Tuesday - June 23rd Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Matthew 6:9-13
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 5:17-20
Our Father in heaven...
The next few days our Take5 daily devotions will focus on the Lord's Prayer. We will explore each of the phrases found in the prayer Jesus gave as a pattern for our prayer life. We can glean so much from this beautiful and concise example of how we approach our God.
So many wonderful words were shared on social media about Dads Sunday - Father's Day. While not everyone has had the joy of a good relationship with their earthly father, we know that Dads play a crucial role in their children's lives. Calling out to your Dad for help when you need him becomes a default part of the life of a son or daughter very early in life.
Even though my kids are now all in their 20's, I still find myself looking every time I hear someone (especially a small child), say, "Dad," to get their father's attention. Whenever I am in settings like a grocery store, an amusement park, or at a large outdoor event, I find myself always looking in the direction from which I hear a child's voice call out, "Dad."
As Jesus concludes in Matthew chapter six how His followers should not pray like the hypocritical Pharisees, He moves into the example He gives us by saying, "This, then, is how you should pray" (Matthew 6:9). His first two words of this sample prayer are, "Our Father." He had said so much about how God the Father was His Father. In the Upper Room Discourse that is recorded in John chapters 13-17, Jesus says many times and in many different ways that He and the Father are one. He told Phillip in John 14 that Phillip had seen the Father if he had seen Jesus. Jesus reflected the glory of His Father.
Jesus went farther in what He said about God being His Father as He addressed how God is the Father of all of Christ's followers. The Apostle John teaches how out of love we were made the children of God through Christ. He says in 1 John 3:1, "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
When you understand just how far from God the Jewish people believed they were in the 1st-century, you begin to see how radical and essential it was for Jesus to call His followers the "children of God." From the time of Moses and his receiving of the Law from God, the people of Israel had understood just how pure and holy their God was. They also realized how much they fell short of that holiness. The Old Testament's emphasis on the Temple, the sacrifices, the priesthood, and the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws made them feel far less than a child of God and more like a slave to the Law.
We would still be so distant from God if He had not sent Jesus to fulfill the Law. It was through Jesus that He made a way for us to experience the Father's great love lavished on us that made us the children of God. We don't need a priest, a sacrifice, or a temple to approach our God. He is our Father, and we can cry out to Him whenever we need Him.
Today, call out to your Heavenly Father when you need Him. He will hear you!