Tuesday, June 5, 2012

John 14:21-24

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” 

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."  (John 14:21-24)

Prior to these specific verses, Jesus had been speaking directly to His disciples. Remember that in verse 15, He said, “If you love me...” Here, in verse 21, however, He widened the scope with “Whoever.” Anyone, Jew or Gentile, who loves and obeys Jesus’ commands is the one who truly loves Him. Anyone who would truly love Jesus would be loved by the Father and the Son - and Jesus was promising here that He would reveal Himself to such people. This is done through the work of the Holy Spirit, as Paul wrote, “... no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:3) There’s the Trinity at work!

When Jesus said He would show Himself to those who obeyed Him, the “other” Judas wondered why Jesus was not planning on revealing Himself to the whole world at this time. Judas was hoping that Jesus would step forward as the conquering king, as he had envisioned the Messiah would do. But Jesus refocused Judas to the greater work that would be done to conquer the hearts of men: the indwelling of God. Jesus also told Judas that not everyone would obey Him. This revelation of Christ would be just for those whose hearts were open to loving and obeying Him.

Jesus has made it very plain in these passages that it is not just the study, even intense study of Him and His Word that makes us His disciples; it is our obedience to what we learn from our study that makes the difference. This is what demonstrates our love for Him - not only to Jesus Himself, but to the world that is watching us. And the promise is that God Himself will come to make Himself at home in our hearts when we commit to following Him.

I don’t know about you, but God is speaking very clearly to me this week, in the midst of terrific opposition, that I need to keep my eyes on Him and obey what He has taught me about praying for others, loving and forgiving others, and trusting in His sovereignty rather than my own strength or wisdom. I have had to force myself each morning for the past few weeks to open my Bible and dig in. I have not FELT like it! But I have also known each morning that I need it and that He commands me to obey. Each day I have found that I have also desperately needed to draw from the strength His promises have given me! I’m so grateful that, because He lives in me, He not only prompts me to do the right thing, but He also enables me to do it if I lean on Him!  

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