September 20, 2023
One of the great rewards of prayer is that it keeps us close to the heart of our God and the apostle John was a person who stayed close to His God!
This is God’s desire for all of us.
John wrote his gospel with this very purpose in mind. He wanted his audience to know and believe that Jesus was God’s loved Son, the sent One from the Father, with the goal of believers living loved by God. “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
It is unmistakably clear in John’s gospel that the Father loved His Son and that the Son loved His Father. John said, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). Jesus said, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (John 14:31).
This relationship of love between the Father and Son that Jesus revealed was eternal in nature. The coming of Jesus did not in any way interrupt or change what was existent throughout the ages past. Jesus displayed on earth what was always true.
And He wanted each of us to enjoy this love by receiving the life that comes alone from Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
It is not just a general love that God or Jesus has for the world, but it is very specific and personal. John said, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5). Again John said, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
What was true of that little family in Bethany and of His disciples is true also of us. When Jesus prayed to His Father prior to the cross, He said, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23).
Child of God, think about it, you are greatly loved by your Savior and your heavenly Father. You are loved as you are. You are loved now, with all your flaws and failures. You will always be loved by God!
As His love fills your heart, your love to Him will also be manifested. Jesus said, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). This is not a pressure tactic or some measuring stick for people to judge, but rather the simple singular desire begotten within us by God’s love to reciprocate it back to Him. This is between you and Him!
It is from this sacred place of love that John had learned to live his life. He opens his gospel by telling us that Jesus ever lived in a near place to His Father, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (John 1:18).
John closes his gospel by making a personal reflection about himself as “the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper…” (John 21:20). He had learned that staying near to the heart of Jesus was the most valuable and precious place to live one's life.
As we dwell near Him, as we lean upon Him, as we abide in His love, we will have the ability to love as He did. This is what Jesus taught His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
May His love overwhelm you today. Thank you again for praying today for our prodigals and for revival among us.
In Christ alone,
Bryan and Rachel