First of all, we need to define a “spiritual father.” In 1st Corinthians 4:15 the Apostle Paul wrote, “I do not write these things to shame you, but as MY BELOVED CHILDREN I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do have many FATHERS; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” Here we learn that a “spiritual father” was one who has presented the gospel to souls and those who believe and are born again are his “spiritual children.” Paul had led these Corinthians to faith in Christ and he was their spiritual father. The Lord Jesus did NOT need to be born again so in this sense He had no spiritual father.

In 1st Timothy 1:2 we have another example of a spiritual father, “To Timothy, a TRUE SON IN THE FAITH.” Paul also calls Timothy has “son” in 1st Corinthians 4:17, “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful SON in the Lord.” I don’t believe Paul led Timothy to Christ, for it seems that Timothy was saved as a child, long before he met the apostle (see 2nd Timothy 1:5 and 3:15). Yet Paul and Timothy had a very special relationship where Paul “took him under his wings” and established him in the faith. In other words, Paul MENTORED Timothy. This is confirmed in the following words of Paul to Timothy, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard of me….You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me….commit these to faithful men….But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith….But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (2nd Timothy 1:13; 2:1-2; 3:10, 14).

This begs the question, “Did Jesus have someone who mentored Him in the faith?” The only passage I can think of in the Gospel accounts that would suggest He did is in Luke 2:42-50 where at the age of 12 He was “found in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” (verse 46). It is beautiful to see the Lord Jesus seeking to learn the truth of God from His elders, yet it is also precious to read (in verse 47), “and all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” We learn here that the religious leaders also asked Him questions and they were amazed at the intelligent answers He gave to them. I doubt that we could call these men His “spiritual fathers” for as we saw from the example of Paul and Timothy a special bond was formed between them resulting in Timothy continuing, for years, to learn from the great Apostle.

I do believe Jesus had one “spiritual father.” In Luke chapter 2 we see Jesus telling His bewildered parents, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business’” (verse 49). Ah, here we learn that Jesus (the “Son of God”) was fully aware of His relationship to “His heavenly Father” and that He was here to do His will. Everything He said and did was directed of the Father, even His visit in the temple that day. From His earliest days Jesus would seek the Father by praying and studying the Word of God in order to learn what the Father would have Him to do. This is borne out in Isaiah 50:4 where the prophet speaks prophetically of Christ, “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.” Think of it dear reader, every morning Jesus would turn to His heavenly Father to “learn from Him.” He was the perfect dependent Man/Servant and as such He looked to His “spiritual Father” to mentor Him so He could perform His will for the glory of God and the blessing of mankind. If you read on in verses 5-7 you will see that He learned from the Father that He would be rejected by men and beaten, yet He could say, “I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away” (verse 5). Each morning He learned more and more from His Father and thus we read in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”  (356.5)  (DO)