Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Pursuing Father Part 7

9. The father acts like a mother. In the parable, a traditional oriental patriarch would be expected to sit in grand isolation in the house to hear what the wayward boy might have to say for himself. The mother could run down the road and shower the boy with kisses. A 1,000-year-old, finely tuned sacred tradition is available to Jesus. The prophets called God “Father” and partially described that father in female terms. This language affirmed the personhood and the unity of God for all believers, male and female.

In the Old Testament, God is already presented as a father who also acts with the tender compassion of a mother (Deut. 32:18; Ps. 131; Isa. 42:14, 66:13). The Dead Sea Scrolls describe God with the same imagery. More than 200 times Jesus calls God “Father,” and in John’s gospel, we find that the believer must be “born from above.” In 1 John, the believer is “born of God.” That is, God “gives birth” in the New Testament even as he does in the Old (Deut. 32:18). In this parable, too, the father appears on the road, demonstrating the tender compassion of a mother.


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