To Have and Keep

May 12, 2022

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 (John 14:21).

John 14:1-31 is called the Paschal (Passover) Discourse. It was spoken to the disciples while they were in the upper room eating the Passover and the Lord’s Supper with Jesus. It was intended to give comfort to the disciples who were upset over the news that Jesus was going to be crucified. That comfort is noted in 4:1, Let not your heart (the seat of spiritual life) be troubled (agitated, tossed like the waves of the sea in a storm). He then directed their attention away from loss through crucifixion to hope and assurance through resurrection:

  • He assured them He was going to the Father’s House (heaven).
  • He was going to make provision for their coming to Him there.
  • When all has been made ready, He would come to them to receive them in the Father’s House.
  • He revealed to them the way, truth, and life to, and in the Father’s House.
  • In His going, He would send the Holy Spirit to take His place in their lives.
  • All they needed to carry on the work of the Kingdom in His absence would be provided.
  • He would give them eternal life in the Kingdom when this earthly life is over.
  • From that moment on, they would be one with the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

In 14:21, Jesus added to the list of blessings and benefits given to them. This verse answers 2 questions, “How can I know if I genuinely love Jesus?” and “How can I know that God loves me?”

As a child in Sunday School, many of us learned the songs, “Jesus loves me, this I know - for the Bible tells me so,” and “Jesus loves the little children, all little children of the world.” But how do we know we love Jesus? He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. Knowing we love Jesus is not based on sentiment, but on obedience to His truth. What about faith? Arthur Pink answers, “The faith by which we are saved does not destroy the necessity for an obedient walk. Faith is the root of which obedience is the beautiful flower and fruit.” Faith is not a feeling - it is a fact demonstrated by obedience to the word and will of God.

To ‘have’ His commandments is well stated by the psalmist (119:11), Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. To ‘hide’ God’s word in one’s heart is to ‘lay up in private so as to treasure and keep’. When Jesus asked the disciples if they were going to abandon Him like everyone else had done (John 6:67), Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. When the shepherds told Mary what the angels had said regarding the birth of Jesus, Scripture says (Luke 2:19), Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. To ‘ponder’ is to go over each detail of what has been said and to compare it with what God has already said. As Christians, we are to do no less with the commandments of Jesus - we are to treasure them in our life and obey them with our life. Amen.


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