“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9, NAS95)
I can’t imagine the feelings traversing the hearts of Jesus’ disciples as He shared the news of His departure. I also can’t imagine the depth of what Jesus wanted to communicate to His friends on that evening. At one level, Jesus longed for this moment. He knew His crucifixion and resurrection would infuse His friends with a power to live as God intended from all eternity—in communion with Him.
Jesus sets an example of resting in the Father’s love as an expectation of His own love never departing from them. He wants His friends to count on it the same way He depended on His Father’s love. As the Father drew life out of death in Jesus’ resurrection, the same would be true for the disciples. Here in this last evening, Jesus wanted to imprint on the souls of His friends the fullness of His unshakable love.
For Jesus, and the disciples, the evening before the crucifixion held deep meaning. It holds the same meaning for us, too. Jesus asks us to trust, to abide, to live in His love, just as He did with His friends of the first century.
As I understand abiding and my relationship with Jesus, that resurrection-powered, permanent love carries meaning for today as well as eternity. I started out as a fearful follower. I wanted God, but I was scared to death with what He might do with me. I had no familiarity with Him. I didn’t even know I was supposed to abide in His love. Yet He wooed and I prayed. I wondered and He shaped. Fear eventually transformed into relationship. Then as my own heart felt His love, experienced it, and reciprocated it, confidence in Him grew. His love was palpable and abiding made sense in real life.
Many events occurred along the way that validated abiding in my life. They flowed from a power I didn’t possess. He did it. He got me through seminary debt free. He overcame my fear to cross an ocean. He gave me a wife and two kids—all of which I thought impossible coming from the background I did. As to ministry, well He deepened my relationship with Him and fruit (super)naturally followed in ways that surprised me. I have moments that lift me to heaven as a result of what He does. Jesus’ words for His friends to abide in His love have amazing implications for today! They certainly do for me.
Warmly in Christ, Doug Mitts
For Reflection: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1, NAS95)
What facilitates deep connection with Jesus for you? How regular are those practices in your relationship with Him?
As you look over your life, where have you seen abiding in Jesus carrying you?