John 17:17-26 sanctify by truth; the Father’s love for us is as His love for Jesus
Heb. 2:10-12 Jesus (Yeshua) not ashamed to call us His brethren
God loves us! Our Father in Heaven loves us, and He loves us as much as He loves His only-begotten Son Yeshua! It’s understandable that we should know and believe that God the Father loves Yeshua the Son, because Yeshua always did what pleased His Father; He always –even from His youth– did what was good and right in His Father’s eyes. He always lived and walked by faith according to the Spirit of Holiness. He always trusted and obeyed His Father, and he honored His earthly mother and father.
It is more difficult for us to grasp the love of the truth that God our Father really loves us. Our experiences, our feelings, our enemies (devil, world, self, iniquity) all conspire to tell us that God does not –even cannot– love someone like me or you or us or them. And certainly if He does, it isn’t like His love for someone else: I’m not worthy, or that person has advantages that make him or her easier to love; or, I’m not pretty or handsome –so many things which make us feel less love. Of course, there are always those who think that they deserve all the love they have, and it’s not their concern if another feels a love deficit.
But what do we read here?: the truth is that not only does God the Father and the Son love us, but also that the Father loves us as much as He loves Yeshua! And Yeshua is glad about that! He is not jealous or resentful that God should love us as much as Him. In fact, He wants us to know this and to let this truth sanctify us and to cause us to love one another –especially those of the household of faith in Christ– in the same way. Jesus gave His life for us who have become His brothers and sisters.
How can we accomplish this? It can only be if we (I) are secure in the knowledge that God does love us (me). Yeshua knew the Father loved Him because He believed with all His heart in Him: He trusted Him; He honored Him; He loved Him. If we are living our lives before God in sincerity and truth, the Holy Spirit witnesses to our own spirit that we are children of God and so are loved by Him, and we also grow in humility and grace to not only love God’s other children –our brethren– but to rejoice and to encourage each other in our Father’s mutual love for each and all of us.
There is no reason for jealousy or for competition. Rather, we are to be as little children in our attitude –not considering who is greater or who is more loved.
Consider the examples of Abraham towardsIshmael and Isaac
The LORD towards Jacob and Esau
Jacob towards Joseph and his brothers
Yeshua towards John and the other apostles (different personalities and occupations)
Parable of prodigal son
In all of these cases, the fathers loved their children, but had a special love for one over another –or so it seems. It was when the others became jealous or hateful that problems in the family erupted. So even God the Father in Heaven loves all people, whom He has created in His own image and likeness, and for whom Yeshua came and died. Yet He has a special love (preference) for Jesus above all. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit tells us through God’s own Word that we, who love Jesus and accept His exaltation above all others, are loved –we know— by His Father and our Father in Heaven just as much as Yeshua is –and, again, Yeshua is happy for us and for Himself. This pleases the Father very much: to see His family at peace and joyful, at rest in His righteousness and in His everlasting love for us all. If we love God, we will do what our Brother and Lord Jesus commands us, for this is what the Father wants from us.
Take the opportunity to strengthen another brother or sister in both your love and the Father’s love for him or her. If there is any jealousy or resentment or competition regarding Father’s love, then confess this sin to Him and repent of it, knowing that He forgives you for Messiah’s sake. The truth will both sanctify and free you and others.
God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. He can not love us any more than that, but we can always show Him that we want to love Him and our brethren more.