It occurred to me this morning that this word “love” too often, I think, rolls off our tongues in order to help us describe a multitude of things, circumstances, and relationships. I wonder if the word has not lost its true definition, and, in so doing, lost its impact.
In our verses today, Jesus makes a very significant statement about His love—both toward the Father and toward those in close fellowship with Him.
When we think of the Father’s love toward His Son, we cannot imagine a greater depiction of the purest love. On a least two occasions that I recall (Jesus’ baptism and the transfiguration), God vocalized his great pleasure with regard to the Son: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. The word pleased carries the idea of deep affection rather than happy with.
That being so, Jesus goes on to state that in a similar way those who are in fellowship with Him experience His love. Perhaps, not in the exact same way as with His Father, but still He demonstrated a pattern of real love toward those whom He calls. The proof of this is related in the remaining verses of this chapter.
First, He loved His disciples by laying down His life for them. This is love to the highest degree. What makes this action on His part greatly different from those whom Paul speaks of : “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die” (Rom. 5:7), is the reality that, while others may have laid down their life for a friend, Christ did it for his enemies.
Secondly, Jesus loved his disciples by taking them into a covenant of friendship with himself (vv. 14, 15). Old Testament Scripture relates that both David and Solomon each had one servant in his court referred to as “the king’s friend.” In truth, all followers of Christ have this name.
Third, His love was demonstrated by the fact that He shared all things with them . . . “All things that I have heard of my Father I have declared unto you” (v. 15). And, though many mysteries remain, be assured that Jesus revealed the Father and His desired will to them.
Last, Christ loved his disciples by choosing and ordaining them to be the primary instruments of his glory and honor in the world (v. 16). The Gospel was entrusted to them. Thus, it became their ministry that it should go forward, produce fruit, and bring glory to the Father.
As such, all who follow Christ Jesus are to “abide in [His] love.” How is that demonstrated in our lives? We should continue in our love toward Him; let His joy remain in us and fill us, and show the world our love to him by keeping His commandments (vv. 10-14).
Think about that . . . I thank my God for each of you.
-Pastor John Roberts
*For your convenience, live links to Bible verses have been created. Just click on the highlighted link to read the Bible verse in a new window.
Please welcome our Sunday morning contributing writer, Pastor John Roberts. John is the pastor of New Hope Fellowship in the great Northwest where he resides with his wife.