Home is Wherever the Father is

He was visiting church for the first time, and so I asked him, “Where’s home for you?” He said “Everywhere and nowhere. I grew up as a military brat. We never stayed anywhere long enough to call it home.” “That must have been tough,” I responded. “Yes, at times, but it was good too. We came to realize that home was not just a place; it was wherever Dad was at the moment.”

Jesus could say something similar. For Jesus, home was being with His Father and the Spirit as they had existed together in what one scholar called, “a dance of divine love” for all eternity.

But then, one day 2,000 years ago, he left it behind. Jesus left everything he’d always known behind, and he came to earth where, by his own admission, he never found a place that felt like home. As an eager disciple ran up to Jesus wanting to follow him, Jesus wanted this young man to know the cost of doing so, and so he said, “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” The Jesus that made the ground that foxes called home; the Jesus that made the twigs from which the birds built their homes—that same Jesus was without a home.

Well, sort-of.

Though it was nothing like it was in heaven, Jesus still had access to His Father. He could still say, “Home is wherever Dad was at the moment.” As he actually did say, “I and the Father are one” and “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” They were inseparable as God. In fact, it’s their oneness that led Jesus to carry out the mission of redemption. Jesus says, “It is my meat and drink to do the will of my Father.” Even when the mission was frightful, and Jesus did not want to go on, He continued to eat up and drink in His Father’s will. Remember that fateful moment in the Garden of Gethsemane where he asks his Father if there’s any other way? Jesus concludes that prayer saying, “Yet, not my will, but thy will be done.” Jesus and the Father are one, and they were committed to the accomplishing of redemption together. Ironically though, it would be this oneness with the Father and the commitment to do the Father’s will that would lead Jesus to lose His Father on the cross.

On the night of his crucifixion, as he’s bearing the penalty of our sin, receiving the cup of His Father’s wrath and drinking it to the dregs, Jesus cries, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In that moment, the “dance of divine love” comes to a halt, and the smile and affection of His Father becomes, as it were, a memory—so much so that he doesn’t even call him Father but “God.” Instead of knowing the loving benevolence of His Father all he knows in that moment is the wrathful forsakenness of God—our forsakenness. The cross is Jesus willingness to receive God’s wrath, so we could willingly receive the Father’s love, gaining the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we could cry, “Abba Father!”  So we could say for all eternity, “Home is wherever Dad is at the moment.”

This is Good Friday. Thanks be to God.

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