“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’” John 14:23–24
When I was a boy occasionally we’d see a car with a bumper sticker that said, “Honk If You Love Jesus. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those but nearly day I see a post with a similar message on social media. “If you love Jesus comment, ‘Amen,’ and ‘Share’ with all your friends.
Jesus, when He was on earth, raised the bar quite a bit higher when he asked for a demonstration of our love for him.
Our focus text begins by saying, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” Several verses earlier John records Jesus giving the same message in a little different way, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
A simple honk or share is easy. There’s not much intentionality to it and certainly not much investment is require to push on a horn or click on a few buttons, but obedience does require intentionality, planning and investment. And Jesus isn’t just asking us to obey a single rule or direction. The phrases, “Keep my word” and “keep my commandments,” both refer to multiple specific requirements. No wonder Paul instructed his protege, Timothy, to “study to show yourself approved unto God…”. Complete obedience requires a willingness to search out what God’s will is for us in regards to every aspect of our lives. We don’t know God’s will naturally. It requires study from us.
It’s easy when we begin talking about obedience to lose sight of the fact that Jesus is talking about love. It’s possible to give obedience without ever loving the person you’re offering your obedience to. But friends, it’s impossible to truly love Jesus if you don’t also obey him. Jesus is more than a friend. He’s our Savior, our Lord and our God, and you can’t accept him and love him in any of those capacities without also offering him your submission and obedience.
Jesus promises a reward to those who respond to his love with a true, full spectrum, love of their own. He promises that, “My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
Our loving response to Jesus opens the door for the Father’s love to be showered upon us but it doesn’t stop there. Jesus promises that he and the Father will come to us and make their home with us. Initially we receive a partial fulfillment of this promise when we receive the Holy Spirit and let him make his home in our hearts. The ultimate fulfillment is described in Revelation 21 and 22 where John describes the vision he was shown of God moving his home and the city New Jerusalem here to planet earth. At that point John says, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men…”
O God teach me a love that can be seen by my obedience to you. Prepare me to love you and live with you forever.