Jim, I don’t remember what verse ‘cause I am afraid to look at my bible, but Jesus says IF you love me you will obey my commandments. What do you think about THAT? Barbi
You know, I used to wonder the same thing because I had been taught to hear those words just like everyone else has heard them for many years now. We hear that “IF” and we immediately see ourselves on the outside hoping to get in … but somehow that “if” communicated something so different to the disciples. What Jesus told them was a direct answer to the question below:
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” John 14:22
There is a lot of iffy sounding stuff to our present religious understandings found all the way up to the point Judas asked this question, but something that I came to realize was that it didn’t sound iffy to them. Why not? What if they heard something more like this:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to 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 abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding 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 said to you.” John 14:16-26
We’ve only confused this stuff because of the infusion of religion and its religious slant on everything. But at that time they were hanging on the edge of the old and having the new spoken to them. The “new” of Jesus was that it’s going to happen because of a change that had been hinted at for centuries and at that present moment was rapidly approaching the end of everything they ever understood. The “new” of Jesus was that he was bringing something about that would change everything about them … because his command was not a demanded request but the going forth of the Word that brought to pass whatever was desired by the speaker.
When Jesus said, “If you love me”, he wasn’t hanging a carrot on a stick to them, but was speaking the words that defined their total inability to leave him even though they had considered it quite a bit of the time with him. “Will you also leave me?” (John 6:67) Yep, they were ready to take a hike after Jesus infuriated the crowd that wanted to make him king because it also destroyed what they thought they were seeking. But for some reason they just couldn’t go! Peter could only answer, “We don’t have anywhere else to go for we have believed you because you have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68-69) The truth is that his impromptu confession defied all of his own thoughts, but somehow he just knew.
When they heard those words they did not hear anything iffy about what Jesus said other than, “Where the heck are you going?” and “Why can’t we come?” They only wanted to know how it was that this miraculous reality was happening to them.