For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. - John 16:27 HCSB
The end of John 16 is often quoted. Jesus has overcome the world. You will have peace but also some suffering. Be courageous. These are legendary words: we are overcomers because Christ has overcome! Quickly, we turn good theology into bad: we can overcome anything because Christ is with us. Did Jesus say you could overcome and conquer anything? We have turned “Christ triumphant” into a battle cry of not just spiritual victory, but of temporal victory. The only problem with such a cry is sacrificial love is sacrificed on the altar of self-promotion. In other words, “Jesus died and has the victory, and I believe in Jesus, therefore I should get what I want. . . .”
In this cosmic theology gone wrong we forget our greatest victory—the Father now loves us because we have believed and loved the Son. Our great victory is the Father’s love in Christ, not a house in the suburbs with a few children and a posh retirement. Allow me to be blunt: Jesus did not die so we could have victorious shopping experiences and good vacations. Jesus died so we could experience the Father’s love.
The Father’s love is wrapped up into the love of His Son, and as a result our love of the Son secures the Father’s love. We cannot obtain loving communion with the Father without loving the Son.
The reason why Christ was sent was to show the extent of the Father’s love—first, for His Son, then for humanity. Christ was loved by the Father and obedient to the Father. As a result, humanity is able to experience the love of the Father though the Son. We have the Father’s love because we believe in Jesus. This theological truth grounds us. Christ’s great triumph is the unfolding, manifold love of the Father toward us.
Andrew D. Roberts
One-Year Bible Reading