“The Father himself loves you” – John 16:27
What do you think God thinks of you? Do you think he’s angry at you? Do you think he’s apathetic? Do you think he’s waiting for you to fix yourself up? Do you think he’s watching you, just waiting for your next screw up like a bitter parent who wished he had better kids?
Do you believe that the Father himself loves you? You must, because he does.
Jesus is saying something magnificent in John 16:27. He’s telling us how the Father feels about us. He could say more, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t need to. It’s all we need. We can stop working for the love of God and start working out of the love of God. His love for us is settled, so this phrase should settle us.
We don’t deserve this love. It shouldn’t be ours. The love of the Father should be restricted to only those good enough to have it. It shouldn’t be for sinners like us. But Jesus says that it is. Jesus himself showed us how the Father loves in his earthly ministry. He was constantly pressing towards the undeserving in love. He does that for us now, if we’ll admit we need it.
This love does something to us. It changes us deep inside. It makes us do things we’d never do before. It opens us up. It allows us to be known. It frees us to confess sin. It emboldens us to talk to strangers about him. It empowers us to take risks. It unhinges the closed doors of our hearts to let love pour out into others. It derails the train wreck of our life and places us in green pastures and beside still waters. It actually makes us believe that perhaps the center of the universe is good and loving and kind and generous and wonderful. It restores hope to our hopeless lives. It redeems our past, present, and future. It sets us free.
So many of the bad things we do in life are done because we long to be loved. Why do we care what people think about us? Why do we lie? Why do we steal? Why do we seek to live out our sexual fantasies? If we feel unloved we trade anything in the world to obtain love. We were made to be loved. So God makes us a deal. He comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ. He looks into our eyes. He opens our eyes so we can look into his. He speaks to us in a way that we can understand him. He opens his mouth and tells us his secrets. He affirms who we are in our sin, though we barely want to admit it. He shows us who he is in his grace, though we can barely believe him. And at the end of it all he makes his final offer: all of your sin and un-loveliness for my entire kingdom of righteousness and unending, unyielding, unashamed, outrageously faithful love.
Why does God do this? Because he loves you. Jesus told us so. The Father himself loves you. Believe that and you will have the key to what upholds the universe. Believe the love of the Father for you and your unsettled heart will calm down, and others will see God clearly through you. You are loved. Stop believing you aren’t. Jesus doesn’t lie.