Next Sunday is Father’s Day in the United States, Chile, Canada, Japan, the UK, South Africa, China, India and most of Europe. Nations around the world recognize the important role of fathers in the lives of children.
As a 12-year-old boy, Jesus rewrote everything we ever thought about fathers and everything we think about God. He had visited Jerusalem with his parents to observe the Passover as was their custom. Relatives and friends traveled in caravans from Nazareth to Jerusalem once a year to observe this significant historic Jewish celebration. On their journey home, the group from Nazareth discovered, to their horror, that the 12-year-old Jesus had been left behind on the streets of the capital city.
Mary and Joseph left the returning caravan and traveled a full day’s journey back to Jerusalem to find him. After three days of anguish, they found him in the Temple engaged in discussion with the religious leaders. Hardly able to control her emotions, Mary confronted him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Don’t you know your father and I have been anxiously looking for you?” His response shocked her. He said. “Did you not know I must be about the things of my Father?” Mary and Joseph did not understand what he was talking about. (Luke 2: 41-52)
The reason for Mary and Joseph’s confusion is rather simple. They had not thought of God as Father. Like all faithful Jews, they considered God too holy for his name to be pronounced. Only the priest could approach God in the holy of holies and that only once a year.
This became a dominant theme in Jesus’ ministry. He revolutionized prayer by teaching us to pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven” and encouraged us to bring all our requests to God saying, “Which one of you if your son asks for an egg will give him a stone, or for a fish will give him a snake? If you being evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father which is in Heaven give what is good to you.”
"Take no thought saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘Wherewithal shall we be clothed?’ For your Heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things ..." "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." With his final breath upon the cross, Jesus said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” From his first recorded words to his last, Jesus redefined God as our Father.
Faith takes on an entirely different dimension when we discover God as Father. Our Father in Heaven wants to know us, love us and transform our lives to reflect His goodness and grace in a world torn with hatred and violence.