“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (verses 21)
Real friendship happens when you open the door of your life to someone else. You let them know what makes you tick. You share thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams and struggles and hardships – increasingly, you share it all. The more life you live together and the more interior world you share, the stronger the friendship.
Jesus says he intends to do this with the one who follows him. “I will show myself to him.” Another translation says, “I will disclose myself to him.” This is the language of friendship.
The Greek word John uses means “to make visible, display, show.” It’s the source of our English word “emphasis.” When you emphasize something you highlight it so people can see. That’s what Jesus plans to do with his own life for the sake of his followers.
The word gets used a number of times in the New Testament to speak of Jesus’ resurrection appearances. Tangibly and concretely he showed himself to his disciples on those occasions. It was a fulfilment, in time and space, of this Upper Room promise.
But it doesn’t end there. Jesus’ promise opens the door to deepening, ongoing relationship. That’s his intent.
In the centuries before Jesus’ day, the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek and this particular word was used twice over in Moses’ impassioned request to the Lord God Almighty to see him and know him.
“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so that I may know you and continue to find favour with you” (Exodus 33:13), he pleads. “Teach” is our word. “Make your ways clearly visible to me” – that’s what Moses is asking, with the desire that he will then “know” the Lord, which is an extremely poignant request for deep intimacy.
And then he gets even more pointed. “Now show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). It’s the very thing Jesus now promises his disciples. And us.
In Moses’ case, the Lord hid him in a cleft of the rock and then allowed his full glory to pass by in front of him. As he did, the Lord spoke out an expanded description of his name, making himself known, disclosing himself to Moses, just as he had requested. He then revealed his heart and will, giving Moses the Law carved on tablets of stone. He showed himself.
Revelation is what Jesus promises us, too. He will make himself known that we might see more of his glory, more of his heart, more of his will.
So step further in. Love him. Obey his commands. Then watch. Keep eyes on Jesus to be drawn ever deeper in relationship with the One who is Lord of all.
Lord Jesus, thank you that this is your intent – you want to make yourself known to me. Praise your name. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I may know you better. This is your desire – thank you.
Eyes Open: Pause to reflect back on some of the things Jesus has already shown you about himself. Give thanks. Then, keep eyes open all day to see more. Pause once or twice during the day to read a portion from John’s Gospel. Watch for what he shows you. Give thanks. Watch for more.