Summary: Jesus was the express image of the Father. He said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." If we want to know what God is like, we look at Jesus, for He is the full and final revelation of God the Father.
Paul Aurandt in his book, Destiny, tells of the powerful impact a single father can have on
a whole society. Norman's father was a salesman in Connecticut. He did not like people who
were different from himself, and that was almost everybody. In other words, he was a bigot.
He constantly insulted people, and cut them down for their race or color. Women were
degraded, and his own wife was not allowed to speak her mind. Home life was one of
constant tension with fighting and shouting. Norman's father ended up involved in some
shady deal on the sale of stocks.
Norman was 12 years old when his father got out of prison. But this did not change him
at all. He was still as narrow, dogmatic, and critical as ever. Norman still loved his father,
for inspite of all his weaknesses, he had a good and loving side to him. So when Norman
grew up he made his father's image one of the most popular images America has ever
known. Norman became a famous TV producer, and one of the biggest hits of all time was
Norman Lear's Archie Bunker in All In The Family. Archie Bunker was not portraying a
figment of someone's imagination. He was portraying the life of a real father. His views and
values were those of Norman's own father.
When we come to the life and teachings of Jesus we need to recognize also that they
represent the views and values of a real father. Jesus was the express image of the Father.
He said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." If we want to know what God is like,
we look at Jesus, for He is the full and final revelation of God the Father. Henry Drummond
said, "We can unlock a man's whole life if we watch what words he uses most." The word
Jesus used most for God was Father. He calls God Father 17 times just in the Sermon on the
Mount, and 12 of them are here in chapter 6. He uses this name for God in this chapter
more than anywhere else in the synoptic Gospels. This is the God is Father chapter. I call
your attention to this so you do not think we relate to God as Father only because the Lord's
Prayer begins with our Father. Jesus makes clear that everything we do is to be done in the
Father-child relationship. All we do is done either in obedience or disobedience to our
heavenly Father, and so the Christian life could properly be called, all in the family.
A Sunday school teacher, after a service on the omnipotence of God, asked her class if
there was anything God could not do? There was silence, and then one little guy put up his
hand. She felt disappointed, thinking he must have missed the point of the lessons. She
asked, "What do you think God can't do?" He said, "Well, He can't please everybody. "That,
of course, is literally true, for not even our heavenly Father can please everybody,
even those in His own family.
The story of the Prodigal Son illustrates this. The Father was an ideal father, and there is
not one thing you can detect in him that makes him a poor father. Yet he had two sons,
and both of them were not pleased by his values. The younger son did not want to stay
around and live under his ideal love. He wanted to take off and live an independent life.
The father did not please him enough to hold him at home. The elder brother, on the other
hand, was not pleased with his father when he accepted the rebel back. Here were two boys
who had as good a father as anyone could ever have, yet they were not pleased.
The point is not, that it is impossible to be a good father, but that it is impossible for a
good father to always please his children. Not even the only perfect father, who is God,
can do this. The result is God's children all through history are like the two sons in the
parable of the Prodigal. One side goes to the extreme of stressing God's justice and
discipline, and this causes many to want to leave the family. The other side stresses the love
and compassion of the father, and this makes the other side feel like walking out of the
family, because this seems to them to make God a wishy-washy indulgent parent. The family
of God is often torn by the conflicting pictures of the nature of God's fatherhood. Is He a
Divine Domineering Disciplinarian, or is He a Passive Permissive Parent?
History would indicate that people tend to lean one way or the other depending on what