I have been married for thirty eight years to the woman who for me was, still is and always will be “The One.” I cannot begin to describe how much she means to me and how much she is a part of me. The closeness we share is built on mutual trust, respect, honour and a deep love that goes deeper than I think even we realise.
It’s odd for I have friends and acquaintances who do not have the same closeness in their marriage or relationships as Colleen and I share. They would prefer to go out with their friends than be with their husband or wife.
Not so with us. She is my best friend as well as the the love of my life. And we would rather be with each other than anyone else in the world…and this, after thirty-eight years together, we still can’t get enough of each other.
I tell you all this as a pre-cursor to the scripture I am looking at today for I know that even as close and as deep the love we hold for each other is, the love of Christ is far greater. And here in this section of scripture we see Him show His expression of true love for us, His people and the children of God.
The World Has Not Known God
In verse 25 Jesus says these words,
“O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.”
The ways of this world apart from Christ do not know God because they do not understand love. Especially today in this world, love has been cheapened and turned into a commodity. The focus of worldly love is sex and you see it portrayed that way in movies, TV, books, magazines and music.
Sex is not love. And especially the cheap and selfish physical fulfilment sex that is described in the media today. That is lust, not love.
The world does not know God because it does not know love. Love is about selflessness, sharing, relationships based on giving. But the lust of the world that is called love is based upon selfishness and “what do I get out of it.” And no person who is truly in love would even think that spending time apart from the love of their life is desirable.
The Love of Jesus
In this section of scripture we see the love of Jesus and the love of God speaking about these same things. God and Jesus want to have a relationship with us. They want to have close communion, and take pride and joy in us as we grow with them.
Look at what Jesus yearns for and what His desire is for us in these scriptures.
22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.
First, Jesus wants us to be one with Him and with the Father. He wants us to be “in” them as they are in each other. He wants us to be like Him and the Father. And this is for our benefit because when we are with and “in” them, and when we are truly one with them, we will not suffer.
Here in this world there is much suffering. But who wants to ever see their most beloved one suffer? I know I don’t and I would rather I suffer than my wife, who unfortunately has been struck down with more diseases, conditions and illnesses requiring everything from radical surgery to drug treatments throughout our married life. When she is in pain, I am in pain. When she suffers, I suffer…and I hate it when she is hurting and there is nothing I can do for her.
Well, Jesus is saying the same things. He wants us to be in Him and the Father so that we too will not suffer.
But there is more. In verse 24 we see the yearning and the desire of Jesus for us. He desires us to be with Him. He wants us to be with Him. No greater joy could it bring than to have those whom He loves and love Him in return than to be with Him. Just as I would rather be with my wife than anyone else in the world, so too Jesus is saying here He wants us with Him…because He loves us.
This is the strength of His relationship and His love for us. To be with us with nothing and no-one separating us from Him. And nothing will separate us. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-39,
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
None of these things can or will separate us from Christ. Why? Because He LOVES us.
And finally we see in John 17:26, “I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus ties it all together for He will give us His love and the love of the Father and His purpose is that we learn to love as they do. His teachings ultimately lead to the true expression of love that is from God, for God is love.
(Photo sourced from “www.sxc.hu/” stock.xchng taken by Eng Chun Chia)
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