A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 22:
“Continue Ye in My Love”
In the latter part of John’s Gospel, Jesus gives some of his last mortal teachings to his apostles. These teachings seem to center on the importance of love, keeping the commandments and becoming one. This trajectory will take us through pieces of John 13, with Jesus’s giving of the “new commandment,” through14, 15, 16 where these points will be amplified, climaxing in 17 with Jesus’s offering of the Great Intercessory Prayer.
Beginning in John 13, beginning at verse 34:
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
He here commands the disciples to love one another and indicates that the love they have for one another will be an enduring sign of Christ’s disciples. The sign of Christ’s disciples is thus the manner of community they produce amongst themselves and the love which they manifest for one another within it. Jesus’s teachings in these next few chapters thus seem focused on building Zion or, in other words, a heavenly manner of society.
Continuing in John 14, beginning at verse 15:
15 ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Love for the savior leads us to keep his commandments which in turn is the condition that Jesus prescribed for receiving the ministry of the holy ghost, which will bring the miscellaneous sweet fruits of the kingdom, including Charity (Moroni 7:48), which is an essential ingredient in Zion, because as we come to love more like the Savior loves, we desire to bless and benefit others and come to truly see their good as equal with our own. Keeping the commandments out of love for God prepared the disciples to receive the love for one another characteristic of a Zion society and also helps prevent the offenses which so often rupture the fabric of society as people carelessly harm one another.
Continuing with John 14:23:
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
This community who loves Jesus is thus to have the companionship from time to time of the Son as well as that of the Holy Ghost, but this blessing is expressed as being contingent on love specifically for Christ and keeping his commandments.
Continuing with John 15
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
If we keep Jesus’s commandments (including his commandment to love one another, thus extending a love which originate with God to an increasing span of his children) we will be the continuing beneficiaries of his loving kindness, as Isaiah 54:10 puts it “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”
In John 16:26-27, we read:
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Loving and believing Christ is at the center of our relationship with the Father. It is a fundamental point of agreement that we can enjoy with God.
Finally, we come to John 17, which seems to be the teaching climax of this arc. Beginning at verse 11, Christ will articulate to the Father his desire that his disciples be one.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Jesus desires the apostles and, by application us, to be one as he and his father are one. Thus the great gift which he prayed that his apostles might receive was that the kind of heavenly community and the kind of relationships might exist between themselves that existed between Christ and his Father.
Continuing with John 17:
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
So as we believe on Christ, repent and seek to keep his commandments, the collaborative oneness of the Father and the Son should be an example to all of us. As we have the Holy Spirit with us, we can be united in pursuit of righteous purposes and this unity is once again a sign to all that God is with us, to the extent that we are truly united as we ought to be. Continuing with verse 22,
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Glory is a second essential component of the oneness Christ offers and desires to extend to his apostles. We read in Doctrine in Covenants section 76, the great vision of the Three Degrees of Glory:
92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.
96 And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.
We thus understand that the Lord makes all of those who qualify for exaltation equal in glory. This glory, or the preparation of the ordinances of the priesthood which enables one to receive this glory thereafter, is given in this life in preparation for the next. With the washing of his apostles feet in John 13, the Lord has completed the process of symbolic ordinances to make them clean.
Finally, in John 17:26 “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Declaring the name of God is an important of other heavenly ascent experiences, for example that of Jacob wrestling with the Lord in Genesis 32:
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
By teaching his apostles to love one another and keep his commandments, by administering the ordinances to them and by praying that they might be one just as He and the Father are one, Jesus prepared his apostles not only to come into the presence of the Father but also to build a little piece of Heaven among themselves on earth.