Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. — John 14:22-24
So in yesterday's devotional, We explored the critical balance between "having" and "keeping." We recognized that there are individuals who hear God's word ("have") but may not act on it ("keep"). It's no accident that Judas, not the notorious Iscariot, posed the question we read today. John's Gospel only references him once, which I think is an implicit irony: one Judas embodies the principles of hearing and obeying, while another hears yet betrays.
But this Judas is curious about how others will hear and obey when the manifestation is limited to only a small group of people. Remember that for the last few years, the disciples have been able to see and believe and thus hear and obey because they have walked with Jesus, so Judas cannot reconcile this. Therefore Judas is asking a good question. And Jesus gives him a simple answer that is hard for him to comprehend.
Jesus reveals that future followers, distant from this intimate group, may not witness his presence in the same tangible way. Yet, they will still be able to hear his teachings and act accordingly by embracing and upholding his commandments. Here, Jesus shares an insightful detail—those who hear and act on the teachings, the Father, Son, and Spirit "will come to them and take up residence in them."
Thus we learn Jesus's interaction with believers is going to change. In the Gospel, Jesus has gone from temporarily and physically dwelling with them (John 1:14) to dwelling in all of us (John 14:23-24) to finally preparing a place in eternity for all believers (John 14:2-3).
For non-believers, this concept is hard to grasp. Some believers even fail to get this. Over time, we have tried to capture this meaning with phrases like "Invite Jesus into your life" or proclamations like "Jesus lives in my heart." But trying to capture the Godhead's supernatural residency in us with human words is impossible. But it's not impossible to see or experience, for in the hearing and doing, we encounter the true meaning of it.
So with confidence, know this. If you, like the faithful Judas, hear the word and act upon it, and not merely listen and then betray, like Iscariot, then you are walking the journey of life hand in hand with the resurrected Jesus. His presence is always with us and manifested in new ways daily with ever-increasing glory.
1. Reflecting on Jesus's message about dwelling within those who hear and act on His teachings, how does this impact your understanding of your relationship with God? In what ways do you invite and experience the Father, Son, and Spirit's residency within you?
2. Consider your journey as a believer: are you simply hearing God's word or are you actively keeping it by manifesting it in your actions? What steps can you take to ensure that, like the faithful Judas, you are not merely a listener, but an active participant in living out Jesus's teachings?
DO THIS: Give Jesus access to thoughts, will, and actions by hearing and acting.
PRAY THIS: Dear Lord, grant me the wisdom and courage to not just hear your words, but to truly live them in my daily actions and interactions. May your divine presence dwell within me, guiding my path and enlightening my journey, for your glory and in service to others. Amen.
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