"Our Father..." (Part 3 of 4)
In Luke 19, following right on the heels of the disciple’s prayer, Jesus said: “how many of you when you ask your father for a fish, he will give you a serpent, and if you ask him for bread, he will give you a stone? If you being human, and compared to God even evil, will give your son good things, how much more will your Father in heaven give you good gifts, even the Holy Spirit, when you pray?”
When you ask God, who is a father, you do not draw up an empty net with just stones and serpents in it, you bring in a haul, a haul even to overflowing. So many of us misunderstand prayer. We think that somehow we have got to persuade God in prayer, we have to overcome his reluctance—in actuality what we have to do in prayer is to lay hold of his willingness–he is a father, you are not going to come up empty when you approach him. Jesus illustrates who the Father is, to us. In fact it is because of Jesus’ relationship with his Father, that you and I have our relationship with his Father. You see, we are not the seed (physically) of Abraham, but Jesus was God’s begotten Son. God says of him, “You are my Son, this day have I begotten Thee,” Psalm 2.
In Luke 2:49, Jesus as a 12-year old boy is at the Temple and his parents return after three days to find him there. His mother is understandably distressed, and Jesus says: “Why are you so upset mother, do you not know I must be in my Father’s house, I must be about my Father’s business?” The sages who were sitting around—with whom Jesus has just been engaged in intensive advanced spiritual discussion (rabbinic argument)—immediately understood when Jesus said: “my Father” instead of saying: “our Father’s house.” This would have been appropriate, he could have said to his mother, “Mother, why are you surprised to find me in our Father’s house?” because she was also of the offspring of Israel. But he said: “my Father” and the sages understood that in so doing he was identifying himself as the Messiah. Based on at least three major scriptures in the Hebrew Bible (e.g. 2 Samuel 7:14) the Messiah is going to be called God’s Son. God says, “I will be to him a father and he will be to me a son.” In Psalm 2 he says: “You are my son, this day I have begotten Thee.” So it was understood by the sages of Israel that when Messiah arrives, he will have such intimacy with the God of creation that he would speak of him in the first person as “my Father (Avi)” rather than in the first person plural “our Father (Avinu).”Because Jesus could say Avi, you and I can say Avinu.
Because of who he was, his identity as God’s Son and Messiah, you and I now have the identity of God’s adopted sons and daughters. He, by the shedding of his blood, has made a way for us to come into the family of God. Because we know Jesus’ identity, we now know our identity, we too are the children of the Father of Israel. In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul speaks of this great wonder, he speaks to you and me. Verse 12 “at that time” refers to the time prior to coming into a saving knowledge of the Messiah Jesus. Paul is saying you were the most miserable of all men, you were not a people, you did not know God, you were pagans, you had no hopes, you had no covenants and no promises, but now, verses 13,19-22. Do you understand that because of who Jesus was and what he did we undergo a second birth? Our first birth is to a human father, into a natural family. And then we have a spiritual birth into a supernatural family, to your Father in heaven. And because of that, because the second birth is possible in the Messiah Jesus, you are now part of God’s household. That is why we call one another brothers and sisters, because our Father in heaven is the head of our house, and he is trying to get his children in order so he can come and visit the house and dwell there peaceably. The glory of his Spirit will be in the family gathering.