The Heart of Fatherhood
Jesus wasn’t crucified for being a prophet, but for claiming to be God’s very own Son.
As a father of four beautiful daughters, I know what it’s like to fall head-over-heels in love with someone that I just met. As each of my girls entered the world in that delivery room, it was love at first sight. My heart skipped a beat, and I knew my life had forever changed. Fathering is an odd thing. As dads, we may have superior strength and physical power, but somehow a 7-pound baby has the unique ability to make us weak in the knees. As my girls have grown older, their power and influence over my heart has only increased.
Jesus wasn’t crucified for being a prophet, but for claiming to be God’s very own Son. The idea that we can approach God as our loving heavenly Father was not well received by the religious elite. The Jewish leaders knew God as a Righteous Judge, King, Ruler, but most certainly not their Father. The term “Father” conveys a level of intimacy and closeness that the scribes and Pharisees were unwilling to accept.
Perhaps it was the influence of Greek philosophical views of God, dominant in Roman culture, that hindered the religious leaders’ ability to view God as a Father. Jesus’ teaching on the Father’s heart stood in stark contrast to the stoic, distant, emotionless concepts of God taught by the Greek philosophers. When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him to teach them to pray, they likely marveled when Jesus began calling God, Our Father. Though this was an affront to their thinking, the disciples and early Christians began to embrace this new concept of God as a loving heavenly Father.
Not only did Jesus teach us about the Father’s heart, but He also displayed the Father’s love through His life and death on the cross. In Jesus, God defined the relationship with those He created in His own image. The apostle John writes: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.” (I John 3:1). We were created to encounter the limitless love of our Father.
What does Father God want most from His children? I believe that our Heavenly Father wants what every good earthly father wants most from his children; the voluntary love of His kids. This is why Jesus told us that all the commandments are fulfilled by wholeheartedly loving the Lord. When we give our heart to God, we are “born again.” At that moment, His heart skips a beat, and we begin a love relationship with our heavenly Father.