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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Father Longings (John 20:17)

"Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God'" (John 20:17). 

I grew up with a deep longing to have a loving dad like some of the other girls I knew. That desire became more intense throughout my teens and early twenties as I piled on a 'ginormous' amount of negative baggage from having the dad that I did have.

Ultimately what I was looking for was the kind of relationship Jesus had with His Father. You know, the one who affirms His children - "This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased." Every human heart was created to hear words of affirmation from the Father. Most, however, will never hear those words.

Mary Magdalene had to know the Son in order to experience the Fatherhood of God. Jesus' death and resurrection permitted Mary to experience Jesus as much more than a close family friend, but a conduit through which Mary could know God as "Father".

That's why Jesus' words "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" arrests my heart every time I read them. Jesus calls God "My Father" thirty-five times in John's gospel alone. He describes himself as:
  • Taught by the Father (8:28; 12:50),
  • Has the Father's seal (6:27),
  • Experiences intimacy with the Father (5:20-21; 6:46, 57; 8:29; 10:15),
  • Given assignments by the Father to complete (5:36; 6:39; 10:18; 12:49)
Jesus' death and resurrection make the fulfilling of this Father-longing possible. His Father IS my Father! And the Father is just as crazy about me as He is with His Son, Jesus.

Back to my disappointing relationship with my earthly dad . . . His imperfections led me to the Father's perfections. I am no longer defined by my flawed relationship with my earthly father. I had to intentionally "let go" of the negative baggage and appropriate the truths revealed in Scripture about the Fatherhood of God.

Do you have unmet Father-longings? The following link will lead you to a helpful article called "Alphabet of the Father Heart of God". Print and meditate on the alphabetized character of God. To know Him is to love Him. Get to know the Father.

You will bless your spirit as you read John 14-17, and discover all that the Father is for you in Christ Jesus. Read it, make a list of your discoveries and appropriate its truths.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Mark 15:42-47; Matthew 27:57-61; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42
  • Who is Joseph and what prepares him to respond to the death/burial of Jesus Christ in this manner?
  • Who is Nicodemus? (Review John 3:1:21)
Matthew 27:62-66
  • What do the chief priests and elders call Jesus?
  • What do the chief priests and elders do to prevent further "deception"?
Mark 16:1-8; Matthew 28:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-13
  • Who are the first people to know that Jesus has risen?
  • What are the angels instructions? To whom were they to go?
  • What does this tell you about Jesus' role for women?
  • What do the angels remind the women of?
  • Describe Jesus' relationship with the women.
Matthew 28:9-10; Luke 20:14-18
  • Describe Jesus' relationship with the woman.
  • How does He reveal Himself to her?
  • What promise does He make to her?
  • What message does He give her for the others?
  • What does this tell you about the first evangelist?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you His Father heart for you.