Jesus, as the Son of God, also demonstrated the same qualities and attributes of His Father. But how do we know this? In 1 John 4:14 John writes, “And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” The disciples had the unique privilege of living and traveling with Jesus during His earthly ministry. John uses two key words to describe this relationship in this passage. The first, “have beheld” is a verb meaning “to wonder, view attentively, contemplate, and consider with careful and deliberate vision in order to understand an object”. In 1 Jn. 4:12 and 14 it particularly means to perceive with the eyes with great vividness both physically and mentally”. In other words, the disciples had more than a quick encounter with Jesus. They had time invested into their relationship with Him which allowed them to know Him better than a mere acquaintance. Secondly, because they had such a deep relationship with Him, the disciples were able to “bear witness” to His character. Just like a witness who gives testimony at a trial, the disciples could offer an opinion on Jesus because they had an intimate relationship with Him.
John testifies that Jesus as God’s Son was “sent”. This particular word carries the nuance of being sent on a specific mission such as to preach (Mk. 3:14; Lk. 9:2), speak (Lk. 1:19), bless (Ac. 3:26), rule, redeem or propitiate (Ac. 7:35; 1 Jn. 4:10), or save (1 Jn. 4:14). Spiros Zodhiates wrote, “The expression that Jesus was sent by God (Jn. 3:34) denotes the mission which Jesus had to fulfill and the authority which backed Him in doing so. The importance of this mission is that God sent His own Son to accomplish it (Mk. 12:1-12; Mk. 20:9-19)”. This thought is emphasized throughout all of John’s writing (Jn. 5:37; 6:57; 8:16, 18, 42; 17:21, 25). Jesus Himself taught this (Jn. 10:36). The significance here is that Jesus’ purpose in coming was not to fulfill some fantasy He had about “saving the world” like an action hero or a deluded and deranged lunatic. Rather His mission was to fulfill a promise made by God after the Fall in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15).
There are somewhat negative connotations attached to the role of Savior today. Our culture does not like recognizing that people get themselves into trouble and oftentimes do not have the wherewithal to get out of it- especially in the moral sense. Needing Someone to rescue you is frowned upon. The individual has the power to triumph over circumstances and struggles all within themselves. But one look at the booming psychology industry and it’s easy to see that this is not so. Humankind struggles with guilt, remorse, shame and fear. While it’s taboo to say so, these conditions are a direct result of that tragic decision back in the Garden (Rom. 5:13-14). But 1 John 4:14 declares there is hope in that God sent His Son to be the Savior of the world (a word that literally means the earth or the abode of man in the Biblical sense of the word). The Bible boldly declares it is God’s desire and will to save His fallen creation (Jn. 3:16-17). But no man is capable of saving everyone; only God can do that. Enter God's Son!
How did Jesus demonstrate that He was truly the Son of God (Mt. 14:22-33; 27:50-54)? Jesus said that His works testified that His Father sent Him (Jn. 5:36) and that the words He spoke were His Father’s words, not His alone (Jn. 12:49; 14:24). These statements were confirmed by the reaction to His teaching (Mt. 7:28-29) and His ministry (Mt. 15:31; Lk. 4:16-22; 7:22). What about you? Do you recognize God's Son as your Savior? Do you listen to the authority of His word and acknowledge the purpose of His mission (1 Cor. 15:1-10; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:14-15)? If so, the sending has not finished with Jesus. He now sends you out into the world to carry His message (Jn. 20:21). The question now is what words will you use and how will you demonstrate the attributes of your Heavenly Father to those around you?
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
Week of 6/5/2016