Jesus and the Father
It is imperative that one acknowledges both the Father and the Son. Pertaining to such an acknowledgement, John wrote: "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is an antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (I Jn. 2: 22). There are a number of extant doctrines that deny the Father and the Son. One such theology is Oneness Pentecostalism. The Godhead consists of three individualities and yet, there is such perfect unity that the adjective of singularity ("one") is often used (Deut. 6: 4, cp. 2 Cor. 13: 14).
John in his gospel seemed to have especially focused not only on a presentation of Jesus, but also the relationship between Jesus and the Father. This relationship, I submit, reveals not only the fact of the individuality of Jesus and his Father in being two separate but united Beings, but also many insights into the intimate and unique status that they enjoy(ed).
Jesus was with the Father in the beginning. Jesus or the Logos (Word) did not simply begin to exist with his physical birth. John presents Jesus as in the beginning with the Father.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (Jn. 1: 1, 2).
Notice a few of the truths resident in the above statement. First, the Word (Jesus) was in the "beginning" (see vs. 3-12). The beginning here refers to physical creation (cp. Gen. 1: 1). Jesus was "with" (Greek, pros) the Father in the beginning. The idea is that the Word and the Father were "face to face." Pros seems to indicate a joint sharing and equality between the Word and the Father. One remarks regarding pros ("with God") as follows:
" In addition to the idea of proximity, there is that of 'motion towards' involved in pros .Pros shows that the idea of intercourse is suggested, and mutual acquaintance, so that the personality of the Logos is therefore strongly forced upon us .There is relation between these two, laying the foundations of all ethic in the nature and subsistence of Deity ." (The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 17, pp. 6, 7).
Consider how John applies "God" (theos) to the Word, Jesus. The Word was "with God" and "was God," said John. Hence, the Father is deity (God) as well as Jesus (see Heb. 1: 8). This does not mean that the Father and Son were one Being, but the affirmation of both being God is simply saying that the Word and the Father partook of the same nature (see Heb. 1: 3).
Jesus startled the Jews when he announced to them, "Before Abraham was, I am" (Jn. 8: 58). The present tense indicates the eternality of the Word who was with the Father in the beginning (cp. Jn. 17: 5).
Jesus was sent from the Father. Another biblical fact that not only is illustrative of Jesus' relationship with the Father but also shows that Jesus in his incarnate state (in the flesh) was authorized by the Father is, " Thou art a teacher come from God " (Jn. 3: 1, 2). Over and over, John records and accents the fact that Jesus was said to have been "sent from" the Father (Jn. 3: 34). The works Jesus was authorized to perform " bore witness of me," said Jesus, "that the Father hath sent me" (Jn. 5: 36). Jesus' attitude was that of total subservience, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (Jn. 4: 34).
Some cannot reconcile Jesus' subservience to the Father with him being of the same nature. We must keep in mind that such statements pertain to while Jesus was a man in the flesh. In this state, " he learned obedience " (Heb. 5: 8, 9).
The Father was with Jesus. We have seen that Jesus, the Word, was with the Father in "the beginning." The point now is that the Father was with Jesus during Jesus' incarnation (Jn. 3: 2). Such indicates not only the Father's approval of his Son, but also the fact of a continuing relationship between the Father and Son while Jesus was here on earth. There was no disharmony between Jesus and the Father's works (Jn. 5: 17). The works that Jesus performed were indicative of both his approval and relationship with his Father. Hence, Jesus could boldly say:
"It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me" (Jn. 8: 17, 18, cp. 3: 2).
Jesus openly confessed his relationship with the Father. "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me" (Jn. 16: 32).
The Father granted Jesus authority. Jesus was given "authority" by the Father (Jn. 5: 27). Listen to Jesus,
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement unto the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him" (Jn. 5: 22, 23).
Jesus without trepidation of exposure told the Jews, "I am come in my Father's name (authority, dm), and ye receive me not " (Jn. 5: 43). The Father is seen both granting Jesus authority and working with him. Hear John's recording of Jesus' prayer to his Father, "As thou hast given him power (authority, dm) over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him" (Jn. 17: 2).
Subsequent to Jesus' triumphant resurrection, he said to the twelve, " All power (authority, dm) is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28: 18). Who gave Jesus the authority? The answer is, the Father.
Jesus is the only Begotten of the Father. "Only begotten" (monogenes) is used nine times and out of this total number, John uses it five times. Notice what John affirms of the "only Begotten."
The Monogenes possessed glory in the incarnate state (Jn. 1: 14); He declared the Father (Jn. 1: 18); He is the expression of the Father's love (Jn. 3: 16); and we must believe in the Monogenes (Jn. 3: 18, 16). To be "The Son of God" is applied, then, to Jesus in a special and peculiar sense. In fact, this is precisely how the Jews understand "Son of God" or "only begotten of the Father." Their response to Jesus declaring his Sonship was, " said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God" (Jn. 5: 18, see vs. 17).
Jesus declared or revealed the Father. One mission of the Son was to introduce his Father to the Jews and all men. Hear John:
"No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he that declared him," "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also" (Jn. 1: 18; 8: 19).
In fact, Jesus was such an exact representation of his Father, he said to Phillip when he asked to see the Father, " Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (Jn. 14: 9). Let it be understood, that Jesus was not saying that he and the Father were one and the same Being. He explains later that what he meant was that he (Jesus) was a perfect representation of the Father in will, nature, and value (Jn. 14: 10, 11).
Jesus glorified the Father. On many occasions John mentions the fact of Jesus glorying the Father.
"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again" Jn. 12: 27, 28).
In view of the unity between the Son and his Father, we find a very interesting statement: " Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him: If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him" (Jn. 13: 31, 32). Jesus glorified the Father by flawlessly keeping his Father's will and suffering death for all mankind, "even the death of the cross" (Phili. 2: 8).
Jesus returned to the Father. Jesus or the Logos (see addendum) came from the Father, lived on earth in a human body, and also returned to the Father after his resurrection. Consider Jesus' words,
"But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?," " I go to my Father, and ye shall see me no more," "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (Jn. 16: 5, 10, 28).
Following Jesus' resurrection and just prior to his ascension, Jesus told Mary, "Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (Jn. 20: 17).
As promised at the beginning, we have seen the fact of Jesus being a separate individuality possessing Godhood or deity. Jesus' existence can be classified as the pre-incarnate state, the incarnate, and the glorified condition or coronation when he ascended back to begin his mediatorial reign at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Acts 2: 31-33). Throughout time, the Word has enjoyed a special relationship with the Father. As John the Baptist said of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1: 29). Out of all the men to have lived or who shall yet live, only Jesus can say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Jn. 14: 6). And, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me" (Jn. 12: 44).
Addendum: Many abuse or ignore the fact of Jesus' time in the flesh (Heb. 10: 5). The humanity status of Jesus resulted in him being subservient to his Father. Indeed, the very idea of "Father" and "Son" implies authority and subservience. It was with a view to and consideration of Jesus' humanity that Jesus made such statements as, " for my Father is greater than I" (Jn. 14: 28).