Loving Jesus and His Word
John 14:21–31 (ESV) [Jesus said,’] Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is 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 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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still 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 that I have 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 hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
On Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus teaches the Spirit’s primary function in the Pentecost Gospel reading from John 14. Jesus says that a person who loves Him will keep His Word, and we know that that love of Jesus can only happen by the Holy Spirit calling, gathering, enlightening and sanctifying us, and keeping us with Jesus Christ in the One True Faith. So the Holy Spirit comes through Word and Sacraments to lead us to love Jesus and His Word.
Today people associate love primarily with emotions, but Jesus Himself shows us that the word “love” is not simply emotional when He says, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” Jesus said that He would prove that He loved His heavenly Father by obeying the Father’s will that the Christ suffer for the sin of the world, die, and rise again on the third day.
If Jesus had not kept His Father’s Word, then it would have showed that He did not love His Father. However, we know that the perfect love Jesus had for His Father led Him to completely trust God and lay down His life willingly, dying under God’s wrath against your sin to save you from hell and win everlasting life for you.
Jesus loved the Father, and the Father loved Jesus by keeping His promise to raise the Son from the dead on the third day and exalt Him. This is how God loved the world, including you: by giving His only-begotten Son into death for the life of the world.
So it is clear that God’s love involves not just feelings but also actions, and God’s love is the pattern that we are to imitate. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my Word.” Love involves action. To keep the Word of Jesus means to hear it, believe it, treasure it, and then put it into practice by living according to His Word.
God wants to dwell with those who show their love for Jesus by keeping His Word. The almighty and eternal God, creator of the heavens and the earth, whom we owe for life and every blessing—He wants to come to each of you individually and make a home with you. And in that home, He wants to be your dear Father, and you His dear child, since you have been purchased and won for the Father by the blood of Jesus Christ and you have been given new birth into the Kingdom of God by the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism.
On the other hand, if we reject the Word of Jesus, then we throw ourselves into the devil’s hands, the one who hates Jesus. But when the Holy Spirit moves us to trust the Word of Jesus and keep it, then we are showing our love for Jesus and are wrapped up in the Father’s love, safe from Satan, death, and hell.
Love of Jesus happens when we love and keep His Word. But this cannot happen by our own power. Only when Jesus sends the Comforter, His Holy Spirit, to leads our hearts, minds, and hands to love His Word, then can we actually love Jesus. We love Him by gladly and willingly receiving the Words of Jesus in the Gospels, learning them, treasuring them, and by putting them into practice.
Prayer: Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.