“Hate” is the opposite of “love” and we note the sense in which Jesus uses the word “hate”. We know we cannot love the “life” that is all around us today with its self-centred ways of thinking and doing. In John 13 & 14 we see how Jesus tries to provoke deeper thinking among his disciples. After “hating” the atmosphere of life in this present age we must move on to find positive ways of thinking and understanding. Chapter 14 starts “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God”. What is it to “Believe in God”? If someone says ‘I believe my house is on fire’ – that belief is quickly proved or disproved. “Belief” can often be a ‘surface’ belief of no real substance. Jesus said to them, “I am telling you this now; before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe that I am he” (13:19). He repeats this again in chapter 14:9, he wants to make sure they get the point.
We can reason with people today so that they say, ‘Yes, I believe there must be a God, a Creator’. Now that is just the first step – they, and we, must keep going! The final stepping-stone is labelled “love”. Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (verse 23). This is not keeping his word in a “ritual” way as the Pharisees and others did. Take special note of Jesus’ next words, “… he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”.
Home? What does he mean? He is surely speaking of a private and intimate relationship. The Jews had only thought in terms of a national relationship – God was the God of Israel. Keeping the words of Jesus is the result of believing them in such a way that they become part of our thinking.
In chapter 15 we read, “you are clean through the word I have spoken to you” (verse 3). The “dirt” in this world gives us much reason to realize his words are vital. It is evident, at least to others, if we do not wash regularly to keep our bodies clean. How evident is it with our mind? Let is never ignore the fact – it is evident to God!