Summary: Father's Day: As David cried out for Absalom, God is crying out for us. David wanted to lay down his life so that his son could live, and the heavenly Father has the same feelings of compassion toward us. That's why He sent Jesus.
As you know very well, today is Father’s Day, and what I wish to talk about is the great love to which we have access in our heavenly Father – a love so great that it would be willing sacrifice itself for our spiritual well-being and life. Jesus declared in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” – and this is the kind of love that our heavenly Father has for each of us. Allow me to begin this morning by sharing an illustration of parental love and sacrifice:
On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after taking off from the Detroit airport, killing 155 people. One survived: a four-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, named Cecelia. News accounts say when rescuers found Cecelia they did not believe she had been on the plane. Investigators first assumed Cecelia had been a passenger in one of the cars on the highway onto which the airliner crashed. But when the passenger register for the flight was checked, there was Cecelia’s name.
Cecelia survived because, even as the plane was falling, Cecelia’s mother, Paula Chican, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecelia, and then would not let her go . . . Such is the love of our [heavenly Father and] Savior for us. He left heaven, lowered Himself to us, and covered us with the sacrifice of His own body to save us.(1)
Just as this mother was willing to die for her child, we have a heavenly Father who loves us this much. He loves us so much so that He sent His one and only Son to die in our place. I have entitled our message, “He Died in Your Place,” and this is a message that presents some basic truths that we must come to understand in order to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord.
A Father Mourns for His Child (2 Samuel 18:31-33)
31 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For the Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.” 32 And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!” 33 Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom – my son, my son Absalom – if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”
Here we see that King David mourned for his son Absalom who was killed in battle. Absalom was killed in a battle that he fought against his own father. He rebelled against his father, David, by turning the hearts of people toward himself. He would stand in the city gate each and every day, and when someone came to settle a dispute before the king, Absalom would turn the people away and say that there was no one from the king available to hear their case. Absalom took the liberty of passing judgment on the cases by himself, and his judgment was always in favor of the people.
He would then state, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice” (2 Samuel 15:3). We read how whenever someone would come to bow down before Absalom that he would not allow it, but he would instead embrace and kiss the individual, and the Scripture says, “In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6). Absalom gained a great following in Israel, and both his and David’s men came face-to-face in a showdown, where Absalom lost the battle and was killed. Absalom was a traitor and a rebel, and yet his father still loved him and mourned for him.
We Are All Rebels against God
In the account of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15 we read of a young man who demanded his share of the inheritance from his father, and how he went out and spent it on prodigal, or wasteful, living. Even so, his father had been diligently watching and waiting for his return and he gladly received him back into the family whenever he chose to come home. The father in this New Testament parable represents our heavenly Father who loves us enough to take us back from where we have gone astray.