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Without proper knowledge of your father, who your father is, what your father is like, what are his hopes, aspirations and ambitions; one cannot truly honour one’s father. It is true, honouring one’s Father begins with obedience, obedience that comes from listening to the Father and watching Him. However, many obey their father out of fear because the father is a tyrant.

Jesus said, “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me”[1] It is not because Jesus so feared the Father that He obeyed His Father, but that Jesus so loved the Father that He obeyed Him. Unfortunately, when a religion presents only God Almighty, it extracts homage and obedience from the people out of fear, rather than out of love. It is a matter of obedience of the commands for the sake of obedience, obedience so that you avoid the punishment due to disobedience. Such motivation may seem correct at first, but if the motivation of obedience is to avoid punishment and to seek a reward, then Jesus has not revealed the Father properly to us. For Jesus came to reveal to us the Father He loves, not the Father He fears, nor the Father He obeys, but rather, the Father He loves, and His obedience is motivated purely by love for the Father, not rewards, success or avoidance of punishment.

When James the Younger took the church back to the partial observance of the Law of Moses in Acts 15, with his judgement and recommendations, he influenced the elders to put as the last line of their letter, you do well to avoid these things.[2] The whole emphasis was shifted from doing things because we love the Father, to doing things in order to avoid breaking parts of the Mosaic Law. When you get busy enough avoiding doing things, you will end up doing nothing. Jesus did not come avoiding doing things, but rather He came and did things that outraged people. But all the things He did were shown to Him by the Father, and all the things He did were to back up His words in revealing the Father. Thus, the actions of Jesus, not just His words, but His actions, were also designed to show us the Father. And since it was the Father who was showing Jesus what He was doing, every act of Jesus was designed by the Father to make Himself known to us.

That He is the Father who protects His children, and not even a storm can harm you, a Father for whom nothing is impossible, a considerate Father who has in mind the needs of others. As at the feeding of the four thousand, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”[3] A generous Father whose idea of feeding the masses is not a pot gruel or porridge, but fish and bread good enough to cause the people to go around the lake for more. He does not supply just enough so that food had to be doled out, but supplied so much that there were twelve baskets of leftovers. As you go through all the things that Jesus had been doing that have been written and listed for us to read about, you will see a facet of the Father revealed.

However, Jesus was not satisfied in making known to us the Father by just His words and His actions for us to hear and watch, but He wanted us to come to where He is, for He said, “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.”[4] Where is that place, where He is? It is at the right hand of the Father listening and watching the Father. But He is and never was just standing or sitting there passively listening and watching, but as He was shown by the Father and as He was told by the Father, He also said, so that He also experienced what it was like to say what the Father said, and to do what the Father did. As I have said, the glory of God is that He is the Father, and that same glory He gave to Jesus so that Jesus the Son may experience what it is to be Father as well. For a son never fully understands what the father knows and feels until he himself also becomes a father.

Thus, when Jesus did what the Father showed Him to do and said what the Father told Him to say, He was not just a mouth piece making known to us the Father, or a mime showing us the actions of the Father, He Himself was experiencing what it is to be Father. For in the midst of all the miracles He performed, all the words He spoke to reveal the Father to us, Jesus received the revelation Himself of what it is to be the Father, so that His imitation of the Father is perfect. And what father does not suffer at the loss of his son, who is indeed, his life, his hope, his future, his dreams and even his ambition? So, in the suffering of Christ that perfected Him, that suffering put into the Son the understanding of what it is to be Father, and being able to understand what it is to be Father is the purpose of Man. For when God made man in His Image, His plan for them was: “Let Us make man in Our Image, in Our Likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the Earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”[5] But when He spoke to man, the first thing He said was, “Be fruitful and increase in numbers.”[6] The first purpose of man was to have children, sons and daughters, that man, male and female,[7] may come to know what it is to be a parent and in that parenting, to see the Person of the Father. For God is One, and as God the Father, the Father embodies also all that is revealed in the female Image of God as well as the male Image of God.

Not that God is God the mother, no, but there is a motherly side to God the Father, for how else could He say to Israel, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”[8] In that statement, God made it plainly clear His love is greater than that of a mother’s love, for His love includes the Father’s love, a Parent with the fullness of the female parent’s and the male parent’s love—that is the Father’s love.

As such, it is a love so sufficient for Jesus that not once did He refer to Mary, the woman who gave birth to Him, as “mother”, but rather, from His first miracle He referred to her as, “Dear woman, why do you involve Me?”[9] And at His greatest miracle, He told her as John recorded: When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son.”[10] It was not that Jesus was insulting Mary or rejecting her, but it was His way of showing us how far greater and how sufficient is God’s love for us, when we know Him as our Father, that even the mother who bore us is but a “Dear woman.”

Thus, the revelation of the Father in the Godhead starts with listening to Jesus, for He alone knows the Father. He alone can describe Him and share with us the stories of what the Father is like, what He does, His fame, His glory, His love… His all. And watching what Jesus does then shows us the Father in action, that is, the story of the Father is brought to life in front of us, so that through Jesus, this miraculous Father we have heard about is brought to life in front of us in a Man, in the Son of Man! So that we might not first believe but also know, that the stories we hear of God are true! Not myths, not figments of someone’s imagination, but indeed true.

Not satisfied with telling us what the Father said, or showing us what the Father did, He wants all of us who have faith in Him to know what it is like to be in God the Father. For Jesus said, “Believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”[11] He wanted those who would believe in Him to know and understand that He is in the Father by the miracles. And going the extra mile, Jesus took those who would eat His flesh with Him into the Father, saying, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him.”[12] In taking us into Himself, He took us into the Father… so into the Father that He was not satisfied with us just listening to Him, for that is what the Father commanded. That is all the Father commanded us, His disciples, to “Listen to Him!”[13] But Jesus, and for that matter, it originated from the Father, then took all who would listen to Him, who believe in Him and not just His miracles, into the Father as He is in the Father, so that we would know the Father as He knows the Father. Not as a son who is standing next to the Father, listening to the Father and watching the Father, but also as a son who is in the Father, experiencing everything that the Father experiences, in sensation, emotion, thought, memories, and even as the Father speaks and works. Knowing that we would never be able to be in the Father, as He is in the Father, if we only listened and watched and believed, He then spoke this truth: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father,”[14] as part of His conversation with Philip when Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”[15] Philip was satisfied if Jesus just showed him the Father, but Jesus is not satisfied in just showing us the Father as men show their fathers by words and stories. Jesus answered, “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you are not just My own. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth…”[16] The truth that awaits us to be told to us, which Jesus spoke of in John 14:12, lies not in listening to the words or even believing in them. That truth awaits all who actually step into the Father, by doing the things that Jesus has been doing. And since the Father is greater as Jesus said, “for the Father is greater than I,”[17] so then, through doing the things that Jesus has been doing, we get to live and experience what His words have been telling us and what His actions have been showing us about God the Father for ourselves, and when we have done what Jesus has been doing, so the Father, who is greater, will show us the greater things that He does so that we may also do them and come to understand and know for ourselves “the Father is greater than I.”

Yet we have not listened to Jesus, much less watched what He has been doing. So then, how can we say we honour our Father, and if we have not honoured our Father who is in Heaven, how can things go well for us in the land wherein we dwell, and how can we live long in it? For the promise that follows the command is this: “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”[18]

When we stopped listening to Jesus only, and leaned our ears to Moses, we no longer saw the Father only, and though we did things to honour God, we did not honour the Father. Though we loved God to a degree and experienced God’s love for us to a degree, we never experienced God’s love as Father that would bring us to the place where we would call no man on Earth ‘father’, and even our mothers we would call, “Dear woman.” We did not experience the fullness of God’s revelation of the Father through Jesus Christ ourselves, therefore we could not present the Father to the world. So that, to this day, the church is just another religion preaching that man should obey and fear God to avoid being punished and to be rewarded.

No one knows the Father Jesus knows because no one has ever bothered to listen, to watch, and to do what Jesus has been doing. If no one knows the Father—how can the Father be honoured?

Father, forgive us for we know not what we are doing. Amen


 

[1] John 14:31

[2] Acts 15:29

[3] Matthew 15:32

[4] John 17:24

[5] Genesis 1:26

[6] Genesis 1:28

[7] Genesis 1:27

[8] Isaiah 49:15

[9] John 2:4

[10] John 19:26

[11] John 10:38

[12] John 6:56

[13] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[14] John 14:12

[15] John 14:8

[16] John 14:9-12a

[17] John 14:28

[18] Exodus 20:12

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