What does John 14:15 mean?
ESV: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
NIV: If you love me, keep my commands.
NASB: If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
CSB: "If you love me, you will keep my commands.
NLT: If you love me, obey my commandments.
KJV: If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Verse Commentary:
For such a simple statement, this verse is often exaggerated or ignored. Jesus has been reassuring the disciples as He approaches His impending death and resurrection. Part of that included encouragement—their knowledge of Him was their way to God (John 14:4–6). Those who believe in Him have the opportunity to do "greater works" than even He had done (John 14:12). The phrase immediately before this verse was a conditional promise that Jesus would do anything, provided it was asked "in [His] name." This condition prevents interpretations that make God into a robotic servant of men.

Following directly from that, Jesus connects a person's love for Him with their obedience to His teachings. There are two possible extremes to which this verse can be subjected. One is something like legalism, or works-based salvation. The other is to brush the statement aside as if a person's behavior says nothing about their eternal destiny. Both are wrong. Christ has just made it clear that He, not His followers, is the One responsible for their salvation (John 14:5–6; Titus 3:5). He has also pointed out that legitimate followers still need some level of "cleaning" from sin (John 13:10; 1 John 1:9–10).

Jesus pointedly taught that those who follow Him are obligated to show love for others (John 13:12–15, 34). That is the primary sign of faith to the outside world (John 13:35). Here, He indicates that obedience to His commands is the primary sign of our love for Him. A person cannot claim to know Christ and hate other Christians (1 John 4:20). Nor can someone claim to know Christ while disregarding His teachings (1 John 2:4).

In most earthly situations, this idea is non-controversial. True "pacifists" don't start fights. True "vegetarians" don't eat hamburgers. Incredibly, some object to the suggestion that truly born-again "Christians" don't make a habit of ignoring the teachings of Jesus. The point is not that believers are perfect—far from it (1 John 1:9–10). Nor is the lesson here that good behavior earns or keeps one's salvation (Romans 11:6). It's that a self-labelled "Christian" who lives contrary to the message of Christ is like a meat-eating warmonger who claims to be a "pacifist vegetarian."

The connection between behavior and love for Christ clearly made an impression on John, who echoes it in his letters (1 John 2:3–6; 2 John 1:6; 3 John 1:11). The guidance of the Holy Spirit is key for this obedience (John 14:16).
Verse Context:
John 14:15–31 contains a prediction about the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to this as the Spirit of Truth, and promises that the Spirit will arrive to help the disciples carry on after Jesus is ascended to heaven. Throughout this section, a person's love for Christ, their obedience to His teachings, and the indwelling of the Spirit are intertwined. As in prior statements, Jesus is focused on comfort and encouragement. He will continue to highlight the need to maintain faith, based on all He has said and done so far. Later, after advance warnings about what Christians will face, Jesus will return to describing the work and purpose of the Holy Spirit under the new covenant.
Chapter Summary:
Christ reassures His followers that faith in Him is faith in God. To know Christ is to know ''the way, and the truth, and the life'' (John 14:6). The words, actions, and miracles of Jesus should give Christians confidence to trust that He will make good on His promises. Among those are His guarantee that He is preparing to come for us, so we can be where He is. Jesus also predicts the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is only available to believers, and this Helper acts to guide, teach, and remind us. Both for the disciples, and for future Christians, these words are meant to be comforting during hard times. Since Christ knew, in advance, what would happen, we can be even more confident to trust Him.
Chapter Context:
After completing His public ministry in Jerusalem (John 12:36–38), Jesus has washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:3–5), predicted His betrayal (John 13:21), and foreseen Peter's denial (John 13:37–38). Chapter 14 begins a series of remarks meant to encourage the disciples, in the face of dire warnings. Among these are reminders that Jesus is planning to bring them to be where He is, assurance that He is ''the way,'' and the first explicit promises of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 15 will continue this address, beginning with Jesus' claim to be ''the true vine.''
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/15/2024 11:30:19 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com