Some six times in the New Testament, reference is made to ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’.1 In each verse, a two-fold relationship is in view; His ‘God’ and His ‘Father’, and we need to distinguish between them. As ‘the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’, the focus is upon the essential deity of the Lord Jesus, and the eternal relationship that existed between the Father and the Son. As ‘the God of our Lord Jesus Christ’, the focus is upon the relationship that existed, commencing with the incarnation, when He ‘made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men’, Phil. 2. 7, and in that connection several verses might readily come to mind:
Added to those the verses we mentioned earlier from the Epistles, which speak of the two-fold relationship of the ‘God’ and ‘Father’ of the Lord Jesus, all relate to the Lord as He is now, a glorified man, risen and exalted to God’s right hand. By contrast, as we have said, the specific title ‘Father of our Lord Jesus’ has in view the essential deity of the Lord Jesus, His relation to the Father as His Son.
The Lord Jesus did not become the Son at His incarnation. He was eternally that before ever He came into the world. The prophet Isaiah wrote, ‘unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given’, Isa. 9. 6. Careful note should be given to the language, not a son born, but ‘a son given‘. The Apostle Paul said, ‘when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law’, Gal. 4. 4. He was already the Son when God sent Him forth. Likewise, the Apostle John says, ‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him’, 1 John 4. 9. Who was sent? ‘His only begotten Son’; as applied to Christ the title is unique to the writings of John, and comes four times in his Gospel,2denoting the uniqueness of the One sent, and the intimate relationship existing between the sender and the One sent. Just five verses later in his first Epistle, John says, ‘the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world’, v. 14. A relationship that was intimated by the Lord in the parable of the wicked husbandmen when the householder, having sent to the husbandmen his servants whom they beat, killed and stoned, last of all ‘he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son’, Matt. 21. 37. Again, in His prayer in John chapter 17, the Lord Jesus, addressing His Father, speaks of the ‘glory which I had with thee before the world was’ and, yet again, ‘thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world’, vv. 5, 24.
He was manifest in flesh at His birth, but He had existed eternally as the Son. John chapter 1 verse 18 refers to Him as the ‘only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father’. Commenting on the verse, W. E. Vine said, ‘The phrase “in the bosom of the Father” describes a timeless state, an eternal condition and relation of the fullest intimacy, affection and fellowship, and implies the unbroken continuation of that in the days of His flesh’.3 This is the eternal character of the relationship between the Father and the Son.
Although the Lord is spoken of as being the ‘Son’, we must exclude from the title the idea of ‘generation’, and also any thought of the Son being in some way inferior to the Father. In John chapter 5, following the healing of the impotent man on the Sabbath day, the Jews sought to kill the Lord because of what He had done. In response, He said, ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work’, the Son a co-worker with His Father in the healing of the man, v. 17. So, to condemn the Son for healing on the Sabbath was to equally condemn the Father. The Jews understood the implication of the Lord’s statement and verse 18 says, ‘Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God‘. Far from denying what they said, the Lord proceeded in the following verses to assert His unity and oneness with the Father, vv. 19-29. A unity so complete that the honour of the Father is inherently linked to honouring the Son, v. 23.
In John chapter 10 verse 24, the Jews accosted the Lord Jesus and said, ‘If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly’. The Lord asserted that His works bore testimony to the fact that He was sent by God, ‘works that I do in my Father’s name’, v. 25. The Jews did not believe that, and the Lord gives this reason, ‘because ye are not of my sheep’ - ‘sheep’ to whom He gives eternal life and whom the Father has given as a love-gift to Him, vv. 26-29. The Lord then states plainly, ‘I and my Father are one‘, a statement that asserts not simply one in purpose and work but one in nature, two distinct persons, co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent. Again, the Jews understood the weight of the Lord’s words and ‘took up stones again to stone him’. The Lord then challenged them, ‘Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?’ They reply, ‘For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God‘, vv. 30-33.
It is instructive that when speaking to the disciples the Lord carefully distinguished between His and their relationship to the Father, cp. John 20. 17. He would speak of ‘your Father’ and ‘my Father’; not once, on account of the unique relationship that was His, did He include them with Himself in saying ‘our Father’.4
Many passages could be referred to, but consider some of the statements made by the Lord Jesus Himself:
Surveying the verses, we must surely say that, like Abraham and Isaac of old, ‘they went both of them together’, Gen. 22. 6, and to reverently bow in worship and adoration of both the Father and the Son.
But through the finished work of the Lord Jesus every believer has been brought into that circle of divine love and fellowship; His Father is our Father, and we expectantly await the Lord’s return to take us to His Father’s house that where He is, we may be also, John 14. 1-3. This is truth that every believer surely rejoices in, but are we busy in our ‘Father’s business’, obedient and pleasing to Him?
Rom. 15. 6; 2 Cor. 1. 3; 11. 31; Eph. 1. 3; Col. 1. 3; 1 Pet. 1. 3. Ephesians chapter 3 verse 14 KJV refers to the ‘Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ but many authorities accept a shorter reading omitting the words ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’.
John 1. 14, 18; 3. 16, 18.
W. E. Vine, John, his record of Christ, Oliphants, pg. 13.
Matthew chapter 6 verse 9, and Luke chapter 11 verse 2 are no exceptions to this. Though often called ‘the Lord’s Prayer’, it is, in reality, the disciples’ prayer. ‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven’; ‘When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven’.