The Father Who Desires His Children
Our Father rejoices in His children. No matter what we've done, He wants us to come to Him. He's merciful, kind, and quick to forgive all who repent.

The Father Who Desires His Children

by Adam Wittenberg
6/17/16 Christian Living

Our Father

The disciples had asked Jesus how to pray. His answer brings us close, close to the God who loves us and wants to be near us. It brings us into the heart of our Father.

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father . . .” (Matt. 6:9)

Jesus knew the Father’s heart better than anyone, and He delighted to reveal it to the rest of the Father’s sons and daughters.

Let’s not speed by these two words, forgetting their significance and power. If God truly is our Father, then this knowledge can transform how we live, pray, and serve. And transformed people will bring good news to a lost and hurting and often fatherless world.

Jesus taught about Our Father, giving us many glimpses into His heart.

In Luke 15, we read that Jesus tells three parables, culminating in the story of the prodigal son.

While some may be tempted to skip ahead to that story (or think they know it already), all three parables demonstrate aspects of God’s father heart.

The Lost Sheep

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:4–7)

Our Father is actively searching for His lost sheep! This is good news, especially to religious types like the Pharisees (whom Jesus addressed), who were trying to earn God’s approval by their works.

The Lost Coin

The next parable is similar. A woman loses one of the ten silver coins that was possibly part of her necklace. She searches diligently until she finds it and calls her friends to celebrate because her necklace is complete again. “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” Jesus says (Luke 15:10).

There is an ache in God’s heart for every one of His children to return to Him—even those who are lost and sinning—as we will see in the third parable.

The Lost Son

In a quite well-known story, the prodigal son demands his inheritance while his father is still alive, then wastes it on partying and loose living.

When the money runs out, he has to work and takes the lowest possible job for any Jew—feeding a Gentile’s pigs. This would have shocked the average hearer more than the partying the young man did!

Hungry and desperate, the son decides to come home. He knows he’s sinned and doesn’t expect to be restored to his family, but is content to live as one of his father’s servants.

“But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)

The father was watching for him! He ran (which was disgraceful for a man of stature) and kissed him—not worrying if he still smelled like the pigpen!

What happens next is stunning. Not only does the father—who symbolizes God—not hear the son’s desire to be a servant, he immediately restores his son’s privileged place in the family (symbolized by clothing and a ring) and throws a lavish party, killing the fatted calf, which was reserved for special occasions.

The father—and our Father—rejoices in His children. No matter what we’ve done, He wants us to come to Him. He’s merciful, kind, and quick to forgive all who repent (Ex. 34:6–7).

But there’s one more twist to the story: the older brother, who has been working hard for his father for years. He gets angry when he hears the celebration for his wayward younger brother.

The father pleads with him to come in and join the celebration.

“‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:31–32)

The story is left open-ended, perhaps a deliberate invitation to the religious Pharisees to join the party of those who have been forgiven of their many sins.

For the sinner, and those stuck in religion, there’s no escaping the Father’s diligent pursuit of His children. Our Father is not content that His kids be far from Him. He wants them, He wants us, and He wants everyone, to know and come to Him.

As our Father’s children, let’s run to His arms—and give others the opportunity to do the same by showing compassion on others.

Then we will see healing in our lives, families, and world, as the Lord turns “the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6). Happy Fathers’ Day!

Adam Wittenberg

position

A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. Adam is also active in evangelism and has a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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