Image: detail of Adoration of the Trinity, Albrecht Dürer [public domain]
Having discussed five ways that Jesus Christ reveals the Person of God the Father in my last post, I’d like to now finish this series with another five ways.
- The Passion (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 13-19) – nothing reveals the love of the Father so much as the Passion of Christ, which shows that the Father’s infinite love for mankind doesn’t even spare his only-begotten Son. The crucifixion especially is the love that the Father has for the world, a love so as to send his only begotten Son to death to redeem us from our sins. Jesus’ own obedience to the will of the Father, captured no more powerfully than in the agony of the garden, shows forth his own union of will with the Father’s.
- The Church’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) – just prior to his ascension into heaven, Jesus gives his Catholic Church her mission: to teach all nations and baptize them. The formula for Baptism itself reveals to us the three persons in one God: when we are baptized into the Passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, it is in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The three Persons in God are distinct, yet consubstantial, coequal, and coeternal.
- The sending of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) – we read in Acts 2 of the first Christian Pentecost 50 days after Easter, which marks the birth of the Church. We read therein that the Holy Spirit descends upon the faithful as the founding gift and soul of the Church. What does this have to do with God the Father? Everything, for Jesus makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father (see Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5).
- The infusion of faith (John 3:36) – the revelation of God the Father is made even more personal to us with the infusion of the theological virtue of faith into our intellect. For as Christ speaks in the Gospels, faith is eternal life already begun: “He who believes in the Son has [note that he says has, not will have] eternal life” (John 3:36). But what is eternal life if not the knowledge and love of the Triune God? As Christ says, “And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
- Our own testimony to Christ (Matthew 10:32; Mark 8:38; Lk 9:26) – the Christian life of faith, hope, and charity is most fully perfected in our conformity to Christ crucified, for the savior demands that we pick up our cross as he did. But this carries with it a great promise, as well, of coming before the Father victoriously clad in our suffering: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
These are not the only ways in which our Lord reveals the Father, but certainly I have tried to capture a comprehensive, if only brief, overview in these two blog posts. Jesus came to do the will of the Father (John 6:38), and the will of the Father he did indeed. And it is through Jesus and his obedience to the will of Father, culminating in his Passion, death, and resurrection, that we ourselves return to our Father in heaven:
“‘Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.’” —John 14:1–7