Saturday, November 23, 2013

Triplets of Unity: Triune God, One Will – Christ’s Earthly Ministry and Church

As we saw last week, each member of the Trinity played a special role in the incarnation. God the Father gave His only begotten Son (John 1:14; 3:16, Hebrews 1:5-6), Jesus Christ, Who was conceived through the Spirit’s power (Luke 1:35). The Word, or Christ, was God (yet distinct from God the Father) and present from the beginning (John 1:1-2), He was the Creator, the Life-Giver, and the Light Who overcame the darkness (John 1:3-5)

The Word became flesh so that man could experience His grace and truth (John 1:14) and see the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). God the Father was pleased that in Jesus Christ the Son would be the fullness of the Godhead, or all Three Persons of the Trinity bodily (Colossians 1:19; 2:8,9), As Isaiah foretold, the Name of the Son would also be the Counsellor (the Spirit Who guides us) and the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Those who walked the earth with Jesus were privileged to see God in the flesh, and subsequent believers have been blessed to read of Him in Scripture. When we realize that we are sinners in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23) and that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we are indwelled from the moment of salvation by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14) Who teaches us that we are children of God the Father (Romans 8:16).

Just as we now know Christ through the revelation of the Spirit, it is through our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus that we can know the Father (John 14:8-9). From an early age, Jesus knew that He must do His Father’s business (Luke 2:49), and in His earthly ministry, His very food was to do His Father’s will and to finish His work (John 4:34).

The Scriptures are largely silent on much of Jesus’ childhood, but Luke tells us that the Child grew not only physically but strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God (the Father) was upon Him (Luke 2:40). Thus we see in Jesus the effects of and interaction with the other Two Persons of the Trinity

Jesus faithfully honored His Father (John 8:49), did good works in His Father’s name (John 10:25,32), and prayed to the Father (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; John 11:41). In His model prayer, He also taught His disciples to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). He told the Samaritan woman at the well to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, just as she was coming to realize that He was the Messiah, or Christ (John 4:21-26).

At Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to the Father for the cup to pass from Him if that were possible; for the Father’s will to be done; and for the Father to keep you and me (John 17), giving us eternal life by knowing “thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (v. 3). Thus, Jesus Himself clearly recognized the distinction between Himself and the Father.

When Jesus was on the cross, He prayed to the Father to forgive those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34), and His last words acknowledged the other Two Persons of the Trinity, as Jesus commended His Spirit to the Father (Luke 23:46).

Yet at that moment that He became sin to appease God’s wrath at all sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21), Jesus could not call out to His Father, but only to His God (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34), because Holy God the Father could not look on all the sin Jesus Christ bore for us. After Jesus died, the Father raised Him from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the Trinity acting as Three distinct Persons united in one will, the crucifixion and resurrection that is the defining miracle of Christianity would not be possible.

After He arose from the dead, Jesus Christ told Mary Magdalene that He would ascend to His Father (Who was also her Father), and to His God (Who was also her God; John 20:17). Jesus told His followers that after He ascended to Heaven, the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, would be with them always, remind them of Jesus Christ, and teach them (John 14:16,26;15:26; 16:7). This promise was realized at Pentecost, when the Spirit descended on the apostles like cloven tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-4), giving power to Peter and the others to preach truth. .

By Divine inspiration, Peter then spoke clearly of the Trinity: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear (Acts 2:32-33).

Paul also clarified that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead using the power of the Holy Spirit, and that same Spirit gives believers new life and power to mortify the flesh (Romans 8:10-11) when they trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to the Father (John 14:6).

Since His ascension, Jesus Christ the Son has been seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3), mediating and interceding for us, hearing the prayers brought from believers to Him through the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that through Christ, we have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Ephesians 2:18).

In Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles, he was constantly led by the Spirit, Who inspired his preaching (Acts 18:5)  and instructed him not only in spiritual matters (Acts 17:16) but in highly practical decisions regarding his ministry, such as where to travel and where not to go (Acts 19:21; 21:4). Paul describes the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ (Colossians 2:2,3) which was not revealed before the incarnation.

2 Corinthians 13:14The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 

© 2013 Laurie Collett
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Ceil said...

Hi Laurie! I am always so touched to read about the episode in the Garden where Jesus asks that his cup pass him by. So human! How can anyone deny that he was fully human, while fully divine?
And so true that even though we don't know much about Jesus' young life, it must have been filled with grace, as he became a powerful man in his own Spirit. How blessed we are that we can have a part of that Spirit as his followers!
Happy Weekend, my friend :)

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Ceil! I believe that even though Jesus knew how awful the physical suffering, abandonment, and humiliation would be, that what He dreaded even more was the separation from His Father. And what amazes me most is that as He was facing this worst trial ever known, He was praying for you and me!
Praise God for the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers! May we always yield to Him!
God bless,

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
(sorry about the first comment, punctuation mistake)
Yes praise God that, as you have stated, the Holy Spirit gives believers 'new life and power to mortify the flesh', without which we would remain 'the old man'. 'But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:' Praise His lovely name.
God bless you for sharing.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
It is true that the Scriptures are silent concerning the childhood of Jesus. In our church, we are going through the letter of James, the younger brother of Jesus.
As I have mentioned in my recent blogs, it is extremely unlikely that the young Jesus had ever set foot in England, yet one of our famous songs, written by William Blake, is still sung in our land to this day - particularly by the Women's Institutions.
In our study of James, we have discussed how he and Jude, along with some sisters, grew up under the same roof as their elder brother. We have wondered what it was like for them to have a brother who never did or said anything wrong, and unlike them, was never needed to be smacked by their father Joseph, as themselves most likely were.
We believe that Jesus' younger siblings grew up to respect their older brother, but did not realise that he was the Messiah come to atone for their sins until after his resurrection.
A well written post.
God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks as always, Brenda, for your lovely comment! Praise God that through His Holy Spirit, believers are a new creation in Him, as well as children of the Father and joint heirs with Christ!
May you have a blessed week in Him!

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
I've often wondered about that too, what it must have been like growing up as Jesus' younger sibling. No doubt there was some natural human resentment there. Because James did not realize who Jesus was during His lifetime makes it all the more powerful when he recognized Him as the Messiah after the resurrection.
Many blessings to you,

Donald Fishgrab said...

That Jesus cared enough for us to come and become one of us so that he could truly represent us before God as our priest and advocate amazes me. How many of our earthly representatives refuse to live by the same standards as ordinary people yet the God of creation took on himself the form of the lowliest of servants.

Laurie Collett said...

I agree, Donald -- that is one of the greatest mysteries -- Emmanuel, God with us, King of Kings born into a manger. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving,

Chrissy @ the Pearl Blog said...

I always look forward to reading your posts. They are filled with so much truth. I love how detailed this one about the trinity is. It's such a hard concept. Thanks again for sharing with us. Thanks for linking up to the all things pretty party.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Chrissy! I really appreciate your encouragement. Thanks for hosting, & may you have a blessed week in Him!

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Debi & Charly,
Thanks for your comment & for hosting! May you have a great week also!