Modern Christians have romanticized their relationship with Christ. Does this verse mean to “stay in love with Jesus?”
Let’s begin by understanding the parts. We need to see the Father’s love for the Son, then the Son’s love for the disciples, and then the disciples’ love for each other (and the church).
“Love” (Gk. agape) is a “benevolent commitment to others.” It is an action word, not a feeling–based word. If you love someone with this kind of love, you are committed to benefitting him, even if he is your enemy (Matt 5:44). Jesus clarified this concept of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).
Live or dwell in the sphere of love. Christ demonstrated, modeled, and taught the disciples that love should be their abode, their overriding life principle, just as it was in Jesus’s life. This is not a command to “stay in love with Jesus” but a command to decisively allow the love principle that drove Jesus to the cross to be an unselfish, guiding life principle.
The disciples were to model the love of Jesus not only among themselves but to the whole world. They were to get into the circle of self–sacrificing love or commitment to others and never get out of it. This is not a salvation verse but a Christian life principle.
Jesus would never think of doing anything outside the commands of His Father. He trusted the Father, even when it meant a cross. That was something Jesus detested, but He did it anyway. Jesus’s commitment to benefit others drove Him beyond His feelings to sacrifice Himself.
He told the disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you” (Jn 20:21). In other words, he was saying, “The Father sent Me to show His love; now I am sending you out in My love to benefit others.”
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (Jn 15:10). By keeping His commandments, we abide in His love. Are you willing to demonstrate Christ’s love to the world?
“Dear Lord Jesus, may I continually live within the sphere of Your love in my responses to Your word and in my dealings with other people. May You be the all–important center of my world.”