To Abraham, God was known by the Name of The Almighty, and through Moses God made Himself known to Israel as Jehovah,but God as yet remained within the thick darkness; He was not known to men,even as we read in John 1:18, "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." It was in the Person of the Son that God was made known, and this in His declaration of the Father’s Name.
In Matthew’s Gospel the Lord Jesus is specially presented as Israel’s king, and in chapter11 we see Him as rejected by the nation, and reproaching the cities "in which most of His works of power had taken place." Yet, at that very time, with Israel’s door closed against Him, Jesus gives a remarkable answer, for it is written, "At that time, Jesus answering said, I praise Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and hast revealed them to babes" (v. 25). The leaders of Israel, the wise and the prudent, were blind as to the glory of the Person who was in their midst; but the disciples, those who were accounted but as babes, had the knowledge of God in the Person of Jesus. This is the divine answer to His rejection by the leaders of Israel. It was the good pleasure of God to give the revelation of Himself, not to great religious leaders, but to the simple men, untaught in the schools of men, but educated in the company of the Son of God.
Then follows from the lips of the Lord the wondrous truth of Christianity, "All things have been delivered to me by My Father, and no one knows the Son but the Father, nor does any one know the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son may be pleased to reveal Him" (v. 27). The kingdom of Israel may be refused Him by the people and their leaders, but His Father had given everything into the hands of the Son of God. Henceforth, He would not have the kingdom from Israel, but He would have it among the "all things" that His Father had entrusted to Him.
The Son stands in a relationship with the Father that the Father only could know, even as in the Person of the Son there is a holy mystery beyond the knowledge of any but the Father. But the Son had come to make the Father known, and in this revelation is the substance of the truth of Christianity. How often the Name of Father was on the lips of the Son,and while this showed the public nature of the declaration of the Father’s Name, it was not to all that holy, precious Name was known, but only to those"to whom the Son" was pleased to reveal Him. Many heard the Son speak of the Father, but few entered into the knowledge of the Father’s Name.
While the making known of the Father’s Name gives the full revelation of God in His nature, and brings to light the eternal relationship of the Son and the Father, yet the Name of the Father is known to the babes in the family of God. Writing to the babes, the apostle John says, "I write to you, little children, because ye have known the Father" (1John 2:13). This is not knowledge attained by spiritual growth, but communicated by the Son of God to all in the divine family; it belongs to the relationship of sonship, which belongs to all who have received the truth of the Gospel and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Writing to the Galatian saints, the apostle Paul says, "Because ye are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6).
Especially in John’s Gospel do we hear the Son speak of the Father. The temple, in John 2, is His Father’s house; and in John 4, to the lonely woman of Sychar, He speaks of seeking worshippers for the Father, such as should worship Him in spirit and in truth. In chapter 5 He speaks many things concerning the Father. He says, "My Father worketh hitherto,and I work" (v. 17). Quickening, raising the dead, life, judgment and all His works are viewed by Him in relation to the Father. He speaks of the Father’s love for Him, and of the witness of the Father to Him, saying, "I am come in my Father’s Name, and ye receive me not; if another come in his own name, him ye will receive" (v. 43). He would not accuse them to the Father, but Moses, whose testimony of Him they had refused would accuse them to Him.
There is much of which the Son speaks concerning the Father in John 6, 8, and 10; His prayer to the Father in John 11 at the tomb of Lazarus manifests His all-absorbing desire to glorify the Father’s Name in the moment of the display of His power as the Resurrection and the Life; again in John 12, He values the Father’s honour and seeks His glory, with all the judgment of the cross troubling His soul; and He closes His testimony to the world in speaking of the Father’s commandment which brought life eternal to those who believed in Him.
In John 13-16,the Son of God is preparing His own for their place with Him before the Father,in all the affection of which He had spoken, and as having His life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. John 17 gives that most wonderful prayer, in which the Son speaks of His own place with the Father and of all the glory belonging to Him and about to be received, His eternal glory with the Father, the glory received from the Father as Man, and what His own would behold in the Father’s House and share with Him in the glory of the coming day.
It must be evident that when the Lord uses the words "The Father" He is thinking of God as revealed in this holy Name that brings to light the relationship in which the Persons of the Godhead have ever been. Because of this, when the Lord sent out the apostles, as recorded in Matthew 28, He said, "Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them to the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (v. 20).
Although revealed in time, and not until the Son came, the name of Father belongs to eternity. This is clearly seen in such Scriptures as, "I came out from the Father, and have come into the world;again I leave the world and go to the Father" (John 16:28); "Father…thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).
The Name of Father brings with it the deep and eternal affections that could not be known until Jesus came; the grace towards men for those who were drawn to the Son; and the eternal life which was with the Father, was revealed in the Son, and which has been made available to us through the death of Jesus.
When the Lord said "My Father" He asserted the divine relationship in which He stood with the Father. We see this in John 5, where, in verse 17, He says, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work."They had sought to kill Him for healing the impotent man on the Sabbath (v.16); now "the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He had not only violated the sabbath, but also said that God was His own Father, making Himself equal with God" (John 5:18). In chapter 10 we see the same thing. Three times over He had said "My Father"(John 10:25, 29), then said, "I and the Father are one" (v. 30); then the Jews"therefore again took stones that they might stone Him," giving as their reason, "because thou, being a man, makes thyself God" (vv. 31-33).
This was the assertion of the relationship in which He then stood as a Man on earth to God the Father in heaven. In John’s Gospel His relationship with the Father is not viewed as Son on account of the virgin birth-that we have in Luke’s Gospel-He is Son in relation to the Father because of His eternal relationship with Him,having brought as the incarnate Son the same relationship into Manhood that ever belonged to Him with the Father. He is a divine Person on earth, who can say, "I honour my Father," and "It is my Father who glorifies me" (John 8:49,54).
If the Lord says"My Father" in testimony to the Father before men, when addressing His Father,He says, "Father." (The record of His address to His Father in Gethsemane in Matthew’s Gospel gives "My Father.") We hear the Son address the Father thus when He praises Him as having hidden the wonderful truths of the divine revelation from the wise and prudent, and having revealed them unto babes. In Gethsemane, in His deep agony, He says "Father";on the cross, Jesus said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"Luke 23:34); and after He had borne the judgment of God for sin, He can say"Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit" (v. 46).
In the Gospel of John, the Lord at the grave of Lazarus, says, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me"; in John 5:12, where His soul is troubled, He asks, "What shall I say?" Will He say, "Father save me from this hour"; He will say, "Father glorify Thy Name." His prayer in John 5:17 opens with the words, "Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee." In this chapter,He uses the Name "Father" in verses 5, 21, and 24 as well as in the opening verse.
The Living Father
Everything that lives comes from the living God; indeed, in John’s Gospel the Son is presented to us as having life in Himself, first, inherently in John 1:4, then as receiving it from the Father in John 5:26. The Son had come to bring to light a new kind of life altogether,not a life that perishes, but eternal life, a life which has its source in the Father and the Son. Coming into the world, the Son was the Living Bread,and could say, "If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51).
What a wonderful mission belonged to the Son. He had been sent into the world, a world of sin and death, to bring into it the life of God; but this life could only be appropriated by men in feeding upon His death. The source of His mission is the Living Father; He had sent Him, the Bread of Life, the Living Bread, that men might have life in communion with Him in a scene where death is unknown. The whole existence of the Son was inseparably bound up with the life and being of the Father, and the Living Father had sent Him to give effect to His will in the manifestation and the communication of eternal life.
If the leaders of Israel were unconcerned regarding the mission of the Son of God, the One they claimed to be their God was livingly concerned. He was not a God that was indifferent to the creatures of His hand, nor to the people that He had chosen for Himself. He had come out in the person of the Son to make Himself known as Father, and He was the Living Father, vitally interested in every movement of His Son, and in the attitude of men to Him. It was a small matter to the Jews that Jesus should live and die; it was of the utmost importance to the Living Father.
As the Son, in prayer to the Father, in John 17:11-12, thinks of His own in the world, left behind as He returns to heaven, He says, "Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name which Thou hast given me, that they may be one as we. When I was with them I kept them in Thy Name; those Thou hast given me I have guarded, and net one of them has perished, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." The Son cared for and watched over His disciples, not only because they were His own, but because they had been the Father’s gift to Him. He guarded them in the Name of the Holy Father as still belonging to Him though He had given them to the Son.
Now that He is to return to the Father, He gives them back to His care and protection, knowing that He would shield them from the enemy and give them the sense of His great love for them. We have been privileged to listen to these precious words that we might realize the deep interest and affection of the Holy Father in those He has given to the Son; and that we might know the preciousness and blessedness of what is involved in the Name of the Holy Father. The more our souls enter into its deep meaning, the more shall we enjoy His love, evinced in the portion given to us along with His own Son, and the more shall we seek to be here for His pleasure, separated to Himself, and apart from all unholiness that is so contrary to the Name of the Holy Father.
If the Son had given over to the care of the Holy Father those He had received from Him to protect in this world, He is constrained to tell the Righteous Father "the world hath not known Thee" (John 17:25). There is no knowledge of the Righteous Father in this world; so that we would seek in vain to have any knowledge of Him in the schools of this world. But the Son could add, "But I have known Thee." Here is One in whom is found the full and perfect knowledge of the Father, the Righteous Father, the One who is the source of all, and righteous in all that He does.
Rejected in unrighteousness by the world, the Son can find His consolation in returning to the Righteous Father, as He says in John 16:10, the Spirit would convict the world"of righteousness, because I go to my Father." There was also the knowledge that if the world knew not the Righteous Father, there were those who knew that He had sent Him. His mission had not been in vain; the Father had drawn to Him those who were to be His companions in His glory and in the joys of the Father’s House, and they knew Him as the Sent One of the Righteous Father. To them He had declared the Father’s Name, and would again make it known to them, so that they might know divine love in their souls, and be here as witnesses for Him in the scene out of which He had gone.
My Father and Your Father
During His sojourn with His own, the Son of God had declared to them the Father’s Name,but He added in John 17:26, "And will declare it." We have the prophetic utterance of this wonderful declaration in Psalm 22:22, and its fulfillment in John 20:17, where the Lord says to Mary Magdalene, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father; and to My God and your God." The declaration of the Father’s Name in His life had brought out the Father’s grace, affection, and counsels,and had shown the eternal relationship of the Son to the Father; the declaration of the Father’s Name in resurrection brought His own into His place of relationship and affection with the Father.
We could not have conceived such blessing as is involved in the new relationship declared in the making known of the Father’s Name by the risen Son of God. Even now we know the relationship; we know the joys of being in the company of the Son of God where He leads the praises of His own to the Father in the midst of the assembly, and where we, as newborn sons, call on the Father’s Name. But it is an eternal relationship that brings with it eternal blessing; all the deep joys of the Father’s House, where as sons with His own Son we shall be before Him in love for evermore.
On earth, the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to say,"Our Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9); but blessed as this relationship is it does not reach the truth of the eternal relationship secured by Christ’s death, and announced in resurrection. It is the relationship of God in heaven with a people on earth, not the heavenly and eternal relationship that belongs to the counsels of God. In all the epistles of Paul, written to gatherings of the saints, he speaks in the introduction of "God our Father." It is the true relationship of the Christian circle to God, who has been made known as Father by the Lord Jesus Christ, and who has brought us into the favoured place of relationship in Christian blessing.
As we contemplate the wondrous revelation of the Father in the Person of the Son, and consider all the blessing that has been brought to us in the knowledge of His Name, and all the love made known in the gift of His well-beloved Son in whom we are so richly blessed, we can surely say with the writer of the epistle to the Ephesians, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ;according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (1:1-4).