Love and Obedience vv9-10
Jesus takes the teaching of “The Vine and the Branches” deeper. Going beyond the illustration, He makes clearer the expectations He has of his disciples. Abiding in Him is more clearly seen as abiding in His love. Jesus is our example in this. His love relationship with the Father, evidenced in His following the Father’s lead, is our example. We are to love Jesus by following His lead. He is our Lord. Again, we see as we did in 14:15, obedience is the key to our relationship with God. It is not that obedience facilitates our relationship, it characterizes it.
The nature of this obedience-love relationship reminds me of parenting. There are three basic ways to parent a child: (1) Let the child lead. This leads to a spoiled brat, which in turn leads to a terrible person. (2) Lay down a law. This approach leads to moral children in turn leading to religious, proud, disdainful people. (3) Guide the child through choices. This produces a discerning child, leading to a loving person.
Since God is the perfect Father, he guides us this way. He does not let His people simply do as they please, secure in the knowledge that all of their sin and screw-ups will be cancelled out so they can live as the sinful world without fear of judgment. He also does not lead us as some sort of legalistic, pharisaical, rule giver. That would make Christianity just another religion of people brainlessly following a secret knowledge, avoiding costly error but never really living in the world impacting it for the better.
Instead, God leads us lovingly through the decisions we face every day with the guidance of His Word, Jesus’ perfect example, and the Holy Spirit pointing us to the obedience of love.
Our relationship to Christ is based on our dwelling in His love and following the lead of His love, obeying His desires.