The First Love

"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:24)

This is the very heart of the moving prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ in the upper room before His arrest and crucifixion. As we hear Him pray, we are translated back in time, before time began, and there we encounter the indescribable love within the counsels of the triune Godhead—Father, and Son, and Spirit—three persons, yet one God.

Then, after speaking of this love, Jesus prayed—in the final words of His sure-to-be-answered prayer—"that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (v. 26).

This love—the love within the Trinity—was the primeval love and, therefore, is the spring from which flows every other form of true love—marital love, mother love, brotherly love, love of country, love of friends, love for the lost, or any other genuine love.

It is appropriate that the first mention of love in the Old Testament refers to the love of a father (Abraham) for his son Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and then that the first reference to love in the New Testament (Matthew 3:17) speaks of the heavenly love of God the Father for God the Son. In both cases, the son is called "beloved," yet in both cases the father and son are prepared to go to the altar of sacrifice, that the will of God might be done and a way of salvation be provided for lost sinners.

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). One day—as He prayed—we shall be with Him, see His glory, and even experience His own eternal love in our hearts. HMM

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