Abiding in the Father’s Love
As the Father has loved Me, so have I you.
Jesus just chose the highest possible expression He knows of to tell us how He feels about us. In our minds, this phrase is a nice way to say He loves us, easy to read over quickly. But in Jesus’ mind, the way the Father in Heaven loves Him has no match. It is the ultimate description of love, the Father’s love for Jesus is incomparable anywhere.
And now Jesus tells us He loves us in the same manner.
If we stop to think about this even just a little bit, we quickly realize how incomprehensible this is.
He is illuminating here the breadth and length, the height and depth of His love for us. As the Father loved perfect, sinless, obedient Jesus, so now Jesus loves us. If we think about all that Jesus suffered for us so that we could be with Him where He is, we begin to get insight into the parameters of this kind of love.
But it will take more than our natural comprehension to grasp the fullness of what Jesus meant in John 15:9. If we look at Ephesians 3:16 we find Paul praying for us. He is asking the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our inner being, and in verse 18 he asks that we would have strength to comprehend the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. It requires our inner being to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to comprehend the things of God, especially the love of God.
When I first really paid attention to John 15:9, while reading a devotional by George Bowen from the 1800’s, I knew it would take a supernatural comprehension of this kind of love. I also knew that God wanted me to have that supernatural strength to be able to understand. Knowing what it takes, and knowing that God wants us to have what it takes is vital for our spiritual growth.
We desperately need to know this love of Christ for us. It affects who we are and what we do in our lifetime. In the next line of verse 9 He invites us to “Abide in My love,” and verse 10 He tells us exactly how to abide in His love, which is the same way He abides in His Father’s love.
If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Critical to our Christianity and experiencing the fullness of His joy, is the knowledge that “apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Keeping Jesus’ commandments is not something we are asked to do apart from Jesus, but with Him. Earlier in John 15:5 Jesus says “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Keeping the commandments of Christ results in the world-wide witness of the love of Christ manifested in our lives. It is a testimony of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, that we are abiding in His love. We can love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and we can love others as we love ourselves when it is “no longer I that lives, but Christ that lives in me.”
Jesus kept His Father’s commandments while on earth, and now, as we abide in Him and He abides in us, He continues to keep those commandments through us. And this is what fills us with joy! We are privileged to share in Jesus’ joy of being loved by His Father, abiding in Him and keeping His commandments, when we abide in Christ.