Father Knows Best

When I was young, I had a bad case of hero-worship for my dad. He was always so strong, and it seemed like he knew how to do anything he wanted. Dad traveled a lot, and when he was home, he spent a lot of time on the couch, resting and thinking, smoking cigarettes and drinking from his ever-present iced tea. He did not talk much, but when he did, it was either with a word of instruction, or with a stern rebuke, both of which I took to heart, though I truly feared those rebukes because they cut deep. I knew he loved me, but he became a father late in life and just did not seem to have the energy to do much when he came home at the end of his week. And, he always seemed to have so much on his mind, which did not leave much time for a young son. Looking back, I understand now that dad suffered from chronic depression, brought on by Post Traumatic Stress. He had a pretty rough life, from childhood on, and in some ways, my young life mirrored parts of his. But talking was not something he encouraged, probably because he did not know how to break past the barriers. After all, real men don’t talk about their feelings, right?

A few years before his death, dad and I finally had some real conversations. There had been a lot of pain on both of our parts throughout the relationship, but we always loved each other. As we got to know each other for the first time, we developed a mutual respect and admiration to go along with that love. Mistakes had been made and were forgiven. I learned more about the man than I had ever known. And I treasure what I learned about him, the things he shared with me, even though they came very late. Late is better than not at all.

When Jesus was accused of healing on the Sabbath and called God his own father as part of his reason for doing so, the Jewish leaders were incensed! They felt that in claiming to be the son of God, Jesus was making himself equal with God. Since they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the punishment called for this crime was death. When they charged that Jesus was making himself equal with God, he replied that he was not acting independently of God because his relationship is that of a Father and Son relationship. If we wish to see how God reacts to sin and how he responds to our sinful condition, then we must look to Jesus. The mind of Jesus is the mind of God, and the words of Jesus are the words of God. Jesus also states that his identity to the Father is based on complete obedience. Jesus always did what his Father wanted him to do. His obedience was not based on submission or power, but on love. The unity between Jesus and the Father is a unity of love. We are called to submit our lives to God with the same love and obedience which Jesus demonstrated for his Father. Jesus states that to accept him is life and to reject him is death.

Whatever your relationship has been with your earthly father, do not make the mistake of imprinting that bond (or lack thereof) onto God. Part of the reason it took me so long to have a good relationship with Him even after I was saved was because I assumed my heavenly father was distant; loving but inaccessible. I did not think he had time to listen to me because there had to be more important things on His mind. God will always listen to the things we need to say, and He will also put the right people in our path who are willing to listen as well. Real men DO have feelings, and DO talk about them. At least, we do when we have someone that we trust to listen and not condemn or ridicule. We each need to find that someone we can open up to. It’s crucial.

Jesus’ opponents refused to accept his divine authority and claim to be the only Son from the Father. They hostilely demanded evidence for his Messianic claim and equality with God. Jesus answers their charges with the supporting evidence of witnesses. The Mosaic law had laid down the principle that the unsupported evidence of one person shall not prevail against a man for any crime or wrong in connection with any offense he committed (see Deuteronomy 17:6).  At least two or three witnesses were needed.  Jesus begins his defense by citing John the Baptist as a witness, since John publicly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and had repeatedly borne witness to him (see John 1:19, 20, 26, 29, 35, 36). Jesus also asserts that a greater witness to his identity are the signs he performed.  He cites his works, not to point to himself but to point to the power of God working in and through him.  He cites God as his supreme witness.  To those who carefully read the Old Testament, especially the books of Moses, they point to Jesus as the Messiah, the promised Savior.  The problem with the scribes and Pharisees was that they did not believe what Moses had written.  They desired the praise of their fellow humans and because of that they were unable to recognize and understand the word of God. Their pride made them deaf to God’s voice. God reveals himself to the lowly, to those who trust not in themselves, but in God. The Lord opens the ears of those who are eager to hear his voice and he fills their hearts and minds with his love and wisdom.

Read Day 4 Devotion by Cristy

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