God the Father

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14) In the next few posts, we will consider that God is three and God is one. The Trinity will always be a mystery to our finite human brains, but we can still experience God as we follow Christ through the power of the Spirit.

Do you have a hard time seeing God as Father? A lot of people do. There is so much baggage that we carry with us in this life regarding our fathers that it is hard to see God as “Father.” 

It was hard for the Israelites too. When Jesus put on flesh and walked the earth, He introduced a radical concept to the Jews. Up until that point, the Jews conception of God was largely shaped by their picture of Him at Mt. Sinai with smoke and thunder and lightning. They wouldn’t even say the full name of God, Jehovah, but shortened it down to Yahweh because they were too afraid to say The Name. Their relationship with God was largely a distant one.  God was someone to offer sacrifices to in order to cover over guilt. God seemed so far away and terrible that it was unusual for someone to walk with Him in a familiar way like King David did.

But then came Jesus. There were two particular teachings of Jesus that showed God the Father to be Abba, or in our language, “Daddy.” First, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he said, “Our Father in heaven…” Wow! Jesus went far beyond saying “Jehovah!” He used the familiar term “Father.” He taught his disciples to relate to God like a child with their daddy. 

Second, one of Jesus’ parables showed God as a good, loving Father. There was a man who had two sons. The younger son told his father he wanted his inheritance right away. So the father gave it to him, and the younger son left home. He went crazy with wild living and squandered his inheritance. When he had no money, he got a lowly job feeding pigs. He became so hungry that he considered eating the slop he was feeding the animals. He thought to himself, “Perhaps if I go home and ask to simply be one of my father’s slaves, he will take me back.” So the son started home. But while he was coming down the road, his father was standing at the door, watching for him. When he saw his son, he pulled up his robes (a very undignified thing to do) and ran down the road to meet his boy. He embraced him with a big hug, and the son asked for his father’s forgiveness. The father forgave him and threw a big party because his son was home!

Jesus showed us that this is who God the Father is.  If we only had the picture of God on Mt. Sinai, we could fear Him and worship Him, but we couldn’t love Him—He would be too awful for us. But we have a perfect Father who loves us with perfect wisdom, justice, and mercy. We can love Him, because He first loved us.