In this week’s scripture we are still reading of the final night of Jesus with the disciples in the upper room. Love is a continuing theme. Now is added obedience as an expression of love. An expression of our love for Jesus is our obedience to his teaching. We also receive assurance that Jesus will send us an ADVOCATE to remind us of what Jesus has taught us. We will not face the troubles and trials of this world alone. To conclude Jesus reminds us of his ABIDING relationship with God. He is not acting alone or unilaterally. He is acting with God. They are one. By our love of, faith in, and obedience to Jesus we can be one with God as well. “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (vs. 27).
Let’s read the scripture:
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
How can I be more loving as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Loving Jesus is connected to obeying the teaching of Jesus. Loving is far more demanding than satisfying my feelings or the feelings of others. Loving is about obeying Jesus. I found this devotional prayer helpful. It is written by Kenneth G. Phifer.
I Need to be More Loving
I know so little of what love in its fullness can be.
My love is marred by jealousy,
scarred by envy,
limited by selfishness.
I withhold love at the slightest provocation,
and withdraw myself from involvement with others
for fear of being hurt.
Still, I know something of what love can be like.
I can remember being forgiven generously and freely
by someone I had wronged.
I can remember being comforted and cared for
when, bruised and battered, I crept home.
I can remember being made strong
by the realization that someone cared.
I am grateful for such experiences,
for they tell me what love is about.
And if the Lord Jesus be right,
to know what love is like
is to know what you are like.
If we humans can manifest unselfishness and concern,
is it not because such experiences are of the very
nature of that which is most important?
For out of the heart of the Lord Jesus
came the evidences of his love
for all kinds of people
and his refusal to give up on any of us.
I am grateful for that love and for that refusal,
for in him I have hope.
I can even hope
that I may catch more of his Spirit in my life.
Will you help me to be more outgoing,
less sensitive to slights,
and more alert to the feelings of others?
Will you help me to be less quick to judge
and less righteous in my indignation?
Will you help me to be more open to life
and to other people?
Will you give me confidence enough to be less
defensive and less ready to react to rebuffs?
Give me steadiness and firmness
and true commitment to the life of faith. Amen.
—From A Book of Uncommon Prayer by Kenneth G. Phifer
Excerpted from A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People. ed. by Job and Shawchuck, Upper Room Books Nashville TN. 1990, pg.177-178.
Our human experiences of love are but glimpses of the love of Jesus for each of us. Our love relationships are not the complete expression of love. Our expressions of love are marred by our sin. They are limited because of our fears and doubts. The Love of Jesus is far more satisfying and demanding. We can only grow in the love of Jesus through obedience to his teaching and the continual realization that the Holy Spirit is with us to guide us as our ADVOCATE. This doesn’t mean that we can do no wrong, but that if we are aware of the Holy Spirits presence we can guard from our sinful natures and obey Jesus’ calling to “love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13:34).
Jesus is preparing us for our daily living and reality. We need his help. We need the Holy Spirt. He is telling us this now “so that when it does happen you will believe.” (vs. 29b).