The Priority of Jesus: Cultivating Relationship with the Father

Imagine the bewildered looks on the faces of Joseph and Mary when they finally track down the “missing Son of God”—their twelve-year-old son—and He [Jesus] says in Luke 2:49, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  Throughout the Gospels we observe the unique relationship between Jesus and His Father—but in no other book more than John.  I remember in my early twenties noticing that relationship and highlighting in blue pencil every mention of it in my pocket New Testament.  There are 121 places I marked, which reveal the richness of this relationship.  Here are a dozen samplings from John:

  • Jesus carried a real concern for His Father’s house (John 2:15-17)
  • Jesus was loved by His Father (John 3:35)
  • Jesus knew what kind of worshippers His Father was looking for (John 4:23)
  • Jesus worked with His Father (John 5:17-19)
  • Jesus and His Father are one (John 10:30-39)
  • Jesus fulfilled His Father’s purposes (John 12:27-28)
  • Jesus intends to prepare a place in His Father’s house for His follower so they can be with Him (John 14:1-3)
  • Jesus is the only way to His Father (John 14:6)
  • Seeing Jesus is seeing His Father (John 14:9)
  • Jesus kept His Father’s commands and abides in His love (John 15:10)
  • Jesus brought glory to His Father (John 17:1-6)

The Scriptures teach that Jesus “learned obedience” (Hebrews 5:7-8), which would have included cultivating a relationship with His Father, just as we must learn to do!  It’s apparent that Jesus spent a lot of time in the Scriptures with His Father because He quotes them so often.  Jesus continually sought His Father’s will in prayer for the daily decisions that needed to be made.  Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus relating to and acknowledging His Father in all that He said and did.

I want to clarify here what I mean by “relationship.”  I realize for some in the Body of Christ, “our position in Christ” (our right standing before God because of the blood of Jesus) and the phrase “relationship with Jesus” are synonymous.  Yet, I see them as distinct, although the first certain lays the foundation for the second.  In this context I literally mean friends (John 15:5).  As one dear friend said to me, “Just because I am married (my position/standing) doesn’t necessarily mean my relationship with my spouse is being cultivated, is healthy and thriving.”  As a follower of Jesus your position in Christ is secure, but is your day-to-day relationship with Him being cultivated?  Is it healthy and thriving.?

Return of the Prodigal: Rembrandt

Return of the Prodigal: Rembrandt

Absolutely central to the life of Jesus is cultivating relationship with His Father.  He made time to be alone with Him.  Henry Blackaby talks often of having regular “unhurried time with God.”  Jesus listened for His Father’s voice and obeyed what He asked Him to do out of a love relationship. 

Reflection Points

How are you currently cultivating your relationship with God?  Is it honestly central to your life?  If not, why not?  What hinders you from going deeper in relationship with Him?

How would you describe your current relationship with Jesus? 

  • Warm/real?
  • Hungry/pursuing?
  • Formal/distant?
  • Master/slave?
  • Mechanical?
  • Academic? 

Are your times in the Scriptures deliberate and life giving?  Do you actively look to obey and apply what the Lord shows you?

Do you spend much time ministering to the Lord in thanksgiving, praise, and worship on your own?

Do you regularly participate in times of quietly waiting on the Lord in prayer, listening for anything He wants to drop into your heart?

What practical steps can you take today to revive your relationship with God?  Whose input, counsel, and prayer might you need to pursue?

Consider those you influence and disciple.  Are you modeling for them what pursuing a relationship with Jesus looks like?