Quotes in Context (II)

Atheists often quote John 14:12-14 to point out how Jesus promises to make all your dreams and wishes come true. In it, he claims that anybody with faith in him need only ask for something in his name and it will be done. Here’s that verse again:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Fathher. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Yes, even I use it as a go-to verse. I’ve read my Bible and know what it says. And yet I’ve been told I’m using the quote out of context. So I thought to myself, maybe I’ll go ahead and read all of John 14 again to shed some light on this situation. What if I have been citing this quote out of context? Here is the full text of John 14:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will some back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:1-14)

Nope, looks like I had it right. Once you can get around the fact that Jesus speaks like the Riddler (“I am the Father and the Father is me; you know where I’m going and the place where I am going is known to you; is he a bat or a man? A man bat or a bat man?”) you see he’s saying exactly what he appears to be saying in the final sentences of the verse. Only this time we know that when Jesus says “do what I have been doing,” he is referring to his miracles. Believe in Jesus, walk on water.

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One thought on “Quotes in Context (II)

  1. A. Dave,

    What no hat tip?

    You have misinterpreted the text. As I mentioned previously good bible study requires that the meaning is drawn out of the text not read into the text. With all due charity your interpretation would flunk you out of any number of undergraduate bible colleges. A few points to consider:

    Preface: It is important to remember that Chapters/Verses were not a part of the original manuscripts. Taking verses in context does not simply mean going to the beginning of the chapter

    i. Jesus never said he was *the Father* yet in your last paragraph that is what you wrote. Jesus actually says *I am in the Father, and the Father is in me*. Philip and Thomas had both just expressed doubts about Jesus mission; Thomas says “we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way and Philip said “show us the Father”.

    – The disciples (including Simon Peter from chapter 13 of John) did not understand what Jesus meant when he said he was going away.

    – Additionally, they were still puzzled as to the relationship between Jesus (the Son) and God (the Father) Jesus was not talking cryptically as you assert rather he was quite plainly explaining to Philip that he was in fact *ontologically* a part of the Triune Godhead.

    ii. Jesus says I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing You automatically assume (and read a meaning into the text) that this means Jesus is referring to his miracles. While it is true that Jesus referred to his miracles in the previous verse, the antecedent was his disciples lack of belief. It is an unwarranted leap to assume that Jesus was still speaking of miracles when he mentions his *works*

    iia. His works were his preaching ministry. He had twelve followers in a localized region. Jesus said he would go to the Father and that his followers would do greater works i.e. the church grew from a small band of localized followers into a universal congregation of untold numbers. These are the greater works that are empirically verifiable even today.

    iib. Jesus said to pray “in his name” he was not offering this as a talisman for granting the sinful or even temporal desires of his followers. Rather, he was pointing out that prayer in his name was specific, had a mediatorial component and would be consistent with the works they were to continue after he departs. (cf. Matt. 28:19)

    Your previous couple of posts were arguments made of straw. These may result in triumphant chest-thumping on the part of your atheologian readers but unfortunately they lack good scholarship and do not demonstrate a commitment to really examine all things.

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