Our thoughts today follow on from yesterday’s. ‘Hate’ is the opposite of ‘love’, and we saw how Jesus used the word ‘hate’. We know we cannot love the “life” that is around us today with its self-centred attitudes. As we read John 13 & 14 we see how Jesus tried to provoke deeper thinking among his disciples.
It is not enough to ‘hate’ this life, after all we are blessed with so many good things. So we should move on to more positive ways of thinking and understanding. Chapter 14 starts “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God”. Let’s think about belief. If someone says ‘I believe my house is on fire’ that belief can be quickly proved or disproved. But sometimes belief can be rather shallow with no real substance. Jesus said, “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 14:9, he wants to make sure they get the point.
If someone says, ‘Yes, I believe there must be a God, a Creator’, that is a good start but they 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 ritualistic 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 – after all 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 will read, “you are clean through the word I have spoken to you” (verse 3). This world can be a dirty place and we realise his words are vital. Just as it is important to wash regularly to keep our bodies clean we should do the same with our minds.