Thoughts on John 16:27

John 16:27  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Listen from:
“The Father himself loveth you.” There is no thought in this little paper of dwelling upon the important announcement with regard to Christian prayer, marking a great dispensational change, which was the occasion of our Lord's uttering the words just quoted. And there is the less need for attempting it, that it has been abundantly unfolded by abler pens. Nevertheless it may be doubted whether believers are as a rule sufficiently alive both to the intrinsic greatness of this favor on the part of God the Father, and also to its far-reaching consequences.
And first, if the conjecture be just a word or two as to the cause of this failure which perhaps is not far to seek. Is it not connected with the fact that the children of God are but human, and consequently feeble oftentimes in appropriating their vast inheritance'? “There remaineth much land to be possessed” is as necessary a reminder as ever it was in Joshua's days. But this lack of apprehension may even be due to pre-occupation with other truths, with that perhaps which is not only good but paramount, as the love of Christ Himself, which clearly no Christian can estimate too highly. Yet surely to forget the love of the Father is no necessary consequence of occupation with that of the Son. Rather is it that we are one-sided, and that nothing is rarer than perfect equipoise in appreciation of truth. But in fact no truths of Holy Scripture are antagonistic; for all are centered in Christ, Who is the Truth. Accordingly, as we apprehend Him in His person and in His work, so shall we in like measure realize every resultant blessing, not the least being the love of the Father. And thus intelligent appreciation of our Lord Jesus will, ipso facto, quicken our spiritual sensibility to all He has accomplished, even in gaining for us His Father's love and complacency.
For while it must not be forgotten (and this is another aspect of the truth) that love to the world was in God Himself as such (John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)), and needed no prompting, yet this love of the Father is consequent upon the affection produced in the believer's heart to Christ, because of what the Lord Jesus is and what He has done. And so further we learn, as the Lord goes on to tell the disciples, that it is because they had loved Him that the Father's love had been thus drawn out.
On the other hand when it is a question of the church, we read that Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:2525Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25)). Such are the varied aspects of the divine love, distinct, but, it is needless to say, exquisitely consistent, as indeed is the whole body of revealed truth.
Now in a manner it is intelligible that Christians should be specially impressed by the love of the Lord Jesus, when they meditate, or praise, or pray. For though we have not with us that corporeal presence, having neither heard, nor seen with our eyes (save by those of faith) nor contemplated, nor our hands handled, “that which was from the beginning,” as did the first disciples, yet we have the priceless record; and He, the Son of Man, has “drawn us with the cords of a man.” We can picture Him in the Temple, on the Mount of Transfiguration, in Gethsemane; we hear His words (such as man never spake before) of encouragement, of benediction, of rebuke of all that was opposed to His own stainless holiness; for us too He is no impalpable abstraction, but “the Man Christ Jesus.” Our salvation, again, is secured by no fulfillment of philosophic precepts (although the only true philosophy be wrapt up in Christianity, that wisdom to be spoken among them that were perfect, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:66Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: (1 Corinthians 2:6)), but by faith of Christ, faith in His atoning blood, in His glorious resurrection, even as His person is to be worshipped and adored; for, Stupendous as are His works, He Himself is greater than all He has wrought: in other words, all is inestimable because of His being “God manifest in the flesh.”
But God the Father! Unto what heights of majesty do we here ascend! We think of the High and Holy One, Who inhabiteth eternity, Whose name is Holy, and of the inaccessible light. Nor is it unwholesome to remind ourselves again and again that God is infinite in holiness as in power. For such reflection need in no wise dim our perception of the characteristic relationships into which grace has introduced us in Christ, one of which, viz., the love of the Father, it is the aim of this paper to enforce. And that this is nothing recondite, no exclusive appanage of the mature believer, is plain; for the beloved apostle says, “I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.” Also the peculiar beauty of this passage is well-known. For, if the little children were entitled to know the Father; and that the Father loved them, the fathers could know nothing higher than Him “Who was from the beginning.” So that it is precisely the young believer who is characterized as entering into that aspect of the divine love which might have seemed the special portion of the most advanced. For God delights to show the power of His grace just where the objects are weakest. And so it ever is under the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:1818And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:18)). The “ministration of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:88How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? (2 Corinthians 3:8)) exceeds in grace as in glory.
And, if one of the consequences of thus entering into “the love the Father hath bestowed on us” (1 John 3:11Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1)), be to quicken the spiritual energies to more earnest adoration of Him Who seeketh worshippers (John 4:2323But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)), surely it will in no wise detract from the glory due to our blessed Lord, Who equally with the Father and the Holy Ghost is worthy of supreme homage. But, seeing that our Lord deemed it not unnecessary to remind His disciples of the Father's love, we may well seek to encourage our own hearts in the enjoyment of it in however inadequate a manner.
R. B. Junr.