Tuesday, January 21, 2014

He who Keeps my Commandments

8 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered 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 home with him. 24 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. (John 14:18-24)
“Because I live, you also will live.” Jesus lives. So we live too. His life is our life, our life is his life. When we suffer he suffers, when we rejoice he rejoices. He gives us his life. The world doesn’t see him but we do. He manifests himself to us through faith which the world does not have. The world thinks he is dead. There are those today who think he perhaps never lived. But he does live even now, and because he lives he does not leave us as orphans but he comes to us, even as he came to the disciples. He doesn’t say how he is going to come to them. A person might think that he is speaking about the resurrection, or perhaps the second coming. But here he is talking about another manner. He doesn’t abandon us, or his church, he is with us because he comes to us with his Holy Spirit and is present with us wherever two or three are gathered in his name. There he manifests himself to those who love him, those who believe in him, and believing in him believe him. Believing him they keep his commandments.
Keeping his commandments. What are they? Right off a person thinks of the Ten Commandments. These are his commandments. He is Lord of the Sabbath, and he can only be that if he is the one who commanded the Sabbath. These are his commandments and they have everything to do with love. We don’t keep them apart from love, and only in love do we actually keep them. We should fear, love and trust in God above all things. Fear and love run through Luther’s explanation of these commandments from beginning to last. This is because it isn’t just an outward keeping that suffices, but he who hates his brother has murdered him in his heart. He who looks upon a woman with lust has committed adultery with her in his heart. Each and every one of these commandments demands love. And love does not break the commandments. I mean it is hard to maintain that you can love your neighbor and steal from him, murder him, slander him and takes his wife, or even covet what belongs to him. So it is that every time we break one of these commandments we show that there is something we fear, love and or trust in more than God himself. But then by loving Christ we keep these commandments in he who has loved us and kept the law perfectly for us, and we only love because he first loved us. So the whole Christian life is one of repentance, the whole Christian life is one in which we cry out, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” Help my unbelief, ah but that is where the keeping of the real commandments he is concerned about comes into play. Because there are other commandments apart from the ten. There is the “believe and be baptized,” there is the “keep my word” there is the “do this often in remembrance of me.” These too are commandments, and by keeping them he helps our unbelief. In keeping them he visits us, comes to us, strengthens our faith and manifest himself to us in ways that cannot be explained except to say, this man is alive, this man lives, and by means of these he lives in us and through us, despite our unbelief, despite our sin. He is there to be found by those who love him.

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