We’re going to be continuing tonight our look at the gospel of John. We’ve been going through the Bible trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and right now, we’re a little past the middle of John. A lot of our looking has been at the self-understanding of Christ as well as the way those around him saw him, pro and con. Our text tonight will be John 12:44-50.
44Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Jesus is saying some extraordinary things. First off, to believe in Jesus is to believe in the one who sent him. After all, if you believe in Jesus, you believe in what he claims about the Father in that the Father sent him into the world. To affirm the former is to affirm the latter. On the other hand, if you disbelieve, then you deny that the Father sent Jesus into the world. If you do that and the Father did send Jesus into the world, then you are denying the great truth of the Father.
Jesus says the same thing about seeing, which he will later say to an apostle and so I will save that discussion for when we get to that point.
Jesus then says why he came into the world. He came so that no one who believes in him will stay in darkness. I’ve been debating with this point on someone today who says we should just teach the good news like Jesus did. There was no bad news. There is bad news however. We are in darkness without Jesus. The good news is that he came to redeem us from that.
But what about Jesus not judging? Did he not say that he judges the world in John 5? Jesus is here speaking about the person who does not believe. As we saw in John 3:18, they are condemned already. He does point them to the one who whill judge them then, the Father. Jesus does say however that his words will condemn that person on that day. They will be the means by which the Father condemns them.
Notice this at the end however. The Father tells the Son what to say! Doesn’t that prove the Son is an inferior being and thus disprove the Trinity?
Would it be better for the Son to say “I say what I want! The Father has nothing going on with me!”
No. They speak together. The Son and the Father share a unity in this action. The Son speaks in obedience to the Father. It doesn’t go against the Trinity but rather for it as it shows the unity that they share. This is just another case of bringing up an argument based on function and seeing that it therefore equals a different ontology.
Now it could be that the Son and the Father are ontologically distinct for argument’s sake. (They’re not of course.) That, however, won’t be shown by looking at their functions alone. You have to look at their nature.