The Gospel Sync | #20 | John 1:15-18
Welcome Back! Today, we’ll be looking at the Gospel of John and discussing who really knows the Father.
So let’s dive in.
(Click here to get a copy of the Gospel Sync document)
The Gospel – John 1:15-18
John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, because He existed before me.’” From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
Identity, identity, and more identity! In my last post, we talked about what the Father had to say about Jesus. In this passage, John the Baptist continues to explain who Jesus is. But what I really want to focus on is verse 18:
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
According to John, Jesus is the ultimate authority on the Father’s identity. He knows the inside scoop on God Himself. Jesus agrees with John’s assessment:
“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27)
And where does Jesus get all this insider information? Straight from the inside – or rather, straight from the Father’s bosom. I’ve talked about alignment and intimacy with God before, and no one has been more aligned and intimate with the Father than Jesus. He knows the Father’s heart so well that He IS the Father’s heart. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:1-3a)
The reason Jesus knows God the Father so well is that He is God the Son. He is one with the Father. Knowing the Father is like knowing Himself. And we could say the same about the Spirit. Three persons, one God in absolute unity. Jesus knows God.
But here’s the thing: the Father isn’t some distant, unknowable deity. No, the Father wants to be known. That’s one of the reasons He sent Jesus to us. He wants to reveal himself to us through His Son. Through His life, teachings, miracles, and ultimately His sacrificial death and resurrection, Jesus revealed God’s character and nature to us, making it possible for us to have a personal relationship with God.
As disciple-makers, it’s our job to spread the good news of the Father’s identity too. But here’s the catch: we can’t do it alone. We absolutely need Jesus. We need His wisdom and His insight. And where will we get this insight? From the Scriptures, and in particular, the Gospels. This is where we will get the clearest explanations about who God the Father is from Jesus. As disciple-makers, we need to be knee-deep in the Word and help others do the same. You will hear me say this often because I have found that a lot of people “making disciples” are merely dabbling in the Word of God. Without a strong influence of the Bible, we are really missing out on knowing God for real.
In the early 2000s, I made the decision to read a little of the Gospels every day. I was motivated to do this for several reasons, but one was the teaching of Dr. Howard Hendricks. He was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and extensively taught on discipleship. One of his common phrases, which I heard time and time again, was “We must master the Master.” In other words, if Jesus is the ultimate model of what it means to love God and people, shouldn’t we spend the lion’s share of our time in the Word of God studying Him?
Well, one of the unexpected side effects of “Mastering the Master” was getting to know the Father so much better. I saw His truths, love, mercy, grace, and justice more clearly as Jesus explained Him. I have no regrets about spending so much time getting to know Jesus because I’ve also gotten to know the Father (and the Spirit) better. I’ve been able to connect so many more dots in the Old Testament by focusing on the Messiah to reveal the Father to me. I highly recommend reading parts of the Gospels daily.
Here’s a link to one of my favorite messages from Dr. Howard Hendricks – The Dynamics of Discipleship
Our Action Plan
As we are making disciples of Jesus here are some ideas of how to seek Jesus for more clarity on who the Father is and how to communicate it to others;
- Read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As you read, pay attention to passages that describe Jesus’ relationship with the Father, and how He talks about Him.
- Look for keywords and phrases that describe the Father. Words such as “Abba,” “Father,” “God,” and “Heavenly Father” are often used to describe God the Father.
- Pay attention to Jesus’ actions in the Gospels. How does He relate to the Father? What does He do in response to the Father’s will?
- Study Jesus’ prayers in the Gospels. How does He address the Father? What does He ask for? How does He praise and thank the Father?
- Look for Jesus’ specific teachings about the Father in the Gospels. What does He say about the Father’s character, attributes, and ways? How does He teach us to relate to the Father?
- Look at the miracles that Jesus performs in the Gospels. How do they reveal the Father’s heart and character?
- Finally, reflect on Jesus’ life as a whole. How does His life and ministry reveal the Father’s character and ways? What can you learn about the Father from Jesus’ life?
So let’s take John’s advice and go straight to the source. Let’s read the Bible and especially the Gospels, soak up Jesus’ teachings, and get to know the Father in all His glory.