I once heard author and speaker Danny Silk explain that when Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15), He was saying, “Your love for me is going to show up in the way that you care about protecting what is important to me.”
As disciples of Jesus, we need to care about what is important to Him. However, I think for a lot of us, it’s easy to slip into thinking that Jesus’ priorities for our lives come down to reading our Bible, praying, not sinning, and getting people saved. But is that really the best way to describe what Jesus cares about? Is that what He modeled in His own life on earth?
Lately, in my quest to be Jesus’ disciple, I’ve been reading through the book of John. I have taken great interest in what He talked about and walked out His life, mission, and purpose. His final prayer before going to the cross gives us amazing description from Jesus own lips of how He understood His priorities and assignment. When I was studying this passage the other morning during my time with the Lord, three things stood out to me from this passage.
First, Jesus said that He had fulfilled His assignment to reveal the Father:
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me . . .” (John 17:6-8).
The Bible shows us that since the dawn of time, it has been our Father’s heart to reveal His true nature and character to us in His pursuit of relationship with us. In fact, one of the meanings for Jehovah, God’s name, is “self-revealing.” Jesus is the final step in that process of the Father’s self-revelation. John 1:18 tells us: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only (Jesus), who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Likewise, Jesus told His disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). And Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” Everything about Jesus shows us who the Father is and His heart for us. And what we see in Jesus is that God is not harsh, distant, or punishing, but a good, compassionate, forgiving, kind, strong Father who will stop at nothing—even the death of His Son—to restore us as His children. Jesus revealed a Father who loves us with an everlasting, perfect love and whose sole desire is for us to be with Him for eternity.
Second, Jesus said that He had revealed the truth:
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:14-17).
At creation, Adam and Eve were exactly what God the Father had in mind when He created humans. They were in perfect relationship with Him and carried His authority to take dominion as kings of His great creation. However, Adam and Eve severed that relationship and gave away that authority when they ate the fruit. In essence, we ceased being fully human—ceased to live in the truth and reality of who we were created to be. The story of the fall is that the human race has forgotten who we are. We have lost our true identity, and continue to search for meaning and purpose to fill the void. We look for it in our jobs, possessions, families, and earthly power and influence. But Jesus, fully man and fully God, gives us a glimpse of what a true human identity looks like. He is the only authentic man who ever lived and He is our guide for living out our true identity. Jesus died in order to restore our relationship with God, our authority, and our identity. We have regained all that was lost through Him, and as a result, we now get to live in the truth of our full humanity.
Lastly, Jesus said that He came to bring people together in unity through love:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:20-26).
Along with restoring us to a relationship with the Father and to our true identity and purpose, Jesus came to restore us to one another. God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—created humanity in their image, in the image of family. We were created to belong to one another. Throughout human history, we have always sought to belong in all kinds of tribes and groups. However, typically the culture and dynamics in these groups is oppressive, dysfunctional, destructive and divisive. Jesus came to reverse this pattern and call and empower us to live out a new standard—His unconditional love. “My command is this,” He said, “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). His hope for His disciples is that we are known most for our love—love for other believers, regardless of denomination or church identity, but also love for others who do not follow Him. He wants us to put on display the sacrificial giving and unity of heart that exists in the Trinity, because when we do we show the world the true power and meaning of the gospel. We show them that reconciliation to God through Christ means finally getting to belong in the kind of family we all long for.
Men, if you have given your heart and life to Jesus, then you should care about the things He cares for. His life, character, and actions serve as guideposts for you to follow in your walk with Him. How can you respond to these three values in your own life?
- Reveal the Father: Just like Jesus, we can reveal to others what the Father has revealed to us. This process takes relationship. Great teachers are great learners. Read the Bible. Be in communication regularly with God through prayer. Ask that He reveal Himself to you more and more every day. Hunger for His presence. Share the revelation with those you come into contact with.
- Reveal the truth: Embrace what Jesus has done for you. Take off the clothing of the old man. Lean into the truths of God. Allow Jesus to heal your fractured heart and make it whole in your new, true identity. Understand and walk in the authority the Father has given to you.
- Fight for unity out of love: You are human and, like your Father, you crave relationship. Don’t listen to the lies of Satan. We are not divided. We are one. He is defeated. We are victorious. Jesus wants us to be united and that means unity is attainable. Love is the driving force for unity. Go out into the world and love.