April 20, 2011

The Most Radical Teaching of All

John 5:1-18

He was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:18


When Jesus quoted Psalm 31:5 in his final words on the cross, he added the word “Father.” As he prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46), Jesus was clinging to the amazing truth that the God of the universe was his Father!

In our reading for today we find that this was Jesus’ most radical teaching because it meant he was “making himself equal with God.” This made the religious leaders so angry that they wanted to kill him, because they didn’t believe in him as the Son of God.

Jesus had done many things that the authorities thought were radical. For example, they didn’t like his habit of healing people on the Sabbath.

But Jesus truly was the Son of God, and their interpretations of God’s law were so legalistic that they missed the intent of the law: to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40).

Remarkably, Jesus invites us to call God our Father as well. He told his disciples, “This … is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …’” (Matthew 6:9).

God isn’t a strict schoolmaster or a cosmic policeman looking to punish us. Neither is God a distant relative who’s not interested in us. No! Instead, he’s our faithful Father extending his care and love toward us. We can trust him, just as Jesus did in his final words from the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Father, help me to trust you completely. Remind me that I can trust you with my entire life. Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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