Jesus is the image of the invisible God. This is not merely a matter of Jesus’ features; the size of His nose or the color of His hair. It has to do with how Jesus conducted Himself. How did He act? What did He do throughout the Gospels? How did he respond to the Father? Jesus came to show men how to live in relation to God. He bore the image of God with His life, so that we would know how to bear the image of God with our lives. Jesus’ Lordship is unlike any kingly conduct in all of scripture. We look at Jesus’ life and truly know that God is love (1 John 4:8), because greater love knows no one than this; that someone lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Love involves more than one person. A lover must have a beloved. Without another person there is no love. Monads like Allah cannot love because there is nothing to direct their love toward. Monads like Allah are sterile, distant, impersonal tyrants.
Jesus revealed that the Lordship of God is an eternal community of Love. A community where each person is outward focused; a community in which the persons need one another to exist. Take away any member of the Trinity and the Trinity ceases to be. Jesus came to have the kind of fellowship with his disciples that He possessed with the Father, to show them how to participate in that fellowship and go on reproducing that fellowship all over the world.
Jesus’ Lordship was dependent. Jesus demonstrated His need of the Father and Spirit throughout His life; He did not come to do His own will and could not succeed without the Father and Spirit’s provision and protection. Can you? Jesus, therefore, glorified and adored the Father and Spirit (John 17:1; John 16:7). Jesus said in John 17:1 that the hour had arrived for the Father to glorify the Son and the Son to glorify the Father. As we have mentioned before, Jesus came to communicate eternal truths about God. Jesus came in the flesh to show us, by example, what is eternally true about God. The Father is eternally the Father, the Son is eternally the Son, the Spirit is eternally the Spirit and they eternally glorify one another (John 17:4). For eternity they have been doing the things we see them do throughout the Gospels.
God’s plan for creation and salvation was to demonstrate the interdependence and love of the persons of the Godhead to mankind. This relationship is meant to reveal the mission of God; that mankind participates in the eternal community of love. To live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ means we are to imitate that Lord in our mission in the world. Jesus’ lordship is witnessed in His care for sinners, His compassion, His obedience and dependence on the other persons of the Godhead.
Interdependence? Yes. The Father needed the Son to come and save creation (Ephesians 1:3-10) and the Son needed the Spirit to apply that salvation to creation to remake it (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son (John 14:16, 15:26). The Son and Spirit do only that which the Father decreed and ordained (Ephesians 1:5, 1:9; Hebrews 2:4; Luke 22:42; John 5:30). No member of the Trinity is operating alone. God is three persons who are one in essence. They have one mission that requires each of them. Take away any one person and God ceases to be the Trinity and their mission fails.
Ephesians 1:3-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
We see the existence of love between the Father, Son and Spirit throughout the gospels, through their interaction with one another. The Gospels are a dialogue between the members of the Trinity that we get to overhear and by it, are called to participate. This dialogue reveals the essence of who God is and the relationship He desires to have with us. The Father is pleased with who the Son is in himself (Matthew 3:17) and the Son does not live to do His own will but the will of the Father, who sent Him (Luke 22:42; John 5:30). The Spirit does not come until the Son ascends (John 7:39). Jesus is Jealous for the honor due to the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). Jesus and the Spirit only speak what the Father taught them (John 8:28, 7:16; 1st Corinthians 2:10).
What this interdependence reveals is the love that exists between the persons of the Godhead. God loves perfectly. Jesus taught that the ethic of God has one aim; love. Love is the summation of the Law and Prophets (Matthew 22:38-40). Love is the bond, the covenant that is at the heart of the unity of God. Perfect covenantal faithfulness comes from the perfect outward conduct of the persons of the Godhead toward one another. Perfect outward conduct is love. God loves perfectly because He is righteous and righteous because He loves perfectly.
The only one who is perfect, based on the standard of the greatest commandment, is God himself. He is love because everything He does or says comes from a perfect love and is perfect love. That Love has always existed, for God is Eternal. Father, Son and Holy Spirit have loved one another perfectly for all eternity. Jesus came in the flesh to show the world the identity of the True God by demonstrating the love between the members of the Godhead. Jesus came to demonstrate union and communion with God so that we too may know and experience that love through union and communion with Jesus.
John 17:22-24 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
1 John 4:7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
God’s Lordship is based on and seen in the perfect love demonstrated between the members of the Godhead. God’s love is the basis of His holiness which is the basis of His Lordship. The foundation of it all is love. What kind of Lordship did Jesus demonstrate? A Lordship of unmitigated power, self-righteous dominance and unquestioned authority or one of compassion, understanding, service, dependence and selflessness? Jesus showed that true Kingship, true Power and true Lordship come from dying for the sake of grateful obedience. True kingship is giving glory and honor to others, even it if costs you your life. Christ died for the Glory of the Father and to glorify men. True kingship comes from exalting others rather than yourself.
This is the relationship amongst the members of the Godhead. The Son lives to give honor and obedience to the Father, the Son is protective of the honor of the Holy Spirit, the Father gives glory to the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to honor the commands and desires of the Father and Son in creation and regeneration. Each member is not concerned for their own honor but for the honor of each other. Selfless service to the glory of one another is what we see throughout Jesus’ life as He interacts with the Father and Holy Spirit (John 13-17). This is the eternal covenant that exists between the members of the Godhead. This eternal Covenant of Love is at the heart of God’s Essence. This eternal community of love has been opened and offered to men. Our Covenant Lord wants the bond of love that unifies the members of the Godhead to exist between himself and us; between you and I.
What does a community living this way look like? Are we interdependent? Do we require one another’s gifts and contributions as a body? Are we seeking to give honor to God and to the other members of our community, the way Jesus did? How should our Lordship in the world reflect the Lordship of God? How does this kind of Lordship affect our mission, our fellowship, our ethics and our calling?