Celebrating Fatherhood 

‘What is a Christian? The richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father. If you want to know how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child and having God as his Father.’ (J I Packer, Knowing God)

The month we celebrate fathers on Father’s Day. Unlike Mothering Sunday, this doesn’t have a distinctly Christian origin. However, it does provide an opportunity the celebrate God’s fatherhood and what it means for us.

At His baptism, as Jesus came out of the water: ‘heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:16,17). What can we learn about Jesus’ relationship with His Father, the role of fathers and our relationship with God? 

The Father’s presence 

When Jesus was baptized, the Father made His presence real by the Holy Spirit. It’s the Spirit who enables us to call God ‘daddy’ (abba, Galatians 4:6). God is with us and knows our joys and sorrows, fears and trials. In this way, dads can relate to their children. 

The Father’s love

The Father described His Son as ‘beloved’, who like us, is subject to His unconditional love. Dads should be constant in assuring their children of their love.

The Father’s pleasure

The Father tells Jesus that He is ‘well pleased’ with Him. We also need to hear this, if we feel that we are disappointing God or letting Him down. This can arise with harsh words spoken by our parents. Fathers should use every opportunity to demonstrate their pleasure in their children, especially when things go wrong.

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