Keeping the Word on Pentecost

By Rev. Eric Brown

“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.”

So often today when we hear that word “keep” we simply replace it in our minds with “do” or “obey”. Which is a shame, because that puts the focus on our actions, when in reality the word “keep” points to something other than ourselves. To “keep” something isn't merely to do actions, but it is to view sometime as vital, important, and worthy of your attention.

Consider – in soccer there is the “goalkeeper” – and goalkeepers don't do any goals, but rather their job is to pay attention to and protect the goal. Or a housekeeper – they don't do or make a house, but rather they look after the house, pay attention to it. Or perhaps you have a “keepsake” - something that is precious to you, that you keep close to you.

While striving to obey commandments is a fine thing, it's not the full point. Jesus wants you to keep, to pay attention to His Word. All of it. Not only the Law but also the Gospel as well. And why? Because it is precisely through the Word that you receive the love of God. It is through the Word that the Father and Jesus come to you and make their home with you – how the Lord will bless you and keep you.

In fact, that really is the point of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is given so that we are made to pay attention to the Word. And really, this keeping of the Word isn't our action, it isn't something that comes about by our reason or strength, but the Holy Spirit calls, enlightens, sanctifies, and... keeps us in the one true faith by making us hear the Word. In fact, what's the first thing Peter does when the Spirit comes upon him on Pentecost – proclaim the Word of God – cite the prophet Joel.

The Word is God is precious, it is the promise of His love to us over and over in Christ Jesus, who has taken away our sin by His death and given us life by His resurrection. Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word!

Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.

Created: May 30th, 2017