Who is the Father?

Greek icon, The Mystical Supper

7th Week of Easter, Sunday

John 17:1-11a

“Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”

The word “glory” rings several times in this passage, evoking an unfamiliar and unworldly milieu. Jesus asks the Father to reveal to the disciples the splendor and brilliance of their love, a glimpse of which was given at the Transfiguration. The hour has come in which the Son will be glorified by being disfigured on the Cross. How can glory be manifested in such opposite ways—in light (Transfiguration) and darkness (the Cross)? The clue is in Christ’s constant turning to the Father. Jesus does nothing on his own, but only what the Father wills. The bodily eye may “see” disgrace on the Cross, but the spiritual eye sees divine love and glory.

“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” Eternal life is knowing the Father through the Son. Revelation alone opens this path to the hidden Person of the Father, about whom we know so little. Since Jesus cannot seem to speak enough about him, it must be worth every ounce of our energy to seek him.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept my word.”

Some translations have “from the world” instead of “out of the world.” In any case, the Father is neither in nor out of any world. He is uncontainable. The meaning seems to be that the ones given to Jesus originally belonged to the Father. Thus they are given to him. As the Son is begotten of the Father, so is each one of us. The inviolability of persons created in the image of the Son is rooted in the Father. 

“I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours…”

Is there a line of division between “the world” and the children of the Father? Perhaps “the world” might be understood as the emptiness of separation from the Father—the tendency toward nothingness. Outside of the Father, there is nothing.

“All mine are thine, and thine are mine,” in the elegant English translation. These are mysteries too deep. May the Holy Spirit enlighten our hearts and minds to know the Father and the one he sent, Jesus Christ. 

2 Replies to “Who is the Father?”

  1. How sorely I need to hear this promise: “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” Seen on a banner:
    “No Jesus, No Peace: Know Jesus, Know Peace”

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