In today’s world, love is often misrepresented and undervalued to the point where many of us may have little idea what true love is. The Bible is not silent on this topic, and neither is the One who is the greatest expression of such love. That One, of course, is Jesus, of whom the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Jesus said that love and obedience to Him are inextricably linked. In the upper room, on the evening prior to His crucifixion, He said to His disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Shortly thereafter, leaving the upper room and proceeding toward Gethsemane, He amplified this statement by saying, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:10-11).
From these three portions of John’s Gospel record, we learn three major truths. First, the great expression of God’s love for humanity is His gift of Jesus. Second, the great expression of human love for Jesus is to obey Him. Third, human obedience to Jesus provides an experience of unmitigated joy. The ongoing reality of joyfully obeying Jesus, the Lord of His people, brings one into fellowship with both the Father and Son and enables the Holy Spirit to dwell in that individual.
Many individuals minimize the importance of joyful obedience to Christ. Yet Christ Himself says, “He that hath my commandments [or “words” in verse 23 and “sayings” in verse 24], and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). This statement assures us that those who love Jesus will obey Him. It also declares that those who obey Him will be loved by the Father. And it emphasizes that loving obedience will enable one to see more and more of Jesus. This speaks of fellowship between the disciple and Christ, and it declares that this fellowship will be an expanding, relational experience of knowing Him more and more intimately.
Why would anyone not crave love like this? If we truly love Jesus as He taught, it will mean that a holy, growing, and endless love is ours to experience.