There are so many things that can be said about who Jesus is that at times we might be hesitant to even begin. But, of course, the reason there are so many things to say about Him is that He is so wonderful and so crucial to our lives. And part of knowing any person is knowing information or facts about that person.
If I were to say that I know the president of the United States, but did not know what his full name was, or where he was born, or how many children he has, or his wife’s name, you might question whether I really know him. As Christians, it is incumbent upon us to know as much as possible about our Lord and Savior to make sure that we truly know Him.
What the Scriptures tell us about Jesus is amazing! To begin with, let’s try to settle on the two phases of Jesus’ life. The first is one He mentions in John 17 when He says, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (verse 5). Before Jesus took on human nature (that is when he took the name Jesus, but we’ll talk about this later) He had a glorious presence with the Father. He always was and always will be the Son of God the Father.
We need to be careful when we talk about this not to suppose that Jesus was somehow less than the Father by being His Son. We know from Hebrews 1:3 that “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” Philippians 2:6 tells us that he was “in very nature God” and “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.”
Nevertheless, as a Son of the Father He owed His existence to the Father and owed submission to the Father. Though the Scriptures don’t clearly or explicitly tell us this, we may suppose that Jesus existence as the Son was something that was continually generated by the Father from all eternity, so that there was never a time that Jesus did not exist. The same may be said about the Holy Spirit, though we might suggest that the Holy Spirit was generated by both the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, in every sense, all three are equal in terms of possessing the divine essence and attributes.
But I bring this up because this is a fact about Jesus that we must ponder and because it is important for us to know that Jesus is quite familiar with the experience all of us have had of being generated by our parents. He understands and relates to our experience of being dependent on our parents and submissive to them. Of course, it is not that Jesus has to “grow up” and become independent of His Father in the same way we become independent of our parents. Rather we might say He came already “grown up” and is delighted with the relationship He has and has had with the Father from all eternity.
He prays for a return to this aspect of the relationship in John 17, a return to the glory of God’s presence and the experience of His own glorious existence as the recognized Son of the Father. This also gives us a clue to what the second phase of His existence was like. When He took on human nature He of necessity gave up the experience of being recognized as the glorious Son of the Father and gave up the direct experience of the Father’s glory. He did it to live a life we needed to see and to die a death we should have died. We are already seeing Jesus’ sacrificial love for us and how far He is willing to let it take Him.
- How Do You Explain the Trinity? (askthepastors.wordpress.com)
- Is the trinity like one person with three roles? (askthepastors.wordpress.com)