Does Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, have literal ‘daughters’? No. God the Father has no literal ‘Son’ either. The idea is preposterous and sounds like blasphemy.
Yet when people approach Christ in faith they symbolically become children, i.e. sons and daughters. God uses the analogy of family (father-mother-child) to illustrate one aspect of the relationship he creates with believers. This analogy points to the Trinity: God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit as mother (comforter).
When God calls us ‘son’ or ‘daughter,’ he acknowledges ownership. He claims, cares for, and protects us. Being a child of God also gives us a sense of direction and purpose. We don’t have to wonder why we’re here. We can desire, speak, and act in loving response to God. Finally, children share the same home as their parents. We will one day enter God’s eternal home, heaven. As sons and daughters of God, we can tell an unbelieving world who we belong to, why we’re here, and where we’re going.
God frequently calls a believer ‘son’ in the Bible. His calling a believer ‘daughter,’ however, occurs just three times in the Bible. First, God prophesies that he will bring his daughters “from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:6). A second reference appears in the story of the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34). Finally, if we separate ourselves from unclean things, God says, “I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
Jesus used the phrase ‘daughter of Abraham’ to describe a woman with a bent back (Luke 13:16). He addressed her as ‘woman’ – a word Jesus also used for his mother and Gentile believers (13:2). Jesus used the phrase ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ to address those weeping for him on the Via Dolorosa (Luke 23:28), an explicit reference to Song of Solomon. However, only once in the Gospels did Jesus address a believer as ‘daughter,’ i.e. of God.
A rich Jewish woman from Capernaum had an issue of blood for twelve years and spent all her money on doctors but grew no better (Mark 5:25-26). When she learned that Jesus was in town, the woman touched the hem of his garment by faith and was healed instantly (5:27-29). When Jesus heard her story, he told the woman, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (5:34, NKJV).
This sick woman was ostracized from society according to Jewish law (Leviticus 15:25-30). Any female with a blood discharge was considered ‘unclean,’ as was everything she touched. All those who touched her were made ‘unclean’ until evening and had to bathe. Not until after the blood stopped, she counted seven full days, and then let a priest offer sacrifice on the eighth day could a woman be considered ‘clean’ and re-enter the temple for worship, as well as society.
The general knowledge of Jewish law in first-century Israel meant just one thing. This sick woman made everyone she touched that day ceremonially unclean, including Jesus. She knew it, Jesus knew it, and everyone around him knew it. Because of this fact, she may have feared Jesus would reject her, but he didn’t. First Jesus healed the woman. Then he called her ‘daughter.’ He did all this in the presence of Jairus, a synagogue leader who had asked Jesus to heal his own daughter, who was sick and at the point of death (Mark 5:22-23). Jesus’ acts were revolutionary, radical.
Jesus knew that this woman needed spiritual comfort beyond physical healing. Sick for twelve years, she knew she could not go to the temple or synagogue for worship. She may have felt that God had abandoned her. She did not know then that her sickness and resulting ostracism were chosen by God as a fiery trial of affliction. It prepared her for a great act of faith – touching the hem of Jesus’ garment in the marketplace. By calling her ‘daughter,’ Jesus reminded her that she was still a child of God, still loved by a heavenly Father who cared for her when no one else did.
This woman had an issue of blood for twelve years. Jairus’ sick daughter was twelve years old. Was this an accident? I think not. God prepared this meeting: the sick woman, Jairus, and Jesus. By calling this woman ‘daughter,’ Jesus stamped her act of faith with divine approval. Everyone watching and listening needed to know and believe that she was a true child of God.
Faith alone is the key to God’s heart, spiritual riches, and claim of ownership – not race, ethnicity, gender, age, or social status. God doesn’t see people as we do. He sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
We are all born daughters of Eve. Through a life of sin, we become symbolic daughters of Egypt and of Babylon. After we are born again through faith in Christ, we become spiritual daughters of God, of Zion, and of women of faith like Sarah (1 Peter 3:6).
Unlike the world, God takes excellent care of his daughters. He makes us “glorious within” so that our “clothing is of wrought gold” (Psalm 45:13). God washes, anoints, clothes, and adorns us with jewels and a crown (Ezekiel 16:8-14). He won’t pass us through the fire for strange sacrifices (Leviticus 18:21, Deuteronomy 18:10, 2 Kings 17:17, Jeremiah 32:35). God won’t sell us into prostitution either (Deuteronomy 23:17, Leviticus 19:29). Instead, he prepares us as a bride for his best – Jesus Christ, King of Kings (Isaiah 62:11, Zechariah 9:9).
God loves his spiritual daughters and wants his best for them. The question is, do we love and want God’s best for ourselves?