Sunday, July 13, 2008

Workplace Equality

John 5:16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. (17) But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working." (18) This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (19) 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.

Non-Trinitarians often trumpet this last verse to speak against the concept of Jesus’ Godliness. Of course they must rip it from its context to do so, for in many other places in this chapter Jesus clearly verifies the Jews’ view that He is claiming to be God in a fleshly form.

But I speak insincerely when I say “in many other places” for this verse, when more closely examined, exalts the glory of Christ as well.

In all truth, non-believers in Christ do not even let the full context of the verse speak to their heart. They dwell on “the Son can do nothing of his own accord,” & miss the pertinence of the next phrase- "but only what he sees the Father doing." Jesus speaks in the present tense as He references His vision of all the Father is presently doing. He fully & continuously perceives the workings of His Father in all His glory. As mere men, we are blind to the day to day workings of the Father in our midst, but Jesus was privy to all the Father’s labor; for as John 1:1-2 says, He "was with God." His extraordinary intimacy with the Father, in that He Himself was God as well, allowed extraordinary knowledge of His Father’s work.

"For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." Jesus’ equivalent nature drove His equivalent work. And Jesus’ equivalent ability allowed His equivalent work. It is only because He had the same character & ability as the Father that He was driven to & capable of “likewise” work. Indeed, the reason the Son could do “nothing of His own accord” was because of the fact that He was God as well. Witness Jesus' own line of thought in Mark 12-

Mark 12:28-37 "And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" (29) Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (30) And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (31) The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (32) And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. (33) And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." (34) And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. (35) And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? (36) David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.' (37) David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?" And the great throng heard him gladly."

Reading Scripture in context helps true understanding greatly. Jesus clearly states “the Lord is one,” and just as with John 5:19, non believers in the fullness of Christ’s everlasting glory try to corrupt His teaching by taking it out of context. But in both cases, we must ask them “What is the next thing He teaches?

Just as with our opening text, in Mark 12 Jesus follows the teaching that seems to oppose the idea that He is God with a teaching that reinforces His Godly status. The honest seeker of truth does not divorce one teaching from the other, but marries them together to comprehend Christ’s essence.

The Son cannot work apart from the Father any more than an airplane can fly without its wings. The wings can be looked at & described independently from the fuselage & engine but they are in fact far too integral (intimate) to function apart from one another. Primarily, it is because of their very measure of intimacy that drives their likewise working in the same accord.

The Father, Son, & Spirit dwell together & are absolutely singular in purpose because they are singular in a sort of Godly egalitarianism. Rank & class must exist in this world because some men are better, in terms of knowledge, ability, or character, than other men. Consequently, even those of us who accept the Trinity often feel the need to “rank” the Godhead as well. But the Persons of the Triune God are not like a man with his varying knowledge, ability, & character, for they are all three God. To comprehend the character of Christ is to equally comprehend the character of Father & Spirit as well, for there is no difference.

They are all equal in all measure.

Unlike us, they are all Three perfect in holiness & righteousness & honor; & so all Three are likewise complete in themselves, yet unified as one- in authority, power, & purpose.

Workplace equality may never truly happen with man, but with God it has been the modus operandi since day one- for as the first chapter of Genesis states: “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”

John 14:10-11 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. (11) Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

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