The one who has my commandments and keeps them—that one is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.”” (John 14:21, LEB)

There is not much that makes your average American cringe more in our day than telling them  that they should be obedient to something or someone.  We pride ourselves on being independent and obedient only to ourselves and our own whims and desires.  Order us to be obedient to anything outside of ourselves and we immediately respond with rebellion, no one is going to tell us what to do.

Consequently, when we come to John 14, reading through Jesus’ repeated point that we cannot love God the Father apart from obedience (vs. 15, 21, 24, 31), it rings in our minds like the sound of Little Johnny maliciously scratching his fingernails on a blackboard while the rest of the class cowers with their hands over their ears [What is a blackboard? the inquiring reader asks, talk to your grandparents].

The Holman Treasury of Key Biblical Words says that obedience means: “to submit to the command of one in authority; it is to be compliant with the demands or requests of someone over us.”  Authority is the key thing here.  We obey because someone in authority commands us to do something, and they have authority to do so.  Best example:  Parents to children.  Children ought to obey their parents because God has given them authority over their own children.

Jesus didn’t ask us to do anything that he was not willing to do himself.  This is Jesus’ own testimony and he makes it in this very chapter:“but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” (John 14:31, ESV)

Let’s face it, it’s rather difficult to complain about something Jesus told us to do when he himself was doing the very thing which he required from us.  Indeed, love for Jesus should make it easy to obey him.  As the Zondervan NIV Study Bible points out: “God’s people obey Jesus because they love him.”