"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you" (John 15:9)
Here, Christ leaves the parable language, and speaks plainly out of the Father. As much as the parable could teach, it could not teach the lesson of love. All that the vine does for the branch it does under the compulsion of a law of nature. There is no personal, living love to the branch. We are in danger of looking to Christ as a Saviour and a supplier of every need, without any sense of the intensity of personal affection in which Christ embraces us. He is appointed by God, accepted and trusted by us, and only through Him can we find true happiness. Christ seeks to point us to this.
And how does He do so? He leads us once again to Himself, to show us how identical His own life is with ours. Even as the Father loved Him, He loves us. His life as a vine dependent on the Father was a life in the Father's love. That love was His strength and His joy. In the power of that divine love resting on Him, He lived and died. If we are to live like Him, as branches to be truly like our Vine, we must share in this, too. Our life must have its breath and being in a heavenly love as much as His. What the Father's love was to Him, His love will be to us. If that love made Him a true Vine, His love can make us true branches. "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you."
As the Father hath loved Me. And how did the Father love Him? The infinite desire and delight of God to communicate to the Son all He had Himself - to take the Son into the most complete equality with Himself, to live in the Son and have the Son live in Him - was God's love to Christ. We cannot conceive of this mystery of glory. We can only bow and worship as we try to think of it. And with such a love - with this very same love - Christ longs to communicate to us all He is and has. He desires to make us partakers of His own nature and blessedness. His delight is to live in us and have us live in Him.
And now, if Christ loves us with such an intense, infinite, divine love, what is it that hinders it from triumphing over every obstacle and getting full possession of us? The answer is simple. Even as the love of the Father to Christ is a divine mystery, so His love to us is too high for us to comprehend or attain to by any effort of our own. It is only the Holy Spirit who can continually shed abroad and reveal - in its all-conquering power - this wonderful love of God in Christ. It is the vine itself that must give the branch its growth and fruit by sending up its sap. It is Christ Himself who must, by His Holy Spirit, dwell in the heart. Then, we will know and have in us the love that passes knowledge.
As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loves you. Will we not draw near to trust, and yield to the personal, living Christ, so that He may work this love in us? Just as He knew and rejoiced every hour- the Father loved Me - we, too, may live in the unceasing consciousness - as the Father loved Him, so He loves me.
As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you. Dear Lord, I am only beginning to understand how exactly the life of the Vine is to be that of the branch, too. You are the Vine, because the Father loved You, and poured His love through You. And so You love me, and my life as a branch is to be like Yours - a receiving and a giving out of heavenly love. Amen