
and eternal,
and divine in man.
The proud are humbled,
The hateful made to love.
The supposedly self-sufficient
are enlightened
as to the identity of
and their dependency upon
Our Divine Redeemer.
The eyes
of those who have been
blind to the truth
are opened.
The hearts
of those who have been hardened
against the ever-condescending rays
of light
and love
are softened.
And if they receive it,
Each day
is more precious,
more meaningful for them,
and
They may walk in a newness of life,
If they but ask.

(Used by permission.)

Although in our mortal lives it is necessary for us to experience tribulation, trial, and struggle, through the Holy Ghost the disciples of Jesus Christ may have a peace not known in the world. Do you have such peace?