The Rank of Kindness in the Godhead
“Our Father…” As soon as Jesus mentions this in the opening line of the Lord’s model prayer, everything, for all of humanity, changes.
No prophet living or dead had dared to speak of God Almighty in such a way. Some had dared say, using simile, that he was ‘like a father to Israel’ for instance, but none had reckoned Him as their own actual Father. A real father? That would bring this seemingly scary God too close, too intimate….
But Jesus dares. And Jesus tells it how it is.
As soon as He says, “Our Father”, all the associated ‘add-ons’ of that statement spring into reality in our lives. Because you cannot have a father without sons and daughters, and a father can only exist in the context of family. Right here, in two opening words to a prayer we may have recited 1000 times, we have a God who is Father, and by default we are sons and daughters of His, and we live in the greatest family, God’s.
Paul put it another way in Ephesians 3:14, “…The Father – by whom every family in Heaven and on earth derives its name”. You don’t get your name, you don’t get your identity from any other source other than Father, in the context of family. And therefore, to the degree you do not know Him as Father, and you do not know His church as family, is the degree that someone, somewhere, somehow you are being robbed of your identity as a son or daughter to this Father.
Problem is this – many have got into our Western subconscious brains an order of kindness in the Godhead. Jesus is the kindest, then the Holy Spirit, and least kind is the Father. The Father is the scary one in the Godhead. Jesus is the kindest so it’s okay, we can hide behind Jesus from this scary Father who we’re not too sure about. Many of us relate to Jesus more than Father. But we saw from the Ephesians scripture it is Father who releases us into our identity. This whole rank of kindness is a load of utter baloney designed to keep us from stepping in to our glorious identities! Because why would we trust, lean into and thus connect with the Father when we don’t really trust Him, He’s a little scary. Yet He holds the grace for us to step into our true selves freed from all insecurities and fears.
Jesus said for us to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Well, I’ve heard of us being baptized into Christ – that’s typically that initial salvation where we meet Jesus. I hear of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. These are both amazing. But I hear nothing but stunned silence when it comes to the baptism into the Father. Why? Could it be our theology has made Him a little scary, a little hard to trust? Could it be because He’s been given the bad wrap, that hearts don’t open to His love, the love of a perfect Father and thus for many, the wonderful baptism into the Father’s love is sadly void?
You’ll know if you’ve been baptized into the Father’s love. As you read this you’ll feel the yearning but many may notice the gap.
Jesus was ambassador to the Father’s great kindness, not protector from His anger! Trust the Father, be transformed in His love. Titus 3:4, “But when the kindness and love of God our savior appeared…. He saved us”. Wow! Saved by a Father’s kindness.