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Jesus and the Father


Jesus used the term Father for God (Jn 4:21). The Jews and the Samaritans were not accustomed to call God the Father, though God had considered Israel as His son (Ex 4:22). Jesus could use it because he was the Son of God. He taught his disciples the Lord’s prayer, addressing, “Our Father who art in heaven.” So, he gave the privilege to address God as the Father, as he himself did.

Jesus demonstrated several times how he embodies the Father:

1. When the Pharisees said to Jesus, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified” (Jn 8:13), he replied, “Even if I should judge, my judgement is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me” (Jn 8:16-18). When the Pharisees who questioned Jesus, “‘Where is your father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also’” (Jn 8:19).

2. When Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (Jn 14:8), Jesus replied, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). He continued, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works” (Jn 14:10).

2. “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am He, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him” (Jn 8:28-29).

3. “The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:30).

4. “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me” (Jn 12:44-45).

5. “I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me” (Jn 12:49-50).

6. At the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (Jn 14:7).

7. Jesus said to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves” (Jn 14:9-11).

8. Jesus told his disciples, “The word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me” (Jn 14:24).

9. In his farewell speech, Jesus told his disciples, “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (Jn 16:32). However, at the acute stage of his suffering, Jesus cried on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) It was the fulfilment of Psalm 22:2 and an expression of the mental agony he went through, along with physical distress. Jesus knew the Father would not abandon him. However, like us, he also went through the dark moments of loneliness and helplessness.

Since Jesus was doing the will of his Father, he was pleasing to Him. Jesus told his adversaries, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also” (Jn 5:19).

During his Last Supper discourses, Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love” (Jn 15:10). Thus, Jesus remained in the love of his Father by keeping his Father’s commandments. Our call is to please God by keeping His ordinances as revealed through Jesus Christ.

There were times when God the Father did express Himself in terms of how pleasing his Son was to Him. After John had baptized Jesus, “a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Mt 3:17). At the transfiguration of Jesus, Peter, James, and John heard a voice from the bright cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt 17:5).

The Letter to the Hebrews 11:5 states, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and ‘he was found no more because God had taken him.’ Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.” Enoch lived only 365 years when the lifespan was above 900 years during the antediluvian period. Jesus lived only 33 years in this world and rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven because he pleased the Father by fulfilling the mission his Father had assigned to him.

The divine sonship of Jesus differs from that of faithful humans. He is the second person of the Most Holy Trinity and so share the essence of God. “The Incarnation of God’s Son reveals that God is the eternal Father and that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, which means that, in the Father and with the Father the Son is one and the same God” (CCC-262). That was unclear to the Jews.

Jesus is one with the Father from eternity and does the will of the Father without fail. The Son’s interest and actions are in congruence with that of the Father and so they are in perfect harmony. Though the incarnation of the Redeemer was revealed several times during the Old Testament period, it was not clear until Jesus came and disclosed himself. Many accepted him as the Messiah, while some rejected and opposed him.

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