Love and Lead

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  John 5:19-20 (NKJV)

Observation: Jesus had just healed the man, at the Pool of Bethesda, who had been there for thirty-eight years waiting and hoping for a miracle.  Jesus simply asked him if he wanted to be made well, but the man’s response shows his hopelessness – I don’t have anyone to put me in the water, and somebody always gets there first.  Instead of expecting him to perform any kind of act in order to receive healing, Jesus told him to get up, pick up his bed, and walk, and immediately the man did as was told and was healed as he had hoped for many years.
     It’s interesting that when the Jews saw him, knowing he had been infirm for thirty-eight years, they did not marvel at this glorious miracle but instead focused on the breaking of their tradition!  They were more ready to condemn this person who hadn’t been able to walk almost his entire life for walking and carrying his bed on the Sabbath than they were to rejoice and celebrate the fact he was walking at all!
     Looking for the guilty party, the one who would dare “break” the Sabbath by healing this man, they found out it was Jesus and “began to persecute Him” and to try to “kill Him” (John 5:16).  In response Jesus told them He was simply doing what His Father always does.  The words of our text for today are part of His words to the Jews.

Application: The relationship between God the Father and Jesus is unique to them – the triune God.  But in His humanity, Jesus lived His life in such a way as to teach about how fathers and children, and particularly fathers and sons, can and should have a close relationship based on mutual love, respect, and obedience. Two important lessons we as fathers must learn from these words of Jesus:
     1. Fathers must lead, and we must lead by example, not just command with words.  Jesus said He did, “What He (the Son) sees the Father do.”  Children watch every action and hear every word of their father and imitate them.  For a child, their father is this giant whose example they want to emulate, and whose love and recognition they crave, and their way to seek for their attention is through copying what they see their fathers do.  It makes them feel “grown up’ and “mature” to do as their fathers do.
     In explaining the words of Exodus 34:7 [“ visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation”], Ellen White writes: “God did not mean in this threatening that the children should be compelled to suffer for their parents’ sins, but that the example of the parents would be imitated by the children. If the children of wicked parents should serve God and do righteousness, he would reward their right-doing. But the effects of a sinful life are often inherited by the children. They follow in the footsteps of their parents. Sinful example has its influence from father to son, to the third and fourth generations. If parents indulge in depraved appetites, they will, in almost every case, see the same acted over in their children. The children will develop characters similar to those of their parents; and unless they are renewed by grace, and overcome, they are truly unfortunate. If parents are continually rebellious, and inclined to disobey God, their children will generally imitate their example. Godly parents, who instruct their children by precept and example in the ways of righteousness, will generally see their children following in their footsteps. The example of God-fearing parents will be imitated by their children, and their children’s children will imitate the right example their parents have set before them; and thus the influence is seen from generation to generation.”  (1 Spirit of Prophecy 257-258)
     2. Not only does Jesus do what He sees the Father do, but the Father also loves the Son.  So it isn’t enough to show our children what to do, we must love them.  It may sound unusual to tell fathers they must love their children when it should be natural for them to do so.  And yet, there are fathers who did not experience that love in their own homes and therefore don’t know what that type of love is and how to express it to their children.  Lovelessness can go through many generations!  But so can love!
     So, fathers, add these two ingredients to your relationship with your children: Love them and lead them by example.

A Prayer You May Say: Dear Father, Thank You for loving us and leading us.  Help us to learn what You want to show us and teach us, and help us to imitate You so that we may love and lead our own children, who are really Your children too, that the may not only follow us but ultimately that they may follow You, their Loving, Eternal, Perfect father.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



Please login to start chatting. Don't have an account? Click here to register.