Jesus is not the Father, but He is God. God, the one we call Father, He is God. And there is one other, the Holy Spirit, He is God, too. The doctrine of the Trinity is still debated between churches, but it’s what I believe–there are three distinct beings with the same essential, eternal, timeless qualities. But what may be even harder for people to believe are Jesus’s words, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (Jn 14:9; NKJV)
Most people are comfortable with the God of the Old Testament being different from the God of the New Testament, or the God of judgment being different from Jesus, the God of love and grace. Many believe that Jesus’s main purpose in coming to this world was to placate, to appease, to pacify the God of Justice; thus, they must be different. Jesus is nice but the Father is…well, you know. But Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father–that’s profound! That’s mind-bending!
How do we put those paradoxes on the same platter? It helps me when I consider two facts. First, it was really Jesus who led Israel throughout the Old Testament.
1 Cor 10:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (Emphasis mine)
It was Jesus who led Israel through the desert. It was Jesus who gave the 10-Commandments and the laws in Leviticus. It was Jesus that gave the command to stone the Sabbath-breaker and destroy Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. It was Jesus who spoke and created our world.
Jn 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The second reason we have a problem seeing Jesus and the Father as one, as having the same character, is, we have misunderstood the legal system as being punitive and not protective, and we have overlooked several other reasons why Jesus had to die. Jesus’s death was a demonstration, not an appeasement; it spoke to much more than merely a legal transaction.
In light of the great controversy between God and Satan, a controversy over God’s laws and character, God proved that He too was selfless and giving, that He loved this world, you, me, us, even though we had sided with Satan. He showed the universe what would happen if beings worshiped a god they were afraid of, demonstrated by the ruling Jewish leaders when they crucified Him! He demonstrated that He did not lie in the beginning when He said if we sin we die. His statement was not a threat; it was an undeniable fact, and He proved it, much to Satan’s shame.
Bringing God and mankind back together, knowing what God is really like, knowing God is love and wouldn’t lie, knowing God loves us more than life itself, and knowing God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit will heal and save all those who trust Him again, this is the atonement!