Day 10: May 13, 2017: God at Home in Us
John 14:21-24: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”
In his wonderful sermon for our National Day of Prayer worship service Lowell Kosak talked about “being hospitable to God.” After his resurrection Jesus appeared to, walked and talked with two disciples as they traveled from Jerusalem to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
These men were kept from recognizing Jesus (v. 16) but as they reached their destination they invited him to come into the house and stay with them (v. 29). So, without realizing it, these disciples offered their hospitality to the Risen Lord.
In the same way we must open up our lives and receive Jesus as our Guest who is also our Lord. We practice hospitality toward Jesus by keeping his commands: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me… If anyone loves me, he will keep my word…” Putting the words of Christ into practice demonstrates that our hearts are open, receptive, and submissive. If, on the other hand, our hearts are hard we will close our ears to the word of Christ and refuse to obey him. To disobey Christ is to treat him as an unwelcome stranger. It is to refuse him entry into our home and turn him away from our door. So, it is not merely saying “Lord, Lord” which makes us hospitable toward Christ. Rather, it is doing the will of the Father (Mt. 7:21-23).
To those who keep his word, Christ gives this remarkable promise: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” God will not refuse our hospitality. If we open our lives to him, he will enter, not only to stay for a night, but to take up permanent residence with us.
The Gospel reveals to us that God is Trinity. Theologian Thomas Torrance has characterized the Trinity as the “Communion of Love.” As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit God is, always has been, and always will be an interpersonal communion of self-giving love. The amazing news of the Gospel is that God the Communion of Love, who has no need of anyone or anything outside himself, draws us into his Communion and makes his home with us. Torrance put it like this:
“In his superabounding and overflowing love he does not want to be alone without us or want us to be alone without him. According to the Christian Gospel, then, there is and can be no other God than this God whose very Being is the One who loves us and will not be without us…”
God does not want to be alone without us. God has no need of us, but because He is love he desires our fellowship. God does not want us to be alone without Him. We were created for God. We need God. But we had rebelled against God and left him. If God had left us to ourselves, we would have been left alone to face his wrath. But God did not leave us to ourselves. He sent Jesus his Son to save the world (John 3:16-17). Many within the world do not receive Christ (John 1:10-11). Yet, all those who do receive and believe in Him – that is, all who in hospitality open their lives to Him – are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12-13). Thus it is that God makes his home with us, because the Father is at home when he is with his children, and the children are at home when they are with their Father.
Take time now to worship the God who makes his home with us. This prayer can help you get started: “Eternal and loving God, I am overwhelmed by your grace. I want my life to always be open to you, so help me to keep the commands of Jesus. Each day make your home in me, Lord. Be the Ruler of my life. Draw me deeper and deeper into your Communion. Keep me from having a hard and disobedient heart that turns Christ away. Thank you, God, for including me and enfolding me in your love. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”