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John 14:15-21






Catching up on the Story In the previous chapter, Jesus has declared, in no uncertain terms, that he is one with the Father in heaven. By doing this, Jesus asserts his divinity. Jesus promises that he will prepare a place for those who love him. The disciples, Jesus assures, will know the way to where Jesus is going. The disciples are a little confused by Jesus’ words. Jesus assures them that they will know the way because they have known him. Jesus tells the disciples that they will do more wondrous works than Jesus has done.


The Text: This week’s passage begins with a conditional phrase. “If you love me….” Of course, Jesus is not playing a manipulative game with his disciples, as when a man might say to his girlfriend, “If you really loved me, you would….” You can fill in the blank any way that you want to there. No, Jesus is declaring that the proper expression of love for God is located in obedience as a response. It is important to note that all instances of “you” in verses 15-24 are second person plural. So, verse 15 can be read as, “If you all love me, you all will keep my commandments.” Jesus is not as concerned with personal obedience as corporate obedience. Of course, to be obedient as the church, the Body of Christ, we have to have personal obedience. But that is not the emphasis here. Emotional or romantic love is also not emphasized here.


It would be appropriate to note that the “if” of verse 15 can also be translated as “when,” making the conditional statement more certain. Jesus is not worried that his followers will love him; instead, he declares that the proper expression of love is tied to obedience. The giving of the Spirit will then follow our obedience to those commandments.


Which commandments is Jesus refe