How He Knows If We Love Him
Today’s passage is very convicting, at least for me anyway. It tells us how we know whether or not we love Jesus, which invariably answers the question about whether or not we love the Father. But first, to establish this truth, Jesus, here, states yet again, what he has said over and over throughout this gospel; that is, that there is no daylight between him and the Father. He is in the Father and the Father is in him. Though the two are distinct persons, they are one being. And to know the one is to know the other. Everything else in this passage is based upon this truth; indeed, everything in the New Testament and the Old as well, is predicated upon the reality of the Triune God who has revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Any variation from this is contrary to the teaching of the Church as she has understood God’s holy word down through the ages.
The passage begins with Jesus’ comforting words to his disciples that he would not leave them orphans. This is because they would see him again, presumably when he rose from the dead. And since he shall rise from the dead, Christ then says, “Because I live, you also will live.” In other words, our Lord’s resurrection is the foundation for ours. So though Jesus is leaving, he tells them that they shall see him again, that they shall one day live with him, and, in the meantime, the “Helper” shall be with them.
Now for the part that is so convicting: Jesus says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas asks how Jesus will manifest himself to them and not to the world. Jesus answers, “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.” But then the other show drops: “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words,” which are the Father’s who sent him. Love is not a warm fuzzy in the Bible, but an action, specifically, obedience. Obedience is how we prove our love for our Lord. Disobedience is how we show that we do not love the Lord, at least as we should. It is the same with us. A spouse does not only want to hear loving words but to see deeds of love. Parents want not only to hear their children say, “I love you,” but want to see obedience in deeds of gratitude and respect. And the reward for such obedience is that Jesus and the Father will “make [their] home with [us].” And that’s how Jesus shows himself to us – through our obedience, which is our love. And there is no greater reward than his making his home with us.