In John chapter 1 and verse 18, we have this tremendous statement: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” The son whom the Father loved, made known God as a Father.
The intriguing thing to us is that Jesus brought with him a different concept of God than had been known in Old Testament times. You can read right through the Old Testament and will find only three clear verses that speak of God as a Father: II Samuel 7:14; Psalm 89:26, and Isaiah 9:6.
For example, in Psalm 18 we have what is generally considered a picture of the nature of God. “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalms 18:1-2 NIV). Notice all those tremendous figures of speech and yet no mention of the fact of God as a Father. The truth was foreign to the Hebrew nation simply because God had not revealed Himself in that way.
However, when Jesus came, the Word says, “He has made him known,” as a Father. The word “father” is used of God 244 times in the New Testament; 112 times in the Gospel of John alone. Matthew uses it 43 times, Mark 5, Luke 14, and other New Testament books 70 times.
It is certainly true that God made the heavens and the earth. He is the Creator and Sustainer, and is worthy of our adoration and worship. Yet the Word reveals that the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord, I became a member of the family of God. Thus the emphasis should be upon the fact that God is my Father, rather than on His almighty being.
Too many Christians have a low estimation of our God. They think of Him as a policeman with a stick, ready to deal with them if they step out of line; or that He causes disease, suffering, and death. Very few Christians have the greatness of the understanding that God is their Father, that He desires to treat them as a loving, heavenly Father, that He wants the best for His children all the time, and will not force upon His children anything that would be harmful to them.
God is our Father. He is not going to let us get into a situation that is harmful to us, if we will walk by the greatness of our believing and follow the revelation that He gives.
Here are some statements Jesus made about His relationship to the Father. In John 5:19-20 we read: “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these’.” (John 5:19-20). Notice this intimate relationship between a father and his son. Everything the Father did He showed His son, because He loved His Son.
In verse 30 of John chapter 5 we have another statement: “‘By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me'” (John 5:30). Jesus did not want to do things his way; he wanted to do them in the Father’s way every time. It does not mean he was unable to do things of his own will. He had renewed his mind to the extent that he refused to do anything of his own will. He would only operate as the Father told him what to do and what to say and where to go.
Perhaps now we can understand John 14:8-9: “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?'” (John 14:8-9).
Just to take a look at the life of Jesus, to see how he renewed his mind, how He walked by revelation, and what he did and said, will show us what the Father is like. Jesus came that he make Him known. Philip had been walking around with Jesus for months, and yet he still did not recognize that the Father was just like the son he was watching. Jesus continually renewed His mind, walked perfectly by revelation, and so he could say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
The same truth is also stated in John chapter 6, “‘All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven [He was conceived by the Holy Spirit] not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:37-38). His goal in life was to do His Father’s will. This is a tremendous relationship between a loving Father who is willing to supply everything that is needed and a don who is willing to walk exactly according to the will of the Father.
In John chapter 8, we find another glimpse of this tremendous relationship: “‘I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.’ They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him'” (John 8:26-29).
Jesus was a God-pleaser. Everything he said and did was with one great motive: he wanted to please the Father. No other man has renewed his mind to that degree.
Later in John chapter 8 we read: “‘Jesus replied, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word” (John 8:54-55). What a tremendous, positive statement: Jesus knew God and he knew him as a Father.
Believers must get to that same place. We must know that God is what the Word says He is! When we belong to the family of God, God is our Father! The Jews called Him God; Jesus called Him Father. The Church today calls Him God, yet very few intelligently call Him Father. How lonesome He must be. He is a Father-God with a Father-heart and His people call Him just plain God, just like they would speak of a neighbor. We must learn the truth that God is our Father.
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