:: CHALLENGE POINT ::
Jesus began training His disciples by telling them the call and the cost of discipleship would be great, but His love for them would be their joy and strength. Jesus said in the final hours with His disciples, “Let your heart not be troubled, and peace I give to you.” Jesus then expanded on the legacy that He would leave His disciples. In addition to peace, He gave them two other things. He would leave behind His love, and He would leave behind His joy. These two must be connected. The peace that He gives is inseparably connected to the love that He shed for those that are His. That love and peace are the basis for our participation in His joy. Peace, Love, and Joy.
If you ever wonder how much Christ loves you, or if He loves you at all, think for a moment of the incredible comparison that He made clear. Jesus did not simply say, “the Father loves me, and I love you, and everybody loves each other, and everybody's happy”. NO. What He is said is that, “I love you the same way that My Father loves Me”. Now who of us could possibly grasp the depths of the love that God the Father has for God the Son? The Son whom the Scriptures call the Beloved of the Father. So our Lord is saying even now, “I love you the same way that My Father loves me. Abide in My love, stay in My love”. Jesus gave a weighty mandate to His disciples to persevere in their faith, to stay close with Him, and to be fruitful and obedient. We would do well in our call to discipleship to let His love for us keep our joy in the Lord as our strength.