Thanks For My Father Who Is Now With Jesus
Bible Verses for Fathers: 22 Quotes for Dads
We live in a day and in a culture that tries to minimize fathers. Turn on many of the popular sitcoms on television today and the father is often viewed as the comic relief of the show. Dad is just there but not involved with the things of the family.
This depiction is sometimes funny on television but oh so sad if this is the case in real life. Fathers are so important in the development of their children. The Bible is clear that Fathers are to be spiritual leaders in the home.
The Bible has much to say about both our earthly fathers and God our heavenly father. Consider the following verses…
Featured Bible Verse Psalms 103:13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Just know that all followers of Jesus Christ have the best Father there is.
Verses For Fathers
Deuteronomy 1:29-31 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’
Psalms 127:3-5 ¶ Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Proverbs 23:24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!
1Thessalonians 2:11-12 For you know how, a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Luke 15:20-23 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and cet us eat and celebrate.
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Bible Scriptures About Fathers and Discipline
Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Proverbs 4:1–4 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me,“Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
Ephesians 6:2, 4 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),…4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Hebrews 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Malachi 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
Bible Scriptures About Our Father in Heaven
Matthew 7:9-11 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Maybe you are reading this article because you are a father and want to take your role seriously. Or maybe you are reading this because you had an earthly father that was not the best and you are still hurting from your upbringing.
Just know that all followers of Jesus Christ have the best Father there is. God the Father loved you and me so much that he sent his only Son Jesus to die for your sins and mine. That is a love that we will never fully understand but we can be thankful for.
Take some time to meditate on the verses in this article and let God draw you closer to him.
Take a look at these other similar type articles:
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
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10 of the Best Ways to Thank God – Counting My Blessings
You and I know God wants us to thank and praise Him but I sometimes wonder if I’m thanking Him the ways He wants.
I start my prayers with thank you and praise Him for who He is and what He does but are words enough.
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalm 50:14
Honestly, words don’t feel much of a sacrifice. I can say “thank you” so easily and then just as easily go back to living in ways that don’t seem very thankful.
What does thankful living look ? Thankfulness that is sacrificial? Thankfulness that is God’s will and pleases Him.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:20How are you with the “all circumstances” part? Not so good? Yeah, me too.
I wonder (you know I do that a lot) . . . maybe there are ways to thank God that go beyond simply speaking words. Ways to live with gratitude even when I don’t feel thankful for my circumstances.
If you add together the verses with the word “obey” and those reminding us to “listen” it’s close to a thousand. Faith leads to obedience as we thank God for the amazing gift of life in Jesus.
Everything you do or say should be done to obey Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. Colossians 3:17
Remember worship is…
Taking your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (Romans 12:1)
We were made to worship – to thank and praise God, the One who loves us and gives us all we need for today and for always.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28
Thank Him with music
Make music. Sing praise. Music gives our thanks and praise emotion. So, make that “joyful noise” at home, in the car, at church . . . anywhere. Turn up the tunes and give thanks.
And each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise to Him. 1 Chronicles 23:30
Pray to Him
You pray and begin your prayers with words of thanks and praise. But let’s go beyond “thank you for all You do for me.” Let’s be specific. Naming God’s past provision and help not only thanks Him it can help prevent worry and fear.
Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. Philippians 4:6
Love and Care for Others
This is stewardship. Using what God has given us to bless others. God’s love is unfailing. His care is personal. You and I have all we need to love and care for the people around us.
Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10–11
Surrender Everything to Him
It’s hard to offer everything, isn’t it? It needs an eternal perspective and I so easily get caught up in what’s right in front of my face. Trusting God and surrendering everything to Him . . . that’s thanksgiving with faith.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1
Tell People about Who He Is and What He Does
Tell your story. You’re a changed life, tell people about it. Tell them about forgiveness and freedom from fear . . . about love, hope, and joy. Thank God by telling others about His awesome blessings.
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. Psalm 9:1
Trust His Will
Trust is reliance and confident expectation. Thank God for past blessings by trusting Him with your future. Follow where He leads. He has a plan and that plan includes you. Trust His love and follow where He leads.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7
Joy is contentment and satisfaction. Finding joy in God says that He is enough, that you and I are content and satisfied in Him.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:4,6
Make Everything You Do and Say an Offering of Thankfulness
God loves you. His goodness and mercy cover you. Pay attention. Count your blessings. Live with gratitude. Make your life an offering of thanks in response to all God has done for you.
May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:11–14
Oh, how I wish I didn’t get so caught up in myself. Maybe you wish that too.
I want my life to show that my is heart full of thanks.
I want to join David and say…
I trust God’s love forever and ever. God, I will thank You forever for what You have done. With those who worship you, I will trust You because You are good. Psalm 52:8–9
And with God’s help I will.
Will you pray with me?
Father, Thank you for your countless blessings. Because of Jesus, Your grace and mercy cover me every day. Your love surrounds me. May my life be an offering of thanks for who You are and all You do. I love you, Lord. I trust You. Help me obey and follow wherever You lead. In Jesus name. O pray. Amen.
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Does Jesus Really Want Me to Hate My Family?
I can’t count the times he said to me, “I you, Robinson, but I can certainly do without your religion”—“religion” meaning my commitment to Christ. He held a particular disdain for claims that the Bible is the Word of God.
One day, my friend and fellow newspaper reporter showed up at my desk with a sardonic grin on his face and an open Bible in his hands. This was going to be one of those conversations I enjoyed much less than our debates over the greatest all-time college football player (it’s Herschel Walker).
“I found something that proves the Bible contradicts itself,” he said. “Jesus is supposed to be all about love and peace, right? Well, listen to this.” He slowly read Luke 14:26, verbally underscoring one word:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
No doubt, it is one of the most staggering phrases to come from Jesus’s lips. I don’t recall my response, but my colleague raised a valid question. What does Jesus mean by “hate” here?
After all, this is gentle Jesus, meek and mild. The Jesus who summons us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43–46); the one Isaiah calls the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6); the Jesus who promised the world will know his followers by their love (John 13:35).
And yet this Jesus is asking me to hate my wife, my children, and my parents? Elsewhere, Scripture commands me to love my wife (Eph. 5:25), my children (Eph. 6:4), my parents (Exod. 20:12).
What could our Savior possibly mean by this incendiary—and seemingly contradictory—ultimatum?
If we take a closer look at the surrounding context, the nutshell meaning of his distressing words is as clear and concise as it is radical and revolutionary. Jesus is telling his followers: “If you would be a Christian, I must have it all.
” We may be scandalized by the “hate” speech, but I suspect in stumbling over Jesus’s plain talk, we can miss the real scandal of this text: There will be rivals warring for supremacy over the throne of our hearts, but our love for King Jesus must defeat every one.
Matthew 10:37 may provide the interpretational key to unlock what Jesus means by “hate” here: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
” Yes, we are to exhibit deep affections for our closest earthly kin, but Jesus is saying we must love even them less than we do him if we would prove to be genuine disciples.
Of course, it’s also true that I will love my family and friends well in direct to proportion to the depth of my love for Jesus.
Sell All and Buy Christ
Jesus is not demanding that you literally hate your family. He is using hyperbole to illustrate the steep cost of following him.
Any prospective follower must be glad to give up everything, to love him unreservedly—to sell all in order to have him as your highest treasure (Matt. 13:44–46).
Our affections for Christ must be of such an intensity and quality that, by comparison, all other loves seem hate.
This is the first of three sobering warnings in Luke 14:26-33 against making a hasty decision to follow Jesus. A genuine disciple must:
- Love Jesus even more than your earthly family (v. 26).
- Take up your cross and follow him (v. 27).
- Be willing to lay down everything—even your life—and go hard after him (v. 33).
As a skilled expositor, the Lord illustrates his point with two pictures: A wise builder won’t construct a tower unless he’s first made certain he has enough materials to complete it. A wise king won’t go to war unless he knows his army possesses enough firepower to have a fighting chance at repelling the enemy.
God gives us a vivid application or illustration—perhaps even more shocking than Jesus’s words—of the potential cost of discipleship in Genesis 22.
Is Gift or Giver Supreme?
God gave Abraham and Sarah their first son when they were senior citizens. The long-awaited son was the one through whom God would bring a greater son to rescue his people from sin and death. But God did something that must have stretched Abraham’s faith to a breaking point: He told the patriarch to take the boy to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him as an act of worship.
It’s a test none of us would want to endure. Would Abraham love the gift more than the Giver? Of course, we know how it turned out. Abraham trusted God, who provided a substitute—a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s place, giving us one of the clearest gospel pictures in the Old Testament.Abraham’s faith, displayed in his obedience, powerfully illustrates what our Lord is driving at in Luke 14:26: “Yes, your spouse and kids and relatives are good gifts from my hands, but to which will you give your heart: them or me?”
That’s what Jesus is driving at in Luke 14:26. But how, then, should we live in light of it?
What Does It Mean for Us?
It means at least four things for us.
1. In speaking the gospel, tell them to count the cost.
Three times, Jesus uses a conditional “if . . . cannot” formula, concluding in verse 33: “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
” In other words, “If I do not have all of you, you will have none of me.” When we proclaim the gospel, we must avoid communicating cheap grace.
Following Jesus demands our life, our soul, our all—otherwise, Jesus said, “you cannot be my disciple.”
We must explain the cost as Jesus explained it to the rich young ruler. It was love that drove Jesus to unmask the young man’s hypocrisy: he hadn’t kept God’s law because he was guilty of loving his wealth more than his neighbor (Mark 10:21).
2. Following Jesus may not make your life easier.
Much popular preaching promises that believing in Jesus will make your life easier. Perhaps a desire to see as many people as possible converted to Christ drives such preaching, I hope so.
And there is profound joy in following Christ; there are pleasures forevermore at his right hand (Ps. 16:10).
But if we would hear the message of Luke 14, we must admit there’s a real sense in which your trouble may be just beginning when you follow Jesus.
For one thing, it may not make your family life better. “I came not to bring peace but a sword,” Jesus declared. “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt.10:34–36). As J. C. Ryle put it, a Christian must be willing to offend his family rather than offend his King. Think of the many who’ve been disowned by parents after spurning Allah, Buddha, or the Watchtower Society in favor of Christ. On his way to Moriah, it’s doubtful Abraham thought, My best life is now.
3. Clinging to Christ loosens our grip on even our most intimate earthly relations.
Losing close family members and friends is heartbreaking; but even so, we can rejoice in Christ. My father died 27 years ago. My mother died in January. I think of dad daily, and the wounds are still fresh from saying goodbye to mom. Even so, I will always have Christ—and he must be enough.
4. They who trust him wholly, find him wholly true.
Can you imagine Abraham’s journey up that mountain? He was no supersaint. The obedience must have been agonizing. Yet he trusted God when it seemed impossible. And God provided a lamb, just as he has for us.
I’m not sure how my former colleague would respond to the answer I’ve given here nearly three decades later. But I know Luke 14:26 is a deliberately unsettling way for my Savior to call me to love him supremely—even if it costs my life. No matter what, it’s worth it.
Beginning Your Journey With Jesus
I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was 12 years old and was attending a Christian youth camp in the small Scottish village of Aboyne. Coming from a strong Christian home, I knew about Jesus Christ but had never personally placed my faith in Him.
During that week of camp, I became convinced this was the time for me to trust in Christ. I believed that He died for my sins on the cross, was buried and, as the Son of God, rose on the third day. Acknowledging I needed my sins to be forgiven, I prayed and called on the Lord Jesus to save me. And He did!
One of the leaders of the camp spoke to me after I made that most important decision. He read the words of Jesus: “I give my sheep eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:28-30).
What had happened? I had received the gift of eternal life. The theme chorus at camp that week was: “Things are different now; something happened to me when I gave my heart to Jesus. Things I loved before have passed away. Things I love far more have come to stay.”
I realized things would never be the same again. I had not simply said a prayer or had an emotional experience—something radical had happened. There was much I did not understand, but I did know that I was different. I had begun to follow Jesus and what an incredible adventure of faith it has been.
Here are a few basic things to know and to do once you begin to follow Jesus.
Things to Know
Know that your sins have all been forgiven. The Apostle Paul writes, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). All of your failures and sins are now forgiven. You have a totally new life.
This transformation is so radical that it is described in the Bible as “being born again.” Just as you received physical life when you were physically born, so also you received spiritual life when you were spiritually born (John 3:1-16). God through His Spirit comes to indwell you.
You are now a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus Christ now lives in you (Galatians 2:20).
The indwelling Spirit gives you new desires and appetites. Instead of wanting to live your own life, you want to live a life that pleases God and brings blessing to others. God created you for a purpose. By following Jesus, you will begin to fulfill God’s plan and purposes for your life. What an exciting way to live!
When I was in my last year of high school in Scotland, I felt that God was leading me into a legal career. My parents were rather skeptical, but it became clear that this is what God wanted me to do. So I went to Edinburgh University to study law.
After graduating, I worked for a Christian attorney who taught me that whether I was drafting a will or presenting a case in court, everything I did was to be an act of worship to God. That transformed how I lived my life.After 11 years practicing law, God called me into full-time ministry. The important thing for every follower of Jesus to know is that you are to live each day by faith, trusting Jesus to lead you and use you in making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Your priorities should shift toward focusing on spiritual truths and eternal realities.
Things to Do
Praying to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord is only the beginning. Now your relationship with Jesus Christ has to grow and deepen. How is that going to happen?
Every day read the Bible, which is the Word of God. It is the only Book God has written. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
If you don’t have a Bible, buy one. If you are not familiar with the Bible, begin by reading the Gospel of John. It’s about the life of Jesus, and it will help you deepen your faith in Christ. Then read one of Paul’s letters, such as Philippians or Colossians.
Next, you may wish to read some of the Psalms, which have been a blessing to the people of God for more than 3,000 years. Don’t be discouraged if you read something you don’t understand. Keep reading and ask God to help you apply what you read to your own life.
In addition to reading the Bible every day, begin praying to God. God speaks to us through the Bible, while we speak to Him through prayer.
You don’t need to make a speech to your heavenly Father, but rather simply thank Him for your salvation and ask Him for wisdom, strength and guidance. When you sin, ask God to forgive you (1 John 1:9).
Don’t only pray for yourself, but pray for others. In this way, your walk with Jesus will be strengthened.Jesus taught that those who receive Him were given the right “to become children of God” (John 1:12). You are now part of the family of God and will have the joy of meeting your brothers and sisters in Christ. The church is a group of people who are also following Jesus.
you they are not perfect, but the vast majority of them are trying to live authentic, Christ-centered lives. Choose a church where the Bible is believed, preached and taught and where you can praise God for who He is and for all He has done.
Your new brothers and sisters in Christ will encourage you, pray for you, answer your questions and be there for you.
For my last two years of high school, I attended a school in Scotland where there were few other Christ followers. I bought a little badge that said Jesus Saves, and I wore it on my school blazer.
It was my way of letting people know I was following Jesus Christ and giving me an opportunity to talk about my faith. You will be surprised how many people will be interested in your spiritual journey.
I am not suggesting you wear a badge, but it is important that you tell others of the decision you have made to follow Jesus Christ.
All of us stumble and falter from time to time. Don’t let that discourage you. If you follow these basic steps and understand some of these truths you will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). ©2013 John Munro
Dr. John Munro is senior pastor at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. He is also the new Bible teacher for Back to the Bible. Munro will lead a seminar at The Cove Sept. 12-14 on “Life in the Spirit.”
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
If You Don’t Hate Your Father, You Cannot Be My Disciple
Radical obedience to Jesus relativizes natural relationships.
- By natural relationships, I mean relationships established by ordinary, non-miraculous processes, such as the relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and so on.
- By radical obedience, I mean that the supreme value of Jesus has taken hold of us at the root (Latin radix), and we seek to live in a way that shows that supreme value, with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles as our guide.
- By relativizes natural relationships, I mean that the claims of natural relations are never absolute in comparison to the claims of Christ, and that total devotion to Jesus may at times prevent even biblically sanctioned forms of respect and affection.
This means that following Jesus often introduces ambiguity and sorrow and pain into family relationships. If you are looking for a religion that will make all your relationships clearer and smoother and happier, you will find a great obstacle in Christianity.
Hating or Honoring Your Father?
Let’s take the relationship with our fathers, for example.
Jesus says we may need to “leave” them, be “against” them, have them as our “enemies,” love them “less” than we love Jesus, even “hate” them, and possibly not be there for their funeral, or even say goodbye.
What is clear from the teachings of Jesus is that he is not a sentimentalist. He goes his way to put our natural relationship with our fathers in jeopardy, when his own claims on us take precedence.
On the other hand, it also is clear that Jesus embraced the fifth commandment as normative for his followers. He skewered the Pharisees and scribes for not honoring father and mother by telling people they could give to the temple what they ought to give to their parents (Matthew 15:3–9). He told the rich young man, “Honor your father and mother” (Matthew 19:19).But when we have sat at Jesus’s feet through all four Gospels, and he has won our trust, and our allegiance, and our utter devotion, the overwhelming sense we have is that everything has changed. No relationship will ever be the same again.
Some will be exquisitely deeper and happier — as we discover who our true family is (“Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother,” Mark 3:35).
Some will be shattered (“A person’s enemies will be those of his own household,” Matthew 10:36).
Let’s be specific, and listen to the way Jesus relativizes our relationship with our fathers.
1. Jesus may call us to “leave” our fathers
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.
” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:28–30)
The rich young man had just refused to leave his wealth to follow Christ (Mark 10:22). Peter pointed out that he and the other apostles had been willing to make that sacrifice.
Jesus responded by saying, in essence, “What sacrifice? Anything you leave, because of valuing me more, will be repaid a hundredfold. That’s not a sacrifice.” But it does feel one. There is loss.
And even though there is greater gain, the loss is still loss, at least temporarily.
Included in the things we may be called to “leave” is our “father.” This is part of the real loss — something more than simply, “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife” (Mark 10:7). This is a leaving beyond that.
Many Mothers, Not Many Fathers
Remarkable is the fact that when Jesus describes the “repayment” for the losses, he does not say we will receive “fathers.” We will “receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers [no mention of fathers] and children and lands.” Why no mention of fathers?
Perhaps because Jesus wanted the reality of the fatherhood of God to be so dominant in our discipleship, that he did not want to encourage us to think of having many fathers in the church. In fact, he said, “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).
So, in calling us to “leave” our fathers “for my sake and for the gospel,” the emphasis falls on the fact that we have a Father in heaven who will take care of us. The natural relationship is put in the background, and our allegiance to Jesus, and our relationship to our Father in heaven, is put in the foreground.
2. Jesus may call us to be “against” our fathers and know them as our “enemies,” since he calls us to love him more than them
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
” (Matthew 10:34–39)
“Jesus offers himself as peace, but when supreme love for him is not shared in a family, he becomes a divider.”
“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Of course, this is not the only thing Jesus said about his mission. He was indeed sent for peace! The angels said so at the beginning: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
And Jesus himself said to his disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33). “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
And when Jerusalem turned against him, he said, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!” (Luke 19:42).In fact, when Peter and Paul preached the gospel, they could sum it up as Jesus’s accomplishment of peace: “[God preached] good news of peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). “He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17).
So, he was indeed a peace-bringer — peace with God, and peace with those who found peace with God. But as the old man Simeon pointed out when Jesus was a baby, the painful reality was that “this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed . . . so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34–35).
Sign Against Their Unbelief
When that happened, some families would be shattered. Jesus did not come to gloss over that reality. Where family members would not love Jesus more than they loved their family, they would be divided from those who did love Jesus more.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). When supreme love for Jesus is not shared in a family, Jesus becomes a divider.
This is not because Jesus fails to offer himself as peace, but because some family members fail to love him supremely as their peace.
In that sense, Jesus comes “to set a man against his father” (Matthew 10:35). And in that sense, “a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:36).
This painful loss of a peaceful relationship with a father or a son is described as part of taking our cross (Matthew 10:38) and losing our life (Matthew 10:39).
That is not an overstatement, because what follower of Jesus would not willingly give his life to save his son or his father? Taking our cross and losing our life means dying to all natural relations for the sake of Christ and his kingdom.
We die to them in the sense that we embrace the pain of relational brokenness for Christ’s sake, rather than treating the relationship as whole at the expense of Christ’s supremacy.
3. Jesus may call us to “hate” and “renounce” our fathers
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. . . . Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26–27, 33)
There are two issues here. One is what Jesus means by saying we must “hate” our fathers. The other is why he talks this way. We all know that Jesus calls us to honor our fathers (Matthew 19:19).
And we all know that he commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39), and to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and to love each other (John 13:35).
So, there is a profound sense in which we must love our fathers, even though we must “hate” them.One clue to Jesus’s meaning is the way he speaks of “hating” our own lives in John 12:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24–25)
We must hate our lives now in order to keep them for eternal life. And keeping them for eternal life is a good thing. Indeed, the desire to keep them for eternal life is a way of loving our lives. So, we must hate them in order to love them. That’s not double-talk, because Jesus adds the phrase “in this world.” “Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
The meaning is this: We will be called upon to make choices in this world that look as if we hate our lives in the sense of caring very little for their well-being. For example, we may have to die for Christ.
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
To the world, this will look the ultimate self-hate — throwing your life away for a myth! Jesus says it is a kind of “hate,” but it’s also a way of preserving our lives for eternal life — which is a very radical form of love for our lives.
Similarly, when Jesus says we cannot be his disciples unless we “hate” our fathers, he probably means something similar. That is, we may be called on to do things that look as though we hate our fathers when, in fact, we long for them to join us in eternal life.
What behavior might look as though we hate our fathers?
4. Jesus may call us to forgo something so personal and affectionate and honoring as not attending our own father’s funeral
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.
” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
” (Luke 9:57–62)
You can imagine a person writing an email to you: “What are you doing? Do you hate your father? Why don’t you come to his funeral? Why didn’t you at least say farewell? You act you hate your father.”
Why does Jesus talk this way? “If you don’t hate your father, you can’t be my disciple. . . . Leave the dead to bury their dead. . . . If you are thinking about turning back to say goodbye, you’re not fit for the kingdom.”
Why Talk This?
I think he talks this way because it exposes our self-protective reflex to reject his talking this way. He knew what kind of reaction the word “hate” would get. He knew how heartless it would seem not to attend our father’s funeral. He is putting things in the most extreme form to test us.
Will we bow to his radical claim on our lives? Will we let him put all our natural relations in jeopardy for the sake of the kingdom? Will we put our hands over our mouths and accept that his claim on us is a thousand times stronger than any other claim? Will we be willing to have our hearts misunderstood and slandered for his sake (2 Corinthians 6:8; 1 Peter 3:16)? Will we, in the most extreme and difficult situations, accept the agonizing choices for Christ that make us look callous?
“The radical sayings of Christ expose our self-protective reflex.”
You may never have to make such a painful choice. I hope you don’t. But around the world today Christians are having to make such choices. For them, trusting and following Jesus cannot be added on to their former lives. If they follow him, almost everything they knew before will be shattered. They will be called haters and destroyers. It may cost them their lives.
Whatever you do, don’t domesticate the radical teachings of Jesus. If they make you uncomfortable, let them do their work. They are designed to create real disciples who are ready to lose all to gain Christ. The world may call it hate. They may call it foolishness. It is not. It is love. And it is the wisdom of God.