In church on Sunday the sermon was about the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) that we become when we become a follower of Christ. We go through a complete renewal in our minds (Romans 12:2) and hearts. In fact the preacher stated that we can believe Jesus in our minds but if we don’t believe that Jesus is the Christ, the risen Savior in our hearts then there will not really be much of a change in our behavior. I think this is true. So many people say that they believe in God, believe in Jesus as God’s Son, but they don’t live a life of behavioral change for the good. This has been making me think about another scripture that tells us something about a man named Judas who asked Jesus a question and got an answer he probably wasn’t expecting. Let’s take a look at that passage.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 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.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. John 14:15-31, (New International Version or NIV).
Jesus is preparing His followers that one day in the near future He will be killed by men who are influenced by Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Yet what Satan doesn’t understand is that Jesus goes to death willingly because His Father, God, has asked Him to be the perfect sacrifice to all people in all the world in every generation even you and me. Since this is the Lentil season for many from traditional church backgrounds this is the perfect time to discuss this passage. Notice how conditional Jesus statement is? The word “If” is always followed by a “then” and in this instance Jesus says if we keep His commands then He will send us an advocate in addition to the advocate we already have in Jesus Christ. Now that is powerful, don’t you think? I love the name of this second advocate… the Spirit of truth. One thing that I sure need is truth spoken into my life every day because the world is such a liar and tries to keep me away from God’s truth so much of the time. Know what I mean? Truth must be put into action though, and I believe that the process begins with believing first in the mind and then sending that belief to the heart which then helps us do what we are commanded to do without even thinking much about it all. Jesus explains to His followers that He and the Father are one and when we are in Christ we also are in the Father. It isn’t that we only obey Jesus and never give God a second thought, no, we are to love God because Jesus is sent from God to us and Jesus always obeys God the Father and so should we. How strange this truth must be to the world but to followers of Christ it is all so natural, at least I think it is. We love Jesus so therefore we love God.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:9-10, (NIV).
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” John 16:25-28, (NIV).
Do you see how this works? Jesus loves us because we love Him because God loves Jesus. God loves Christians because we love Jesus Christ, His Son. So why do I love you dear brothers and sisters in Christ? Because God gives me love through Jesus His Son and I give that love to you. I just love that!
What about the question that Judas asks? I think we ask the same question sometimes today as well. Lord, if You are so powerful and loving then why not reveal Your power and love to the world and let them see who You are and then they will change their ways and want to follow You! I mean I am nothing without You and I know that You have so much power that You use in my own life so why not go directly to the world first? Just zap those sinners into submission and make them toe the line! I have often wondered what the reaction would be if someone is in the middle of a big sin and Jesus appeared in front of them, would they stop and repent? I don’t know. Judas’s question seems to be the first attempt at marketing the message, don’t you think? But Jesus said no, it doesn’t work that way. God is more powerful than Jesus, in Jesus’s words God is greater. Wow! Let that sink in. Our God is the power source and Jesus obeys what the Father tells Him to do and we obey Jesus by following His commands, which are not burdensome at all. Mainly Jesus just wants us to love everyone and be kind and compassionate as He also is kind and compassionate to the whole world and to obey God the Father just as Jesus obeys Him. But the world is blind and deaf to this message because the liar of all liars, the Prince of Darkness, Satan, is keeping the world too distracted from hearing and believing in Jesus. So I ask you, right now, in this moment, are you a head believer, by this I mean that with your mind you believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son who came to die for our sins or are you a heart believer that not only believes in your mind but in your heart as well and carries out this believe in your everyday actions and attitudes? Only you know which you are but I hope it is a heart believer.