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Seeing the Father

Journal Entry // April 16, 2022

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 5:19 ESV

I have been thinking a lot over the last few days about the way I perceive a difference between the Father and the Son. When I sit down to read through God’s word on a regular basis, I follow my plan of reading two chapters from the Old Testament and one chapter from the New Testament. In my reading there is oftentimes a simple comparison between how things were handled in the OT and the NT. Like today… I read in Numbers about the Lord telling the congregation to stone the person who had been caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath. I then read in the John about the leaders being at odds with Jesus because he was healing on the Sabbath. It is so easy to read these accounts and draw a line between the Father and the Son in this instance, yet Jesus tells me here that the Son only does what he see his Father doing. He only ever does whatever the Father does.

The Father and the Son have the same heart. The Lord of the Old Testament is the same Lord of the New Testament. There is no judging wrathful God of old and the peaceful, meek, and mild God of the New. They are both at the same time. What you see in the New is there in the Old and what is there in the Old is here in the New. I know this because Jesus himself tells us that the Father has given judgement over to the Son. It is the Son who will judge the world.

This verse that Jesus only does what he sees his Father doing is so immensely special and dear to me. It is deeply meaningful and transforming in a lot of ways. I am slowly learning that “The Lord our God, the Lord is One.” I know this. I understand this. I believe this. Yet I find myself dividing the trinity and separating them into their individual parts and losing the purpose of the trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are united in essence and purpose. I have seen the Son, then I have seen the Father. I have the Spirit abiding in my heart, then I have the Son abiding in my heart. It’s a wonderful picture of understanding that the presence of the Lord is with me at every moment. That the purposes of the Father for me are full of grace and mercy and love.

So, I have been thinking about abiding in Christ. How do I abide in Christ? It is simply through his word that I abide. But not just a casual sit down and read for five minutes and then get on with my day. No, there is more to abiding than reading. There is more to abiding than ticking a box on a task list. Abiding is a deep and meaningful engagement with Jesus in my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I do this through spending time in his word – reading his word, listening to his word, singing his word, praying his word, and sharing his word. But it’s deeper than just participating or being present. Abiding is about engagement. It’s taking God’s word and letting it penetrate my heart and there engage with God’s word as it shines its holy light in my dark heart. Taking back to Jesus what I am reading or hearing and learning.

This is hard and strenuous work. It is hard to take the gospel into the dark recesses of my heart and begin the hard work of cleaning those areas. It’s not enough for me to just reveal the sin in my heart. I need to take this gospel message and use it to clean away the dirt and grime of the stain of sin. This is abiding in Jesus. Working with him to apply the gospel to my heart. This is the relationship I desire. I want to abide with Christ and be like him. Just as he only does those things which he sees his Father doing, I too only want to do those things that I see my Father doing. So, I look to Jesus. I come before him in humility and repentance. I abide with him and he changes me. He changes me to be more like him. I am learning each day to think less often about myself and more and more about Jesus.

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