7th Week of Easter
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11;John 17:20-26
“… that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23)
Have you ever seen a first-time father hold his new baby? It seems that the two connect immediately—and in some deep and unexplainable way. It’s as if the father instantly falls in love with his child. Even the baby seems to recognize and respond to his familiar, reassuring voice. The delight between the two is evident. Even as that baby grows, the father’s delight in his child can deepen, encompassing the child’s personality, gifts, talents, and even quirks.
Now, if a human father can take such delight in his children, imagine how God must delight in us!
Even though Jesus says it clearly in today’s Gospel reading, we can still find it hard to accept: God loves us “even as he has loved” Jesus. Can God really delight in us, with all of our sins, weaknesses, and failings, as much as he loved his only-begotten Son?
Since we know it is true—because Jesus tells us it is—let’s try to imagine it. Picture yourself sitting next to Jesus, enjoying the warm conversation of two close friends. Now imagine Jesus saying something like “You know, my Father really loves you. He’s as crazy about you as he is about me.” You nod politely, but in your heart you just can’t believe it—not even though Jesus himself said it.
Just then, God walks in and greets you with a huge smile. You lock eyes, and like the baby and the dad, you feel a love and familiarity that enfolds you. You immediately know that he delights in you, and that knowledge fills your heart with elation.
Go ahead and bask in your Father’s love today. Let it fill you with the courage you need to face your day. Let his love propel you to take up the battle against sin. Preserve this feeling of God’s perfect love for you throughout the day, and watch to see the effect it has on everything you do.
“Father, I am amazed that you could love me as much as you love your Jesus. Help me continue to enjoy the depth and the breadth of your love today, so that I can grow in my love for you.”~WAU