Monday, February 14, 2011

Humility of the Father

The Trinity shows humility, and humility shows the Trinity.

In this posting, we consider the humility of the Father.

Baptism of Jesus

When Jesus was baptized,

he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10-11).

The Father glorified Jesus by saying:
  • Jesus is His Son
  • the Father loves Jesus
  • the Father is well pleased with Jesus
The Father glorifies his Son; He does not glorify Himself. The Father is humble.

This is true because of the Trinity. The words “Father” and “Son” are not just different titles for one person. Though God is one, yet God is three distinct Persons. At his baptism, Jesus is not practicing ventriloquism. He is not throwing his voice to sound as if it is coming from heaven and saying of himself, “With you I am well pleased.” That would be one person saying how pleased he is with himself. That would be vainglory. Because of the Trinity, the voice really is from heaven. The voice really is from another Person, the Father. The Father is not speaking of himself, but of another Person, the Son.

Wilderness Temptation of Jesus

Immediately after his baptism, the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. (Mark 1:11-12) The Father had just said to Jesus at his baptism, “You are my beloved Son.” What does the Devil say?

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3)

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here [the pinnacle of the Temple].” (Luke 4:9)

The temptation was to unbelief. The temptation was to doubt the word of the Father. The Father had just lately said, “You are my beloved Son.” The Devil immediately says, “If you are the Son of God.”

If Jesus were to test the Father to prove his sonship, that would arise from a sensation that the Father’s word alone was not sufficient. A humble Person’s mere words are sufficient. It is not a humble Person who needs to be tested, whose words need to be proved. The self-glorification of vain persons calls for testing their claims, but Jesus knew the humility of the Father.

Transfiguration of Jesus

When Jesus was transfigured,

a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matt. 17:5)

In this, the Father repeats the three previous glorifications at the baptism, and He adds a fourth glorification of Jesus, saying:
  • listen to him
The Father directs attention away from Himself to his Son. The Father is humble.

Opposition to Jesus

When Jesus experienced conflict and opposition, he was stable and assured by his Father. When people said to him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me.” (John 8:54)

Jesus had not been destabilized by temptation from the Devil, and he did not lose his assurance by opposition from people. He trusted the Father to glorify him.

Resurrection of Jesus

When Jesus was resurrected, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to a mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matt 28:18)

The Father gave all authority in heaven and on earth to Jesus. The Father is humble.

Ascension of Jesus

When Jesus had died, was buried, and was resurrected, He ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. (Acts 2:32)

God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)

The Father adds more glorifications of Jesus:
  • highly exalted him
  • gave him the name above all names
  • at the name of Jesus, every knee everywhere should bow
  • every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
The Father is a busy Person. He is busy glorifying his Son. He tells his Son to rest at his right hand while the Father does the work of defeating the Son’s enemies.

Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. (Acts 2:34; 13:33; Heb 1:13; Psalm 110:1)

Yes, the Philippians text also says this is “to the glory of God the Father.” It is to the Father’s glory that He rejoices in someone’s glory besides his own. He rejoices in Jesus’ glory, and he busies himself with glorifying Jesus.

Marriage of Jesus and the Church

When the church is resurrected, she will ascend into heaven. At that time, the Father will make something of a production. The production will not center on the Father himself. It will center on Jesus, the Lamb of God, and his marriage to the church.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

For the Lord our God
   the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
   and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
   and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
   with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19:6-9)

The Father continues into eternity humble. Because of the Trinity, the Father’s continuing exaltation of the Son really is the glorification not of himself, but of Another.

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