If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
A little exercise I like to do with a married couple is to ask the wife and husband to make a list of five things the other one does that makes her/him feel loved. I have found it a helpful tool for promoting good communication and reinforcing loving behaviors. Often the exercise will elicit the surprised remark: “I had no idea that you feel loved when I do that!”
What ought not to surprise us is that the Lord Jesus feels loved when we do what He asks. That’s a love language that anyone would understand: to do what our loved one asks. In fact, there is no better Biblical definition of love than this: that we keep Jesus’ commands. It is sure proof of our love for Him.
In asking us to keep His commands Jesus asks us to do what He has done: “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (John 14:31). Jesus proves His love for the Father by doing what the Father asks Him to do. So in the same way, Jesus asks us to prove our love for Him.
Greatest of all of Jesus’ commands is the one He gave earlier in the evening: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34). Unlike the Pharisees and religious leaders, Jesus’ commands are not a list of rules and prohibitions. Jesus is asking for something far greater than rule keeping. Jesus is asking us to follow Him in His whole way of living and loving.
It is significant that this is the first time in the Gospels Jesus asks His disciples for love. Typically, we see Jesus reaching out to others in love. But now in His final hours Jesus is asking us for our love. Amazingly, He asks that we show our love for Him by loving others. One of the men sitting with Jesus that night will go on to write the little letter in our Bibles called First John. In that letter the Apostle John echoes Jesus: “We know love by this that Jesus laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (I John 3:16).
What Jesus asks of us is hard to do; in fact, it is impossible. Let’s admit that we cannot love as Jesus loves. And Jesus knows that. So that is why Jesus asks the Father to send us the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who will release the Father’s love within us. Let us live today in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?