To know me is to love me. I’m thinking most folks have at least heard the cliché. Guessing also that many of us have used it. Either as a plea, or as a pardon. A plea for others to spend the time to truly get to know us–a plea for meaningful, deep down relationship. A pardon when it’s said to excuse those little “eccentricities” that might be annoying at first, but, when you get to know me, you’ll find adorable.
However, when it comes to the connection between knowing and loving Jesus, something Jesus says this morning in John 14 turns that little cliché upside down . . . or at least backwards. If I’m picking up what Jesus is laying down, then . . .
. . . to love Him is to know Him.
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love Him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
(John 14:21-23 ESV)
On the night Jesus was betrayed, “having loved His own . . . He loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1). In partaking of His last supper before the cross He wanted to eat with those who had followed Him. In His final hours before His departure, He wanted to serve those who had left family, jobs, and comforts of status quo to serve Him. During the time when many might have been content to be alone with their thoughts, He wanted to pour out to them His final words of encouragement. And so we have what’s been called the Upper Room discourse in John 13 to 17. And as part of those final words Jesus says, in effect, “To love Me is to know Me.”
When I’m gone, Jesus said, love Me. How? Keep my commandments. Keep My word. For in that, you will keep the faith. Your behaviors acting as testimony to your beliefs. Your obedience not a means of earning My favor, but as a response to the unmerited favor you have already experienced. Keeping My commandments, says Jesus, is My love language.
But here’s what grabs me this morning. To those who love Him, He will manifest Himself to them. He will show Himself. He will come into view with increasing clarity.
And how’s that? For both the Father and Son will come to them and make Their home with them. They will make Their abode with them. They will move in, settle down, and abide with them.
And how’s that? The Father and the Son take up residence in them through the Spirit in them.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” ~ Jesus
(John 14:15-17 ESV)
Because He has first loved us–having loved us to the utmost–we love Him. We show that love as we submit our will to His and seek His enabling to keep His commandments. And when we love Him, He makes Himself known to us as He abide with us.
And this, through the Spirit He has asked the Father to give to us. The Spirit who dwells with us. The Spirit who dwells in us. The Spirit who brings Father and Son to make Their home with us. A Trinitarian encounter of the divine kind. So that to love Him, is to know Him. And to know Him is eternal life (Jn. 17:3).
Oh, how I can take for granted the gift of the Holy Spirit. How complacent I can become that He is in me. How clueless I can be to His 24/7 dynamic in my life. How thankful I am, though, that the Helper is here helping Me.
The Spirit of truth helping me to love the Savior through the illumination of truth. And then igniting within me a desire to respond to the truth with trust and obedience. And then, as I love Jesus, the Spirit is the One through whom Jesus makes Himself known to me in a deeper way. The One through Whom the Son knocks at the door of my heart. The One who prompts me to open that door. The One through Whom the Son, accompanied by the Father, comes in and sets up home.
Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
What grace! To Him be all the glory!