Monday, September 13, 2010

A Father’s Approval

Some of us received it as children. Some of us didn’t. All of us are affected by it to some extent. What our fathers thought of us, or what we think they thought of us, often influences how we see ourselves and relate to others. A father’s approval is a powerful thing. Jesus understood this.

As a pre-teen, Jesus had trekked off to the temple without permission, craving time with His Father. He spent at least three days soaking up His Father’s words. When Mary and Joseph found Him, Jesus felt their disapproval. They didn’t understand why He had to be in His Father’s house. Although Mary may have been a good mother and Joseph may have been a good stepfather, no one but Jesus’ true Father could give Him what He needed. The same is true for us.

Our earthly fathers can’t give us all we need. At their best, they dimly reflect the character of our heavenly Father. At their worst, they remind us how desperately we all need a Savior. All earthly fathers, the good, the bad and the indifferent, ultimately point us toward the perfect Father. His approval is what we really want. It’s what Jesus wanted, too.

Imagine Jesus after His baptism. His hair drips water. His bare feet press the sand as He steps out of the Jordan River. Suddenly, He is flooded with pleasure—His Father’s pleasure. He sees Heaven opened, feels the Holy Spirit’s touch as the dove lands. And then, He hears the words, His Father’s words: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus had His Father’s approval.

Was the Father pleased because Jesus had been baptized, setting a good example for others? Was the Father pleased that Jesus identified with sinful humanity and that He would take our sins upon Himself on the cross? Yes. But, unlike some earthly fathers, God the Father didn’t bestow His approval on Jesus because He had earned it. The Greek verb tense of the Father’s statement expresses constant, uniform delight and pleasure in His Son. The Father gave Jesus the unconditional approval each of us longs for. And because of Jesus, each of us can have it too.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26), and “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). When the Father looks at us, in Christ, He approves. Even when we sin, He doesn’t reject us. He welcomes our confession, and continues to conform us to the likeness of His perfect Son. The security we have in Him enables us to triumph over temptation, as Jesus did after His baptism. And the knowledge of the Father’s ultimate approval helps us extend true love and acceptance to others. The Father’s approval is a powerful thing.

Copyright © 2010 Sherrie Lorance. All rights reserved.

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