Thursday, June 18, 2015
How can we know Jesus? We can know Jesus only to the extent that He discloses Himself to us just like in any intimate relationship. Intimacy requires self-disclosure, and self-disclosure only takes place in the context of a committed and trustworthy love. Apart from a commitment to love, there will be limited self-disclosure, so the depth of a friendship depends on love's commitment.
"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (John 14:21).
Obedience to Jesus is the evidence of our love for Jesus. It is not enough to have (εχων) His commands. We must keep (τηρων) them. The "having" and the "keeping" are ongoing actions that prove an ongoing love (αγαπων). My friendship with Jesus does not depend on what others think about me or how successful I am in ministry. My identity does not come from my ministry. My identity comes from my identification with Him. The level of intimacy I enjoy with Jesus depends on my obedience to Him as the proof of my love for Him.
Jesus promises to disclose Himself to those who love Him as demonstrated by our obedience to Him. The word "disclose" (εμφανισω) is in the future tense. Jesus promised to disclose Himself to the disciples in a way that He had not yet disclosed Himself to them although serving together for the past three years on earth. The word means to "reveal" and emphasizes a self-revealing or self-disclosure. It was a word used in the Greek translation of Exodus 33:13 in the context of a theophony - a self-revelation of God. Jesus promised full disclosure of Himself but only to those who love Him.
Jude was shocked (John 14:22). He expected a visible and public revelation of Jesus as God. He could not grasp a self-disclosure that was personal, private and intimate. How could Jesus reveal Himself to those who loved and obeyed Him in a way that He did not reveal Himself to the world? Isn't full messianic disclosure public? This was Jude's expectation. He did not grasp the point Jesus was making about the intimacy of true friendship and the self-disclosure that takes place between friends.
The self-disclosure Jesus promised was a spiritual, personal and private illumination in the heart of a true disciple. Jesus said, "I will disclose Myself to HIM." The word was used figuratively in the Jewish wisdom literature of something that took place in the soul of a person (BAGD, p.257; Bernard, John, p.550). Jesus promised to disclose Himself to those who love Him in the intimacy of a personal friendship. This is the language of the Spirit with our spirits (John 14:26; 16:14-15). It is relational language. The greater our love for Jesus, the more He discloses Himself to us and the deeper our friendship grows.