Have you ever thought about that? Jesus’ biological dad was not Joseph. His Father was God Almighty, so Joseph was, in essence, Jesus’ stepdad. Then, let’s take it a step (ha!) further… God is our Heavenly Father and we are His beloved children, so really every single dad on the planet is a stepdad. Your dad may have known you from the day you were born, but your Heavenly Father knew you before you were created. What’s more, God loved you before you were made and had a plan for your life before your heart beat, even one time. WOW!
OK, now let’s go back to the first thought, Jesus had a stepdad. The first time I realized that fact, my mind was blown. I thought about all the blended families, mine included, in the world in which the children have stepparents and it made me realize, even more, how Jesus can truly understand us. As it says in:
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Jesus is our High Priest, He is our Intercessor to God and He completely and totally understands what it is like to struggle in this world. He even knows what it is like to have a blended family. Sure, not in the traditional sense, but in a very real sense. I am sure Jesus experienced some situations in which Joseph did not completely comprehend His Heavenly Heritage. I often think of the story recorded in Luke 2:41-52 of Jesus as a young boy being accidentally left behind by Mary and Joseph at the Passover festival. When they found Him, they were exasperated from worry and said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Jesus replied to them “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus knows what it is like to be misunderstood by family. He knows what it is like to be rejected and mocked by family. Are you starting to see how He knows what it is like to live in this world?
Jesus not only experienced hardships with family, but had a whole community of people working against Him. The Pharisees were constantly trying to come against Jesus. They often derived plans in the hopes they could trip Him up and turn the crowds of followers against Him. They even came against Jesus for the amazing good things He did, like performing healing miracles on the Sabbath because it broke their precious law. Eventually, they took to planning to kill Him because they hated Him so much. Jesus knows what it is like to be hated by the crowd.
Jesus also experienced heartbreaking wounds from His closest friends. He was betrayed with a kiss, no less, by a friend that had been by His side for at least three years. He loved that friend and even though He knew what would come to pass, it had to hurt when it actually happened. That betrayal was just the start of Jesus “friendly fire” wounds. He was abandoned by His disciples at the cross, even before the cross. His most vocal supporter, Peter, cursed and denied he even knew Jesus three times. Then, as Jesus was crucified, only one disciple stood at the foot of the cross. John stood fast with Jesus until the end, but where were the other 10? One out of ten? Those are not great odds, those are not even good odds and I am sure that rejection by those He was closest to added to the pain Jesus suffered on the cross. Jesus knows what it is like to be betrayed, rejected and abandoned.
So, if you think Jesus can’t understand you, think again. Jesus experienced the full gamut of afflictions at the hands of humans. He knows exactly what it is like to walk in this world so you can talk to Him about ANYTHING you are experiencing. He will not condemn you and He will not love you less for your struggles. What He will do is help you communicate with God. He will help you do what He did while on earth. Jesus sought His Heavenly Father often in prayer and solitude. He thanked Him for His blessings and Jesus received strength and wisdom from that relationship with God. Beloved, you can too. You can receive all that Jesus did and even more because of what Jesus did. You can go to your Heavenly Father wearing Jesus’ White Robes of Righteousness and receive the blessings of God.
But, there is a catch, or rather a specific route to those blessings, wisdom and strength – it is relationship. You cannot use God as a great vending machine in the sky. It doesn’t bring lifelong peace to only seek Him when you are in need, or when you are struggling. You must constantly seek Him and build a relationship with Him. That is where the peace and blessings flow freely. As you draw near to God, He will draw near to you and you will experience peace even in the midst of sorrow and pain.
I once heard it said, Seek the Promiser, not the promises. I like the way that is phrased. It reminds me to look to God first and to press into Him, first. I don’t want to seek only the promises, I want to seek the Promiser and feel His love for me. It is then and only then that I can experience all that He has for me. When I continually seek His face, He shines on me with all his power, blessings and love and I am filled with His JOY.
Now, for a quick hit on the second initial thought, your dad is a stepdad and God is your true Father. Your dad has known you since you were born, but God knew you before as He says in:
Jeremiah 1:5a “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”
God is your Heavenly Father and He has gifted you to your earthly dad for this time on earth. It doesn’t matter if your earthly dad has a personality like Ward Cleaver or Ozzy Osbourne, because you have a Father above that is always filled with love for you. Your earthly father is not perfect and surely made mistakes, but your Heavenly Father is perfect and sovereign so He never makes mistakes. Perhaps you have a stepdad, as well as a dad, or maybe you only have a stepdad or adopted father. They too are not perfect people and will make mistakes. They won’t be able to show you the perfect love of the Father because they are not perfect themselves.
My earthly father died seven years ago and is in Heaven, I have no doubt. While he was not a perfect father he loved me and now he is perfect as he enjoys Heaven. I have also had stepdads – two as a matter of fact. I have experienced both sides of the stepdad spectrum. First, having had a not-so-wonderful stepdad that struggled with lots of demons. But the wounds created during that season of life have been healed and God is using them to help me comfort others. Then, for the past 19 years I have been blessed beyond blessed to have a wonderful stepdad. He is not my biological dad but his love for me blesses me to no end. He is a direct Gift from God to our family and I don’t call him my stepdad or call him by his first name, I call him Dad. Dad is a title of honor and is not solely reserved for our biological background.
Whatever your situation with your dad, stepdad or adopted dad, etc. you have a Father that will always love you. He will always be there for you. Don’t make the common mistake of associating your earthly father’s shortcomings with your Heavenly Father. There really is no comparison between human and Divine and wrongly accusing God the Father of your father’s sins and failings will leave you estranged from Him and that is the Last Place you want to be.
Press into your Abba today. Let His Perfect love cast out all your fear. If you can’t see His hand in your life or feel it in your heart, stop and wait. Give Him the honor of quiet time so He can download His love to you. If you don’t stop running you will never keep that connection and above ALL else in this world, that is the ONE connection you cannot afford to lose.
My prayer for you today is straight out of the Word of God:
Ephesians 3:16-21 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Blessings and love to you, beloved child of God,