If You Loved Me
May 21, 2022
You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I. "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe (John 14:28-29).
The past few texts seem to be somewhat disjointed - an almost, “Oh, and by the way” type of discourse. But it’s not. There is an underlying theme and motive to John 14 - 16. Yes, He was preparing the disciples for what will happen with His arrest that night, and the subsequent trials and crucifixion the next day. Yes, He was preparing them for the days following the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and their ministry for the remainder of their lives. But there is something more subtle in what Jesus was trying to convey to them
Connecting vv. 28-29 with the previous verses, the Lord was saying, “If you had truly believed what I have been telling you, all of your cares and fears would disappear, and spiritual joy would replace whatever sorrow you have at My death.” But what did Jesus mean when He said, If you loved Me? The ‘if’ is in the 2nd class conditional position, meaning the disciples’ love for Jesus was not as it should have been; it is a genuine ‘if’. He had been clearly and pointedly addressing their love for Him and for each other, and He knew that they loved Him (14:15,21,23), however, their love for Jesus was hindered by their own sorrow over the death of their friend and their sense of abandonment. Their thoughts were not on what Jesus would eventually accomplish through His suffering, death, and resurrection. Rather than rejoice over His spiritual Lordship, they grieved over their loss of a political Messiahship. Their love for Jesus was immature and incomplete. They had no joy for His victory over Satan, sin, and death, and His exaltation as the true King of kings and Lord of lords.
This text, along with the entire chapter 14 thus far, draws into question one’s love for Jesus - is it a maturing love, a love that grows more and more complete with each passing day - or is it a love that has become ‘comfortable’ for us? After the death and resurrection of Jesus, He visited the disciples when they were fishing out on the Sea of Galilee (John 21). After they had come ashore, and as they were eating breakfast with Him, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” What is worthy of note is that Jesus used the word agape, which is godly, unrestricted, sacrificial, complete love. Peter responded with the word philo, which is kindred love, the love of a brother or fellow Jew. Peter knew, after denying Jesus 3 times in the courtyard of the High Priest, that his love for Jesus was flawed, inconsistent, immature, incomplete. But Jesus didn’t leave him there. The 3rd time Jesus asked, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He used the word philo; He did for Peter what He has always done for mankind - He stooped to Peter’s level of love in order to bring him up to His higher agape love. But this would not happen overnight. In fact, after Pentecost the Holy Spirit would work in and through Peter for the rest of his life, perfecting his love for Jesus until the day he died on a cross for the cause of Christ. May we have that same work done in us to perfect our love for Jesus until the day we go to be with the Lord in glory. Amen.