The above picture is the best one I could find of God the Father on the internet.
You’re gonna tell me that that’s a picture of Jesus. Yes, you’re right. It is.
That’s a shot of Jesus calling Peter out onto the water, in the midst of the storm we were talking about in our last post.
Jesus and God the Father are not the same person. But they have essentially the same personality, the same mannerisms, the same likes and dislikes, the same heart of love and grace for man.
They most likely even look the same. Ever seen sons who are the spitting image of their fathers, or daughters the very copy of their mothers, right down to the way they talk, walk, and butter their toast? That pretty much sums up Jesus and His Father.
How do we know this for sure? Jesus Himself said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”, in response to His disciple Philip asking Him to show them the Father (John 14:7-11). Before this He also said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
We know that there are 3 distinct persons in the Godhead – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, united as one God. Jesus as Man is the physical embodiment of all 3, being the only one who came down to us in physical form, God being a Spirit that cannot be seen ordinarily by our human eyes.
God in His ever-abounding grace and love sent the fullness of Himself and His Spirit in the person of His Son whom He sent as a Man to live and dwell among us.
When we see Jesus in the Bible, we need to realise that we are essentially also seeing God the Father and His heart. We see how God the Father is like through Jesus.
Why is this important?
Because so many Christians today tend to see God the Father and Jesus the Son differently. But Jesus never made that distinction. Instead, He constantly reminded the people of His day the oneness of Himself and His Father, and encouraged them to see the Father through Him and in Him.
Jesus’s work wasn’t just to take away all our sins by His perfect sacrifice on the cross, He also came to reveal God as our Father and to show us exactly what God our Father is like.
Because we relate to God the Father as our heavenly Father, we have a natural tendency to project our earthly fathers onto God. As a result, how we relate to our dads is often how we end up relating to our Daddy God.
If we grew up with a strict disciplinarian for a father, we would see God as a Father who is quick to correct and discipline when we fail, and always be checking our steps and looking at our obedience to God.
If we had an overindulgent father, we might end up feeling unloved by God and becoming rebellious towards Him, having felt the same way towards our earthly father because we had no boundaries set out for us in love.
If we suffered abuse or violence under our father, or had an absentee father who wasn’t around much at all, we will likely feel abandoned and unvalued by God, and see Him as an angry Father who’s out to punish us for our inadequacy.
And regardless of the type of father we had or have, every one of us longs for the approval and affirmation from our own father, telling us how they believe in us, how perfect they see us, and how proud they are of us – this is the reason why God reveals Himself to us as Father, because He knows exactly what we need.
And so God in His divine wisdom sent an exact copy of Himself to earth in His Son Jesus Christ, to show us beyond a trace of any doubt what He is really like.
Jesus healed every person who came to Him sick and delivered them into wholeness if they were oppressed by the devil, whether they were His followers or not. In fact, everyone healed by Jesus during His earthly ministry were not Christians, because the church did not yet exist (since Jesus had not yet died on the cross nor had the Holy Spirit been given).
Not one time did Jesus not heal anyone who came needing healing. In some cases, He actively sought them out and healed them even though they didn’t approach Him. Even if they were dead He raised them back to life and health.
Never once did He put sickness or cause an accident to come upon on anyone to “teach them a lesson in patience or humility”. No, in the Gospels we read often that He had compassion on the multitudes and healed them all.
Not only that, Jesus met every need of provision too. Whether it was multiplying loaves and fishes to feed thousands or giving His fishermen disciples a boat-sinking catch, He met every need there was. It was never about how good or obedient they were, but simply about how good He was.
Jesus never condemned any sinner or social outcast, but freely dispensed forgiveness and grace upon them, and the power of His gift of no condemnation enabled them to stop sinning and to start loving Him.
Whether it was the woman caught or living in adultery, or the tax collector who had cheated others, He never told them “Get your life right first, then come to Me” – no, He befriended them, talked and ate with them, defended them against their accusers, and revealed Himself to them.
Jesus always reminded them their sins were forgiven, because He knew He would pay for them at the cross. It was His grace that changed their hearts and their lives.
The only people Jesus openly spoke out against were the religious Pharisees and scribes, who boasted in their own outward righteousness and sought to put laws before the people and even Jesus Himself, but who never saw the true heart of God nor God Himself standing before them. Jesus’s harshest words were reserved for these because they focused on man’s efforts and made God seem impossible to reach.
Jesus never derided anyone for daring to believe, regardless of the level of their faith. When Peter asked to be called out upon the water in the midst of the raging storm, Jesus never said, “I don’t think so, Pete; I can see that you don’t have enough faith to come all the way.” Instead, He was so delighted at even the bit of faith behind that request, He opened up His arms in welcome and eagerly said, “Come!”
And that’s how God the Father is really like.
He has drawn us in as sons as daughters through Jesus and has given us the privilege to call Him “Abba, Father”. Today, your Abba God is opening His arms wide and saying, “Don’t be afraid, come!”
He is not looking at our performance or obedience today, because the moment we receive Jesus God our Father sees us totally perfect and righteous in Christ, all our sins paid in full in the body of His Son upon the cross at Calvary. It was His love that sent Jesus to the cross for us.
He is all willing to heal us, to bless us with all that we need, to comfort, lift, and encourage us. His approval and affirmation is permanent and unconditional in Christ. All we need to do is come to Him.
Come unafraid. Come just as you are. Just come, and let the Father hug and love you into wholeness.
God’s heart is not into punishment, or chastisement or judgement. How Jesus and how God the Father is really like is faithfully and eternally recorded for us in the Bible. When we see Jesus in the Word, that’s when we also see our Father God.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.