The Son of God took on human flesh and came into this world. It was always a point of faith emphasized by Jesus that we understand and believe that He was sent by His Father. This was the eternal Son, described as always in the bosom of the Father, now sent into the world with a mission to accomplish. He was sent by the Father to reveal and declare the Father.
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
If the Father was to be shown to the world there was only one who could accomplish this task – the very Son of God. No man could do this. No man has seen God at any time. No man has ever ascended up into the heavens to bring this knowledge back down to men on the earth (John 3:13). The truth on this matter is that man could not possibly have this knowledge, this divine knowledge. It would require divinity to reveal divinity, and to do so properly and perfectly.
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
Only the Son truly knows the Father, and only the Father truly knows the Son. We have to see and realize that the source of His words is His intimate relationship with the Father as the Son. This relationship is filled with affections and love, His for the Father and the Father for the Son.
The Revelation of the Father is only a Christian truth
Another point to be made from this passage is the explicit truth that the entire revelation of the Father by the Son is a Christian thing. It is a believer thing. No one could know the Father except the ones to whom Jesus Christ the Son chose and willed to reveal Him. This is not Israel’s privilege by any stretch of the imagination. Israel is a people and a nation who do not honor the Son, and therefore do not honor the Father who sent Him (John 5:23). They are the people Jesus was specifically referencing when He said:
“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (22) If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. (23) He who hates Me hates My Father also. (24) If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. (25) But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.”
Israel was guilty of not knowing the One who sent Jesus (v. 21). They are the ones whom He came and spoke to, and are now without excuse (v. 22). They are the ones who hate the Son, and, in a sense, by the law of transitivity are guilty of hating the Father (v. 23). Jesus performed His Father’s works in the midst of this nation (v. 24), and their rejection of Him is the proof of their hatred. Israel is the nation with the law, wherein it is said, “They hated Me without a cause.” It is abundantly clear who He is speaking of.
I say all this to bring out a few important Biblical realities and truths. The revelation of the Father is not Israel’s. Jesus has proven that they actually hate the Father who sent the Son. He proves that they do not even know Him (John 8:54-55). This is Israel’s condition then, and it is their position that continues to this day. The revelation of the Father is to the sons by the Son of God. It is truly a believer thing. It is the believer who is chosen by Jesus out of this world (John 15:19). It is the believer to whom Jesus choses to reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27). For that matter, the giving of the Comforter (the Holy Spirit – John 15:26) is emphatically a Christian thing. These things serve to separate us from Israel, not join us to them, or make us like them.
The Corrupting of the Christian World
Are we grafted in to Israel? The last time I heard this teaching that we, as believers, are in fact grafted in to Israel, the entire audience responded with enthusiastic approval. And the Judaizing of the Christian faith marches on. It is the leaven penetrating throughout to the end in the professing Christian world. It was an evil that took root early on in the church, and it will not go away. It will only worsen in its subtle corruption of the Christian faith. This is a false doctrine and it is the root of the corruption of the church world. Those that teach it display their ignorance of church doctrine and truth. We are not Israel. We are not grafted in to Israel. We are the body of Christ exalted into the heavens to the very right hand of God, far above all principality and power and might and dominion (Eph. 1:19-23). We would have to forfeit our Christian position, our relationship with the Father, and all Christian privilege in order to believe such doctrine. All our proper Christian hopes would be rendered lies and our Christian calling lost. (The olive tree of Romans 11:17 is not the nation of Israel)
The Obedience of the Son of God
Jesus, as the Son of God, perfectly revealed the Father. He did this as sent by the Father and revealed only the Father in a very specific display of obedience. It is unique because it was God choosing to be obedient, the Son of God to the Father. Jesus Christ took on flesh and came into this world and always chose, as the Son, to take the role of a servant to His Father. In this way His own will, as the Son, is moved out of the way, and He only and always did the will of the Father. Therefore He only revealed the Father, and did so perfectly.
“Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.”
It is a point of faith that we believe He was sent by God, and then as the Son, believe He was sent by the Father to reveal the Father. If we believe in Him, then we believe in the God who sent Him. More than this, if we see the Son, then we see the Father whom the Son reveals.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
(8) Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
(9) Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (11) Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
The Believer’s need for the Indwelling Spirit
There is no doubt that Jesus is a bit disappointed with His disciples. He was with them for three and a half years, tirelessly revealing the Father to them according to His mission as the Son. Yet they still have not grasped it after all this time. This really shows the vital role and necessity for the Holy Spirit to be sent down from heaven to them. They would not understand until the Spirit of truth was dwelling in them (John 14:17). Then we see and understand why He said it was imperative that He depart from them, for unless He left this world, the Helper could not come (John 16:7, 13-15, 7:39).
We know that, as believers, we have been given the Holy Spirit. We have been sealed with the Spirit of sonship by the Father. He is the Spirit of truth dwelling in us now, and He will abide with us forever (John 14:16-17). I hope you will also realize that we are in a different position than the disciples were in, in reference to the above passage. The revealer of truth lives in us (I Cor. 2:9-16). He was not yet dwelling in the disciples in the above passage when they ask, “Lord, show us the Father.” You should be able to see the difference that this makes.
“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.”
The same spiritual understanding is present in this passage. In the disciples’ present state it was not possible for them to fully grasp the truth. They simply couldn’t. The Lord’s physical presence with them could only bring them so far as for spiritual truth and revelation. In their present spiritual state, Jesus was with them and the Spirit was with them, but the Spirit wasn’t in them (John 14:17). They were brought to a place far better than unbelieving Israel, but not yet in the position of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer.
Israel’s Position is ‘of the World’ and ‘in Adam’ and ‘in the flesh’
· The position of unbelieving Israel, as revealed throughout the entire gospel of John, is described by the Holy Spirit as being ‘of the world.’ (John 8:23, 17:14) It is equal to all mankind’s position in the first Adam. It is the spiritual state of being ‘in the flesh.’ (Rom. 8:8-9) and not having the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. It is also described in the gospel of John as being ‘not of God’ and ‘not of My sheep.’
“He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
To clearly see the spiritual position of Israel described in this verse you must pay attention to the sequence of His words. He tells Israel, “…you do not hear, because you are not of God.” It would be a very different thought, and even an Arminian thought, if it was switched around to say, “…you are not of God, because you do not hear.” Their spiritual position is ‘not of God.’ Given this spiritual state in Adam, they simply cannot hear the words of God.
This is an important spiritual understanding concerning all mankind by birth in Adam, including the nation of Israel He is speaking to. He is not talking to them about their human efforts to understand or their willingness to hear. That is the Arminian spin of human achievement that simply would require reversing the placement of the phrases He uses in the above verse. He is not speaking of him who wills, or of him who runs, but instead, the human position by birth in Adam (Rom. 9:16). Their position in Adam is ‘not of God.’ Therefore it is not possible for them to hear God’s words.
“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Once again the sequence of His words is paramount for a proper understanding of Israel’s condition in the first Adam. He says to Israel, “…you do not believe, because you are not My sheep.” It would have an entirely different meaning if He said, “…you are not my sheep, because you do not believe.” Again, this latter would be the Arminian leaven that has its own tentacles spreading out through all of Christendom. It penetrates secretly to the end, and will saturate all (Matt 13:33). It will taint all Christian doctrine, because it exalts the power of man and robs the glory of God.
The Disciples Position before the Resurrection
· The position of the disciples while Christ was physically with them and before the resurrection was one of being personally chosen by Him and set apart from the world. They were quickened by Him and had eternal life. They were not in the first Adam anymore and they were not of the world.
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself…”
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, (2) as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. (3) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
They believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God sent by the Father. They also were convinced that He was the promised Messiah to Israel, and were very much expecting the Messianic kingdom according to prophecy. This was basically the degree of revelation and faith they had at this time. Their understanding did not include His suffering, death, and resurrection, even at this late point in His earthly ministry and after laboriously attempting to forewarn them (Luke 18:31-34). They would have to see with their eyes His suffering, death, and resurrection before they would believe.
The Disciples Position after the Resurrection, yet before Pentecost
· When Jesus was raised up from the dead and showed Himself, the disciples’ faith was now in the resurrected Son of Man. He is the Son of God, as the Son of Man raised from the dead. In this He is the one true Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16), of which Isaac is a type prefiguring (Heb. 11:17-19). By faith in Jesus Christ, the raised Seed, we are all made sons of God (Gal. 3:26-29). Therefore at His resurrection He calls us brethren for the first time (John 20:17). We are all sons ‘in Christ’ – the one Begotten Son. This term for Christ as the Begotten Son of God refers to His resurrection (Acts 13:33-34, Heb. 1:5). This is the day all believers became the sons of God (Eph. 2:4-6, Rom. 4:24). We were all baptized into Christ and therefore have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). We are Christ’s, and therefore we are Abraham’s seed.
“…concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
There is a great connection and association between Christ being declared the Son of God by resurrection from the dead and believers becoming the sons of God in Him. The emphasis of His words immediately after His resurrection is about His relationship and our relationship with the Father.
“Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
The Sons of God with the Father
As I said in a previous chapter, this is the clear establishing of the new position of the believer. It is the same position that Christ has as raised from the dead. The basis of the believer’s faith is now in a shed blood and an eternal sacrifice of infinite value. And it all points to the position of this Man as representing our new position before God. This is Jesus Christ, the Son of God as the Son of Man. It is the Son of God declared so by the resurrection from the dead. It is God saying, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (Heb. 1:2-5, Acts 13:33-34) It is this specific relationship between the Father and the Son. But the Son was raised up for our justification, not His (Rom. 4:25). It is the spiritual reality of the many sons of God found in Him and raised up in Him. It is now the relationship between the Father and the many sons ‘in Christ.’ These are the many sons of the Father destined for glory, and Jesus Christ, the author of their salvation, bringing them there (Heb. 2:10).
The desire of our Affections
I will not be able to adequately express to you the lengths, the widths, the heights, and depths of our now established relationship as sons of God with the Father. The ways and means of establishing this were the Father’s own counsels and execution, displaying His goodness toward the believer in Christ. He becomes the substance of our joy, the rest for our souls, the true object of all our hopes, and the desire of our affections. Such is the Father to the believer.
In one sense all Christians are the same in this relationship as sons, with equal privilege to all. But if we speak of our fellowship and communion through the Spirit He has given us, then we speak of something that is intimate and distinct to each one of the individual sons. I cannot copy and duplicate what you have with the Father and Son, as you cannot copy and duplicate me. We are all sons individually, and this is before our entrance into the body of Christ corporately.
“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.”
“Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
“As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.”
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
“…do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
“Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.”
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
All the above passages were spoken in front of Israel. It was the Son sent into the world and to Israel to testify concerning His Father. He speaks often about His Father in the gospel of John. This is where the revelation of the Father to the believer is almost exclusively found. When He speaks to Israel about the Father, it is a testimony against them – that they do not know the God that they say they worship (John 7:28-29, 8:19, 42, 54-55). When He speaks to the disciples about Him, it is in view of His intimate relationship with His Father, and their association with Him in this position (John 14:20-23, 17:20-26). This is a clear distinction and beautiful insight laid out for us by the Holy Spirit in this gospel, and it is my prayer that all believers see it and grasp the importance of its meaning (John 16:27).
The Dependence and Obedience of the Son of God
The Son came, not to show or do His own will, but to be obedient as a servant to the Father, and to do only the will of His Father. He speaks the words His Father gave Him to speak (John 7:16-18, 8:26, 12:49, 17:8). He does only the works He sees His Father doing (John 5:19-20, 36, 9:4, 10:37-38). If you’ve seen Him, you have seen the Father (John 12:45, 14:9). The Father was in Him, and He was in the Father (John 10:38, 14:10). The Father was always with Him and never left Him (John 8:29, 16:32), except for His time on the cross (Matt. 27:46). After His work of redemption was finished, He commits His spirit into His Father’s hands (Luke 23:46). It is the revelation of the Father by the Son, and speaks volumes of His relationship with His Father.
“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
We are associated with Christ. We are His brethren. We are all sons together with Him and of the Father. His Father is our Father. Our Father loves us as He loves His very own Son. How can we imagine anything better than this? The very same love the Father has for His Son, Jesus Christ, is the same He has for you and me. In light of all these truths and this incredible revelation of the Father’s love, what should our proper affections and desires be for Him? Would it not be that we would earnestly look forward to the time when we would depart this world and go to be with the Father?
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”
Going to the Father
Jesus knows that His departing from His disciples would be upsetting to them. He gives them His peace. It is related to His previous promise to them: having departed this world from them, He would return for them. His departing this world is all about going to His Father (John 16:10, 16). This very thought is exciting to Him. If they loved Him, they would be excited for Him as well. The Father was always with Him, the Father was always in Him, and He in the Father. But there still was a difference, when He was in this world. The Son was about to depart and return to the Father. And this was exciting.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
The sons are going to the Father – this is what this passage is about. Jesus Christ, the one Son, will be sent back to physically gather all His brethren and bring them into His Father’s presence. He will be sent by the Father because of how the Father loves us as He does His Son. It is the many sons going to the Father’s house. The one Son has gone ahead there and prepared it all. This is about our relationship with the Father. It is about the privilege we have as sons. It is for the reason that now we are Christ’s brethren, sons with Him, and we go to His Father and our Father, to His God and ours. This is the blessed and sure hope of all the sons of God. This is the blessed hope of the church.
The Position of all Disciples after Pentecost
· There is a final position of the believer on the earth which became a reality after the day of Pentecost when the Comforter was sent. The Holy Spirit would now be living in them (John 14:17). They would all be sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13). This is what Jesus referred to by the phrase, ‘in that day.’ They now possessed the Spirit of truth dwelling in them, who would lead them into all truth. And one final spiritual reality concerning Pentecost and their corporate standing; they were all by one Spirit baptized into one body – the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13). I will add by saying ‘on the earth’ because we presently are on a walk in the wilderness.
The Believer’s Glorified Position after the Rapture
· Our position in the heavens after the rapture of the church is different – it is a glorified state, the end of our salvation, and truly a final and eternal position in Christ. Individually, it is every believer conformed into the image of the Father’s Son (Rom. 8:29). Corporately, it is a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, sanctified by Christ Himself, not while on the earth, but in the rapture event itself – without blemish by resurrection or change (I Cor. 15:50-53). All this is the Father’s work through Christ, who is, as the Son, the resurrection and the life.
In Christ, the Father has blessed us with many indescribable blessings. We have every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. We are seated in Christ in the heavens – the heavenly seat of the Father’s governmental power and glory. We have been promised an inheritance with Christ of all things, visible and invisible. He will share with us all His glory. Yet it remains that the impression on us of these things should not rival in value the Father and the Son’s love, desire, and affection for us. Christ loves the church and has given Himself to death for her (Eph. 5:25). The Father loves every adopted son as He does His only Begotten. It is the knowledge of these truths and this relationship from which our desires and affections are generated for the Son and our Father. The inheritance, the glory, the reigning with Him – all cannot touch our proper desire to be with Jesus, and to be in the presence of our Father. Nothing, simply nothing, compares to this.
Chapter 10: Endnotes
 In the gospel of John there seems to be a consistent pairing by the Holy Spirit of the terms/names of the Father with the Son – the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Almost every time that Jesus refers to the Father and if He refers to Himself as well, it usually is as the Son of God. It serves, by the Spirit, to establish the relationship and connection between Father and Son that was His mission as the Son to present.
“…that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
We see the obvious connection between the two names. This same pattern runs throughout the gospel of John. The Son of God was sent to reveal His Father, and this revelation was certainly distinct to believers. It was not for the world and was not for Israel as part of the world. In John 17 we have a beautiful prayer from the Son to the Father that is filled with this pattern indicating the connection between Father and Son.
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, (2) as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. (3) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (4) I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. (5) And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
(6) “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (7) Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. (8) For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”
Three things to notice: First, it is the Son who glorifies the Father, and the Father who glorifies the Son. It is not at all the same as what you find in John 13:31-32. There we find a different pairing – the title of the Son of Man whose death and shed blood propitiates and glorifies God. Second, the work He refers to as having already finished is the mission of the Son to reveal the Father. This He did by the words, the works, and the will of the Father only. It was a perfect work by the Son glorifying the Father on the earth. Third, the revelation of the Father was specifically directed to the men that the Father had given the Son out of the world. It is a specific revelation to the believer, the other sons.
“Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.”
This is an interesting passage. When the Son of Man is lifted up, it is with His death in mind. When this occurs, they would know that He is ‘I am’, the Son of God. It is the Son of God who does nothing of Himself, but as He is taught by the Father.