IV. DEVOTION (John 14:21, 24)
The question which Judas (not Iscariot) asked the Master proves that he held a low place among the Apostles. It seems pretty certain that the groups of fours, into which the Apostles were divided, were arranged according to their spiritual nearness to the Saviour. In all the lists Judas is in one of the last groups. A few days earlier Jesus seemed to have begun to do what they always wanted Him to do, manifest Himself to the world. Judas [son of James] now thinks something has happened to make the Master go back to the old plan of a secret communication. So he says in effect “Lord, what is come to pass to induce You to falter upon the course on which we entered, when, amid the hosannas of the multitude, You rode triumphantly into Jerusalem?”[Matt. 21:1-11].
It was the old expectation of Messianic glory displayed in some still more ostentatious and pompous way. Jesus quietly tells Judas and the others the positive conditions and the negative qualifications for His manifestation. We therefore have in one of these verses, as a great expositor says, “what brings Christ and what Christ brings; and in the other, what keeps away Christ and all His gifts.”
“If a man love me, he will keep my Word” (not words, as in the Authorized Version; John 14:23). It is an expression that includes all His teaching. His sayings constitute one organic whole, and we dare not pick and choose, saying in our hearts, “This I will keep and this I will reject.” Remember that every word of His teaching has in it the imperativeness of His manifested will. And His Word must become the law of our lives. Are we as willing to come to Him for law as we are to come to Him for life?
How, then, can we show our devotion to Christ? There is only one way; it is by loving Him and keeping His Word. Let us listen to that spiritual teacher, George Bowen:
“Christ represented the Father, and as men treated Christ they revealed their sentiments toward the Father. The Word of Christ represents Christ, and our sentiments toward Christ are revealed by our treatment of His Word. How many are laboring to settle the question whether they love Christ or not? It would wonderfully help them in the solution of this if they would first seek to ascertain whether they love the Word of Christ or not. The Christian is one who keeps the Word of Christ. He that keeps not the Word of Christ, but suffers the adversary to take it away from him as often as it is given him, is not a Christian”[Matt. 13:19].
Are you longing to show your devotion to Jesus Christ? There is a simple way of showing it quite within your reach. Begin to treat the Word of Christ as you would treat Christ Jesus Himself, and remember that all assurances of devotion that do not find expression in this way are valueless.
Listen again: “If a man love me, my Father will love him.” So the Father identifies all love to Jesus as love to Himself, and, in wonderful language, the Master says: “We will come and make our mansion with him.” Our heart is His permanent abode [qualitatively] only so long as we fulfill the conditions. If Self-will is indulged, and is allowed to reassert itself in the heart, Christ’s [manifested] presence vanishes. We can only keep Him enthroned as the King of our life by perpetual acts of loving obedience, and we can only lovingly obey as we yield to the pressure and power of the Holy Spirit.
Part 4 of 5 From Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, by John Gregory Mantle. Washington, D.C: Testimony Book Ministry, 1974. 8th edition, Chapter 16.