If you love me, you will obey what I command. (Jn 14:15)
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. (Jn 14:21)
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. (Jn 14:23)
When Jesus says something three times in nine verses you'd better believe He means it!
Under the New Covenant our love and obedience are inseparably intertwined. Our obedience to the New Covenant is evidence of our love for Jesus while our love for Him prompts our obedience.
In Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, there are four different words for love.
The Four Loves
Storge is natural affection, the kind of love that a parent has for a child. This is not the word Jesus uses in this passage.
Eros, a word we're more familiar with, means passionate love and applies to intimate relationships. Again, this word is not the one Jesus uses here.
Philia, the root of the name of the American city Philadelphia, means friendship or fraternal love.
The word Jesus actually uses in these verses above is agape. It means sacrificial love and was specifically adopted by early Christians to refer to the love of God.
Love and Obedience
It's not hard to see that agape love and obedience are tied up together. In Gethsemane and on Golgotha we see Jesus' love for the Father and for us bringing about the obedience that took Him to the cross despite His plea, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Jesus is asking for that same kind of love from us if we are to participate in the New Covenant.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matt 16:24
Today, there are people around the world who literally take up their cross for Jesus. Arthur Blessitt was possibly the first but others have done something similar. While this is undoubtedly a productive ministry it wasn't what Jesus' first hearers would have imagined. In the first century the only place someone was going if they were carrying a cross was ... to death. No-one listening to Jesus would have had any doubt that Jesus was demanding a level of commitment that requires the willingness to pay the ultimate price. As Paul put it:
You are not your own; you were bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).
The New Covenant was sealed in the blood of Jesus. That was the cost of our salvation. Why should we feel anything but a desire to give our all for Him? In the words of Don Francisco:
Love is not a feeling it's an act of your will.