The Reason Our Joy Is Not Complete

May 31, 2017

John 15

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

CONSIDER THIS

Before the Kingdom of Heaven is a place, it is a people, and before it is a people it is a person. In fact, there is no such thing as a person apart from other persons. As the African Ubuntu saying goes, “A person is a person because of other people.” Sure, we can be individual human beings in and of ourselves, but to be a real person is another thing altogether.

More than anywhere else in Scripture, this final discourse in John’s Gospel reveals to us the interrelationships of the persons of the Trinity. There is no Son apart from the Father. There is no Father apart from the Son. And there is no Spirit apart from the Father and the Son. To speak of the interrelatedness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to speak of love. This is why John will later declare in his short sermon (aka 1 John) “God is love.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is the manifest presence of the interrelated persons of the Trinity. Now, for the Kingdom of Heaven to be upon the Earth, the interrelated persons of the Trinity must manifest their presence through the interrelationships of human beings. The Kingdom of Heaven does not come through a person but through persons. There is simply no such thing as love outside of relationship.

“On Earth as it is in Heaven,” must mean only one thing: the love enjoyed between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit moving, manifesting and infusing itself in and through the interrelationships of human persons to the end of complete joy.  Is this not precisely what Jesus says here?

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

This is how Jesus will pray for us two chapters later in John 17:20-21. 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 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.

The Love of God is the supernatural logic of the Kingdom of Heaven. Last will be first, the servant will be greatest, down is the way up, smallest seed becomes greatest tree, to give is to receive, losing one’s life means finding it, ask and receive, seek and find, knock and the door opens.

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who has revealed to us everything that matters. Grant that our understanding might become our faith and that our faith might become our experience. Lord, we must know your love to share it and yet the more we share the more we know. Come Holy Spirit and bring us into this blessed joy. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What captures your attention in today’s text and reflection?
  2. A person is a person because of other people. React to that statement. See the difference between a human being and a real person?
  3. Why would you say our joy is not complete?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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