Although John appears to present Jesus in a subordinate position to the Father, he emphasizes Jesus as God more than do the synoptic Gospels. Yet, John seems not bothered by his seemingly contradictory views.
In John, Jesus' most frequent title for God is Father. John calls God, Father 120 times, more frequently than the other Gospels combined. He begins in the prologue: "glory as of the only Son of the Father" (1.14) and "the only Son who is in the bosom of the Father" (1.18).
Only Jesus addresses God as "Father": "my Father" 25 times, "the Father" 88 times, "Father" nine times and "the Father who sent me." Most occur in Jesus' sayings except when the Jews accuse Jesus of calling God "his own Father, making himself equal to God" (5.18; 18.27).
Jesus disputes the Jewish claim that God is their Father (8.42). Jesus speaks to his disciples of God as "your Father" (20.17) only once, after the resurrection. It seems that only Jesus has the right to speak to and of God as "Father."
ONLY JESUS IS SON
Believers are "children or born of God," never "of the Father." Only Jesus is Son. This gives Jesus authority to judge, give life, reveal the Father, do the works and will of the Father and receive the same honour as the Father.
John so stresses the Father-Son relationship that it is possible to say that without the Son, there is no Father.
In John, the Father is always the source and giver of life while in the synoptics, the Father is also the authority who is worthy of obedience. So in John when Jesus says: "The Father is greater than I" (14.28), it is superiority in the Father's life-giving, not command-giving, work.
The terms "God" and "Father" are not interchangeable for John. When reference is made to Jesus being sent, the title used is "Father" and not "God." Also, Jesus is said to do the will of the "Father," not the will of "God."
INITIATIVE AND SOVEREIGNTY
Jesus' initiative and sovereignty are emphasized four times in one statement: "I lay down my life of my own accord. I have power to lay it down and to take it up again. No one takes it from me" (10.17-18). Therefore, the Son's obedience is not simply submission. Jesus' will is in full harmony with the Father's and is the expression of the Father's will.
The subsequent statement "This charge I have received from my Father" does not mean that the Father commands him to die. As the Father has given life to the Son, he has been given the right to dispose of his life and death as he wills.
In the synoptics, Jesus asks that the painful death be removed from him. In John, Jesus says, "What should I say: 'Father save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour" (12.27).
Jesus' declaration is the accomplishment of the will of the Father, not a submission to an alien command. The Father's will is embodied in Jesus as is the Father's life.
Anyone who sees/knows the Son, sees/knows the Father since the Father's life is in the Son and they are one. The Son has life-giving powers of the Father and so is "equal to God" (5.18).
All things have been "placed into the hands of the Son" (3.35; 13.3) and "all judgment" (5.22) has been given to him. Thus God's creative and sustaining work is embodied in the Son who is God.
This Father-Son relationship shows that God is one but it also reveals separateness, for the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father.
PROFESS THE CREED
We profess this every time we recite the Creed: one God, the Father; one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, true God from true God, one in being with the Father; the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life (Nicene Creed).
Therefore, each person of the Trinity is God.
As Jesus was "sent" by the Father, the disciples were "sent" by Jesus to heal and to bring the Good News to the world. So, we, too, are "sent" to be the face of God's healing love to those we have the privilege to touch each day.
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