Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jesus' relationship with the Father and us

I've been reading I. Howard Marshall's short monograph "The Work of Christ". It's an awesome little biblical theology on the development of the significance of Jesus' work.

This isn't a review of any kind... I just wanted to write down somewhere an insight that I had (it's either his point, or me just drawing something from his point)

It is basically this:
Jesus' life and ministry on earth was about providing us with an example of how we are to relate to him in his glorified state.

-- Lived a life in relationship with the Father, which mean both that he was completely obedient (even to dying on the cross), but also was entirely in submission to the will of the Father.
-- Was in such a close proximity with the will of the Father that he was said to be doing the very work of the Father, with the authority and power of the Father
-- The Father glorified him by raising him from the dead and glorifying him. This brought Jesus back to the state of glory he was before the incarnation, but now he was recognized as divine by the church in his new title Lord (the same Greek word used in the OT for God)

(An interesting side note that Marshall mentions: even though in our minds, Jesus' resurrection and ascension/glorification where two different events, in the Church's mind both words referred to the same event. Jesus' ascent into the clouds was just his final appearance in his glorified state).

Likewise, now... the church:
-- Should live in relationship with Jesus, meaning both we are obedient to him (even if it means we must suffer or die) and we are to be in complete submission to his will.
-- Should be in such proximity to the will of Jesus that we are doing His work with his authority and power. (... through the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in us).
-- Will be glorified by Christ in the end by receiving the finality of our salvation and spending eternity with him in his eternal, perfect new creation kingdom. This "glorification" is not only bringing a final realization to our hope in Christ, but also a restoration of our bodies to a Eden-ic quality, though better now that we've conquered sin in Christ.

Anyway, I can see this working in a lot of ways through the New Testament.... not only in Jesus serving as the pattern for our lives and existence (Paul), but also Jesus serving as the mediator of the new covenant, the promised King, and the perfect high priest (Hebrews).


Steve said...

Interesting thoughts. Seems to emphasize the transcendence of the God incarnate to the apparent detriment of the immanence. My own theological reading probably commits the opposite error.

thec0keman said...

It certainly does paint the father as transcendent, but at the same time God is immanent in Jesus. More to the point, the Holy God who has been transcendent throughout the Old Testament narrative is now personally acting in History.

You might be right, but I think he's getting close to hitting the proper balance.