The Good Father

Jesus has a way of turning everything upside down to make it right side up. In Jesus' day, many of God's people lived with an accepted inaccessibility to God. They could approach the temple with their sacrifices, but they could not have access to the Holy of Holies. As we know, Jesus soundly and permanently destroyed the accessibility issues!

In his great sermon, Jesus told his followers what the Father was really like:

1] He is approachable (Matthew 7:7-8). We can persistently ask, seek, and knock, because the Father isn't annoyed by us coming to him. [Read the Parable of the Friend at Night in Luke 11:5-10]. I don't know about your kids, but mine are very persistent in getting my attention. They will not stop asking, because they know that to ignore them is not in my nature! When we ask, seek, and knock -- when we pray -- we are effectively saying 1) God exists & is attentive to me, 2) God is good, and 3) God is trustworthy. Our prayers are an act of faith! How awesome to know God is approachable!

2] He is good (Matthew 7:9-11). I love to give good gifts to my kids, that's why I drove everywhere looking for just the right Hello Kitty bike for my little girl. I also know that the best I can give them isn't stuff at all but the kind of things that would only be understood if there weren't getting it (my love, my attention, my time, my playfulness, my guidance...). Jesus makes the case that God is a good Father, giving us exactly what we need! We tend to think of goodness in terms of stuff, but real goodness is found in compassion, mercy, kindness. He gave us the best when he gave us Jesus.

But then, as Jesus always does, he takes it one step further and reminds us that the goodness of the Father will be reflected in the goodness of his true children. Jesus shows us the goodness of God, and we also show the goodness of God. How do our neighbors know God is good? They see it in us.

So Jesus gave us a guiding principle to live by. We call it the "Golden Rule", and it goes like this: Do to others as you would have them do to you. This definitely contrasts with the wisdom of the age which says, "I'll respect you IF you respect me." That only really works when others are good to you first (and on your terms). Jesus says goodness starts with us. "What good is it if you love only those who love you?" (Luke 6:32).

Preemptive goodness.

Goodness in response to evil.

Goodness without the expectation of it being returned.

Sounds like Jesus. After all, he didn't just tell us about the Father's goodness. He showed us!