John 15:9

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"As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; abide in My love. " (John 15:9)

This is quite a staggering verse. I read it in my daily readings today, but I've thought about it quite a bit before. There are some ways which we definitely can't say Jesus's love for us is the same as the Father's love for Him:

  • The reason for the love: the Father loves the Son because He is lovely, totally wonderful and worthy of love. Jesus could say that He always did what pleased His Father, and the Father was well pleased with what He saw (John 8:29, Matthew 3:17). But the same can hardly be true for us. The Lord Jesus loves us despite the way we, not because of it.

  • The expression of the love: The main expression of the Father's love for His Son is probably delight, and glorifying His Son so that all may see How wonderful He is (passages such as John 17 have a lot about this, also John Piper's excellent book 'The Pleasures of God'). In contrast, the main expression of Jesus's love for us is being gracious to us -- giving us many good things we don't deserve. The Father was never gracious to Jesus -- Jesus fully deserved every good thing God gave Him.

So what does that leave? I think I have to conclude that Jesus is saying the magnitude, the sheer size and depth of God's love, is the same. The eternal, infinitely intense and wonderful love of the Father for the Son -- that's how much Jesus loves His disciples. Which is breath taking.

And because of this, we ought to abide in His love, which as the rest of the passage goes on to say, means we should keep His commandments. It's not that we can lose this enourmous, invincible love by our actions, but we can certainly lose the experience of that love and the joy it ought to bring by living disobediently. It ought to be so easy to respond to this love by obedience -- why is it often so hard?

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