“Our Father which art in heaven…” so begins the prayer that Jesus taught His followers to pray, what we often call “The Lord’s Prayer.” It wasn’t unknown for Jews to call God, “Father,” but Jesus made it clear that God’s fatherly love is at the heart of who God is. Even the best human fathers sometimes fail, sometimes are neglectful or hurtful to their children. But God is a Father who always loves, even when His children are rebellious and stubborn.
The most famous New Testament verse speaks about this love of God for us as His children. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” God’s love for us is a sacrificial love. He was willing to give His most precious possession. And Jesus copied this love of God because He was willing to give His life as well.
In addition to His own sacrifice, God gives Himself to us in another way. Luke tells us that Jesus said to His followers, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). God gives us His Spirit to live within our hearts to guide us and convict us of sin.
Perhaps the most powerful teaching of Jesus about the fatherhood of God comes from another story in Luke: the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. In this story, a rebellious son asks for his inheritance before his father dies. He then blows all that money living a wild life. Afterward he can’t find work and is about to starve. He decides to return to his father to beg for a job as a servant. When he gets home, his father throws a big party to celebrate his return and accepts him as his son once again. This story is offensive to many because it suggests God’s acceptance of those who are really sinful.
Yes it does. That is the love of the Father. “For God demonstrates His own love in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
As you celebrate Fathers Day this week, remember you have a heavenly Father who loves you. He loves you no matter what you have done.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC