The Father Himself Loves You
"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!
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