9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. John 15:9-17 NLT
Love is wonderful. In fact… 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NLT) Love is so amazing that when we are touched by it, we can’t help but respond in some way. We can respond emotionally such as when the gentle love of a mother comforts us during a heartbreak or a failure. We might respond joyfully when the love of a child is expressed with laughter while being tickled until they just can’t stand it anymore. Love causes us to respond in kind when someone reaches into our lives during our time of great need allowing us to breathe a little easier knowing that they have our back. Being touched by love is always life altering.
We experience love from many different people, such as a spouse, a parent, a friend, a co-worker or neighbor. Love from anywhere, as long as it is true love, is amazing. The bible tells us that God “is” love. This definition of love is perfect and we can see how God, in his fullness, is all the love that we need. Unfortunately, we often times look for love in all the wrong places. This is because we all long for love and desperately need it every day of our lives in order to feel whole. God created us that way. When we do not have love, or rather feel as though we are loved, we know it instantly. Something feels out of balance, a little off, and it usually hurts emotionally. The power of love is so strong that even in its absence we are affected by it.
That’s why this passage, John 15: 9-17 is so important in our understanding of who we are in Christ, and who we are called to be in Him. Just look at vs. 9. What a powerful, amazing, humbling truth that we all must understand in order to see the Father and the Son for who they really are.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” Said Jesus.
This passage is full of so much depth and richness that we could actually spend volumes unpacking the meaning of Jesus’ words. In it, we see the Father’s love. The same love that created us out of nothing and planted us in paradise so that God could walk alongside of his creation. It was the father’s love that gave us the beautiful promises over the descendants of Abraham, along with the covenant of Moses that governed the Jewish nation for thousands of years. This same love sent the prophets to declare the coming of the messiah, the one who would bring us closer to redemption and eternal life to all who simply believed in the perfect blood of God’s son.
Jesus echoes that same love for us every day, even though it is our sin that brought separation between him and his father. The love of Jesus did for you and me something that we could never have done for ourselves, let alone for the ones that we love. It’s inside of the Son’s love that we have grace and mercy, two pillars of the new covenant, a covenant that has brought us into God’s presence through his Holy Spirit. I could go on and on about the historical, prophetic, powerful, and life giving attributes of the Love of God that Jesus is referring to. Each one of us could take years just learning about God’s love because the love of God is that dynamic and special, but it’s also very simple to understand. When you experience his love, it’s not complicated it all… it’s very natural and beautiful. Keeping in this simplicity we come to the end of verse 9 where we see a command given to us by Jesus.
“Remain in my love.”
I say it’s a command because really, as both slaves and friends of the King, we don’t have an option to ever step out of his love. This is actually one of the interesting points to this passage. Why would Jesus have to say this command to us? After all, we can’t ever get away from God’s love. Not only is the holy spirit everywhere at all times since the day of Pentecost, but we also know that God is alive and sovereign, working all things together in his plan of redemption and wrath over humanity. It’s his love that captures our hearts and sets us free. So, why even bring this up? That answer is easy, but also and indictment over each one of us. Jesus commands us to stay, or abide, in his love because he knows that we often lose sight, either by choice, circumstances, or our own sin nature of his perfect, powerful and awe inspiring love over us. We, you and I, actually do not do a great job of remaining in the Love of God.
What a hard thing to admit to, but it’s absolutely the truth. We all would rather find rest in the arms of a loved one before finding rest in the perfect love of God. I can say this with confidence because as fallen people we have all, at some point or another, not sought the presence of God during our time of need, when it is God’s presence, and thus his love, that was actually the only place where we could find peace. I’m not suggesting that we don’t have great intentions to abide in Jesus at all times, but our actions prove, time and time again, that we are terrible at this very thing. Jesus commands us to remain in his love because he knows that it’s only his love that we need at all times. It’s important to take note of the fact that Jesus knows what’s best for you and I, and in this area of abiding in him, we must follow his guidance. By doing so, not only will we be obedient to our King, but we will be touched by the greatest thing this earth has ever been touched by… God’s love.
Why is it so important for us to understand God’s Love?
Why is it necessary for us to follow the commands of God?
How can we abide in the love of God more completely?
How would you day be different if you followed this command from Jesus?