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Entries in Son (1)

Tuesday
Jun232015

A Father and His Son

June 21, 2015-John 5:19-23

Today we are celebrating Father’s Day and so we are taking a break from the Gospel of Luke this week.  Much work goes into the raising of a child and much work goes into keeping them raised.  However, one thing is very clear.  A child will become an adult regardless of the intention of the parents (short of tragedy).  Many parents lack intentionality in the raising of their kids and coast on the sheer momentum of physical and intellectual growth.  Yet, God calls us to something much greater than creating a random, accidental generation.  Rather, we are to stamp an image upon the lives of our children that is good and points them to their heavenly Father.

Now my dad was a DIY kind of guy.  He was a musician, avid outdoorsman, and he loved family.  These things have definitely left their imprint upon me.  Of course, there are negative things that can leave imprints in the lives of kids as well.  It is important for young people to recognize that the imprint of bad qualities in our parents do not have to be bad in us.  A child who grows up in a home where love is never expressed can be imprinted passionately towards demonstrating love.  Thus kids make choices as they grow up and those choices are just as much a part of the imprint as the actions of the parents.

In today’s passage Jesus gives us insight into the interaction between him and God the Father.  The leaders of Israel were angry that Jesus kept comparing himself to God.  They called this blasphemy and sought to kill him.  Yet, Jesus responds with the truth that it is only natural for a son to be like his father.

A Son Cannot Help But Be Like His Father

The underlying message of these 5 verses is that instead of being blasphemy it is only natural for a son to be like his father.  In this context Jesus is talking about himself as being the Son of God.  Thus he will demonstrate the same qualities, nature, and activity as his heavenly Father.  Although the passage is only about Jesus and the Father, we also know from other passages that the Father is working to make the disciples of Jesus to be like Jesus.  In Ephesians 4 the apostle Paul describes why God has given leaders to the Church.  “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…”   Notice that the work is “till” we come to the full measure of Christ.  He does not mean physical height here, but rather, character height.  We are being made over into the image of Jesus who was a perfect representation of the Father in heaven.  Thus we will use this passage to remind ourselves as earthly fathers how we ought to be.

In verse 19 Jesus points out the activity of God the Father.  Jesus has seen the activity of the Father and is now doing the same thing.  Notice how the activity of a Father imprints itself upon a child.  Now Jesus is a perfect Son and thus he perfectly acts like the Father.  But let’s focus on the father side.  If my activity is going to leave an imprint upon my child then I should take care what that activity is.  Even the lack of activity can leave an imprint in the same way that we recognize failing to plan is planning to fail.  Children of this world may intend to avoid becoming like their fathers for good or for bad and a father can’t control it.  Yet, a father can fill his life with activity that will impact the child for good regardless of what he chooses.  Jesus is the perfect son who only does what he sees his father do and only speaks what he hears his father say (John 12:49).  We wouldn’t expect kids to be a perfect copy of their earthly fathers.  But that is not where God intends it to go.  God intends for us to see this natural tendency and to use it to point our children to their heavenly father.  He is the one that we all need to see and become like.  Thus God has sent His perfect Son to help us imperfect prodigals and lead us back to right relationship.  So fathers, your activity will either point your kids to their heavenly father or it will point only to yourself.  When you fill your life with the activity of God, you will point them to something greater than yourself and imprint them for good rather than for bad.

In verse 20 Jesus points out the love that the Father has for him.  The Father has shown the Son things because He loves Him.  The intentionality of the father is important in a kid’s life and is best when it flows out of a heart of love.  If you love your kid then you will not just be active.  But that activity will be done in such a way as to intentionally involve them in our activities and point them to God.  This is not easy.  It always takes longer to do something if you involve someone you are trying to teach.  However, the child needs this from their parents.

Next Jesus points out in verse 21 that he has received power to do certain things from the father.  In this case it is the power to give life and raise up the dead.  No earthly parent can give such power to their children.  However, a father can empower his child.  You give a child the tools they need to accomplish to accomplish a particular purpose.  Thus if we are partnering with God to accomplish His purpose in their life- to make them like Jesus- then we will take time to give them the tools required to accomplish that.  How can a child become like Jesus?  What tools do they need?  First we can give our kids the information that they need to come to know God.  We can give them instruction and yet even something as simple as teaching them to read enables them to read and discover God’s Word for themselves.  Teaching them how to communicate rather than running away from difficulty is important.  Teaching them discipline and control of their emotions and decisions is also important.  Other tools that children need are the coping skills of perseverance and the ability to selflessly love another.  These kind of things will go a long way to empowering a young person to know God for themselves and to become like Jesus.  Too often young people go into life with only a few tools and many of them may be warped and twisted.  Praise God that Jesus will help even those who lack the tools to come to know him and be like him, if they are hungry for Truth.

In verse 22, we see that even though God is the righteous judge of all mankind by right of Creation, He has delegated this to the Son.  All judgment will be done through Jesus Christ.  This ability to delegate can be very challenging for a father.  Sometimes we refrain or take back such delegations because of fear of failure.  At age appropriate times, it is important to delegate household chores to kids.  It teaches them to find their place within the home and work with others.  It helps them to have some skin in the game.  Plus it teaches them how to accept the things that God has delegated to us through Jesus.  Now, not all kids are going to grow up and work alongside their father like Jesus did.  However, a father can teach a kid how to work with others.  Ultimately your child needs to grow up and become a fellow worker with you and coming alongside the heavenly father.  It is we who are helping Him in His business.  His work is to point people to Jesus as the answer for their sin and judgment.  Jesus delegated this task to his disciples when he ascended to heaven.  He said, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all the commands I gave you.”  Matthew 28:19-20.  This risk of putting the salvation of others in the hands of humans may seem unadvised to us.  Yet, God is not absent.  He works in us and through us by His Spirit to aid us in bringing others to relationship with Him.  Thus fathers should ask for the Holy Spirit’s help in accomplishing this task that has been delegated to them.

Lastly, it is the honor of the son to become like his father.  On this earth a child grows up and eventually takes the place of their parents on earth because of death.  Of course, our heavenly father never dies.  So this is not about replacement.  Yet, we see that God wants us to share in the honor that is already His.  He invites us to come work alongside Him, all the while, we are becoming like Him.  Ultimately we will share in His glory.  1 John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.  We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.”  All believers will stand side by side and experience the joy of recognizing that we are like our Father.  As good as this feeling can be with an earthly father, we must make the connection with God the Father.  He is sharing His glory with us by making us to look like Him.  Thus the apostle John reminds us that if we have this hope in us we will purify ourselves.  Fathers, take time to clean up your life.  Sometimes we even need to prune off good things so that we can be more fruitful in God’s work.  When you live for the honor of God, you will enable your child to understand what it means to live honorably.  So don’t give up hope and by all means don’t let failure cause you to quit.  It is God Himself who pledges to help you.  Blessings!

Father and son audio