I was blown away this Sunday by a Sermon from John 17--Jesus' prayer for us. I have often meditated on this prayer and used it in my own prayers!! But I failed to really get a grasp on 17:23 --it overwhelms me--utterly.
It says: "I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
That last part--you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.-----God loves us in the same way He loves His own son. As much as He loves His own son.
As one commentary online states:
To underscore this equality of love, notice how other Bible translations handle the word "as." They use words like "even as," "just as," "in the same way," "with the same love as," "as much as," and "just as much as." All emphasize the equality of the Father's love."
"On the authority of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus who has been with God forever, we know the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus—no more, no less. If we consider how much He must love Christ after spending billions of years working together in perfect harmony, that is exactly how much He loves us. The true depth of that love is definitely beyond our comprehension. It takes faith to believe this simple statement of fact."
IT IS SO HARD TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND THIS LOVE---I CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT I MAY KNOW THE HEIGHT AND DEPTH AND LENGTH AND WIDTH OF HIS LOVE (EPH 3)
OH, AND thinking more on this, this puts a whole new spin on loving my neighbor as myself. God loves us as much as His Son (who is God)---so is it a stretch to say He loves us as himself. He commands us to do what He is doing. I wonder.