Friday, November 4, 2011

Remain in His Love

Jesus says this in Johns Gospel, 15: 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my loveJesus loves his friends the same way the Father love Him; without discrimination or condition, without performance or production, with their faults and failures, the good the bad and ugly.  Before Jesus ever did a single miracle or preached his sermon on the mount, before he washed his friends dirty feet or washed away their sins with his blood on the cross, His father in heaven loved Him.  Long before any of this the Father said, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."  That’s the way Jesus loved his friends, even the really rotten ones, while they were still sinners, because his Fathers nature was love. 
I think John got it.  Somehow, following Jesus around, he understood that the Father was love.  Maybe Jesus treated him differently, maybe he was modern man in touch with his emotions, maybe the spirit was already at work on his heart.  It seems like he got a head start on that process of God’s spirit at work on us, that’s why he could refer to himself as “the beloved” or “the one Jesus loved”.  I used to read that and think, man this guy is full of himself, I bet the other disciple want to beat him up when Jesus wasn’t around... the one Jesus loved, get over yourself Johnny boy, Jesus loves us all.  But he wasn’t full of himself, He recognized that Jesus loved him for whoever he was.  Maybe he was the biggest screw up of the bunch, maybe he never got anything else Jesus said, maybe he never cast out many demons or healed many sick people when Jesus sent them out, maybe he couldn’t throw a Frisbee or play the lute (well he did write a few important books, so I guess he might of had something going for him).  But most importantly, he knew that Jesus was from God and that he was loved by him.  
Philip didn’t get it; he was there from the start and he didn’t get it.  He said if you just show us the father that’ll be enough.  And Jesus said, look at me, look at what I’ve shown you, look at how I’ve loved you, that’s what the father is, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen him.  Jesus first words when he started his ministry were repent, the kingdom is near.  I think he was saying “everyone stop looking at the world, stop looking at your sin, stop focusing on imperfection, stop trying to figure out how not to be punished.  Look at me, I’m here, I am the kingdom of heaven, watch me, I’m going to show you how the kingdom works, I’m going to show you who the father is.  The Father is love, the kingdom runs on love, I’m going to go to the cross to show you how perfect and wonderful God is. 
Once he showed them all this stuff, Jesus said to the disciples “now remain in my love”, I love this statement.  I’ve read that statement before and thought wow, Jesus just put a requirement on the disciples, a pretty big one at that, but it wasn’t a requirement of them, it was his stamp of approval that they would remain in his love; just as he had remained in his father.  I think this was a promise from Jesus.  He knew they’d never measure up on their own, I think he was telling them that they were secure in the love he was offering them. 
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  One command, love each other, that’s how we stay in God.  Love each other without any conditions, Jesus just loved them, he knew he would be betrayed, he knew he would be abandoned, he knew they didn’t understand who he was or half of what he was saying, but his Father is love.  So he was the embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven come to earth to show us what the full expression of love is.  If you’ve seen the way Jesus loved, what he was able to do because of love, then you’ve seen the Kingdom of Heaven and the spirit can start that process of filling you with the fullness of God, the fullness that surpasses our human concepts of love, something only God’s loving spirit can do within us. 

John 15:9…
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

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