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A Father’s Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.   John 3:16

It would seem God gave us the picture of a father and his son, so we could better understand his love. For who is it that God would call to be saved who wouldn’t have a parent, even if that parent were absent, abusive or neglectful. We all are someone’s child, and many of us have our own children. We all understand, even if not from personal experience, that the parent- child relationship is intended to be a life-long bond that withstands all attacks, a bond of the heart.

I lost my father at the age of three. Despite having a step-father for most of my life, the loss of my father colored my life. Every major life step or accomplishment, I thought of him and wondered what he would say. His absence was noticeable. Every Father’s Day, I am reminded of what I lost.

The point is that God wanted us to understand the depth of his love for us, the love of a parent, a loving father who considers what is best for us, who wants to protect and nurture us. It is also this father who will sacrifice the most important thing for us – his son. We understand the depth of the sacrifice as reflected in the relationship lost, father losing son. We can only begin to understand this love of God for us by looking at the sacrifice.

Consider the story of Abraham and Issac, a Biblical illustration of a father’s call by God to sacrifice his son. It can be found in Genesis 22 starting in verse 1. Abraham is a type of God the Father and Issac, a type of Jesus. Abraham loved Issac. He had waited many years for God to fulfill his promise to give him a son. Sarah was Abraham’s wife whom he loved very much. This was the only child of their union, received some 60 plus years into their marriage. He was a treasure to his father in his old age.

Issac was likely a grown man at the time that these events took place. He followed his father’s instructions to go up with him to the mountain. Issac would have known that a sacrifice was needed when he set off on the journey with his father. Scripture tells us that once up on the mountain, Abraham bound Issac. We know that Issac would have had to have gone along with it since he was a grown man and Abraham was well over 100 years old at the time. After binding him, Abraham laid him upon the altar of wood. Imagine that act. Put yourself in Abraham’s place. Picture yourself building an altar, binding up your grown child and taking out a knife and preparing to slay your child, the love of your life. I have trouble walking myself through it even in my mind’s eye when I see the face of my child peering at me from the pile of wood, asking me with her eyes what I am intending. In the end, God stops Abraham short of the sacrifice and accounts Abraham’s faith and obedience as righteousness. Abraham does not need to sacrifice his son to show his love for God; however, God did have to sacrifice His Son to show His love to a lost world and to pay the price for their sin.

The relationship between father and son is used to show us about our relationship with God, e.g. the intimacy, the reverence, the provision, protection and other attributes of God; however, it is also used to evidence for us the depth of the sacrifice that God made in securing our salvation, and the obedience of the son to the father in walking out that plan.

The death of Jesus on the cross some 2000+ years ago was no accident, no unforeseen consequence, rather He willingly gave up His life, became the sacrifice for me and for you. Matthew 20:28 says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Paul confirms this in his first letter to Timothy, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Tim. 2:5.

Meditate on the sacrificial love described in John 3:16 and the other scriptures discussed here, and ask the Lord to reveal to you what He would have you to understand about His great love for you.

Write down 3 ways God has manifest his great love for you in your life. This could include ways he has protected you, opened the way for you, comforted you in time of trial or pain, restored you, etc.)

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