"Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." (John 16:25-27 NIV)
I often think that the disciples must have found the conversation over their last meal with Jesus quite confusing. After all, they are just ordinary guys, fishermen with little education who have had their lives radically changed by being with Jesus. I imagine they felt a bit lost when Jesus was talking about them being in him and him being in them (John 14). Maybe they didn't really understand what Jesus was talking about when he said he was going back to his Father and then they would return and make their home in the disciples' hearts. These ordinary men were taking part in a conversation that had never taken place before.
And now, Jesus tells them he will start speaking clearly to them instead of in complicated pictures. What a relief!
The very next thing Jesus tells the disciples is probably one of the clearest, yet most profound, statements in the whole Bible:
"The Father himself loves you"
Pause for a moment and let those words sink into your heart.
We are loved by the Father. Jesus explains to his disciples (and therefore to us as well) that we have direct access to the Father; like any child we can come to our Father at any time of the day or night, 24/7.
In fact, Jesus goes further at the end of John 17. We are loved by the Father in exactly the same way and with the same intensity of passion that he loves Jesus. This, Jesus tells us, is the reason he came to earth. He came to reveal his Father in order that we may know the Father himself loves us. That is good news!
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." (John 15:9 NASB)
In John 15, Jesus likens us to a branch that is attached to a vine in a vineyard. It would have been a very familiar picture for his listeners as they were used to seeing vineyards on the hillsides around their towns. They would have understood what Jesus meant when he said that each branch needed to produce fruit. They would have known all about pruning.
The point Jesus is making is that our life comes to us through him. He came that we would have life and have it in abundance. He came to set us free. He encourages us to abide, or remain, in him and as we read on, we see that this means to remain in love, in his love.
It is easy to think that this primarily relates to our love for him but that is not the case. It is actually the other way round. Abiding in his love is us being the recipients of the love he has for us. We stand under the downward flow of his love into our heart. Life flows into the branch through the vine, not the other way round.
At the start of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul encourages us to pursue love or, as the Passion Translation puts it, "so above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run". Again, this is not so much our love for others or for him, but his love for us.
The Message encourages us to make ourselves at home in his love. Let it become our greatest desire to remain in his love for us.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.