“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?
What if you were told that God loves you? What if you were told not just by pastors and theologians and Sunday school teachers and Bible study curriculum, but by God himself? What would you say? Would you believe it?
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. He’s telling us how the Father feels and what he chooses to reveal to us is that the Father himself loves us. It’s all we need. This phrase alone should startle us.
We don’t deserve this love. It shouldn’t be for us. The love of the Father should be restricted to only those good enough to have it. It shouldn’t be for lowlifes 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 in to our hopeless lives. It redeems our past, present, and future. It sets us free.
The bad things we do in life are done for one reason – we want to be loved. Why else would we care what people think about us? Why else would we lie? Why else would we steal? Why else would we seek to live out our sexual fantasies? Why would we do any of the terrible things we’ve done? If we feel unloved we would trade anything in the world to obtain love, after all, we were made to be loved. So, God makes us a deal. He comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ and sits us down. 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, though we barely want to admit it. He shows us who he is, though we can barely see 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, intensely wild, outrageously faithful love. Sound good?
Why does God do this? Because he loves us. Jesus told us so. The Father himself loves us. What else do we need?