‘I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ (John 17:22-23 NIV)
The Bible makes it clear that God the Father both loves and takes pleasure in the Son. Following the baptism of Jesus Christ we read that
‘a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”.’ (Matthew 3:17) And during what has been called the transfiguration,
‘a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”’ (Matthew 17:5)
On a number of occasions Jesus himself spoke of the Father’s love for him:
‘The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.’ (John 3:35); and
‘For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.’ (John 5:20).
Now here’s my question: ‘If the Father asked you, “who is the one that I love the most, my Son Jesus or you?” how would you answer?
Naturally we might feel that the answer to that question is so obvious that I don’t even need to ask it.
It must be Jesus! After all, Jesus is perfect and has never sinned, unlike us. Jesus is perfect in his love, kindness and goodness, unlike us. Added to which is the fact that the Father and the Son have been together in a loving relationship from eternity past, and have created everything together.
It surely goes without saying that the Father loves Jesus more than you or me, doesn’t it?
But what if the love that our Father has for Jesus is the same love he has for us?
Could that be possible?
Does he love you, me and Jesus equally?
In his prayer in the garden shortly before his arrest Jesus said,
‘Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ (John 17:23)
How is it possible that the Father could love us as he loved Jesus? After all what have we done to merit such favour?
Therein lays the issue. It is not about what you or I have done but it’s all about what Christ has done in his vicarious life, death, resurrection and ascension.
When we put our trust in Jesus, the glory of God is given to us by grace, as a gift
(John 17:22). Christ becomes our new identity; as Christ is so are we in this world
(1 John 4:17).
Just as Christ is the Father’s beloved Son forever, we are the Father’s beloved children forever!
That is how much the Father loves us.
How wonderful is that?
Father, thank you for your indescribable love for us in Christ, in which we can rest secure.
Have a good week realising how much you are loved.