John 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 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. 24 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.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 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. 27 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.
Jesus continues his dialogue, responding to questions from his disciples. Thomas and Philip have asked questions; now it is Judas’ turn. This is the son of James, for Judas Iscariot has already departed. Jesus’ answer as to why he will only show himself to his disciples and not to the world is not immediately obvious. That’s because it’s all about the kingdom.
The kingdom of God is now going to be expressed not in the presence of the Messiah but in the life of his people— his Holy Spirit empowered people. Not all are members of the kingdom and consequently not all will obey Jesus’ teaching. But Jesus will make himself known to the members of the kingdom, indeed he and the Father will come to them and make their home with them, by the person of the Spirit.
Reflecting on this reality, we notice in verses 23-24 that it is all predicated on love. Love motivates the Father to make home with his people. Love motivates obedience in the disciple. Seeing our Christian obedience and daily living in the context of this kind of relationship driven by love is a game-changer. We actually want to live out Jesus’ teachings because we love the Teacher. We delight to follow his ways and obey his call. And all this brings joy to God who is Father, Son and Spirit.
As the disciples hear this from Jesus it must all have seemed too difficult to grasp because they had not yet received the promised Spirit. But after Pentecost, and in time, he taught them all they needed to know and gave them peace. The peace that the world gives is flakey and fleeting. At best it is the absence of conflict. But the peace that Jesus gives is substantial and enduring because ultimately it is peace with God.
God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for making your home with me, in me. Please continue to teach me your ways, motivate me by love to obey, and grant me enduring peace. Amen.