Sneaky prince Absalom “stole the hearts” of the people away from his father, King David (2 Samuel 15:5-6). He said things like, “It’s too bad my father doesn’t care about you as much as I do,” “It’s too bad my father is too busy to help you, unlike me.” He stole their hearts so that he could steal the throne.
In stark contrast stands the utter loyalty of Jesus. Jesus didn’t try to take the throne, or our hearts, by bad-mouthing His Father, ever. Jesus said, “My Father loves you SO much that here I am to help! Everything I say and do, I do because He sent Me!”
The two princes are so different, it never occurred to me to compare them to each other until Day 1 of my new project: asking listening prayer questions addressed specifically to the Father, to get to know Him better. And then He pointed out that when I imagine the gospel as the kind, merciful, loving Savior Jesus coming to save me from His angry, wrathful, less-loving Father, I am confusing which type of Prince Jesus is: the kind who would steal my heart away from his father, and the kind who would die to bring my heart safely home to His Abba Father’s love. Here is what I heard and journaled that first day of my Father’s thoughts towards me:
“My darling, do not be afraid. I am more happy about saving you than you can imagine, I promise. And I AM that happy about each of My children who comes home, about each sinner who repents. Jesus told you the stories, but I AM the Hero: I AM the Father who welcomes the prodigal Son home, I AM the Owner of the 100 sheep who sent His Son looking for the lost one, I AM the One in Heaven rejoicing in the presence of the angels when a sinner repents (Luke 15). I AM the One made happiest by each one’s salvation.
The gospel is good news for God, as you noticed so well. It is good news for Me the way a medicine that healed a dying child would have been good news for its heartbroken mother. Who would have been happier to get that medicine, the child or the mother? Certainly the mother wouldn’t have been less happy!
Jesus said the Father rejoices every time a human being ridden with sin changes his or her mind. Jesus said the gospel is good news for God. It brings Me joy and pleasure and relief and delight to have you safe at home at last. I AM the One who So loved the world that I gave My One and Only Son that whoever believes in Him–whosoever will may come–shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). I AM the One who did not send My Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world through Him might be saved (v. 17). That’s Me.
And My darling, if I sent Him, if I paid that high a cost, it means I want it that much. If Jesus’ suffering hurt Me that much, and it did, what would I ever choose it for? For you. You are the thing I wanted so much that I paid that unimaginable price. For you. The gospel doesn’t deceive Me, little lamb. It doesn’t fool Me, or pull the wool over My eyes. Jesus doesn’t cover you up with His righteousness so I won’t know who is underneath and I will let you into My house on false pretenses. I know who you are. I knew who you were when I sent Him to die for you. “GOD demonstrates HIS OWN love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
You heard this misrepresentation of Me in the gospel again on the radio last night, when the scenario was portrayed as if I was about to kill you and then Jesus came and jumped in the middle because He loved you–as if I didn’t. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus is the rope and I AM the Person throwing the rope to you. Jesus is the medicine and I AM the One administering the medicine. Jesus is the One telling the story, telling the truth about Me, and I AM the One welcoming the prodigal son home.
The whole world believes the lies about Me that that prodigal son did, thinking, “I don’t deserve to be a son, but maybe if I work real hard, He’ll let me be a slave.” That is why Jesus came to tell the story. But Jesus is not Absalom. Absalom said, “I care more than my father does. I will help you, but he wouldn’t.” Absalom slandered his loving father to take the throne. Jesus is not like that. Jesus does all that He did in My name, in the name of the One who sent Him. Jesus acknowledged freely to all who would listen that He was representing Me, that He did only what He saw Me do, that the one who saw Him saw Me (John 5:19; 14:9). Gospel presentations that make it sound like I AM the bad guy and Jesus is the good guy don’t sound anything like Jesus, do they? Jesus never said that.
Gospel storytelling that diminishes My love to emphasize Jesus’ love doesn’t just dishonor the Father, it dishonors the Son. Because it makes Jesus out to be a son like Absalom, the selfish, traitorous, disloyal, slanderous, lying son who told everyone, “I care about you more than my father does.” It puts words in Jesus’ mouth that He never said. Jesus’ favorite thing to talk about was Me and how wonderful I AM and how much I love you and how alike and connected and of one mind We are. If you look, you will see.
I want you to invite lost people home to the house of an Abba Father who loves them so much, like they’ve never been loved before, through His Son Jesus who came and lived and died and rose and made the way for that, for them to experience their Abba Father’s love for them. That is My favorite thing to be called by the way, if you are looking for what to call Me. Abba. My favorite thing, the thing My Jesus called Me (Mark 14:36, Galatians 4:6). You are more than welcome to say it too.”
Ask loyal Prince Jesus what He would like to say to you today about His Father. It’s His favorite topic. Snuggle and listen.