When Jesus first appears for baptism, the Father declares his love for him. A voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” All through the rest of the story we see that Jesus really is the joy of the Father’s heart as dearly loved Son. Towards the end, Jesus says to his Father, “I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). We are united to Jesus so whatever is true of him is now true of us. So, the Father loves you “even as” he loves his own son. And we now experience his love because “God’s love [i.e. the Father’s love] has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). The streams of love flow to us from the fountain of love in the Father’s heart.
We need to linger long over the Father’s love to appreciate its wonder. Consider, the Father’s love that stretches backwards into his eternal decision to adopt us as children in his dearly loved Son. Contemplate, the Father’s love that reaches downwards into time through his Son and in his Spirit. Mull over the Father’s love that cost him dearly, as he did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us in order to fulfil his purposes of love for us. Ponder the Father’s love that adopted us as his own children so that we now say “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God…” (1 John 3:1). Yes, we do need to linger long over the Father’s love so that we actually live in his love.