While Jesus has the disciple’s attention He continues –
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” – Jesus is leaving and the expected response would be grief, maybe even anger at losing someone they loved. Jesus prefers a different demonstration of their love for Him. To Him the best and most fitting response is “keeping my commandments” – obedience. This kind of obedience is in striking contrast to the “keeping of the law”. It is not following a list of rules. It is following and copying and emulating a person because you love them. (The love word here is from agape – the underlying meaning is “preferring” – since God is love His very nature determines what love looks like. When I keep Jesus’ commandments I am choosing His preference over my own. He has just washed their feet – one example of what Jesus prefers.)
This is a lot to ask and God knows it is beyond the disciples (and me). “I will ask the Father and he will give you another helper.” – enter the Holy Spirit. Another helper – first, you had Me and now you will have “the spirit of truth”, “who will be with you forever”. Forever – this is a permanent arrangement. And the very cool thing is “you know him” – this is not like Jesus is sending some friend of His that they are clueless about and don’t even know if they will hit it off or if the friend will be a jerk. They will know him because this Helper is of the same essence as Jesus and the Father. In fact He dwells with you (a reference to Jesus?) and will be in you (Pentecost). (This is a marvel… one of those things God does that you just have to shake your head and say, “Wow I would have never thought of that!”)
“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” – (I am thankful for this every day and for a multitude of reasons!) Jesus wants to tell them the whole plan and how it’s going to work but He begins with the assurance that He is in this with them all the way. It’s a little confusing to decipher the details but here’s what I think: Jesus’ death is coming but even though those who do not believe (the world) will not see Him anymore, they will. Because He will overcome death – they will also overcome death. On that day, they will know for sure “I am in my father and you in me, and I in you.” (Jesus and the Father are one, we are “in Christ” and the Holy Spirit is “in” us – it’s a mystery how this works – “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)
Judas wants to know how Jesus will manifest Himself to them and not to the world. I guess he’s thinking in visible terms. How can they see Him and the others will not. Jesus repeats “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.” God will come and make His home with the one who keeps His words – that is how He will be manifest to them. (All along John has emphasized believing to those outside but the new commandment is to those inside – those who do believe – since you believe show your love for Me by preferring my ways.)
“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.” I love this promise. The Holy Spirit will be my teacher and my remember-er. Even now as I read this passage and others come to my mind, the Holy Spirit is actively doing both of these things.
“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.” “Let not your hearts is troubled” are the bookends of His talk. Trade your troubled heart by first believing who I am and then receiving my Peace.
“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.” This strikes me as not a condemnation of their missing the point but as another example of preferring God’s way over mine. Where do I generally stand – on the troubled side or the rejoicing side of God’s ways?
“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.” There is a “ruler of this world” who seeks to bring about destruction but remember this: The enemy does not control Me. My actions are ones of choice – I am preferring the Father by following His commands. Why? Because I want the world to know I love the Father.
Isn’t this the same “new commandment” He gave them? “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:34-35)
I am prone to be troubled because my heart choses fear of the things I cannot control over believing that you are in control of everything. I somehow forget or ignore the Comforter who is with me to teach me and remind me of the Truth. And part of that Truth is: I am not an orphan because I am forever “in Christ”. Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit, I will choose You and Your peace. Today, I will choose to demonstrate my love for You by following Your commandments and rejoicing in Your plans.
When you are LOVE – you know everything about it.
Trust the Helper.
About the World?
God’s requires nothing of the world. He only offers the opportunity to believe in Him.