Most people who read, know and love Scripture, when asked about “The Love Chapter of the Bible,” would immediately point to 1 Corinthians 13… and they certainly would be correct. At the same time, the gospel reading from John 14 could, perhaps, be thought of as “a close second.” Jesus speaks about His love for the Father; the Father’s love for Him; the love of the Father and the Son for us; and our love for Him! (Verses 15-31 use the word “love” ten times!) In the context of this divine love, Jesus calls His faithful followers to trust – “Trust in God; trust also in Me.” (John 14: 1) Confident in His almighty love and care, Jesus encourages us to respond obediently when says, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.” (John 14: 23-24)
Probably the best “embodiment” of His teaching comes to us in the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ explanation that the summary of the commandments is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… [and to] Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-31) So, if we Love Him, we will Trust Him and then Obey Him!
But we know that by ourselves and our own will, we could never love, trust and obey Him. Luther wrote and we know ourselves, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” (Explanation to the 3rd Article of the Apostles’ Creed)
In our absolute need, Jesus promises that He “will not leave us as orphans,” (vs. 18) rather “He will give us another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth… whom the Father will send in My name, [Who] will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14: 16, 26)
On this Pentecost weekend, we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in us and through us! It is the work of the Spirit to bring to us everything that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross has earned for us – forgiveness, mercy, grace, the gift of eternal life, and so much more!
In His unending love for us, Jesus promises, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 27)
When we know, believe and receive all that He so graciously gives to us, “without any merit or worthiness in us,” how could we ever desire to do anything less than “Love, Trust and Obey” Him?
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ, Pastor Snow