‘The Son Is Willing to Reveal the Father’
“Who the Father is, no one knows but the Son, and he to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.”—LUKE 10:22.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
Why was Jesus in a unique position to reveal his Father?
How did Jesus reveal his Father to others?
In what ways can you imitate Jesus in revealing the Father?
1, 2. What question has puzzled many, and why?
‘WHO is God?’ This question puzzles many. For instance, although most nominal Christians believe that God is a Trinity, many will admit that this doctrine is impossible to understand. One author and clergyman acknowledged: “This is a doctrine beyond the scope of man’s finite mind. It lies outside the realm of natural reason or human logic.” On the other hand, most who accept the theory of evolution believe that there is no God. They attribute all the wonders of creation to blind chance. Even so, instead of denying God’s existence, Charles Darwin said: “The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect.”
2 Most people, whatever their beliefs, have pondered over questions related to God’s existence. However, when they failed to reach a satisfying conclusion, many eventually gave up on their search for God. Indeed, Satan has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Little wonder that the majority of mankind are left in ignorance and confusion as to the truth about the Father, the Creator of the universe!—Isa. 45:18.
3. (a) Who has revealed the Creator to us? (b) What questions are we going to consider?
3 Yet, it is vital that people learn the truth about God. Why? Because only those who call “on the name of Jehovah” will be saved. (Rom. 10:13) To call on God’s name involves becoming acquainted with Jehovah as a Person. Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples this vital knowledge. He revealed the Father to them. (Read Luke 10:22.) Why was Jesus able to reveal the Father as no one else could? How did Jesus do so? And how can we imitate Jesus in revealing the Father to others? Let us consider these questions.
JESUS CHRIST—UNIQUELY QUALIFIED
4, 5. Why was Jesus in a unique position to reveal his Father?
4 Jesus was especially qualified to reveal his Father. Why? Because before all other forms of life were created, the spirit creature who later became the man Jesus already existed in heaven as “the only-begotten Son of God.” (John 1:14; 3:18) What a unique position! While no other creature existed, the Son basked in the warmth of his Father’s attention and learned about Him and His qualities. The Father and Son must have communicated extensively and developed deep affection for each other over aeons of time. (John 5:20; 14:31) What a wealth of insight into his Father’s personality the Son must have gained!—Read Colossians 1:15-17.
5 The Father designated the Son to be His spokesman, “The Word of God.” (Rev. 19:13) Therefore, Jesus was in a unique position to reveal the Father to others. Appropriately, Gospel writer John describes Jesus, “the Word,” as being “in the bosom position with the Father.” (John 1:1, 18) With that expression, John alludes to a custom that in his day was common at mealtimes. One guest would recline right in front of another person on the same couch. Being close together, these two could easily engage in conversation. So the Son, being “in the bosom position,” had intimate conversations with his Father.
6, 7. How did the relationship between the Father and the Son keep developing?
6 The relationship between the Father and the Son kept developing. The Son “came to be the one [God] was specially fond of day by day.” (Read Proverbs 8:22, 23, 30, 31.) It is logical, then, that the bond between the two became stronger as they worked together and as the Son learned to imitate his Father’s qualities. With the creation of other intelligent creatures, the Son saw how Jehovah dealt with each one, and his appreciation for God’s personality surely deepened.
7 Even the challenge that Satan later launched against the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty gave the Son an opportunity to learn how Jehovah would exercise love, justice, wisdom, and power when He was confronted with a difficult situation. This would, in turn, no doubt have prepared Jesus to cope with the difficulties that he himself later encountered in his ministry on earth.—John 5:19.
8. How do the Gospel accounts help us to learn much about the Father’s qualities?
8 Because of his close relationship with Jehovah, the Son explained the Father in richer detail than anyone else could ever do. What better way could there be for us to come to know the Father than by considering what his only-begotten Son taught and did? To illustrate, think how difficult it would be for us to come to appreciate fully what the word “love” means by merely reading a dictionary definition. Yet, by reflecting on the vivid accounts of the Gospel writers about Jesus’ ministry and his ways of caring for others, we can gain much insight into the statement “God is love.” (1 John 4:8, 16) The same is true of God’s other qualities that Jesus revealed to his disciples while he was on earth.
HOW JESUS REVEALED HIS FATHER
9. (a) In what two basic ways did Jesus reveal his Father? (b) Give an example that shows how Jesus revealed his Father through his teaching.
9 How did Jesus reveal the Father to his disciples and by extension to his future followers? He did so in two basic ways: through his teachings and through his conduct. Let us first consider Jesus’ teachings. What Jesus taught his followers reflected his deep insight into his Father’s thoughts, feelings, and ways. For example, Jesus likened his Father to a caring owner of a flock who goes off to look for one stray sheep. Jesus said that when the owner finds the lost sheep, “he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that have not strayed.” What was the application of that illustration? “Likewise,” Jesus explained, “it is not a desirable thing with my Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish.” (Matt. 18:12-14) What can you learn about Jehovah from this illustration? Even if you at times feel that you are of little value and are forgotten, your heavenly Father is interested in you and cares for you. In his eyes, you are one of “these little ones.”
10. How did Jesus reveal his Father through his own conduct?
10 The second way in which Jesus revealed the Father to his disciples was by means of his conduct. So when the apostle Philip asked Jesus: “Show us the Father,” Jesus could rightly say: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:8, 9) Consider some examples of how Jesus demonstrated his Father’s qualities. When a leper begged Jesus to cure him, Jesus touched the man who was “full of leprosy” and told him: “I want to. Be made clean.” Upon being cured, the leper no doubt could see Jehovah’s hand in what Jesus did. (Luke 5:12, 13) Also, at the time of Lazarus’ death, the disciples must have felt the Father’s compassion when Jesus “groaned in the spirit and became troubled” and “gave way to tears.” Though Jesus knew that he was going to resurrect Lazarus, he felt the pain that was evident among Lazarus’ family and friends. (John 11:32-35, 40-43) You no doubt have your favorite Bible accounts that enable you to see the merciful Father as exemplified by Jesus’ actions.
11. (a) When Jesus cleansed the temple, what did he reveal about his Father? (b) Why is the account of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple reassuring to us?
11 However, what conclusion do you draw from Jesus’ cleansing of the temple? Visualize the scene: Jesus made a whip of ropes, and he drove out those selling cattle and sheep. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. (John 2:13-17) That forceful action made the disciples recall the prophetic words of King David: “Sheer zeal for your house has eaten me up.” (Ps. 69:9) By taking firm action, Jesus showed a strong desire to defend true worship. Do you see in that account the Father’s personality? It reminds us that God has not only the unlimited power to wipe wickedness from the face of the earth but also the ardent desire to do so. This depiction of Jesus’ strong reaction to wrongdoing reveals how the Father must feel as he looks at the wickedness that is rampant on earth today. How reassuring that is to us when we are coping with injustices!
12, 13. What can you learn about Jehovah from the way Jesus treated his disciples?
12 Let us consider another example—the way Jesus treated his disciples. They kept arguing about who was greater. (Mark 9:33-35; 10:43; Luke 9:46) From his long experience with the Father, Jesus knew how Jehovah feels about such prideful tendencies. (2 Sam. 22:28; Ps. 138:6) Moreover, Jesus had seen such inclinations manifested by Satan the Devil. That egotistic individual cared greatly about prominence and position. Hence, how grieved Jesus must have been to see an ambitious attitude continue among the disciples he had trained! It was even found among the ones he had chosen as apostles! They showed an ambitious attitude until the very last day of Jesus’ life on earth. (Luke 22:24-27) Yet, Jesus kept on reproving them with kindness, without ever losing hope that they would eventually learn to imitate his own humble mental attitude.—Phil. 2:5-8.
13 Can you see the Father’s hand in the way Jesus patiently corrected wrong tendencies in his disciples? Do you see in Jesus’ actions and words the Father, who does not forsake his people despite their repeated failures? With that knowledge of God’s qualities in mind, are we not motivated to approach him to express our repentance when we make mistakes?
THE SON WILLINGLY REVEALED HIS FATHER
14. How did Jesus show that he was willing to reveal his Father?
14 Many dictators try to keep people under control and in ignorance by withholding information from them. In contrast, Jesus was willing to share the information he had about the Father, revealing Him fully to others. (Read Matthew 11:27.) In addition, Jesus gave his disciples “intellectual capacity that [they might] gain the knowledge of the true one,” Jehovah God. (1 John 5:20) What does that mean? Jesus opened up his followers’ minds so that they could understand his teachings about the Father. He did not hide his Father in a cloud of mystery by teaching that He was part of an incomprehensible Trinity.
15. Why did Jesus hold back some information about his Father?
15 Did Jesus reveal everything that he knew about his Father? No, he wisely held back from sharing many things he knew. (Read John 16:12.) Why? Because at the time, his disciples were “not able to bear” such knowledge. As Jesus explained, though, a great deal of knowledge would be revealed upon the arrival of “the helper,” the holy spirit, that would guide them “into all the truth.” (John 16:7, 13) Just as wise parents may withhold some information from their children until the children become old enough to understand, so Jesus waited until the disciples became mature and able to comprehend certain facts about the Father. Jesus kindly took into account their limitations.
IMITATE JESUS BY HELPING OTHERS TO KNOW JEHOVAH
16, 17. Why are you in a position to reveal the Father to others?
16 When you come to know someone well and appreciate his loving personality, are you not moved to tell others about him? When on earth, Jesus talked about his Father. (John 17:25, 26) Is it possible for us to imitate him in revealing Jehovah to others?
17 As we have considered, Jesus had far deeper knowledge of his Father than others did. Yet, he was willing to share some of what he knew, even giving his followers the intellectual capacity for grasping deeper aspects of God’s personality. With the help of Jesus, have we not come to appreciate our Father in a way that most people today do not? How grateful we are that Jesus through his teachings and conduct willingly revealed his Father to us! In fact, we may properly boast in knowing the Father. (Jer. 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:31) As we have striven to draw close to Jehovah, he has drawn close to us. (Jas. 4:8) Therefore, we are now in a position to share our knowledge with others. How can we do that?
18, 19. In what ways can you reveal the Father to others? Explain.
18 We need to imitate Jesus by revealing the Father by our words and deeds. Keep in mind that many we meet in field service do not know who God is. Their view of God may be obscured by false teachings. We may share with them what we know about God’s name, his purpose for humans, and his personality as revealed in the Bible. Moreover, we may discuss with fellow believers some Bible accounts that reveal God’s personality in a way that we did not appreciate before. That way, they too may benefit.
19 How about revealing the Father by your conduct as you strive to imitate Jesus? When people see in our actions the love of Christ, they will be drawn to the Father as well as to Jesus. (Eph. 5:1, 2) The apostle Paul encouraged us to ‘become imitators of him, even as he was of Christ.’ (1 Cor. 11:1) What a wonderful privilege we have of helping people to see Jehovah in the way we conduct ourselves! Yes, may we all keep on imitating Jesus by revealing the Father to others.