The night Jesus was betrayed He gave His disciples some final instructions. He spoke to them of peace and comfort, encouraging His followers before His departure. Knowing the trials they would encounter, the Lord was burdened for them and wanted to further prepare those left behind. A careful reading of the dialogue recorded in this setting gives some of the clearest and most concise insight into the message of hope that Jesus gave.
It was during these final hours together that Jesus revealed a simple and obvious means of measuring the fidelity of all who would follow Him. He said simply, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) No theological discourse is necessary. Excuses melt away. The simple clarity of the statement draws a line between the genuine and the pretended — reality and aberration. All of mankind, regardless of what is professed, is on one side of the line or the other. There is no middle-of-the-road status.
The followers of Jesus are given the plain and simple instructions to obey the word He had given. All of the rationalizing and attempts to excuse that mandate away are of no avail. If one claims to be a Christian, obedience is the bottom line.
Jesus went on with His instruction, giving some wonderful promises to those who would obey. “He who has My commandments and keeps (obeys) them, he it is that loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose (reveal) Myself to him.” One of the disciples, not fully understanding, asked Him how this would take place.
To this Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode (live) with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; ” (John 14:21-24) Because of the simplicity and importance of what was being said, Jesus repeated Himself several times in this passage. He wanted to make abundantly clear to the hearers, the significance of His last words.
Careful examination of this text will reveal several keys of the would-be follower of Jesus. The first is obedience. This is really the true test of one’s love for Him. The ensuing result of obedience is being loved by the Father.
The love referred to here is not the general, agonizing love God has for all mankind. Rather it is the compassionate emotion of a loving Father. He desires to reveal that dimension of affection to all who respond to his word. The evidence of his commitment to do so is expressed in the words, “We will come and make Our abode (live) with him.”
The fulfillment of this promise is seen by the awareness of His overshadowing presence and providence in our lives. There is the quiet inner strength necessary in times of adversity. Peace and joy become consistent companions. We are never alone.
Christian, is His Presence evident in your life? If not — check your obedience.