OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN
“Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9 RSV).
Jesus Christ was teaching His disciples how not to pray. It was likely that this led to the disciples’ quest for how to pray as Luke recorded it in his Gospel (see Luke 11:1). In response, Jesus taught them a model prayer that is popularly known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” This model prayer both in Matthew and Luke’s accounts started with a staggering revelation: the target of the prayer who is “Our Father who art in heaven.” Jesus did not refer to God as God as many other people in other world religions would do. He referred to God as “Father.” This is not the only place where Jesus referred to God as Father. He referred to God as “Father” in many places.
This reference was not strange to the Jews because God had revealed Himself to them and had been dealing with them as a father. In fact, the position and authority of the father as the head of the family are endorsed and clearly understood in the Scriptures, as a likeness of that of the Almighty God over His creatures. The word “father” is applied in the Bible to any ancestor (Deuteronomy 1:11; 1 Kings 15:11; Matthew 3:9; 23:30). It is used as a title of respect to a chief, ruler, or elder (Judges 17:10; 18:19; 1 Samuel 10:12; 2 Kings 2:12; Matthew 23:9). It can be used for the author or beginner of anything (Genesis 4:20, 21; Job 38:28). It is also applied to God (Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 32:6; 2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 89:27, 28). It denotes His covenant relation to the Jews (Jeremiah 31:9; Isaiah 63:16; 64:8; John 8:41), and by extension to Christians. So, believers are called God’s “sons” (John 1:12; Romans 8:16; Matthew 6:4, 8, 15, 18; 10:20, 29). They also call Him “Father” (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:4). God’s fatherhood is the ground and pattern for human fatherhood.
As the Father of all His creation, especially man, are you relating with God as a son or daughter? Are you given Him the honour that is due to Him? God asks, “If I am a father, where is the honour due to me?” (Malachi 1:6 NIV).
As a father, can your biological children relate freely with you as their father? Have you done enough for them to deserve their honour? If you still have a living father, how are you taking care of him?
Happy Father’s Day!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).