Because I Live

We’re going through the New Testament wanting to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. One great aspect of where we are now in the gospel of John is not only that we learn more about the Trinity, but Jesus comes to us on a practical level where throughout this, we will see what difference the Trinity makes in our day to day lives. One of the great dangers of our theology today is that we study the doctrines, but we don’t see the applicational basis of them. If we believe a doctrine, it should have some ramifications in our lives. We’ll see more of those in tonight’s passage, John 14:19-21.

19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever 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.”

Last time, we spoke of the seeing described in the gospel in this portion and said that it does not refer to physical sight. This can also bring us back to John 1:18 when we read that no one has seen God. It would mean that no one has fully understood him, but the Son, who is in his bosom, does fully understand him and has made him known. The world will not see Christ any more in the physical sense, but yet in a play on words, John puts it in a spiritual sense. While he’s away, the disciples will not “see” him either, but they will know of his presence and work as they carry on the ministry he started.

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias speaks of the verse “Because I live, you will also live” as a verse read to him when he was on a bed of suicide. He later found it on a tombstone of one of his relatives. Christ’s promise to his followers is that their life is based on him. This certainly has the resurrection in mind also as Christ is saying that because he is the one who conquers death, they too will conquer death. Christ is telling us something about who he is also in saying that our lives depend on him.

Verse 20 also speaks of the resurrection. The resurrection would be the seal on everything Jesus ever did and said. If he lies in the tomb, then his message was the message of a wicked blasphemer and we need not listen to him. If he rises from the dead, then that means God has given him his seal of approval. Consider again what a unique situation this is. Jesus is saying that his ministry would depend on his resurrection from the dead, a statement no one else made. This is why Paul can say that if Christ is not raised, we are still in our sins. (1 Cor. 15:19)

Finally, based on this, we ought to live as Christ has commanded us to. This does not mean that it earns us his love, but it shows that we have received it. Trusting in Christ as the one representing the new covenant enters one into the fellowship of the love of the Trinity. One is made a new creation and is a member of the family of God, not in the sense of course that one becomes a person of the Trinity, but one experiences the love of God that takes place in the Trinity. There’s an old Celtic tradition that says the Trinity was in a dance of love and man was created that he might join in the dance.

A question arises from one listening to Jesus’s message in that upper room. Tomorrow, we’ll look at it.

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