ODJ: The Family Name

January 15, 2017 

READ: Ephesians 3:14-15; John 17:11-12 

I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name (Eph. 3:14-15 NIV).

A young man had been fleeing from the law, and his concerned father tried desperately to reach him. When his son finally called from a city far away, the dad convinced him to turn himself in and even took a flight to retrieve him. As he later described the trip to friends, the loving father said with unmistakable warmth, “He’s my son!”

Families come in all shades of brokenness, and our dysfunction wages war on love. But family relationships possess a resilience that’s not easily removed. Brokenness can’t destroy real love. The young man and his father shared a loving relationship and a last name.

As Paul encouraged the church at Ephesus, he said, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14-15 niv). What did Paul mean by “derives its name”? One commentary says that this is “God’s creative act of calling [us] into existence and ruling over [us].” Our existence springs from God—our Father—and He wants to restore the family relationship. When we turn in repentance to Him, we step into a relationship that can never be destroyed.

It fascinates me that as Jesus prepared to go to the cross, He emphasized God’s name, praying, “Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them [the disciples] by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are” (John 17:11-12). Jesus then extended His prayer to include all of us who were yet to believe in Him (vv.20-21). He unites us by the power of our heavenly Father’s name.

Because of the power of God’s name, we can enjoy the kind of loving unity that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share. He will never abandon us. The family relationship is much too strong.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: Genesis 24:28-67

What light does John 1:10-12 shed on your relationship with God? 
How do you show appreciation for the reconciliation God has offered? What does it mean for you to know that you have a heavenly Father who deeply loves you?