John 14.22-29 Judas (not Iscariot) asked Jesus, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
a homily by david+
Love presupposes relationship. Love comes first then obedience. We don’t obey to get God’s favor, reward, grace, what have you. First there is love.
Love is all about everything but “me.” Love is about “the other one” in a relationship. Selfish, self-centered people don’t love. They’re too busy with themselves.
The love Jesus is talking about is about Him. Jesus’ love was from the Father and it was demonstrated, lived out, in service to us: in complete devotion to His ministry, which was nothing less than the restoration of the world.
Jesus’ love was all about the relationship He had with His disciples. He loved all the disciples and He loved all the people; He loved the sick and the lame and the lepers and the blind and the prostitutes and the poor. And His love and the relationship He had with them healed them. And He loved the rich young ruler even though the young man walked away from Jesus rather than follow Him. And Jesus loves each one of us; and especially when we receive His love so that we will keep His word because He and His Father want to take up residence with us.
How will you know? We always want proof. How will we know when we love Him enough or if we’re loving Him the right way? That’s the reason for a lot of the things non-Christian religions and un-Christian denominations promise people if they believe; e.g., if you have the Holy Spirit you’ll speak in tongues, if you have enough faith you’ll get well, if you obey the Lord you’ll become rich… Jesus Himself says those things aren’t real. Love and peace are the proofs of our relationship with God. How do we recognize them? Where are they?
When people who’ve been estranged begin to treat each other with respect; when the timid become bold in the faith; when the proud achieve humility; when the fallen are lifted up and embrace love and take their rightful place in the Kingdom—all growth in godliness and holiness, all positive transformation testify to the love of God.
The extent to which we allow that love to be complete, full and of God is the extent to which we experience the indwelling of God the Father and God the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit and the extent to which we experience the peace and the work of salvation and the reconciliation of humanity with God.
And so we’re told to not worry or be afraid. Because as we see and experience the love of God we’ll recognize Him for whom He is and the Kingdom for what it is. And we will experience peace and love and the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.