John 15:9-12 – “Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12 ‘This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.’”
When we read this section of scripture, our immediate response is that Jesus just laid out a quid pro quo scenario. ‘If you do what I tell you, then I will love you.’ That is NOT what Jesus is saying here.
Jesus is warning His disciples that though He has loved them, they are going to be tempted to drift away from His love. The whole context of John 15 is that just as a vine gives nutrients to branches for their health and growth, so Jesus gives life and nutrients to His followers for their health and growth. Jesus is then transitioning to the fact that love requires a free will choice as to whether we will remain connected to the source of a godly life or not.
In any relationship where a person’s best interest is violated, there is work towards getting hearts reconnected again. It is not that a person stops loving if there is a violation of trust, but they are wise to step back to see whether that person will take steps towards correcting the behavior that violated trust before opening their heart to grief once again.
It is a violation of our covenant relationship with God to receive His love, grace, and mercy as a free gift and then refuse to give that gift to others around us. If we stop giving we will not have fullness of joy and we are, in essence, removing ourselves from the flow of grace we had been residing in. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t love us, it’s that we haven’t loved Him in choosing to cut off His grace from flowing through us to those around us.
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for loving us and dying for us before we loved you. Thank you Jesus for the Holy Spirit, your Spirit, that enables us to live through your love to others. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who sin against us. Amen.