John 15:9 (NIV) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
In the world that we live, I believe that all of humanity has been “wired” with the desire to be cared for, considered, and most importantly, loved. Loving home environments enable young girls and boys to develop into accomplished, healthy teenagers and ultimately stable and productive women and men.
Notice the sequential order that Jesus sets forth in this text. He states first “As the Father has loved me …” God the Father loved Jesus Christ. Before Jesus had performed one miracle or given one sermon, God boldly declared from heaven that Jesus “is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:17 (NLT)
Can you imagine those persons in our world, country, state and even this city who have lived for “x” amount of years who have never experienced love? Bitterness, resentment and anger may have easily filled in the gaps in their hearts because no one reached out to share a handshake or smile. No one affirmed them as a person who is valued.
As a result, that person will be very hard pressed to share love with anyone whether they are a husband or wife, parent, coach, neighbor, inmate or person living on the streets.
Next, Jesus stated after recognizing how the Father loved Him, “so have I loved you.” God sent Jesus to reconcile to Himself a world mired in sin. Jesus loves you and me. You may have heard this so much that it feels like a cliché. It is not. You may have sung the songs “Jesus loves the little children” or “Jesus loves me this I know” and the songs smack of simply nostalgic melodies from time in your church’s children’s ministry. If you have this feeling, try to resist it.
Jesus took on the shame and stench of our sins and endured one of the most brutal and savage beatings before being attached to a tree by having stakes driven through his hands and feet. He had the power to come down from the cross. He had the love to stay there until you and I had been redeemed.
Finally, Jesus said “remain in my love.” God loved Jesus. Jesus demonstrated His love for us by taking our cross and providing us a way out of eternal damnation when He rose again. If we think the U.S.’s national debt is something, imagine how much each person living on Earth owes Jesus? What is Jesus’s bill for our personal redemption? Simple. Tell everyone we can about the amazing love of Christ.
Andrae P. Crismon, Sr. is the pastor of Higher Ground Worship Center, Church of God in Christ, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the author of “Lord, Keep My Mind Clean: A 31 Day Devotional & Accountability Journal”.