“And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. (Luke 22:22-24)
This passage, from the last Passover Jesus Christ kept with His disciples, illustrates that pride was a very real problem even for those who were named as a part of the foundation of the New Testament church of God. In Matt. 26:22 it says each one of the disciples asked Him, “Lord, is it I?” when Christ said that one of them would betray Him. But from this brief moment of introspection, they went right into a dispute about who would be greatest!
This desire for self exaltation is so strong among human beings that we consider the story of Johnathan and his self-less friendship with David – who he knew would replace his father as king – a highly unusual departure from basic human nature. Self-exaltation, in one form or another is a priority for nearly every one on the planet, especially every male.
But what about the two members of the Godhead? I’d like to take a brief look at their thoughts and their ways in regard to each other.
There are several places in the Old Testament where God admits that He is a jealous God, but are the Father and the Son ever jealous of one another? Do they ever argue about who is greatest? Do they care if human worshipers give one of Them more honor than the other?
You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)
So there you have it in plain words spoken by “the Word,” the logos himself … “my Father is greater than I.” Just to re-enforce this point a little bit, let’s read John 5.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. …
I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:19, 30)
Jesus, the Christ speaks of Himself as “the One sent” 48 times in the 4 gospels, and in John 4:34 He says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” Doing what the Father wanted Him to do is what really sustained Him. You see this same thing throughout the New Testament. Christ is always in the submissive role, and always yielding to the Father’s ways, and the Father’s thoughts and will. And we see in Hebrews 10 just how far the Son was willing to go with this submission.
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come — in the volume of the book it is written of Me — to do Your will, O God.’ (Heb. 10:5-7)
So the Father, clearly is “the greatest.” There is no argument about that between Him and the Son, so … as “the greatest,” how does He conduct Himself towards the Son?
Lord and Christ
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18)
The Greek word translated “authority” is exousia (G1849), and it also means delegated influence, privilege, jurisdiction, liberty, and permission. Now, if all authority was given to Him, there had to be a giver … and who could that “giver” be but His Father? This can be viewed as a measure of the love and respect of the Father for His Son, who had ‘finished the work that He was given to do’ … a son with whom He was ‘well-pleased.’ But this greater God being didn’t stop there …as He spelled out in greater detail elsewhere in the New Testament.
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. … Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:32-33, 36)
John the baptist described Jesus as He who would “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” … but that’s not all, as verse 36 points out here in Acts. The title “Lord” is kurios (G2962) in the Greek, and it means owner, master, and ruler. “Christ” is from the word Christos (G5547), and it means, the anointed. So, the Father anointed Him to be the owner, master, and ruler of all mankind, who also has been given “authority over all flesh” (John 17:2).
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:15-23)
This is one of those sections of scripture that you have to read through real slow … thinking about the deep meaning of every word. I’ve probably done that a thousand times, and I still wonder if I’m getting it. Once again, we see something of great importance and gravity being given to Jesus, the Lord and Christ, by His Father who is … “greater” than He. Notice these gifts always include an increase of His responsibility over the welfare of humanity.
Brethren, these are just a few examples of how the “greater” God has exalted and honored the “One sent”, and, in fact has made Him to be the one indispensable link between us and Himself, and thus the goal of eternal life as well.
Hope of Eternity
In fact, there are 441 New Testament scriptures that speak of Him in exactly those terms … as being the one in whom, through whom, by whom, and in the name of whom we have the hope of eternal life, and through whom we have our relationship with the Father, and all of this by the will and direction of God the Father, who is “the greatest.” I can think of no better area of the word of God to go to to summarize “The Relationship” than this one:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)
Notice that it glorifies God the Father when we submit ourselves to His will by honoring and glorifying His son, and confess His ownership, His mastery of, and His rulership over us as our ‘kurios‘ in all of the offices and functions to which the Father has appointed Him.
When we do that, we are “letting the mind of Christ be in us.” We are submitting our thoughts and our ways to Gods thoughts and ways. And when we do that, we come closer and closer ourselves, to being invited by these two Beings to fully participate in “The Relationship”!