What kind of parent would I be if … 4


 

“I can only pray.
 

Because what kind of parent would I be if I let my own daughter die?
 

And what kind of preacher would I be if I denied Jesus?””
 

          from “Forsaken” by James David Jordan

See book info at amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2ayOBWm

I assume no one would disagree with the image at the right.  While we (hopefully) joke about things like  –
“do what I say, not what I do” –
I would hope that’s not the core of someone’s parenting strategy.

Having said that, in the interest of full disclosure – I think I learned more about how I should not treat people from my own parents than I did about how I should treat people.  So it’s not like this is a universal theme that every parent uses.

Which would you choose?

The thing is though –
if you were in the unfortunate position of having to choose between those two alternatives –
letting your child die –
or denying that Jesus is the Son of God – which would you choose?

It’s not a position I’d want to be in.
Strictly speaking – I, like many of you, will never be in that position, because I don’t have a son or daughter.
But I do have my wife.
Hopefully – we all have someone that we share a special relationship with – and that we care about very much.

So – what would we do?

Some examples

As a Christian – I think the place we should look to for guidance is the Bible.

After all – we claim to be children of God.  
We call the first person of the Trinity our Father.
Based on the sentiment of modeling what’s best for our children – and believing that God is a loving God – why would we not go there?

So – the example I thought of right away is not the one that came up in the book.  The book went to Abraham and Isaac – as we see in Genesis –

Abraham Tested

Ge 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Ge 22:2 Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Ge 22:3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Ge 22:6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Ge 22:8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
Ge 22:9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

This example is even more extreme that the quote from the book.  Rather than “allowing” Isaac to be killed, Abraham is in the position of being the one who’s asked to do the killing of his son.  To make it worse – God’s the one asking Him to do the killing. 

How hard would that be?
And yet – Abraham was all set to do exactly that.

Paul write this about Abraham in Romans –

Abraham Justified by Faith

Ro 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Note – Abraham was justified, not by his works, by his faith.
Abraham was justified, not because he would have killed Isaac, but because he trusted God that everything would be “OK”.
There’s a fine line there – but it’s not the same.

We see how this turns out in the next verses –

Ge 22:11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Ge 22:12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Ge 22:13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Ge 22:15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Ge 22:19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

So Abraham does not kill his first born son.

God has provided the object of sacrifice Himself.

God also provided a model for us – of the kind of parent we should be.

Remember, earlier I talked about having no children, but a wife.
Here’s what Jesus said about that, including a reference to Abraham –

Marriage at the Resurrection

22:23-33 pp — Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40

Mt 22:23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
Mt 22:29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
Mt 22:33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

There’s some pretty powerful – and probably hard to really listen to – stuff in there.

  • we don’t know either the scriptures or the power of God.  We read the Bible.  They had likely memorized the Old Testament.  But did they understand? Jesus said no, they didn’t.  Do we really understand?
  • no marriage in Heaven.  I know Christians who don’t believe this.  In fact – won’t believe it. Did Jesus lie? Or do we just choose to ignore the parts we don’t like and think that’ll be OK?  Whatever the relationships will be – it will be perfect.  We have to believe this, or else we call Jesus a liar.  Yes – it’s potentially a huge stumbling block – probably something we don’t want to hear – and yet, there it is.
  • as far as the resurrection – God is the God of the living, not of the dead.  We treat death as “the end”.  God treats it as a transition – from a fallen / corrupted life with broken relationships – to life the way it was meant to be – everything perfect, including (probably especially) relationships.
  • the crowd was amazed.  The crowd probably wasn’t too happy.  You may not be either – depending on how you react to what you just read.  And yet – it’s not my words – they are the words of Jesus.  We are supposed to believe them.  But do we?

In John;s Gospel, the following conversation took place – between Jesus and some of the Jews who had believed in Him.  Note one word in there: “who had believed in Him”.  Past tense.

The Children of Abraham

Jn 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jn 8:33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jn 8:34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.’”
Jn 8:39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the things your own father does.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

That’s a pretty scathing condemnation of people who claimed to have believed in Jesus – but found out that they really didn’t.

Jesus did that fairly often – got lots of followers – then delivered the tough message, in no uncertain terms.  And people left Him.
No doubt – lots of these people left Him as well.

Why do people leave Jesus?

As I said – Jesus had some tough messages.  
Messages that people didn’t want to hear. 
Messages that we may want to hear today either.
Because those messages required choices.  
We have to decide between things we care about here on this earth –
and things that Jesus said we should care about.
And too often – we choose “not” Jesus.

For instance –

The Cost of Following Jesus

8:19-22 pp — Lk 9:57-60

Mt 8:18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Mt 8:20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Mt 8:21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Mt 8:22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Here we see another relationship – this one between us and our parents.

One man wanted to follow Jesus.  Then he heard how difficult it would be.
Another wants to bury his father first.  It’s reasonable to think this guy didn’t walk out on a mourning period or in the middle of the burial for his father.  No – his father was very much alive.  And this was a delaying tactic – essentially telling Jesus – I’ll follow you after my father dies.  I’ll follow you after I live more of my life the way I want to live it.  And who knows whether he’d even go look for Jesus after his father did die.  Or – would Jesus even be around after His father died?  Would it be too late to follow Jesus?  It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves – now, or after some event?  Now, or after some period of time?  Now, or later?  And will “later” be too late – because by then, we’ll be dead?

Jesus makes it very clear – Follow Him – now.  He is the God of the living.

What does it all mean?

It’s all about “life”.

And I don’t mean the life we live on this earth.

In John 11:25, Jesus says –

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

When Jesus says “life”, He’s not talking about walking around on the earth we now have – the time between coming out of the womb and being laid in the ground.  No – He means this –

1 life. 1A the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate. 1B every living soul. 2 life. 2A of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature. 2B life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.  1)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship. 

Yes – Jesus is talking not about life on earth, where Satan reigns as the prince of the earth – but life in the Kingdom of God, after the resurrection.
That’s God as the God of the living, not the god of the dead.

Another example

Here’s the example I thought of first, when I read about having to make the decision between allowing one’s child (or other loved one) to die – and denying that Jesus is the Son of God.

Gethsemane

26:36-46 pp — Mk 14:32-42; Lk 22:40-46

Mt 26:36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Mt 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Mt 26:40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Mt 26:42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
Mt 26:43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Mt 26:45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

This is a conversation between God and His Son.  We see only the side from the Son – but we know that there really was a two-way thing going on there.

Jesus knows He’s going to die.
God knows Jesus – His Son – is going to die.

Jesus – both man and God – prays for this thing to not happen.  Unless it’s the Father’s will that it should indeed happen.
Three times Jesus asks if the cup cannot be taken away.
And every time, Jesus also says – Father, may your will be done.

We always talk about how God, through Jesus, knows all about the things that we will face in this life.

Even this – even the choice between the death of a son and denying that Jesus is the Son of God – that’s something the Father has experienced!
The Father knows exactly what we go through – even when we face these kinds of decisions.

And what did the Father model for us?

He modeled this –

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27:27-31 pp — Mk 15:16-20

Mt 27:27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

27:33-44 pp — Mk 15:22-32; Lk 23:33-43; Jn 19:17-24

Mt 27:32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
Mt 27:41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

27:45-56 pp — Mk 15:33-41; Lk 23:44-49

Mt 27:45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Mt 27:47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Mt 27:48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
Mt 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Mt 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Mt 27:54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Mt 27:55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Yes – the Father knows exactly what we go through.

Conclusion

However – there is one difference!

Remember when Jesus asked this question –

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus knew this was absolutely 100% true.

The Father knew this was absolutely 100% true.

We do not know this with the same degree of certainty.

For us – it requires faith.
It requires a belief that’s strong enough for us to be willing to stake our lives on it.

Our short life on earth – because if we reject Jesus, there will be no resurrection to an eternal life in Heaven.  Instead, we’ll end up someplace else.

Our eternal life in the Kingdom of God – because belief in Jesus is the only path we have to that life.

Is that a level of faith that we actually have?

Or do we just claim to believe – but when the time comes, we say –

Jesus – let me bury my <loved one> first,  Then I’ll follow You.

Or will we say – 

Not my will, but yours,  Because I trust You.

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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4 thoughts on “What kind of parent would I be if …

  • bobbiblanchard

    LOVE! With two kids with genetic disorders I’ve had to answer the tough questions, rely on faith, and ultimately BELIEVE God, not just IN Him, but actually believe Him. Often go back to Abraham to remind myself what that looks like! 😉 Thank you!

    • wgsu-study-admin

      You are most welcome. Even more so, you are so blessed to be living so closely with Him! You will certainly hear Him tell you – “Well done, good and faithful servant”. Just reading your comment makes me want to cry (in a happy way).

        • wgsu-study-admin

          Isn’t that exactly the way our Lord said it would be –
          Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
          Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’