Thursday, November 13, 2014

John 14:15-31

Recently Graham and Cecelia have been watching a PBS show called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. This show is a sequel to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, with a matching theme song and a very similar purpose – teaching manners and morals to young children. At random, I hear Daniel Tiger, the main character, singing a little jingle to teach the kids a new moral lesson. Graham and Cecelia really enjoy these, so often I hear them singing along and sometimes even a few days later as we are driving down the road. A recent one that has stuck with them goes like this, “Making something is one way to say, ‘I love you.’”
"Making Something" - Daniel Tiger Video

It has been pretty cool seeing Graham thinking this one through. Having “made” something for his mommy, he will get excited and be ready to give it to her so that she can see that he loves her. “Daddy, I made this for mommy because I love her.” He may be only 3, but he gets the lesson that he learned from Daniel Tiger that if you want to show your love, there should be some action to match the words.
With a greater force than a fluffy, animated, cardigan-wearing, cartoon tiger, Jesus addressed His disciples in the upper room on the night before Passover. His premise was a similar one, but with much more weight - “If you love me, keep my commandments.” With this one statement, He had raised the bar above a children’s song, and brought gravity to the calling of discipleship. There is perhaps a number of ways that you can show love for someone, but when it comes to loving Jesus, this is the one way that He gives us to demonstrate our love for Him. We have one option. Obedience is the only way of love.
But if the disciples were honest, this was an overwhelming task. They had tried to live by the law of Moses, and had failed. Now, Jesus had come and had through clarification helped them to understand that in and of themselves they could not obey His commands. So how could they demonstrate their love? But Jesus continued on, “I will send you another Comforter to abide with you forever.”
There are two words in this verse that are of massive importance. The first is “another,” this word is not a generic word in the Greek with broad meanings like in English, rather in Greek, this word “another” literally means “one who is exactly the same in essence.” Jesus was promising to send one who was going to be there for the disciples as He had been. The second word of massive importance is “Comforter.” This word has a two-fold idea: 1) one who comforts and consoles, 2) one who strengthens. The word “comfort” itself even comes from two Latin words: 1) com - with, 2) fortis - strength. This Comforter would be one who could come along side the disciples and endue them with His strength.
It was true that in and of themselves they could not obey God, but with the indwelling Holy Spirit, they could receive the strength to obey. He could teach them the truth of God, and help them obey God, so that they could fully love God. The command of Jesus to love through obedience was not an impossible command, rather, He would equip believers with the ability to obey what He commanded.
And why was Jesus saying this to them on this night? Because He had just explained that He was going away. Their hearts were troubled, and they were upset. In loving them unto the end, He spoke these words of truth to encourage the disciples and dispel their fears of abandonment. He would give them His Spirit so that they would never be alone and so that He could abide in them forever.

Food For Thought: What two words from John 14:16 are of massive importance when truly understood? What do they mean?