A LEGACY RESTORED
"'As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that you joy may be complete.'" John 15:9-11 NIV.
Up to this point Jesus had not spoken of His love for His disciples; only His love for the Father displayed by His obedience to His Father's commands. It was this love between the Father and the Son which kept Jesus steadfast and secure through all the tests of His humanity, tests which were ultimately about who and what He valued the most.
In the midst of the turmoil the disciples were experiencing, Jesus was now giving them the anchors which would hold them steady when their boats rocked in the storm. Their security lay in their confidence in His presence, in His Word and in His love. To remain meant to be sure of and to be true to those things that would not change in their changing circumstances.
When Adam and Eve chose their own way in the Garden of Eden, they forfeited the union with God which secured them in His presence, in His love and in His joy. What they had at the beginning was replaced by a sense of loss, insecurity and fear. They had forfeited their source of strength, provision and protection in God and were driven from the garden to make their own way, alienated from God and left to their own devices.
The world is a very insecure place. Because the majority of mankind had rejected God and His way and substituted their own, they are left anchorless and rudderless in the storms of life. Human beings foolishly put their confidence in things that have no lasting substance -- money, relationships, achievements, position and status, and even images of their own creation, be they made out of materials or imagination.
Jesus had clearly demonstrated in the three and a half years they had known Him that He had security in the Father's love that could not be duplicated by anyone or anything else. Now He was offering the same security to them if they would risk everything by believing what He said and throwing themselves onto Him.
This was the only way for them to receive what Adam and the human race after him had lost -- God's joy, the sense of delight, pleasure and wellbeing that comes from living in perfect harmony with God's nature and will. David made this discovery centuries before as he lived his life in pursuit of God: "You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11 NKJV.
How did the disciples receive yet another revelation of truth from Jesus at this time of turmoil and confusion? Even if it made no sense to them then, He was once again sowing the seeds of truth into their spirits that would come alive when the Holy Spirit invaded their lives at Pentecost and brought the understanding they lacked at that moment. Perhaps Jesus' words echoed in their hearts as they witnessed the terrible things that were happening to their Master. Perhaps they even drew comfort from them as they watched Him suffer. He loved them just as the Father loved Him. What did that mean to them?
What do those words mean to you when your world spins out of control? Our natural inclination is to blame God, to hold Him responsible for not intervening to prevent the catastrophes that come suddenly and without warning. We think that God should shelter us from the things that hit others because we belong to Him.
How little we understand of God's ways! Faith untested remains flabby and useless like muscles that are never used. It is a loving Father who allows the tests that prise our fingers loose from the useless things we hang onto and teaches us to cling to Him because He is the only reliable and immovable one we have in life whose nature and promises are unshakeable. God is for us, not against us. No matter what disasters hit, He is always there and He is always working in them for our good.
Life is lived forward and understood backwards. Only when we look back can we see the path we have walked and the value of the experiences we have walked through. Only if we have chosen to remain in His love can we understand the greatness of that love when we see the outcome of our suffering.
The Father loved the Son and allowed Him to go through death for us. The prophet took a backward look and triumphantly declared: "Yet it pleased the Lord to put Him to grief. When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labour of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge my righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
"Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:10-12 NKJV.
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