Tuesday, April 20, 2010

“Our Father in Heaven…”

To the disciples, the first words of the Prayer of Jesus must have been nothing short of scandalous. Of all the things they had ever learned about prayer, this was certainly not one of them. They were not even permitted to say the name of God aloud, let alone refer to him as “our Father.” Yet, that is precisely how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.

There was, however, a catch. As John explains, only those who received Jesus and believed in his name have the right to refer to God as “our Father” (see John 1:12) In fact, Jesus made it clear that there are only two kinds of people in this world: Those who should refer to Satan as “our father” and those who may refer to God as “our Father” (John 8:44-47). There are no other options.

In one sense, Jesus is the only one who can legitimately address God as Father, for he is the unique Son of God and has been so throughout eternity. However, as Paul explains in Romans 8, those who are led by the Spirit of God are no longer illegitimate children. Instead, they too are sons and daughters by adoption in faith in Jesus. Thus, they can legitimately refer to God as “our Father.”

Jesus continues the pattern by teaching his disciples to qualify the phrase “our Father” with the words “in heaven.” In doing so, he is teaching us that God transcends time and space. We can address him with intimacy but never with impudence. He is the sovereign Creator and we are but sinful creatures. Addressing God as “our Father” makes us ever mindful of our relationship with God. It also underscores the fact that I do not come before him in isolation, rather, I come as part of the community of faith. Thus, adding the phrase “in heaven” reminds us of the reverence due his name.

[Excerpt from Hank Hanegraaff’s The Prayer of Jesus pp. 36-38.]

2 comments:

John Tucker, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ said...

"The Prayer of Jesus" is an excellent book! I've read it several times and highly recommend it to anyone who wants or needs a good book on prayer.

Boris said...

To the disciples, the first words of the Prayer of Jesus must have been nothing short of scandalous. Of all the things they had ever learned about prayer, this was certainly not one of them. They were not even permitted to say the name of God aloud, let alone refer to him as “our Father.” Yet, that is precisely how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.

Boris says: As a Jew I can tell you that as usual Hank has no idea what he is talking about. In the early first century the Jews were as polytheistic as any other Pagan cults. Many Jews worshiped a female deity mentioned in the Bible named Asherah. Other Jews worshiped Joshua the sun god. The Jewish mystery dramas about this god man are what the gospels are modeled after. To the Jews Yahweh was just another god. Today 90 percent of the people claiming Jewish heritage also are professing atheists. The Holocaust is all the proof any Jew needs that there is no God.

There was, however, a catch. As John explains, only those who received Jesus and believed in his name have the right to refer to God as “our Father” (see John 1:12) In fact, Jesus made it clear that there are only two kinds of people in this world: Those who should refer to Satan as “our father” and those who may refer to God as “our Father” (John 8:44-47). There are no other options.

Boris says: Well obviously Jesus was wrong. Atheists don’t believe in Satan nor do they refer to anyone other than their biological fathers as “our Father.” These passages in he Bible were written by men in order to get other men to follow them blindly.

In one sense, Jesus is the only one who can legitimately address God as Father, for he is the unique Son of God and has been so throughout eternity. However, as Paul explains in Romans 8, those who are led by the Spirit of God are no longer illegitimate children. Instead, they too are sons and daughters by adoption in faith in Jesus. Thus, they can legitimately refer to God as “our Father.”

Boris says: I thought Jesus was God. ROFL! I love it when the Hankster says that he can’t comprehend the trinity so he just apprehends it. I have news for you people. Soon anyone telling a child that they must believe in the trinity or any other Christian dogma will indeed be apprehended and charged with child abuse. Then you’ll be thrown in a penitentiary with other child abusing perverts and all your homoerotic sexual fantasies will be fulfilled.

Jesus continues the pattern by teaching his disciples to qualify the phrase “our Father” with the words “in heaven.” In doing so, he is teaching us that God transcends time and space. We can address him with intimacy but never with impudence. He is the sovereign Creator and we are but sinful creatures. Addressing God as “our Father” makes us ever mindful of our relationship with God. It also underscores the fact that I do not come before him in isolation, rather, I come as part of the community of faith. Thus, adding the phrase “in heaven” reminds us of the reverence due his name.

Boris says: The Bible clearly says he is NOT The God: Mark 12:28-34; John 4:23; 17:1-3; 1Cor 8:6; 2Cor 1:3; Eph 1:3; 4:6; Col 1:3; 1Tim 2:5; Heb 1:1-3; James 2:19; 1Peter 1:3; 1John 5:1-5; 2John 3; Jude 1; Rev 1:1-3.