Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, July 25, 2020
Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Today, David Harwood, Messianic Jewish author, musician, and pastor, has graciously provided a guest RR.  With David writing for Saturday and Raymond Finney writing for Sunday, guess what!  I get to take the whole weekend off, two days to rest.  That’s a double portion.  I’ve very thankful to these two men for sharing their wisdom and gifting.  It is a blessing to all of us (especially me) and may they be blessed in return.

Agape For A Reason
By David Harwood

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. (John 10:17)

Let’s examine this verse for few minutes.

In John 10:17 we find that our Messiah said His Father loved Him for a reason.

The Greek word for love – as a verb – is agapaō. The noun is agape. When one has love (noun), one does love (action).

in the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Septuagint, agape is the word that translates the Hebrew, ahavah. The writers of the New Covenant Scriptures were conversant with this Greek translation and understood agapeto simply mean love: Love of every kind. Love of every description.

In this verse the love our Messiah experienced from the Father was rooted in what Yeshua was doing. It is wondrously true that God is love (1 John 4:8b). Yet, we are not to understand the love mentioned in John 10:17 to be just the out-raying of God’s nature. No. This love Yeshua experienced was based upon His doing what God loved and being the person who did what God loved. In this case, love was clearly not an act of the Father’s will, nor was it the manifestation of a loving personality. This was the emotion we call love directed towards this holy Person our Father loved. It was relational, holy love.

In fact, it may be said that Yeshua experienced His Father’s conditional love. Conditional love is love-for-a-reason. Didn’t Yeshua say, “for this reason the Father loves Me…”?

Yes, of course it is true that Abba loved Yeshua apart from the Messiah doing anything. He did not have to earn Father’s love. Who He was, was more than sufficient reason for the Father to love Him: He was His Father’s beloved Son. And then, in the midst of His ministry the Lord revealed that, upon the foundation of Father’s relational love for His Son, that His beloved One actually did the things that the Father loved.

It was love on top of love, similar to “grace on top of grace (John 1:16b TLV)”.

The thought of God’s agape as possibly being conditional might make some of us nervous. At the same time, isn’t it true that Yeshua was loved by Father for a reason? It is true. The Messiah was loved by His Father for a reason.

In this is a lesson about the nature of God’s agape. The Living God has His reasons for loving Israel and the nations. He has reasons for loving the transnational Messianic community. He has reasons for loving you.

Do you know what they are?

One might argue that surely the love Father has for you must be of a different nature than the love He has for His Son. But didn’t Yeshua say this?

I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:23) 

One may say, “Cut it out! Is this possibly true?”

It is true.  Yeshua said to His Father what He believed, “You love them just like You loved Me.”

It is the same quality of love.

It is the same quantity of love.

Take a few moments and imagine the nature of the Father’s love for Yeshua. Then imagine the Father’s love for you.

Why not go on a wisdom quest and ask your Father,

“LORD, You loved Yeshua for a reason. We agree with Your holy estimation of Your wonderful Son. He is worthy of Your love. Does the same pattern hold true for me? Father, in Yeshua’ name, please reveal to me any reasons You have for loving me.”

Talk to God respectfully. Trust that He will answer you.