As the Father loves: commandments

deeplyrooted-crKeep My Commandments.There is something very practical here: If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. Many suggest that this is the practical answer of how one remains in Christ and in his Word, bears fruit, and remains in the love of Jesus. These things are not some mystical experience. It is simple obedience. It is when we keep Christ’s commandments that we abide in his love. Once again appeal is made to Christ’s own example. He kept the Father’s commandments and thus abides continually in the Father’s love. And it is not a blind following of the commands, it to “listen through” to the deeper love that resides within and throughout the commandments.

What commandment from the Father did Jesus keep? His Father’s commandments seems to specifically refer to Jesus’ death; the laying down of his life, so that the world may know that he loves the Father (see 14:31 and 10:18). More generally, the Father’s commands control everything that Jesus says (see 12:49-50). We are to keep Jesus’ commandment which is to love one another as Jesus has loved us. Just as Jesus’ obedience to his Father’s command is his witness to the world about his love for his Father, so our obedience to Jesus’ command is our witness to the world about our love for Jesus.

The “commands” of v.10 are reduced to one, the command to love one another as Christ has loved them. This is the “new commandment” of 13:34. If we love, in the sense in which Jesus uses the term, we need no other rule.

The word translated “keep” (tereo, v. 10) carries more the sense of “holding dear” than simple (blind) obedience. In a love relationship, one should want to do what the other asks. Such obedience isn’t a burden, but a free and joyful response of love. But to what end?

The next verse (v.11) seems to answer this implied question: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” This idea of “completeness” (plērōthē) has appeared all along the way of the broader Farewell Discourse. The word comes from the Greek plēroō “fill completely, fulfill, bring to completion, realize.” Jesus’ words about joy complement his words to the disciples about their joy in 14:28. “You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

The unity and mutuality that love makes possible, symbolized by the unity of vine and branches, leads to full joy (cf. 3:29–30; 16:24; 17:13).

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