By: Brock Bondurant
John 15:9 – As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Part of Jesus’ last discourse with his disciples before his death is this beautiful section on abiding in John 15. I’ve been reading this passage over and over again and I can’t seem to focus on anything past verse 9. It screams at me each read through, jumping off the page and rattling around my brain. Is there something I need to hear specifically in this word? I must stop and ponder, turn aside to look at this burning bush of a verse today.
A.W. Tozer once said that “what comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” C.S. Lewis had a bit of a counter when he said that the most important thing is actually what comes to God’s mind when God thinks about us. I agree with both statements in a way, but Lewis’ seems to be where we must start.
To understand what comes to God’s mind when he thinks about us we need look no further than the Word of God (Jesus) that we can approach through his written word in Scripture (about Jesus).
John tells us in John 1:18 that “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” In other words, to know what the Father is like we need only to look at what Jesus is like. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation,” (Colossians 1:15). The person of Jesus can be aptly described as love embodied. The Father reveals his love for us through Jesus, The Son of God, second person of the Trinity.
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10.
This love is what elevates those who believe in Jesus to the position of sons of God (John 1:12). So, the most important thing about you or me is whether or not we believe that when God thinks of us, he sees us as his beloved children. This must be the central narrative of the life of the Christ-follower: ‘I am God’s beloved child.’ Upon this narrative the foundation of my faith and my life can be built, because the love the Father has for the Son has been made available to me, to all, in Christ. Jesus invites me to abide in that love, remain in that love, stay in that love – to live as if I am loved.
This starts with knowing, experientially, the love that the Father has for me. Philosopher Dallas Willard might say something like when I come to know or experience his love I can then believe – living as if it were true – in the love that the Father has for me.
And this is what I’m trying to discover in my life right now in verse 9: ‘Do I truly believe that I am God’s beloved son?’ My answer to this question will be the most important thing about me. I’ll keep reading what “The Beloved Disciple” (John) has to say about Jesus, God, Love. He seemed to know and believe.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world. – 1 John 4:13-17.
What a profound insight from “The Disciple that Jesus Loved,” (John 21:20), a person who knew how to abide in the love of Christ.