Jesus came to earth as a man to redeem humankind from our sins and from every kind of bondage and imprisonment. That fact has been established in the minds and hearts of most Christians. But Christ also came to earth for the purpose of revealing to us the heavenly father.
First he told his disciples, "...The Father hath sent me..." (John 5:36).
Then he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (verse 30).
And finally he stated, "...I go unto my Father" (14:12).
Listen carefully to what Jesus is saying: "I came from the father. And while I'm here, I do only his will. Soon I will go back to my father."
Jesus said his entire life was all about the heavenly father -- his coming to earth, his purpose while here, and his return. It was all about revealing the father!
"...The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do... the Father... sheweth him him all things that himself doeth..." (John 5:19-20).
"I can of mine own self do nothing... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent me" (verse 30).
Jesus said he had no will of his own -- that he did nothing on earth except the will of his father. Indeed, Christ told the Pharisees, "Watch my life, my ministry, all the miracles and good works I do -- and you will see the heavenly father. Everything I do is a reflection of who he is. And it is all meant to reveal him to you!"
"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matthew 11:27).
Jesus is saying here, "It is impossible for you to know who the father is unless I reveal him to you. You can't get that revelation on your own, just by reading the Bible or going to church. I have to reveal him to you!"
"...no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
Significantly, Jesus adds in the very next verse:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (verse 28).
It is important to know why this verse is connected to the previous one. Jesus is saying that if you want rest for your soul -- if you want to end all inner striving -- then you have to have a revelation of who the father is. You've got to know that you have a father in heaven who cares about you!
But no one receieves this revelation of the heavenly father apart from Christ. Jesus is telling us, "All that the father is, and all that he wants to do for humankind, has been shown to me. I came to earth with the full knowledge of what he wants to accomplish. So, in everything I do and say, I am showing you what God is like.
"His spirit moves me. I am the embodiment of who he is. So watch me. Listen to my words. Behold all my miracles, all my good works, all my teachings. I am revealing to you my father -- and your father!"
Jesus told his disciples, "...Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see" (Luke 10:23).
He was saying, "You are just babes. Yet God has chosen to reveal himself to you, as your father!"
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-8).
In the Old Testament, the children of God had just a glimpse of God as their father. David said: "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him" (Psalm 103:13). Isaiah called God "...The everlasting Father..." (Isaiah 9:6). Jeremiah wrote of him, "...Thou shalt call me, My father..." (Jeremiah 3:19).
But these ancients did not have the full revelation of the father. Jesus himself said, "The prophets longed to see what you see and to hear what you hear -- but they could not!" Those in Old Testament times never had a vision of the heavenly father. Yes, they knew Jehovah by all the names he had revealed to them. But he had not revealed himself to them as father.
The fact is, that revelation could not come until the son revealed the father. Jesus said, "No man knows the father, except the son -- and to whomever the son chooses to reveal him." Yet now Christ has come to reveal the father to this last generation, in a way no other generation has ever known him!
Everything Jesus Did --
From the Water Turned
to Wine to the Raising
of the Dead -- Was an
Everything Jesus did and said was meant to say, "This is my father at work. This is what he is like!"
"...I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (John 8:28-29).
In other words: "I have spoken freely all through this land. And when I walked the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Judea, I told you time after time that everything I do is of the father. If only you would have opened your eyes and ears and accepted my word, I would have shown him to you. He has been revealed!"
The religious leaders claimed, "Abraham was our father." And when Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (10:30), they became so indignant, they called him a devil and picked up stones to kill him.
But Jesus answered them:
"You say I am a blasphemer. Yet would you stone the very one whom the father himself has chosen to send into this world? I don't seek my own glory. I honor my father. I know him, and I keep his sayings, because he and I are one.
"If you won't take my word for it, just look at the works I'm doing. At least believe that these things are an expression of the father. I came here to tell you -- and to show you -- that Abraham is not your father alone. You have a heavenly father!" (see verses 31-38).
This was important to Jesus. He knew that his time was short on earth. And he knew that if the people didn't have a revelation of the heavenly father -- his love, his mercy, his grace -- they would be left with a dead religion, dead forefathers, nothing alive to lay hold of. They would have no sense of direction, no hope, no vision.
How painful it must have been for Jesus. He was going back to his father -- and the people would be left with no revelation of the father in glory, who so longed to adopt them as his own!
In John 14 We Read of What
Had to Be One of Our Lord's
Most Painful Experiences.
As painful as it was to Jesus to be rejected and misunderstood by the unbelieving Jews, something else had to be far more painful. That was the blindness of his own disciples!
The last supper was over. Judas had already gone out to betray the Lord. Soon Jesus would be headed to Gethsemane. And now, as he sat with his disciples, he shared with them his final words of instruction, beseeching them to love one another after his departure. He'd spent three years revealing the father to them.
And now he said, "I am going back to my father. In his house are many mansions, and I go there to get a place ready for you. One day you will come and be with me there."
It must have shocked Jesus to hear Thomas respond, "...Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). Thomas was really saying, "Jesus, you speak so intimately about going to your father. But we do not know how to get to him. We don't know him as you do. How can we know the way to the father?"
This was a confession. Thomas was admitting, "Lord, we know you. We've been intimate with you for the past three years. But we have no revelation of who the father is -- of his love, his care, his tenderness. Please, before you go -- show us the father!"
Yet, that is just what Jesus had been doing for the past three years. His disciples had missed the revelation!
If we fully understand that we have a loving, caring heavenly father, why would we ever be downcast when the enemy comes against us? Why would we ever despair over a financial burden that seems overwhelming? Why would we ever wonder why we can't seem to get victory over a besetting sin?
Listen carefully to Jesus' answer to Thomas. It has everything to do with us:
"If ye had known me, ye should have known my father also..." (verse 7).
Then Philip speaks up: "...Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us" (same verse). Jesus was aghast at this! He couldn't believe what he was hearing. You can almost hear the incredulousness in his voice as he answers Philip: "...Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (verse 9).
In other words: "Thomas, Philip, my precious disciples -- how can you ask this? You say you know me, that we are intimate. Yet how could you miss the revelation I have spent the past three years giving you? Don't you yet see that all the mighty works I did were the father in me -- revealing who he is, what he is like, what he wants to be to you? All I taught you was from his heart, not mine!"
The revelation of a human father has always failed. It failed in the Old Testament. And our present generation, of fatherless young people, have no concept of what a father is. Jesus knew that there has to be a revelation of a caring, compassionate, merciful heavenly father in order for us to have hope. And Jesus himself was the human expression of that heavenly father!
Jesus' whole life was an illustrated sermon. Day by day, with every miracle he did and every parable he taught, he was expressing who the father is. And he sent his Holy Spirit so his followers could do even greater works and keep revealing the father's love to new generations. Jesus knew they had to have this revelation of the father, so that in all these things "the father may be glorified in the son."
And now he told the disciples, "You need a revelation of who your father is. You've got to be able to teach others, who are like sheep without a shepherd right now. They think nobody cares, that they're illegitimate children. So you've got to do works as I did, to speak as I did. They need to know they have a loving father in heaven!"
Beloved, we also need that revelation! We've got to be able to say to the world, "Watch my life. Listen to what I say. See the works I do. It's all about my heavenly father!"
Let's go into this scene with the disciples a bit deeper. I imagine Jesus saying the following to them:
"So, Philip, you want me to show you the father? Just think back to the wedding of Cana, when I turned the water into wine. That was not me doing it -- not my will, my plan. It was an expression of my father! He was showing his concern for even the smallest, insignificant needs of his children. He was showing he cares about family, about marriage, about food for his children. That was the father at work, Philip! You know I've never done anything on my own, but only what he has told me to do.
"Do you remember the feeding of the four thousand, and later the five thousand? Those people had been without food for almost three days. You saw how hungry they were. And you asked, 'How will we feed them?' So I broke the loaves and fishes and divided them up. And you saw how the people grabbed at the abundance of food. You remember all the baskets of leftovers.
"Yet that was not my plan, my work. I was only doing what the father had told me! Even though my father knew the majority of the people would later forsake me and despise me, he was concerned about their stomachs, their physical needs. It was a revelation of his care for hungry seekers! And if you seek the father, he will take care of your daily needs too. Did I not teach you that he has numbered every hair on your head -- that no sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge?
"How can you say, 'Show me the father'? Don't you remember the weeping widow of Nain? There was the sad funeral procession, where she took her son to bury him. Her hope was lost because her son was dead. So I reached out and touched the coffin -- and the boy was raised up. That wasn't my plan -- it was my father's work! That's what he is like. He was moved by the woman's tears. It was an expression of my father's care for the pain, the sadness, the sorrow of his children.
"You say you want to know the father. Don't you remember the woman caught in adultery? The self-righteous priests and pharisees were going to stone her to death. So I told her, 'Go your way. I don't condemn you. Go and sin no more.' Those weren't my words -- they were my father's! I said nothing, did nothing, except that which reflected his will. He spoke the words through me. It was a glimpse into his mercy, his desire to forgive!
"And what of the man possessed by a legion of demons, whom I delivered? We saw him when we got off the boat. There was terror in his face and voice when he cried out, 'Have mercy on me, son of God!' You remember how he was chained up, with cuts and bruises all over his body. I commanded those demons to leave him and go into a herd of swine, which was destroyed. Then you saw the man in his right mind. And now you ask me to show you the father? That was my father at work! He did it through me! He was showing you how he will drive Satan away from every one of his children. He will break all demonic chains from any child who calls upon him!"
I ask you -- why does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will bring all things to our memory? It is so we can have a revelation of the father! It is so we can replay in our minds every miracle he has done in our lives -- every deliverance, every wonderful work. Jesus is saying through it all, "Everything I have done for you is an expression of the heavenly father -- who he is and what he wants to be to you!"
We who live in the New Testament age have been given a great testimony. Not only do we have the works of Jesus to consider, but also the great works of the first-century church, as well as two thousands years of godly others "doing greater works than these." That is who our heavenly father is!
You may say, "I know the Lord. I have intimacy with him. I know who I am in Christ." Yet Jesus may be saying to you, "We've been together for so long -- and yet still you do not know God as your father!"
The purpose of intimacy with Jesus is to have a revelation of who the father is. If you say you have intimacy with Christ but you don't know the father, you haven't entered into the fullness of intimacy -- because you haven't had Christ open your eyes to the father!
Some Christians are constantly overcome by fear. Some are always despondent. Others wallow in guilt, afraid they will never have victory over sin. They fear losing their job, their health, their family. They have no peace, joy or rest.
That is when I hear Jesus asking, "Have I been with you this long, and yet you do not see? Do you still not know God as your father?"
Out of Our Intimacy
With Christ Must Come a
Revelation That We Have a
Father in Heaven Who Has
Painstakingly Shown Us What
He Is Like -- and What He
Longs to Be to Us!
Let me share with you what I believe Jesus has revealed to me about my heavenly father:
- 1st He chose to be a father to me.
I didn't choose him. Rather, this is the role he chose to be to me -- a father. He says, "I have chosen who I want to be to you, how I want you to see me. I want you to know me as your loving heavenly father!"
Is God ruler of heaven and earth? Yes. Is he almighty? Yes. Is he omnipotent? Yes. Does he sit king of the flood? Yes. But in these last days, God wants us to have another revelation of him: "I want to be a father to you -- and I want you to be a son or daughter to me!"
Jesus walked the earth his whole lifetime knowing who the father was, knowing his will, hearing his voice. He lived every hour under the sunlight of his love, never in confusion or doubt. And therefore he could face anything the enemy threw at him -- any trial, any hardship -- because he knew his father was with him. He could say, "I know I have a father who sent me. He chose me and appointed me. And he is with me always. I am never alone!"
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21).
Jesus was saying here, "You say you want to know me, and that is right and good. But now I want you to know my father. I want you to know him as I knew and enjoyed him -- as father!"
The father tells us, "I want to hover over you, to be your protector, to drive out all demonic attacks, to supply every need, to see you through all your trials. I choose to be a father to you. Let me be your father!"
Think of it: He picked you, out of all the hundreds of millions of people on the face of the earth. You didn't go looking for him; you didn't ask to be born into his kingdom. He chose you! Yet he not only chose you, but he adopted you as his child. And his Spirit tells you to cry "Abba" to him, saying, "You are my father. You're not just Abraham's father, or Peter and Paul's father, but my father. And you have made me a joint- heir, a brother, to Jesus. You are truly mine!"
- 2nd He chose to be my father, and chose me to be his child, on the basis of love and mercy alone.
There is no other condition. God didn't wait until I became "good enough" to be his son. He didn't wait until I had all my doctrines figured out. No -- he said, "Even when you were lost in sin, I came to you to be reconciled. I loved you when you were wallowing in filth. I called you, chose you and adopted you for no other reason than that I love you!"
Sometimes I wonder how God ever could have looked down on us and loved us. We are so unlovable -- so mean sometimes, so unworthy. But in his mercy he says to each of us, "I want you -- I choose you -- because I want to be a father to you!"
"Beloved, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God..." (1 John 3:1).
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (4:10).
It Is All An Act Of Love!
He chose me, not because I loved him first, but because he first loved me. He adopted me as his child only because he loved me. And that brings me to a wonderful conclusion:
I don't have to figure it all out. I don't have to understand the deep doctrines of justification, sanctification, mortification, glorification. All I have to know is that he picked me to be his son -- and that I am loved by God the father!
It doesn't matter what hell tries to throw at me; nothing can move me from this wonderful knowledge. I am loved and chosen! I know he picked me as his son for no other reason than that he loved me, and I can rest in that love. He would not have chosen to be my father if he intended ever to abandon me or let me go. He who chose me and loves me will keep me and carry me. He will never let go of my hand, because he is Abba father -- mine!
Beloved, I'm an earthly father. And you can't name any reason on heaven or earth why I would ever abandon or leave one of my children. I ask you: How much more is your heavenly father going to be with you through everything you endure in this life?
- 3rd If he is truly my father, he will provide for me, protect me and bless me, as any truly godly father would do. But he cannot be a righteous, loving father unless he warns me when I am in danger!
My heavenly father will not spare me from the truth. And I have to allow him to do that, whether or not I like what he has to say to me.
My earthly father lovingly reproved me whenever I misbehaved. Yet, every time he spanked me, he made me hug him afterward. As much as I didn't want to hug him, I'll never forget putting my head on his shoulder and spilling out my tears. He always said to me: "I love you, David. God has his hand on you, and I'm not going to let the devil have you. I know what God is going to do for you."
Likewise, in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, we hear a loving rebuke from our heavenly father. He warns: "Get as far away from sin and the world as you can. Run from evil!"
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
What is God telling us here? He's saying, "I have chosen to be your father. And I will not share my role with the devil!"
To have fellowship with the father of lights, you must give up all ties to the father of lies. Every ungodly person you run around with is a curse to you. You must forsake the worldly crowd. And you must be willing to forsake all unclean things, all dirty habits, everything evil.
You see, the devil has his own people. He is the father of all lies, all who are in rebellion, all who want to live in mixture. God is saying to us, "You can have a revelation of me. You can have a measure of Jesus and know him more than you've ever known him before. You can even say, 'I know my father loves me.' But let me speak to you now as any father would speak to a child whom he loves...
"If you're going to mix with the world -- if you're going to hold onto some unclean thing in your life -- then our fellowship will not work. Your revelation of who I am is in vain! If I'm going to be your one-and-only father, then you've got to forsake the world and its pleasures. You've got to lay down your sin. You cannot hold onto any filthy thing in your life.
"I want to be a father to you -- to bring you into joy and victory, to lead you and guide you. I want to favor you as only I can favor my children. So I will not permit you to come to me with any mixture -- with hands that have been touching any unclean thing. Come out to me in separation from all of that. Then I will receive you as a son, a daughter. I long to be a father to you!"
So, you say you want to follow Jesus? Then don't come out to him halfway. Come all the way out of the world. Your father says, "If you trust me as your father to deliver you, I will send the Holy Ghost and give you power and authority. I will give you hope while you're in the struggle. And I will bring you through. Little by little, you will see victory. If that's what you want, you can have it -- because I'm your father. I won't withhold any good thing from you!"
Take that step right now. Lay down all worldly loves. And follow him all the way. Then he will rescue you -- and will be to you a father!
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