As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.
The little word as carries a huge punch. It means In the same way. So Jesus is saying, “I have love you in the same way the Father has loved Me.”
Think of all the other analogies Jesus could have used: A mother loving her baby, a husband loving his wife, and so on. None of them measure up to the love of the Father for the Son.
“But wait,” you may say. “Didn’t the Father demand that His Son suffer so terribly? How is that love? What father would expect his son to endure what Jesus endured?”
The answer is both simple and complicated. It is complicated in that we cannot conceive of the love between Jesus and the Father. Not yet. Someday we will. But the primary feature of Jesus’ love for the Father was His obedience. The Father showed His love for His Son by entrusting the path of salvation for the world to Him, and Him alone. He protected Jesus until it was the right time. He spoke in public approval of Jesus (This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased). He strengthened Jesus. He gave Jesus the grace to speak encouraging words even as He hung on the cross. Jesus was steadfast in His obedience, because of the steadfast love of the Father.
But ultimately, love is simple. Reams have been written about it; songs, plays, books, movies have centered on it. It cannot be explained away. It can only be demonstrated. Love puts self aside for the benefit of the beloved. Simple. And complicated.
Again, Jesus repeats to His disciples that the test of love is obedience. Abiding. Staying. Pitching one’s tent.
“When you keep My commandments,” said Jesus, “Then you are abiding in My love in the same way I have kept My Father’s commandments and therefore abide in His love.”
Why does Jesus say this so often? Simple. It’s because we’re a bit dimwitted. We vow to obey Him no matter what, until the first obstacle arises or the first temptation beckons us away.