Reader: “If you love me,”
Response: “obey my commandments.”
Scripture: John 14:15-21
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
On the night before Jesus was crucified, he had the above conversation with his disciples. The pronoun “you” is plural in Greek, meaning this message of love and obedience is not addressed to individuals but to the whole community, to all of us. The act of obedience is the demonstration of love. Like the Jewish understanding of “hearing” which meant you followed with action (demonstrating that you “heard”), so in the same manner, our love for Jesus is measured by our obedience to what he said. Loving Christ and our obedience, personal and corporate, to what he has said, are inseparably intertwined. Obedience here is not simply keeping a set of rules, but rather a whole way of living, living as God has designed. Moving on. From the disciples’ perspective, they had travelled with Jesus for three years. He had taught them, loved them, taken care of them, and performed miracles in their presence. He had just told them he was about to leave this earth. While he had been Emmanuel, “God with us,” he would send another to be with them in his absence. Their new companion would be a replacement for Jesus, functioning in all the same ways Jesus did. This Paraclete is the Holy Spirit, who, like Jesus, always speaks the truth. Not surprisingly, the world rejects, both passively and with hostility, the word of truth. Some things never change. John’s description holds true to today. This same Holy Spirit indwells believers, as he is with us teaching, guiding, empowering, correcting, and convicting. Jesus’ use of the word “orphans” is touching to me. That word truly describes our situation as humans. Left to ourselves we have no spiritual father or mother and must fend for ourselves in a hostile world. I can sort of imagine how the disciples were feeling as it began to sink in that Jesus would be leaving this world shortly as he said this. John rounds out this brief discourse by looping back to the beginning thoughts about obedience as a reflection of loving God. And loving God results in God revealing himself to those who love. I’m wondering how strongly we feel a need for the Comforter? Have we developed such a self-reliance that we can fend for ourselves? Does God reveal himself very often to you? Look at the last sentence above again. Do we have a longing for the Comforter? Does the above discussion seem more like a theoretical discussion or reality where you are living? Some things to think about . . .
Music: “Blessings” Laura Story God does reveal himself, not always as we think.
Lord, I am blind and helpless, stupid and ignorant.
Cause me to hear;
cause me to know;
teach me to do;
―Henry Martin, 1781-1812, Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers, p.65