There are some verses so “simple” we’re tempted to look right over them.

Image courtesy of Abode Stock, modified by author

Have you ever thought about that?  We (pastors and Bible teachers) assume they are self-explanatory and therefore we don’t need to talk about them.

But is that right?  Are some verses so simple and easy to understand that we can skip over them?

We’re still at the Last Supper in our study through John’s Gospel. This is the final meal Jesus would have with His disciples before the Crucifixion (and where we’ve been in our study for several weeks).  And today, we’re at one of those “simple verses.”  It’s short and sweet: John 14:15

If you love me, keep my commands.

John 14:15
New International Version

Seems easy enough, right?  There’s the condition: “if you love me.”  Then there’s the action: “keep my commands.”

Here’s the application: do that.

Shortest blog post ever, right?

Jesus is about to go away—He had been saying that.  And in these final hours, this was very important.  Just as the world will know we are His disciples by our love for those in the church (John 13:34), we will know we are His disciples by our love for Him.

And Jesus qualifies this love for Him with a key phrase “keep my commands.”

Without any question, these are the words of God Himself.  In the Old Testament, it was the Lord who told His people to “obey.”  In creating a special people who represented Him on the earth, He gave specific commands to them.  We call this section of the Old Testament “the Law.”

It was not a burden to the people but a blessing.  It told the people how to live as His covenantal people.  When God’s people lived by these decrees, the lifestyle produced would be a righteous one.  In other words, they would be imitating the Lord Himself. 

He’s telling us: if you love me, you’ll look like me.

Images from Adobe Stock and graphic created by author

Wait.  What?

Yep. Not literally, of course, but in our behavior, demeanor, outlook, faith, and adherence to the mission of Jesus.

In the Old Testamant, the people of God repeatedly failed to look like the Lord.  The people couldn’t do it, so Jesus—God the Son—came to us.  But the standard of living didn’t change—holiness was still the expectation. 

The most significant difference is the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said it was better for Him to go away so we could receive the Holy Spirit.  We now have the power to live a godly life in a way the saints of the OT never could.  We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us!

We need the Holy Spirit to help us do this because our love for Him is pretty shallow otherwise.  Without the Holy Spirit, we’re prone to go our way and blame the Lord for letting us stumble.

But the Holy Spirit allows us to love the Lord and keep His commands.  The link between loving the Lord and obeying Him forms a definition and a self-administered test.

Do you want to know if you love the Lord?  Then ask yourself, “Am I keeping His commands?” Jesus said we would know we are His if we keep His commands.

We need the Holy Spirit to help us, right?

Therefore, simple?  Yes.  Easy.  By ourselves, hopeless.  With the Holy Spirit, possible.