Posted by: matthewharri | August 6, 2008

The Ministry of the Father – 1 Thess. 2:12

Paul tells the Thesalonians that he treated them like a father would treat his own children. The words he uses are vivid and paint an incredible picture of what our heavenly Father has done for us:

for you know that we treated each one of you the way a father treats his children – we encouraged you and comforted you and appealed to you to lead lives worthy of God, who calls you into His Kingdom and glory.

A father encourages:
This word encourage is embodied in the word picture of a father standing before his little toddler and encouraging him to come forward toward him. The father is in a place ahead of the young one and is calling his forward. The Father, in a similar way, has gone before us and continually calls us, encourages us, inspires us, motivates us to come after Him, to follow Him and approach Him.

A father comforts:
This word means to “come along side of”. This is exactly what God has done in sending His Son to us, to walk with us and experience all the same temptations that we face every day. He is not a distant God who does things from an ivory tower. He gets His own hands and feet dirty as He comes along side of us to walk and comfort us along the way. The Holy Spirit Himself is called “the Comforter” because He is with us all the time.

A father appeals:
This word can also be translated as “to charge” or “to give a witness”. This is the word “maryreo” or the word from where we get “martyr”, which in the ultimate sense is what bearing witness means. The word picture for this is of someone who comes in behind to push you toward your goal, even pushing so hard that they lose their own life. It is clear that this is exactly what Jesus did on the Cross, pushing the entire human race up to God, setting before them the high vision of living holy, righteous, and resisting sin unto bloodshed.

So here in these three words we have a God who is in front of us, calling us to Himself, beside us comforting us in our sufferings and behind us pushing us into our destiny! What an awesome God we have.

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

-Psalm 139:5-7



  1. Love your blog — I’ve been looking through several things including your 40 days project and some of the funny videos. Thanks for all the great posts. I came across your blog through Compassion Dave. I’m a fellow Child Advocate for Compassion International

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