Eternal union of Father and Son
Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He had always been with God His Father. Micah wrote about the Messiah who was to be born.
Micah 5:2. ... whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
The night before Jesus death He prayed:
John 17:5. O Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.
Jesus was with God, working with Him, in the creation of the world. John calls Jesus the Word and begins his gospel by telling us:
John 1:1-3. Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. From the very beginning, the Word was with God. Through Him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without Him.
This helps clear up a mystery that has puzzled many readers of the Old Testament. To whom was God speaking when He said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness?” And why did God tell Isaiah that the Messiah to be born would be called the mighty God, the everlasting Father?
The Bible teaches that there is only one true God –– the Creator. And yet, the Old Testament uses a plural name for Him –– Elohim –– over 2,700 times. Elohim, translated God, is sometimes used with plural pronouns and verbs to describe God’s work. This is so in the description of creation. Sometimes it is used with a singular verb as if more than one person were acting as one. The Bible uses the word one to express either unity or number. The divine unity that we call God is made up of more than one person.
Genesis 1:1, 2, & 26. In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.... And God (Elohim) said. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
As God’s revelation to man develops in the Old Testament and the New, we learn that three persons are called God –– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We call them the triune God, or the Holy Trinity –– which means the sacred three persons in one. They are one in purpose, power and nature. They have always worked together in perfect union and harmony. They did in creation. They did while Jesus was here on earth. And they always will. The name God, like a family name, is used for Father, Son, and Spirit. To distinguish between them, we refer to the Father as God, call the Son by His earthly name –– Jesus, and speak of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus spoke of His union with His Father as being one, or as being in His Father and His Father in Him.
John 17:21-23. O Father! May they be in us, just as You are in me and I am in You. May they be one ... just as you and I are one; I in them and you in me.
God the Father answered Jesus’ prayer that we read in John 17:5. After Jesus died for our sins, God raised Him from the dead. Forty days later many people saw Him go back to heaven. Later God let several people see Jesus there in His glory with the Father. Stephen did.
Acts 7:55. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God’s glory, and Jesus standing at the right side of God.
Recognition of Father by Son
Jesus knew God was His Father and let others know it. He continually spoke of God as His Father (even from when He was 12 years old). He addressed God as Father in His prayers. Jesus told the people that God had sent Him to give eternal life to those who believe in Him. He said:
John 3:16. For God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.
Jesus honored His Father by doing what God had sent Him to do. He taught the people how wonderful God is. He let them know that His marvelous teachings and miracles were all from His Father.
John 8:28,29. I do nothing on my own, but say only what the Father has taught me. And He who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.
Recognition of Son by Father
We know that Jesus is the Son of God because God Himself has made this very clear. God honors His Son. Jesus said:
John 8:18,54. The Father who sent me also testifies on my behalf ... If I were to honor myself, my own honor hold be worth nothing. The One who honors me is my Father –– the very One you say is your God.
God honored Jesus and testified that Jesus was His Son through 1) angels, 2) the Holy Spirit, 3) supernatural signs.
Angels. God sent His heavenly messengers, the angels, to let people know that Jesus was His Son. Angels told Joseph and Mary that the Baby to be born of the virgin would be the Son of God. Angels announced to shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem that the Savior was born. At two times of great crisis in Jesus’ life, angels came to strengthen Him and to reassure Him. Angels rolled away the stone from Jesus tomb and told His followers He had risen from the dead. And when Jesus was caught up to heaven, angels appeared to the watching crowd. They said that just as Jesus had gone to heaven, He would come back again some day.
The Holy Spirit. God sent His Spirit to honor Jesus and let people know who He is. The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Mary, Anna, and spoke through them. They told people that the Baby Jesus was the Messiah. God filled John the Baptist with His Spirit and sent him as a special messenger to introduce Jesus as the Son of God and Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Holy Spirit came down on Jesus like a dove when He was baptized. The Spirit anointed Jesus for His ministry as the Messiah –– the Anointed One –– full of the wisdom and power of God.
Supernatural signs. God used many signs to testify of His Son. A star guided the wise men to the Baby Jesus. On three occasions the people heard God speak from heaven honoring Jesus. Twice they heard God say:
Matthew 3:17; 17:5. This is my own dear Son, with whom I am well pleased. Jesus miracles were all God’s testimony that He was who He said He was –– the Son of God. God gave disciples a glimpse of His Son’s glory in what we call the transfiguration.
Matthew 17:2. As they looked on, a change came over him; his face became as bright as the sun, and his clothes as white as light.
God testified for His Son when Jesus died. The earth shook. Darkness covered the sun. The veil of the temple was torn in two.
Three days later God honored His Son by raising Him from the dead. Later God took Him home to heaven bodily in the sight of a great crowd. Afterwards He let several people see Jesus there in heaven beside His Father. And when the disciples prayed to God in Jesus’ name, He answered their prayers and worked miracles. Surely all those who believe in God should believe His testimony about His Son Jesus.
The Son and His Followers
Just as there is mutual recognition between the Father and the Son, there is also mutual recognition between the Son of God and His followers. As the result of this recognition we have eternal union with the Son of God.
Recognition of Son by followers
Those who followed Jesus when He was on earth did so because they believed in Him. They recognized that He was who He said He was –– the Son of God. And they openly expressed their faith in Him.
Matthew 16:16. Simon Peter answered, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
What about Jesus followers today? How do we recognize Him? Just by becoming a member of a church? Or by being called a Christian? To be real Christians we must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ –– recognize Him as the Son of God and our Savior. How do we do this? We turn our lives over to Him, trust in Him, and follow wherever He leads us.
John wrote his gospel to prove that Jesus is the Son of God, so that we could believe in Him and have eternal life. In his epistles John repeats God’s message that the only way to have this life is in His Son.
John 20:31. These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this faith you may have life in His name.
1 John 5:11,12. God has given us eternal life, and this life is ours in His Son. Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Recognition of followers by Son
Long before we were born, Jesus knew us. Before the world was formed, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit saw us in their plan for the human race. They saw us created in the image of God. God’s children, sharing His love, enjoying the good things He would prepare for us, living with Him in perfect happiness.
But God saw something else too. He saw that the human race would turn away from Him in rebellion and would choose the paths of sin and death. God saw us suffering the results of sin in the world and condemned to eternal death. Rebellious and ungrateful as we were, He loved us with a perfect love. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worked out a plan for our salvation.
While we were yet sinners, the Son of God chose us to be His followers. He saw our guilt and took the sentence of death in our place. He saw our weakness and gave us His strength. He accepts all those who come to Him and sets them free from the power of sin.
Ephesians 1:4,5. Before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his in Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love, God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would bring us to himself as his sons –– this was his pleasure and purpose.
The names that Jesus used for His followers when He was on earth show us His love for all those who follow Him. He refers to them as His little children, sons of God, light of the world, salt of the earth, His bride, His witnesses, those whom God has given Him, His little flock of sheep, His chosen ones, His church, His brothers, part of Himself as branches in the vine.
Do we recognize Jesus as our Savior and Lord? If so, He recognizes us as His own.
Matthew 10:32,33. Whoever declares publicly that he belongs to me, I will do the same for him before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies publicly that he belongs to me, then I will deny him before my Father in heaven.
John 1:12. Some ... did receive Him and believed in Him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children.
Eternal union of Son and followers
Jesus wants us to be with Him because He loves us and knows our life, happiness, and future, which depend on our union with Him. He gives us new life for body, soul, and spirit. In Him we find real happiness, fulfillment, and His power to overcome evil. All those who walk with Him day by day now will live with Him forever in heaven. Jesus said:
John 10:10. I have come in order that they might have life, life in all its fulness.
John 14:6. I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.
John 3:35,36. The Father loves His Son and has put everything in his power. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will never have life, but God’s wrath will remain on him forever.
Our union with Jesus is so close that all who believe in Him are in Christ and He is in us. He is the vine; we are the branches.
John 15:5. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”
Paul describes our union with Christ as being members of His body. Jesus is the Head. His church is His body. All the rights and privileges of the sinless Son of God, all of His riches in glory, all of the love and fellowship between the Son and His Father become ours too as members of His body!
Colossians 1:17,18,27,28. He existed before all things, and in union with Him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; He is the source of the body’s life; He is the first-born Son who was raised from death, in order that He alone might have the first place in all things.
Christ is in you, which means that you will share the glory of God. So we preach Christ to all men ... in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.
Take the quiz
Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you have just read.
1. What word means God, three in one?
b) Holy One
2. Who said He is one with the Father?
a) John the Baptist
3. What name did Jesus use for God in His prayers?
4. How did God testify for His Son when He died? Choose all that are true
a) The earth shook
b) Darkness covered the sun
c) There was a voice from heaven
d) The veil was torn in two
5. In what other way did God testify that Jesus is His Son? Choose all that are true?
a) Angels appeared to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds
b) Jesus performed miracles
c) The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove
6. Which book was written especially to help us recognize Jesus as the Son of God and believe in Him?
a) The Gospel of Matthew.
b) The Gospel of Mark.
c) The Gospel of Luke.
d) The Gospel of John.
7. According to 1 John 5:11.12, where is the eternal life which God gives us?
a) In Heaven
b) In His Son
c) On earth
8. Based on Ephesians 1:4,5 which of these is true? Choose all that are true
a) God chose us before the world was made
b) God chose us to be preachers
c) God chose us so we would be holy and without fault in Him
d) God chose us because of His love
9. What did Jesus call His followers? Choose all that are true.
a) His bride
b) His witnesses
c) His chosen ones
10. According to John 10:10, why did Jesus come?
a) Because the Father commanded Him to
b) So the world would be a better place
c) That we might have life
11. What things does Jesus say that He is in John 14:6? Choose three.
a) The way
b) The Savior
c) The Truth
d) The Life