Most fathers the world over will do anything they can for their children. Jesus’ heavenly Father was no different. His first action just after Jesus was born was to save him from being slaughtered by the jealous Herod.
His heavenly Father watched over Jesus as he grew and developed in wisdom and understanding. The Father was there at the marriage feast in Cana when Mary urged Jesus to save the hosts from embarrassment. He went with him into the desert to fast and prepare for the ordeal that was to come. He sent angels to minister to Jesus after the devil had failed to get Jesus on side.
The Father was well aware that His Son was born to die, unlike our children who are born to have life and have it to the full. Yet even though He was fully aware of the inevitability of what was to occur, the Father would have concentrated on helping His Son fulfill his mission on earth.
During Jesus’ public life he often went off on his own to pray to his heavenly Father. He even taught his followers how to pray to the Father and there is no doubt the Father was always present when miracles occurred. Everything Jesus needed, the Father supplied.
When Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain to be with him as he discussed plans for the coming horrific events with Moses and Elijah, his heavenly Father was present as well. The Father’s enormous pride for His son was evident when he called to Jesus’ three companions from a cloud, telling them that this was his son and that he was very pleased with him. He told them they should listen to him. At that moment it is said the face of Jesus became ‘bright like the sun and his clothes became white as light’ (Matt17:2).
On that first Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey amid the cheers and support of the accompanying crowd, he knew his time on earth was nearing its end. He gathered his disciples around him and tried to warn them of what was to come. He washed their feet to teach them the need to be humble and shared a meal with them at which he spoke of a new Covenant and he instituted the Eucharist.
After the meal, Jesus went out into the garden to pray to his Father. While the apostles went with him, they went to sleep and weren’t aware of the trauma that was happening around them. For the first time ever, the Father could not secede to His son’s requests, even though Jesus begged him to the point where it is said he was sweating blood.
The Father knew all along it would come to this. He would have to deny His son because of what Jesus must endure if he was to save us all from our sins and enable us entry into heaven.
It is always difficult for a father to say no to his child, but fathers are often confronted with the difficult decisions that have to be made to determine what is right for their child. Jesus’ heavenly Father knew that by denying his son this request to remove him from this situation, he was sending him to considerable suffering and eventual death. The Father too, must have been enduring great pain as well at this critical decision-making time.
The Father watched on as the night unfolded into day and Jesus emerged from incarceration whipped, beaten and wearing a crown of thorns on his head. The Father must have been tormented at this sight, yet He knew it had to proceed for the agreed plan to be accomplished. He knew He had to be strong and by his just watching the event unfolding would have put him, as it would any father, through untold agony.
The sounds of the nails being driven into the hands and feet of Jesus would have echoed through the heavens. The Father would have winced at the sounds and yet had to watch in pained silence.
As noon approached and Jesus was hanging in agony on the cross, the Father could not watch any more. He put his head in his hands, sighed and closed his eyes in deep contemplation. At that moment, darkness descended on the earth. The Father remained in this meditative state and it stayed dark for three hours until Jesus cried out, “Father, I give you my life”. And this time the Father could not deny his son any longer.
The Father rose in anger and tore the sacred curtain of the Temple in two. It is done he was heard saying to himself. It is accomplished. He then bowed his head and cried.
To ensure Jesus had died a soldier thrust his spear into the side of our saviour. It is said blood and water came out (John 19:34). It is my belief, the blood was all that Jesus had left to shed for us, but the water came from the tears of his Father.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.