“O righteous Father, the world has not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:25).
Everyone that the Father has given to His Son will come to Him; and He has said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw Him”; also, “They shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto Me.” It is to them the Father’s Name is made known by the Son. The Father draws to the Son, and the Son makes known the Father’s Name.
In His prayer to the Father He said, “Righteous Father, the world has not known Thee, but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have made known to them Thy Name, and will make it known: that the love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them” (John 17:25-26, N.Tr.). This shows why the Father’s Name is made known to us; that the love of which the Son was the worthy Object might be ours also, and that He who is so loved might be in us. Wonderful is this love of relationship, the Father’s love for His Son. Who could have thought of such infinite blessedness for us, save our thrice holy God? Once sinners, undone, deserving just judgment! but now forgiven and saved through Jesus, who bore that judgment! and given to Him He gives us to know the Father’s love, wherewith He was loved before the world’s foundation!
“He the prodigal has pardoned,
Kissed us with a father’s love.”
Those who are born of God are granted this surpassing favour. They have received Christ in faith. Even the babes in this family know the Father, and have a nature capable of development in this. None are thus blessed because of some distinction of heredity or consanguinity, or the descendants of such as Aaron and David might get the advantage! None are thus honoured because of fleshly energy socially and religiously, or some prosperous and bigoted peoples might have the advantage! None are brought into such a divine relation with the Father because of national and priestly pre-eminence, or the chosen nation of Israel would have this right! but the Spirit of God has left us without one doubt in regard to it, saying, “To them gave He the right to be the children of God, to those that believe on His Name; who have been born, not of blood, nor of flesh’s will, nor of man’s will, but of God” (John 1:12-13, N.Tr.). Wonderful indeed is the Father’s love which has put us in the children’s place! Of His own will He begat us! Divinely, Sovereignly, and righteously He has given us this right of relationship! His wisdom and love designed it, and it is for His own pleasure, and for our joy also.
What the Father is has been declared and manifested. His Name has been made known and made discernible in the Son. This is the way God is specially made known today. The heavens declare His glory as Creator, and the firmament shows His handiwork … Creation pronounces and manifests somewhat of His glory and greatness. The separated nation of Israel declared and bore witness to Him as Jehovah, God; and He said concerning them, “Ye are My witnesses, says Jehovah … before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and beside Me there is no Saviour. I have declared, I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, says Jehovah, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am He … I am Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (Isa. 43:10-15).
We are told what God is as Jehovah in the proclamation of His Name—“Merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” etc. We see how this gave character to men of faith in the Old Testament, but it was not till the Son came that the Name of divine love—the Father’s Name—was made known.
The inspired writings pointed on to Him. The law and the prophets testified of the One that was to come—the One who should speak God’s words.
Moses and Elias had both been at Horeb, the mount of God, where Jehovah’s Name was once proclaimed; but when they appeared with Jesus on “the holy mount,” they spake with Him of what He was to accomplish at Jerusalem, and then disappeared from view; while from the bright cloud, the excellent glory, Jesus was honoured by God the Father—such a voice from heaven being uttered to Him, “This is My beloved Son, hear Him.” Peter, James, and John were witnesses of this. It actually took place! Pointing on to Him, the Old Testament said, “Him shall ye hear!” Singling Him out, the voice from the excellent glory said, “HEAR HIM!”
The disciples viewed His glory, when in His company on earth; and John writes, “We contemplated His glory, a glory as of an only-begotten with a Father.” It was said of Isaac to Abraham, “Thy son, thine only one, Isaac, whom thou lovest.” He had other sons, but Isaac was His only one in an unique sense. The Son with the Father is without compeer; yet His glory was seen to be, not like a mighty Samson or a warrior-king David, but like an only son with a father! This is the One who makes known the Father’s Name, and we are divinely instructed to “hear Him!” Who else could manifest and make known what He is, save the Son of the Father’s love? It is said, “No one has seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” He could make Him known perfectly and only He; for none other had “seen the Father, except He who is of God, He has seen the Father”; and He said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” The Invisible was visible in His Son. Jesus manifested Him, but none other could.
“Son of His bosom, come from heaven above,
We see in Thee incarnate ‘God is Love.’”
We rejoice in being limited to Him for the gracious making known of His Father’s Name. He manifested it to those who were given to Him out of the world. He preserved them in that Name when here on earth, and prayed, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me.” If, as Proverbs 18:10 tells us, “The Name of Jehovah is a strong tower,” into which the righteous runs and is safe; the Name of the righteous Father, unknown by the world, is a dwelling of divine love, where there is safety truly, but also infinite riches of holy joy; for it is as risen in triumph from among the dead and ascended, the Lord Jesus brings His own into this today, and they rightly sing with heavenly gladness:
“Now the Father’s name Thou tellest, joy is in Thine heart!
In His love in which Thou dwellest we have part.”
Eternal life, as well as eternal love, in its highest privilege, is immediately connected with the knowledge of the Father. Like a new creation, like the precious anointing, like the dew, Jehovah may command the blessing of it presently on the earthly side upon the restored priestly nation of Israel when they arise from the dust, as Daniel says. It will be like life from the dead! On the heavenly side the children of God are granted this now, in peculiar and family nearness with the Son of the Father. To Him authority is given over all flesh, so that He should give eternal life to all that the Father gives to Him; and this eternal life, wonderful to say, is that we should know the Father, the only true God, and Jesus Christ His sent One. The eternal life is given today to this end. The capability is also given to us—“an understanding, that we should know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and eternal life” (read 1 John 5:20 with John 17:2-3). What unmeasured favour is here! Both the eternal life and the understanding are divinely given, that the incomparable knowledge of the Father and Jesus Christ might be our exalted portion! When all this blessedness is being slighted by so many, well may we earnestly heed the word addressed to the babes of the family in 1 John 2:24-25—“Continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life.” The Son is named first here, for it is as we abide in Him, who makes the Father’s Name known, we abide also in the Father.
So the Spirit teaches us to “abide in Him!” (v. 27) and then in verse 28 the exhortation is given to all the children of God—not to the young only—“ABIDE IN HIM!” It is said, “He who confesses the Son has the Father also,” but not vice versa.
The Father loves the Son, yea, He dearly loves Him, giving all things into His hand, and showing Him all that He does. The Father works and the Son does likewise. The Father quickens, and the Son does also. He does nothing independently. Perfect in love, power and co-operation, yet the Father does not “judge anyone, but has given all judgment to the Son; that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He who honours not the Son, honours not the Father who has sent Him.” The works which He did were done in the Father’s Name, and He spake the Father’s words, that His Name might be known. Even deeper than making the declaration, to His own He makes known His Father’s Name. A declaration might be made without its becoming intelligible. Jesus gives us to know the Name of eternal love. Being the Son He can do this. Eternal praise to His holy Name.
In this day of grace upon grace rich favours are bestowed upon the children of God! It is granted to them to know that their sins are forgiven for His Son’s Name sake! to know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him! to know the things that are freely given to us of God! to know that we have eternal life in the Son, who said, “Ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you”; for it is as we are in Him we are in the Father, whose wondrous Name He makes known, as we have said, that the eternal love of His Father might be in us, and He in us. “ENDLESS PRAISE AND ADORATION TO THE FATHER AND THE SON.”