I have Loved You
June 9, 2022
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My 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 I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:9-11).
As a child, I asked my mother one day if Jesus really loved me. She said that He does. I asked her how much Jesus loved me. She said, “Jesus loves you so much, He stretched out His arms and died for you.” She, of course, was referring to His crucifixion, which is the expression of God’s great love for us. (Romans 5:8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Quite often we think of the great love of Jesus for us, that He would die on a cross for us. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends (John 15:13). Jesus became that example for us - He laid down His life for us. We also think of the great love of God the Father for us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). He sent Jesus to die for us, as is also affirmed in Romans 5:8. But Jesus said in 15:9, As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you. What does this mean? How are we to understand this?
First, the word ‘love’ is agape. As we noted earlier, this word expresses the highest level or form of love - it is godly love. The primary characteristic of this love is not feelings (as it is in philo love), but the will; to love with agape love is to willfully find one’s joy in the object of that love. Biblical ‘joy’ is chara. It is a cheerfulness that expresses itself in calm delight. While happiness is circumstantial and often superficial, joy is relational and permanent. Agape love is not based on one’s looks, power, wealth, abilities, etc., but on one’s willingness to find their delight in another person by entering into a relationship with that other person. God loves whom He loves because He chooses to love whom He loves. (1 John 4:10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Second, the Father loves the Son eternally. Their relationship is built on love because they are love - it is the primary characteristic of their essence. (1 John 4:16) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Forever the Father and the Son love one another. Forever the Father and the Son love those upon whom they have placed their love; that love can never fade or be destroyed. (Romans 8:38-39) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Philo love (friendship love) can be ruined, lost, and destroyed. Agape love, the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus, abides forever. Amen.