Abbà, Father: the Greatest Privilege

Daily Devotion| Day 245

“Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him [Jesus], because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18, NKJV).

Have you ever said that God is your Father? If you answered, “Yes,” you are fortunate to be alive. Jesus said the same thing, and He got the death sentence. Shortly after assuming His role as Messiah, Jesus clashed with the Jewish religious leadership. He shocked people by what He did and said. For the most part, the religious leaders could tolerate Him. But their patience run out when, in their view, Jesus started to break the Sabbath. He did this mostly by healing the sick on the Sabbath. This alone provided the leadership enough justification to stone Him.

As the Jews soon found out, Jesus wasn’t done yet. In today’s passage we learn that the Jews sought all the more to kill Jesus. What was His crime this time? He “said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” Jesus had crossed lines for which the Jewish leadership thought He deserved to die. But when He openly called God His Father, that was, in the mind of the Jews, the height of blasphemy. Jesus wasn’t just making a generic claim. No, He claimed to have come directly from the Father. At this point, the authorities needed no more evidence. The question was no longer if Jesus had to die; it was a question of when He had to die.

Claiming God is your Father, probably, is the single most stunning claim anyone can make. Why? Because, as the Jews rightly discerned, it is tantamount to claiming equality with God. In some religions, this is considered blasphemy. The logic is: If God has a Son, then the said Son shares the nature of the Father. It further implies the existence (at least to the Jews) of more than one God. For people who believed in an absolute monotheism, Jesus’ claim was not only unacceptable, it was an affront on the holiness of YHWH.

After His arrest, Jesus stood trial and appeared before the High Priest. Here is part of what transpired: “Then they all said, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’ So He said to them, ‘You rightly say that I am.’ And they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth’” (Luke 22:70-71). Jesus didn’t have to say the words, “I am God.” All He had to do was to say, “I am the Son of God.” And the trial, for all practical purposes, was over. 

For various reasons, we don’t realize the weight of calling God our Father. If you want to know its weight, remember that it got Jesus the death sentence. He paid a heavy price for just calling God His Father. We, too, get to call God our Father, the difference being that we don’t get killed for that.

Next time you invoke God as your Father, show some reverence. Pause and ponder for a moment on the weight of what you are saying. This may very well revolutionize your Christian walk, as it should.

BlessingMay the Father grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph 1:17). Amen.

For further study: Galatians 4:1-7 and 1 John 3:1-3

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