Part 7: Apocalyptic Love; John 14:8-26
Vs. 21 “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.”
I once urged a group of extended family members to take an excursion. I wanted to show them a beautiful waterfall that cascades onto a remote beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It was near the end of summer when the day outing finally arrived. The long drive on twisting roads was followed by a hike through forests of towering cedars and Douglas fir. Reaching pristine Mystic Beach we trekked along the shoreline to the end of its span, just before a sea cave marks the beach’s limit. Looking up, a dozen pairs of eyes scanned the salal-covered cliffs. That day, though, only a few drops of water dribbled down the clay bank, landing in a rust-coloured puddle before being absorbed into the sand. Where was the cascade? Where was the tumbling surge of falling water? The waterfall had dried up into virtually nothing. The day’s objective had dismally failed us.
As we come to this verse in Jesus’ prospectus of promises for followers of His we come to a very important objective; it seems to be a sort of waterfall of cause and effect correlations. I see a cascading culmination of action and reaction like torrents of water falling over rocks and cliffs. Stay with me. I want to explore this metaphor that seems to illustrate some important truths for people like us. Praying people. Followers of Jesus. We might be in for some amazing scenery.
We’ll label this promise ‘Apocalyptic Love’. The word apocalypse does not mean a catastrophic destruction or end of the world, as its usage by the media seems to imply. It means to uncover or reveal. Apocalypse comes from the Greek; its counterpart, ‘revelation’, comes from the Latin.
Here, Jesus is uncovering for His friends a promise that has previously been hidden. He is saying that He, God of the universe, Father, Son and Holy Spirit will embrace us in a new level of love. This relationship will include revealing Himself to us. Think that through again: Jesus promises to love us, and to show Himself to us. It is a revealing love, an ‘apocalyptic love’. This is the pool at the base of the most beautiful coursing waterfall in which mankind ever bathed: God’s love for us. We don’t merely view it; we are invited to submerge ourselves in it. If the thought is breathtaking, what must the experience of it be?
Now, I’ve said it is a cascade of cause and effect correlations, so what lies upstream?
Jesus describes the subject (“whoever”) as anyone who has His commands and obeys them. So that means anyone, and is delightfully inclusive. But it also means only those who obey Him, and that is decidedly exclusive. In regard to His commands, He has been very clear. He is on record as having clearly described His laws of love: We must love God first and foremost; we must love our neighbour; and finally, as members of God’s family, we must love each other. Our lives must be a cascade of love, gushing surging, overflowing, spilling out, getting everything wet within sight.
I like this picture. More than that, I believe it. I’m staking my life on it. It’s nothing like the fickle waterfall at Mystic Beach, its vibrancy dependent upon the whims of season and nature. This image is the essence of life. It’s a promise, and I want to be fully available and open to it. How about you? Want to come along?