“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11)
Today’s focal verse from John 17:11 comes in the context of the impassioned prayer of Jesus for Himself and His followers as His crucifixion approached. There is much to be gained through studying this prayer, but for today I want to focus on the title Jesus uses for God in this verse where he addresses Him as “Holy Father.”
This title refers to God in both His perfect holiness and His perfect lovingkindness. His holiness and lovingkindness come together perfectly in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.
If not for Christ’s atoning sacrifice, we would have no basis for approaching our holy God, “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” (Psalm 97:2), and these should rightly cause us to fear God.
We have no business in his presence, except for the glorious fact that God is also a loving father who has compassion on us “as a father has compassion on his children” (Psalm 103:13). And that is who we are through faith in Christ—children of God made righteous by the blood of Christ. He therefore invites us to come to Him with confidence: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
I’ve made it my practice to begin my prayers recognizing with reverent awe God’s awesome holiness and thanking Him that because He is also a loving Father, I can come to Him with childlike confidence.
Question: Have you thought about what it means to have a Holy Father?
Challenge: Make it a habit to start your prayers recognizing God’s holiness and celebrating his loving-kindness.
Prayer: Holy Father, thank you for being both perfect in holiness and perfect in grace toward us.
Dan Kinnaman, Chapel Leader -- Norwich Sea Unicorns