On the final night of His life, Jesus prayed what has been called His “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. It is one of the most incredible possessions we have because it takes us into the “dialogue of God”. In it, we are afforded the privilege of listening in to “God talk” between the Father and the Son. Amazing!
In that prayer, Jesus declares that He has finished the work that He was sent to do. He states that “Father, I gave unto them (us) your name!” Now think about that! Throughout the Old Testament God manifested Himself through a multiplicity of names. El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah Rapha and so on. This is as it should be, because really, how do you describe God?
He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent
that no one name can adequately describe Him.
There was one name however, that was not used in the Old Testament that Jesus used throughout the Gospels. In fact, in His communication with God, the religious world was scandalized at how freely and intimately Jesus used this name - - - Father! I believe with all my heart that this is the name that Jesus was referring to in John 17.
All those other names, though they contain wonderful truth about the nature of the Father, are limited in their scope. Father is a name of summation. It wraps up in one word all that He is and longs to be to us. A father is strong, a father is a provider, a father is a protector, a father loves his children and desires and implements the best for his children, and we could go on and on. It really is, the name above all the other names for God, the name that He desperately wanted us to know, the name He sent Jesus to herald to us.
This is so important to understand because most people get their view of the Father from distorted sources. They view our heavenly Father through the lens of their own earthly father. That is so potentially destructive because so many earthly fathers are horrible fathers. Please understand, even the best earthly father is a hideous distortion of what our heavenly Father is really like. Others get their understanding of the Father from religious leaders, renaissance art, and a faulty understanding of the Scriptures and end up with a heavenly Father that they are desperately afraid of in His awesome glory. No, my friends. The Father is love. That is what it says in I John. And our Father wants to be known for who and what He is really like. Maybe I could put it this way if I could be so bold? He is tired of so many others telling what He is like in their own distorted views, so He sent His Son to herald once and for all what He is all about. “I am your heavenly Father, and so you could know Me and how much I love and care for you, I sent you My Son to provide you with a visual so that once and for all you would know what I am really like!"
Who is God? Oh, He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign, and omniscient and all those other glorious attributes. But He is above all else, My Father, which means that He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign, and omniscient and all those other glorious attributes to me personally as my Abba (Papa) God!
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