Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 14:15 (Holman) AIf you love Me, you will keep My commandments.@
In verse 14, Jesus had promised He would do anything the disciples asked of Him in His name. Verse 15 is a sequel to His promise. The Lord who delights to grant our requests expects us to delight in doing His commands.
On both ends, there must be a love delighting to be set in motion by a message from the other side. In Heaven love delights to be asked; on Earth love must delight to obey.
Can we think of any commandment of Christ we do not like? If so, sound the alarm! Glum obedience means something is wrong in our heart. Love for Christ reveals itself through an obedience that is humble, joyful, unquestioning, empty of reluctance.
A common mistake among us is, we overestimate our love for Christ. We are often like Peter, who said, ALord, I will die for you.@ The disciple’s resolve was good, but his depth of commitment was shallow.
I feel more comfortable singing AMore Love to Thee@ than AO How I Love Jesus.@ Both songs are among my favorites, but offering a humble prayer feels safer to me than making a bold claim.
We usually take it for granted we love Jesus, but by what He said in verse 15, our Master jerked us from a lackadaisical matter-of-fact attitude. He provided a test whereby we can examine ourselves to see if we truly are right at heart.
The Bible won’t let love degenerate into mere sentiment or emotion. Love is proved by deeds. Genuine New Testament love is a rare virtue, never easy to accomplish. Its only unassailable evidence is obedience.
We are all too often guilty of proclaiming love with our lips, while our life speaks otherwise. We often most hurt the very people we claim to love.
Some children loudly proclaim they love their parents, yet grieve them. Spouses often declare their love for one another while causing pain through inconsideration, irritability, thoughtlessness, and unkindness.
Love, whether directed to people or God, will prove itself through deeds. AIf you love Me, you will keep My commandments,@ our Master said.
John 14:16 AAnd I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.@
“Counselor” translates the Greek word Aparaclete,@ which combines the preposition Apara,@ meaning alongside, with the verb Akale∩,@ meaning call. A paraclete was one Acalled alongside@ another to guide, strengthen, counsel, or help in other ways.
A paraclete provided comfort by coming to reassure a person who was facing a problem. The Holy Spirit comes to help us cope with difficult situations of life. Whatever help we need, He ever comes to our aid.
In my comments on John 14:1, I noted John 14 is the Psalm 23 of the New Testament. Here at verse 16, let me say, the Holy Spirit is Psalm 23 personified.
It is important to note Jesus challenged the disciples to obey (v. 15) before He promised He would send them a paraclete. Don’t expect God’s comfort apart from the way of duty. The Holy Spirit cannot help any who refuse to be ruled by Jesus.
God never dissociates His consolations from our character. The Holy Spirit cannot comfort a person in sin.
Disobedient Christians should not expect much consolation from above. To them, the Holy Spirit brings discomfort through conviction. Yet even in this scenario, He is highlighting not our deserved condemnation, but our need to seek a remedy He lovingly wants to provide.
A paraclete served as an advocate (I John 2:1) to plead the cause of another. In a court of law the paraclete spoke in someone=s favor.
The Holy Spirit serves as our advocate by pleading our cause before a prosecuting world. While Jesus walked on earth, He personally served as the disciples= advocate, defending them and coming to their aid.
When the Pharisees accused the disciples of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus defended His men (Mark 2:23). When Jesus was arrested, He convinced the soldiers to let His followers go free (John 18:8).
What Jesus did visibly for the disciples, the Holy Spirit does invisibly for all believers. Many would like to see the end of Bible Christianity, but the Spirit protects us.
Were it not for the Holy Spirit, evil forces of this world would close in against us. He protects us, without our opponents ever knowing who it is that safeguards us.
The Holy Spirit serves as our advocate by pleading Christ=s cause within us. Jesus did all He could to bolster the faith of His disciples. The Holy Spirit does this same work in us, seeking to make us as clean and strong as possible.
Jesus prayed Peter=s faith would not completely fail (Luke 22:32). The Holy Spirit prays for us. AIn the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings@ (Romans 8:26).
Christ died for us that sin might not keep us from Heaven. The Holy Spirit lives in us that sin might not keep us from progressing spiritually. Jesus prepared a place for us; the Holy Spirit prepares us for the place. The help both provide us is essential.
We need the Spirit’s inner strength to keep us from being overwhelmed by the world’s outward assaults against us. If air pressure is removed from inside a can, external air pressure crushes it. There has to be pressure inside to counteract the weight of the atmosphere outside.
Similarly, evil spiritual forces press on believers from every side. The only way to keep from being crushed is to have an equally strong spiritual pressure on the inside. This is accomplished in believers by the Spirit’s inward presence.
After Jesus left Earth, the same functions He had performed openly were matched by the Holy Spirit in ways unseen, unheard, and often unrecognized, yet powerful. For believers, the Holy Spirit is our living, at hand, reservoir of power.
The Holy Spirit is the golden treasure of the Church. Without Him a church financially wealthy is Ichabod. Our truest riches are not contained in dollars and cents, but in the Holy Spirit’s power and energy. He is God in us.
Believers are repositories of God. Nothing on this planet can be nobler than a Christ-bearer. What is a king or queen compared to people who every day carry God inside them?
Be careful here. This is no basis for boasting on our part. Also, if we dare to say God dwells in us, we must be able to prove it with our lives.
Prosecutors questioned Ignatius, AYou are called the God-bearer; what do you mean by this?” He replied, “God dwells in me.@ Declaring it blasphemy, they put him to a cruel death. Ignatius used this torture as his chance to prove his claim. He died courageously. God shone through him, and made Ignatius a billboard of divine strength.
Let’s pray God will breathe Himself into us. May He help us live in such a way that others can see God looking through our eyes, acting through our hands, loving through our deeds, speaking through our mouths, shining through our lives.
Crippled by our small conceptions regarding the full possibilities of spiritual growth, we do not know to what heights a Christian may attain. As the Chinese used to bind girls’ feet to keep them small, even so our small thinking binds our own spiritual growth.
Press on. We are not 100% like Jesus yet. Pray for more of the Holy Spirit=s power.