August 16 I Sunday
“…that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what My Father has commanded Me.”
How do we know we love God? We find a recurring theme in John 14 that points us to the answer. Jesus says: “If you love Me, keep My commands”; “Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me”; “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching.” And a fourth time from a negative position, “Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching” (John 14:15, 21, 23, 24). In each of these verses, Jesus integrates obedience motivated by love. Jesus is saying that He is longing for a love relationship with us, where as we love Him more and delight in who He is, obedience shows up in our lives. Yet, this was not a new thought.
Jesus’s original listeners, His disciples, would have understood what Jesus was talking about. At the heart of their relationship with God was the Old Testament laws, the Torah, which is summed up in Deuteronomy 6:4-6, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is One. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.”
In Jesus’s day, alignment to the Torah was the norm; a good Jew was strict to observe the law of God. But as we look over the history of the Old Testament, we see that sin within humanity would get into that relationship and twist the idea. Love of the Torah became the norm and it moved people away from a love of God to a love of religion. This is why God said, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6, NLT). God wants our heart.
In a law-based relationship, we become aware that no matter how hard we try, we cannot walk in obedience to the Father perfectly. But where all others fall short, Jesus succeeded. Jesus showed us in the gospel what a love-based obedience to the will of the Father is like.
At the end of John 14, Jesus revealed that He is going to the cross so that the world may learn that He loves the Father and does exactly what the Father commands of Him. Jesus’s obedience to the Father was motivated and fuelled by love, not fear. Through His perfect love-based obedience, Jesus became the source of salvation for all humanity. How do we know we love God? Through living a life of obedience to His commands that is motivated by love.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for setting the perfect example for what it means to love the Father by being obedient to Him. Grow in me a relationship with God that is motivated by love and not religion. Amen.