Christianity 201

November 15, 2010

Is The Heart of Jesus The Heart of God?

South Africa native Andre Viljoen’s blog, Amazing Love, was just added to Alltop in the Christianity category.  Although many of his blog posts betray his former calling as a journalist, I thought this recent one would fit the devotional theme here at Christianity 201 quite well.    It poses the often asked question about the relationship we have with God the Father versus that with God the Son.   This is often phrased in terms of whether the God of the Old Covenant is the same as the God of the New Covenant.

He sees some answers in Jesus’ own relationship with the father, and titled it, Jesus and the heart of the Father.

It is not difficult to grasp the amazing loving heart of Jesus, who laid down his life for us while we were still his enemies.

But what about the Heavenly Father? Is he warm and loving? Or is he stern and remote as some suppose?

Jesus set the record straight when he told his followers that “I and the Father are one ” (John 10:20) and “whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

And so every time that Jesus demonstrated his amazing love by healing, delivering and reaching out to the lost, he was also demonstrating the true heart of the Father. He wanted us who follow him to know the true nature of the Father so that we would not miss the Father’s purpose for us to live forever as his beloved sons and daughters and not as fearful slaves working hard to earn rare moments of approval.

And when Jesus taught that he obeyed his father in everything, even dying on the cross, he was teaching a profound lesson about the obedience to God that flows naturally out of being in a loving relationship with him. The elder brother of the prodigal son was resentful when his father threw a lavish party for his brother who had returned after squandering his inheritance. He said he had served and obeyed his father all his life and yet his father had never even given him a small goat that he could use to celebrate with his friends. He did not understand that everything the Father had was already his, and so he laboured like a slave in the hope of earning an inheritance (Luke 15: 29-31). How different to Jesus who gladly obeyed his father in everything because he knew, loved and trusted him. Jesus said: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34) and “I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:29).

Jesus’ example of loving obedience to his Father helps us to embrace the following words which Jesus spoke to his disciples — and to us: “No longer do I call you servants…but…friends” (John 15:15), “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15), and “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21).

May you and I rest and trust in the Father’s unfailing love and delight in obeying him as we follow Jesus. And in so doing may we experience the fellowship and the power of the Holy Spirit who the Father sent to dwell with us! And if you don’t yet follow Jesus, know this, the Father is waiting for the moment, so that he can throw a party in heaven with the angels! (Luke 15: 10)

Andre Viljoen