“What Jesus Said about His Father”



Welcome to "Key to the Kingdom." My name is Bret McCasland. In previous episodes we have looked at some specific things Jesus said and taught about certain topics during His public ministry. In many ways, they are important for us to consider and worthy of our attention. All of those lessons are on our website. I encourage you to view them if you have not had the opportunity to do so. In today's lesson, on "Key to the Kingdom," we will consider what Jesus said about His Heavenly Father. The Bible teaches us Jesus was with His Father in the very beginning. He then came to earth. As He carried out His Father's will, Jesus ministered to those in need of food, healing, compassion and forgiveness. And after His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, He ascended back to His Father's right hand. Jesus is there, even now, as He continues to reign over all creation. Well, it was during His time on the earth that Jesus said some very important things about His Father. He said that He and His Father were one. Jesus represented Him, as He showed compassion and taught the importance of having a relationship with Him and with one another. What Jesus said is life-changing! It gives us a glimpse into how much God loves us and the effort He put forth to save us. We will look at what Jesus said about that, and how His Father's love is available to all people, everywhere. I invite you now to open your heart and your Bible, as we study what Jesus said about His Father.



When my father was living, many people would often comment, "You sure do look like your dad." And that is true. I, indeed, look like my father. And I also developed some of his same characteristics traits and habits over the years. Well, even though my father is no longer living, I think about him most every day, and I think about many things that he shared with me over my lifetime. Others can say the same thing about their father, or perhaps another family member; and it is good. We think about those positive influences they have had on our lives. In a similar way, Jesus could say the same thing. He came from His Heavenly Father and He represented Him up on this earth. And yet, as Jesus worked among people, throughout His public ministry, many questioned His claim of coming from God. They did not believe He was the Messiah, the Anointed One. They could not believe that He was the Son of God. They thought He was a false prophet. They thought He was someone who just offered a strange teaching. Jesus' own family, at one time, even considered Him to be crazy and they tried to throw Him off of a cliff. Yes, people continually questioned the claim that He and the Father are one (John chapter 10 and verse 30). On one occasion Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I am working. The Son can only do what He sees the Father doing.” (John 5, verse 17 and verse 19). And then John adds these words to that statement: “This was the reason they tried all the more to kill Him. He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” Throughout the New Testament, the connection between Jesus and His Father is undeniable. Some 100 times in the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus referred to God as His Father. Without a doubt, Jesus was the Son of God, and He never backed away from that claim. Jesus represented His Father in every way. He came to minister, to serve and to be a blessing to other people. Jesus even offered His very life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Notice these statements Jesus made, which are found in John chapter 10, first of all verse 36 and then verse 38. <”The One whom the Father set apart as His very own has sent Him into the world. Even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”> Well, in addition to being one with His Father, Jesus also displayed many of His same qualities or characteristics. For example, He had compassion on those who were hurting. He forgave those who sinned. He extended mercy to those who were in need of it. But Jesus always did what His Father called upon Him to do. For example, as a fulfillment of Isaiah 61, God sent His Son to comfort those who mourn. Oh, as God comforted people throughout the ages, Jesus did the very same thing, even in His earthly ministry. In John chapter 5 verse 21, Jesus said, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will.” That's exactly what Jesus did. He set at liberty those who were held captive (Matthew 4, verse 16). Jesus fed those who were hungry (Luke chapter 9). Oh, the list goes on and on of the many things Jesus did as He represented His Heavenly Father here up on the earth. And being so connected to His Father, Jesus was in the perfect position to say many things about His Father, and those statements give us some insight into the qualities and the characteristics of our Father who lives in heaven. Here's a couple for us to consider. In the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus made this statement about His Father, in Matthew 5 verse 45: <He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.> In Matthew 6, verse 14: <”For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.”> And then Luke, in his version of the “Sermon on the Mount,” offers this, in chapter 6, verse 36: <”Be merciful, even as your Heavenly Father is merciful.”> We can think of many examples in the Bible of how God did those very things. He took care of and He blessed all people. He forgave people when they messed up and sinned against Him. He poured out His blessing and kindness to people everywhere. And Jesus, in His earthly ministry, presented a portrait of His Father; not only in what He did in His own work, but also in what He taught others about Him. The Bible also tells us our Heavenly Father keeps His promises. He is faithful. He is patient with everyone. Without much effort, my guess is most all of us could come up with 20 or 30 words that describe God. They identify the qualities and the characteristics of our Heavenly Father. Perhaps the greatest quality, the first at the top of the list, the one that is more important than anything else, is love. In one of Jesus’ greatest statements, I want us to notice, for a moment, what Jesus had to say about His Father in regards to love. I want us to read what He had to say about perhaps the greatest quality God ever possessed and continues to possess today. The passage I want us to notice is found in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 18. Let's begin reading with verse 12. <“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that has wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”> Jesus offered this parable, or short story, to demonstrate His Father's love. He wanted the people to know that His Father was willing to do whatever it took to go out to find and reclaim those who had gone astray. I want us to envision, for just a moment, what that parable must have looked like when the people heard it for the first time. Taking care of sheep was a common way to make a living some 2000 years ago. A shepherd was responsible for his master sheep, and on some occasions, the sheep of the entire village. Oftentimes the men of a village would come together and collectively buy a herd or a flock of sheep, and each one of the village members had a stake in each one of those lambs. And the shepherd knew that. It was a big task. It was an important responsibility, for he knew that he was accountable to perhaps the entire village for the wellbeing of that flock of sheep. Well, if one of them would wander off, or not come back into the sheep fold at night, it concerned the shepherd, and so he would make sure that the rest of them were all taken care of safely and then he would take his staff and he would go looking for the one that was lost. Oh, he might go down to the river or to the brook, thinking, perhaps, the lamb fell in and could not get out. He went out into the thicket looking for the lamb. Perhaps he was taken off by a wild animal. Or maybe that that little lamb was caught in something and could not get out. And then, if the shepherd found that sheep that was a good thing. He could go back with the sheep, perhaps on his shoulders, and give a report to all of the village members, and say, “Look, that which was lost is now found.” Well, that is the image Jesus portrays of His Heavenly Father, in this parable. The Father is the shepherd. He is the one going out, looking for and finding that which is lost, and then brings it home. Well, it also reminds us of that familiar parable, or story, we read in Luke chapter 15 about the prodigal son; and, perhaps you are familiar with it. A young son, one day, comes to his father and he demands his share of the inheritance. Well, the father was not ready to give out that inheritance to his sons, for he was still working. But because he loved his youngest son, he gave to him his fair share. Immediately upon receiving that, the young son went into a foreign country and he spent that money foolishly. And before he knew it, the money was gone. He had nothing left, and he could not even find a good paying job to pay his bills, so he ended up feeding the pigs of a man who owned them, there in that foreign place. And that was something that was very off limits for a young Jewish boy in that day and time, to have any association with pigs, but he fed them that food, and then he ate some of it himself, in order to stay alive. One day while doing so, the text says that he came to his senses. He realized that his father's servants had it better at home than he had it here in the pig pen, so he decided to go back home. Well, in the meantime, we can just imagine what that father must have been doing. He longed for the day when the son would return down the same road in which he left. And one day, as he was looking down that road, sure enough, he saw his son coming home. And in a very undignified and unusual way, for elderly Jewish men of that day and time, he gathered up his robe around him and he ran down the path. He greeted his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. He then put a ring on his finger and sandals on his shoes and a robe on his shoulders. And he came back into the village and he announced to everyone, “This, my son who was lost is now found.” The father even kill the fatted calf and everyone celebrated, rejoicing in the fact that the prodigal son had come home. You know, Jesus shares that parable, also, with His followers and with us today, to teach us that our Father in heaven is a God of love, and He will do whatever is necessary to pursue and to wait for and long for us to return to Him. You know, God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us. We know that from Paul's words in Romans chapter 5, beginning with verse 6: <You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.> Well, that was the highlight of Jesus' life and ministry. Yes, He fed the hungry and He healed the sick, He even raised people from the dead, but the greatest thing Jesus ever did was to die on a cross for you and me to demonstrate His Father's love for us. Notice the way John puts it, in 1st John chapter 4, verses 9 and 10. <This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.> Can you imagine doing what God did? Can you imagine what it would be like to offer your son, your only son, your only daughter, perhaps your only grandchild, offer that person up to death so that other people could live. That doesn't make much sense, does it? We can just imagine the pain and the sorrow, the loss that would cause us. Oh, we don't even want to go there. We don't even want to think about that, do we? And yet, because of His great love for all people, that is exactly what God did. He allowed His Son to die for us so that we could experience the full expression of God's love. Jesus knew this was the ultimate task His Father sent Him to accomplish. And Jesus did that. He died on the cross so that we could experience the full measure of God's love. In Luke chapter 19, we find another story, familiar story, about Jesus encountering a man named Zacchaeus. And when Jesus did, He told Him, "Zacchaeus, I'm going to share a meal with you in your home this evening." And that's what He did. And in the home, Zacchaeus began to confess his faults. He says, "I have defrauded people. I have basically robbed people of the money that I did not deserve and that was not owed to me." And he began to confess that sin and he was willing to make things right. On that occasion, Jesus told him, "Salvation has come to your household." Zacchaeus was making the right steps. He was going through the process of being right with God, and Jesus recognized that. And at the end of the story we find these words, in verse 10, Jesus said them, "The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Yes, that was the purpose for which Jesus came to the earth -to seek and to save people, as a representative of His Father. He was doing the very same thing that God did, seeking and saving those who needed salvation, both physically and spiritually. Oh, a great example of that is found in John 3 and verse 17: <God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.> Oh, I love that statement. God knew we would experience all kinds of problems and hardships in this world. He knew we might perhaps be criticized or judged or mistreated in some way or another. People would condemn us for the way we look or the way we act or the way we live. And no doubt the people in Jesus' day felt that. They lived in an oppressive society with a cruel government, and they struggled to find peace. They struggled to find meaning and significance for their lives. Well, Jesus came as His Father's representative to offer something new and something far better. He came with a message of forgiveness and compassion. He came offering His Father's love. And that is what those people needed. And, no doubt, that is what we need, still today. At times we may feel as helpless or as hopeless as those people did in the day of Jesus. When we do, we need someone to show us some love. And if that is the case, we don't have to look any further than to our loving Heavenly Father. There are some who view God as being harsh and mean. They see God as being out to get them whenever they sin or make a mistake. They view God as taking pleasure in punishing people. And as a result, people live in fear. They try to run away from God instead of running to God, and that causes a great deal of anxiety in their life. But the good news of the message today is this; Jesus does not want us to live like that. He invites us to receive His Father's love; and, that love is far greater than we could ever imagine. We may, or we may not, look like our earthly father. We may, or we may not, have some of the same characteristics or traits of some of our family members; and that's okay, one way or another. We can be thankful, however, that Jesus came to this earth to represent His Heavenly Father. We can be thankful, today, Jesus told us more about Him by the way He lived, and also through the things He taught. But most of all, we now have the opportunity to experience our Father's love through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes. Jesus came into this world to offer an example of how much God loves us. And that was one of the most important things that He ever stated, throughout His ministry: God loves you more than you will ever know. That was true then, and that is true today. My prayer and my desire for you is that you have received your Father's love, through a relationship with His one and only Son, Jesus Christ; and, you are living a life recognizing what God has done for you.


I'm standing in the parking lot of a church building in the city in which I live. In fact, I know some of the people who are members here at this church and who attend on a regular basis. Now, from what I know about them, and from the church as a group, they are a very loving group of people; and I appreciate that about them. I appreciate their example of loving one another and also loving the people in this neighborhood, in this community, and even around the world. And when we think about loving one another, we recognize that's important. Jesus stated that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. And then in verse 17 of John chapter 3, the words are these: God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save the world, through Him. Those are perhaps two of the most familiar and often quoted passages in all of the Bible on the significance of God loving people and giving us an opportunity to receive His salvation, instead of receiving condemnation. If you're feeling unloved, insignificant or of no value, I encourage you to visit this church. It's a great group of loving people. They welcome any and everyone, who walks in and out of these doors, with the love of the Lord. And that's what it's all about, isn't it; loving the people that God puts before us as a demonstration of the love that He has shared with us. Loving people and loving God, come and be a part of our worship assembly and experience that love.


Thank you for being our guests today on “Key to the Kingdom.” One thing I am reminded of on a regular basis is God loves us more than we will ever know. He sees our needs and He offers His love and we have the opportunity to receive that. If you would like to know more about God's love, please visit our website at keytothekingdom.com. There, you can find this message, along with many others. All of them can be downloaded in a variety of formats, without any cost or obligation. Other things on the website that might be of interest include daily devotional thoughts and short inspirational messages. Our statement of belief is there as well. A free app is available to download onto your smart phone and it takes you directly to the website where you can access all of the lessons and Bible studies. Other ways to connect with us include Roku® television and Facebook®. New messages are uploaded on a weekly basis. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to find and then like us on Facebook®, and then share those messages with others. Oh, they are all designed to offer a word of spiritual encouragement. And finally, if you want to contact us, either send an email message or call the number on the screen. Once again, thank you for joining us for today's broadcast. I invite you to tune in again at the same time next week, as we continue to study the Bible on "Key to the Kingdom."