The following write-ups are “homework” from a new Timothy Group which began in early December. The format/structure of these write-ups here is an online version of what other members of the group are doing in hard-copy format, using four columns spread over two A4 sheets of paper. Each column corresponds to a different purpose:
- Rewrite the passage, word for word. In my case, I am typing up the entire passage from scratch.
- Paraphrase or re-tell the passage in your own words
- “I Will” / application / What is God showing me?
- Special / specific question assigned for each week
The bible passage for this week is, as per the title, John 14:21,23-24. Throughout this series I will be using the New Living Translation version of the bible.
Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them… Jesus replied, “All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not do what I say. And remember, my words are not my own. This message is from the Father who sent me.
Believers who are faithful to God’s teachings are people who clearly love God. When believers love Jesus as the Son of God, so too will God the Father show His love for those believers. Completing the loop, Jesus will love the believers in return, and thus reveal His nature to them and enable a closer relationship… Jesus answered the disciple that all people who love God will do so through their obedient actions and words. God the Father will respond with love and the trinity will reveal itself within the lives of those faithful and obedient believers. Inversely, any person who does not align their actions or words with God’s teachings cannot claim to love God. Jesus’ words are not uttered in isolation, but are all important and imprinted in the triune nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
What is God Showing Me?
A similar teaching of remaining obedient to God is clear. However, this passage delves deeper into the nature of God as a triune being, one God with three persons. I take the later verse 24 further in that there are those who claim to be Christians and believe in God. I find it really interesting that these verses in John 14 all focus on love and obedience. In order to love and obey, we must first believe, and in this way belief is a prerequisite. However, God demonstrates that the focus is on love and obedience, which goes way beyond merely believing. When people claim to believe in God, these verses make me realise that that is just the first step – the more important lead-on question is “So what?” Not in a bad way – but rather, that it is great that you believe X, but as a result of that belief, what does it compel you to do? For followers of Christ, yes we believe, but we also love and obey Christ/God.
God is also highlighting his triune nature in that He as the Son, is one in will and purpose as the Father and Holy Spirit. The love that binds them is shown in the obedience of Christ in taking up the cross and allowing the crucifixion to have Him separated from God the Father.
What are the Consequences of Obedience?
The consequences of obedience are clear – we cannot claim to love God and aide in Him unless we are obedient to His commands. Therefore, only when we obey can we experience God’s love and the Holy Spirit. When we obey God, He is pleased with us.