22nd April 2011

Father!

Surely he was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:54 (NIV UK)

These words are the first recorded words after Jesus died on the cross.

The Roman centurion and others, had just overheard Christ’s intimate prayer, “Father, into your hand I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:45). This was impressive because in the Old Testament God is rarely addressed as the Father. So, having listened to Jesus say “Father”, and having witnessed all the momentous events that followed the crucifixion (a prolonged darkness, the curtain of the temple splitting in two, an earthquake, etc), they proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God.

Jesus uses “Father” when talking to God. Why? It’s quite simple. He was and is the Son of God who became human and died for us. He did not become the Son of God when he was born of Mary. He already was the Son of God, and “the Father sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14). An everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6) presupposes an everlasting Son. John also explained that Jesus, the Son, was the Word, and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father” (John 1:14). “Christ Jesus…who, being in very nature God…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8). The implication is that this relationship of being the Son of the Father pre-existed his human birth.

Jesus called God “Father” and he taught believers to pray “our Father”. Why? Again, it’s quite simple. God’s plan was for “us to be adopted as his sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5). It is only through Christ and his sacrifice that we are placed in that relationship. Through Jesus we have received the Holy Spirit, who is “the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba! Father’” (Romans 8:15).

God is our Father because Jesus, the Son, sacrificed himself for us. Just as Jesus spoke always to the Father and cried out to him on the cross, we also can speak to the Father in the best of times and in the worst of times.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).

Prayer
Loving Father, thank you that you sent your Son so that through his death we are adopted as your children.
Amen

Study by James Henderson 

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