“I have loved you, just as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love.” John 15:9
I was reading through John 15 – what is usually called the upper room discourse – spoken to the disciples by Jesus just before He was betrayed and crucified. When I read verse 9 I just stopped for a while and hung out with this one verse. As I thought about this, the Spirit prompted me to ask, “Just how did the Father love Jesus?” If I can answer that question, then I know how Jesus loves me. Yes, He went to the cross and grave for me – to take my place, take the punishment due me for my own sins…but this was said before the cross. Jesus was telling the disciples that He loved them just as the Father loved Him.
I could write a long time about the Father’s love for His Son, but one thing I fixed my heart on was the time the Father spoke audibly to His Son just after John baptized Him. Matthew 3:17 states, “And behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight, (or in whom I am well pleased)!'” (Also in Mark 1 and Luke 3). This statement of the Father was made before Jesus did anything in His ministry. It was before anyone believed in Him as Messiah. It was before He did any miracle or healed anyone. It was before He went to the cross to bring salvation to us. This is a true picture of unconditional love. It’s perfect love for someone who has not performed in “order to get love.”
That spoke to me volumes of how God loves us. Do we really take Him at His word and know that He loves us apart from anything we have done? Our world doesn’t support that kind of love. Only God loves like that. We know it after the cross because we are partakers of His total forgiveness not based on what we have done, but on what another has done for us. Romans 5:8 clearly says, “But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” We never deserved salvation or fellowship with God, and He knew it and that is exactly why He sent Jesus for us. But the point is, God did it unconditionally. He did it knowing we might reject Him but He paid for our salvation anyways.
God the Father loved (and still loves) Jesus not because of something He (or we) performed. Yes, Jesus did the work the Father sent Him to do and the Father loved Him for it, but Jesus was always loved by the Father. That is exactly how He loves us – unconditionally. There is nothing to do but believe in how God loves you without you doing anything for it. It’s right there in the written word for us to see and believe. So rest in HIs love for you. Abide or stay put (keep on receiving) in His unconditional love for you knowing that as the Father loves Jesus so He loves you!