In the ancient world your primary identity was not found in what you did for a living, the level of your education, your socio-economic status, or even your religious beliefs. Your primary identity was found in your familial relationships. So, the Apostle Peter would have responded to the question, “Who are you?” by saying, “I am Simon bar Jonah,” or “I am the son of my father.”
This Is My Son
Thus, it should not be surprising that when the Messiah was revealed He would be shown as the Son of God. At the baptism of Jesus, a voice from heaven cried out, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:17).
Jesus would then be heard referring to God not only as his father, but in the affectionate Aramaic, Abba, or Daddy (Mk 14:36). This was incredulous, and the local religious leaders were heard to say, “not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (Jn 5:18).
It used to make me a little queasy to hear preachers, grown men, refer to God as Daddy in their prayers. But I soon began to see that they were only trying to express their identity in their relationship to their heavenly father.
Didn’t You Know I Had To Be In My Father’s House?
When Jesus was twelve years old, he did not join the caravan back to Galilee after the Passover celebration. His earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, concerned for their child raced back to Jerusalem, only to find Him in the temple courts arguing with the rabbis. Mary chastised her son, but Jesus simply replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my father’s house” (Lk 2:49).
The pictures that this scene evokes are of a loving father teaching his young child how to use tools, or cheering on his son or daughter on the soccer sidelines, or of teaching his precious teenager how to drive. Maybe those are not pictures you can conceive because you did not have a loving earthly father, but Jesus calls you to find your true identity in your Heavenly Father.
I Am In The Father, And My Father Is In Me
Our primary identity should be found in the truest relationship that we can possibly have. Our earthly familial relationships are just shadows of the real relationship God wants to have with us. When Philip asked to see the Father, Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (Jn 14:9). Jesus is the image or icon of the Father, and when we abide Him and He in us, then we fully realize who are true daddy is (Col 1:15; Jn 15:4).
You Have Become Sons And Daughters Of God In Christ
You see, when we come into relationship with Jesus we receive God as our father, our Abba, our daddy: “To those who received Christ, to them He gave the power to become sons and daughters of God, even to those who believe on His Name” (Jn 1:12). This is why we pray “Our Father, who art in heaven” (Mt. 6:9).
When the world beckons, and it will beckon, you to follow its way of pursuing selfish gain, education, or fame—to seek your identity somewhere outside of your relationship with God, tell them, “Sorry, not today, didn’t you know I had to be in my Daddy’s house?”
© 2013, Paul Dordal