In John’s Gospel we hear the “secret” of Jesus’ own joy, a joy that he wants to share with his disciples. We are surprised that this joy is rooted in keeping his Father’s commandments. In other words, Jesus describes his way of remaining connected to God’s love by honoring the Father’s deepest desires. The obvious conclusion: we are invited to know this same joy which belongs to those who honor God’s deep purposes expressed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Letter of John continues this same theme. To “believe” Jesus is to love and obey God as Jesus did. This is not as carrying some heavy burden, but living as children who love and respond to the wishes of a parent who loves and cares for them.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we see one example of what it looks like when disciples obey God. Peter was led by the Spirit to respond to the request of non-Jews to come visit them, and on hearing the message about Jesus they too are baptized and receive the joy of Christ as the Spirit comes to them.
Comments: Jesus shows us that God is our loving Father, who desires that we enjoy his love. By making ourselves at home in that love, trusting this to be true, we can find deep security and peace. Jesus also shows us the human side of that equation. We resonate with the love of God by keeping his commandments – that is – by honoring God in our love and work. My daily struggle is that it is usually not my first impulse to remember God’s great love as I find myself very distracted and concerned with the challenges in my life and my world. Once more I am reminded to “seek first God and his kingdom” before I run off to seek all the other things that seem necessary.