“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
Much attention is focused on Jesus’ promise in John 14:14, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it”, and rightly so. And yet it is interesting how many focus on that promise, while completely neglecting the next verse. It contains only nine very brief words, and yet in them Jesus shares some very convicting truths:
— First, it reveals the nature of genuine discipleship. He says “If you LOVE me.” Discipleship is first and foremost a LOVE relationship with the Lord. This is what God originally created us for, and is what He has called us back to in Christ. Christian discipleship is not mere “service” as to a Master (think Baal) only, but LOVE for God. That is a Christian distinctive. It is all about God’s love for us, and ours for Him in return.
— This verse also shows us the fruit of genuine discipleship. How do you know if you are really His disciple? Jesus says if you love Him, you will keep His commandments. John reiterates this in I John 2:3, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” Obedience is one of the primary signs of genuine conversion and discipleship. If a person does not obey the Lord, his salvation should rightly be called into question.
— And we see here the motivation for our obedience as disciples. We do not keep His commandments in order to gain salvation, but because we are grateful for the salvation He has given us; and because we love Him. The genuine disciple desires to honor the Lord he loves, by his obedience. On the other hand, he hates the thought of grieving that Divine love by any purposeful disobedience.
That these truths are found in “the next verse” after the sweeping promise to ask anything in His name is not insignificant. It says something about the kind of person for whom that promise will really be effective.