|Series Theme: Jesus Christ, the Son of God|
|Meditation No. 10|
|Meditation Title: Reflecting the Father|
Mt 11:27 All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus is recorded over forty times referring to God as Father' his father or our father. Father suggests intimate relationship, although in our broken society in the West in the twenty-first century it is often far from that with human fathers. Matthew, Mark and Luke simply told the story, recording what they had either seen and heard themselves, or had, as in Luke's case, gathered eye-witness accounts. John, writing many years later, had had time to think and reflect on the significance of so much of what Jesus had said. As we've commented many times before in these meditations, John in old age looked back with a clarity of memory that seems to come in old age and saw with clarity those three incredible years with Jesus and began to understand in ways that the other three hadn't seen, the significance of the enigmatic things Jesus said. Thus, looking at John's record, we find him picking up things Jesus said about his Father in heaven, that had greater meaning or significance to them than the others had picked up.
But let's start with Matthew's record here in the verse above, because although it may not have the depth of some of the comments in John, it certainly says something significant. It is the middle part of the verse that seems to stand out here: no one knows the Father except the Son. It is obvious that Jesus is referring to himself when he speaks about the Son' and also that the Father' is God. At the very least he is claiming an exclusive relationship with God. We must see that! no one knows God except him is what he is saying here. No one! That is an incredible claim. He alone in all of history knows God. If it wasn't true it would sound incredibly arrogant. I alone know God and none of the rest of you do. For those who would hold a pluralistic or universal standpoint that says all religions are the same, this comment separates out Jesus Christ and Christianity from all others. You may not like it, and you may challenge it, but that was what Jesus said about his relationship with God.
Now when we come to John's Gospel, John gives us no leeway. His belief in Jesus as God's Son is absolute. For instance, right at the beginning of his Gospel he refers to Jesus as one who came from the Father. (Jn 1:14). Later, and we'll examine it in a separate study, he picks up on Jesus saying he came from heaven. This isn't language that allows the interpretation that says he was sent from heaven, but that his place of origin was in heaven. To confirm that we simply have to look at other things Jesus said. For instance later in John we read, Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. (Jn 6:45,46). Again it is quite clear that he is referring to himself when he says, the one from God and again he makes this outrageous claim: only he has seen the Father. The more you think about that, the more outrageous it becomes if you have bias against Jesus! His claim was that he had SEEN God.
Now one of the teachings of the Old Testament that the Jews knew about, was that no one can see God and live (Ex 33:20) yet Jesus claimed to have seen God and there he was in their midst alive and well. If that wasn't clear enough, later we find him saying, I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, (Jn 8:38). Yet again he is claiming to have come from the very presence of God, from heaven itself! It gets worse! To quote a verse we have already looked at previously: I and the Father are one." Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God. (Jn 10:30-33) This gives us no room to move. This is a clear and blatant claim to be God and the Jews knew it, which was why it upset them so much.
The same thing had been recorded earlier in the Gospel: So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (Jn 5:16-18). We may not be so sure about it, but the Jews clearly were. This is Jesus claiming to be God's unique Son. At the Last Supper we have the same thing: Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. (Jn 14:9) The apostle Paul was to write, He is the image of the invisible God, (Col 1:15), in other words, the visible expression of the invisible God.
Now the fact that our minds may struggle with this inability to understand should not detract from the truth. Yes, all of us struggle with the idea that Almighty God, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, etc., can exist in one single human body and still be God. It is beyond our intellects to grasp the reality of it, but that is no a valid reason to dispute it. Again, any person who says that Jesus did not claim to be God's Son, his unique Son, with a unique relationship that comes out of unique being, oneness with God, simply hasn't read the Gospels and has not taken in what is there. You can argue about the reality of the outcome but the claims of Jesus are quite specific. He knew it and the Jews knew it he claimed to be the unique Son of God. That is clear from these verses we've considered today. It is indisputable. Rejoice in it, or read on some more there is plenty more to come!