Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Father, Son, Spirit

We have seen that it is perhaps our own limited understanding, along with some theological blinders, that leads us to Christ as the central figure of the Trinity, as the one most pertinent and important to our own faith, religion, and understanding. But what do the Father, the Son, and the Spirit have to say about one another?

The best place to start is, of course, with Christ because He is so central to all that we do as persons of faith. We take our Old Testament and we say, Look! God has been foretelling of the coming of Christ since the very beginning of all things! (This is, however, a very unfair reading of the Old Testament; it dismisses much of the beauty of this section of God's story. More on that tomorrow.) And then we look at our New Testament and we say, Look! The Holy Spirit has illumined all of the things about Christ! 

If the Old Testament God looks forward to Christ (and it does, although not to the extent that we often try to make it) and the New Testament Spirit looks back upon Christ, then wouldn't it seem only natural to conclude that Christ must be the central figure in all of this? If God and the Holy Spirit direct our thoughts to Galilee, should we not do the same?

Yes...and no. 

Because look at what Jesus says throughout His entire ministry. It's because of the Father that I am here. Whoever sees me sees the Father who sent me. I have come to reveal the Father to you. Jesus spends a lot of His time pointing back to God. He wants us to know God, the Father, even as He, God, the Son, stands in the flesh right before us. Jesus would be incredibly disappointed if we never saw beyond His flesh to the Father who sent Him. 

Jesus also says quite a bit about the Spirit. You don't understand now, but you will. I'm sending the Spirit to help you understand. When I am gone, I will send to you a comforter, a counselor, who will help you to keep living in the faith. He spends a good deal of His time pointing forward to the Spirit, promising that the Godhead will not abandon humanity when Christ departs from the flesh. There is still going to be a presence of God that is not flesh and bone, but spirit and fire. 

So it's important not just to focus on how the Scriptures seem to lead to and from Christ as the central figure of all that is our faith because to do so is to neglect the testimony of Christ, who spends so much of His time pointing us back to the Father and promising us the Spirit. 

Again, that is not at all to distract or detract from what Christ has done. Far from it! For we also must recognize that Christ said the same things of Himself that the Father had already promised and that the Spirit would soon reveal; He confesses that He is the one to whom both refer. But in doing so, He reminds us that the testimony of God among us is Triune. It always has been, and it always will be. 

And Christ Himself continues to remind us not to lose sight of the Three for the sake of the One. 

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