Being Able to Say "Our Father"
One of the most remarkable phrases in the Bible is found in Matthew 6:9. In that verse, Jesus teaches His disciples to pray by saying, “Our Father…” Although most people think about the Gospel of John as being the Gospel where the notion of the Father and the Son is fully developed, the Gospel of Matthew has quite a bit to say about God the Father and God the Son.
Jesus invites the disciples to say “Our Father…” Why is that so remarkable? It is remarkable because, essentially, Jesus is saying, “My Father is your Father, too.” This is an invitation that we should not pass up. Let’s explore this idea a little bit further.
If Jesus calls God Father, then that implies that Jesus is God’s Son. There is a familial relationship. It is worth noting the occasion at which Jesus is publicly proclaimed as God’s Son in the Gospel of Matthew. When does this occur? It occurs at Jesus’ baptism. We read in Matthew 3:17, “and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In this section of Scriptures, all three members of the Godhead are there. When Jesus is baptized, the Spirit descends and the Father announces that He loves, and is pleased with, the Son.
Returning to Matthew 6:9 and Jesus’ invitation to call God our Father, it leaves us wondering if there is a moment in time when God proclaims that we are truly a member of the family and that He is pleased with us. The end of the Gospel announces affirmatively that, yes, there is a moment when we fully enter into relationship with Father, Son, and Spirit. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
The phrase “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” signifies more than just a statement to be uttered at someone’s baptism—it signifies that we have entered covenantal relationship with God. As some translations read, we are baptized “into the name.” The work of the Son of God makes it possible for us to become sons and daughters of God. The Spirit makes it possible for us to know the Son, and the Son makes it possible for us to be united with “our Father.”
In Galatians 3:27, we read that “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Within the same context, we read just a few verses later, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
The same concept is also found in Romans 8 and serves as a good conclusion for considering the magnificence of being able to call God our Father. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”