Living Christ-like Obedience: John 14:15-31

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As we continue moving through Jesus’ last big conversation with the group of disciples, we discover Jesus shares a powerful message, and an otherwise silent disciple speaks up with a question of his own.

Let’s pick back up where we left off last week and keep reading what Jesus shared. Our passage for this episode is found in the gospel of John, chapter 14, and we will be reading from the God’s Word translation. Starting in verse 15, Jesus continued sharing by saying:

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. 17 That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.

Pausing briefly here, I want to draw our attention onto an unpopular idea. Jesus opened our passage by telling us that our love for Him is displayed through our obedience to His commandments. This means that obeying the commandments, while it might sound legalistic, is actually how Jesus wants us to show our love to Him.

It is interesting in my mind that some Christians immediately think that anything that supports keeping the law is a step towards legalism and away from God’s grace. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Obeying God’s law can be done with a legalistic attitude, or it can be done with a loving attitude. Obedience comes from either legalism or from love. Too many religious leaders in the first century came to obedience through legalism, but God, through Jesus, has called us to obedience through love.

Also, because it is within close proximity, we also could logically conclude that receiving the Holy Spirit into our lives could be at least partially dependant on our obedience, and it’s likely that this is referring to an obedience that is founded on love and not obedience from legalism.

Jesus isn’t finished with His promises to the disciples. After promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues in verse 18 by telling His followers:

18 “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you. 21 Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) asked Jesus, “Lord, what has happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them. 24 A person who doesn’t love me doesn’t do what I say. I don’t make up what you hear me say. What I say comes from the Father who sent me.

25 “I have told you this while I’m still with you. 26 However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.

27 “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly. 28 You heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, but I’m coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.

29 “I’m telling you this now before it happens. When it does happen, you will believe. 30 The ruler of this world has no power over me. But he’s coming, so I won’t talk with you much longer. 31 However, I want the world to know that I love the Father and that I am doing exactly what the Father has commanded me to do. Get up! We have to leave.”

Let’s stop reading here and take a few minutes to focus in on what Jesus has promised us in this passage. After promising the disciples the Holy Spirit and that He would return, Jesus describes how obedience is how we are able to see God.

While this is difficult for a skeptic to accept, Jesus challenges everyone who wants to find Him that they must first love Him by being obedient to His commandments in order to see Him show up. If you are skeptical about this claim, the challenge I have for you is to try obedience for a month, and if your life has gone downhill from your choice, nothing is stopping you from going back. If at the end of your test you determine that God isn’t for you, you will have at least made the decision on your own and not because of someone else’s persuasion or attitude.

Jesus promises to move into the hearts and lives of those who love and obey Him and He promises to bring the Father with Him. This is an amazing promise, and in case you are wondering, Jesus tells us that this is God the Father’s promise, not His own, because Jesus then tells us that He doesn’t make up what He says. Jesus tells us He shares the Father’s message. Jesus came as a Messenger from God to share God’s message with the world.

Jesus shared God’s message of love, of compassion, and of mercy through the teaching, through the parables, through the healing, and through giving up His own life for a race of rebellious sinners.

Before wrapping up the part of the passage we are focusing on, Jesus circles around and promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will remind the disciples what Jesus had shared and that the Holy Spirit will teach them everything.

At the end of our passage, Jesus promises His followers His peace. It’s worth pointing out that this peace should not leave us troubled or cowardly. The peace Jesus offers is a peace that affects our life because we choose to live each day with eternity as our perspective. Think how peaceful life would be if you were 100% certain that God knows and will supply your needs here in this life, and that with whatever happens in the brief time we are alive while sin reigns, that the next thing we know after taking our last breath is a new life in a sinless world.

While a little oversimplified, this truth brings amazing peace if we are willing to let it. If we truly believe that God will keep us safe both today and for eternity, then we are freed to live open, powerful lives pointing people to Him. Jesus called His first disciples to this radical ideal, and He calls His followers today to the same challenge.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As always, seek God first and if you haven’t done so, make the commitment to be obedient to Him. Take His challenge and see if He doesn’t step in and transform your life in amazing, positive ways. The biggest promise we can hold onto is that God loves us and that He wants to save us for eternity. With whatever happens in this sin-filled world, we can know and trust that God is preparing for the end of sin and the recreation of the universe.

Also, always pray and study the Bible for yourself. While these truths sound nice, don’t take my word for them. Be sure to pray and study the Bible for yourself and discover what God wants to teach you personally. Through personal prayer and study you are able to grow a personal relationship, and a personal relationship with God today leads to a eternal relationship when Jesus returns.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or fall away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year of the Cross – Episode 27: Does obedience lead to peace or worry? Discover in one of the last messages Jesus gives to His disciples how they are called to live obediently, and how this call is different from the legalism of the religious leaders living in that century.

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