Paul tells us in his second letter to Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.” All that which is in the bible, is important for us to know.
When something is repeated within the same verse or chapter, we must take it to mean that this matter is very important. We must know of it; we must learn it.
When something is repeated twice in the same verse or chapter, we must take it as of utmost importance, to be remembered and implemented at all times.
The Hebrew language, in which the Bible’s Old Testament was written, used repetition to symbolise import words, phrases or ideas, rather than adjectives or adverbs. Thus, as Isaiah was taken up to heaven in a dream he records it as follows in Isaiah 6:2-3 “Above it stood the seraphs; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is Jehovah of Hosts; the whole earth full of His glory.” Isaiah here is expressing in the Hebrew language the absolute, the total, the infinite, the completely complete, the indescribably Holiness, of Jehovah. Basically Isaiah is saying that Jehovah is Holy, superlative upon superlative upon superlative forever.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 14, we find the same thing as Jesus explains to the intimates around Him, relationship.
In v15 we read “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Jesus is telling us here a simple clear and unambiguous statement: ‘if we love him, we must keep His commandments’. There is no other meaning. There is no dubiety. Jesus is telling us there that there is an inseparable link, an inseparable bond, between Love and Obedience. ‘If we Love Him, we will Obey Him.’ We can recognise this is a statement of profound importance when it is repeated again six verses later.
v21 reads “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” The word order has changed but the meaning is identical. Jesus is approaching our understanding from a different angle, so that is we missed the relevance of the statement the first time, here it is in slightly different wording – just for us. But wait, He repeats it again two verses later!
v23 reads “If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word.” “Keep my word” here means “obey Me”. Again Jesus is telling us; if we love Him, we obey Him. If we have still not yet got the picture, or got the meaning, or got the understanding of exactly what He I saying and what He is meaning by it, Jesus repeats it once again in the next verse with different words but same imperative meaning “He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” Here He is showing that the corollary is true, no matter how it is phrased; Love = Obedience. As a negative or as a positive statement, the meanings are all the same.
The same sentiment, the same theme, the same underlying thread of Love = Obedience does not stop here, however. It goes on as Jesus continues to speak. v15:10 says “If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
Finally, in v17 Jesus sums up the focus of the teaching for us “These things I command you, that you love one another.”
The Kingly Imperative is simple: ”Love one another.”
If we are in Christ, loving one another is not only obligatory, required and demanded of us, but it is the natural result which grows out of the earlier statement Jesus made in v14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
What has this to do with us? If we are born-again Christian, we are attesting that we both love and obey Jesus as our Lord God and Saviour. We are attesting that we accept Him as King and Ruler over our lives. Whatever a King commands is law. It must be accepted by His people in its totality. We cannot pick and choose which parts of the King’s laws and decrees we will accept and which we will reject. It is a case of all or nothing. If not all, then we are in rebellion against the King and in treason. The penalty for treason is normally death.
If we are born-again Christians we must to love one another. That means we must love every single one of God’s family, whether neighbours or not, fellow countrymen or not, Christians or not, friend or enemies; we need to love them all, or we have no part in Christ.
Thank You Lord that You have known me since the time of creation and You know all my ways, all my comings and goings. Thank You for the words of Jesus which You have provided for me, that I may know how to live this life which You have given me, and live if for You, not for me. Help me please Lord, when I am seemingly unable to love those around me whom I find to be unlovable. Change me from the inside out, that I may be more like Christ and can truly love others as You love me. Help my Lord to see You and recognise You in all other people. Change me Lord, so that others may see You in me. Use me Oh Lord, for the glory of Your Kingdom.
In Jesus might name I pray. Amen and Amen.