Jesus’ disciples as well as other followers ask Jesus to teach them to pray. The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven” The word “father” conjures up different feelings for different people: a loving advisor, treasured friend, faithful provider–to name but a few. Then there are those who might say, “If He’s anything like my father, I hate Him” Others say that God is the kind of Father they would have wanted. With disciples, who lived in a patriarchal community, the entire family’s life revolved around the father. He provided for the family, protected them and maintained discipline. Jesus illustrated this kind of father in the parable of the Prodigal Son. He didn’t stop loving his willful son and he didn’t punish him when he returned.
Can God’s character be revealed in a word like “father”? There are more than two hundred names of God, yet Jesus chose “Father” because it is the easiest for people to understand. God becomes “Abba”-the affectionate name Hebrew children used to address their father. We, as sinners, may call the Holy God, the Consuming Fire, Father. Those who have no hope left, who have no prospects of a heavenly home, may call Him Father.
What does this say to us? It says that God loves us with an unfathomable love that gave His Son to suffer and die for our sins. The person who understands this is like the little boy standing on the street corner shouting down the street, “The Father is coming! The Father is coming!” He does this not so that the other children must run like terrified chickens, but that they leave everything: sand castles, mud pies and tricycles, and run towards Him, who stands with open opens.
“Our Father” a loving and compassionate Father, as a good-natured father ought to be. But this Father in heaven is also God. That is His name” a glorious, heavenly, holy name. His name is different and cannot be compared to any other name. His name encompasses all: All knowing, All-seeing, All-mighty. When Moses asked Him at the burning bush who He was, He answered, “I am who I Am” Exodus 3:14
His name is clearly written across creation: on every dewdrop, every cloud, on every majestic mountain and in every green valley. His name is evident in the order of the universe, but especi8ally in His covenant, in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. We find the very being of the only true God in Christ. “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father!” (John 14:9) Other than the evil that loves anonymity and wants to strip us of our identity, God has a name and He has made it known to us: The Holy One, the Almighty, the Eternal.
And what do we, insignificant humans, do with God’s name? This name is flung across the globe: in books, by word of mouth, in the media, in films, on walls and obscure places. In the process God’s name is violent by someone each and everyday. We have abuse His name and make it hollow, insignificant and meaningless. We don’t think about what we say or whose name we misuse. “The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations. Let them praise Your great and awesome name, Your name is Holy! (Psalm 99:2-3) and so worthy to be Praise now and forever.
Grace and Peace to You My Friends