If we love…

John 14: 15-27

“If you love Me, keep  My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you

“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he 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 (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

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.

 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

 If you love me…

The Spirit of truth – the world does not know him, cannot see him, will not accept him.  But we know him for he lives in us.  The Spirit of truth will teach and remind us of what Christ taught and commanded. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. Do we love him?  Obey him.

Keep my commandments…

The world does not see, but we do.  He lives and because He lives we do also. We know him, we know his commands, we keep them and for that he knows we love him.  Because we  love him we are loved by the Father and Christ.  This knowing transcends explanation and as Christ said the world does not see, does not know and cannot accept.  We should not be surprised at the reactions we receive from an unbelieving world. 

If we love him, we will keep his commands, the  Father will love us and both Christ and the Father will make their home with us.  The Spirit has come and is with us, bringing to remembrance what Christ has said, teaching us all things and this brings peace.  Christ leaves his peace with us, a peace that assures and keeps us from fear.

If we love him…

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Do you believe…?

John 14:5 – 14

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” You know me; you know the Father.  When I speak it is the Father and I speaking. Have faith in me and you will do greater things.  How? I am in you as the Father is in me.  The work is His.  Ask anything in my name and I will do it. – Jesus

Can it be any plainer?  We believe him, what he says is true; then we can act on it.  When we say to each other, ‘What can I do for you?’, do we intend to do it?  Do we follow through?  How much more when we ask of Christ can we be sure he will do it.  Have faith; act on it!

Trust…

John 14:1-4

 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

 Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Words of encouragement at a time when Jesus faces the worst.  He continues to prepare us with assurances. He knows the path of life may become rocky, but he also knows where it leads to.  The worth of the trial we experience is known.  When we face obstacles we have confidence as we move above, below, around or  through them.  We do not cower in fear, weep in despair, wring our hands and say: O my, O my.  We know him and his words and they wrap us like a warm blanket, they feed us and give us strength, they comfort us as a familiar place gives comfort.  Trust in God, he says, trust also in me.  Our ability to overcome what life throws at us is not in our own abilities, rather in his power.  We trust and that trust is our energy.

have love for one another…

John 13:31-38

 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.  Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?”

Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”

Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.”

 Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times. 

I am going; you must be for each other what I was for you.  Jesus loved them each deeply, shared the principles of the kingdom with them, did not let  their humanity and its hindrances come between He and they.  That same relationship he shared with them, they were to share with each other.  That same love experienced and expressed between the Lord and his disciples was to be seen between each of them for each other.  That ability to love above all else, in spite of our differences is what sets us apart from the rest of humanity.  That ability is given to us from above and in its expression, God is glorified.

 Can you disagree with someone and still love them?  Love does, and love is; love shows, and love gives.  Ultimately, it comes to what God decides.  God glorifies and is glorified.  We can be part of  it or step back away and it will still be available for someone else or us should we change our mind and choose so.  So again, can we disagree and still love?

The love that transcends all other aspects of life, the love that comes from God, is our spiritual life-blood.  It flows in us, through us, driving our actions and thoughts.  “By this all will know…” it can be seen and felt; “that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  Through the rough places and the smooth, through times of sorrow and rejoicing, this love coming to us from the Father through Christ continues like a flowing river to all who cross our paths.

Keep it real…

John 13:18-30

“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. ‘Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

 It is possible to sit under Jesus’ teachings, see his miracles, sense his love and presence and still not believe.  And it troubled Jesus deeply.  The hand is outstretched, offering the gift; there are those who rather than take it, will slap the hand and send the gift crashing to the floor.  And the one offering the gift is doing so for the benefit of the other, not to benefit themselves. How sad this is.  Some are only along for the ride…

 But then we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd say, “I know whom I have chosen…”  And with belief in his words, believing him, we are one of the chosen.  “I know whom I have chosen…”  He knows us; we can know him and the one who sent him.  Let our relationship with him deepen and grow.  “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  Amen.

“…do as I have done…”

John 13:1-17

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended,the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

 We are told of only one who objected to Jesus’ washing of their feet.  And from that exchange we learn to submit, completely.  We do not determine what will be done nor the extent of it.  Complete submission to the Lord allows him to set the limits.  Washing of feet in a dry, dirty land where walking was the frequent means of getting from one place to another, was a courtesy extended to all who came into a home, occupants and guests alike.  It was often done by a servant of the household providing a service and care to all.  The focus was outward and Jesus came to do more than wash feet.  He came to give up his life for those he loves.

 He says he is setting an example for us.  We are to carry the same attitude and service of concern, courtesy, and care for one another regardless of our position in any relationship.  The principle of equality, oneness, unity is crucial.  Jesus was and is  Teacher and Lord; he points out that no servant rises above their master and no student rises above their  teacher.  We follow his teachings and his example without an attitude of superiority.  God gives to each according to his will, we are to simply be found faithful to his will.  Self so wants to rise up and be bigger and better, demand more.  This can be seen in the play of young children, but it is still present in adults who compete constantly against each other for superior roles, not with each other to grow.  Jesus demonstrates selflessness.  The one who could claim superiority, didn’t need to, he was.  God gives the glory; we serve.  “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” – Jesus

Who rules?

John 12:37-50

But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

             ​​​“Lord, who has believed our report?

              ​​And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

​Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

              ​“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,

              ​​Lest they should see with their eyes,

             ​​Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

             ​​So that I should heal them.”

 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.  And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.  I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.  And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

 When God speaks something is created.  Jesus speaks everlasting life.  He says anyone who hears His words receives light and will not live in darkness.  Jesus says He speaks what God has given him to say; they work together.  So then how can we not hear, receive and declare?  How can one see, believe and not declare because what man thinks is more important than what God thinks?  If one has this much knowledge and understanding, how can one not rather be pleasing God than man?  And how can one hear the words spoken by Christ not keep them?  Christ says he did not come to judge–judgment was already declared…he came to fulfill his assignment which would provide salvation from the consequences of sin.  That judgment was already in place.  However, rejecting Christ leaves one right where we were before Christ; and so judgment comes, not from Christ but from our own rejection of him. 

That rejection includes not keeping his words.  How can one avoid that?  We must know and understand his words and his message.  That comes from study of his life and words.  That comes from asking the Lord for wisdom, asking the Holy Spirit to give understanding.  When Jesus is rejected, we are not only rejecting him but also the one who sent him, God the Father.  When a representative from one country to another is rejected and sent back, the embassy closed, it is not just a rejection of the individual but also of the country who sent them.  “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.”  Mankind or God?  Who carries the weight in our estimation, who do we serve, who rules?  Our choice either condemns us or sets us free.  When we find ourselves asking  what will they think;  lets rephrase to what will God think?