#DailyDevotion Do You Hold Dear Jesus’ Teaching?
Joh 14:23-26 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. (24) Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (25) “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. (26) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Now verse twenty-three seems to be a theme in this section of John. Joh 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Joh 14:21 “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.” Joh 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Joh 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” Joh 17:6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”
What does it mean to keep? On the one hand, it is often translated as practice. Most certainly Jesus wants us to practice what he has preached. Mat 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” No the word does here is a different word than keep, but in context I think he is talking about the same thing. So if you do love Jesus you are going to want to and be about practicing the things he has told you to do.
But keep also means to hold dear, cherish, watch over. People hold dear, cherish and watch over their treasured possessions. To be honest the Greek word “to keep” in John is used both ways when Jesus is talking about his word. In some places he wants us to practice, in other places he is speaking about cherishing, holding onto. I believe in verse twenty-three he is speaking about it in terms of holding dear. I say that because verse twenty six tells us Jesus is going to send the Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance all he has spoken to his disciples. Without the Holy Spirit in our hearts we will not hold dear, keep Jesus’ word. But with the Holy Spirit, we will hold tightly to Jesus’ word, his promises and his teaching.
Now we shouldn’t take verse twenty three as a causal clause, as in first you have to keep Jesus’ word and then God will love you and make his home with you. John teaches us, 1Jn 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” What Jesus is stating is just a fact and indeed is a result of us believing God loves us because of Jesus. If we cherish, hold dear Jesus’ word then we can know that God and Jesus also love us and have made our hearts their home for that is what his word says. If we reject what Jesus teaches and do not hold it dear, then the love of God is not in us and we are not his dwelling place. So Jesus is admonishing us and encouraging us to keep his word, to hold it dear, to treasure it and to watch over it. Indeed, we do the same with other people we love, all the more we should and will do it for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, give us your Holy Spirit so we may remember all that Jesus has taught us, hold it dear and practice it so we may remember and believe the love you and your son Jesus Christ have for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.