In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us about our heavenly Father. He describes the birds of the air, telling us that our heavenly Father feeds them, and aren’t we of more value than they are? In Matthew 6:32, after describing the pressures of our human need to obtain food, drink, and clothing, he reminds us that our heavenly Father knows that we need all these things. In Matthew 7:11, reflecting on prayer using the illustration of a child asking a father for food and receiving what is good, he says, “how much more will you Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Jesus tenderly and lovingly points us, and the crowds hearing him, to God the Father’s great care and love for his people.
Our Father is the One who provides for all of creation, and his children are of far greater value to him than the birds of the air, which he delights to provide for. Our heavenly Father knows all of our needs; his knowledge is not only knowledge in perfect holiness, but also knowledge in perfect care and tender compassion. He, our Father in heaven, is the One who delights to give good things to those who ask him. How good our Father is! How marvelous that he would reveal himself to us by his own Son, coming in the flesh to this sinful world for our salvation! The love of the Father is a mystery: his own dear Son, coming willingly, sent by him, to our sin-filled and miserable world to welcome us into the Father’s strong and tender care–and making this possible through his own sacrificial work.
Jesus makes a final reference to God the Father in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:21. He has spoken to us and the crowds in gracious, covenantal terms: pointing us to God the Father as our Father, calling us to live our lives in Him; but he concludes with a covenantal warning: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:23) Not all are sons of the Father. In Matthew 7:20, Jesus says we will recognize them by their fruits. Ask yourself: do I desire to do the will of the Father, do I want to grow in relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son? Am I both hearing and doing what Jesus calls me to–living in all the goodness, grace, and richness of being a child of the Father? You can’t do it on your own–and this is the exact reason why the Father has sent the Son. It is so that you can be welcomed to receive grace, forgiveness, and new life as an adopted child of the Father. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me, will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)
In John 17 Jesus prays: “I glorified you on earth… I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me… Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me… All mine are yours, and yours are mine… Holy Father, keep them in your name…” (John 17:4-11) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God!