John 13:17 “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Jesus wasn’t stingy in His teaching; He taught deep truth even to the multitudes. However, He often included things like, “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:15) In other words, not everyone was capable of receiving what He had to say. To His chosen apostles He said, “Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” (Matthew 13:16) In other words, they had the capacity to receive what He was giving them. However, it doesn’t stop there. Judas was one of the 12, yet he didn’t fully appropriate and apply what he heard. Jesus’ half-brother James hit the nail on the head: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) Coming back to this verse, if we fail to apply and live out the truth we know, we miss the blessing. I’m not sure this is a matter of salvation as such, but rather a matter of the abundance that God has prepared for each of His children. Now, I’m NOT talking “Prosperity Gospel” here, at least not in the sense of finances. I am totally convinced that “Where God guides, He provides,” but finances are just a small part of the picture, and focusing on them for any reason can blind us to what God is really saying to us. Jesus had just given His disciples a graphic illustration, with commentary, of servant leadership. With the exception of Judas, each would go on to be highly revered by many, and Jesus wanted them to understand what sort of leaders they needed to be, if they were to participate in the flow of God’s grace and power. In a sense, we don’t really know until we do.
This certainly applies to me, but it’s equally not exclusive to me. My father did his PhD dissertation on the usage of en Christo and related phrases in the Greek New Testament, but he told me he didn’t really know what it was to be “in Christ” until after he was a missionary in Japan. I personally believe the experience he was referring to was his baptism in the Holy Spirit, though to my knowledge he never spoke in tongues. (He spoke in quite a few languages, but all of them were human.) He had a great deal of knowledge of God’s truth, but the full blessings came after he applied that truth to live it out. I likewise grew up steeped in the Bible, but had difficulty grasping the difference between knowledge and action. In the 60+ years since I was baptized, I have indeed learned the truth of what Jesus told His disciples after He washed their feet.
Father, thank You for the depth of Your Word, that it keeps getting better and better the more I get into it and let it get into me. Help me indeed do it, applying Your truth more and more consistently in every situation, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!