Spirit of Grace Ministries
SOGM
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

Jesus Reveals The Father

Jesus heals the lame

by Dennis Pollock

Throughout history men and women have wondered about the nature of God. That God exists is pretty much taken for granted by most. The question is not whether there is a God, but rather what kind of a God is He? Is He tough or tender? Is He laid back and easy going or demanding and strict? Does He notice the small fry or is He mostly concerned with world leaders and the rich, the famous, and the influential? Each religion has its own version of God. And many people who hold to no particular organized religion have created their unique view of the Creator, made after the image of the Creator they suppose He ought to be.

For evangelical Christians the matter is settled by the pages of the Bible, that large collection of books written by prophets, kings, poets, and apostles, and, we believe, has been inspired directly by God, the Holy Spirit. Gaining an accurate perception of God is the most important education one could ever hope to receive. It is far more valuable than computer skills, mathematical abilities, or a knowledge of world history. Jesus tells us, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” Without a true knowledge of God we become idolaters and religious pretenders. The Muslim who kills women and children while shouting, “Allah is great,” the Hindu who beats Christians to death in defense of his idolatrous religion, and the cult leaders who persuade their followers to commit mass suicide are all acting out the consequences of a false and utterly deceptive view of the divine Creator.

Not only does Jesus tell us that we must worship God according to truth; He declares that He, Himself is the purest and most complete expression of God the world will ever see. When asked by Philip to show them the Father, Jesus replies, “Have I been with you so long and you have not known Me. He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). It is in Jesus Christ that we finally discover the exact and precise nature of our Creator. When we read the gospels, when we observe the healings, teachings, actions, reactions, and lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth, we gain an understanding of God that is without distortion. We discover God, as He manifests Himself in humanity. The Bible says, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). Through His words and through His life Jesus has placed the invisible God before us; none of us has any excuse on that day of judgment, nor will we ever be able to say, “Well, I never thought You were like that!”

The Teachings of Jesus

We learn much of God through the teachings of Jesus. Our Lord had much to say about God. He was called “Teacher” and His subject was God. He had not come to give us lessons in advanced mathematics or history or geography. His words and His life were all about God: His nature, His demands, His love, and His willingness to provide for His children. One of the most comforting insights He gives us is found in the title He gives the great Creator. He tells us that when we pray we are to call Him “Our Father which art in heaven.” Not our heavenly General, not our Big Boss, not our King, not our divine Commander, not the Man upstairs, but “our Father.”

The idea of God being a heavenly Father was not a popular or common concept among the Jews. There are a couple of Old Testament references to God as Father, but this idea had never really caught on with the Jews. God was too holy, too strict, too remote, and too distant to think of Him as Father. And yet Jesus insisted this was how we were to begin our prayers, reminding ourselves at the outset that we were in a loving relationship with our divine Maker.

The theme of God being our Father and we His children runs throughout the New Testament. John writes, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). The early Christians called each other “brother” and “sister,” emphasizing the family nature of the church. Yes, it might be argued, that we are the army of God, and Paul referred to the church as the vineyard of God and the building of God, but the idea of the family of God is given far greater weight.

Jesus taught that this Heavenly Father is a very generous Father, saying:

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25,26)

Not only are we taught that the Father will gladly and freely provide for His children, but we are encouraged to recognize that we flawed, mistake-prone, thick-headed children possess great value in the eyes of our divine Father. We are not to worry - our Heavenly Father thinks so much of us, His children, that food, clothes, and physical needs will be provided as a matter of course. Our Father will see to it that we have all we need.

The Father's Eyes

Jesus also insisted that our Father in heaven is keenly aware of us and our circumstances. He declares:

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29)

The idea of God having all our hairs numbered has made for a lot of preacher jokes; they love to tell us that He has an easier time of it with some of us than others. But  we need to go beyond the jokes and see what Jesus is saying: Our Father is keenly, intimately, acutely, and absolutely aware of every minute circumstance of our lives. No tear we cry, no crisis we face, no attack that threatens our health, our relationships, or our lives has escaped the eyes of the One that Hagar called, “The God who sees.” Our Father's intimate and perfect awareness of everything that pertains to His children should be a source of incredible comfort to us. We don't have to shout and plead and jump up and down to get His attention. His eyes are on us constantly, as He tenderly observes and directs our lives and circumstances.

Dad and son

Jesus taught that our Heavenly Father is highly responsive to our prayers and petitions. As a generous, kind, and caring Father, He will not withhold good things from those who ask Him. Jesus tells us:

Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11)

Just as it is natural for earthly fathers to provide for their children, it is far more natural for our Heavenly Father to supply and sustain His children in all their needs and wants during their allotted time on this earth. We do not have to coerce the Father through forceful, bombastic prayers; it is not necessary to feverishly attempt to summon a huge measure of faith and spiritual power in order to squeeze a drop or two of heavenly blessings from Him. A simple "Give us this day our daily bread" will do the job. And when God opens wide His hand and pours out blessings and sustaining grace on our lives, He is not doing something that is alien and contrary to His nature. He is doing that which is precisely in line with His personality. He is being who He is and doing what He does. He is the God who "gives to all liberally and without reproach" (James 1:5).

The sum and substance of Jesus' teachings about the Father in Heaven are found in the word love. In what is unarguably the most famous verse in the Bible, Jesus tells us that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Jesus spoke of a Creator who cares deeply about His creation, and eagerly seeks their well-being. His classic parable about the prodigal son demonstrates the forgiving, loving, tender nature of the One who "in the beginning made the heavens and the earth." John, who was of all the disciples closest to Jesus, summed up Jesus' teachings about the Father with these simple words: “God is love" (1 John 4:8).

Demonstration of Deity

But Jesus did not merely teach the world about God as a lecturer, giving dry addresses about the qualities of the divine Creator. He actively went about demonstrating God's nature and manifold attributes. He revealed the generosity of the Father when He fed the multitudes by multiplying the fish and loaves to such an extent that not only were 5,000 people well fed but there was food left over. David describes the Lord as a Good Shepherd who anointed his head with oil and made his cup to overflow. Jesus proved to be that Good Shepherd who supplied even more than was necessary.

He demonstrated God's intimate awareness of us when He stopped below a tree and called the tax collector, Zacchaeus, by name, and by astonishing the Samaritan woman at the well in mentioning her five previous husbands. Just as He taught that the Father would respond to our prayers and petitions, Jesus demonstrated that quality again and again as He went where He was asked and healed all who came to Him. There is no record of any person requesting healing who did not get it. Zero, zilch, nada.

Jesus Christ is called the "the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person" (Hebrews 1:3). And just as God is love, so Jesus revealed to the human race what this love looks like with human skin wrapped around it. His love was so intense He could never turn it off, not even on the Sabbath. Lepers were healed, the hungry were fed, sinners were forgiven, children were blessed, the despairing found hope, and the outcasts were made to feel special as Jesus of Nazareth "went about doing good." The nature of the Deity was revealed, and to our surprise and joy we learned that God really, really does care about us. He is truly "our Father which art in heaven."

God's Ultimate Provision

As encouraging as all of this is, there is another attribute of God that Jesus both taught and demonstrated which we must consider. Jesus taught that God is holy, in fact so holy that He finds sin utterly abhorrent. This has serious ramifications for sinful, flawed human beings (such as we all are) who hope to go to heaven and live with Him forever. Jesus preached the concept of repentance, and told us that apart from repentance and a transformation of heart, we will never be accepted in that place where God dwells. He declared emphatically, "Unless you repent, you will all… perish" (Luke 13:3). This process of repenting and trusting Jesus for forgiveness and salvation He calls being born again, and states, "Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

Because it is in the heart of the Father to provide for His creation, He has made a way, but only one way, for us to go to heaven. It involves faith in Jesus, trusting that His substitutionary death and His resurrection the third day made up the atoning sacrifice by which we may be saved. To fully trust Christ, His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection is to receive Him, and the Bible tells us, "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). The cross of Jesus is God's ultimate provision; it represents our loving, generous, kind, merciful God providing for the deepest, greatest, most desperate need that men and women will ever have – the need to be reconciled to the One Jesus called "our Father which art in heaven."

line

To see a full listing of all articles available, go to our Written Devos Page.
For a full listing of all articles as audio mp3 files (free downloads), go to our Audio Devos Page.

 

     

        For inspirational devos, bios of Christian leaders, free downloads, and the latest SOGM news:
Sign up to receive E-newsletter
>>

Your donations are needed and greatly appreciated!

 

 

Just for you!

Missions Outreach


A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring video clips and pics from our recent mission in Magodes, Uganda.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.