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Scripture Reading:  John 5:16-23


Distinctions Between the Father and the Son



1.  The Godhead is composed of three persons, Gen. 1:1-2, 26-27; More than one person who makes up the one God (Godhead, 3:22; 11:6-7).

  a.  Elohim used interchangeably with Jehovah, Gen. 2:4; Exo. 3:15.

  b.  Deut. 6:4:  Plurality in one God (echad: “united one,” Gen. 1:5; 2:24) “together” (Ezra 2:64).

  c.  The nature of the Godhead: 3 persons united as one God.

2.  Jesus fully God & fully man:  Unique (“only begotten”), God-Man, Jno. 1:1-3, 14, 18.  (Isa. 7:14; 9:6)

3.  His incarnation was vital to accomplish human redemption – Naturally produced certain distinctions between the Father & the Son:

   a.  The Father / Holy Spirit never became flesh.

   b.  Jesus never gave up His deity, Col. 2:9.

   c.  Yet, Jesus said “My Father is greater than I” (Jno. 14:28).

4.  Consider areas of sameness & distinction:  Secure/strengthen faith.



  A.  Equality, Jno. 1:1; 5:17-18; 8:58; 10:30, 33, 36, 37-38 (always been fully God).

  B.  Therefore, the Son is Presented as Worthy of the Honor of Deity, Jno. 5:23 (worship & praise, Matt. 8:2; 28:9; Jno. 20:28).



  A.  Glory:  Jesus Emptied Himself of the Form of God & Took the Form of a Servant (man), Phil. 2:5-8.

      -To accomplish the work of human redemption, Jno. 17:4-5.

    1.  Phil. 2:6 (morphe):  “the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision; the external appearance” (Thayer, 418); “form, outward appearance, shape gener. of bodily form” (Arndt & Gingrich, 528).

      a.  Jesus gave up distinctive form of God & took the appearance (& work) of a servant.  His mind of humility that we must have!

      b.  This did not change who He was (His being or nature) – God.  (Jno. 10:30; 8:58)

*  2.  Jesus did not give up His deity, He took upon Himself humanity (Jno. 1:14).

  B.  Servant:  As a Servant, Jesus Serves as Savior Under the Authority of the Father, Jno. 14:28. (Suffering Savior)

    1.  Being under authority, Jesus came to do the Father’s will, Jno. 6:38 (5:19, 30; 8:28-29; 12:49-50).  (“I have come…to do Your will, O God,” Heb. 10:7.)

      a.  Voluntarily (Jno. 10:17-18).

      b.  Accomplished (Jno. 17:4).

    2.  Certain functions under the domain of the Father, Acts 1:7 (cf. Matt. 24:36).

    3.  Holy Spirit works under similar authority, cf. Jno.16:13-14.

    4.  A Gentile centurion understood this about Jesus, yet some of our brethren are having trouble with it.  Matt. 8:9

  C.   When the Distinct Functions (Roles) of the Members of the Godhead are Completed, God Remains “All in All,” 1 Cor. 15:24-28.  (Father:  Planner & Sender; Son: Savior who executed the plan; Holy Spirit:  Revealer, Confirmer, Inspirer.) – Complete oneness of God

    1.  15:27:  Christ has been given “all authority” (the Father is excepted), cf. Jno. 3:35.

    2.  15:28 Work completed; The Son has His previous form (morphe) of deity’s eternal glory, Jno. 1:1; 17:4-5 (cf. Col. 3:11).

“Christ, the Son of God, in his Divine nature, as God, shall never cease to reign. As Mediator, he may resign his commission and his peculiar office, having made an atonement, having recovered his people, having protected and guided them to heaven. Yet, as one with the Father, as the “Father of the everlasting age,” (#Isa 9:6,) he shall not cease to reign. The functions of a peculiar office may have been discharged, and delegated power laid down, and that which appropriately belongs to him in virtue of his own nature and relations may be resumed and executed for ever; and it shall still be true that the reign of the Son of God, in union, or in oneness with the Father, shall continue for ever.” (Barnes, 1 Corinthians, 302)


1.  The Son is not inferior to the Father.  He functions under the authority of the Father (cf. the Holy Spirit, who did not speak of Himself, Jno. 16:13-15; cf. the wife & the husband).

2.  In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (Col. 2:9).

3.  1 Jno. 2:23:  One who denies the Son (including His complete deity while on earth), also denies the Father.  One must acknowledge the Son to have fellowship with the Father.

4.  Thanks be to God that the Son loved us enough to empty Himself of the appearance of deity to become flesh & serve as our Savior to save us from our sins, Heb. 2:9.