John 5:17-18 (NKJV)
17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Jesus knew God as “My Father.” Notice the first two words Jesus said in verse 17: “My Father…” Jesus called God “My Father,” and this is what got Him into trouble with the Jews who persecuted Him.
Notice the last phrase in verse 18: “…making Himself equal with God.” The Jews had such reverence for God that they wouldn’t even presume to speak His name (or write it), which is why even today it is often written as G-d. God would never have been referred to in the same way that you refer to a member of your family. That would have indicated a familiarity and disrespect that would have been considered blasphemy according to Jewish tradition.
So here comes Jesus who speaks of God as His Father. No one ever referred to God in such loving and familiar terms before. But Jesus openly does; no wonder the religious leaders were so upset with Him. What they were hearing Jesus say was that He was actually God’s biological Son, and of course, they were outraged at that.
In the New King James Version of the Bible, 31 times in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to God as “My Father.” Incidentally, numerous other times (in the Gospel of John), Jesus referred to God as “the Father” and six times Jesus said, “My Father’s…” and then finished His sentence. (See John 2:16, 5:43, 10:25, 10:29 14:2, 15:10.)
We are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26). Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God is a born-again child of God, and whoever is born of God overcomes the world (1 John 5:1). Our faith in Christ gives us the victory that has overcome the world (1 John 5:4). Question: What makes your faith work? Answer: Receiving the love of God for yourself personally. Next question: How do you receive the love of God for yourself personally? Answer: By knowing God as “My Father.”
When Jesus said (in John 20:17), “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God,” He was intimating that every person could have the same personal relationship with God that He had – a personal relationship with God as “My Father.” You can know God as “My Father!”
Jesus’ faith, stimulated by God’s love for Him (motivated by knowing God as “My Father”), empowered Him to do what He did during His earth walk. Your faith, stimulated by God’s love for you (motivated by knowing God as “My Father”), will empower you to do what God has called you to do, and it will also enable you to receive (and enjoy) all the benefits of your salvation.
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