Fathering the Son of God

Look at the breathtaking relationship Jesus enjoyed with God the Father. There is a lot in the scripture about their intimacy. See the way Jesus talks to and about his Father in Heaven:

I know you always hear me.

The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.

My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.

Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want

I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence.

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.

…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

And the Father himself said of Jesus, “this is my son in whom I am well pleased.” It’s impossible to overstate the value and importance and glory of this divine relationship.

One aspect of the fathering Jesus received in his life on earth is easy to miss.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

This little sentence written in Luke’s account could be passed over as a literary transition, but it sums up all of Jesus’s teenage years and twenties where, as far as we know, he….drumroll please…spent his days as a construction worker with his dad.

That’s how you grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man?!

It’s amazing what having a job and a dad will do for a boy.

God the Father–yes, the perfect Father–saw fit to entrust his son–yes, the Son of God–to an earthly dad, the man Joseph. Think of the hours they spent together in the shop, learning to draw plans and to measure twice, cut once. Imagine Jesus on the job site feeling the pain of splinters, hitting his thumb with a hammer (I imagine he began to learn the physical and emotional restraint he practiced on the cross here). I see him doing everyday things like learning to stay hydrated and not sunburned while working long hours in the heat, and joking around with his dad while eating their lunch under a tree. This is so everyday and so holy.

I wonder sometimes if one of the reasons Jesus so favored his title “Son of Man” of many he could have chosen was because he enjoyed honoring his earthly dad, a man though whom God the Father lovingly fathered Jesus.

If you are a dad or a dad in the faith to someone, think not only about the tremendous responsibility, but also the tremendous amount God trusts you as an expression of his fathering love. It’s an honor indeed to be a father in the Father’s house.

If you have been robbed of your relationship with fathers, don’t despair. The Father is faithful. Remember that God is a restorer. Also remember that even Jesus was an adopted son. And not just as a side-plot necessitated by the whole virgin birth thing. Jesus received his prophetically significant title “Son of David” through Joseph’s ancestral connection to the warrior psalmist King David. Because God is a faithful father, he may bring you part of your identity and destiny through one of his earthly fathers too.

I’m so thankful for my dad, Bill Thornton. God entrusted me to him in my formative years and he served well and I am now not only his son but his friend. Then I think of Ben and Doug, fathers in the faith that God has added to my life. I am rich in something that Paul counted lamentably rare, fathers. I have been (and am being) led into all that God has for me to a great degree through three men who are, in all of their humanity, tangible expressions of the Father’s love for me.

Look to the one Father. Father and be fathered.

April 10, 2013