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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

The Greatest Love Story


John 15:9-17 NKJV

John 18:1-9 NKJV

John 17:12 NKJV

John 17:20-26 (Jesus prayed for all believers)

John 17:24-26 The Message

A Story of Love

I remember the day I was given my first Bible. It was a red letter day for me. Even though it was a King James Version Bible filled with words like “thee” and “thou” I loved reading it.

It was my Holy Bible and no one else touched it. I kept it hidden in my room so it would be only mine.

I was in 3rd Grade. I was 8 years old.

I’d been a crazy reader for as long as I can remember. In 1st Grade my teacher told me I read more books than anyone. That’s because it was my favorite thing to do. I loved summer because it meant I didn’t have to go to school and I could read whatever I wanted all day. Once in a while I did play outside, but not very often and not for long.

So, reading my Bible frequently was a natural thing for me. From the time I had my own Bible I would read the parts about Jesus telling us He loved me. Jesus Loved Me.

In John 15:9-17 it says, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”

As I read I believed. In John 15:9, Jesus said, “I have also loved you, Deborah.”

I’m not sure I understood John 15:12, “love one another as I have loved you.” But I remember wanting to love other people.

I did understand loving my parents, my family, and my friends. To an eight year old, love meant being nice and sharing. I tried to do that.

I’m not sure I understood what it meant to lay down my life for something, but I did understand John 15:16 where Jesus told me “I chose you.”

I knew that because it was in my Bible (and my Dad told me if it’s in the Bible it’s true.)

So, what I knew…what God built on was, “I have loved you.” That meant from the beginning of my life Jesus loved me. I knew that I was supposed to “love one another”. And I knew that Jesus said, “I chose you.”

Fast forward to Seminary. I was 54 years old. I thought by then I’d read every word in scripture many times, but I learned there were things I missed.

In John 18:1-9 we are told, “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

Jesus went to the garden with His disciples and Judas came up to Him with Roman Soldiers, Chief Priests and Pharisees.

Jesus knew what was about to happen.

He asked them who they were looking for and they answered “Jesus of Nazareth” in verse 5. when Jesus said, “I AM He” we learn in verse 6 everyone there “drew back and fell to the ground.”

I have to imagine that was quite a sight. I am a little astonished that I’d never understood the magnitude and drama of that moment. Just by Jesus speaking the words, “I AM He” everyone who was with Judas fell down to the ground. Scripture doesn’t say, but I presume they all had to regain their composure, stand up, straighten their garments and allow Jesus to go on.

In verse 8 Jesus repeated, “I AM He” and He asked that His beloved disciples would be allowed to “go their way”. He explained His request was to fulfill what Jesus had earlier said in John 17:12, “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” In John 17 Jesus was praying for His disciples and asking that they would be protected (not lost) except for the one who He knew would betray Him. In John 17:20-26 Jesus prayed for all believers. He prayed that they will be protected, that they would share in His glory, and they (we) would be made perfect in Him.

In John 17:24-26 Jesus prayed:

“Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, having loved me long before there ever was a world.

Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them—who you are and what you do—and continue to make it known, so that your love for me might be in them exactly as I am in them.”

Jesus is the connector.

Jesus prayed that WE would be with Him.

Jesus prayed that WE would Behold His Glory because God the Father had loved God the Son before the foundation of the world.

Jesus proclaimed God to us, so that YOU and I will know the LOVE of God the Father and God the Son.

So we will know LOVE IN us.

Jesus is IN us. The moment we turned to Jesus the first time, the Spirit of God came to reside in us.

When we suffer, God IN us suffers. When we rejoice, God IN us rejoices.

When I was a child I believed God was in heaven and I prayed to God in heaven.

I didn’t understand that John 17:26 meant that God was IN me. God understands what I feel because God is IN me.

God is IN you. God feels what you feel. God KNOWS. The greatest LOVE story of all is that Jesus died for you and God sent the Spirit to reside IN you.

it really IS the Greatest Love Story ever because it IS forever!

God IS in you. God loves You. God will not leave You.

So, Today’s Spiritual Practice is: God IN You.

Practice experiencing God IN you. Embrace the Spirit of the living God IN you.

In God, Deborah God IN You


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