The Fatherhood of God

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 5

imagesMany people cringe at the thought of the word, “Father.” It reminds them of absence or distance instead of presence and intimate involvement.

When Jesus presents Himself to Mary after the resurrection and prior to His ascension, He says, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God’” (Jn. 20:17). His instruction challenges her idea, as well as ours, of “Father” and “God.”

With that statement Jesus dismantles every erroneous idea about fatherhood and confronts every imperfect experience of fatherhood. The name “Father” signifies progenitor, the seed from which come our physical attributes. Jesus descends from the Father and presents, as the Son, the Father’s attributes, not physical (those He has received from Mary), but spiritual. To see Jesus is to see and experience the Heavenly Father (Jn. 14:9-10). Wisdom, love, compassion, and self-sacrifice all emanate from Him. He bears our sin on the cross so that we can be recipients of all that the Father is for Him.

Jesus declares that the same relationship that He has with His Father is possible between His Father and His followers. Never mind your faulty view of Fatherhood; He came to dismantle and replace it with His own perfect view and experience.

Jesus’ relationship with His Father reveals several life-changing truths about the fatherhood of God:

  • Who the Father was for Christ, the Father is for His children today.
  • The Father’s love for Christ filtered every earthly betrayal and circumstance. He knew Whose He was; therefore, He could face any situation, including death, with peace and joy.
  • The Father’s complete acceptance of His Son Jesus mirrors His acceptance of believers today.
  • The Father’s acceptance is not based on performance, but on relationship. The Father declares His pleasure in His Son at His baptism, before any public ministry has taken place. We are therefore accepted in Him (Eph. 1:6).
  • The Father’s pleasure flows from seeing His children fulfill His purpose for their lives. As we live in our gifts and walk in our calling, we bring our Heavenly Father joy and pleasure.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mk. 15:42-47; 16:1-11; Mt. 27:57-66; 28:1-15; Lk. 23:50-56; 24:1-12; Jn. 19:38-42; 20:1-18):
What does the lingering of the two Marys at the tomb at Jesus’ burial and their early morning post-Sabbath visit reveal about them? What message does the angel give them to deliver to the disciples? What does this reveal about the role of women in the spreading of the good news? What is the initial response to their message?
John’s Gospel includes the presence of Nicodemus at Joseph of Arimathea’s preparation of Jesus’ body and the laying of His body in the tomb. What does this reveal about Nicodemus’ faith journey, from his introduction in John 3, until Jesus’ death?
When does Mary recognize the resurrected Christ?