After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” (Luke 2:46-49 ESV)
As we read the gospel stories we follow the story of a Son and his Father. Does this story start with a baby being born in a borrowed stable and end with death on a Roman cross? For many that is their understanding. But this story started even before the clock started ticking in Genesis chapter one. This story runs from all of eternity before Genesis and it will run right through all of eternity after Revelation. It is a relationship which is set outside of time.
John understood this when he starts his gospel account with the words “In the beginning”. He is not referring to the creation story in Genesis, but is looking back into eternity before the clock started ticking. He sees a relationship and he describes that for us throughout his gospel. He describes a relationship which is one of perfect love.
As we read the gospels we are let into this story, we are invited to see what this relationship looks like. We are given a glimpse of how Father and Son relate to each other and how they relate to other people. This relationship is like no other. It is certainly not like the relationship the Pharisees and Leaders had with either God or the people. This was a new type of relationship, it was family.
In fact, this sort of relationship has always been in God’s heart. He wanted a family. He longs for sons and daughters who will be just like Jesus. The relationship we see is not just for us to view as spectators, it is one we are invited into. Just as God is Father to Jesus so he wants to a Father to us. That's who he's been and who he will always be.
Jesus was single-minded in his desire to live in the Father’s presence and be found doing his will. What about us? My prayer is that we, too, would long to be in Father’s presence and doing his work, not as servants but as sons and daughters.
God has always been Father, and he longs to be a Father to YOU.