“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” — Matthew 6:9
17 times in Matthew 5-7, the “Sermon on the Mount” we find Jesus mentioning “God the Father.”
- “your Father” – 7 times
- “thy Father” – 5 times
- “our Father” – 1 time
- “your heavenly father” – 3 times
- “my father” – 1 time
The significance of this repetition seems to be that Jesus is showing them what a “relationship with God” as a “heavenly Father” is like. This relationship contrasts sharply with the hypocritical religion of the day.
The people were being taught to only observe external rules (Matt 5). Their spiritual leaders were hypocrites who gave alms, prayed, and fasted to be “seen of men” not as an outworking of their relationship with God the Father (Matt 6:1-18).
Their emphasis on outward rule-keeping and superficial religion, while at the same time being covetous and greedy, revealed that they may have looked good outwardly, but, in actual fact, they were full of darkness (Matt 6:19-23). They were not serving God, they were serving another master (Matt 6:24). They did not have a personal relationship with God the Father who cares for His children (Matt 6:25-34).
What type of relationship do you have with God? Is it one of knowing Him as your loving heavenly Father? Or is it a broken relationship controlled by guilt and fear and an attempt to earn His favour with external rule-keeping?
If God is our Father, then…
- We should want to live in a way that glorifies Him (5:16).
- We will love our enemies and do good to those who hates us (5:44-45).
- We will live out the righteousness that He has placed in us (5:48).
- We will live to please Him not to impress men (6:1-18).
- We will desire for His name to be hallowed, His kingdom to come, and His will to be done (6:9-10).
- We will forgive others as God has forgiven us (6:14-15).
- We should not worry (“take thought”) about our lives and what we need because we have a heavenly Father who cares for us and knows our needs (6:25-34).
- We should pray with confidence (7:7-11).
Just as there is a very clear line between those who are in the family and those who are not, Jesus clarifies that not every who professes to know God really does (7:21). Only those who do the will of the Father, which is to believe on His beloved Son (3:17), are truly God’s children and will enter the kingdom of heaven!
Are you in the family, through faith in Jesus? If so, then you have a Father who loves and cares for you, and that changes everything!