By: Rob Peralta
I believe John's relationship with the Lord transcended a "normal" follower relationship. It was an elevated spiritual "at one with Jesus" relationship. As we will look into this relationship we will see John "got it"! He was the closet to Jesus during His 3 years mission work. He understood Salvation above and beyond all the Apostles. A truly "beloved" of the Lord.
As we will shortly see John had a COMPLETE knowledge of the "basics essentials" of Salvation. - How to LOVE the Lord, how to KNOW the Lord, and he perfectly described the thing we need to avoid and can seperate us for our Lord---SIN. This was DIVINE work entrusted to this Apostle and perfectly written as planned by him.
We know the Bible is God's book to humanity. His holy words written to guide us towards Him. But His LAST book was "special". Kinda like when someone is going away for a long long time and decides to write their final words to their "loved ones". They know this special message must have impact and heartfelt love and caring. Look who our Lord entrusted to write His LAST message in His book to humanity ( Revelation) --- John!
John was one of the 3 Apostles to witness the transfiguration. We find Jesus entrusting him to watch His earthly mother. He is believed to be the ONLY Apostle to be standing at Jesus' cross. So we know Jesus had great trust and faith in John. And John would not let Jesus down. He heard Him well both during Jesus' life and AFTER, hence the Lord trusting him to write Revelation.
But let's now look at what John wrote concerning HOW TO LOVE JESUS.
(1 John 5:3) " For this is the LOVE of God, that we KEEP His Commandments, and His Commandments are not burdensome". Many times I am in debates with Sunday keepers and they frequently say "We can't keep His Commandments, we're human, we are prone to sin". Well if we "can't" keep His Commandments they ARE BURDENSOME! They are too difficult to keep, this word of God is lying, make sense? Ofcourse not. If something is not a burden, it is not difficult to do, right? Now add to the fact that by keeping them , we show we LOVE Him, then it is totally doable!
(John 14:15) " If you love me, KEEP My Commandments". There it is! The most simple straight forward instructions FROM OUR LORD on how to LOVE Him. John made sure not to miss making sure he wrote this! Notice Jesus did not say " If you love me keep some of My Commandments".
(John 14:21) "He that has My Commandments and KEEPS them, he it is that LOVES me, and shall be loved by the Father, and I will love him, and will REVEAL Myself to him". What I find very interesting here is that our Lord connects keeping His Commandments with Him SHOWING Himself to us. Amazing and quite a PROMISE! I personally can fully attest to this being true.
So we can see John clearly wrote that "love" is showing we obey His word, and specifically HIS COMMANDMENTS.But the most pointed and also dangerous (for non-believers in keeping His Commandments) scripture John wrote was ( 1 John 2:3-4) " This is how we KNOW we know Him, if we KEEP His Commandments, he that says 'I know Him' and does not keep His Commandments , is a liar, and the truth is not in Him". Now that begs the question - If we don't know Him, can we be saved by Him? Jesus answered this question ( Matt 7:22) " Many will say 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name , and cast out demons, and done many wonderful works? And I will say to them, I NEVER KNEW YOU, depart from Me, you who PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS "(transgressing His Law).
John understands just what "salvation" truly is and tries to say in the most simple and understandable way just what we must DO to know and keep this Salvation. He carefully says what sin is in the following words ( 1 John 3:4) " ...SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW".
The whole point of Jesus dying on the cross was because we were sinners (transgressing His and His Father's Law). So now that Jesus paid our price with His great sacrifice, do we go on continuing to "sin" (transgress His Law)?? Or do we say " Thank you SO MUCH my Lord for what you did for me, now I want to LOVE you and know you and be with you". If this is our attitude we read John's word and know EXACTLY what to do , right?
You see I have a choice, I can "love" Jesus my way or His way. Which would you do? Would you do things that go against His word (transgress His Law) and PRESUME you are loving Him? Or would you trust in HIS WORD and love Him as he said to do? I think it is a no-brainer. Let us be like His beloved Apostle and understand this powerful truth--- Commandment keeping equals an eternal LOVE relationship with our Lord.
I will leave you with this truth. In God's last book (Revelation) He leaves us a LAST INSTRUCTION on how to make it to heaven, here it is--- (Rev 22:14) " Blessed are they that DO His Commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city". Don't make things complicated. Be like John and have this simple and true understanding. The Lord loved John greatly and He will love you just the same if you obey Him and keep His Commandments, amen.