This was the question asked of the Lord by one of the disciples. The actual question was asked by Judas (not Iscariot):
“But why, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” (John 14:22)
This questions shows certain preconception by Judas that the Lord has somehow favored the disciples, that they have the privilege of getting the insider info from God but the poor world is left out in the cold. Seemingly Jesus’ response does not address the question by Judas, but actually it does in the most clear way. Here is what Jesus replies:
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” (John 14:23)
At first we are left with the impression that Jesus ignores the questions he is asked. But in fact Jesus clearly states that there is not preferential dividing line between “us, the ones that hang out with your Lord,” and them — the ones who are not so lucky to be saved. The divider is very practical, easy to follow and understand – God, reveals himself only to those who love Him a obey Christ’s teachings. It is not enough that we only listen to, ponder, and analyze Christ’s teachings; we must do so and obey these teachings as a result. This way, although church attendance can be a great tool toward obeying Christ’s teachings, it is not set in stone that just attending church services will qualify you as one who is on the “insider circle” of the Lord. If you own a Bible is also great, but not a qualifier, either.
Those who obey Christ’s teaching are those who receive the presence of God and revelation about his ways and salvation. Those are the ones that love God. They are the ones who God loves and therefore makes himself known to them. It is a dynamic process which requires our faith and dedication to Christ’s teaching and obedience to his commands. There is no institutional or doctrinal security that is greater than the clear and simple principle laid out in this passage, that can make us the people of God and true disciples of the Lord Jesus.
One practical lesson we learn from this exchange is that in order to obey Christ’s teachings we must study them and understand them. We cannot obey something we do not know or understand. Thus study of the Scriptures, in order to obey them, is an inseparable part of anyone’s life of true spirituality, faith and sanctification.