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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Forgotten Father

"Now when all the people were baptised, and when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heavens were opened,and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son;with you I am well pleased.'"
Luke 3:21-22 All of us are the son or daughter of some father but very few of us have ever heard words from our fathers like Jesus hears here at his baptism.

This is a problem.

Jesus' coming and revealing God to us is the crowning moment of human history. It is the moment the Earth had been waiting for, the moment that creation up until that point had been holding its breath in anticipation of. At that moment, when the Son of God walked upon the Earth we saw more clearly than any previous generation had ever done that God the creator, ruler, author and sustainer was originally and eternally, Father.

According to Doug Wilson (no relation to Andrew I'm afraid) 'The Father is the forgotten membe…

The Father is Greater than the Son

Scripture

Today's full Bible reading is John 14:1-14
'For the Father is greater than I.'
John 14:28Observation

Yesterday we looked at the destination of the Son, today we're considering the relationship of the Father and the Son.

The greater Father.

This seems like a strange phrase to hear Jesus say. Is Jesus saying that the Father is 'better' as in 'more godlike'? Is he saying that the Father is stronger or more powerful?

Whatever Jesus means it must be held consistently with everything else he's said about the Father up until now:
'obey me and the Father will honour you' - John 12:26
'I and the Father are one.' - John 10:30
'Before Abraham was, I am.' - John 8:58 All this leads me to rule out interpretations and explanations of our verse that might end up with a Jesus who is less than God. Therefore he is not saying 'The Father's the real deal, I'm just his mouthpiece, nothing more than a vessel of his will.'…

The Father Death Leads Us To

Scripture

Today's full reading is John 14:1-14
If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going away to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
John 14:28Observation

We're going to spend a couple of days on this one verse noting two different things about the Father. The first has to do with the destination Jesus believes he going to and the second about the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Jesus' Destination

Instantly I'm struck by Jesus' thoughts about the Father. He's talking about his death, he's talking about dying and yet he doesn't say 'I'm going to better place' (like a sentimental Englishman). Instead he says 'I'm going to the Father.'

Jesus is enthusiastic not about dying, nor about 'being at peace', nor about 'going to a better place'. He's enthusiastic and optimistic about going to be with the Father.

For Jesus dying is but a doorway to the Father. It'…

God The Father, Son & Spirit

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Devotional studies on God the Father from John's gospel

Scripture

Today's full reading comes from John 14:1-31.
The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
John 14:10 Today's reading reveals something pretty heady about God;  get ready...

In this verse and in the one previous to it Jesus is replying to his disciple Philip's request that they might see the Father, 'show us the Father' Philip pleads. Jesus is trying to help Philip see that he (Jesus) is the Father made manifest, that he's not only the Father's representative but is one with him in thought and deed.

In that sense, Jesus is different from an ambassador and speaking to him is different from speaking to an ambassador. Ambassador's speak on behalf of another person or country. They are given authority to act on behalf of and as a representative of their sending party. So far so good, so far so similar to Jesus. But Jesus claims a…

The Father Known Through The Son

No one comes to the Father except through the Son. If you had known me you would have known the Father as well.
John 14:6 Again we see the unity of person and mind of the Father and the Son.

The Father is inaccessible except by coming through and with and by the Son. Why?

Righteousness - the Son is the righteous one.Relationship - the Father isn't after people who keep his rules and thus enter his presence. He is looking for worshippers and faith. He wants people who will trust him. Similar to the second half of this verse, is this statement Jesus makes elsewhere: 'if you've seen me you've seen the Father' 
Again an outrageous statement to make for a cerpenter's son. If that's all he is. But he isn't just Joseph's boy.
The Father and the Son are on. Whatever the Son is like, the Father is too: WillingSacrificialServantheartedBoldGenerousWorking for Restoration Committed  This is what the Father is as well. In Chapter 14 Jesus mentions the Father 21 ti…

The Father's House

In my Father's house are many rooms... I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself.
John 14:2
We are being invited to be with the Father. Just as the Son loves the Father and the Father the Son we are being offered the same access to intimacy and friendship as that.

Jesus is returning to his Father but promises to take us with him, which is what he sees as the highest good he could do us.

The Father owns a house. The house has rooms currently unused as places of residence. The Father is happy for us to go and live in one of these rooms. I don't get the impression that Jesus is acting against his Father's wishes when he says this. Jesus sees us living with him and his Father, something he sees as a desirable good: 'You'll want this, this is the culmination of 3 years on the road with me.'

The Father is relational. We relate to him by being with the Son and where the Son is. God the Father is expecting us to live with him, he a…

The Slave God

Devotional studies on the Father from the gospel of John.

Scripture:

This morning's full reading is from John 13:1-19 and can be found here:

The verses we're focusing on are:
Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father... During supper... Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper.
John 13:1-3Observation:

I love this chapter. I'm gonna' put it out there - this is one of my personal favourite moments in the life of Jesus. Listen to the words Jesus says here and allow the rich implications of it drip like honey onto your lap... (too far with the enthusiasm?). Still, there is some great treasure to be mined here. The image of Jesus with a slave's towel around his waist seems just about as shocking today as it would have done then. The saviour of the world, the creator of the world, God - dressed as a slave?

God is the God who slaves over us an…

The Father Whose Commands Are Life

For I have not spoken on my own authority but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment - what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say therefore, I say as the Father had told me.
John 12:49 Commandment. What is the commandment come from the Father? It seems that it could be - 'what to say and what to speak' - meaning that it includes all of Jesus' teaching. This is the commandment of the Father, here meaning not a solitary command but an overall theme. That theme may well be 'listen to me and obey me.' since that seems to come out more clearly as an overall message.

The commandment could be what Jesus i referring to that will judge people. Whatever he's meaning by this idea he reveals here a Father who commissions and sends and who is clear as to purpose and intent. We see God empowers with authority and therefore gives what is needed for a task.

The Father isn't a micro manager but he is clear a…

The Father To Trust Unto Death

Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
John 12:27
In this moment here, it isn't so much the Father we can learn about but the Son. The Son is submitted to the Father and believes that the very reason he's come to this hour is to do exactly what he sees coming like a freight train down the tracks, Jesus hears the rumble on the tracks.

He wants to do his Father's will.

He trusts his God and Father enough that he will go to the cross out of obedience and a desire to see his Father glorified.

By observing the faithful obedience of the Son, we can see just how deserving of trust the Father is. Even when his will is painful and hard Jesus knows he can trust him. Jesus knows that he is a good Father. Everything else I've seen about the Father is still true of him in this moment. Jesus knows this, and so trusts him even as he heads toward the cross.

But I see also the Father's delight in…

The Father Who Honours Us

'If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.'
John 12:26 There it is again. The Father's delight in the Son and desire to bless anyone in close proximity to the Son. Again I'm struck by Jesus; if he isn't God then he is utterly wicked or insane. He is convinced that he is the centre of God's attention and affection. It is that belief that seems to drive him most of all. It's that conviction that will ultimately lead him to the cross.

But let's focus on the Father. Apart from saying (again) that he's devoted to his Son and loves to publicly show his affection, what can I say?

The Father honours all who are obeying Jesus. He's a Father who loves pouring out blessing and reward.

Honour. Son servants will be honoured we're told. God the Father is an affectionate, happy to praise, warm-hearted Father. What does it mean to be honoured by him? To be honoured is to be treated with the highest respect, to be shown to the best seats, to be praise…

The Father who Hears the Son

Devotional studies in the character of the Father from the gospel of John.

Scripture

This morning's full Bible reading can be found here.
Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe you sent me.' John 11:41Observation

I love listening in on Jesus' prayer life. When he talks to his Father you can sense the familiarity and intimacy that exists between them and yet also the authority Jesus has in prayer, it's majestic.

At Lazarus' tomb, we can learn a lot about Jesus' relationship with the Father, and also learn something about what the Father is like as well.
'Father I thank you.' Jesus begins by lifting his head, a physical act that focuses his mind and makes it clear to all onlookers that he's praying.

He then begins by addressing his Father. Up until now he has been talking about God using the word 'God' to discuss him. As …

The Father Who Won't Let Go

Devotional studies on the Father from John's gospel

Scripture

Today's full Bible reading can be found here:
'No one will ever snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me, is more powerful than all, and no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.' John 10:29-30 Observation

There is a lot of devotional wealth to be mined in these verses and there is a lot that can be said about the Father.

First. In this passage we're given the assurance from Jesus that the Father is more powerful than all the forces that would try to snatch his sheep away. There is the reassurance that those under Jesus' care will not be lost.

Jesus says 'no one can snatch them from my hand' and then 'no one can snatch them from my Father's hand'. Well, which is it? The answer comes - 'I and the Father are one.' Jesus and the Father are of one mind and heart in this regard. The sheep in his care will remain in his car…

The Reason the Father Loves the Son

Devotional studies on God the Father from John's gospel

Scripture

Today's full Bible reading can be found here.
'For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. This is the charge I have received from my Father.'
John 10:17 Jesus says the words 'For this reason...' when describing why it is that the Father loves the Son. I'll be honest, these words jar in my mind. 'For this reason?' It sounds initially like Jesus is saying 'this is the reason he loves me.' which sounds like a love based on a job Jesus does. This is out of step with everything else Jesus has said about his father up until this point. So it can't mean what I might initially think it means. In which case, what does it mean?

The thrust of the sentiment Jesus is conveying is more like: 'this is what my Father loves about me...' or maybe even 'the reason for my Father's love is because of how I trust him even to the po…

The Father Who Knows Me

Devotional studies on the Father from John's gospel.

Scripture

This morning's full reading can be found here.
'I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay my life down for the sheep.'
John 10:14Observation

Jesus speaks these words immediately after explaining that 'bad shepherds' (hired hands) run for the hills at the first sign of trouble. He, the Good Shepherd, (in contrast to the hired hands) knows his own and his own know him.

The contrast draws out the meaning of exactly what this 'knowledge' is.

When you truly know someone you can't just up & leave them at the first hint of trouble. The knowledge that Jesus is talking about here is an intimate familiarity with someone. It involves commitment and belonging. In the Bible 'knowing' is a euphemism for having sex with them:
'Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain,' Genesis 1:4 Jesus…

The Father Who Glorifies the Son

'The Father glorifies me,' John 8:54 There is it again. So certain is Jesus that he repeats it often. Here the emphasis is on the fact that Jesus doesn't need to seek his glory/honour/fame by pleasing people but by pleasing his Father. It is this that enables Jesus to speak robustly to the Jews in this story, even Jews who've come to believe in him. Jesus doesn't panda to or tickle the ears of, new believers. No, he speaks the truth even if the truth isn't going to be popular.

He does this because his Father glorifies him. That's how Jesus does and says what he does. The Father glorifies the Son, the Son lives to please the Father.

The Father Who Seeks His Son's Glory

'I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he is the judge.' John 8:50 God the Father, honoured by the Son, seeks the glory of his Son. This gives us a big insight into what motivates all of the Father's instructions to the Son. He wants the Son to be glorified and receive honour and glory. He doesn't only 'want' it, he is actively seeking it out. He is going after it. He loves his Son and wants others to as well. He is like a proud parent always putting his Son first and Son's honour first. This desire of the Father motivates all he does.

I am a son. I am a son in the Son. We are children of that very same Father. This is his inclination toward me. As I seek him and honour him, he seeks the honour of his Son in the people of his Son.

The Alive & Life Giving Father

Devotional Studies on the Father from the gospel of John

Scripture

For this morning's full text, click here.
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
John 6:57Observation

What can we observe about the Father from this short verse? Well, it seems to me that the word 'live' appearing three times offers us a clue. Jesus is trying to emphasise something about The Father. The Father he tells us is living, alive, and also the giver of life.

The first thing Jesus says about the Father is that he is 'the living Father'. God is the living one. The Father is alive. He is the living one. That means that he's not dead. He is active and involved and he is the source of life in all its liveliness. He provides life.

Jesus says 'I live because of the Father'. Our second point to be made then is that the Father sustains the Son. He is the reason that the Son exists.

Such is the nature of God th…

The Father Who Draws People To the Son

Devotional studies in the Father from John's Gospel

Scripture

For this morning's full text click here
Jesus answered them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.'
John 6:43Observation

In this Bible verse we learn that the Father is both the gatekeeper of the Son and also the one who initiates salvation. What I mean is this:

God the Father draws people to the Son ('No one can come... unless the Father... draws him') and is therefore out and about in people's lives bringing individuals to the Son.The very fact that there is a salvation on offer at all is a result of God the Father sending the Son ('The Father who sent me...').
We have this strange double-idea in salvation. The Father draws people (and no one who comes to Christ comes unless the Father draws him), but also elsewhere Jesus says 'I have come to seek and save the lost' (Luke 19:10).

Jesus is looking for those that the Father …

The Father Gives Eternal Life

Devotional Studies on the Father form the Gospel of John

Scripture

For this morning's full text click here
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out... For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life. John 6:37 & 40Observation

The Father gives to the Son and gives him people and those people receive life in Jesus' name. Again we see both the Father's generosity and his desire for people to have eternal life. But we also see how the Father's highest delight is in the Son. Jesus says: 'Look on the Son', 'believe in the Son,' & 'given to me [the Son]'.

We learn that Jesus will not & does not lose any people whom the Father gives to him. Salvation and eternal life are not just found in Jesus, they are secured in him as well. Jesus' grip on those the Father gives him is secure and permanent.

Application

This morning allo…

The Father Who Provides Bread From Heaven

Devotional studies in the gospel of John

Scripture

For this morning's full text click here.
Jesus said to them 'truly, truly I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. John 6:32Observation

Jesus taught his followers a model for their prayers by giving them what has become known as the Lord's Prayer. That prayer begins with the words: Our Father in heaven... and goes on to request that God give us today out bread for the day.

God is the provider of all things. He gives us life and breath and clothing and food. Jesus points to this reality when he says 'it was not Moses who gave you bread in the wilderness but my Father'.

In the Old Testament, in Moses' day it was bread from the Father, in the form of physical food during the time of wilderness wandering (Ex. 16). Now, in this scene in John's gospel, it is the true bread from heaven, the Bread of Life himself that the Father has given .…