Summary: Jesus answers the question, ""Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" by giving some characteristics and promises of the Kingdom of God.
“A Kingdom Question” John 14: 22-31
Last week we concluded with Jesus’ statement in John 14:21: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." We saw that loving the Lord Jesus inevitably is connected with obedience to all that Jesus taught (which are his commandments). Loving God is characterized by obedience to Him; it is a result of believing in Jesus, not a requirement. Loving and obeying cannot be separated since true faith is manifested by works. (James 2:14-26)
A Reasonable Question
In verse 22, Judas (not Iscariot but the son of James also known as Thaddeus) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Thomas had just asked Jesus a question in verse 5: "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus’ reply pointed to a spiritual reality: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus’ reply told the disciples that entrance into the Kingdom of God was not through “doing” but was through faith (believing and trusting) in a person, namely Jesus. The entrance into the Kingdom is by trusting Jesus’ works.
Judas’ question shows that he and the others probably were still looking for Jesus to fulfill the popular 1st century Jewish expectations of an EARTHLY Messiah who would deliver them from Roman authority and establish His rule in Israel. Judas’ question correlated with such a view: “Jesus, if you are going to stage a political takeover, how is it that you will only manifest your kingdom to us? It would be kind of hard to keep that private!”
Look at Jesus’ answer in verses 23-31: Jesus answered and said to 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. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. 25 "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.”
God’s Kingdom Defined
Jesus came in the flesh in order to introduce us to the Kingdom of God (synonymous with the Kingdom of Heaven). God’s Kingdom is the active Sovereign rule of God. His rule is not so much geographical as it is God’s dynamic dominion; it is not of this world but yet His rule and reign are active in the hearts and lives of believers in this world. The Kingdom is often described as the NOW and NOT YET. The Kingdom is present in the person of Jesus and His rule is evident in the life of the Church NOW, but it’s greatest aspects are in the future with Christ’s Second Coming, the Judgment and His rule for all eternity. Between Christ’s first coming and His second coming we live in two eras or epochs, that of Adam and fallen man and that of Christ and being brought into the Kingdom of God. POSITIONALLY we are in Christ. We have His righteousness imputed to us. We have been crucified with Him and baptized into His death, and so are joint heirs with Him.
However, PRACTICALLY we still live in a fallen world in a weak physical body…and we still sin…and we will receive the wages of sin, which is death. We already participate in His death, but do not yet participate in His resurrection; we wait expectantly for the hope of our resurrected bodies by faith because Jesus arose.