By: Rachel Herbeck
What do you think Jesus will get God the Father for Father’s Day? A Father-Son fishing trip to Alaska? I know, I know, they probably don’t celebrate Father’s Day in Heaven. But as we approach Father’s Day, I realize that I often forget that Jesus and the Father aren’t just two members of the Trinity; they are Father and Son. Salvation History shows us that relationship with great intimacy and tenderness. Jesus’ death and resurrection reveal to us the Father’s heart of perfect love and His destiny for our lives, while His earthly life models for us how we are to live in relationship with the Father.
Jesus’ Passion: An Expression of the Father’s Heart
Before Jesus was born of Mary, He lived in perfect glory, intimacy, and unity with His Father and the Holy Spirit. After the fall of Adam and Eve, God desired man to be restored to his original glory. That means that the Father desired you and I to be with Him in Heaven, sharing in the love, intimacy, and glory that He had with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, before the foundation of the entire world. Let’s stop here for a moment. Can you believe that? The surest thing that you know about your future is that God the Father has plans for you to share in the very glory and love that flows between God the Father and His Son, Jesus.
You know how the story continues: the Father sends Jesus to bring all men to Himself. The Father wanted you to be with Him so much that He gave up His only Son to make that possible. But the Father doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t just want us to share life with the Trinity as citizens of Heaven (as if that wouldn’t be enough), He wants us to share life with Him as His very children. This is an incredibly important and intimate detail. Isn’t it much different being a member of someone’s family than it is their friend? St. Paul writes, “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He destined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5). The Father allows the blood of His Son to be shed so that through that blood, we become heirs of the Kingdom of God and adopted children of the Father.
Jesus’ death and resurrection reveal to us the very desire of the heart of His Father: to be with us, as near to us in love as possible for all eternity. Behind Jesus on the cross is a Father who weeps for His pained Son but rejoices that His Son has come to bring us Home to our Father.
Jesus’ Earthly Life: Our Example
Jesus not only reveals His Father’s heart to us, but He models how we are to live in relationship to Him: in obedience. Jesus came to die out of love for us and out of love for His Father. As Jesus got closer to His death, He told His disciples, “I do as my Father commanded me, so that the whole world may know that I love my Father” (John 14:30). What an incredible witness Jesus gives us of obedience! This obedience stems from the confidence He has in the goodness of His Father’s heart. Over and over again, Jesus speaks of His Father’s will, His Father’s Kingdom, His Father’s glory. The Son comes to earth and cannot stop boasting about the goodness of the Father!
This is how we are called to live as Christians; with complete abandon to the will of God the Father and filled with desire to make His will, deeds, Kingdom, and love known through everything that we do. Before Jesus endures His Passion, He prays to His Father saying, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:1-3). I love this passage because in vulnerability it lays out Jesus’ entire mission on Earth. He is preparing to endure an excruciating death and He turns to His Father. He fixes His eyes on His Father, He gives glory to His Father, and from the depths of His heart He cries, “Father I want them to know you!”
I need to ask myself, is this how I relate to Him? Have I experienced and tasted the goodness of His heart and the tenderness of His love through Jesus in such a way, that like Jesus, my earthly mission and desire is for others to know Him?
As we reflect on Father’s Day and our own earthly fathers, let us turn especially to our Heavenly Father today. Whether you have a positive relationship with your earthly father or not, surrender your heart to God the Father. Let Him overwhelm you with His love and hold you close to His heart. As we draw close to Jesus He will bring us to the Father, and as we draw close to the Father, He will mold us into the likeness of Jesus.