I’m sure you all have noticed by now that I often refer to ourselves as “the children of God.” I suppose some of you may feel slightly uncomfortable when someone refers to you as such, especially as you get older; some of you may even resent the connection. I was thinking of this particular matter last Saturday as I was reading again the NIV’s version of the 21st Chapter of John which speaks of Jesus’ encounter with seven of His Disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, otherwise known as the Sea of Galilee and Gennesaret. When I read verse 5 which says: [He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered.], my first thought was that the translators who produced the New International Version (NIV) perhaps themselves felt uncomfortable referring to grown men as children because I know that in the King James Version, Jesus called them children. So which translators were correct? Was it “friends” or “children”? The answer is easily found by checking with a New Testament Greek Lexicon which reveals that the original word which was used by Jesus on that day wasPaidion which can mean an infant, young child, or a little one. Clearly, it could not be “friend.”
You may wonder, “Why would this be important?” and why did Bro Joe go to all this trouble just to make the distinction? Well, to me it makes all the difference in the world! Assuming you are like those in the majority, whom do you love more and who is closer and dearer to you, your children or your friends? I know, you don’t have to remind me that Jesus also referred to His Disciples as friends (Gr. Philos) in the 15th Chapter of John because He is that to us also. The truth is that it is very comforting to me to remember that He is the Friend of Sinners, us included, and one of my favorite Hymns is “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” Nevertheless, for Him to consider me as one of His children means so much more to me. I trust it will mean as much to you. Another of my favorite bible verses is Psalms 103:13 which says: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Here again, who will we generally have more compassion for, our children or our friends? Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, added, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Mt. 7:11)
There you have it! As children of God, we know that there are no limits to the love, care, and compassion He has for us and there is nothing He won’t do for us. I bet Jesus’ Disciples did not get offended at all when he called out to them, “children!” I hope you won’t either. In fact, the next time someone refers to you as a child of God, I hope it will make you feel more important and more special. After all, this is exactly how your Heavenly Father sees you.
Memory Verse for the week: (John 15:9) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”