The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
How am I going to tell if I love Jesus? I mean, if I really really love Jesus? John 14:22-24 is often used to twist our affections around based on this question. Jesus tells his disciple that someone who loves him will “keep” his word. Sometimes this word is clumsily translated “obey.” The word used normally has more to do with valuing and guarding something. In short, the person who loves Jesus is going to care about what Jesus said.
So how do I know if I really love Jesus enough? Often I don’t seem to care what he says. That troubles me. Maybe I don’t really love Jesus. That would be really sad.
Did you catch what I just did? In fact, that’s the kind of internal monologue many of us have on a regular basis. There’s an important key to the statement. “That would be really sad.” Yes, it would. What does that attitude tell us about our concern for Jesus’ word? If we don’t care about it, why would it be sad? It wouldn’t be sad at all.
I know many people who have gone through many times of fear. Fear about whether God will accept them. Fear about whether Jesus really forgave them. “I hope I have been faithful enough.” Let’s put an end to that. No, you are not faithful enough. No, I’m not faithful enough. But it isn’t about me. It’s about Jesus. If we are the least bit concerned about his attitude, we are exactly the people who are valuing Jesus’ word. We love him and he loves us.
What do we do in light of this? Maybe, like this disciple, “Judas, not Iscariot,” when the going gets rough we are going to make ourselves scarce. Maybe, like this disciple, we will later emerge from the shadows. After all, Jesus said he’d be there with us. After all, Jesus said he would care for us. There isn’t really anything to fear. This is the word of the one who sent Jesus. Thanks be to God.