Lectionary Reflection: John 14: 15-21: Love and Live

What is the theme?  We are not abandoned.  We are not forgotten.  We are remembered, included, and loved.  We are not alone.  But within the context of that theme, there are five notes sounded, and since the first and last are the same, let me count backwards from four:

4.         20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

This is the key element on which everything else stands.  “That all the world confess that Jesus is Lord (God) to the glory of the Father.”  And that he, himself, is with us in everything we are and we do.  Where can I go?  I go to the highest heavens.  I go down into the depths of Hell.  You are there.  You are there.

3.         18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

This is the result of the key.  That we are not abandoned.  We are not forgotten.  We are not alone.  By grace through faith we can see God, and not only see him, we can be with him, forever.  This life can be such a struggle at times, but even in the worst of it, Jesus is there.  He makes himself known to us.  If we seek him, we will find.  If we ask, we shall receive.  If we knock he will open the door. 

We walk a long road through this world.  There are bumps and pits and briars along the way.  But even in the worst of it, we are never alone.  Like the footprints in the sand, he is there to carry us home.

2.         16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

And this is how we know the truth of it.  We have the Holy Spirit as the free gift of God in Christ.  He is the advocate for Jesus, to tell us, teach us and remind us of all we need to know and remember.  He is there to guide us, to bring to mind that important thing we had forgotten, and just when we need it.  He is the whisper in the ear – that needed word of comfort, that word of encouragement, the word that you are worthy in Jesus, and the prayer that we can accept all that he has for us.

There is no doubt, no questions about your truth or my truth.  The Spirit of God is all truth, and that truth is Jesus: the way and the life.  The Spirit is ever present in us, whether we hear him or not at the moment, and it is through the Spirit that we can truly know and see Jesus and find in the end that Jesus himself is with us and in us in every step. 

We are not abandoned nor forgotten.  We are remembered, included, loved.  We are never alone.  And Jesus ends this passage where he begins.

1.         15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

That is where he begins.

            21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

This is where he ends.

Yes, there is obedience here as a theme to pursue if you wish, but it seemed to me that obedience is not exactly or entirely what he is talking about.  I remember when my wife and I fell in love.  I wanted nothing more than to please her.  Whatever she asked of me, it was not too much to ask.  I was happy to do it.  In that light, let us consider our love for Jesus.  What has he asked, what does he ask of us?  What does he ask of his people?  What does he ask of you and me, personally?

His love for us is seen in all that he has promised.  We have his Spirit in us,  We have his life in us.  We have him with us.  We are wanted and included.  We are not orphaned or abandoned.  And how is our love for him in return?  Whatever he asks, is it too much?  I think not.  We should be happy to do it.  This shows our love and when we do it, Jesus will show himself to us.  AMEN.

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