The word manifest is a terribly abused word (check YouTube, for instance.) It is also an interesting word:
1.display or show (a quality or feeling) by one’s acts or appearance; demonstrate: “Ray manifested signs of severe depression”
synonyms: display · show · exhibit · demonstrate · betray · present · reveal · evince
* (be manifested in) be evidence of; prove:
“bad industrial relations are often manifested in disputes and strikes”
synonyms: be evidence of · be a sign of · indicate · show · attest to · reflect · bespeak · prove · establish · evidence · substantiate · corroborate · confirm · betoken
* (of an ailment) become apparent through the appearance of symptoms:
“a disorder that usually manifests in middle age”
* (of a ghost or spirit) appear:
“one deity manifested in the form of a bird”
1.clear or obvious to the eye or mind: “the system’s manifest failings”
synonyms: obvious · clear · plain · apparent · evident · patent · palpable · distinct · definite · blatant · overt · glaring · barefaced · explicit · transparent · conspicuous · undisguised · unmistakable · noticeable · perceptible · visible · recognizable
So, when the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to His disciples and one of them questions Him:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:21-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
It caused me to wonder what manifest meant in that context. Clearly, it means to give evidence. But, in general, it also means to become apparent or, more plainly, to appear. In what manner does Christ appear to those who love Him?
For answers to this question, let’s see what John Calvin says:
And I will manifest myself to him. …Christ’s meaning was, “I will grant to those who purely observe my doctrine, that they shall make progress from day to day in faith;” that is, “I will cause them to approach more nearly and more familiarly to me.”
And, therefore, He reveals Himself to us more and more as we obey His gospel.
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him. …By these words, Christ shows in what manner the Gospel is properly obeyed. It is, when our services and outward actions proceed from the love of Christ…
…A perfect love of him can nowhere be found in the world, because there is no man who keeps his commandments perfectly; yet God is pleased with the obedience of those who sincerely aim at this end.
Though we do not obey perfectly, if our actions proceed from our love of Christ alone, this pleases Him.
And we will come to him who loves me; that is, he will feel that the grace of God dwells in him, and will every day receive additions to the gifts of God. He therefore speaks…[of] those degrees of faith by which believers must continually advance, according to that saying,
To the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance. (Matthew 13:12.)
Abraham und die drei Engel, Anonymous, 17th century, in the public domain in the United States