34. The Father’s Love

Short Meditations in John 3:  34. The Father’s Love

Jn 3:35    The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

The subject of Father and Son comes up a number of times in this Gospel. This verse obviously follows on from the previous one. Jesus speaks the Father’s words, the Son has come from heaven where he had dwelt in eternity with the Father and within that relationship, in respect of the kingdom, the Father has placed all authority on earth in the hands of the Son. The following verse shows us that He has also made him the focus and means of all salvation, the way of receiving eternal life.

In chapter 5 we are shown Jesus’ closeness to the Father: 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.  Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” (Jn 5:17-20) Such closeness riled the religious Jews for it was clear that he was equating himself with the Father, God. That unity was in the work that Father and Son did.

A few verses on Jesus pushes the point even more: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him,”(Jn 5:22,23) and then a few verses on adds, “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” (Jn 5:27) Unity, honour, respect and authority are the same for both Father and Son according to Jesus. It is a powerful claim!

In response to the grumbling Jews, Jesus declared, “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: `They will all be taught by God.’ 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 6:43-46) Again this closeness, harmony and unity between Father and Son is displayed.

We find more of this sort of declaration from Jesus about the Father in 8:16-18, 27-29,38, 54, 10:14-18,29,30,37,38, 12:26-28,49, 13:1,3, 14:6-13, 28-31, 15:15,16, 16:26-28,32, 20:17.  Without doubt this Gospel is the Gospel of the Father and Son relationship.

35. The Sent One

Meditations on Jesus in John’s Gospel : 35 : Jesus, the Sent One

Jn 5:36,37    “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me.”

In a court room a testimony is the evidence of a witness to a person’s character and capability. A person who is asked to testify on behalf of another, is someone who knows that other and is able to speak up on their behalf to conform the sort of person they are. The question that is in so many people’s minds is who is Jesus? If the whole world would realize who he is, it would transform the world.  The excuse that so many will use is, nobody told me, yet the truth is that the Bible is the world’s number one best seller and there are millions of copies in non-believers’ homes and the Bible brings us the evidence of Jesus.

John the Gospel writer, particularly, holds nothing back in his effort to convince his readers. For the people there in Jesus’ day one of the clearest witnesses to Jesus was John the Baptist, as we’ve seen in previous meditations. But, says Jesus, there is an even stronger witness who speaks and acts on my behalf, my heavenly Father. We’ve already seen a number of times the relationship between the Father and Son, and the way Jesus responded to the Father’s prompting to do the Father’s will. Here we see that again but with a different emphasis.

You want to know who I am, says Jesus?  Then look at what I’m doing and you’ll realize where I must come from.  Jesus’ words to John the Baptist’s disciples portray him well: Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor (Mt 11:4,5) Similarly in Luke’s Gospel in the synagogue in Capernaum Jesus read out and applied to himself the Isaiah prophecy: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour (Lk 4:18,19).  Later on Jesus was to say, Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (Jn 10,37,38).  Not sure who Jesus is? Look at the things he did, the healings, the raising people from the dead, the delivering people from demons, walking on water, turning water into wine, feeding thousands with a few loaves, all these things speak for themselves.

All these things point to one thing, says Jesus, that I am sent by my Father (i.e. God). Why? Well let the words of Nicodemus, leader, scholar and conservative Jew speak the answer: Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him (Jn 3:2). No it’s more than that Nicodemus; this is the Son of God sent from heaven with a purpose, and with all the power and authority of heaven at his disposal. He’s got a purpose and it is to reveal his Father through the things he does. He’s been sent from heaven to reveal the Father and then die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Sometimes people feel their life is an accident. That isn’t true and it’s certainly not true of Jesus. He was and is the Son of God who has left his home in heaven, sent by the Father with a purpose decreed before the foundation of the world itself. He is the most purposeful figure in history, this Sent One!