“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (verses 23)
This promise has a familiar ring, reverberating all the way from the beginning of John’s Gospel. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). It’s a summary statement of Jesus’ whole ministry. He is “Immanuel”, God with us. Or, as Eugene Peterson put it, he “moved into the neighbourhood.”
The words here in John 14 are different, but the concept is the same. The “neighbourhood” in this case is our own life. Father and Son together move right in. Wow!
Jesus tells us this is the case for each one who loves him and obeys his teaching – we will “make our home” there, Jesus says. This phrase, recorded by John, uses a word whose root means to “remain, abide, dwell, take up residence.” It’s the very same word we’ve heard on Jesus’ lips earlier when he said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2). He told us there that by going through the cross he would prepare one of those “rooms” for us, a permanent place in which we can dwell for all eternity – we’ll be at home in the Father’s house.
In the same way, just like that, Father and Son choose to take up settled residence in us. Right now. Right here. Amazing.
When we put that together with what Jesus has already told us about the Spirit (he will come to us, not only to be with us, but to live within us), then we understand the very fullness of the Triune God himself has come to dwell in the heart of our lives. Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made themselves at home. It’s staggering.
I hasten to add that we’re never meant to be buddy-buddy with our Lord. We always need to remember he is the Sovereign Lord, Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, King over all. He is awesome and glorious. Beyond our comprehension. He deserves our worship. He commands our allegiance. He requires our obedience.
And yet, at the same time we cannot avoid the fact that he moves in with us. This is what Jesus tells us. There is a certain openness of life and honesty, indeed familiarity, that comes when you share living quarters. While those on the outside may form their own perspectives of who you are, those inside the house know the reality much better. And when you live with the Triune God, you know he sees right into your heart, with no masks, and no hiding.
Wonderfully, he intends that we would know him intimately also – that’s why he’s moved in. Our powers of perception are not infinite and transcendent as are his, but he has come to be with us that we might grow to know him. It will take time, but he is here to allow it to happen.
So, nurture the relationship. Read the scriptures and hear his voice. Lay out your prayers, knowing he is present, listening intently. Live life, aware of his closeness. Share your heart. Listen for his. Choose to do what pleases him, knowing he is right at hand. And know that you are embraced in love that will never let you go.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit – welcome. I am amazed that you choose to dwell here with me. I am so aware of my own imperfections, my own failings. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that your death has prepared the way for this ongoing fellowship. Welcome. Be at home. Do all the renovating you choose. I gladly submit to your presence.
Reflect: How can you live in this attitude of “welcome” all day? How will you remind yourself of the ongoing presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in your very life? How will you nurture the relationship?