As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
– John 15:9, ESV
Abide in my love, Jesus says – don’t just acknowledge it or talk about it. Abide in it. Soak in it. Dwell on it. Let it fill you like the sap from the vine fills the branches, so that where you are broken or cut it is His love that spills out.
As the Father has loved me
Jesus sets the stage by telling his disciples the scope of his love. It is “as the Father has loved;” a love like God the Father’s love for God the Son. We begin by going beyond comprehension or expression.
“As the Father has loved” is a love eternal, a delight and affection without beginning or end. It was before all things and will continue after all things. “As the Father has loved” is a powerful love, a love that reaches beyond the grave to restore the loved one to life – not only to life but to the position of Name above every name. “As the Father has loved” is a fearsome love, a love that opposes all who oppose the beloved; “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” (Psalm 110:1) “As The Father has loved” is a perfect love, a love that sees only beauty. Jesus says to his followers, stunningly, that love like that – love like the Father has for me – is the kind of love I have for you.
So I have loved you
What more can Christ do to prove this statement than he has already done? He has lowered himself and taken on the form of man. He became the lowest of men, the servant of all. His days on earth were given to ministering to us. He bore the mountain-weight of our punishment. He died willingly in our place. He resurrected and devotes his ascendant life not to his own pleasure but to interceding on our behalf. He is preparing a place for us. With every motion of his life, earthly and heavenly, he has declared, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.”
Abide in my love
But how slow we are to believe, oh brothers and sisters! Caught up in our own hurt, struggle, and inability we have declared ourselves unworthy and unlovable. We confuse pride with humility, thinking that we are called to constantly bemoan our sin and shortcomings so that the Lord will know we’re truly sorry, but this is not what Jesus commanded. He never said, “As the Father has punished me for your sin, so I will punish you” or “abide in your failure”. No, his words were, “Abide in my love.”
It is on the love, the delight that Christ has for us that we are to meditate and dwell.
Any area of our life that we refuse to receive Christ’ love is an area that is kept from the fruitfulness that glorifies him. As Jesus said later in John 15, “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” When we deny the love of Christ in any area of ourselves, that area is disconnected from the vine and can bear no fruit.
Is your past full of wounds that are too painful to think about? Christ’s love is the balm that will heal and restore. Do not think that your past is too far gone to be redeemed.
Does your heart seem to hard to change from its sinful ways? Christ’s love is the forge that melts all metals and burns away all dross. Receive his love.
Do you fear the thoughts and opinions of others? Christ’s love is the shield to circle you round and shelter you. Abide in it.
As His love fills the areas you have kept back they will begin to bear fruit. Wasted years will be returned to you as beautiful years of shaping. Sins will be turned to testimony of freedom. Fear will bear the fruit of beautiful boldness.
My friends, do not cut yourself off! If there is any corner of yourself that you have kept hidden hear Jesus’ words; “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” He speaks it over those corners. In his sovereign knowledge he chose to come to us in love while we were in sin. Hear his call and come to him. Abide in his love.