Seventh grade boys (and others) who conclude that the good news about Jesus Christ is true also want to understand the truth of God’s desire for relationship with us. Someone might say, “I’ve searched my Bible and the term ‘relationship’ is not found. Why such an emphasis on an absent word?” It is true, some translations do not use ‘relationship’ in the Old or New Testaments… but don’t miss what God’s story is all about.
In Genesis, God’s fellowship with man was unbroken until sin interrupted it. From then on, Scripture shows God’s work to restore relationship through His Son. In Revelation, the picture is painted of the Son and His Bride (us) being united as one. God will not settle for less.
The Father, Son, and Spirit are in perfect harmony… and have always been. On earth, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit and constantly communicated with His Father. He tells us His God is our God and His Father is our Father. The Father, Son, and Spirit make relationship possible.
My dad still raises cows in Tennessee. He understands the role of shepherd more than I do because he has a unique relationship with his animals. They know his voice; he calls them by name; they depend on him.
Jesus says we are in relationship with Him as sheep are related to a good shepherd. It is a beautiful analogy… for like sheep, we are not too smart. Without our Good Shepherd we are bound to wander into dangerous places. But no enemy can snatch us out of the strong hands of the One who loves us. Why would we ever want to follow another voice? We walk with the One who chose to lay down His life for us.
Jesus describes ‘relationship’ in a more powerful way when He tells us we are the children of a perfect Father. The connection between parent and child reflects God’s heart toward us. He loves us! He especially yearns for the lost. When a prodigal son or daughter returns home, the Father celebrates… family is being restored!
Because Jesus died, rose, and ascended to the Father’s right hand, the Holy Spirit has come to teach us to walk in relationship with God. Christ said, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7) We praise God that we have everything we need to walk in the reality of His love. (see Ephesians 1,2,3)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us for His own glory and goodness.” II Peter 1:3
“I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me – just as the Father knows Me and I know My Father – and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14
“Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:22-24
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1