how is it that God has chosen to reveal himself through Jesus to His faithful followers…but not to the rest of the world?
maybe that is the question the Church has been asking for too long.
the sad thing is that it is not a new question…and it was answered a little less than 2000 years ago by Jesus himself. but before we get to this revealing and revolutionary answer…let’s get some context.
after telling his disciples that he was preparing to go to a place where they could not immediately go (he was preparing them for his imminent death) Jesus says in John 14:15, “if you love me, keep my commandment.” the word commandment is from the greek entole, which means commandment, direction, or instruction.
again…a few verses later in John 14:21…Jesus says the same thing a different way, “he that has my commandments (entole), and keeps them, is he that loves me.”
Jesus is being very clear here. those who love me…are those who keep my commandments. pretty straight forward.
but somehow this must have caused some confusion and questions for the disciples. how would simply following the commandments of Jesus change the world? how would the rest of the world come to know God in flesh if he only reveals himself to a small band of nobodies who only keep his commandments? how will just “keeping my commandments” revolutionize the world?
HOW WILL THE WORLD KNOW HE IS GOD IF WE ONLY KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS!
something did not compute with the disciples. somehow…simply “keeping my commandments” didn’t rise to the level of impact…or magnitude…of what they would expect from the God-man. maybe they were expecting a celestial celebration with the fanfare of angels for the world to see and know…once and for all…that Jesus is Lord…who knows?
of course…no one said anything. maybe they were too numb after their Rabbi told them he was leaving. but there is always one person in the room that has the guts to ask the tough question. everyone is always looking at that person…just waiting to see if he will ask what everyone else is thinking. and then he said it…
“how is it that you chose to disclose (or manifest) yourself to us…and not to the whole world?” asked Judas (not Iscariot). Judas (not Iscariot)…nails the biggest question…that was not only on the minds of the disciples but on the (maybe unconcious) mind of modern day Christians.
let me translate this for the Church today:
Jesus…how is it that God has chosen to reveal himself through you to us…the Church…but not to the rest of the world?
Jesus’ answer is brilliant…and as applicable now as it was then. remember before…Jesus said, “those who love me keep my commandments.” NOW Jesus says, “if a man loves me, he will keep my logos.” the Greek word logos means Word.
in essence…those who love me will keep my Word.
where is the first time in the gospel of John that the word logos appears?
In the beginning was logos (the Word), and logos (the Word) was with God, and logos (the Word) was God. John 1:1 KJV
And logos (the Word) was made flesh, and dwelt among us. John 1:14 KJV
the answer that Jesus gives Judas (not Iscariot) sends shockwaves and a new level of understanding to his disciples…and to us. in the beginning was the Word. the Word was with God. the Word was God. the Word BECAME FLESH in Jesus. it is not enough that we keep his commandments if we love him. if we truly love him…we keep his Word and it becomes flesh in our lives AND JESUS IS REVEALED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD THROUGH US!!!
as Christians…we are a lot better at studying the Word…than embodying it. we have all the Bible studies, Sunday school classes, teachings, preachings, and devotionals that we want at any one time. we have a million different translations of the Bible…with every concordance and footnote known to mankind..but we struggle to serve…to embody the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives…and take it to the world. what good is the knowledge that we study and hear…if we don’t embody it?
we like to outsource our service of the poor, outcasts, oppressed, marginalized, and victimized to social services agencies, health care organizations, and governments and then we send a check (but only if it is to a Christian agency…right?). we ought to realize that the Church is not looked at in our society as the one group who specializes in loving, helping, and advocating for the least in the world. far from it. we would rather have intellectual debates about whose doctrine is exactly right…than solve world problems. we would rather “stand against” everything…rather than “stand for” something or someone. and that is how society views the Church. that is not the Church that Jesus died for…and it is tragic.
Jesus died for a Church that destroys the works of Satan by embodying the Kingdom of Heaven…which spreads like wildfire…like a mustard seed. Jesus died for a Church that finds the Kingdom of Heaven and sells EVERYTHING to have it. Jesus died for a Church that rushes into the strong man’s house (Satan’s Kingdom) where the strong man has been bound…while gathering and reclaiming for God what is rightfully His. Jesus died for the Church that is beating down the Gates of Hell…which cannot stand…and is taking Heaven to every dark corner of this planet. Jesus died for a Church with open tables welcoming the outcasts, sinners, tax-collectors, and the prostitutes with self-sacrificial love. Jesus died for a Church that gives a home to the homeless…a drink to the thirsty…and a visit to the prisoner. Jesus died for a Church where logos becomes flesh and the world finally sees Jesus among them healing, loving, and restoring!