Today’s Reading: John 14:15-31 and 15:9-17 and 16:5-15;
“If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15). It’s a simple but very strong statement made by Jesus. He goes on to explain what it looks like for someone to respond to their love for Jesus by obeying what He has told them to do and how He has told them to live.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:9-17
“You are my friends if you do what I command.” This is another strong statement made by Jesus. If you truly love me, if you are really my friend, you will obey what I command. He then goes on to clearly define what He is commanding His friends to do – Love each other! Love each other the way I have loved you. I am about to lay my life down for you, my friends. That is the kind of love I am asking from you – to love me with that kind of love and to love each other with that kind of love.
That is a strong request for Jesus to ask from us – no, not a request but a command. Some people are easy to love and some people are hard to love. We are human and Jesus is asking us to do something that stretches us beyond ourselves. But Jesus does not ask us to love in our own strength. We could, for a very little while, but our love for others would not last long if we are trying to produce something from nothing – love for someone who is hard to love, who possibly does not give love in return.
Jesus goes on to explain how this is going to work. He is going to remain in the Father and we are going to remain in Him and He is going to remain in us. This connection is where the Father and His Son make their HOME with each of us. It is in this connection that Jesus reveals Himself to us because He loves us and we love Him, therefore God loves us! Let’s look at the Scripture that draws the picture of our connection with God the Father and Jesus the Son.
“When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in the 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…All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our HOME with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.” – John 14:20-21, 23-24a
It still comes down to love and obedience. But sometimes loving and obeying is easier said than done. That is the beauty of God’s plan. You see there is One more who is involved in this connection that makes it possible for us to live a life that is characterized by love and obedience, One that makes this connection possible. Jesus explains this incredible gift He is giving in order for us to do what He is commanding us to do.
“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…When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:16-17,26
“And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment…When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.” – John 16:8,13-14
I am so thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit that convicts me of my sin and guides me into truth. It is through this Spirit of truth that I hear from Jesus. It is the work of the Spirit that changes me and strengthens me, producing fruit in my life – the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Did you catch that first fruit? He produces love in me! Isn’t that great?!! The love the Spirit produces in me is what makes it possible for me to do as Jesus commands – to love each other. The Spirit produces the love of Christ in me and, when I do what He has asked me to do, I remain in that love! As the Spirit produces love in me, I remain in the love of Jesus and He remains in the love of the Father. I love what Jesus called this connection – He called it “HOME” (John 14:23).
Let’s stay HOME today. Let’s remain in this connection or relationship – let’s remain in His love! Then as we go about our day, we still have access to the love of Jesus living within us that empowers us to love others as Jesus would love them because we stay home – we stay connected to God the Father and Jesus the Son through the power of the Spirit producing its fruit in us. Fruit in my morning coffee – what a great idea!:)