Jesus Reveals the Father

OVERVIEW - John’s Prologue contrasts Jesus with the Mosaic legislation. Light, Life and Truth are found in Jesus, not in the latterJohn 1:18

Cross - Photo by Timeo Buehrer on Unsplash
The prologue to the
gospel of John introduces its key themes - Life, light, witness, truth, grace. Jesus is the light of the world, the source of grace and truth, the true Tabernacle, and the only one who has seen the Unseen God, who now “tabernacles” in the “word made flesh.” It ends by concluding that he alone is able and full-qualified to interpret the Father - [Cross - Photo by Timeo Buehrer on Unsplash].

The Torah was given through Moses; however, “grace and truth came to be through Jesus Christ.” In John’s time, this statement would be perceived as a direct challenge to claims about the Mosaic Law common in many Jewish circles. Regardless, in the New Testament, Jesus becomes the “word” or logos by which God made all things, and in which He reveals His true glory.
  • (John 1:14-18) – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.  John bears witness of him, and cries, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that comes after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fullness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he interpreted…
In verse 18, “interpreted” translates the Greek verb exégeomai, meaning, “to lead out, explain, interpret.” In the Greek sentence, there is no direct object supplied with the verb; it is used intransitively. There is no “him” after exégeomai. It is open-ended. Jesus is the final and ultimate interpreter of everything that relates to his Father.

Only-born Son” expands on the statement, “we beheld his glory, a glory as of an only-born from a father, full of grace and truth.” This figure is identified explicitly as “Jesus Christ,” the one who gave “grace and truth.” Thus, in John, Jesus is the one who reveals the Unseen God. “No man has seen the Father, except he who is of God; he has seen the Father” - (John 6:46).

Likewise, Jesus declared, “that which I have seen with my Father.” Anyone who knows him, “knows the Father also…and has seen him.” He who has seen Jesus “has seen the Father.” He is not just another in a long line of prophets, but the ultimate revelation of God, who can be seen only in the Son - (John 8:38, 14:7-9, 15:24).

The gospel of John was composed in the latter half of the first century. Accordingly, its pages reflect the conflicts between the early church and the synagogue. Its negative references to the “Jews” are not ethnic slurs, but instead, references to the religious establishment that rejected Jesus and opposed the Church - (John 1:19, 2:18-20, 3:25, 5:10-18, 6:41-52, 7:1-15v 7:35, 8:22, 8:48, 8:52-57).

Many devout Jews viewed the Law given through Moses as the center of the faith, the perfect revelation of the will of Yahweh for all time. According to the rabbis, God created the universe by the Torah. His presence was in the inner sanctum of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Moses was the one who “saw” the glory of Yahweh on Mount Sinai and revealed His Law to Israel.

John’s Prologue contrasts Jesus with that earlier legislation. All things were made according to the “Word” or Logos, not according to the Torah. Light and life are found in the “Son,” not in the Torah. The “Word” became flesh and revealed God’s “glory” to us.

Moses was only permitted to see the “backside,” the afterglow of God’s glory, all while he was hidden in the hollow of a rock. In contrast, Jesus dwells in God’s very “bosom,” therefore, he is the only one who can “declare” and reveal the unseen God - (Exodus 33:20-22, John 1:18).

Jesus is the true Tabernacle in which the God now dwells and reveals His glory. Moses certainly gave the Law, but “grace and truth” only came through Jesus Christ - (John 1:14-17, 2:19-21, 4:20-24).

The purpose of John is not to denigrate Moses or the Law, but to stress that God’s full and final revelation is found in Jesus, not in Moses, Torah, the Temple, or in anyone, anything, or anywhere else.


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