The Father’s Relationship to the Son in His Messianic Mission I

The Revelation of the Father in Sending the Son 

One essential aspect of John’s theology–and central to the Son’s mission–is that the Father reveals himself in his own Son, the Word made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus is the Word, who was eternally with God, and indeed was God (1:1-3; 17:5). He is the unique one who has descended from above to bring the revelation of the glory of God to man (1:14-18; 3:13; 6:46). No longer is the glory of God vaguely observed in the tabernacle, but clearly revealed in human flesh, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (1:14). He knows the Father perfectly (7:29), and the Father tells him everything to say (8:26,28). The Father who sent him has given him a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. Since the Son knows his commandment is eternal life, he speaks; just as the Father tells him (12:49-50). Moreover, “The Father loves the Son, and shows him everything that he himself is doing” (5:20), and “whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner” (5:19). Plainly, therefore, John teaches us that Jesus’ primary role as the incarnate Son of God is to reveal the Father.

What does this mean for us? It means that whether one observes Jesus’ actions, or reads his words, in each case he/she is observing the revelation of God. Objective reality is not a secret; it is disclosed in the person of Jesus Christ. In the unique Son, we observe the desires, character, and works of God himself. God, manifested in the flesh, is absolutely stunning! What a Rock upon which I can stand. There is no need to wander aimlessly in a world of chaos. Rather, I lay hold of the almighty who has spoken most clearly in His own Son–the Eternal Word, revealed in the written word (John 1:1-18; cf. Heb 1:1-3).

In this, Jesus says I have eternal life. Before he laid down his life on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, in order that the Son may glorify You, just as you gave him authority over all flesh, in order that to all whom you have given him, he may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:1-3). Know the Son, and so, know the Father who sent him. According to John’s Gospel, the revelation of the Father in sending the Son means hope–of eternal life; of salvation; of having fellowship with the only true God. This comes to those who believe.

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