We see the Father in the Son
The God of the Bible is one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted to make clear that, although he is not the Father, that we can see the character of the Father through him, that he shows the family likeness. (see Colossians 1:15)
Like Phillip, we can often fail to see the Father. It is not that God is hiding from us, but, that that we are so busy looking over Jesus’ shoulder looking for the Father that we fail to see the Father in Jesus, as though God becoming a man were too obvious for us. Are we trying to “crack the code” of who God is, or are we seeing the Father in the person of Jesus?
We know the Father through the Son
If we want to know what someone is like, we spend time listening to them. The wisdom of a father is a wonderful thing. We have a whole book of fatherly wisdom in the Bible.
Furthermore, Jesus reveals to us that the Father is personal. This can be quite difficult for us. In the Facebook age many people have more communication with others than before but fewer personal relationships. This struggle with personal relationships can be seen in the following common ideas about God/spirituality which we often encounter:
1. God is a force rather than a person
2. God is not an authority involved in people’s lives
3. We should maintain independence from God, tuning into him when needed.
Even some Christians can keep God at arm’s length, so as to make him convenient. True relationships are often inconvenient but they are more important than anything else in the world.
We can identify that a love is not genuine if it is (1) limited, (2) controlling or (3) detached.
(1) In Jesus we know a God who is not limited in his involvement with us, who became a man, kneeling down, as it were, to put himself on a level with us.
(2) In Jesus, we see that the Father’s love is not controlling. Jesus came not to be served but to serve, associating himself with the poor and broken.
(3) In Jesus, we see that the Father’s love is not detached. Jesus made himself vulnerable, looking at the crowds with compassion and weeping at the tomb of Lazarus.
Our relationships with our earthly fathers often influence our view of God as a father. No earthly father is perfect, even those who are good, and, sadly, many fathers are absent or abusive. We can look at the fatherhood of God through the lens of our own earthly fathers.
However, from Ephesians 3:14-15 we can see that the true picture is the other way round. Our earthly fathers, instead of providing us with an image of God’s fatherhood, are instead a broken reflection of his eternal fatherhood. God is the original father.
We come to the Father through the Son
In Luke 3:21-22 we see how God affirmed his Son through an audible voice at the start of his earthly ministry. It is as if God were saying, “That’s my boy!” and this affirmation echoes throughout Jesus life of service and sacrifice. Jesus shows his obedience to his Father’s will by bearing the weight of our sins on his shoulders. Even here the Father is saying, “That’s my boy!” at his Son’s sacrificial obedience.
At the end, the Son is abandoned by the Father. The worst suffering of the cross is that the Son suffers the loss of the Father and the Father the loss of the Son. The Father’s love is greater than we can understand, he did not spare his only Son but gave him up for us that we too can become sons and daughters of the Father.
Through Jesus, we can be rescued into God’s family. Our separation from God is dealt with at the cross and we can know the Father.