Said to them, but written for us. They were the actual recipients of Jesus’ words, but what was true concerning the disciples is also true of us. And it’s the stuff that makes for a full meal. And yet, it’s the stuff I can so easily blow by and barely nibble on much less pause to feast deeply upon.
It’s the last night with His disciples. The last chance to secure them in His teaching before He is given over to treachery. What needs to be said, needs to be said now. What needs to be emphasized, must be pressed home now. Every word divinely chosen, and yet, so many words that some can fall into the shadows. Like the shadow of His illustration of the Vine and the branches in John 15.
Jesus identifies Himself as the true Vine, His followers as the branches, and the Father as the Vinedresser. The desired outcome of the Vine is that the branches would bear fruit . . . and would bear more fruit (15:2) . . . and would even bear much fruit (15:5). The goal of fruit-bearing is to glorify the Vinedresser (15:8). The secret to fruit-bearing is abiding in the Vine–“for apart from Me you can do nothing” (15:5).
Got it! Abide. Bear fruit. Evidence that we are His disciples. Be prepared for some pruning along the way. Glorify God.
A lot to take on there, but “I can do all things through Christ.” Right?
And if we leave those first eight verses of John 15 chewing on our need to abide, then we run the risk of missing the meal in verse nine. If we’re too occupied with what we need to do, then we can miss what He has already done.
“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.” ~ Jesus
(John 15:9 ESV)
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Said to them, but written for us. True of the twelve, true of those who would believe after them. So try and digest that.
As the Father has loved me . . .
How do wrap your head around that? God is love. What does that love look like, how is it expressed, in the perfect, holy, unhindered dynamic of the Three-In-One?
We know it is an eternal love, because the Father loved the Son “before the foundation of the world” (Jn. 17:5). We know it’s a love heaven can’t contain, cracking heaven’s sound-barrier and proclaiming on earth, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased” (Mt. 1:11). And we know it’s a love which delights the soul of the Creator, Almighty God (Is. 42:1). God’s holy Servant filling the heart of God’s immeasurable heart to overflowing. This all, but an inkling of the degree to which the Father loves the Son. And so, says the Son to His disciples, this is how I love you.
What is the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ with which we are loved? It is the immeasurable, unfathomable, dimensions of the Father’s love for the Son. Feast on that!
And then says the Master, “Abide in my love.” Remain there. Bask in it. Don’t leave it, but be present in it. When you sojourn, take it with you. When you rest, fuel up on it.
. . . that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-17a, 19 ESV)
Abide in My love. Yes, Lord.
By Your grace. For Your glory.
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song
– Frederick M. Lehman, 1917 –