Lazarus was dead, victim of a fatal illness. His sisters Mary and Martha grieved with his friends over his sudden death. Jesus Christ also wept—though not for the same reason.
When the people saw Christ approach Lazarus’ tomb, “groaning in Himself” (John 11:38), some in the crowd said, “Behold how He loved him!” Others criticized Him: “Could not this Man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (vs. 36-37).
It did not dawn on them that Jesus “groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled” (vs. 33) because of their stunning lack of faith and understanding.
As He approached the tomb, Martha said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (vs. 21).
When Christ told her that Lazarus “shall rise again,” she simply replied, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (vs. 23-24).
Martha and the others “didn’t get it.” Despite the amazing miracles they had witnessed Jesus Christ perform, they never considered that He had the authority—right then and there—to resurrect the dead. “I AM the resurrection, and the life,” He assured Martha. “He that believes in Me, though He were dead, yet shall he live” (vs. 25).
After the people reluctantly obeyed His order to remove the stone from Lazarus’ grave, Jesus looked up into the sky and boldly prayed aloud before the onlookers. “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me,” He said. “And I knew that You hear Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me” (vs. 41-42).
Then Christ commanded, “Lazarus, come forth!”—and Lazarus instantly came back to life.
The four Gospel books are filled with accounts of Jesus boldly walking in faith to perform astounding miracles. Jesus made it clear that He, of His own physical self, did not perform miracles—His Father did it through Him: “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works” (John 14:10).
Their relationship was so close, so unique, that they were always of the same mind, will and purpose. Christ confidently knew His Father would back Him up in doing the humanly impossible. Many times Jesus spoke about their special bond:
- “As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father” (John 10:15).
- “I and My Father are one” (vs. 30).
- “The Father is in Me, and I in Him” (vs. 38).
- “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (14:11).
- “You, Father, are in Me, and I in You…We are one” (17:21-22).
The bond between God and Jesus Christ, which has existed from eternity, serves as a model for the relationship God ultimately desires to share with humanity.
Before the earth existed—before there were moons, planets, stars, constellations, galaxies and everything found in the ever-expanding universe—there was God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).
“There is one God,” the apostle James wrote (Jms. 2:19). “God” in Old Testament Hebrew is Elohim, a plural word that can be used in both singular and plural forms, such as with “sheep, deer, cattle, offspring, series, species, equipment, aircraft” and other terms. It was Elohim who said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). One God—one divine family, or kingdom—comprised of two individual Members.
God and the Word (who was also God) never argued, never debated, never worked against each other, but instead lived and worked together in perfect unison, harmony and peace throughout eternity.
Through the book of Amos, God asks a rhetorical question: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (3:3).
The answer is an obvious “no.” God and the Word were able to “walk together” without contention because they always agreed with each other.
One had to take the lead and make the final decisions. To paraphrase U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the “buck stopped with him.” The Other—the Word (logos in Greek)—represented God, serving as divine “Spokesman” for God’s kingdom, following, supporting and carrying out God’s commands. One led; the Other followed His lead. Yet they were both equally God, in character and power. Their relationship reflected government in action.
For example, the two Beings in the Godhead had a “profession”: creating, planning, designing, building and sustaining. In this regard, each Member of the God Family had a role to play. The One whom we know today as the Father was the executive decision-maker. The Word served as Counselor and implementer—the One who made the decisions happen, via the power of the Holy Spirit.
Both Beings worked together in one mindset. There was no room for envy, pride or selfish ambition, for God is love (I John 4:16)—and love “is kind; [it] envies not…vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth…[Love] never fails” (I Cor. 13:4-6, 8).
The government-based relationship between God and the Word functioned through love and truth. Love is outgoing concern for others, lowering the self to serve others’ needs, concerns and interests. Truth—God’s Word and His Law (Psa. 119:142; John 17:17)—tells one how to express love: “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
Theirs was not a lopsided totalitarian relationship in which one “lorded over” the other. They were a team—they worked together to achieve the same goals. God was the Supreme Leader, and the Word, or “Spokesman,” represented His will and made it come to pass.
God created angels and extended His government through them under the archangels (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer). Then God created the universe, including the earth. Everything was perfect; all went according to plan…until Lucifer and the angels under him rebelled against their Creator. In the wake of their rebellion, the physical universe was left in decay (Rom. 8:20-21). Many years later, perhaps multiple millions, God recreated the earth (Gen. 1) to provide a suitable environment for His next creation: man.
Through humanity, God planned to expand His Family. Man was created temporary, fragile, physically limited to his environment. God endowed him with mind power (in contrast to animals, which function on instinct), imparting man with creative intelligence and ingenuity. Yet man was created spiritually incomplete; he needed “another Spirit” at work in his mind so that he could successfully solve spiritual problems and have a personal relationship with his Maker. With God’s Spirit building holy, righteous character in him, man would have the potential to be born into the God Family.
However, man sinned, choosing to eat of the wrong tree—that of self-knowledge, judging for oneself right from wrong. In effect, he cut himself off from God, to live a lifetime of decisions that, at best, would be a poisonous mixture of good and evil.
With the ultimate goal of bringing mankind into salvation, humanity needed a Savior, One for whom sin was possible, yet sin-free so He would be a perfect sacrifice, taking onto Himself the penalty of sin—death (Rom. 6:23)—in mankind’s stead.
And so the Word, through the power of God’s Spirit, allowed Himself to be born flesh (John 1:14).
Father and Son Relationship
The close bond between God and the Word continued in Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.
The Rock of the Old Testament lowered Himself to be born of a woman. Notice: “Who [Christ], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
Jesus was God in the flesh, a member and representative of the kingdom of God, yet He was physical. He sweated. He sometimes grew tired, hungry and thirsty. He bled and was subject to death. His life was temporary.
Jesus Christ was also capable of committing sin, of being tempted to rebel against His Father and break His laws. As with all human beings, Jesus was bombarded by the pulls of the flesh, by the pressures of the world, and by the relentless carnal broadcasts of the devil’s attitudes and desires.
But Christ never sinned. He never gave in to self-will. Filled with the Holy Spirit, He fully and perfectly submitted Himself to fulfilling God’s will over His own, seeking contact with God day and night, without hesitation.
Christ, the living Word personified, authored the written Word, the Bible. During His time in the flesh, Jesus used the “Bible” in His mind—the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17)—to make right decisions. He knew well the verses describing the true nature of man (Jer. 17:9; Prov. 14:12; 16:2, 25; 21:2), which is why Jesus said, “Why call you Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19).
He later inspired the apostle Paul to write, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).
Therefore, Christ daily practiced rejecting His will—the natural human reasoning that dwells in man’s nature—to serve His Father’s will. Jesus knew Him. He trusted Him. He placed His life and safety in God’s hands.
Again, Christ, of His own physical self, did not perform miracles—His Father did them through Him (John 14:10). Jesus exercised perfect faith, knowing His prayers would be answered because He always sought and prayed according to God’s will.
When Christ offered to visit a Roman centurion’s home to heal the man’s servant, who was at death’s door, He marveled at the military commander’s reply. “Lord, trouble not Yourself: for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof,” the centurion said. “But say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it” (Luke 7:6-8).
The unconverted Roman centurion grasped what Jesus Christ had long understood—that unwavering faith is tied to understanding how God’s government functions, recognizing that divine authority comes from the top down and that mighty works are exercised through those who submit to that authority.
Again, prior to being born as a human being, the Word had voluntarily lowered Himself under God’s authority. God, with the Word’s counsel and planning, made the top decisions, which the Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, then faithfully carried out. No egos were involved. No strife or contention existed between them. This was the government of God at work.
Later, during His earthly ministry, Jesus performing awesome miracles was the result of Him seeking power from the ultimate authority in the universe—God Supreme—and then exercising that authority while seeking His Father’s will.
It was this relationship of faith, power, authority, government, truth and love that enabled Christ, when He was about to be arrested, tried, tortured and crucified, to pray, “Father, if You be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
“One God…One Mediator”
Jesus knows what it is like to be human, to feel the temptations and pressures that come from the self, society and Satan. He knows what it is like to wage spiritual warfare day after day after day. He knows that the flesh is weak, that it becomes weary. Christ knows what it means to be tempted.
Yet He never gave in. He never gave up (Heb. 4:15).
And today Jesus Christ is in heaven with the Father, serving as our “Mediator between God and men” (I Tim. 2:5). He is able to relate to God what we as fallible human beings experience in striving to overcome sin.
Jesus takes our prayers before God’s throne, into the “Holy of Holies,” and gives us the authority to pray to God directly. This is why we close our prayers with, “In Jesus’ name” or “In the name of Jesus Christ,” or something similar.
True Christians are spiritually begotten sons of God. They have God’s Spirit dwelling in them: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:9, 14).
Today, Christ is working through us to conquer sin just as He did, by giving us the power to fully submit to the Father’s will. He enables us to use the Holy Spirit so that it “helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (vs. 26). When the Spirit of Christ began to work in us, we “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but…received the Spirit of adoption [sonship], whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (vs. 15).
As our Elder Brother—“the firstborn among many brethren” (vs. 29), fellow “firstfruit” (Jms. 1:18)—Christ assists us in fulfilling our incredible human potential, to ultimately be born into the God Family. He works to help Christians grow in the father-son relationship He shares with God.
In effect, our Mediator is working to bring us to the point where we can say, “I and My Father are one.”
Finally—Mankind One With God!
Upon Jesus Christ’s Return, the sons of God will be brought back to life, resurrected—born—into the kingdom of God. Together, they, under Christ’s leadership, will teach all nations the only way of life that will produce universal success, abundance and security. A thousand years of harmony and peace will ensue.
After Satan and his demons are set loose for a little while, then imprisoned forever, God will resurrect the vast majority of human beings who ever lived, giving them an opportunity to qualify for salvation.
Then will come the next phase in God’s plan:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:1-4).
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (vs. 22-23).
“…but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:3-5).
The day is coming when humanity, with help from Jesus Christ and the glorified saints, will overcome sin and self-will, develop the mindset and righteous character of God, and thus qualify for eternal life. The Father Himself will then move from heaven to live among His people. Mankind will finally be one with God.