The Love of Father: Part Two
Last year we focused on the “Love of the Father” through the experiences of two very different sons from the story of The Prodigal in Luke 15. As I pondered how to build from that, it struck me how important words of affirmation and identity can be in the development of a child’s life. To hear, “I love you, I’m for you, I’m with you,” and “you’re valued,” regardless of the circumstances and before any achievements, is not only crucial for growth but also follows in the way of God the Father. The outline God gives through how He interacts with Christ (His Son) is the best example of fathering we have.
So, to the dads, Grand-dads, spiritual dads, and those who are doing the work of a dad, this message is for you! To the one who finds themselves with the privilege and opportunity of holding this title in a person’s life, your charge is to love as the Father loved Jesus. Through Christ’s interactions with His Father in Matthew 3 and 17, we see God do three things: accept, adore, and approve, all of which remind and affirm a child of both their identity and position in love.
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” — Matthew 3:16–17
“He (Peter) was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” — Matthew 17:5
Acceptance: One of the first things we see in both chapters, especially Matthew 3, is that before any earthly ministry, any tasks, salvations, and miracles, we find God affirming Christ’s Sonship in love. Essentially, the Father [God] wanted the people present to know that Jesus was His Son.* What I find beautiful about this interaction is that the Father is speaking this word of acceptance because of who Jesus is, not for what He’s done. Before Jesus did anything, He received the love and acceptance of His Father spoken over Him. Regardless of age, I can’t emphasize enough how important this is for your children!
Adoration: In both sets of verses, we find the Father communicating to everyone listening just who Christ is to Him, “My beloved Son,” and He wanted all to know it! You see, God had no problem telling the world that He cherished His Son. If this is not a recipe for the type of adoration your children deserve, what is? God adores Jesus, His Son, and as He continuously speaks this phrase of identity over Jesus, He never has to worry about His position with His Father.
Approval: Not only does God affirm His love through the acceptance and adoration of Jesus, but He also wants everyone around to know that He approves of Him, too. In both passages, God makes it a point to communicate both to Jesus and those listening that He is well pleased with who Christ is, and in Matthew 17, He goes a step further and implores these disciples to listen to what He (Jesus) says and in doing so, the Father communicates His approval of His Son’s message. Pastor Todd Agnew* says, “when a father tells a child that they are good at something and everyone should know it and benefit from it, few compliments in this life could ever surpass that one.”
In last year’s Father’s Day article, as referenced above, we focused on the love of the wealthy man toward his sons. How important it is to speak identity and positioning over the ones we are entrusted to care for.
Through the example of God’s love in these passages for His Son, my prayer is that you would take time to consider how important your acceptance, adoration, and approval are and can be in the lives of your children. Jesus knew He was loved, not for anything He did or would do, but simply because He was a son.
My charge to you is this: be your child’s biggest fan and cheerleader, tell them you are proud of them for who they are, and never stop loving them unconditionally.