The Father of Jesus wants to draw near and relate to us as our personal Father. He wants to be a living reality in our daily lives. He comes close to us as Father by the Spirit. The Spirit of God’s Son makes the Father so real to us that we cry Abba Father, which was the cry of the Father’s Son during his earthly life.
Jesus also wants to draw near and relate to us personally as our brother. He too wants to be a living reality in our daily lives. He comes close and relates to us personally by the Spirit.
Jesus said that it was better for his disciples that he go away from them. For when he returns to his Father he will send the Spirit to them. The Spirit who would make Jesus real to them. Indeed, the Spirit who would be the living reality of Jesus himself within them. With the coming of the Spirit Jesus would be more real to them than when they knew him in the flesh. We too know Jesus as personal reality by the Spirit within us. And in living union with him we draw near to the Father in personal intimacy.
The mark of being filled with the Spirit is personal relationship with Father and Son as sons and daughters in the Spirit. By the Spirit we become deeply aware of the Father’s nearness to his Son and the Son’s dearness to him. And by the same Spirit we become deeply aware of the Father’s nearness to us and our dearness to him in union with his Son.
Can we be so Christ-centred that we forget the Father? I think we have to say that if holding Christ at the centre means we forget the Father, we are not looking at the true Christ. Jesus was sent from the Father. He prayed to the Father. He lived for the Father in trustful obedience. He died crying out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” He was raised by the Father. And to the Father he returned. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. His words and works are the Father’s words and works. When you look at Jesus you cannot miss the Father.
Can we be so Christ-centred that we forget the Spirit? Again, we have to say that if holding Christ at the centre means we forget the Spirit, we are not looking at the true Christ. Jesus served his Father in the power of the Spirit. He was filled with joy in the presence of his Father in the Spirit. If you want to know what a Spirit-filled life looks like you look at Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus now pours out the Spirit on his own. And he continues to work out his mission in the world in and through us by the power of the Spirit.
Furthermore, the Spirit is always taking the things of Christ and making them known in us so that he always glorifies the Son to us. And he does so to transform us into the image of Christ. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. When you look at Jesus you cannot miss the Spirit.
Can we really be too Christ-centred?
We may feel that we are free when we choose what we want from a number of different options. God is free in an altogether different way.
The Triune God is love and he is free as he expresses who he is as love. That means The Triune One is free as the three persons are with one another and for one another in love. For in this fellowship of self-giving love the One God is expressing who he is as love.
In the freedom of His love, God became one of us in Jesus in order to bring us back to himself in love. We did not want to be with God. But the Triune One is love and so he still wanted us and refused to be God without us. He acted in the freedom of who he is as love to become one of us in order to reconcile us to himself. He refused to relinquish us to ruin.
The Father’s Son is himself fully divine and yet he was free to become fully human. He is free to be with God and for God as one of the Triune communion in love. He is also free to be with us and for us as one of the human race in love.
Christ is also free in his Spirit to work within us so that we are set free for God. Apart from his working within us we are not free for God at all. We are turned in on ourselves pursuing only what we want for ourselves. God is free for us in Christ, but we are not free for him. But in the freedom of who he is as love God encounters us personally in Christ by his Spirit setting us free. Now we can be with him sharing in his communion of love.
Christ crucified is God himself descending deeply into the realm of evil. Even into the depths of its ultimate domain in death itself. The Crucified One penetrated the realm of darkness at the point of its supreme thrust against himself in order to judge it. At the same time, the Crucified Christ not only judged evil but also saved the world from its domain reconciling all to God. This is the triumph of the crucified over the powerful rulers of this dark age through his once for all self-offering in weakness.
This triumph over evil has taken place once and for all and cannot be repeated. And yet God is still active within the world working out the effects of His triumph over evil. He does so through the same crucified One. He is the lamb enthroned at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. And he continues to serve his Father in the world by the Presence and Power of his Spirit.
As head over all things Jesus, the enthroned lamb, reigns with supreme authority with his Father by the Spirit. He does so, however, as the true human who has fully aligned himself with us in our desperate condition and is now constantly present with us in all our distress under the menace of evil powers.
So we are always confident, not in ourselves, but only in the Crucified One who was raised in triumph over all for our sake. In this confident trust there is no place for triumphalism! We always follow the lamb as his cross-shaped servants in the way of power through weakness by his Spirit.
In Jesus, the Sovereign power of God was demonstrated in human weakness He did not remain aloof from us ordering his royal will from a distance. He actually became one of us to work out his sovereign will within our frail human existence.
In Jesus, the Sovereign power of God was demonstrated even in dying our death. This kind of power is entirely different from any that we can ever imagine.
- It is power that is absolutely supreme over death for it accomplishes the actual death of death. And yet it does so in lowly weakness submitting to death in order to destroy its power from within.
- It is power that demolishes anything that attempts to oppose God’s purpose of fellowship with us. And yet it does so through lowly weakness in the dark abyss of forsakenness.
Such power we can never even begin to imagine.
In Jesus, God’s kingly power now guides the world to its final destiny. For God has appointed Jesus as head over all things. Yes, the same Jesus who demonstrated God’s kingly power in human weakness now reigns in power as the exalted man at God’s right hand. There he moves all things to their final destiny and he does so as the end to which all things now move.
As we await this future with expectation, he is able to do in us immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.