To know Jesus Christ is to know God as your Father. It means you have been adopted into the family of Jesus – so for all who trust in Jesus – His Father is now your Father. In our world, there are no perfect fathers. All of our fathers have sinned and failed in various ways, even the very best ones. And many of our fathers have sinned grievously. Some of our fathers have abandoned us and have hurt us and our mothers. Sometimes they have been absent, silent, or distracted. Some of our fathers have been full of rage and bitterness and malice and lust. This situation is close to the very heart of where sin does its worst work, where the curse is most clearly seen, where the ache and pain of sin is most visceral and deep. Who am I? Where do I belong? The brokenness of family leaves us feeling profoundly lost.
So our Old Testament closes with this glorious promise: “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:6). This is what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to take the curse that resides in every human family upon Himself. He was hung up, naked on a barren tree, cursed by God for sinful fathers, sinful sons, sinful daughters. The way He turns the hearts of fathers and children is first by turning our hearts to Himself. And he does that by calling each one of us by name. When He calls us, we know how we have sinned grievously against Him, and we know that the feeling we’ve had of being lost and abandoned and scared has always been our own fault. We have willfully run away from God and rejected Him. But when He calls your name, His voice is full of love.
And He calls you here, to a table with bread and wine, a table of gifts, a table of a joy. Every week you are invited here; every week you are welcomed home. And here, as we walk with our Father, our Father is knitting us back together. He is teaching us what fatherhood really is, what being a son really is, what a family really is. And here is one of the most basic lessons: It’s sitting at a table together, giving thanks. It’s sitting at a table together, giving gifts. It’s sitting at a table together, forgiving one another. It’s sitting at a table together, rejoicing in Christ.
So Come and Welcome Home to Jesus Christ.