"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love." (John 15:9, The Message). Our prayer group meditated on that scripture last night, in amazement. Wow! We were all bowled over by the idea that Jesus' love for us is the same as the Father's love for Jesus. But since God is love, (1 John 4:8) why
are we so surprised? And since God loves us that much, how secure is life now and life in the future? How could that assurance of absolute love help us get through every day? We have answers in God's word, his written love letter to us. Please look with me.
Let's round out the picture. We are loved by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons sharing the same essence and mind. Jesus prayed to his Father (John 17:23) that the world would know that the Father loves his disciples just like the Father loves the Son -- which is totally, intimately, absolutely, securely and passionately, self-giving and open to receiving. So the Father loves the Son, and the Father also loves us.
We know from John 15:9 above, that Jesus loves us (just like the old children's song reminds us). Not only that, he loves us the same way the Father loves him: totally, intimately, absolutely, securely and passionately, self-giving and open to receiving. Jesus suffered with us in life and in his death, showing his willingness to enter into our pain in order to heal our pain, and us, forever.
The Holy Spirit assures us daily that we are loved: "So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, 'Abba, Father.' For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children" (Rom. 8:15-16). Again, wow! How secure is that? Totally! Eternally secure, unending and deeper than we can imagine (even when we try to imagine it!).
Since that love of God for us is true (Jesus is the Truth, John 14:6), then everyday life is about being aware of and responding to that love. If I've been loved that much, then I've been given all I need to love others. Should I love only my friends and "good people"? Well, that wouldn't be loving like Jesus, since he came to love sinners and all people -- none of whom was good! But being aware of his love in me lets me see others as he does, accepting them as he does, (2 Cor 5:16-21), generously sharing his love with all. Awareness of his love could make our lives look like this: "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did" (1 John 2:6). That's what I want. His Spirit in you wants that too!