Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That the World May Know…

What is the Savior’s great message to the world?

that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me… John 14:31

The living God is a relationally loving God. This has been true in all eternity past, and it will be true forever without end. And this essential attribute of love has always found perfect expression within the Trinity; even before the creation of the angels and mankind. You see, long before the foundation of the world, the Father loved the Son, and with perfect reciprocity, the Son has always loved the Father:

John 1:1,18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

John gives us two expressions, in the first chapter of his Gospel, that help us to understand better the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son. First, John says that the Son was with God. This brief statement is in no way insignificant, especially in view of John's use of the preposition pros rather than para or meta. While context ultimately determines the use of these words, these latter prepositions [para and meta] tend to represent a more general form of association. But pros normally means towards, which represents a more intense notion of proximity or relationship. For example, you could be sitting with or beside someone at a restaurant and perhaps never talk to them, especially if your back is to them. However, in an intimate dinner with a loved one, you are positioned towards them, even face to face in private discourse. This is the picture that John gives us, as William Hendriksen affirms:

And the Word was face to face with God (pros ton theon). The meaning is that the Word existed in the closest possible fellowship with the father, and that he took supreme delight in this communion.[1]

The Son of God was not casually with the Father, but He was intimately towards the Father in a personal and eternal love relationship.[2] John’s second description of the Son's relationship with the Father comes in verse 18 of the same chapter, where he describes the only Begotten Son as being in the bosom of the Father. For the Apostle of love this imagery was very personal to him, for at the last supper of Christ it was he who was reclining in the Savior's bosom. In both cases, this is the unmistakable image of familial love. As a picture of the Son's love for the Father, it shows us that His love abounds with an eternal affection and esteem. The myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels could never, in all eternity, tabulate the extent of the Father's love for the Son, nor the Son for the Father. So how important is this message of Trinitarian love to our world today? What relevance might this have to this generation, or any generation for that matter? Plenty:

John 14:31: …but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here. [Bold, mine]

The Son's love for the Father was so important that He wanted the whole world to know it! Consider the context of this important passage for a moment: this expression of Christ’s love for the Father stands between His betrayal by Judas (John 13) and His coming crucifixion (John 19). Therefore, when He said to His remaining disciples "come now; let us leave" He was inviting them to proceed with Him towards Gethsemane where He would be arrested, and subsequently crucified at Golgotha. But before they were to proceed on this journey towards His own death, He wanted them to understand this crucial truth: what He was about to do, He would do out of a great love for the Father (John 14:31). This is indeed a compelling thought. When we think of the worldwide message of the Gospel, we most often think of Christ's love for mankind. But we must also comprehend that the other worldwide message that Christ desires to be spread abroad is His love for the Father which led Him to the cross. But these are not separate messages; rather they are indelibly linked as one. You see, the Son, who laid down His life for His sheep, did so as an act of loving obedience to the Father. This is why Christ declared that His worldwide message was twofold: 1. "I love the Father" and 2. "I do exactly what my Father commanded me." Thus, when Christ died for our sins, He did so out of His tender affections for the Father:

John 6:38-39: 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

Christ's obedience to the Father was not a mere mechanism consisting of duty alone; rather His obedience was infinitely embedded in the eternal love relationship between the Father and the Son.[3]

As the children of God it is our high privilege and calling to herald and imitate such love. This is the highest affection and motivation heralded in all of Scripture: to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30) – and our Savior was the greatest example of such devotion, such as the world has never seen. May the world see and know of our Savior’s love for the Father: the very love in which we ourselves are enveloped in the Beloved – if we have placed our faith and trust in Him. If you do not know Christ, and have not experienced such love, then please consider the contents of this Gospel presentation below:


[1] William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, The Gospel of John (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan), p. 70.

[2] John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.”

[3] Excerpt from All Nations Under God, Chapter 1 - Christ’s Victorious Atonement Defined, pp. 35-36