Father and Son
Gavin B. Johnston, Inverness
In reading through John's Gospel we are reminded of the Old Testament narrative concerning Abraham and Isaac, Gen. 22 and how it is said 'they went both of them together', for here also we have a father and son relationship, on a higher level, namely, God the Father and His only begotten Son.
There is complete harmony and concord between the Father and the Son. No disagreement, but complete unity of thought, aim and purpose. The unity is divine. The Son of God Himself said, 'I and my father are one', John. 10. 30. We would note three things concerning the Son relative to the Father.
1. He is the Only-Begotten Son which is in the Bosom of the Father
This lovely expression from John who leaned on the Saviour's breast, tells us of the Son's unique relationship to the Father-co-equal and co-eternal in divine glory and in the endearment and blessedness of the Father's love and affection, and unaffected by time or events.
Incarnate, His divine glory was seen, John 1. 14. Though veiled, it could not be hid. He 'manifested forth his glory', John 2. 11. On the mount of transfiguration it was revealed to those who 'were eyewitnesses of his majesty', 2. Pet. 1. 16, whilst the Father testified of the Son, as at His baptism 'this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased', Matt. 3. 17. Peter's confession of Him at Caesarea Philippi, Matt. 16. 16, 'thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God', is also significant, as is also that of Nathanael and many others.
The purpose of John in writing his Gospel was 'that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God', John. 20. 31.
The Father's love to the Son of earth is also apparent. The Son was ever aware of the Father's love, John 15. 9, which was from before the foundation of the world, John 17. 24. Such love withheld nothing from the Son, but showed Him all things, John. 5. 20 and gave all things into His hands, John 3. 35.
In a day yet to come, when the glory of the Son will be seen by all the redeemed, the Father's love to the Son will also be made manifest, John 17. 24.
2. He is the Sent One of the Father
He sent his own Son, Rom. 8. 3. This aspect of His coming is very marked in John's Gospel. It would be true to say He came willingly and voluntarily, His delights being with the sons of men, Prov. 8. 31. But it is also true that He was the Sent One, sanctified, and sent of the Father, John 10. 33. He said, 'Neither came I of myself, but He sent me', John 8. 42.
The word 'sent' as used in many instances implies He was sent officially, authoritatively and representatively. Hebrews 3. 1 speaks of Him as the Apostle or Sent One. He had the Father's authority, represented the Father and worked in the Father's name, John 10. 25. The people would receive another who came in his own name, that is, on his own authority, but not Him who came in his Father's name and with the Father's authority, John 5. 43.
He came from the glory He had with the Father before the world was, John 17. He claimed to be from heaven, John 6. 38. John the Baptist spoke of Him as being from above, John 3. 31. Some saw Him only as of the earth-the son of Joseph, Matt. 13. 55.
The Father sent Him in the fulness of time, Gal. 4. 4. He came not to destroy but to fulfil, Matt 5. 17; not to condemn but to save, John 3. 17, to save sinners, 1 Tim. 1, 15. This involved His taking the form of a servant to do the Father's will and the Father's work-His cross and sacrifice for sin. 'My meat', He said, 'is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work', John 4. 34.
Having accomplished all the Father sent Him to do, John 17. 4, lie returned as man in triumph to take His place at the Father's right hand, Heb. 1. 3.
3. He is the Revelation of the Father
Man by nature is ignorant of God. Left to himself he creates images, bin Ids Babels, worships natural phenomena; whereas a true knowledge of God can only come through revelation. There is no other way. Human reasoning achieves little. If God is to be known by us He must reveal Himself to us.
He is revealed in holy writ-the Old and New Testaments, 2 Tim. 3. 16. Any manifestation of Himself is a revelation-the heavens declare, Psa. 19. 1; Isa. 40. 26. His providential dealings make known, Psa. 103. 19. He communicated with man both before and after the fall, with Adam and Noah, the patriarchs, Moses, Israel and the prophets. God spoke by the prophets in 'sundry times' and 'divers manners', Heb. 1, 1. This means that the revelation was limited, partial, fragmentary and incomplete. Now all that has changed for the revelation in the Son is full, complete and final. He has spoken in One, who is 'the brightness' of His glory, and the express image of His person, Heb. 1. 3; who is 'the image of the invisible God', Col, 1. 15; One in whom 'dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily', Col. 2. 9; yet 'full of grace and truth', John 1. 14.
'No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son ... he hath declared him', John 1. 18. To Philip He said, 'he that hath seen me hath seen the Father'.
The revelation is the Son: His Person, His character, His words. His works, His ways, His walk. Every grace, every perfection, every attribute: His love, His holiness, His purity, His power, His wisdom, His compassion, His tears, His life, His death and resurrection. The theme is endless and the revelation infinite.
The more we know of the Son, the more we know of the Father. How we should desire true heart knowledge of the true God and His Son Jesus Christ which is life eternal, John 17. 3.