Throughout the New Testament we see the personages of the Father and the Son discussed. The interplay between these two is crucial to our understanding of our life in Christ and our worship. In this section of scripture Jesus gives us a little information about His relationship with the Father and it helps us to know how we too should relate to both of them.
Who is the Father?
This is an interesting question. Jesus said elsewhere that, “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27) So we cannot know who the Father is unless it is revealed to us by the Son.
John wrote in one of his letters, “No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23) So first we must understand that to have the Father we must have the Son and vice versa. The only way we can come to the Father is through the Son, but if we do not come via the Son we cannot come to the Father directly.
We also see in John’s gospel, in John 6:44-46,
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
So from all the above we see that no one has seen or known the Father, and no one can come to the Father except by the Son. Knowing this then raises the next important question.
Who is the Son?
We know a little more about the Son than the Father for Jesus is the Son of God. The gospel of John opens with this statement.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God;
3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
We then subsequently find that this person described as the Word is actually Jesus for in John 1:14 it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”
Thus we see that the Son of God, who is Jesus Christ, is also the Word who was with God and who is God. He is God the Son and he was and once again is with God the Father. But even more than that, there was nothing that was made in the Creation that did not occur without His word of authority. Thus it could easily be argued that Jesus too was the God of Creation.
God the Father is undoubtedly the ultimate authority on all things. We see that although Jesus was the creator of all things on earth and in heaven, it was the Father who gave him the authority to do these things. The Son bears witness that he is subject to the Father and that He sees the Father as the one who is above all.
However we also see that because the Father loves the Son, he has put all power, authority and judgement into the hands of the Son. The Father trusts the Son totally for he has given all power into his hands, including the power over life and death. These things are mentioned in John 5:21-24 saying,
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
What does this mean for us?
We need to consider the relationship between the Father and the Son for it helps us to understand our relationship with God.
It is clear from the above scripture that God loves the Son and that Jesus loves the Father. How is this love manifested? The love of the Father for the Son is seen in his trust of the Son and his pleasure in all that the Son does. As He said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5)
This scripture shows that God is pleased with Jesus and also shows His trust in Jesus for he is telling the disciples to listen to Jesus. He didn’t say “listen to me,” that is to listen to the Father, but to listen to the Son. That is how much He trusts the Son for he has given him all rule and authority and the gospel that will lead man to salvation. So we should do as the Father says and listen to the Son.
Likewise the Son loves the Father and we see his love shown in his obedience to the Father. As he said in the scripture under review, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.” (Verse 19) It is in Jesus’ obedience to the Father that he has shown His love, even obedience unto death most painful.
So in the same way we need to understand this unique and amazing relationship, for we too are being called into a relationship with both the Father and the Son. We are drawn to the Son by the Father and come to the Father via the Son. So we too must learn the obedience of the Son for the Father, and likewise be obedient to the words of the Son. And likewise we must learn the love of both the Father and the Son for each other as we learn to live in love with each other.
I have not done this subject justice here, but I hope that it will instill in you the need to go away and see what you can learn about this relationship and apply it in your own walk with Jesus Christ.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Eric Bernard)