Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Initial thoughts on John 14

Today I have been looking at John 14 which speaks about the relationship between love and keeping the commandments. In my NLT and NIV, the scripture reads, if you love me, obey my commands and he will give you another advocate who will never leave you. One commentary challenged the translation of the word obey, asserting that it more likely had the meaning of keep... who ever keeps my words loves me. Keeping involved being faithful to, loving the Word, seeking to live it out in every way. While obedience is a good translation, "keep" leads me to some different understandings.

"Keeping" is actually more consistent with the Old Testament Psalm 119, one of the longest Psalms in the Bible. Psalm 119 says things like, "I have hidden your word in my heart, "I have rejoiced in your laws", "I will study your commandments", "You reivive me by your words," "I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your instructions." "Give me an eagerness for your law--more than the love of money."

Perhaps commandment keeping involves an immersion in and high regard for the teachings of the Torah. In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus fully lived the Torah and kept the law... more he even fulfilled the law in his own life. If loving the Torah or the law, or the commandments brings life, perhaps loving the Word of Christ will bring even greater life.

John moves on to say that those who keep His word, will become the home of God, the dwelling place of the Spirit. There is a direct relationship between keeping the word and loving Jesus and becoming the home of the Spirit. As we love, are faithful to and keep the words of Christ, we begin to embody those words, living them out in the flesh, touching the world as God touched the world in Christ.

As Paul said in Colossians, "let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives".

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