John 15:9
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
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(9) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.—Better, As the Father hath loved Me, I have also loved you. He had passed from the thought of their discipleship to the foundation of their union with Him and with God. It was in the eternal love of the Father, ever going forth to the Son, and from the Son ever going forth to all who would receive it. The Father’s love and presence was ever with the Son, because the Son ever did those things which were pleasing to Him. (Comp. Note on John 8:31.) The love of the Son is ever present wherever willing heart of obedient disciple is open to its power.

Continue ye in my love.—Better, abide ye in My love. The word “continue” misses the connection with the context. By “My love” is meant, not “love to Me in your hearts,” but, “My love towards you.” The one produces the other. “We love Him because He hath first loved us;” but that which is prominent in the thought here is His love to the disciples, which He has just compared to the Father’s love to Himself.



John 15:9 - John 15:11

The last of these verses shows that they are to be taken as a kind of conclusion of the great parable of the Vine and the branches, for it looks back and declares Christ’s purpose in His preceding utterances. The parable proper is ended, but the thoughts of it still linger in our Lord’s mind, and echo through His words, as the vibration of some great bell after the stroke has ceased. The main thoughts of the parable were these two, that participation in Christ’s life was the source of all good, and that abiding in Him was the means of participation in His life. And these same thoughts, though modified in their form, and free from the parabolical element, appear in the words that we have to consider on this occasion. The parable spoke about abiding in Christ; our text defines that abiding, and makes it still more tender and gracious by substituting for it, ‘abiding in His love.’ The parable spoke of conduct as ‘fruit,’ the effortless result of communion with Jesus. Our text speaks of it with more emphasis laid on the human side, as ‘keeping the commandments.’ The parable told us that abiding in Christ was the condition of bearing fruit. Our text tells us the converse, which is also true, that bearing fruit, or keeping the commandments, is the condition of abiding in Christ. So our Lord takes His thought, as it were, and turns it round before us, letting us see both sides of it, and then tells us that He does all this for one purpose, which in itself is a token of His love, namely, that our hearts may be filled with perfect and perennial joy, a drop from the fountain of His own.

These three verses have three words which may be taken as their key-notes-love, obedience, joy. We shall look at them in that order.

I. First, then, we have here the love in which it is our sweet duty to abide. ‘As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide ye in My love.’

What shall we say about these mysterious and profound first words of this verse? They carry us into the very depths of divinity, and suggest for us that wonderful analogy between the relation of the Father to the Son, and that of the Son to His disciples, which appears over and over again in the solemnities of these last hours and words of Jesus. Christ here claims to be, in a unique and solitary fashion, the Object of the Father’s love, and He claims to be able to love like God. ‘As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you’; as deeply, as purely, as fully, as eternally, and with all the unnameable perfectnesses which must belong to the divine affection, does Christ declare that He loves us.

I know not whether the majesty and uniqueness of His nature stand out more clearly in the one or in the other of these two assertions. As beloved of God, and as loving like God, He equally claims for Himself a place which none other can fill, and declares that the love which falls on us from His pierced and bleeding heart is really the love of God.

In this mysterious, awful, tender, perfect affection He exhorts us to abide. That comes yet closer to our hearts than the other phrase of which it is the modification, and in some sense the explanation. The command to abide in Him suggests much that is blessed, but to have all that mysterious abiding in Him resolved into abiding in His love is infinitely tenderer, and draws us still closer to Himself. Obviously, what is meant is not our continuance in the attitude of love to Him, but rather our continuance in the sweet and sacred atmosphere of His love to us. For the connection between the two halves of the verse necessarily requires that the love in which we are to abide should be identical with the love which had been previously spoken of, and that is clearly His love to us, and not ours to Him. But then, on the other hand, whosoever thus abides in Christ’s love to Him will echo it back again, in an equally continuous love to Him. So that the two things flow together, and to abide in the conscious possession of Christ’s love to me is the certain and inseparable cause of its effect, my abiding in the continual exercise and outgoing of my love to Him.

Now note that this continuance in Christ’s love is a thing in our power, since it is commanded. Although it is His affection to us of which my text primarily speaks, I can so modify and regulate the flow of that divine love to my heart that it becomes my duty to continue in Christ’s love to me.

What a quiet, blessed home that is for us! The image, I suppose, that underlies all this sweet speech in these last hours, about dwelling in Christ, in His joy, in His words, in His peace, and the like, is that of some safe house, into which going, we may be secure. And what sorrow or care or trouble or temptation would be able to reach us if we were folded in the protection of that strong love, and always felt that it was the fortress into which we might continually resort? They who make their abode there, and dwell behind those firm bastions, need fear no foes, but are lifted high above them all. ‘Abide in My love,’ for they who dwell within the clefts of that Rock need none other defence; and they to whom the riven heart of Christ is the place of their abode are safe, whatsoever befalls. ‘As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide ye in My love.’

II. Now note, secondly, the obedience by which we continue in Christ’s love.

The analogy, on which He has already touched, is still continued. ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.’ Note that Christ here claims for Himself absolute and unbroken conformity with the Father’s will, and consequent uninterrupted and complete communion with the Father’s love. It is the utterance of a nature conscious of no sin, of a humanity that never knew one instant’s film of separation, howsoever thin, howsoever brief, between Him and the Father. No more tremendous words were ever spoken than these quiet ones in which Jesus Christ declares that never, all His life long, had there been the smallest deflection or want of conformity between the Father’s will and His desires and doings, and that never had there been one grain of dust, as it were, between the two polished plates which adhered so closely in inseparable union of harmony and love.

And then notice, still further, how Christ here, with His consciousness of perfect obedience and communion, intercepts our obedience and diverts it to Himself. He does not say, ‘Obey God as I have done, and He will love you’; but He says, ‘Obey Me as I obey God, and I will love you.’ Who is this that thus comes between the child’s heart and the Father’s? Does He come between when He stands thus? or does He rather lead us up to the Father, and to a share in His own filial obedience?

He further assures us that, by keeping His commandments, we shall continue in that sweet home and safe stronghold of His love. Of course the keeping of the commandments is something more than mere outward conformity by action. It is the inward harmony of will, and the bowing of the whole nature. It is, in fact, the same thing {though considered under a different aspect, and from a somewhat different point of view}, as He has already been speaking about as the ‘fruit’ of the vine, by the bearing of which the Father is glorified. And this obedience, the obedience of the hands because the heart obeys, and does so because it loves, the bowing of the will in glad submission to the loved and holy will of the heavens-this obedience is the condition of our continuing in Christ’s love.

He will love us better, the more we obey His commandments, for although His tender heart is charged towards all, even the disobedient, with the love of pity and of desire to help, He cannot but feel a growing thrill of satisfied and gratified affection towards us, in the measure in which we become like Himself. The love that wept over us, when we were enemies, will ‘rejoice over us with singing,’ when we are friends. The love that sought the sheep when it was wandering will pour itself yet more tenderly and with selector gifts upon it when it follows in the footsteps of the flock, and keeps close at the heels of the Good Shepherd. ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love,’ so we will put nothing between us and Him which will make it impossible for the tenderest tenderness of that holy love to come to your hearts.

The obedience which we render for love’s sake will make us more capable of receiving, and more blessedly conscious of possessing, the love of Jesus Christ. The lightest cloud before the sun will prevent it from focussing its rays to a burning point on the convex glass. And the small, thin, fleeting, scarcely visible acts of self-will that sometimes pass across our skies will prevent our feeling the warmth of that love upon our shrouded hearts. Every known piece of rebellion against Christ will shatter all true enjoyment of His favour, unless we are hopeless hypocrites or self-deceived. The condition of knowing and feeling the warmth and blessedness of Christ’s love to me is the honest submission of my nature to His commandments. You cannot rejoice in Jesus Christ unless you do His will. You will have no real comfort and blessedness in your religion unless it works itself out in your daily lives. That is why so many of you know nothing, or next to nothing, about the joy of Christ’s felt presence, because you do not, for all your professions, hourly and momentarily regulate and submit your wills to His commandments. Do what He wants, and do it because He wants it, if you wish that His love should fill your hearts.

And, further, we shall continue in His love by obedience, inasmuch as every emotion which finds expression in our daily life is strengthened by the fact that it is expressed. The love which works is love which grows, and the tree that bears fruit is the tree that is healthy and increases. So note how all these deepest things of Christian teaching come at last to a plain piece of practical duty. We talk about the mysticism of John’s Gospel, about the depth of these last sayings of Jesus Christ. Yes! they are mystical, they are deep-unfathomably deep, thank God!-but connected by the shortest possible road with the plainest possible duties. ‘Let no man deceive you. He that doeth righteousness is righteous.’ It is of no use to talk about communion with Jesus Christ, and abiding in Him, in possession of His love, and all those other properly mystical sides of Christian experience, unless you verify them for yourselves by the plain way of practice. Doing as Christ bids us, and doing that habitually, and doing it gladly, then, and only then, are we in no danger of losing ourselves on the heights, or of forgetting that Christ’s mission has for its last result the influencing of character and of conduct. ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’

III. Lastly, note the joy which follows on this practical obedience. ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain,’ {or ‘might be’} ‘in you, and that your joy might be full.’

‘My joy might be in you’-a strange time to talk of His ‘joy.’ In half an hour he would be in Gethsemane, and we know what happened there. Was Christ a joyful man? He was a ‘Man of sorrows’ but one of the old Psalms says, ‘Thou hast loved righteousness . . . therefore God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.’ The deep truth that lies there is the same that He here claims as being fulfilled in His own experience, that absolute surrender and submission in love to the beloved commands of a loving Father made Him-in spite of sorrows, in spite of the baptism with which He was baptized, in spite of all the burden and the weight of our sins-the most joyful of men.

This joy He offers to us, a joy coming from perfect obedience, a joy coming from a surrender of self at the bidding of love, to a love that to us seems absolutely good and sweet. There is no joy that humanity is capable of to compare for a moment with that bright, warm, continuous sunshine which floods the soul, that is freed from all the clouds and mists of self and the darkness of sin. Self-sacrifice at the bidding of Jesus Christ is the recipe for the highest, the most exquisite, the most godlike gladnesses of which the human heart is capable. Our joy will remain if His joy is ours. Then our joy will be, up to the measure of its capacity, ennobled, and filled, and progressive, advancing ever towards a fuller possession of His joy, and a deeper calm of that pure and perennial rapture, which makes the settled and celestial bliss of those who have ‘entered into the joy of their Lord.’

Brother! there is only one gladness that is worth calling so-and that is, that which comes to us, when we give ourselves utterly away to Jesus Christ, and let Him do with us as He will. It is better to have a joy that is central and perennial-though there may be, as there will be, a surface of sorrow and care-than to have the converse, a surface of joy, and a black, unsympathetic kernel of aching unrest and sadness. In one or other of these two states we all live. Either we have to say, ‘as sorrowful yet always rejoicing’ or we have to feel that ‘even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.’ Let us choose for ourselves, and let us choose aright, the gladness which coils round the heart, and endures for ever, and is found in submission to Jesus Christ, rather than the superficial, fleeting joys which are rooted on earth and perish with time.

John 15:9-11. As the Father hath loved me — As certainly as he hath loved me; and with that kind of love wherewith he hath loved me, namely, with a love of approbation and delight, constancy and perseverance; so have I loved you — As truly, as affectionately, as invariably: continue ye in my love — Keep your place in my affection: see that ye do not forfeit that invaluable blessing. How needless was this caution, if it were impossible for them not to abide in his love. If ye keep my commandments — If you carefully perform all the things which I have enjoined, both as my apostles and as private Christians; ye shall abide in my love — You shall be always the objects of it: on these terms, and on no other, shall you continue to possess my special affection: even as I have kept my Father’s commandments — Have exactly performed all the duties of my office, as Mediator, as the Teacher, Redeemer and Saviour of my church, their lawgiver and example; and abide in his love — Continue to be the object of his infinite complacency. These things have I spoken unto you — Not to grieve you by any intimation that I suspect the sincerity of your regards to me, but that you may be fortified and animated against all the temptations that will assault you, and may continue steadfast in your attachment to my cause and interest, and in your fidelity to me your Master, and zeal and diligence in serving me; that my joy may remain in you — That my complacency in you, as my faithful friends, may still continue; and that your joy might be full — May be maintained in its full height, and may greatly increase; as it certainly will, in proportion to your fidelity, zeal, and diligence in my service.

15:9-17 Those whom God loves as a Father, may despise the hatred of all the world. As the Father loved Christ, who was most worthy, so he loved his disciples, who were unworthy. All that love the Saviour should continue in their love to him, and take all occasions to show it. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. They are to show their love to him by keeping his commandments. If the same power that first shed abroad the love of Christ's in our hearts, did not keep us in that love, we should not long abide in it. Christ's love to us should direct us to love each other. He speaks as about to give many things in charge, yet names this only; it includes many duties.As the Father hath loved me - The love of the Father toward his only-begotten Son is the highest affection of which we can conceive. Compare Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5. It is the love of God toward his coequal Son. who is like him in all things, who always pleased him, and who was willing to endure the greatest sacrifices and toils to accomplish his purpose of mercy. Yet this love is adduced to illustrate the tender affection which the Lord Jesus has for all his friends.

So have I loved you - Not to the same degree, for this was impossible, but with the same kind of love - deep, tender. unchanging; love prompting to self-denials, toils, and sacrifices to secure their welfare.

Continue ye - The reason which he gives for their doing this is the strength of the love which he had shown for them. His love was so great for them that he was about to lay down his life. This constitutes a strong reason why we should continue in his love:

1. Because the love which he shows for us is unchanging.

2. It is the love of our best friend - love whose strength was expressed by toils, and groans, and blood.

3. As he is unchanging in the character and strength of his affection, so should we be. Thus only can we properly express our gratitude; thus only show that we are his true friends.

4. Our happiness here and forever depends altogether on our continuing in the love of Christ. We have no source of permanent joy but in that love.

In my love - In love to me. Thus it is expressed in the Greek in the next verse. The connection also demands that we understand it of our love to him, and not of his love to us. The latter cannot be the subject of a command; the former may. See also Luke 11:42; 1 John 2:5; Jde 1:21.

9-11. continue ye in my love—not, "Continue to love Me," but, "Continue in the possession and enjoyment of My love to you"; as is evident from the next words. What our Saviour before called an abiding in him, and his words abiding in us, and a bearing and bringing forth much fruit, he here calleth a continuing in his love; though indeed this phrase also may be interpreted by a continuance in the favour of God and Christ, in that state of love into which God bath put the souls of those who are his true disciples: but I had rather interpret it of that love wherewith they loved Christ, than that wherewith Christ loved them. So the former words are an argument to persuade perseverance, or a continuance in those acts of holiness by which men alone can show their true love to Jesus Christ, from Christ’s love to them, which he there expresses,

As the father hath loved me, so have I loved you; where the particle as is only a note of comparison, but doth not denote an equality; only signifieth truth and greatness; as truly and sincerely as the Father loveth me: or, I have loved you with a great love, bearing some proportion to the love wherewith my Father loveth me. The Father’s love to Christ is eternal immutable, constant, full and perfect, wise and just, free: in all these respects Christ loveth his people as the Father loveth him: this ought: to engage them again to love him, and so to walk as they may continue in that state of favour into which his goodness hath advanced them.

As the Father hath loved me,.... As his own Son, and as Mediator, from everlasting; and in time, in his state of humiliation, throughout the course of his obedience, and under all his sufferings; which he testified more than once by a voice from heaven; which he showed by concealing nothing from him as Mediator, by giving all things into his hands, by showing him all that he himself did, by appointing him the Saviour of the body, and making him the head of the church, by exalting him at his right hand, and ordaining him to be judge of quick and dead.

So have I loved you: Christ loves his as his spouse and bride, as his dear children, as members of his body, as branches in him the vine, as believers in him, and followers of him; which he has shown by espousing both their persons and cause, by assuming their nature, by suffering and dying in their room and stead, and making all suitable provision for them, both for time and eternity. And there is a likeness between the Father's love to him, and his love to his disciples and followers: as his Father loved him from everlasting, so did he love them; as his Father loved him with a love of complacency and delight, so did he, and so does he love them; and as his Father loved him with a special and peculiar affection, with an unchangeable, invariable, constant love, which will last for ever, in like manner does Christ love his people; and with this he enforces the following exhortation.

Continue ye in my love: meaning either in his love to them, which, as he always continues in it without any variableness or shadow of turning, so he would have them continue in believing their interest in it, prizing and valuing it, in imitating and remembering it; or else in their love to him, to his person, to his people, to his Gospel, to his ordinances, ways, and worship, which he knew was liable to wax cold, though it could not be lost.

{3} As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: {b} continue ye in my love.

(3) The love of the Father towards the Son, and of the Son towards us, and of us toward God and our neighbour, are joined together with an inseparable knot: and there is nothing more sweet and pleasant than it is. Now this love shows itself by its effects, a most perfect example of which Christ himself exhibits to us.

(b) That is, in that love with which I love you, which love is the responsibility of both parties.

John 15:9-10. But as μαθηταί of Christ, they are the object of His love; hence, in addition to the general exhortation to abide on Him, there comes now, further, the particular, to abide in His love, which is done by keeping His commandments, according to the archetype of His morally harmonious relation to the Father.

As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you (aorists, because Jesus, at the boundary of His life, stands and looks back, John 13:1; John 13:34); abide (keep yourselves continually) in my love.[165] When others extend the protasis to ὑμᾶς, and first begin the apodosis with μείνατε (Maldonatus, Grotius, Rosenmüller, Olshausen, and several others), this is opposed by the fact that between καθὼς ἠγάπ. με ὁ π. and μείνατε, κ.τ.λ. no correlation exists; for the ἀγάπη ἡ ἐμή is not love to me (Maldonatus, Grotius, Nösselt, Kuinoel, Baeumlein, and several others), but: my love to you, as is clear from ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς and from the analogy of ἡ χαρὰ ἡ ἐμή, John 15:11;[166] comp. John 15:12-13. Olshausen mingles the two together, the active and passive love.

ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΓΆΠῌ ΜΟΥ] = ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΓΆΠῌ Τῇ ἘΜῇ. But the latter purposely lays emphasis on the thought that it was nothing less than His love, that love so great and holy, as He had just expressed by καθὼς ἨΓΆΠ., Κ.Τ.Λ., in which they were to abide.

ΤΕΤΗΡΗΚΑ] Self-witness in the retrospect which He takes of His whole ministry on the threshold of its accomplishment.

Κ. ΜΈΝΩ ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΝ Τ. ἈΓΆΠῌ] Consequence of ΤΕΤΉΡΗΚΑ. The prominent position of ΑὐΤΟῦ corresponds to the consciousness of the happiness and the dignity of abiding in the love which His Father bears to him (John 10:17, John 17:24). The present includes continuance also for the future; hence it is not, with Ewald, to be accented μενῶ.

[165] Instead of μείνατε. Ewald conjectures μείνητε, which he still makes depend on ἵνα, ver. 8; but this is unsuitable, since καθώς appears without καί.

[166] That ἡ ἀγάπη ἡ ἐμή might denote love to me, should not have been called in question, as being contrary to the genius of the language. Comp. φιλίᾳ τῇ σῇ, Xen. Anab. vii. 7. 29; Thucyd. i. 137. 4 : διὰ τὴν σὴν φιλίαν, Romans 11:31.

John 15:9-17. The disciples are urged to fulfil Christ’s purposes in the world, and are assured that if they abide in the love of Christ they will receive all they need for fruit-bearing.

9. As the Father, &c.) The Greek construction is ambiguous. It would be quite possible to translate, Even as the Father loved Me and I loved you, abide in My love. But our version is better as keeping in due prominence the main statement, that the love of Christ for His disciples is analogous to that of the Father for the Son. In any case ‘abide’ is better than ‘continue;’ the same Greek word is used throughout these verses (4–16), a fact which our translators obscure by giving three English words, ‘abide,’ ‘continue,’ and ‘remain,’ and that in three consecutive verses (9–11). Throughout the Gospel ‘abide’ should be maintained as the rendering of S. John’s favourite verb μένειν (see on John 1:33). The whole should run, Even as the Father loved Me, I also loved you (comp. John 17:18, John 20:21); abide in My love. The verbs are aorists, not perfects, and Christ’s work is regarded as a completed whole, already perfect in itself. But perhaps this is just one of those cases where the English perfect may be allowed to translate the Greek aorist: see on John 8:29.

in my love] The Greek might mean ‘the love of Me,’ but ‘My love’ for you is more natural and suits the context better, which speaks of His love towards them as similar to the Father’s towards Him. The other, however, need not be altogether excluded. See on John 14:27.

John 15:9. Κἀγὼ) I also.—τῇ ἐμῇ, in My love) viz. towards you.

Verse 9. - Two ways of explaining this verse: Even as - inasmuch as - the Father hath loved me, and as I have loved you, abide in my love; i.e., as Grotius has put it, the first clause suggesting accordance with the mystery of the Trinity, and the second the mystery of redemption: "So do ye continue, or so do ye abide, in the amplitude of this double love which is mine, dwell in it as in a holy atmosphere, breathe it and live by it." But there is another and more satisfactory way of translating the passage: Even as the Father loved me, I also loved you; a fact of stupendous interest and transcendent claim. Heaven had opened over the incarnate Word, and other ears as well as his own had heard the Father say, "Thou art my beloved Son," etc. The Lord was conscious of being the Object of this infinite love before the foundation of the world (John 17:24), and of reciprocating and responding to it; and this love of the Father to him on his assumption of his mediatorial functions was the well-spring of his obedience unto death and after it (see John 10:17, note). Now, if the κἀγὼ is to be translated as above, Christ declares that even as the Father has loved him, he has' loved his disciples. Again and again he has emphasized this love to them (John 13:34), but here he asserts a loftier claim, viz. that his love to them corresponds with the eternal Father's love to himself. The one great fact is the ground on which he commands them to abide in his love. This is obviously a more explicit and more intelligible form of the commandment to abide in him. With Olshausen and Westcott, "The love that is mine "is not the love to Christ, nor the love of Christ exclusively, but a blending of the active and passive idea in "the love that is mine" - in the "love" lavished upon me from eternity, and to which I have eternally responded, which I have made known to you and expended on you and received back again from you. Abide in that love that is mine. John 15:9In my love (ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐμῇ)

Literally, in the love, that which is mine. Not only the love of the disciple for Christ, nor the love of Christ for the disciple, but the Christ-principle of love which includes both. See the same form of expression in the joy that is mine, John 15:11; John 3:29; John 17:13; the judgment (John 5:30; John 8:16); the commandments (John 14:15); peace (John 14:27).

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