Who is your father?

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:
Jonah 1:1

The opening of Jonah's book draws to our attention who's son he was. Many, but not all Bible narratives do this. Adam was directly created by God and Jesus has always been God's only and unique Son of God. Jesus was also fathered by Joseph. He was also mothered by Mary. Jonah had a dad named Amittai. You and I also have fathers. Some of us never knew them, some of us had step-fathers.

When Jesus was living his life, he had a vigorous discussion with the religious leaders of his day, who said they were (spiritual) sons of Abraham. This is in John, chapter 8, verses 12 to 58. Jesus told them that his father is God and that if Abraham was among them, he would have been kind to him; unlike the way they were treating him. He told these guys that their father was the devil.

God is fathering people and so is the devil. What is fathering? Who has been fathering you? Can you lack fathering, but not be fathered by the devil; or can you be a good person and father yourself, if you haven't had a father? Who are you fathering or mothering, if you are a woman?

These are all important questions. The leaders who stood against Jesus, who declared himself to be, "the way, the truth, and the life", (John 14:6); had lost their fathering from God at some point and instead hailed their lineage from Abraham as their validation of superiority. Jesus reveals who is truly behind them and fueling their hate. This probably shocked and offended them. They were serving the devil without knowing it just like Bob Dylan wrote in his song, "You Got to Serve Somebody": "it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you got to serve somebody".

How have you been fathered and mothered towards godliness? Have you received nurture towards God, or have you been a rugged individual, or has being fathered and mothered not even been on your map? What do father's and mother's give us that we need and if we don't get it, what happens to us?

Where is the church in this issue of fathering and mothering and how are we doing at it? How do people who were not nurtured in the faith by their parents get fathered and mothered in Christ? Should this be a part of the core of church life? If so, then how does the time spent with church, in church, among the church; bring about this raising up of sons and daughters?