THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF OCTOBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.
A gracEmail subscriber observes that most Christian churches he has known emphasize Jesus more than they emphasize God his Father. However, Jesus identified himself as ‘the way’ to the Father, making Father God the destination to which Jesus is the route. Is this a problem?
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Throughout John’s Gospel narrative, Jesus repeatedly identifies himself as the Son of God the Creator who is the faithful God of Israel and the only living God. Jesus explains that he has come to earth on a mission from the Father and when he completes that mission he will return to the Father (John 16:28). He even dares to say that he and the Father are one (John 10:30) and that whoever sees him also sees the Father (John 14:8-9). Matthew, John’s fellow Gospeler, sums it up by saying that Jesus of Nazareth, the firstborn son of the Virgin Mary, is none other than Emmanuel — “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
While Son of God on the earth, Jesus defers to the Father as greater than himself (John 14:28). He fulfills the Father’s wishes (John 5:30) and he speaks the Father’s words (John 14:10). Jesus points people to the Father (John 17:3) whom he alone reveals (John 1:18). Jesus goes to the cross entrusting himself entirely to the Father (Luke 23:46). God vindicates Jesus’ trust by raising him from the dead (Rom. 1:4). God then exalts the Risen Jesus to his own right hand in heaven, gives him all authority and a rank above all others (Phil. 2:5-11). At the End, Jesus will subject himself again to the Father and God will be “everything to everyone” (1 Cor. 15:28 RSV).
You are correct that Jesus described himself as the “way” or “road” to God (John 14:6). If we think of ourselves as pilgrims traveling to God, Jesus personally is the route to our desired destination. We know God’s love for us because of what we see in Jesus (1 John 3:1). Through Jesus, his Father invites us to know him as our own Father, too (Rom. 8:15-17). We have fellowship with the Father through our relationship with Jesus (1 John 1:3). Through Jesus, we are believers in God. Through him, our faith and hope are in God (1 Pet. 1:21).