Why Jesus is Called “The Word”-Christians, Three Gods, and the Trinity (Pt. 2)
Last month, I wrote the Father sent Jesus to Earth so the Father could speak to the Jews through Jesus’ lips. Several times, Jesus told the Jews that His words were not His own and the Jews put Jesus to death for blasphemy.
For more than one thousand years, Jews thought monotheism was an absolute truth, but the Bible teaches monotheism is what I call a sufficient doctrine. Sufficient doctrines exist because God allows people to embrace incomplete and faulty ideas. (1 Corinthians 13:9–12) When God reveals greater truth, sufficient doctrines become weak and insufficient because He has given more light on the topic. Sufficient doctrines always have loose ends and are not scripturally complete. People who accept a sufficient doctrine overlook and diminish parts of Scripture that, within the context of the sufficient doctrine, make no sense. For example, what would you do with this passage if you were a devout believer in monotheism? “[The Father said to the Son,] Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God [the Father calls Jesus, “God”], your God, has set You above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” (Psalm 45:6–7, insertions mine) The Jews often read Psalm 45, but, within their concept of monotheism, they could not figure out how one God (the Father) could speak to another God (the Son) and elevate Him above His companions! (See Hebrews 1:8,9) Therefore, the Jews ignored and diminished Psalm 45 because it did not fit their preconceptions.
The Father sent Jesus to Earth so the Father could speak through a faithful witness. A few people believed the Father spoke through Jesus and He supported this belief when He prayed to the Father, “ ‘I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world . . . For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.’ ” (John 17:6–8) Jesus’ ministry reveals a very interesting process: Man’s understanding of truth is always incomplete. We cannot know more than God has revealed. When God wants more truth known, He sends “new light” and it often produces conflict. Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19–21) We cannot know when or through whom “new light” will come, but we know the Father will continue to reveal it for eternity because He is constantly revealing more truth. The irony with new light is that seekers of truth are delighted and defenders of tradition are insulted because their darkness is threatened.
Paul observed this phenomenon, but only after He became a Christian: “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.” (Ephesians 3:2–5, italics mine)
When the Father releases new light in religious matters, there are always two results. The first is insult and rejection. The Jews rejected Jesus because He presented a doctrine of two Gods (new light) which was not compatible with their doctrine of one God (tradition). Secondly, people who embrace new light will suffer for it and the price may be death (like Jesus and the first Christian martyr, Stephen). However, truth will move forward because the Holy Spirit will help seekers of truth to understand and embrace it! (John 16:13)
Jesus is the Son of God
The Father sent Jesus to Earth (He did not come on His own – John 10:18) to reveal more truth, but the mission did not go well. “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire [which is to murder me for blasphemy] . . . He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.’ ” (John 8:42–44, 47, italics and insertion mine)
Of course, the Father knew that Israel’s leaders would have a very difficult time letting go of monotheism so He often confirmed Jesus was “the Son of God” through astonishing signs and miracles. The first miracle was the virgin birth of Jesus. No other virgin had given birth to a child. The Father sent the angel Gabriel to Mary saying: “ ‘You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’ ” (Luke 1:31–33) You may not realize it, but the angel made a profound revelation when He called Jesus, “The Holy One.”
The Jews considered the title, “The Holy One” very important and they used this title in the Old Testament about 50 times to describe Jehovah. Notice Isaiah’s words: “To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare Him to? . . . Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the Earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the Earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the Heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than He blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says The Holy One. ‘Lift your eyes and look to the Heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing . . . Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord [Jehovah] is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.’ ” (Isaiah 40:18–28, italics and insertions mine)
After reading Isaiah 40, and many similar passages in the Old Testament, we can see why the Jews regarded monotheism as an absolute truth. Until God chose to give “new light,” it was a sufficient truth in God’s sight. However, Gabriel gave Mary “new light.” “The Holy One” (Almighty God) would be born to a virgin. John describes the miracle this way: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory [on the Mount of Transfiguration], the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace [compassion] and truth [no lies].” (John 1:14, insertions mine)
Jesus is called the “Word” because the Father’s testimony came through His lips. When the Father wants to say something, He speaks through Jesus. Many people do not realize that the Father rarely speaks in the Bible and when He does, He speaks through Jesus, to Jesus, or to exalt Jesus. Notice these passages:
Through Jesus: Jesus told the Jews that it was the Father speaking through Him: “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it . . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 12:49, 14:24)
To Jesus: The Father said to Jesus: “ ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ ” (Psalm 45:6–7) The Father called Jesus “God” and He identifies Himself as “God” in Psalm 45. This should have been a big hint to Israel that monotheism was not an absolute doctrine. Tradition has a way of hiding things that we do not understand.
Exalts Jesus: Now, notice how the Father exalted Jesus: “While he [Peter] was speaking [on the Mount of Transfiguration], a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son [my equal], whom I have chosen [the Messiah]; listen to Him.” (Luke 9:34–35, insertions mine) The Father also exalted Jesus when He was baptized: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment Heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from Heaven said, ‘This is my Son [my equal], whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ ” (Matthew 3:16–17) When the Father announced from Heaven that Jesus was His Son, He exalted Jesus as His equal! The Jews perfectly understood the equality of a father and son and this claim made them furious. (John 5:18; 10:33)
Jesus Speaks for God the Father
The Father is invisible. No created being has seen Him and no created being will ever see Him! Even the angels can only see an outline of His brilliance. At the Second Coming (Matthew 26:64) and for all eternity, the redeemed will only see an outline of His brilliance. No created being can see the Father because He lives in “unapproachable light.” His infinite glory and power would blind anyone who is exposed to the Father. This explains why only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can see the Father and enter into His glory. Each of them is God in the same way the Father is God. When the Trinity formed, Jesus was appointed “The Word” and He will be the Father’s spokesperson forever. Carefully study these verses:
- Jesus said: “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only He has seen the Father. (John 6:46)
- Paul wrote: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God . . . The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3, insertion and italics mine)
- Paul wrote: “God [the Father], the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15–16, insertion and italics mine)
- John wrote: “No one has ever seen God [the Father] but God [the Son] the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” (John 1:18, insertions and italics mine)
In the previous study, I wrote that Jesus is like the Father’s identical twin. This is important because the Father sent a duplicate of Himself to Earth. When we consider Jesus’ life of self-denial, sacrifice, humility, and kindness, we are also considering the Father’s character. Remember, Jesus washed the dirty feet of His disciples and allowed wicked men to ridicule, spit on and beat Him within an inch of His life before He went to the cross. Then, on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them,” before He died. Through His life on Earth, Jesus reflected the Father perfectly. We can know the Father would have done the same things because Jesus and the Father are identical in character, too. “Jesus answered [Philip]: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ ” (John 14:9, insertion mine)
Jesus is the Word
The Father lives in unapproachable glory so He has chosen to speak through the lips of Jesus who is like an identical twin. This is why Jesus is called “The Word.” The “Father’s testimony” comes out of His mouth. When Jesus was on Earth, He did not speak on His own! The Father confirmed that Jesus was His spokesperson to help those that seek truth. Jesus was born to a virgin and performed many miracles, signs, and wonders. The Father resurrected Jesus, took Him to Heaven, and seated Him on His throne. When we understand why Jesus is called “The Word,” John 1:14 makes perfect sense: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us [so that mankind could understand the Father and hear from Him].”