Fatherly love, correction, and direction is so important to us as human beings. And yet, in our time, it is so broken. I praise God for His grace where He is restoring fathers to homes and raising up new generations to be godly fathers. But regardless of whatever the situation is with our relationship with our fathers, we have that love that we so desperately need in Jesus Christ, for the Father perfectly loves the Son whom we are united to. This is why we can say that the Father’s love for the Son is the Basis of His love for us, because we are told that the Father loves the Son because the Son lays down His life to take it up again, and as Christians we are united to Christ – He dies and rises for us, and we die and rise again in Him.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
As we move into verse 17-21 this afternoon, I believe we find ourselves at one of the most underrated and most incredible verses in the Bible, in verse 17. Jesus tells us why the Father loves Him. There are several places in the Bible where we get to see inter-trinitarian interaction in terms of specific statements said to one another, or places like this where one person of the trinity tells us why another person of the trinity loves Him. I think it should absolutely fascinate us more than it does. Especially when we learn about something that God loves, we should really want to know about that, because if we love God, we love the things that God loves. And we learn here that the Father loves the Son, because the Son lays down His life, that He may take it up again.
The Father Loves the Son because of His Death & Resurrection
The Father loves a good resurrection story. So the Son did what the Father loves. This is interesting because I don’t think that we often think of the Father loving the Son because of His death and resurrection – we often don’t think about the Father’s love for the Son in general or the love in the trinity. But to think about the Father loving the Son because He lays down His life to take it up again is even more rare for us to think about. We usually just think that that’s the reason we love Jesus – His death and resurrection is the reason Christians love Jesus, because He did that for us, and that’s very true. But the Father loves Him for that also, and before we ever did.
Consider some of the things that Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplishes, which the Father loves.
Redeems Sinners and Brings us to God
The death and resurrection of Jesus redeems sinners and brings us to God. Of course, this is normally the first thing that we think of when we think about what the work of Christ accomplishes. And we love Jesus for this; and so does the Father. He loves the self-sacrifice of us His Son. He loves what the Son has done on behalf of sinners. In any story, that’s the kind of character that we love – the one who accomplishes an act of self-sacrifice on behalf of another.
But the Father doesn’t just love this as an unaffected observer watching a movie or reading a novel. But for some reason that is a matter of divine wonder, God loves the sinners for whom Christ is dying and rising for. The Son whom the Father loves goes to purchase and redeem sinners whom the Father loves. The Father loves His elect from all eternity, the Son goes to get them, and the Father loves Him for it. Amazing.
Verse 17 also shows us that Christ’s death is not just for us, but for the glory of God. His working for the glory of God, was working for us – the glory of God being primary. It was for the Father, in obedience to Him. A. W. Pink says, “The laying down of His life was the supreme example of His devotion to the Father.” The Father loves the Son for His death and resurrection because it brings Him glory, displays His power, love, and justice, and was the ultimate act obedience to Him.